Sailing through life

This is a little something I penned for my youngest son when he was preparing to enter college a couple of years back.

“While always remembering the direction leading home, grab the wheel of life, sail its seas, set your course toward adventure, enjoy the waves while leaving a trail of memories and your legacy.” Copyright ©2014 Mendy Kelley

Seasons In Life

As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we realize that over the course of our lives a diverse group of people have come and gone.  Some staying briefly, others for a season and on that rare occasion we’ve met someone who has stuck with us for a large part of our lives.

Ahh, the Memories

Recently while thinking about simple times, memories of my childhood came to mind.  My friends who made junior high fun, crazy and sometimes naughty, like kissing boys under the bleachers (yes, I did that a time or two…who didn’t?)

My youth was spent in the 1970’s and for the most part I cannot recall a dull moment (okay, well maybe when I had to babysit my younger sisters.) mendy-circa-late-70s If I wasn’t cheering for our recreation club’s football team (my mom sewed my cheerleading outfit as most did back then) my friends Sheri, Karla, Kim, and Amber and I were deciding whose house we’d be sleeping at on Friday night. We would spend those nights talking about boys (as they were never far from our minds), listen to the radio and have pillow fights.  We all attended Sligh Junior High in Tampa, Florida which at the time was a 7th grade center designed for cultural integration in the community; it is now called Sligh Middle School (named after the street it faces) and is home to middle school kids in grades 5th – 7th.

In the late 70s, we would play 4-square in the school’s courtyard after lunch and talk about boys (again..we were 7th grade girls) and on rare occasion other topics which ran the gamut. We wore the hairstyles of the day, one side straight down and the other clipped back tight against the head (a bit of a bizarre style if you ask me) or a long and feathered look, such as in my picture. School offered home economics class, shop and typing, I took all three not remembering what I made in either home eco or shop, but I do recall standing at an ironing board (who knew back then we’d have was and wear clothing in the 21st century?) We wore dresses that were at or below our knees, pantyhose and black baby doll (flat) shoes. We had “patrols” (with the orange patrol belt) who patrolled the halls making sure we didn’t run and kept order on buses during the rides to/from school. Oh yeah, an on the rare occasion we would go to the mall…there would always be a line at the photo booth, you know…where you would go in, sit down, draw the curtain and start making goofy faces, then step out and wait a minute or two for your four shots to magically appear!  The picture above is a photo booth sitting.

I remember quite well my time in junior high and physical education class, pfft! (rolling eyes!)  Oh how I hated P.E.!  I still believe the only form of exercise our Phy. Ed. teachers knew were laps; everyday without fail and as soon as we hit the basketball courts (after dressing out) we ran laps.  I ran around that basketball court so many times one year I could tell you the location of every divot, crack and dip. I was determined not to have P.E. the following year so I got a part-time job at McDonald’s on Busch Blvd across the street from Busch Gardens and signed up for the school’s early work release program which allowed student to work in the afternoons on school days, usually reporting to work around noon. When a student was on early release P.E., home economics or shop were the classes of choice to drop from our class schedule; all the kids in this program thought it was the best thing in life, especially if we had the day off from work we still left school early.

GrandbabiesAlthough Karla, Sheri, Kim, and Amber are not part of my life on a daily basis, a few of us still keep in touch via social media and texting. We are spread across the U.S. with Sheri in New Mexico, I am in Northern Kentucky and Karla, Kim and Amber are all in Florida. It’s hard to believe some of us are grannies and these are my four precious ones.

Ahh, the memories are a nice escape from the hectic life most of us lead in adulthood. Just writing this article has conjured up some really great visions of years gone too soon. Wow its so hard to grasp that I turned 50 in February of this year, W-O-W…where has the time gone?

As I grow older by the day I’ve found that its the simple things in life that make L-I-F-E an adventure. As a Nona (grandmother/grandma in Italian), I love that I can love on my grandchildren and when they get cranky… I hand them back to mom and dad. I love that I don’t have to put up with other people’s drama and there’s no law telling me I have to keep them in my life. I love that because of where I’ve been…I know where I’m going and planning my future has never been so much fun. I love that my “lifetime” friends love me for who I am and accept me completely, without question, ridicule or judgement.  They just love me! And lastly, I love walking down MEMORY LANE and bringing all those great memories into the present. Thank you for letting me share a smidge of my past with you.

TBT: Family Togetherness

WOW…no matter how we try to sugar coat it, some pictures from the past can be unflattering and sometimes haunting; just for the record I’m talking about myself in the picture below. What in the world, was I laughing???

Back Row: Me, Rick, Mom, Tony Down Front: Melody

Back Row (LtoR): Me, Rick, Mom, Tony & Missy
Down Front: Melody

That’s me on the far left, sitting next to my brother Rick, who we lost in May 2004.  As I look at this picture I can remember the events of the day pretty well; what I can’t remember was the year; however I will say it WAS in the 1980s as that’s when I had the short doo (hair-doo).  As we age, stuff like this just sorta melds together and dates become non-existent, unless they are documented on the back of the photo (which was not the case for this picture.)

For this particular vacation (ooo…visions of the Griswalds just came to mind), we were all in Kentucky for Christmas with only Tony and me, along with our families, having traveled from Florida that year.  The picture was taken at our sister Missy’s home, which was just across the street from our maternal grandparents (Jay & Lena.)  I’m sure like most families around the holidays we made it a point to have group and family pictures taken for future keepsakes. And oh what sweet memories those were.

Passage of Time

As we grew older and one-by-one left the nest, it wasn’t very often that mom had all five of her kids together at the same time, but when we were…wow, the house (and sometimes neighborhood) would never be the same.

We loved being together, catching up on one another’s lives, loving on our nieces and nephews, sharing a snuggle with mom while watching the Cincinnati fireworks on TV on New Years Eve, preparing big family meals, and making candies and treats with the kids.

The house was always full of laughter, food, love, and activities during the day. At night, not a spec of flooring could be found as all the grandkids camped out with their sleeping bags, making sure to be near to their favorite cousin(s).  Over the years during the different times we were all together (or nearly all of us) and the little ones were settling down for slumber, I recall hearing giggles and chatter coming from all angles of the house.  The parents were not rushed to quite them as we knew the children were enjoying being with family as much as their parents were.  Ahh, what precious precious memories of the excited little ones sharing stories and hugs with their cousins.

Tears swell in my eyes as I think back to those times long passed. They shall never be again except in memory.  So many things have changed, loved ones lost, marriages broken, children marrying and moving away, and four of the five siblings are grandparents, some several times over.

I truly miss those times together and wish we were able to stop letting life get in the way so that we could have been more physically present in the lives of our mom and siblings.

The Future

Being a Nona of three precious grandchildren with another grandson arriving this August, I will remember to take care in creating more family time with my family. I will remember not to let life be so all consuming that we forget what really matters F-A-M-I-L-Y!  Why are we really put on this earth?  To work day and night…I THINK NOT!  It is to cherish our family, love on them, make memories and let them know how much they mean to us.

Thank you for letting me share.

TBT: Summer 1980

This was a great summer when I spent a week or so with my Ft. Myers family. Although we only lived a few hours away from each other, we rarely got to spend time together, so any time together was special.  This particular summer I remember taking a bus from Tampa to Ft. Myers.  Among many other activities, my cousin Betty and I spent our days hunting coconuts (yes, coconut trees grow in Ft. Myers, FL) and after a laborious effort, were able to drink the refreshing and tasty milk from the fruit.  To this day I can/will only eat fresh coconut meat and do not like the dried stuff…ewe!

I believe it was during this trip that my cousins Steve and Scott, along with some of their friends took me with them to see the newly released Star Wars.  I LOVED that movie…classic!

Me and Cousin Steve

Me and my favorite cousin Steve, Circa Summer 1980

19 Interesting Facts About Ireland

ireland

  1. The average Irish man is 5’8″ tall.
  2. Raymond O’Brien was the shortest person in Irish history. The dwarf, who died in 1795, was one foot eleven inches tall.
  3. One misconception about Ireland is that people stay up all night drinking at local pubs, while this is only half true. Most pubs in Ireland close at either midnight or 1 am. However if you make friends at the bar or pub, you may be invited home to continue drinking until the wee hours of the morning.
  4. So both sides of your family hail from Ireland? Well, don’t plan on bragging about being 100% Irish to any locals. This is because the Irish people consider themselves 100% Irish and if you’re traveling from the US, you’d be considered Irish-American. Don’t argue about it either, as you definitely won’t win. If you know which part of Ireland your family comes from, locals may be willing to discuss your heritage.
  5. Titanic, the Unsinkable ship, which sunk in its maiden voyage, was made in Ireland.
  6. Women could hold any office at Queen’s University in Belfast, twelve years before they could study at Oxford.
  7. The Celtic Trinity Knot symbolizes the “Trinity” and represents the three forms of God as a single being. God the father, his son Jesus Chris and the Holy Spirit.
  8. Baileys Irish Cream which was launched in Ireland in the early seventies, is now the most popular liqueur in the world.
  9. The Union Jack was flown for the very first time in Dublin on 1st January 1801 to herald the Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
  10. Ireland is called Éire in Irish and is also known as the Republic of Ireland.
  11. It would cost Ireland €15 million to implement a system of postcodes, and so it is currently the only EU country without one.
  12. The National symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock as most “non Irish” believe.
  13. Some tourists think that when they’re visiting new lands, they should try to adjust a bit to the local culture and speech patterns. However, trying to imitate the Irish accent is not advised. Locals hate it when foreigners attempt to speak like them, so please refrain from saying “erin go bragh” when you visit.
  14. Saint Patrick’s Day is Irelands official national holiday. The 17th of March holiday is celebrated in Ireland and also embraced by many other countries around the world.
  15. Irish marriages last an average of 13 years, although the majority do not end in divorce. Irish couples prefer to separate and live in sin with their new partners rather than go through costly legal proceedings.
  16. Tourists traveling to the Emerald Isle often find it amusing to ask the locals about leprechauns, as if these legendary little folk were real and commonplace. However, Irish citizens find it more tiresome than funny. So next time you’re traveling to Ireland, don’t crack any jokes about leprechauns, pots of gold or rainbows with the locals.
  17. The Claddagh Ring represents Friendship, Love and Marriage. The heart represents love and the hands are a symbolize friendship and the crown stands for loyalty.
  18. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to establish a system of hereditary surnames. Originally, the forms were limited to prefixes i.e. Mac (meaning ‘son of’) and ‘O’ (meaning descendant of.)
  19. Only 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads.