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Scribbles, Snippets, and Other Doggerel

Poetry and other writing and writing about writin

In The Habit

Terri Reinhart

Mention Catholic nuns and just about everyone will have opinions, memories, or perhaps just pictures in their imagination of the stereotypical nun. The negative pictures are certainly in their history and cannot be denied or explained away, but the positive is also there. I remember having a few Catholic nuns as teachers who were very good, even as they were expected to teach a class of 45 students. As a teenager, some of my nun friends were spiritual role models. 

Today, nuns who are active in the community tend to be far more educated than Catholic priests. They still work in schools and nursing homes, but they also work in professions as doctors, lawyers, social workers, and other fields. In my opinion, these women are the best part of the Catholic church today.

Going back in time again, nuns wearing habits have always fascinated me. They just.. look so.. cool. When I was young, I didn't really think of them as people. They were those .. beings.. who hung around at church and school. they had faces and arms, or at least hands, and the rest of them consisted of acres of black cloth and a white wimple.

This habit stood out when I was in school, it stands out now, but when they were first worn, they really weren't so different from the typical peasant dress

The other kind of nun was the family nun, the aunt sister or cousin sister or sister sister. When I was young, my aunt Margaret was Sister Mary Theonita. When she visited Grandma at the same time we did, I learned that nuns were, in fact, people, and had more body parts than just a face and hands. At age 4, it was even more fascinating to see Aunt Sister in a nightgown.

Going through the old family photos, I started collecting all the photos of nuns in habit. So here, in their natural habit-at, are my favorite nun photos:

Sr. Margaret (aka Sr. Mary Theonita) and Snowman

Sr. Margaret (aka Sr. Mary Theonita) and Snowman

I don't know who this is, but she looks important. Or maybe that's just because of the Lion's head.

I don't know who this is, but she looks important. Or maybe that's just because of the Lion's head.

What do you call a group of nuns? According to the Oxford Dictionary, they are a Superfluity.

What do you call a group of nuns? According to the Oxford Dictionary, they are a Superfluity.

Sr. Margaret with broom

Sr. Margaret with broom

Either playground duty or outfield - Sr. Margaret.

Either playground duty or outfield - Sr. Margaret.

Sr. Margaret or, more properly, Sr. Mary Theonita as a young nun. I wonder if this was taken on the occasion of her final vows. It is such a beautiful photo and she looks so earnest. 

Sr. Margaret or, more properly, Sr. Mary Theonita as a young nun. I wonder if this was taken on the occasion of her final vows. It is such a beautiful photo and she looks so earnest. 

And to end with a little bit of fun, I don't know who these lovely women are, but they are such classic nuns. The photo was taken in 1987.

And to end with a little bit of fun, I don't know who these lovely women are, but they are such classic nuns. The photo was taken in 1987.

Early Zombies?

Terri Reinhart

halloween 1946.jpg

The note on the back of the photo says "Initiation St. Peter's High School 1946".

I don't know. Kind of looks like Zombies to me.

 

More Family Tin Types

Terri Reinhart

These photos are labeled, the first as Wendell and wife, and the second as Uncle Fred. But what is the time period? Wendell Pimple was born in 1885 and Fred in 1883. The first photo would have to have been taken around 1910 because Wendell and Ella's first child was born in 1912. The neckties and side part in the men's hair look more like the styles in the 1870's. The first photo has to be John Pimple and his wife, Anna Foxhoven Pimple. He is probably in his mid 20's. 

Uncle Fred? I'll need to investigate more to learn exactly who this is. Perhaps there's an uncle Fred from an older generation? The clothing is definitely 1870's style.

Tin Types - Old Family Photos

Terri Reinhart

There are only 4 of them. They have been kept in a small paper envelope for God knows how long. The envelope is labled "Old tin type photos - Uncle Wendell and wife". Two of the photos were labeled. Here's the first:

On the back, in black magic marker on a black surface, it says, "Grampa Pimple age 19". Thank goodness for my daughter's good eyesight. He is my great grandfather, John Pimple. He was born in May of 1857. This photo would have been taken in 1876. John married Anna Maria Foxhoven (German spelling Fuchshoven) and the first of their fifteen children was my grandmother, Catherine Mary Pimple, born in 1882.

Here is the one that is not identified:

It's just a guess, but I wonder if this might be John Pimple's sister and mother... or maybe two sisters? I can't find much information about John Pimple's siblings. His father died in 1875, before the first photo was taken. It looks like they are from the same time period. The original tin type photo is so dark it's very difficult to see. I scanned this at a high resolution and played around with brightness and contrast for awhile. This is about the best I could do. 

Two more photos coming on the next post.

 

Casper the Friendly Ghost Town

Terri Reinhart

Going through old photos again....   

In 1963, we moved to Casper, Wyoming from Billings, Montana. Before Billings, we had lived in Denver, Sterling, Anadarko, OK, and Bartlesville, OK. I was 5 when we arrived in Casper. We stayed at a motel for awhile, then rented a house in town while our new house was being built. Fortunately, the new house was finished ahead of schedule because just a few days after we moved, a car slid on the snow and went right into the house we had been renting. The car landed right where my brand new brother, Dave, would have been sleeping. 

Here is the house in November, 1964, not too long after we moved in. There were 3 bedrooms and an unfinished basement where we learned how to roller skate. In 1964, we were right at the edge of town and, walking down the block, there were hills with cactus, scraggly bushes, tumbleweeds, and... horny toads. This was my playground and I loved it. 

all 4 of us Casper house back porch 001.jpg

The four of us kids - Cathy, me, Dave, and Tom, sitting on the back porch. This was probably about a year after we moved in.

Not sure exactly when this was taken, but the old Comet station wagon was a big hit with us kids. We often rode in the back, lying down so we could look out the back window (don't ask me how we did it). There were lots of children on the block and we played until dark in the summer. 

After finding these photos, I wondered who might be living there now. It didn't take much effort to find out. The Casper white pages quickly gave me a name and I looked it up on Facebook. I sent a quick, private message to see if they were still at the house and if they were interested in seeing photos from 1964 when it was built. They were and they'll be sending me some photos of what it's like now.

The King Doesn't do a Happy Dance

Terri Reinhart

Our grandsons are learning how to play chess. Mattheus, who just turned 6, has most of the moves down and he enjoys reminding me. Here he is playing with his Grandpa. His brother, Lucien, watched intently and helped move Grandpa's pieces. When Mattheus captured their chessmen, Lucien sighed and said, "Next time we'll have to be more careful."

I played with Mattheus one afternoon when I was very tired and trying not to nod off at the table. It was obviously awkward for him to capture Grandma's chess pieces. He would carefully explain to me where I should move in order to protect my pieces. Once, when I was clearly in harm's way, he said, "Don't worry Grandma, my Knight won't capture your King. He's not looking." Sure enough, Mattheus' Knight was turned the other direction. 

Partly to help him to not feel quite so funny about capturing my pieces and partly to keep myself awake, I would have my piece to a little happy dance whenever I captured one of his. Mattheus laughed politely, then said, "Grandma, they don't do that in chess." He's very patient with his Grandma.

The next thing I knew, there were three "Ponds" sneaking up on my King. I guess my King was looking the other way. My King got captured and, I'm not sure, but the twinkle in Mattheus' eye told me he was thinking about doing that happy dance.

IMG1853.jpg

Favorite Old Photos - The Highwayman

Terri Reinhart

Going through old photo albums is always interesting, but sometimes it can be surprising and incredibly fun! Especially when you find something like this:

I looked several times at these photos before I realized there was a bandit in the middle one, then had to scan and enlarge it before I realized the bandit was my grandfather. The three photos were lined up just like this on a page in the album. I love the simple captions: Corley Mt Highway, Corley Mt. Highway-Man, Corley Mt Highway.

This is also a wonderful picture of who my grandparents were and how much fun they had together. I wish I could have known my grandfather.

Early Photoshop?

Terri Reinhart

Until investigating these photos, I didn't realize how much photo manipulation went on in the early years of this craft. I was shocked! Stunned! Everyone who looked at this photo said they thought the man on the right side, sitting on the porch, looked like he had been added in. I said, nah, they couldn't do that. But look at the lighting, everyone said. I still wasn't convinced, because I just didn't think they could do it. But, here you go. 

The first photo is the original one. It is of my grandmother's family - her brothers and sisters and parents. I'll list the names, but I can't correctly identify each one.

In order of age, not place in photo:  John and Anna Pimple with their children - Catherine, Fred, Wendell, Peter, Marie, Christina, Theresia, Joseph, Peter Anton (Tony), Margaret, Raymond, Frances, Agnes, and Rosa (the littlest one, sitting by the fence post). 

And here's the zoom:

What do you think? Looks like he was added in? 

Portraits of Women

Terri Reinhart

Before there were selfies, we still enjoyed having having photos of ourselves. These portraits were taken sometime between 1875 and 1940. Most are family. The originals of some of these are very small. 

"The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express."   ~P.C. Cast

"Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself."  ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest of things makes home happy and life lovely."  ~Louisa May Alcott

oldphotos106.jpg
unknown1 001.jpg

From the top right, going down: Two young girls - unknown, Catherine Kohnen, Katie Sauser - possibly all three are Katie - early photo manipulation? Photo was taken in Paris, Frances Kohnen Singleton

2nd column: Cecelia Kohnen Fentress (both photos), Anna Foxhoven Pimple - taken before 1880, Frances again (I'm pretty sure, anyway), unknown, Edith Kohnen, unknown

Guys and Cars

Terri Reinhart

Sorting through old family photos this week, I've had fun seeing so many pictures of guys and their cars. I thought it would be fun to post a few.

We're ready to go.  (Bob, Ralph, and Jack Kohnen)

 

The important things to teach a nephew: all about cars, all about trucks, all about tractors. (Ralph Kohnen holding Mike Kohnen)

We're not going anywhere. You didn't see us.  (Haven't a clue who they are.)

All dressed up, now where are the keys? (Cousin Dann Kohnen)

To be fair, there are a lot of gals and cars photos, too. I'd love to make a family album and have pictures arranged by subject instead of dates.

 

Has it really been 40 years?

Terri Reinhart

High school reunions are funny things. Last night I attended my 40th reunion with my friend and classmate, Marianne. I had been debating about whether or not to go and she convinced me. If we didn't see anyone else we knew, at least we'd know each other. So, here we go... the comments below are in no particular order. In most cases, I don't know who said what, only that I heard it. T'is arranged and shared with tongue firmly in cheek.

"Do they work here? Uh, no, they're our age. They must be classmates. Do you recognize anyone? What? So far, all I recognize is the music. Not that I like it, but I recognize it. Some of the women look familiar, but the men? They all look so different.  Hi! Who are you? Your name sounds familiar. Let me see your high school picture. No, wait a minute, I forgot my glasses. Here you go. Try mine. They're bifocals. Oh yeah. I remember you now! You know, this is the last time we'll get to have dinner at a reunion. Another ten years and we'll have to have lunch.  I've been looking for a friend of mine, but haven't found him yet. I keep seeing men with gray hair and thinking, that's got to be him. HI! How are you? What are you doing these days? (Did I know you?) It's good to see you! You're leaving now? See you in another ten years!"

A high school reunion is a one night rememberance of a 3 or 4 year period in our lives. In comparison to the rest of our lives, it was such a short time. Why do we go? I keep up with a few old high school friends, but not many. It's not like my high school years were "the best years of my life" as my mother told me they would be. (For that, I am grateful.) Are we just curious to see what our other classmates are doing - or what they look like? Maybe. But the reason that resonated the most with me was expressed by one of my former teachers, Dr. George Betts.

I can't quote George exactly, but he talked about the little moments which connect us. George led Senior Seminar, a program thought by some to be for dropouts, but in reality required more work, both externally and on ourselves than academic classes. Many students remembered special times with George and his wife, Donni. They were both there last night being reminded of those little moments - a few words spoken, a poem shared, being encouraged through a difficult hike, a moment in silence at the top of a hill as we witnessed the beauty of a canyon. Okay, some of those are mine. I didn't get to share them all last night.

Dr. George Betts and Donni Betts

Dr. George Betts and Donni Betts

The reunion is another moment in time. I wish I could have talked with more people and in more depth, but that is not the kind of experience a reunion can provide. I would have liked to tell Tom how much we used to enjoy his dad's vetrinary clinic, which was in the front of their old farmhouse. It was always magical to go there. I would have liked to talk more with Stacy and Carrie and Kevin and a few who didn't come.... and I wish I could have figured out who the person was who greeted me so enthusiastically without even glancing at my name tag. 

One of my special moments I remember from high school happened because I didn't (and still don't) know how to swim. We were camping with Senior Seminar near where the river runs through Havasu Canyon. Over the years, minerals in the water formed limestone pools and created one of the most beautiful places on this earth. Almost everyone was in the water. I didn't know how to swim and was afraid to go in. That's when Craig came over and offered to take me swimming  - on his back! I held on as he swam and, well, I suppose it only lasted ten minutes or so. 

My self-conscious, insecure side figured if Craig remembered, it would probably be because he was laughing at me. My older, much more secure side says it was kind of funny, but tons of fun and a most gracious moment with a very good looking young man at the most beautiful place on earth. He signed my yearbook - 2 cute 2 be 4 got - let's go swimming! And he remembered me and swimming last night.

And then the reunion was over. This time, it seemed we all understood that this was another moment passing and, instead of saying things like how nice it would be to see each other more often, most just smiled and said, "See you in another ten years!" 

Like waking up from a dream, we came back home and back to our now, just a little richer from having shared some time together.





Cold Seas - Sunrise in the North Pacific

Terri Reinhart

It must have been cold.

YP-151 Aleutian Islands 1945 

In its civilian life, this was the ship "Sunrise", a tuna fishing boat from Seattle. It was 88' long and 22' wide. In its military life, it was the ship YP-151 and held 2 officers and 15 crewmen. It also had 2 anti-aircraft guns in the front and a 20 mm cannon on the back. 

Navigation was by the stars, the sextant, and the lead line.

James P. Myers, age 20, second in command and Chief Executive Officer on board the YP-151 on patrol around the Aleutian Islands in 1945.  Dad talked about his time in the Navy with pride and delight. I always had the impression his war time experience was more fun than fighting because whenever we would watch McHale's Navy on TV, he would laugh and say, "That was us!" He talked about his crew with affection and described all sorts of mischief they got into together. 

They had fun, sometimes at the expense of the base on land. Dad talked about helping his cook borrow a cooking pot, "We saw it sitting there and we each grabbed a handle and started running." They also borrowed a film projector which was, for some odd reason, never returned. Once, Dad granted shore leave to a sailor who was a couple of days late coming back.  When asked why, the man responded, "You told me I could go. You didn't tell me I had to come back." Dad laughed so hard, the sailor got off without any punishment at all.

Dad turned 21 while on board ship. Before this, if he wanted to drink at the officer's club, he'd have to ask someone else to buy it for him. He was too young. Their captain was 29.

Later on, of course, I learned more of the truth behind his experiences. They didn't often get close to their military enemy, but their biggest and scariest battles were against the ocean storms. He was second in command and he took good care of his men. Food has always been important to Dad. Not happy with the rations provided for them ("how could the men work on so little food?"), he would order more food than was allowed and then justify this order on paper by describing how barrels of food had been washed overboard. They ate well. 

Even after the war was over, Dad kept in touch with some of his crew. One man had a hard time finding work after the war. Eventually he became so depressed, he was suicidal. He wrote to Dad for advice. Dad told him, in no uncertain terms, he was not to waste his life. They wrote back and forth for some time. Tubby Tripe lived and went on to start a successful recording company. 

These were stories I heard any number of times when I was an adult. Even then, it was many years before I learned how the military was segregated during WWII. Most black soldiers were assigned to driving supply trucks or cooking food. Black officers rarely served as officers. Dad's ship was part of an experiment. He and the captain were white, the entire crew was black. There were only two ships with this arrangement, one on the east coast and their ship on the west. Dad didn't say much about this... he was too busy telling us about the various personalities of his crewmen and the adventures they had. 

Dad received his officer's training at the Midshipmen School at Columbia University in New York City. It was the largest of these schools in the country. Johnny Carson was one of his classmates.  No, they didn't know each other. 

He's promised to write down more of his adventures!

Two Weddings, Two Worlds

Terri Reinhart

 

My Father's Parents

 

Walter Myers and Leota Bradford were married on August 14, 1919 in Clyde, Ohio, in the parlor of Leota's parents farm. Her brother, George, played the piano and they had a Scottish minister.

They were deeply in love and their romance lasted through their entire marriage. Sadly, Walter died of a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 56. 

"With oceans of love and bushels of kisses to the girl I want to be my own. From your own true and loving sweetheart, Walter" (5/15/1918)

"Oh Walter, darling, how I long to take your head in my arms and hold it tight against my breast. How I yearn for your rough, but tender embrace... I am aching for the mighty grip of your arms, for the heavenly pain of your lips crushing mine."  from Leota's "My Little Thoughts" journal 1918

 

My Mother's Parents

 

Catherine Mary Pimple married John Peter Kohnen on November 20, 1906 in Wein, Missouri, in the Catholic Church. They eventually homesteaded in northeastern Colorado in the St. Peter's Catholic community by Fleming. Their lives revolved around their family, the farm, and the church. 

They may or may not have supplemented their income by selling some home made bootleg whiskey. Many of the farmers in the area made their own beer and whiskey. Prohibition was difficult to enforce on the plains. 

The story I remember from Grandma Kohnen is how her parents decided is was time for her to marry and found someone for her. She said, "He seemed like a nice man so I married him."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncle Sam Wants You, George

Terri Reinhart

Imagine my shock at opening up an old envelope and finding this:

Like everything else, it was hidden away in a box filled with file folders, old receipts, and old letters. There were some photos as well, such as this one of George (on the left) and another soldier in France, 1918. Gramma Myers was good at labeling most of her photos. George Winthrop Bradford was her favorite brother. They both played rag time piano music and loved literature and poetry. 

I have George's WWI uniform jacket and a lot of his old books, including Walden and The Canterbury Tales. He wrote a small book of poetry, too, called "Wayside Lyrics". It's available online at https://archive.org/details/waysidelyrics00brad.  

Hi thee to .... Cleveland?

Terri Reinhart

The photo is dated 1936, two years before this letter was written. 

Here is another letter I found. I never knew my grandfather, Walter Myers. He died before I was born.  I didn't really know my grandmother, Leota Bradford Myers, all that well, either. She lived in Ohio, then Florida, while we grew up in various states along the Rocky Mountains. I remember her visiting after my brothers were born and a wonderful summer she spent with us when I was in junior high. 

It's been so lovely to get to know my dad's side of the family through their letters. About my grandparents, one thing is clear - they were deeply in love with each other and they kept up their romance all through their marriage. 

Here is the letter:   (all their sons were at the Y camp)

Thursday, August 4, 1938  
Honey,
Unless the Heavens leaketh this afternoon wilt thou hi thee to Cleveland as per yesterday.
I shall be constrained to wait for thee. We wilt then partake of food not of thine own cooking, but of those who receive compensation for such labor.
Perhaps a ride along the cool shores of Lake Erie while day light still holdeth forth will be enticing - no?
Duty calleth. May love flow between thee and me whilst we are absent one from another.
                                                            Until we meet again,
                                                                     Walter
 

Dear Old Pollywog

Terri Reinhart

Found in an envelope, in a file folder, in a box, on a shelf, with lots of other boxes of file folders and papers. This was obviously written before commas were invented. The writer is my great aunt Margaret and she is scripting her epistle to her brother, George Bradford. I hope to have more about George here in the future. This is a start. I love this! It's so 1920's. 


November 7, 1922
Tuesday Morning


Dear old Pollywog;
                                I will now try to script you an epistle. Just finishing a dress for Paul and my future offspring?? so guess I will have a change of occupation. Gee I nearly go wild when I sew too long of course I would not have far to go but you need not tell me of it.
     Before I forget it Leota and I want Sara and Mary Walden to come up about a week from this Friday. Now George could you come up then and help entertain them. If you had planned to go home say so. If you can not come here a week from this Friday we can put off having the girls until you come. Let us know as soon as possible so we can plan.
     Paul and I want to go home this week if possible. Sunday Leota, Paul and I went to church. Then we all drove to Akron. Of all the cussed and damnable luck we have Paul and I had to have a puncture. Well the kids were ahead of us and of course drove right on. We got out and got to work. None of the tubes would fit so we sat there in despair hoping and praying the kids would soon discover us and as luck would have it they soon came.
     Sat, Evening Paul took me down town and we saw THE OLD HOMESTEAD featuring Theodore Roberts and Harrison Ford. It was fine. Well Old top to a tomato can i guess I will go and feed my face.
Well, I'm done and feel better.
           Write when you can Vinegar Barrel and I will try to do better.
                 All the love you could stuff in a pigs stomack.
                                                         GUMDROP
 

 

Radonitsa for a Foster Son

Terri Reinhart

jimmy2.jpg


Were you sitting in the oak tree last night?
I thought I saw you, white wings and twinkling
eyes, long legs folded, yet ready for flight.
And then you were gone. You left me puzzling,

Where did my long legged heron boy go?
Did a green haired river sprite play a song
with nimble fingers on fiddle and bow
and beckon you to follow her along?

Or was it simply time for you to fly
to another world beyond what we see
wings spanning the whole of the starry sky,
now stretching to embrace eternity?

With unclipped wings, fly away without fear.
I did not hold you close to hold you here.

Terri Reinhart
For Jimmy

September 1971 to April 1995

Uncles

Terri Reinhart

Successful Uncles

are measured by stories read,

snow cones slurped, and smiles.

                                                                               Our grandchildren have Uncle Patchy.

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                                         Our kids have Uncle Dave.

And we had Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob didn't go to college, never married, and never had what would be considered a successful job. He spent a few years working for the Civilian Conservation Corps and he lived in California for a short time, but by the time I was young and knew him, he was living with my grandmother. He had odd jobs throughout his life, gas station attendant, liquor store clerk, and janitor at Northeastern Junior College. By the normal standards of our society, he wasn't very successful. To his nieces and nephews, however, he was the favorite Uncle and could do anything. Both my brother, Uncle Dave, and our son, Uncle Patchy, have successes in many aspects of their lives, none of which matters to their nieces and nephews. Their uncles make them smile and laugh. 

Kittens

Terri Reinhart

Me and my cousin, Karen, holding kittens. Duke is in the back, sitting on the porch. This is the photo that belongs with the story of my aunt Maribelle. Click on the photo if you'd like to read it again.