This is a photo of Queen Anne's Lace growing near my home. It is High Summer is Maryland and the weather is very pleasantly summer-ish. We've had a LOT of rain and everything is green and lushly growing here. :)
1. Was yours a religious family? Were Sunday's spent together with family?
Religion has a special and perhaps not unusual role in my childhood. Both of my parents come from the Appalachians where populations are thinly spread. Neither of them grew up with regular churching (that is, a church with pastor and congregation always present).
My mother's parents were devoted Christian fundamentalists and attended the circuit minister's sermons every six weeks or so. I do not recall ever actually seeing a Bible being read in their house. I knew there was one as all the family data was kept there -- who was born when, who was married and died when, etc.
My father's parents were similarly 'unchurched'. I think my Grandfather was actually an atheist but Grandma often said prayers and taught us the child's prayer to be said at bedtime. I remember asking my Dad once about religion and he explained the meaning of the word 'agnostic' to me. He was open minded but felt no particular need to be church-going. The God he allowed _might_ exist was able to speak to him wherever he happened to be and could hear him from any place he chose to pray. :) My mother was a quietly religious woman.
Going to church was a frequent event in my childhood, but it was always with friends. In small towns, the church tends to be the center of social life. My parents never attended or participated in churches but we, as kids, nearly always did. I went to a variety of different churches as a child, depending on where we lived. Usually they were Southern Baptist in denomination but also there was Church of Christ and Unitarian, I think. I was often in choir (I still love to sing; I know all the words to nearly every Christmas carol) and always in the youth fellowship. At one point in my early teens I joined a Baptist church and was baptised ... went through religious training in the gospels.
I have always been fascinated by religious belief systems and have long studied different religions. I think my father's agnosticism influenced me heavily. I believe that all religions are aiming at the same goal -- to be closer to 'God' -- and that they are all equally valid/invalid (depending on your viewpoint:). By nature I tend to be a Mystic (something I only realized about myself relatively recently) ... my daughter once came dancing home from school (I think she was a freshman in High School) and told me that she had finally figured out what my belief system was called. In her English class they were studying the Transcendentalist literature and she declared me to be a Transcendental Humanist. :) Never having read any of this material, I reviewed some of it (read Walden and such) and I think she is right. :)
I did not raise my children in the church. My husband was raised to be a staunch Presbyterian (but, again, not much in the church-going mode). He was ... um ... disinvited ... to Sunday School as a kid because he sassed the minister. Well, was perceived as sassing -- I think he actually wanted to know. As he tells the story, the pastor was giving a lecture to the Sunday School classes about tithing and the need for them to devote some of their allowance/money to the church each week. Skip asked him why this was so since the Bible clearly said that God took care of all his children, even as he cared for the Lilies of the Field. <smile> Didn't play well at all! :)
Um, anyway, churching was not important to me -- I was teaching ethics along with everything else you impart to children, this being a natural part of existence (to me). I told Skip that if it was important to him, he'd have to look for a church and take responsiblity for their religious education. Clearly it was not so important. <grin>
Back to my childhood ... Sundays were special days in my family, but not because of church. We nearly always had a really good evening meal (my Mom is a great cook) and otherwise spent the day quietly. Some of us would go to church with friends. Others would stay home and play. :) My mother was a nurse and Sunday was often another work day for her. Daddy usually had a 'nine to five' kind of job although there were many times he'd need to go to the lab and check on samples or some such. I remember several very pleasant visits with him into the creamery. :)
2. Did your family take vacations? Did you go to the same place every year?
Nearly every trip I can remember making as a kid was to see one or the other set of grandparents. I know we did go to Cumberland Falls, in central KY several times (I love that place:) -- we have some old reel-to-reel movies of my sister and I as small girlies, dressed up in our Easter best, playing along the rock shelves. We probably went to other places, too, but my memory is kinda vague on the matter. The trips I remember are to the mountains, either in Ky or VA.
3. Do you remember any special stories your grandparents told you? Did you sit on a lap when you heard these stories or did you hear them when you and your granparent would walk hand-in-hand, taking a stroll? Do you tell any of these same stories to your children?
The culture from which my parents come has a rich oral tradition and story telling was a regular occurrence in daily life. Usually I was a little girl quietly in the corner eavesdropping on the grown-ups who ignored me if I was quiet. :) Most stories were centered on family -- things happened in the past or the present ran together seamlessly in the telling. At one time in my young adult-hood I became interested in genealogy and interviewed my father's mother. She could tell me from memory the names 'certificate' names, birth marriage and death dates of not only her family for six generations back but her husband's as well!! Family roots, relatedness and history was important to those folks! :)
Many of the stories I learned from my father's parents I did pass on to my kids -- usually they came up in conversation in the form of realistic 'fables', stories with a moral. :) There were a few from my mother's parents, too, but I spent less time with them as a child and had fewer of theirs to tell.
4. Did your grandparents live nearby? How often did you visit their omes? Did the house have any special smells? What did their couch feel like? How big was their kitchen?
Julie Isa is leading a journaling project called 'It's My Life" and I have decided to join in. One of my purposes in keeping this blog is to record _for myself_ what I am doing and making (and, maybe, thinking). A secondary purpose is to make the record for my descendants. I often wonder about my female ancestors and what kind of lives they lived.
One of my most favorite memories from childhood is of chasing fireflies in the summer twilight. Last night, on my way home from the store at about 9:30 p.m., I saw the first firefly of this summer. It was rising up out of the grass in the median strip along Broken Lands Parkway in Columbia (near my home).
I cannot believe it! I actually won something during the May Give Away online! :) This was waiting for me at home in my mail pile from last week. From C&T Publishing (one of my most favorite book companies!), I won this great big book full of beautiful gift boxes. As it happens, I had four small gifts to package today (a tiny bit late -- these are gifts for four of my staff members, souvenirs of my trip to Ohio/Ky) ... so I opened up this book and got busy.
I managed to finish sewing up the circle section of the Pisces Mariner's Compass block today. I quite like how the colors turned out! I photo'd it hanging on our gray flannel photography/class wall at the store.