Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cousins Weekend

What a great weekend! Our cousins, Kathleen (Smith) Korzeb and Maureen (Smith) Starr, Uncle Ed and Aunt Barbara's daughters, took a "road trip" to Maine to reconnect with all of us. They have been reading the blog and decided that it was time that we all get together again in person. Our cousin, Sue Snelling, Roger and Rosemary's daughter, joined us too. We hadn't seen Maureen in about twenty years and, although Sue lives nearby, we had kept promising to get together and never did, except through e-mail and the blog...until now! On Saturday, I took Maureen and Kathy to LL Bean, showed them Andi and Dave's house in Yarmouth, and then we all went to Nancy's for a visit. Last night, everyone came here for pot-luck and brought their old family photos to share. Joanne drove up from New Hampshire to join us too. Hank put the "oldies" on his record player and, with wine in hand, we watched the old family movies that Grampa Smith and Roger Snelling had made over the years. What memories! We all toasted to Grammy Smith and Aunt Dora, who we were sure were smiling down at us, and laughed at each other's crazy stories. Why don't we do this more often?
Today, we visited Kristen at her home in Portland, Mom at Chandler's Wharf (delicious brownies!), and Roger and Rosemary in Scarborough. Roger got out some of the family photos and memorabilia from the attic and told us stories of the Parker sisters...Ruth, Helen, Dora, Alice and Eunice...our grandmothers and their sisters... and shared his memories of Daddy during the war and the old days in Haverhill. Now it's our turn to go to Connecticut (a Smith sisters road trip this Spring?) to visit Maureen,Kathy and Ed and meet their families.
I've invited Kathy, Maureen and Sue to write on this blog and am hoping that they, along with Andi, Nancy and Joanne, will add some of their photos and funny stories about our weekend together. Hope you enjoy these photos. Andi, Maureen, Sue, Cheryl, Kathy, Nancy & Joanne

Nancy, Kathy & Maureen

Sue & Cheryl...together again!

Sue & Hank dance to the Oldies

the newlyweds...Andi & Dave

Happy Birthday, Joanne!

Sue, Andi & Maureen with Dave

Kathy, Kristen & Maureen at Kristen's house

Kathy, "Mommy", Kristen & Maureen

Maureen, "Aunt Alice" & Kathy

Roger, Kathy, Maureen & Rosemary

Cheryl, Roger & Kathy

Since my goal is to have this posted by the time Maureen and Kathy get back to Connecticut, I'm going to end here. Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nancy's Back in Remission!

This morning, Nancy's oncologist, Dr. Laurie Small, said the three words to Nancy that we've have all been praying to hear..."You're in remission". After a second major surgery, a wound that wouldn't heal, six more months of chemo, and a pulmonary embolism, Nancy has beat her cancer for a second time! Dr. Small reported that Nancy's recent CT scan showed no signs of cancer and that her CA125 (the blood test for ovarian cancer) was back in the normal range at 11.2. Both her white and red blood cell counts are back in the normal range and the embolism is responding to treatment.
Nancy has also chosen to take part in a clinical trial in the hope of prolonging her remission. Her oncologists are participating in a national research study using biological therapy - in Nancy's case one pill per day of a new drug - to try to extend the length of remission in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. She wants to do everything she can to keep the cancer from coming back.
Nancy is feeling a lot better but is still dealing with fatigue, which the doctor said is normal for someone who is recovering from both a recurrence and the grueling treatments she has been through. So, as long as she rests when she needs to, continues to have her blood checked, and sees Dr. Small as directed, she can finally begin to resume her life....hopefully a happy and healthy one from here on out. Congratulations, deserve a long break from all this!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Continuing down memory lane...

Here are a few more vintage photos that should bring back some memories...

Remember these Sputnik-inspired vacuum cleaners? Our Mom had one in turquoise...
(*Blog Tip: double click on each ad to make it full size so you can read it; then hit "Back" to return to blog page again.)

Mom was a wonderful cook but we kids loved it when she and Daddy would share a rare evening out because we got to have TV dinners!

Remember Spam???

Maybe we Smith girls should have spent more time vacuuming with the Hoover and less time with the TV dinners...

I think Nancy wore a bathing suit like this at Wells Beach! The suits then were cotton and they would fill up with sea water when you swam, ballooning out in all the wrong places...a memorable look!

But then T@b came along and it was just what we needed to keep our "trim" shapes! (In fact, we still drink T@b today...the slimming effects are obvious!)

And what meal back then wasn't complete without a jello and cottage cheese salad???

Now that we were shapely teens, it was time for the Maidenform (that bra looks as if it could hurt someone!)

Who could forget all the ads for Prell shampoo?

After the Prell came the hellish night trying to sleep in those jumbo rollers. Nancy had long hair and used to use orange juice cans as rollers...anything for

All of this was done, of course, in the hope that some boy would call us. And what girl didn't dream of receiving that long-awaited call on her very own Princess phone!

Mom and Dad had a 1959 Chevy Impala. Ours was a sporty blue convertible with white trim. When the "stunning Smith sisters" rode around Kennebunk Beach in the back, we KNEW we were HOT!
(As we got a little older, actually a lot older, we were finally allowed to ride with a BOY!)

And where would we go? To a party, of course. The parties I remember were much like this festive scene...held in a friend's pine-paneled "rec room" in the basement. The hors d'oeuvres always included Coke and potato chips and we would dance to 45's on a record player the size of the suitcase I took to Japan. The best part of any party, aside from actually being asked to dance, was the music. Everyone had "their" song and every song held a memory. In junior high, we played Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka and the Everley Brothers. The boys were still afraid to ask us to dance then so we would just sit across the room from one another eating potato chips and trying to look cool. In 1962, the Four Seasons came out with the song "Sherry" and that became "my song" . (They would sing, "Sherry, Sherry Baby, can you come out tonight?" and I would be thinking... "Yes, Yes, Yes"). My cousin, Sue Snelling, and I hung out together in the summer back then and "her song" was "Runaround Sue" by Dion (neither of us was allowed to run anywhere but it sounded good, right Sue?) By high school, it was the Stones, the Beach Boys, the Supremes, the Righteous Brothers, Bob Dylan and, of course, the BEATLES. Everyone had their "favorite Beatle" back then. Mine was Paul and Nancy's was...Ringo.

Hope you've gotten a few laughs from this second trip down Memory Lane...I'll look forward to reading your Comments; I hope you'll share some "vintage"memories of your own (that means you, Sue!). So much of this blog has been about the scary things in life...I thought it would be fun to remember some of the good times too! It really has been a "long and winding road"...
p.s. Who was YOUR favorite Beatle???

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kitchen Memories

When things get quiet around here (usually by midnight if no one in the family is in crisis at the moment), I enjoy checking out my favorite home decorating blogs and message boards. Tonight on the HGTV Decorating Message Boards there was a great discussion of everyone's memories of "Mom's kitchen". I had to share some of these photos - hope they'll bring back happy memories for you too.

Does this pink and turquoise 50's kitchen look familiar? The lady even looks a little like Mom! That could be me "taking charge" with the cookbook, Andi ("the worker bee") frosting the cake, and Nancy being Nancy - yanking on Mom's apron. Check out the red Stride Rite shoes, the Pyrex bowl and the Osterizer blender!

Here's another one. Remember the copper-bottom pans that we had to scour with brillo or "Old Dutch Cleanser" until they shined? (Not sure if this guy has two wives or what but at least they all look happy!)

This lady clearly has too much time on her hands...she made an apron to match her walls!
This one made me think of Mom's kitchen in Newington. We didn't have blue walls but I remember red and white curtains and a table and chair set similar to this.

Jumping to the 60's here..check out the knotty pine, the attractive maternity top (with pots and pans on it!) and the shirtwaist dress:-)

A swell new stainless steel integral cooktop, a little beer & hey, even Velveeta-on-Triscuits - starts looking like a party! Just don't get too close to those bricks in your nylons.
(The black and white outfit on the hostess looks like the one Mom made me for the "King Bruin Dance" in 1961!)

Here's to good memories of a simpler time...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It Really is Always Something!!

Boy, when Cheryl picked the name for this blog, she chose a good one. Sometimes I get embarrassed, because it seems every time I have any kind of doctor's appointment it is some new problem. I swear I used to think I was fairly healthy--but I'm having second thoughts lately. We had a great holiday here at our house-way too much food, lots of noise and laughs as we watched the old home movies of the family taken by Grampa Smith and Daddy. Aaron and I spent a quiet New Year's and hope for a great 2009. On the 6th, I was scheduled for a CT scan at Brighton Medical as a follow up to my chemo. Next Tuesday, I meet with Dr. Small to get the "official" word on my cancer's status. Keep your fingers crossed for good news! Anyway, the CT scan was uneventful, until I got a call from my oncologist's office around 3. They wanted to know how I was feeling, any fever, shortness of breath, Wheezing etc. etc. No, I thought, I've actually been feeling pretty well since the pneumonia and blood transfusion. Then they let me know the CT scan had shown a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) in my right lung. They needed me to get back to the IV therapy office to get a shot of tinzaparin. Apparently it's a fast acting blood thinner to help dissolve the clot. I found out I'd probably need to get a shot in my stomach, every day for the next week. I've also been put on Coumadin another blood thinner. So,today was day 2 of the shots, not pleasant, but bearable.
Now don't go looking on the internet and read about blood clots in the lung, if you want to sleep! I did and by this afternoon I was convinced I had a ticking time bomb inside me. But, thanks to my daughter-in-law, Erin's cousin (a cardio- thoracic intensive care nurse) I feel a little better. Apparently the dangerous time for the clot has passed-when it is moving it can cause a blockage in a vein that can be lethal. Also I had no symptoms of it to begin with--go figure- so I guess what you don't know actually CAN hurt you, but if you don't know it, you don't worry! So, that's the latest update on me at least for this week! Let's hope this is it for now and that 2009 will be a healthier New Year! Take care-Nancy

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Who are these People, Mom and anyone?

I know Robinson Boocock is one.

Letter Recieved Oct. 4, 1942

From: Pvt F. J. Smith
Base Weather Stas.
Chanute Field, Ill.
Postmark: Rantoule, Ill
Oct. 2, 1942
Postage: Hand written "Free"
Mr & Mrs. Arthur W. Smith
79 Chadwick St.
Haverhill, Mass.
Centered: Raised embossed vessal with 3 feathers and a gold banner below saying "Sustained Alas"
Below Centered: Army Air Forces Technical School
Chanute Field, Illonois
At top right inside letter written in Grampa Smith’s writing: Rec’d Oct 4 ‘42
Hy Folks
Not mutch to say but wanted to say hello. Things are going swell here and only one more week to study then 5 in the station at actual work. The work is not hard. Take readings of wind, temperature, barometer, etc record it on maps and charts and keep track of 5 teletype machines. Most of our work is confidential and we are pretty trusted. There is one code that comes in daily that we treat like eggs. Without it a plane cannot land at an airport without being shot at and it is changed daily. If it gets out of our hands a dozen japs could land without trouble so we don’t broadcast it. I have hopes of getting paid in a couple of weeks but never know. As one fellow says at least the government agrees to owe it to us.
Hope Eddie got his insignia I mailed him. I’ve got a canteen made at the J & A. but haven’t got one of your knapsacks. As a matter of fact I haven’t got any.
Two fellows came in to day from Hudson Bay after being there 3 months. Tough part is there were 3 that left and only two got back.
I don’t know where you got the idea my mail is censored as it isn’t. I get your letters in 2 days although it takes longer for mine as they don’t go out as fast as in the city.
You should see this place-the country is flat as a billiard table for miles. It seems odd after the hills of New England.
Well its getting late so guess I’ll turn in.

Thursday, January 1, 2009