Monday, August 31, 2009

Mother entertains

My mother, Rosemary, was a wonderful hostess to all who entered our home. Her father had "warned" her about being careful who she invited to break bread at her table. Alas, my mother was born to cook. I am not sure if her mother actually taught her how, but in the books she wrote about her family and her Italian/Sicilian heritage many of her memories were centered around food. So if you were invited to eat at my parents' table, rest assured you would be treated to the most delectable delights my mother could prepare. She prepared traditional favorites of manicotti, lasagna, veal parmigana, stuffed squid, anise cookies, tradtional Italian desserts with figs... carved with delicates designs... so delicate that she had used her trusty x-acto knife to carve swirls and slits so that the aroma of figs filled our home. Hustle and bustle... long before we called them "tablescapes", Mother had my sister and me setting the table with the correct forks and spoons... knives turned appropriately. She would already have the centerpiece on the table. Amazingly she would have dinner parties that would sometimes happen after she had come home from a long day at the office in the Oceanography and Meterology Department at Texas A&M. How did she do it? I have her boxes of recipes, notes she made, wonderful loose-leaf notebooks with recipes, many stained from sauces and olive oil... and knowing that those were the best recipes to use. I'd be remiss to do what Julie did in Julie & Julia when the most scrumptious and memorable recipes are in this box I am eyeing right now. A challenge I need to consider. Thank you, Mother, for preparing me so well. I am as fearless in the kitchen as you.
I should mention that the hutch and dining room table  are in my breakfast nook now... and I am actually sitting at the table as I speak. The large white serving dishes on the hutch are now mine, as is the mug at the top of the hutch.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Post Office"

On a friend's blog today she addresses... "blogging"... and what makes one blog. It sort of justifies one's taking the time to just write. Sort of like we have to have an excuse to sit down and do what we love to do. Blogging makes you feel a little more responsible. You have an "audience" and a commitment. And it's just plain fun!
In the late 1950's my sister and I had an inner circle of friends who would gather at a home and take over a room to play what we called "Post Office". We didn't know that someone had already named another sort of game called "Post Office", but for us, it did not matter. Our game generally took place during the summer vacation period. We gathered to draw, color, cut paper, paste, design and write letters and notes to our good friends in the group. After a given period of time which was usually 20 minutes, someone rang the bell and the "postman" would pick up the mail and divide and stack it according to the addressees. Everyone got something and sometimes more than one or two pieces of mail. We would spend hours doing this. No one had heard of the "Ya-ya Sisterhood" at that point, but it certainly could have been. These were the days of the polio epidemic and parents kept their children indoors during the long, hot summer days.
My blogging gives me that same sort of thrill. I am sending dear friends (some I have never met) a message that says, "you are in my trusted group of friends." I absolutely love it.
The picture above was taken at either my birthday party or my sister's. I am wearing a greenish dress with a big white collar and a hat.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daddy "B"

My grandfather, Calvin C. Boykin, was a self-made businessman. He spent many years in the hotel business (his hotel was in "Midnight Cowboy") in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Later he bought the Breckenridge Eagle, the miniature riding train in San Antonio at the park.
In his hotel days he was at one time president of the Chamber of Commerce in Big Spring, Texas. Big Spring was a overnight stop-over for the trains coming through. He welcomed Linda Darnel to town one time. She was quite a star and only sixteen at the time. At some point later he dealt with Liberace and Lawrence Welk, and that was before Mr. Welk could speak English. My grandfather had entertainers at the hotels for the guests.
He did well for a man who was from Miles, Texas... a very small town outside of San Angelo. He was very particular about his clothes and a person's manners. My grandfather was quite a letter writer and I have typed nearly every letter he wrote to his daughter from around 1950 until the early 1990's.
He truly had an impact on me and I remember his soft, pleasant voice vividly. A wonderful man.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Romantic bridge

This bridge is located between Rochelle and Brady, Texas. My late father wrote on the back that he had walked his first high school date across this bridge. It's so funny to think about my father with someone other than my mother.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Ruby Opal Heath Boykin was my paternal grandmother. She was born prematurely and an only child. The doctor placed her in a box near the oven and somehow she survived. She was the center of her mother's universe, popular in school, painted in watercolor, and was deligent with her journaling... and would have been a fabulous blogger. She had so many funny sayings, my favorite one being that she felt like if her earrings were too large she said, "I look like the lead horse in a circus". She was a great cook with red beans and corn bread being two of her specialities. She married my grandfather, Cal Boykin, Sr. and they had three children, my father being the first born. I have worked on her family history off and on for several years. I love to read her journals and scrapbooks. She kept old school programs, pressed flowers, a piece of fabric from my grandfather's wedding shirt. They were a handsome couple and so much in love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another Beckham!

Watch out for this 16 month old wonder boy who is going to be the
next Beckham! My grandson loves "futball"... American soccer.
He kicks amazing hard and far. Yes.. I'm one proud "abuela".. which
is my name to my grandchildren.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jean's Home

My parents stood in front of Jean's home the day after Jean's funeral. (Jean would have loved her funeral Mass... the priest sang all of it.. and had written the music. Just thought I would add that.) The right side of the house is lopped off in the picture. From what I understand, an attorney from Houston has bought it and is remodeling it. I had the chance to go inside and could not believe that even though the kitchen had been redone, it still smelled the same.


My grandmother, "Jean" (Giovaninni was her given name) was such a talented woman. She was a one-woman band - decorate a home, cook a huge Italian/Sicilian meal and run a dress shop while she juggled family duties and club work. She was a woman of tremendous energy. My father begged her at the age of 90 to sit and relax. Her reply to him was, "You sit; you die". She was a wild woman though with a can of gold spray paint. Mirrors, picture frames, furniture even would get a coat of gold paint to liven up a room. We always joked that if we stood still long enough she would spray paint us gold as well. I loved her home and even considered building a replica of it. I might have had a better floor arrangement had I done so. I'll post a picture of her home soon. I loved it.

Jan Karon and "fan"

I am switching topics for the moment as choosing between hardwood floors and "engineered" wood floors is making my head hurt. (Actually not making the decision... the problem seems to be a salesman who thinks he is going to "save" me by insisting upon engineered wood. The clincher today was him telling me that I will love it. "It's as hard as tile." THE very reason why I want hardwood floors... it is easier on my back and knees. Okay... back to a far, far different topic...)
Two years ago I flew to Blowing Rock, North Carolina to enjoy a few days with a group of readers who enjoy Jan Karon just as much as I do. I am pictured here with Ms. Karon. I can tell you she is absolutely wonderful. The next gathering of this group will be in 2011 in Ireland. I do hope to make that trip. Check out the Mitford series books if you want some enjoyable reads.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A project is about to unfold

After years of wanting hardwood floors I am finally on the verge of actually getting them. I've had these two samples to ponder over for two days now and have chosen the one on the left. Tomorrow someone from the business we are buying this from will come to measure. The carpet has been changed four times, however, I have stuck it out with the linoleum that was put in the house when we built it. I remember distintly stating that I would have it for a couple of years and then replace it with tile. The ONLY good thing about not replacing the linoleum was that had I put tile in my back and knees would be hurting far worse than they do now. I just wasn't thinking past 25 years when we built the home. So off we go on a different sort of adventure for me. No moving to another country or starting a new business... the adventure of home redecorating. ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ahoy, mate. Pirate's Landing was great.

We had a great time at Port Isabel, Texas recently. We took our oldest son's family to Pirate's Landing for two hours of entertainment and fun. Our five year old granddaughter and sixteen month old grandson had a wonderful time and it was a thrill to see them being introduced to "real" pirates.