Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

I love the movie the Wizard of Oz and found this article published in the New York Times and thought I'd share. Every time time I paint this sign, I sing the song to myself all day long.

THIS LAND; He Confirmed It, Yes He Did: The Wicked Witch Was Dead

By DAN BARRY Published: February 18, 2007

Like any coroner, he has seen some things. But one case stays with him nearly 70 years after the fact, like some old song he can't get out of his head.

He couldn't shake this case even if he wanted to, what with all the videotapes, the DVDs, the television broadcasts replaying the gruesome aftermath over and over, in vivid Technicolor. Those striped socks, curling back like a pair of deflating noisemakers.

The coroner's name is Meinhardt Raabe, and he lives in a retirement community tucked between here and there. He can't see or hear too well, and his short legs need the assistance of a three-wheeled walker with hand brakes. But none of this means that at 91 he has forgotten much, because he hasn't -- especially about that case.

Sitting on his small bed, his coroner's outfit stored in a closet, Mr. Raabe recalls a rich and varied life but makes clear that he accepts, even embraces, how his obituary will read: Munchkin City coroner, handled case of woman killed by house that fell from the sky.

It's hard to imagine now, but the freak accident was just one of many wacky events in a wacky, politically charged time, a time when monkeys could fly and trees could talk and life could change on a witch's whim.

With enchantment -- or was it poppies? -- infusing the air, a coroner's role was not so much to determine a cause of death as it was to determine whether death had indeed occurred. The victim's identity only complicated matters: as luck would have it, she was a witch, a bad one, from the east.

That is why curious residents in curious garb, led by a mayor whose shoes sprouted flowers, surrounded Mr. Raabe as he unfurled his scroll. With cameras rolling, he announced his findings:

''As coroner, I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead, she's really, most sincerely dead.''

If his words seem mannered, one should remember they were delivered in the singsong language indigenous to the region. And if his ruling caused some problems for the Kansas-based driver of the house and some grief for the victim's green-skinned sister, it was good news for Munchkinland, Oz -- and Mr. Raabe, whose name rhymes with ''hobby.''

''I'm still getting mail,'' he says, pointing to stacked milk crates packed with letters yet to be answered. He just cannot get to them all.

As Mr. Raabe recalls in his autobiography, ''Memories of a Munchkin'' (Back Stage Books, 2005), he did not follow a coroner's typical career path. The son of Wisconsin dairy farmers, he endured years of schoolyard teasing about what he calls his ''abnormal lack of height'' before wandering one day into the Midget Village attraction at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Walking its streets, meeting its inhabitants eye to eye, he realized that smallness was no impediment to happiness. ''It was a new world,'' he says.

For the next three years, Mr. Raabe worked summers with other little people at expositions around the country, often as a pitchman. He eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in accounting, only to learn that no firm would hire him.

''You don't belong here,'' he remembers being told. ''You belong in a carnival.''

Mr. Raabe eventually got a job as Little Oscar for the Oscar Mayer meat company. Then, in 1938, came word through the grapevine of a demand for little people in Hollywood. Sensing opportunity, he boarded a train due west.

In a place where people came and went so quickly, the casting director first chose the Mayor, the three Lullaby League dancers and the three members of the Lollipop Guild. Then he lined up Mr. Raabe and several other little men and asked them to say the fateful line: ''As coroner, I must aver. ''

''I read that line and I let go,'' he recalls. ''And he said, 'O.K., you're the coroner.' ''

Mr. Raabe's pronouncement lasted only 13 seconds, and his lines were dubbed over. But he had made his mark.

After filming ended, he returned to Oscar Mayer and to real life. He learned to fly airplanes. He joined the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. He earned a master's degree in business administration. He married a cigarette girl who was about his height; her name was Marie, and her beauty stole his breath. Fifty years they had, until her death in a car accident a decade ago.

Now Mr. Raabe lives alone at the Penney Retirement Community, behind a door with a sign that says ''No Place Like Home.'' Above his bed hangs a portrait of that girl from Kansas and her unusual pals; they've all passed on. So has the Wizard, who liked his drink, and the Good Witch, who was a bit of a prima donna, and the Wicked Witch of the West, who was the kindest of them all.

Every once in a while, though, his presence is requested at some Oz-related function; he is, after all, the oldest living resident of that faraway world. He dons his outfit, poses for photographs and catches up with some of the half-dozen or so Munchkin City residents still around: the last of the Lollipop Guild trio, one of the Sleepyheads, a soldier.

Despite that unfortunate house-on-woman matter, Mr. Raabe says his days in Oz were among the happiest of his life. And for anyone who asks, he will say that as coroner, he must aver, which means to assert with confidence.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What a difference a day makes...

It's raining here today and the high temperature is to be 57 degrees. For the past three days it's been a very warm 90+. The hot spell made my much loved lilac bush burst into bloom. Almost 25 years ago, my husband's Mother gave a small lilac to each of my two sister-in-laws and myself for Mother's Day. After all these years, mine is the only one to survive. It is probably close to 12 feet tall and is covered in blossoms this year. The wonderful fragrance has been coming through the open windows and I have memories of the wonderful woman who gifted me with a small bush. We miss you Yia Yia.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Visit from Dre

Lucy is granddog Dre has been visiting for a few days while my daughter and her husband are in Orlando visiting friends. I thought that I might never have a grandbaby, but my dear daughter and her husband are expecting their first child, my first grandchild, in July. We are all wondering how Dre will react to the baby. His little nose will certainly be out of joint. But he is such a sweetie, I'm sure he'll be fine.
Dre is four months older than Lucy and they have grown up together. They really do love each other. They run in circles around the yard for hours and play like they are still puppies.

I'm sure Lucy will sleep all day tomorrow because Dre will be heading home tonight.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell to a Golden Girl...

Emmy Award-winning actress Bea Arthur, best known as star of the hit TV comedies ‘Maude’ and ‘Golden Girls’, passed away over the weekend . One of my favorite shows, always makes me smile even after seeing each episode a dozen times. Thank you Bea Arthur, for giving me a giggle, especially now since I am at the Golden Girl age.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Through the Looking Glass...

A new addition to my list of favorite quotes. This is based on the poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking Glass published in 1871. Tweedledee and Tweedledum recite the poem to Alice. The sign is painted a medium blue with white lettering and gold glittery stars. The stencil for this sign came from Stencil Me In.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Towson Garden Days

I decided last week to see if the local Garden Club of Towson, still had any spaces available for their annual Garden Days. Dee of Icehouse Crafts had mentioned that it was coming up when I said I was looking for some small local shows to participate in this spring. I was able to get a space and and set up yesterday for "Towson Garden Days". It was a beautiful sunny day here, although somewhat breezy at times. My friend Shar, agreed to spend the day with me and we had a wonderful time talking and laughing. Shar sews and had some of her things in the booth with mine. Not lots of sales but a good time. I did have one of my favorite customers show up. "Mrs. Fisher" a wonderful teacher from Harford Hills Elementary, who is now retired. Gretchen taught my daughters many years ago. I will never forget how she got me to join her "Gunpowder Project" even though neither of my girls were involved with it. If I remember correctly, she had me standing knee high in the Gunpowder River, in March. Darn near frooze my toes off.

There were mostly vendors with flats of vegetable plants and all types of flowers. The booth next to us was a grower from Glenarm, Maryland and the only thing I purchased all day was from him. Two potted herb gardens for my daughters. Each contained parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Makes you remember Simon and Garfunkle, don't you think? I took the photograph of the herb garden on the shelf of my porch. In it you can see some of the rocks my daughters have brought me back from their travels over the years. I mentioned years ago that I wanted to have rocks for the garden from wherever we traveled, like Lucille Ball did in the movie, The Long, Long Trailer. So when either of the girls goes on vacation or on a trip for work, I don't get a tee shirt, I get a rock.

Shar and I traded items. She choose Grandmother signs and I picked a tea towel with hydrangeas for my kitchen and an eyeglass case for my sunglasses. I also meant to get a couple of small teabag holders, made of beautiful fabrics, filled with 2 teabags, and sweetener packages, to carry in your purse. It is a trifold of fabic, with pockets inside and it ties closed with satin ribbon. Wonderful gift idea to have on hand. I have to remember to get those next time I see her.

All in all it was a wonderful day, being able to chat with Sharlee and make a few dollars too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lucy and Me

Every morning when my I roll out of bed and my feet hit the floor, so do Lucy's. She sleeps right in the middle, between DH and me. Although some mornings I do try to sneak out of the bedroom so I don't immediately have to let her out to make a trip around the yard to see what animals may have visited during the night. We then head to the kitchen to put on the coffee for me and the fill the food bowl for her. So when Kodak Gallery emailed to say I needed to spend x amount to keep my account active, I ordered a mug with my Lucy Girl's photo on it. I don't need this to remind me of her...she's snuggled up next to me as I write this post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Chicken Coop

I have so many wonderful childhood memories of the backyard of the old gray house where I grew up. In the spring there were fragrant lilac bushes with varying shades of purple blossoms. I couldn't wait for the pussywillow bush to start to flower. My Mother had rooted a branch given to her by a friend and over the years it grew to a large bush covered in fuzzy gray blooms every spring. Red and white striped tulips planted by Mrs. Wickes, the elderly lady who owned the house before my parents did, were something I looked forward to seeing as the weather became warmer.

But the best thing in that backyard was "The Chicken Coop" and springtime meant that it would be warm enough to use it again as playhouse. There were actually two wooden buildings that had been the home to chickens before my family moved into the house. My Father used the one with the dirt floor as tool shed. The second building, attached to the other by a small breezeway, was two steps up off the ground with a wood floor and that was where we played all summer long. There was a large multi-paned window which would slide to the side to open and my friend Bonnie and I hung white cotton curtains which would blow with the breezes. Donna, my aunt, who is just several years older than I am, spent summers with us and many stories were told and secrets shared in that one room building. I remember one morning, opening the door and finding a wonderful china teapot, cups and saucers with roses on them. I ran to tell my Mother and she said maybe a fairy had left it for me. It was many years later that she told me she put the set in the chicken coop as a surprise. As the years went by, my brother John and his friends used it as fort, my little sister Jan made it a playhouse again. For a while it was home to my sister's pet rabbit. Years later, my Dad took the two buildings down but when I smell lilacs and locust trees in the spring, I can close my eyes and remember a little girl, playing in the Chicken Coop.

I decided to make a simple worn look Chicken Coop sign for myself and I have others to give to family members and friends who have the same wonderful memories that I have.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Babies and Weddings

This weekend was filled with thoughts of babies and weddings. My first born Holly and her husband Chad are expecting their first baby in July. We attended a wonderful baby shower on Saturday for Holly and Chad at his Mother's home. My younger daughter Meagan and her high school sweetheart Erik, in the photo above, are getting married in the fall.

Holly and Chad were married three years ago in Thurmont, MD. (near Camp David) The reception was in a great old barn and after much searching for another venue, Meg and Erik decided to have their wedding there also. Although there is much planning to do to pull off a wedding not in your home town, it is well worth it. The celebration will be 3 days long and the two families will have the time to get to know each other better. We thought we had the barn for the date and all was going ahead smoothly. We ran into a snag however, the couple who own the property have separated and there was some dispute on who would get the barn. Plans have been up in the air for the past several weeks. We heard on Friday that everything had been worked out so the wedding is on...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wishing You Easter Blessings

To those who visit here...

Wishing all a glorious Easter Sunday. Have a wonderful day with Family and Friends and always remember to count your blessings.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For Mothers and Daughters

I think this is a wonderful sentiment for Mothers with Daughters and Granddaughters, Sisters, Aunts and Nieces. My life is filled with wonderful women...some are family...some are friends. All are loved.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What a busy weekend!

We never seem to have things to do on the weekends but the last two weekends, both evenings, we had family parties to go to. This weekend we attended a celebration for my nephew Nicolaus. He received his PHD in Chemistry. I am just so proud of him. His wife gave him a surprise party at a neighbor bowling alley because he loves duckpin bowling. Can't believe this is the best photo I got...hoping one of my girls took a better one. Congratulations Nicolaus!!!!

On Sunday, Donna, my aunt who is actually more like my sister, was given a surprise party for a very special birthday. Can't post it here because she is a bit sensitive about this birthday. Photo is of the women in the family. Mothers...Daughters...Sisters. My Mom is the one in red and on either side of her are her sisters, Donna and Joan. They were born 10 years apart, so my Mom was 20 when Donna was born. My sister and her daughter weren't able to attend so I'm hoping to get another shot with all of us in it at another gathering. I am so blessed to have all these wonderful women in my life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Come Sit on My Porch

I have a great porch on the side of my house that overlooks my garden. On lazy summer days we read or play cards, and have had many dinners with friends and family out there. This sign painted with summertime blooms will be a wonderful addition to our porch. Just can't wait for warm weather.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby Bumps

How blessed our family is...

Just before Thanksgiving, my first daughter Holly and her husband Chad came to the house with a package in hand. When Lou and I opened it, there was a picture frame and the photograph in it was of a pregnancy test with a + sign. That was how we found out that our first grandchild was on the way.
When telling his brother our happy news, Lou said Charly looked a little funny but was happy and gave his congratulations. He then swore Lou to secrecy and told him that his son Nicolaus and wife Leslie were also expecting but were waiting to tell everyone at Thanksgiving dinner. Both babies are due in July. Holly and Nicolaus were born 10 months apart...went to the same preschool, elementary through high school and ended up at graduating from the same college.
Now both couples are going to have their first child in July. How wonderful that another generation of cousins will be growing up together.

Just shows that Families are truly forever...

Anyone see My Big Fat Greek Wedding? We laughed so much at this movie because it is so true. Every character in the movie could be one of the relatives...except we don't think anyone is a windex sprayer.

My sister-in-law sent me this about Greek Easter. Good for a giggle.