Saturday, November 14, 2009
The picture above is me, back in 1950, standing beside our fancy, new Pontiac Silver Streak coupe. Man--wasn't that a cool automobile???? Look at those whitewall tires. I remember washing and waxing that beauty, and cleaning those tires like crazy making sure they were really white and pretty!
When I turned FOURTEEN (in 1956), I got my driver's license. Back then, in the state of Virginia, we could get our license at that age---with no driver's training. I actually started driving when I was 13---with my Daddy's help. Can you believe it????
The old Pontiac was a straight shift and I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, learning to drive on those narrow, curvy back roads. I certainly got the 'hang' of driving at a very young age!!!! BUT---I don't think I convinced my parents just what a GREAT (???) driver I was--------until we took a trip to Daytona Beach when I was 16 years old.
On that trip, my Dad developed sun poison while in Daytona. SO---young Betsy got to drive all the way back to Virginia, including a drive through downtown Jacksonville. (Remember, there were no interstate highways back then!) I did a good job, got us home safely, and my folks never complained again about my driving...
The following year, they sold the Pontiac and bought a HUGE 1956 Oldsmobile '98. I missed that ole' Pontiac---but certainly had some fun times driving the Olds... Recently I looked at Classic Car prices on the internet and found an old Pontiac (similar to ours) on sale for about $19,000. Guess we should have kept that car. Ya think?????? ha
What age were you when you got your driver's license??? Did you learn to drive a 'straight shift' (or 5-speed)??? What kind of car????
Have a great Saturday.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There are people in all of our lives who have influenced us in so many ways. I have several people whom I have admired through the years, and who have had a HUGE influence on my life, and the directions I took. One of these people was my high school band director, Mrs. Virginia McChesney (pictured above, and taken from a newspaper clipping). Mrs. Mac was the band director in our small town for MANY years. AND our band was known throughout Virginia as one of the best around, especially for a small town of about 5000 people, and a small school. We won trophies and superior ratings in both in marching and in concert, year after year.
By the time I got into eighth grade (1955) and started playing the clarinet, I knew that I was a part of one of the best bands around. Mrs. Mac was getting up in years when I was in the band ---but you'd never know it, since she was still on TOP in her field, and continued to work for several more years after I graduated.
Mrs. Mac started an 11-piece band in 1933 --and taught for 10 years before receiving a salary. Mrs. Mac taught for over 35 years before retiring ---and after retirement, she taught private lessons to 85 students. AND---she taught most of her life with NO budget. She would count on the town businesses and the parents of her students to help fund the band's needs. She was one very dedicated woman.
Mrs. Mac worked with all of us individually as well as in sections. I had a little advantage since I had been playing the piano (see this POST) since the 2nd grade. A fast learner (and in a family of musicians), I worked my way up to First Chair Clarinet by my Senior year in high school. I made All-State Band and All-County/Regional Band my Senior year. I even played a Clarinet solo during a Spring concert that year. (Wish I had a tape of that concert. )
Music was my life since in addition to piano and band, I also was a member of the high school Choral Group. But--Mrs. Mac was the one person in the music field who influenced me the MOST. She had the respect and love of all ---and we worked hard to please her and to be the BEST. She demanded our best---and we gladly gave it to her.
Unfortunately, I attended a college where there was no band----so I never played the clarinet again after leaving high school. I went to a liberal arts college (Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, TN) and majored in Voice and Education and minored in Math.
BUT--of all of the music teachers I had all through the years, Mrs. Mac is definitely on TOP. First of all, I was in awe of a woman band director ----but not just any woman: a WINNER. This woman was the BEST ---and other band directors all across the country knew about this feisty woman and her ability to continually win contest after contest ---from a small, hometown band in Big Stone Gap, VA. I still have such good thoughts of my years in the band---and feel very blessed to have known this wonderful lady and to have been a part of that band. Below are a few more pictures.
Another picture of Mrs. Mac --given to me by her granddaughter, Sammie Lea
A picture of Mrs. Mac accepting one of our many trophies after a marching band contest
A picture of the ten of us who made All-State Band in 1959-60; From left to right: Eddie Jo Duffy, Winfield Rose, Ralph Shuler, Jim Scott, Joyce Bailey, Trina Lane, Betsy Banks, Alice Darnell, Jane Draper and Sammie Rhea Halstead
One of our Spring Band Concerts; I am on the 3rd row from the left on the outside end.
Mrs. Mac is no longer with us---but she will always be in my heart and in the hearts of many others from Big Stone Gap, VA who were privileged enough to know her and be a part of the band.
Who are some of the people who have influenced you and your life?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Our lilies and daylilies have really put on a show this year. I think I have counted 23 different types of lilies in our yard. All of the lilies that I've already shown are in posts which can be found by clicking on the label, LILIES, on my sidebar.
Today, I will show you seven more of our lilies. These --which have bloomed later than the others, are some of the prettiest ones I think. Above is a popular one which I have seen on several other blogs. Its name is STARGAZER. Six more are below.
ORANGE TIGER LILY
The picture above was taken in June of 1959, and is me kneeling behind my mother's beautiful lilies. I wish the picture was in color. My Mom loved her flowers ---and our yard in my hometown in Big Stone Gap, Virginia was always one of the prettiest ones in the area (in my opinion).
Hope you have enjoyed seeing all of our lilies.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The picture above is the house where I grew up, in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The house was built in about 1940, before I was born. My family lived there from 1940 until about 1972. Dad died in 1969--and Mom sold this house and moved to a smaller one in Big Stone Gap for a few years before moving to Florida about 1976, to be nearer my brothers.
I always loved 'my' home in Big Stone Gap, especially the location. It was on a large, flat lot on Poplar Hill. Mom and Dad always kept the yard looking pretty---with lots of flowers, big trees, a garden, etc. I had my own swing set, sliding board and sandbox when I was a little girl. AND--I even had a tiny little swimming pool. Just ask my friends, and they'll tell you how tiny it was!!!! There was a side porch with a big attached terrace, including a beautiful swing, picnic table and lawn furniture. It was a wonderful place to have family picnics and parties. I have so many happy memories of that home.
The house itself had many 'hidden' closets (and hiding places where a little girl can play). I always thought that house was SO big---until I grew up myself and realized that it wasn't as big as I thought it was. I know that we never had air-conditioning and we had a coal furnace. Daddy would go to the basement early in the morning and stoke the furnace. Luckily, I got to stay in the warm bed until the house warmed up some!!!!
When Mom sold the house, I was SO sad---knowing that I could never go back 'home'. The house has been sold twice since my family sold it. The first people who bought it put BRIGHT (and I mean BRIGHT) yellow siding on it. They also cut down most of the big trees that I loved so much. I cried when I went back and saw all of the changes. After that, another family bought the house and have made MAJOR renovations. My friends talk about how 'cute' the house is now. But---it's so different from what it used to look like that I have a hard time thinking of it as 'my' home. In fact, the last time I was there, I couldn't even drive by and look at it. It looks like a totally different house that is sitting on 'our' lot.
SO---- I do have my pictures and my memories. Pictured above from left to right: Zeke Cummings (cousin), brother Jimmy, Mom, brother Ray, and Dad. I had not been born when this picture was taken, but I may have been a bun in the oven. Below are more pictures of and around that house.
My family: Jimmy (out of the picture), Mom, Dad holding me, and Ray (who was home from college at Va. Tech); I've probably mentioned this before but my parents almost raised three separate families. My oldest brother (who lives in Florida) is 20 yrs. older than I am; My other brother was 12 yrs. older than me; and I came along in 1942 when Mom was 42 yrs. old and Dad was 53... How would you like to have a bouncing baby girl at age 42 or 53????? Yipes!!!!
This is brother Jimmy. Since he was out of the last picture, I wanted to include this one---with his baby sister. Jimmy died in 1985 from cancer.
Mom, Dad and me----sitting on the stoop in front of our home; Don't you know that I was the apple of my Daddy's eyes!!! I had him wrapped around my finger!!!! What little girl doesn't!! ha
Here's the family --again standing in front of our home, several years later. From left to right: Jimmy, Dad, Mom, and Ray --with me in front, and my dolly (Lulu) on the ground!! Ray and I are the only ones still alive. Jim died in 1985 at the age of 55. Daddy died in 1969 at age 79, and Mom died in 1991 at the age of 91.
Here's another old picture of my home. This was taken in 1940---right after it was built, even before the driveway and sidewalks were added. I am so glad I have these pictures. I'm sure I have others ---tucked away in albums. I will have to show more in other posts sometime.
I found this picture (obviously taken in early spring) of the back right corner of our yard. I remember the blooming Forsythia in the back. Mom had Irises on the side and Daffodils in the front. Mom and Dad always kept a beautiful yard. I guess that's where I got my love of flowers ---although I never had time to really enjoy them until now.
I wish I had more pictures of our terrace. We had the picnic table shown above, but there is a neat area with lawn furniture and a big swing to the right of this photo. This was one of my favorite places in our yard. At the picnic above were: Dad, Mom, Evelyn (Ray's wife), their three kids--Bob, Steve, Carolyn, and my Great Aunt Rosa in the background.
Like I said, our house was always a HOME----full of love and joy!!! My parents were wonderful parents who would do anything in the world for me. I appreciate them much more now than I did back then. Thanks Be to God for my childhood and my family.
This gorgeous rose in our yard is named SPELLBOUND. It truly makes you feel spellbound!!!!!
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Father's Day.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I think I have told most of you that my three childhood girlfriends and I take a trip together most every fall. We started this once we all turned 50 in the summer of 1992---and to this day, we seldom have missed a year getting together. To read more about these special friends, click HERE.
I was recently looking through some old pictures and came across our trip in October of 2005. That year we rented a gorgeous little cabin in the north Georgia mountains at Blue Ridge. This was one of my favorite trips simply because that cabin was situated on the mountain perfectly, in order to see the sunrise. That beautiful sunrise obviously got us all up EARLY every morning. The picture above is of our sweet little cabin. There are more pictures below!
This was the road to our cabin. I got outside and did some walking on a cool, crisp Autumn day.
The other side of the cabin (which had a great view from two decks)
We spent TONS of time sitting on the top deck, enjoying the view and chatting.
A view from the top deck during the daytime
Early morning--before sunrise, we watched the fog in the valley below-which looked like snow!
Reida (who was inside) took this picture of us as we watched the sunrise.
Gorgeous Sunrise! We could even see this from the bedroom windows! Wow!
When we weren't on the deck, we spent time in the living room YAK-ING---and enjoying a roaring fire in the fireplace.
Betsy (the baby of the four since I was born in August and the other three were born in June) enjoyed the jacuzzi.. (Do you think I put a little too many bubbles in the water????? ha ha)
We of course took time to check out the area and have dinner at some of the local restaurants. (The trout was delicious!!!)
We passed by this TINY little place ---and wondered if they would let us rent it the next year.....??????? Hmmmmmm---they did NOT!!!! ha ha
Our four days in "Paradise" were over.... Susan and Nita don't want to leave... (Neither did Reida nor I.)
Well ---we said our goodbyes with tears... It was a great four days!!!!
Here's one more view of one of our gorgeous sunrises. We had such a marvelous time together.. God Bless these wonderful childhood friends.
P.S. George and I are headed to Cleveland, TN today to meet two of our special blog friends, SHELLEY and LEEDRA. I am SO excited to meet these new friends. I thank God also for you, my blogging friends. I hope to meet ALL of you someday!!!!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I am fortunate to have 3 VERY special life-long friends... The four of us (called the Getaway Gang) grew up together in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. We were all born the Summer of '42!!! We played together, were in some of the same classes together, and were in scouts together all through our younger years. Once we all graduated ---we went our separate ways.
Then in 1992---the year we ALL turned '50' (OOPS), the four of us decided that we wanted to start a yearly 'getaway' --just for us girls. That first year in October, we all met at Black Mountain, NC for 3-4 days of 'catch-up.' It was INCREDIBLE---to put it mildly. Even though all of our lives had gone down different roads, when we got together that first year in '92 (after over 30 years), it was as if we had never been apart. We talked--cried---giggled---talked some more---ate ALOT---and slept a little. It was truly magical!!!!
We decided at that time to try to make our special 'getaways' an annual event. AND---for most of us, that has happened!!! Some of our trips have been to North Carolina ---3 times/3 different places; the Smokies/Gatlinburg and Sevierville; New England; New Orleans; Cumberland Mountain State Park in TN; Blue Ridge, GA; and this past year to Tybee Island, Ga-- to name a few! The purpose is not where we are---but just the opportunity to get together and talk-talk-talk!!!! (AND--we can really do that!!!! ha ha ha)
I have always been blessed with great friends---but there's no friends like those we grow up with!!!! This picture is the four of us, being silly, taken by my son Jeff in 1993 near Gatlinburg, TN ... As you can tell, we are all 'pondering' life!!!! WHAT A HOOT!!!! (Call us the Ya-Ya-Sisterhood!!!!) From left to right: Front Row--Nita, Betsy; Top Row--Susan, Reida. There are a few more pictures below of the four of us!!!
This was our Kindergarten picture --taken around 1947. Can you pick me out??????
This was taken about 1950 when we were all in the Brownie Scouts together.
Another picture taken by my son when were near Gatlinburg in 1993
George took this picture of us in 2007 when we all met at Sevierville, TN.
Finally, this was our latest picture together taken this past October when we went to Tybee Island, GA. From left to right: Nita, Susan, Reida, and Betsy. This post is dedicated to these wonderful friends!!! I LOVE YOU!