Sunday, April 19, 2015

A to Z Blog Challenge: What I Remember – Part 1

For the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers posting as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  From the website the challenge began in 2010 and the challenge was this:   Can you post every day except Sundays during the month of April?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?

I never took the challenge, even though it looked interesting and I enjoyed reading many of the posts.  So this year I’m doing my own abbreviated challenge – What I Remember from A to Z.  And I won’t do it daily (obviously, since it’s now April 19th and I’m just getting started) but will condense it into several posts.

A = Accordion
I remember my dad playing the accordion.  He didn’t play often but I remember him dragging it out of his closet, strapping it on, and away he’d go.  I wonder if many people play the accordion anymore.

B = Blood
I remember eating roast beef and we always carried on the tradition of drinking the “blood” after the roast had been sliced.  We’d get a spoon, dad would tilt the plate, and we’d collect a spoonful of the juice and slurp it down.  My dad’s parents started them on the tradition while they sat at this dining room table.  It makes me sick to think about it now.

Dining Room 1982
Levy Dining Room

C = Costumes
I never thought about Mom being crafty but thinking back, I think she was.  I remember she made a skirt for us every year for the school folk dance event and many years we had cool Halloween costumes.

Oh my, what is THIS?  It looks like me posing as a baby doll but that isn’t my sister in the fancy hat.  Maybe our next door neighbor, Mary?  What in the world were we thinking?

My beautiful picture
Baby Doll and Friend

By 1960 we were costumed in a little more ‘traditional’ costumes – a farmer and a queen.  That’s me as the queen!

Farmer_Queen 1960

And the following year, I used the cannibal costume that mom had made a few years before and my sister was half of a set of dice.  Check out the chicken bone on the hood of the cannibal – I’ve always remembered that!

Cannibal_Dice 1961

D = Doug’s Delivery
This was a big day in our lives – our little brother was making an early entrance into the world.  I remember Mom coming from the back bathroom and saying it was time to go to the hospital because there was water all over the floor.  I’m pretty confident that a little girl about to turn 7 didn’t really understand what all of the water was about but I do remember there was a lot of excitement, my sister and I were carted off next door for the night, and we waited patiently to find out if we were getting a sister (please!) or a brother.

The next morning we went off to school without knowing what was going on or why Mom wasn’t home yet with her new little bundle of joy.  I know my family has heard this story way too many times to count (boy did my Dad love to tell it!) but I remember sitting outside my classroom on the little step eating lunch when I saw Dad coming across the playground.  He walked up to me with a big grin on his face and said “Debi, you have a little brother” and I said what any almost 7 year old girl hoping for a sister would say “YUCK!”.  But I quickly learned that a little brother was THE BEST and now a half century later, I’m so happy to have this wonderful man in my life.

Apparently, we wrote letters to Mom while she was in the hospital.

Debi writes letter Cary writes letter
Deep in thought
Love the Brownie uniform

And since Mom was gone, it looks like we took over her bed.  Dad captioned this photo “Sing Along” – wonder what we were singing?

Sing along

Mom had her own bed in the hospital – she looks happy to have the delivery behind her.

Mom Hospital

E = Eggs
I’ve written before about my grandparents’ chicken farm.  I have such wonderful memories of that farm and the hours we’d spend there helping them around the farm.  We loved to collect the eggs, clean them, and most of all, weigh them and put them in the correct cartons.

Debi_Cary collecting eggs 1958
Off we go to collect eggs

Debi_Cary_Shell_eggs 1958
Old fashioned egg scales

F = Fresno
Since both of my parents were born in Fresno and all of our grandparents lived there, we spent a lot of time there as kids.  What I remember most about Fresno was the heat in the summer and houses weren’t air conditioned back then.  Plus, since we were there to visit our grandparents and their friends, it seemed that everyone in Fresno was OLD.  We had many good times on the patio where we spent so many hours tending to the eggs.

Family Dinner
Shell Hunter, Clara Fitzgerald Hunter (standing), me, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy, Mom (Geraldine Martin), Sig Levy, sister Cary.

Dig in Sig
Dig in, Sig

My parents both graduated from Fresno High School, as did my grandfather, Sig Levy, and his brothers.

Fresno High School

G = Grandparents
I have so many memories of my grandparents and every once in awhile something new pops into my brain.  I always felt special in that growing up I had five living grandparents (four biological plus one step) and two great grandparents.  I was almost 12 before I lost any of them and then one by one they were gone.  And not only did I have so many grandparents but I actually have a photo of six of them all together!

Standing – Edward Fitzgerald (great grandfather), Clara Fitzgerald Hunter (grandmother), Sheldon Hunter (step grandfather)
Seated – Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald (great grandmother), Geraldine Martin Levy (mother), Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy (grandmother), Sig Levy (grandfather)
Not pictured – Earle Martin (grandfather)

H = Horses
One of my fondest memories from childhood is the hours and hours we spent with our horses.  I need to do a separate blog post about that as there is so much to say but for now I will say the six plus years I was a horse owner may have changed my life.  My “guy” was Smokey Joe, a beautiful (at least to me) dappled grey gelding who was one of the most docile horses I ever came in contact with. 
My beautiful picture
Smokey Joe
We spent hours together in that stall

My beautiful picture
All ready for the show

I = Intercom
My grandparents used to have this intercom contraption in their home that always fascinated me.  There was a little alcove in the upstairs hallway that, at one time, held the intercom machine and somewhere else in the house were other alcoves (unfortunately, my memory is pretty fuzzy on this).  I don’t know why this memory has stayed with me all these years because I don’t think I ever saw the intercom work but I thought it was so cool that you could be upstairs and talk to someone else downstairs.  Pretty fancy technology for a home that was built in 1934!

Come back next time for What I Remember – Part 2!


  1. Oh Debi this was fun. The queen crown with a star cracks me up - yeah, that's authentic. But that cannibal costume is fantastic. I've never known anyone to dress up like that for Halloween. I love that your mom and grandmother were in pearls at the picnic table.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the pearls - I need to pay closer attention to things!

  2. Love your stories about the Fresno grandparents, names that are very familiar around here. You have a treasure-trove of memories.