Catalog Paper Dolls

Good morning.

Did you play with paper dolls when you were a kid?  I loved playing paper dolls but we couldn’t always afford to get the store-bought ones.

My Aunt Mary Clay, who lived with Grandma and Grandpa Thomasson, got sc02e66c5athe Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs and those puppies were huge and had a gazillion pictures in them. Sometimes I would spend the weekend at Grandma’s house and my cousin Angelyn, who lived just up the hill, would come down to play.

Aunt Mary Clay kept the catalogs in the hall closet so we would sit down in the hallway and get both catalogs out.  We would go to Grandma’s sewing box and get scissors which we were gonna need.  We usually picked which catalog had the best people and then started going through and cutting out the people we wanted as our paper dolls.  We would pick out whole families like the father, mother and a couple of kids.

We not only picked out the best looking people, we also picked out beds, living room furniture and kitchen furniture.  I’m sure we named all these people but I don’t remember any of them.

We would sit there for hours playing with our paper dolls.  I mean, they talked; their kids would cry and they would go to bed for the night.  We would finally get tired of playing paper dolls and find something else to do.  But, we always cleaned up our mess; otherwise, we wouldn’t be allowed to play in the catalogs any more.

Another magazine that Aunt Mary Clay got was the McCall’s magazine.  You may not remember this, but each month McCall’s would have the Betsy McCall paper dolls inside.  So, one month Angelyn would get them and the next time would be my turn. Now these were real paper dolls and had clothes and shoes and all kinds of accessories.  You had to be real careful cutting them out because they had little tabs to be used to put the clothes on the doll.  If you cut the tabs off, the clothes wouldn’t stay on them.  There were lots of times that I would make a miswhack and cut a tab off and my doll’s clothes would hanging lopsided.

Aunt Mary Clay gave each one of us a shoebox so we could keep our paper dolls separated.  And, I can tell ya, those boxes were filled to the rim.  Eventually, we would have to clean out some of them because when a new catalog came in, we jumped right in there cutting.  I don’t know how Aunt Mary Clay ever ordered anything from her catalogs.

One Christmas, Aunt Mary Clay surprised Angelyn, Cheryl and me with Betsy McCall dolls.  Yep, they were actual dolls and they came with extra clothes.

Aunt May Clay was always playing with us kids or giving us something special.  And you know something, she was a very special lady.

See ya next Wednesday.



A Spider Got Into My Mom’s Underpants

Good morning.

In earlier posts, I have talked about our little block house on the Bottom Road and how the mice gnawed on the walls every single night.  I’m sure we had other creatures in the house but I don’t remember seeing anything other than the mice.  I do, however, remember stepping on the bumble bee and it stinging my foot.  Now, that was not fun; my foot swelled to about twice its size and I could not get a shoe on that foot for days.

Our little block house did not have a bathroom so while Cheryl and I were allowed to do our thing in the chamber pot, my mom and dad had to walk up the hill behind the house to the outhouse.  Behind the outhouse were fields; some of them had crops but mostly it was just tall grass and weeds back there.  Mom used to laugh about taking a switch with lots of leaves and whipping the little grass snakes when she saw them in the yard.  Boy, they would take off through the tall sc0229f9bfgrass and you could see it swaying back and forth as they ran for the hills.

So, one day my mom had to do her thing and she walked up to the outhouse.  She was in there a few minutes when she came screaming out of the outhouse with her pants down around her knees.  Cheryl and I were playing in the yard when we saw and heard the big commotion which scared us half to death.

Now, you have to remember we were out in the country and even though we had neighbors, no one could see her while she was streaking down the back yard.

Anyway, she got to the house and totally striped down.  When she finally calmed down enough to talk, she said that when she got ready to pull up her pants, she looked down and saw this huge field spider sitting in the crotch of her underwear. And, just like every other woman in this world, she went into a panic mode.

The funny thing was that by the time she ran out of the outhouse and down the hill to our house, the spider had taken off and was most likely in the back of the field.  He probably had never heard screeching like that before and didn’t want to hear that again.

I can tell ya the next time she went up there to the outhouse, she had her eyes peeled for all eight-legged creatures but they stayed away from her after that.

See ya next Wednesday.

Usher for Graduation

Good morning.

When we were in grade school, the one thing we looked forward to was graduating from eighth grade and going to high school.  You start that journey in the first grade and it builds up for the next eight years.  I don’t think grade schools even have graduation from eighth grade now, but in my day, it was a very big event.

On the day of graduation, the gymnasium was all cleaned and decorated for the graduation ceremony.  That job kind of fell to the seventh grade class; but, it wasn’t all bad because we got out of class for the day.

What also fell to the seventh grade was that four lucky girls would be picked as ushers for graduation.  The ushers would hand out programs for the service.  Now, the girls would be picked about two weeks before graduation; and naturally, I was hoping that I would be one of those lucky girls.  On the day of the selection of ushers, our teacher made us wait until the last class of the day.  She took small slips of paper and wrote “usher” on four of them and the rest were blank pieces of paper.

All of us girls in the class were excited and so ready to draw out those precious slips of paper.  The teacher started the box around and I didn’t think it would ever get to me, but it finally did.  And guess what — yep, I did get one of the lucky slips.  That little piece of paper with the word usher on it was such a pretty sight to me.

Being picked usher meant that I had to have a formal gown and new shoes to wear. And since we were far from wealthy, I had to borrow one of my cousin’s many gowns. I mean she had been queen more than once and had a big selection of dresses.  I tried them all on and found one that I really liked.

Mom did say that I could have a new pair of shoes.  I was so excited because I wanted to get my first pair of heels and I would be so pretty.  My mom, grandmother, little sister and I piled into the car and headed for the discount shoe store.  Oh, they had so many pretty shoes.  I started trying on some little heels but my mom wanted me to try some sandals on too.  She said that I would be able to wear the sandals more than I would the heels.  I was determined to get the heels; but in the end, I wasn’t given too much of a choice, so I decided on a pair of sandals.  Imagine my disappointment because you see I would be the only one not wearing heels and was afraid that I would look really stupid.

On the night of graduation, my other aunt, who was a beautician, fixed my hair and I got all dressed up in my hand-me-down gown and new sandals.  And you know something – I looked just fine and was actually glad I had the sandals.  We were on our feet all night, and some of the girls who were wearing heels were complaining about their feet hurting before graduation was over.  And, I wore those sandals all summer long.  Wow, my mom was much smarter than I thought she was.

It’s funny how we fretted over things when we were kids.  Things always seemed to work for the best and being an usher at eighth grade graduation was no exception.  I had a ball.

See ya next Wednesday.

I Lost My Car Keys

Good morning.

Have you ever lost your car keys?  I only lost mine once and it was not a happy time for me.

Graduating from high school is a great event for every teenager and graduating from North Marshall High School was one of the greatest events of my life.  All of us kids had gone through twelve years of school – a lot of us had gone through all twelve grades together.

So, it came time for graduation.  We had Class Night which was fun because all of us girls got to wear formal gowns and get our hair all dolled up and the guys looked so handsome in their suits.  We also had Baccalaureate but we wore our caps/gowns for that.  Graduation night was the thrill of them all.  We were finally gonna get our diplomas and become adults, or so we thought.

There was a rule that the girls had to ask a boy to march with them during all the graduation services.  Even though I was a senior, I still was kind of shy.  But one of my friends told me this guy really liked me and was hoping that I would ask him to march with me.  He was a cute guy so I pushed my fear away and asked him — he said yes.

A couple of days before the services, he came to me and said that since he had transferred from an out-of-state school, our records indicated he didn’t have enough credits to graduate which meant he couldn’t participate in any of the graduation services.  I was very disappointed and he just kept apologizing; but it wasn’t his fault. But, now I had to ask another guy to march with me.  And this late in the day, it would be slim pickin’s.  I discovered that one of my funny friends had not been asked by anyone so I grabbed his arm and told him he was marching with me.

Following the graduation service, one of the guys in our class invited some of us to a party which was being held on his family’s houseboat docked at Kentucky Lake. There was gonna be all kinds of food and drinks awaiting us at the boat.  I had driven my little Corvair that night so a bunch of kids rode with me to the lake.  I had never been to a party like that but we all had so much fun.  Some of the kids went swimming and some of us girls were thrown into the lake – yes, we were wearing our clothes.

Around 10 pm, some of the kids had to go home but some of us thought we would stay a little longer. A couple of hours later, the rest of us decided it was time to go home.  I went to get my keys and couldn’t find them anywhere.  OMG, where were they?  Then I started wondering if I had dropped them when they threw me in the lake.  I went into a tee-total panic because I was gonna be in major trouble if I had lost them in the lake.  But, one of my friends reminded me that I had given them to one of boys who rode with me.

The only problem with that was that he had already gone home and it was really late. But, I had no choice but to go to his house and get my keys.  Another one of my friends drove me to their house which was about 10 miles from the lake.  We found the house; and of course, they were all in bed, but I started knocking on the door.  His dad came to the door and I told him who I was and why I was there.  He walked back into the house and brought my keys to me.  Whew!!!  I would live to see another day.

I don’t think I ever told my parents that I had lost my keys.  Heck, I didn’t even tell them I was thrown into the lake.  I actually hid my wet clothes from my mom.  But, I tell ya, I wouldn’t take anything for that time in my life.

See ya next Wednesday.

Our Crazy Bus Driver

Good Morning.

Today, I want to tell you about a lady (I will call her Maggie) who drove the school bus when I went to high school.  Now, I would catch the little bus at my house; but once it got to Sharpe Elementary School, I had to catch another bus to get to North Marshall High School.

My friends and I usually rode the bus that Maggie drove and she kidded with us all the way to and from the high school.  Maggie was good friends with my Aunt Rose and I have told you before how much fun she was to be around.  As far back as I can remember, Maggie was the biggest cut-up you could ever meet.  All her jokes and tricks were harmless though; she wouldn’t have hurt a flea and she was as good as gold.

Nevertheless, she made a point of picking on me.  Sometimes after church on Sunday, my family and I would go out to lunch and we very often ran into her at the restaurant.  She knew that my dad was a preacher and never wanted to be the center of attention, but she would put forth a little extra effort to embarrass him.  And, she managed to do just that every time she saw him.  He was the perfect target for her. One Sunday, she saw us in this restaurant that was just full of people and she made a beeline for my dad.  You could see that he wanted the walls to swallow him up to avoid her.  Well, she didn’t disappoint the crowd because she asked him (very loudly) if it was true that I was pregnant and was gonna have to get married.  Of course I wasn’t and she knew it, but it got the reaction that she was wanting.  My dad turned about twelve shades of red and he stammered and stuttered around for a few minutes.

Once my friends and I got our driver’s licenses, one of us would sometimes drive to the high school.  Every once in a while when we drove to school, we would get behind Maggie’s bus and she would play tricks on us.  As I said before, she was a big cut-up and very funny.  She got many of my dreary school days started with laughter.

See ya next Wednesday.



Happy New Year

Good morning.

Well, my little sister came to visit me and I gotta tell you about all the fun we had while she was here.  She arrived Friday afternoon and I was so excited to see her.  You see, I had gone to Georgia in August, but I was ready to see her again.

I made some lasagna and bread for supper and we stuffed ourselves completely.  I had been given some good homemade candies and cookies for Christmas so we had some of those for dessert.  As a matter of fact, I had baked a ham; we just had all kinds of good junk food to munch on the whole time she was here.

After supper, we opened our Christmas gifts.  I always give her something that is associated with the University of Kentucky because she is a huge fan of those wildcats.  This year I got her a tee-shirt and a UK monkey.  She absolutely fell in love with him and decided that he would sleep with her while she was here.  I gave her other gifts too, but those were her favorites.  She gave me a GPS since I can get lost in a parking lot.  No lie.  And she gave me a lot of other great gifts too.

She usually gives me something that is a little unique and this year was no exception. There were three packages that she told me to open together so I did; and you’ll never guess what they were – paperback books.  She knows how I love to read so she went to some second-hand bookstores and bought about 60 Harlequin romance books.  Now, these little books are small enough that you can read one in a couple of hours.  I love, love, love those books.  She also gave me another book which was written by Missy Jenkins entitled “I Choose to be Happy.”  In this book, Missy tells about how she was shot and paralyzed in the Heath School shooting in 1997, and the difficulties with which she constantly struggles.  I highly recommend that you get this book; it’s very inspirational.

Anyway on Saturday, Cheryl and I took off to the Carolina Place Mall to see what kind of bargains we could find.  I have to add here that she has a little SmartCar and I adore that car.  We just tootle all over the place in it and it’s really a comfortable car in which to ride.  We really didn’t find much at Carolina Place so we decided that on Monday we would go to South Park Mall.

On Sunday, Joel and Amanda came over for supper and we had barbecue, salad, chips and I made a Cherry Tart for dessert.  To most folks, that dessert is called Cherry Cheesecake.  We sat around the table and had the best time.  Cheryl and I got to talking about when we grew up and Joel was just fascinated about some of the things we did when we were kids.

On Monday, we went to South Park Mall and Cheryl found some shoes that she liked. Oh, and we programmed that new GPS to help us find the malls even though I knew where they both were.  On our way home from South Park, we stopped and got some Chinese food for supper and again, stuffed ourselves.  We watched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve party; and at midnight, had a little bubbly to bring in the new year.

My little sister went back home on Tuesday and I already miss her.  But, some time in the spring, I will make another trip to her house, and we’ll see what kind of mischief we can into then.

See ya next Wednesday.


Good morning.  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa brought you everything for which you asked.  I cooked Christmas breakfast for Joel and Amanda; and my little sister and my daughter called me so I was very blessed this Christmas.

sc03339d30Since some of my family and friends are expecting a big snow, and I wanted to talk about some of my sister’s and my favorite snows.  Of course, when we were in school, we prayed for snow but not when we were on Christmas vacation.  My mom and dad, on the other hand, didn’t want it to snow at all; especially my dad because he worked at TVA and that was a good hour drive from our house.

But, if Dad didn’t have to go to work, he enjoyed the snow as much as my sister and I did.  We would dress warmly; and I mean, we were layered to the hilt, so we wouldn’t get cold.  So, Dad would get his shovel and out to the front yard we would go.  He would shovel up some snow and we would build a big ole snowman.

Once we got the snowman built, he would pile up a bunch more snow and sc0333c08dhave Cheryl and me to get behind it on our knees.  That way, it looked like the snow was really deep; then he would take a picture of us.  My mom didn’t like the snow much, but she and Mawdie would get out every once in a while so we could take their picture.  There were always lots of pictures taken of us when we had snows.

And, my favorite thing about snow was making snow cream.  I love snow cream.  Did you ever make it?  Now, the rule was that you shouldn’t eat snow from the first snowfall because of the radiation contained in the snow.  Whether this was true or not, we did not eat the first snow.  So, one snowfall was never enough — we just had to have that second snowfall.  My Aunt Mary Clay made the best snow cream in the world.  It would never fail though that I would eat mine too fast and get the most awful headache.

Dad was never afraid to get out on the snow in the car — we missed very few church services because of snow.  Like I have told you in earlier posts, he would get the chains out and put them on the tires.  And, since the roads were gravel, those chains would grab ahold of the gravel and we would get where we were going just fine.

See ya next Wednesday.


I Peeked at my Christmas Gifts

Good morning.

Did you ever snoop around the house until you found your Christmas gifts?  Now, be honest — you did, didn’t you?  I did, but only once because how disappointing it is to open your gifts on Christmas Day and already know what you’re getting.

I remember the year I found mine.  My mom told me where some of my gifts were just in case I did decide to snoop around.  But, the threat that she layered on top of the knowledge of the whereabouts of my gifts was that if she found out that I had gotten into them, she would take every single one of them back to the store and I wouldn’t get anything.  Now, if you knew my mom, which some of you did, you know that her threats were not idle threats.

The great hiding place that my mother found was in my very own closet.  I was just a teenager by then and was asking for things like makeup and eyelash curlers and such.

I had to pick a time to get into that closet when my mom would be gone from the house. The trick was to make sure she had gone far enough from the house that she wouldn’t come back in and catch me red handed.  About that time, she was selling Avon and had to make her last deliveries before Christmas.  She had customers all over our part of Marshall County; and since I had helped bag up the products, I knew where she was going.  Yippee, she was gonna be gone a long time.  Perfect!

So, I gave her time enough to get a pretty good ways away and made my way into my bedroom.  I shut the door just because I really thought I was safer with that puppy closed.  I slowly opened the closet door and began my treasure hunt.  It took me a little while to find the bag she had hidden in there but I had to be very careful to make sure that I only disturbed the bag and not the other stuff in the closet.  I’m telling you, my mother had an eagle eye and she would know if one little thing was out of place.

So, I got the bag out and found my much wanted eyelash curlers, makeup and makeup bag.  There were some other smaller things in the bag too but I was so tickled that I was gonna get exactly what I wanted.  I even got the curlers out of their box and tried them out, which was very stupid of me.  After a little while, I put them back in the closet because I knew that my mom could drive up at any moment and I would be dead meat.

Now, I don’t remember what my big gifts were that year, but I decided that I was never gonna snoop and find my gifts again.  While I was tickled pink to get that stuff, it was not a surprise.  And, I don’t know about you, but I love to be surprised on Christmas morning.

See ya next Wednesday.

Left at Church

Good morning.

As I have told you before, my dad became a gospel preacher; and in my opinion, he made a mighty fine preacher.  He went to Getwell School of Preaching in Memphis, Tennessee, but that’s a story for another time.  Anyway, while my sister and I were growing up, we went to almost every gospel meeting that was held within 30 miles of our house.

Usually, there was at least one other family that would meet us for the service.  I remember one time, this other man, who was also a gospel preacher, his wife, youngest son (whose name was James) and our family all went to Clements Street Church of Christ in Paducah to a meeting.  I guess I was about 10 years old when this happened.

Now, I have to add here that wherever we went, we were usually among the first people to arrive and most likely would be among the last to leave.  So, anyway, we all met at the church and enjoyed not only a good sermon, but the singing, which was A cappella, was absolutely beautiful.

And, as usual, my dad stayed around and talked to almost everybody left in the building.  My sister and I were getting pretty sleepy by the time he decided we should go home.  Now, James had gone to sleep during the church service and was still sleeping on one of the church pews while everybody stood around and talked.

We left the building and decided to stop and get something to drink on the way home. We got to the restaurant and discovered that James was nowhere to be found.  His mom thought his dad had gotten him and put him in the backseat of the car.  That’s right; he was still on the church pew sleeping away.  His parents raced back to the church and got him.  And, the funny thing was that he was still sound asleep and never knew they had left him there.

I don’t think they ever left James at church again; and you know, he wasn’t any worse for wear over it.  He was in a safe place.

See ya next Wednesday.

Christmas Gift for my First Boyfriend

Good morning.

You know, when I was growing up, I didn’t have many boyfriends.  I was kind of quiet and shy and felt like an idiot around boys.  And, of course, my sister and I were taught that you didn’t chase boys because that made you look like a bad girl.

When I was in sixth grade though, I had my first boyfriend and he was a really sweet boy.  He had freckles like I did and was kind of shy like I was.  Whenever we went to a skating party or had ballgames at the school, we always sat together and held hands.

Well, anyway, it was getting close to Christmas and I had to get him a gift.  We also drew names in our class so I had to get a gift for that person too.  I was stewing about what I should get my boyfriend.  After all, he was my very first boyfriend.  But, my mom said not to worry, that she would find something perfect for him.

Our teacher started making plans for our class Christmas party and brought in a tree that we decorated with things we made in class, like chains made from red and green construction paper.  I think there were leftover ornaments from the year before too. For the party, everybody was to bring cookies and the punch would be furnished by our teacher.

So, my mom goes shopping for my gifts and she was so proud of what she had gotten.  She bought these little red lanterns (she got two because I had drawn another boy’s name) and just thought they were the cutest things.  Not me — I thought they were the ugliest, silliest things I had ever seen, but I didn’t tell her that.  First of all, I would have gotten slapped, but I would never have hurt my mom’s feelings by saying something mean to her.  Still, a girl wouldn’t give her boyfriend something like that for Christmas, would she?  My mom had gotten what she thought he would like.  And you know what, he really did like that little red lantern.  My mom actually knew what she was doing when she bought those lanterns.  Turns out my mom was much smarter than I thought she was.

We had a great Christmas party that year.  We had a few lessons that morning and partied the rest of the afternoon.  My boyfriend gave me a little necklace that I wore proudly.

I had other boyfriends down through the years, but you never forget your very first boyfriend, do you?

See ya next Wednesday.