Thursday, December 8, 2016

Quit Books Reviewed in 2016

I am happy to review books relating to quilting. I received ebooks or books from a wide range of publishers.
Suzi Parron's books on the Barn Quilt Movement take readers into the American Heartland and across the nation as we learn the stories behind the painted quilt blocks shared on family farms.
Easy quilt-in-a-day projects.
 Don Beld relates the history behind traditional quilt block patterns.
Amish Quilts' extensive social history explains how 'ugly' quilts in the Amish closets were discovered and sold as art, transforming how quilts were perceived, and spurring a market for antique quilts.
One Bundle of Fun presents beautiful and easy patterns for precuts.
 This quilt history book shows centuries of Pennsylvania quilts from Cumberland County.
This HUGE collection of quilts using fat quarters includes patterns by well known quilt designers. Something for everyone1
Amazing quilts interpret all of America's national parks, accompanied by articles written by people who work for the park.
Learn the history of Modern Art and how to design modern quilts with this coloring book.

Sue Reich's collection of patriotic quilts and the Presidential quilts traveling show she organized--including my John Quincy Adams!
Mary Kerr's friends create modern quilts from vintage textiles in Twisted. Her book A Quilted Memory shows how vintage textiles can be repurposed for personal memory quilts.

Quilt patterns from quilts in Bill Volckening's personal collection.

Hmong Story Clothes tells the history of the Hmong people who as refugees developed the remarkable applique art to tell of their people's journey. 

The Fiona Quilt Block inspired four quilts made by me and my quilt friends.

Sunetra's Fiona block quilt top

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2016 Reviewed Books: Fiction and Nonfiction

Many of the books I read or reviewed this year were from major or established writers.


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles was my favorite book of the year; its about a man who adjusts to remarkable circumstances and earns the love and respect of even his enemies.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon was inspired by his grandfather's stories about WWII. Funny, tragic, and most wonderful.  

A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin is the harrowing story of how a man pressured to achieve greatness brings his undoing.

The Eastern Shore by Ward Just. A retired journalist remembers the changing role of media in the 20th c.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleeve is a WWII love story inspired by Cleeve's grandfather's war experience on Malta.

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, A woman who comes to a tach in a English village just before WWI and experiences the social changes war brings.

War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans is the author's family story during the Rape of Belgium.

The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith is inspired by a real life forgotten 16th c Dutch artist. The forging and theft of a painting brings moral complications.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey is historical fiction about exploration and life in early Alaska.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. A nurse trained in the Crimean War is hired to watch a miracle child who has stopped eating.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is a thriller that thoughtfully addresses issues of the media and privacy.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. A lawyer gets mixed up in the AC/DC war betweeen Tesla, Edison, and Westinghouse.

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier. Historical fiction about settlers in the Black Swamp of Ohio and their war over apples.

I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows is about a family unraveling during the Dust Bowl.

Dark Matter by Blake Couch is a sci-fi thriller about a man trapped in alternative realities.

Barren Cove by Ariel Winter imagines a world where robots rule humans, a smart retelling of Wuthering Heights.

Zero K by Don DiLillo probes existential questions when a man's estranged father chooses a cryogenic death.

The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell crosses time to see how humans have destroyed or ca save the planet.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi is set in a dystopian future where Americans are at war over water.

The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinsborough tells of a daughter caring for a dying parent while visited by fantastic visions.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a lyrical fantasy of childhood peopled by monsters and saviors.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman will break your heart and mend it again as a young woman must rebuild her life after a tragic accident.

The Unseen World by Liz Moore: A daughter searches for her father's mysterious past through computer coded hints.

Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a story of personal growth; a teenager seaches the wilderness for his missing father.

Damaged by Lisa Scottoline has Mary DiNunzio defend a special needs child.

The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester collects the first female detective stories.

Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird reveals the surprising woman behind the crown.

For the Glory: Eric Liddel's Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr releats the story of the runner and missionary and his tragic death in China.

Hero of the Empire by Candice Miller follows Winston Churchill's journey to become a hero in the Boer War.

The Road to Little Dribbing by Bill Bryson revisits the Britain of his earlier book, recounting how it has changed.

When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping our Future by Abby Smith Rumsey considers the evolving challenges in the storage of information.

Lit Up by David Dency explores the impact of  literature on students in today's classrooms.

The Books That Changed My Life: 100 Remarkable People Write About Books by Bethanne Patrick reveals how books impact lives.

The Fictional 100 by Lucy Pollard-Gott presents the top 100 characters from literature.

You Must Change Your Life: The Friendship of August Rodin and Rainer Maria Rilke by Rachel Corbett looks at how the artist influenced the poet's work and life.

Constance Fenimore Woolston by Anne Boyd Rioux is a biography of a gifted forgotten writer and friend of Henry James.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies reveals the artist's life and work in context of WWI.

Sing for Your Life is Daniel Bergner's book about Ryan Speedo Greene's rise from the ghetto to international opera star.

Angelic Music by Corey Mean discusses the rise and fall in popularity of Benjamin Franklin's harmonium. 

World's Elsewhere by Andrew Dickson explores Shakespeare's influence across the world.=

How William Shakespeare Changed the Way We Talk by Jan Sutcliffe is a beautifully illustrated book for children.

Such Mad Fun is Jane Hall Cutler's story of her grandmother, a 1930s Hollywood screenwriter.

Who Knew? by Robert Cutietta is a collection from his radio show about classical music.

The Illustrated Book of Sayings by Ellis Francis Sanders presents illustrated sayings from around the world that don't sensibly translate into English.

You're Saying It Wrong! by Kathryn and Ross Petras helped me know how to pronounce words I had only before seen in writing.

The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescues by Kim Kavin is a warning to dog lovers everywhere to think before they buy.


The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis by Max Schulman are hilarious stories of teen angst.

Love for Lydia by H. E. Bates follows the destruction of hearts and bodies left by a new girl in the 'hood at hundred years ago.

Augustus by John Williams is an exploration of power through the life of the Roman ruler.

The Nutmeg Tree and Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp are wonderful social satires of early 20th c Britain. One of my favorite writers.
The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge allows the lost men of the tragic Scott Expedition to tell their stories.

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chawton is his first novel about twin brothers who watch the world changing while they remain bound to the past.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In His Own Words, John Quincy Adams on Slavery

John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery, Selections from the Diary by David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason traces Adams' evolving understanding of slavery, drawing from Adams diary.

After serving as president Adams' home state of Massachusetts elected him to the House of Representatives. Adams remained in the House until his death. Adams never shirked the call to serve his country. He was a diplomat, Senator, Secretary of State, and President. Adams literately died on the floor of the House.

Adams, like his parents, believed slaves must be freed, but how that was to be accomplished, and the intensity of his personal commitment to ending slavery, evolved over his lifetime. It was not until late in his life that he took up the cause in earnest, battling a government controlled by the South and the Gag Rule that banned any petition for abolition to be presented in the House.

The book consists of diary extracts with commentary from the authors providing a framework to understand their context.

The issue of slavery was problematic since the inception of America. Removing Jefferson's clause on slavery from the Constitution may have allowed the States to unite, but the "United States" only came after the Civil War and the adoption of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. Adams' career was spanned these two pivotal events.

The diary reveals both his aversion to slavery and his aversion to pressing the issue. He believed that the Abolitionists demand was too radical. He agonized that the divide over slavery would bring an end to the American experiment through war; he thought that the disbanding of the country and reforming under a new Constitution a better option. Slaves were property, and the Constitution defended personal property--a huge stumbling block. The flaw, he felt, was in the Constitution itself.

How would the slave owners be compensated? And what did the country do with the freedmen? He discredited the idea of buying up land in Africa and deporting all people of color back to their 'homeland.' Did America want to have colonies, after it had rejected being a colony? And he felt it was wrong to deport free blacks who were citizens of this country. (Although many wanted to get rid of freedmen, they were such a problem.)

Adams fought against allowing new slave states without a balance of non-slave states and contended against Britain's desire to search American ships for contraband slaves as allowing foreign countries legal authority over Americans.

The Electoral College was established to balance power between the populous Northern industrial states and the rural South with its large slave population. During Adams tenure in the House, the South, and slave owners, was in control of government.

It was impressed on me how the issues Adams grappled with have never been really solved in America. We still have racism and prejudice, our country still is threatened to be torn apart over sectional, regional and class differences. I hope to God that a Gag Rule is never again enacted against free speech.

Adams was in his upper seventies and still working day and night, praying for self control, searching to understand how to bridge the gap between Constitutional law and God's will for the freedom of the enslaved. I felt his pain, his anguish, and the burden of the legacy of behind being an Adams--a man appointed by God, his parents, and his own self imposed high standards to make a mark in history. He knew he would not live to see the end of slavery, but like John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, believed he was preparing the road for the work of those who would come after him.

The Introduction was wonderful, and I was excited to get reading. It took me some time to get used to the book's format and to get a feel for Adams' style. For a while I wasn't sure I would finish the book. But as events precipitated during the 2016 election I felt the subject's relevance and was motivated to finish the book. So very glad I did not give up. I commend the authors for the huge undertaking of tackling Adams' massive diary to pull together this narrative that illumines Adams, his time, and an important part of American history.

Read John Quincy Adams diary at

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

John Quincy Adams and the Politics of Slavery
by David Waldstreicher and Matthew Mason
Oxford University Press
Publication Dec. 1, 2016
$29.95 hard cover
ISBN: 9780199947959
If you follow my blog you know I have a special interest in John Quincy Adams. My education on American presidents started with my reading over a dozen books on the presidents while making The President's Quilt.
Louise Catherine Adams
Remember the Ladies
by Nancy A Bekofske
I read more books on their wives while designing and creating Remember the Ladies, my Redwork quilt on the First Ladies. I was very interested in learning more about Louisa Catherine Adams, John Quincy's wife, and jumped at the change to read and review her biography The Other Mrs. Adams by Margery M. Heffron, which I reviewed here.

And as I was finishing Heffron's book I accepted the challenge of making a John Quincy quilt for The Presidents Quilt project organized by Sue Reich. As I designed the quilt I read another half dozen books on Adams! My John Quincy Adams and Remember the Ladies quilts appears in Reich's book Presidential and Patriotic Quilts and it has been touring the country for over a year now! Read about the book at

John Quincy Adams by Nancy A Bekofske
Read my review of The Remarkable Life of John Quincy Adams at
Read about JQA push for the Smithsonian Institute in my review of The Stranger and the Statesman at
Read about the annexation of Texas and the Gag Rule in America 1844 at

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Stories My Mother Told Me and Other Memories of Mom

Joyce Ramer (left) and Doris Wilson

My earliest memories of my mother Joyce Ramer Gochenour was watching her blond ponytail swinging across her neck as we went downstairs from our apartment. I remember a lounge outfit of black pants and a quilted red jacket trimmed with gold roses embroidered on black. I remember the music she played on the record player.

Mom did not write down her memories but she told some stories over and over and I never forgot them. Some of these stories have been shared from Dad's memoirs. Here is how Mom told them. 

Joyce Ramer baby photo
Mom was born Juy 26, 1931 in Kane, PA, the first child of her parents Lynne O. Ramer, who taught mathematics and history in the high school, and Evelyn Greenwood Ramer.
1935 Evelyn Greenwood Ramer and Lynne Ramer
After graduating from Susquehanna College and seminary, and earning his teaching degree from Columbia, Lynne taught at Hartwick Seminary in New York State from 1926-1930. Evelyn Greenwood, age 17, was his student. He fell in love with her. That summer he traveled the country, working odd jobs to pay his way. He came back at summer's end to ask for Evelyn's hand in marriage.

Lynne took a job teaching mathematics at Kane High School in Kane, PA.
The Ramer house in Kane, PA was a duplex

Evelyn Greenwood Ramer and daughter Joyce

Kane HS yearbook photo of Lynne Ramer
Following Mom's birth came her sister Nancy in 1934, and then twin brothers Don and Dave in 1935. By age 21 my grandmother was overwhelmed running a house with four children. My grandfather was raised on a farm and orphaned at age nine. He had worked his way through college and seminary by working in the school kitchen. He could do anything and often stepped in to handle things when his 'child bride' was overwhelmed.

Birth Certificate of Joyce Ramer
Evelyn Greenwood Ramer and Joyce

Joyce Ramer's school class photo. 
Joyce Ramer

Nancy and Joyce Ramer. Don't you love those 1930s dresses!
The Ramer kids spent summers with Eveyln's parents Delia and Cropper Greenwood at their home in Watervielet, NY. Cropper had immigrated from England and sent money for Delia's passage. They lived in Troy, NY where Cropper was a chauffeur for Thomas Connor. Delia was a nurse and took care of Johnny Monroe, who had no heirs, and Johnny left them the house to repay her. It was a large house in the country, with a wide pillared porch.
Cropper Greenwood at his home where the Ramer kids summered
My Aunt Nancy told me there was a hill they liked to sled down. Mom said they loved listening to the radio, especially liked Fibber McGee and Molly.

Mom liked meat but hated peas. Her brothers hated meat. She did not understand why the siblings couldn't just trade for the foods they preferred. Instead they were not allowed to leave the table until they cleaned their plates. They hid the food in the soil of the potted plants and along the ledge under the table. Gramps did not allow elbows on the table while eating. A rap on the knuckles awaited offenders.
The Ramer Kids: Joyce, Nancy, Dave and Donald at
Charlie and Annie Smither's home in Miltoy
As a girl Mom went ice skating on a river. One day she and her friends were skating and she broke through the ice, going under water. She could see the blue ice over head. Luckily, she was pulled out and survived.
Joyce Ramer

In 1941, when my mom was thirteen or fourteen, my grandfather lost his teaching job. The family moved in with my Great-grandparents Greenwoods, and Evelyn's brother Freddie got Lynne a traveling sales job selling frozen foods to stores across New York State.

Then WWII brought work at the Chevrolet aircraft factory in Tonawanda, NY where he worked as a testing engineering. He needed to prove he was an American citizen and returned to Milroy to search for a birth certificate. He wrote later he did not find it, but people vouched they were at his birth and he got the job.
1952 Lynne Ramer at Chevy Aviation Lab, Tonawanda NY
The Ramer family moved into the Sheridan Parkside housing project, quickly built duplexes to house the war time workers in the local factories. Fred Greenwood and his wife Dot moved to the projects, too. Their daughters Patty and Lynda where born there. At the end of the war they moved back to Troy, NY.

Moving was an adjustment for Mom. Her gingham dresses were acceptable in the rural school she came from but in the sophisticated 'city' school she was out of style and needed a new wardrobe. She liked men's jeans and shirts for casual, skirts and blouses and sweaters for school, and always saddle shoes with white wool socks.
Fashionable Mom posing in men's jeans and shirt, saddle shoes and a Navy hat
Mom's teenage years living in the Sheridan Parkside Projects, jitterbugging at the local dances, and hanging out with her friends, especially Doris Wilson, were her happiest memories. They did not have a lot of money during the Depression but her mother sacrificed so Mom had new dresses for the prom, and she always had a quarter to give Mom for the Saturday movie.

Mom said the Project kids hung together and were not integrated into the Kenmore High School. The 'new kids' of the projects had their own social gatherings, dances, and  hang-outs.

Mom loved to dance. She was the jitterbug queen of the Project. She danced with the boys and when there were no boys she danced with her girlfriends.

Mom and her friends would fool around in the Sheridan Park. One winter Mom and her girlfriend watched as the guys turned their backs and pissed their names into the snow! She claims she didn't see 'anything'. (She did have two little brothers.) Another time the gang used their heels to dig their names into the sod of the golf course. They were, of course, caught and punished.
Mom on the right
Mom's best friend was Doris Wilson. Even after she left Tonawanda they kept in touch. She told me that no matter how far the distance or long the time, when they were together again their relationship never changed.
Mom's sophomore photo (left)  from Kenmore HS
Doris told me that Mom could get miffed and give her the 'silent treatment'.  After a day or so, Doris would make the first move: she knew Mom loved tuna fish sandwiches, so she'd made a big sandwich and take it to Mom. After that they were always best buds again.
Doris Wilson and Mom
Mom also loved saltines and peanut butter. One time she was sitting on the steps of her Project house and a boy passing by commented, "No wonder you're so fat." That hurt. Mom also relished baked bean sandwiches, and after we moved whenever she returned to Tonawanda she stocked up on Grandma Brown's Baked Beans.

Mom saw my dad on the bus and tried to get his attention. She was fifteen and Dad was sixteen--and very shy, even though my Aunt Pat Ramer told me that all the girls all had a crush on him. To get Dad's attention, Mom stuck her leg into the bus aisle as he came along. He tripped. It didn't work; he didn't talk to her. Then Mom got a mutual friend to bring Dad to her house when Doris was with her. He didn't talk, just watched those silly girls wrestle. It took a long time before Dad came out of his shell, but Mom finally got her man!

My folks' love affair did not go smoothly. They had their problems. All the kids smoked in those day, as did the adults, and Mom took up the habit at age 16. Dad came from a conservative family. He demanded that Mom give up smoking. She told him that no one was going to tell her what to do. She was not a woman to be ruled. They broke up for six months.

Mom dated another boy during that time while Dad moped about. He started smoking too, and came and apologized to Mom and they got back together. Mom said she was lucky she didn't stay with the boy she'd been dating as he later was charged with bigamy!

Mom told me many of the same stories that Dad wrote about, including how he took her to Putt's farm in the Alleghenies and left her in the woods while he went hunting. She sat there a long time, alone and got mad at him: some date! Dad would pick her up on his motorcycle and take her to school. One time they hit a bump and Mom was bounced off. Dad kept going, not noticing. Mom got mad. On their honeymoon at Niagara Falls in January, 1949, Dad brought comic books because it was too cold to sight-see. He thought he was providing entertainment. Mom got mad: some romantic honeymoon!
Mom's graduation photo from Kenmore HS
Mom worked as a comptugraph secretary at Remington Rand in their first year of marriage. Mom said she'd leave the vegetables in the pot on the stove in the mornings to make dinner faster at day's end. Mom never liked working. When her girl friends started having babies she told Dad she wanted to start a family.  Mom quit work while pregnant with me. She was 21 years old when I was born and Dad was 22.
Mom and me
I was a cholicy baby who cried all day and all night. In those days babies were fed formula, and I couldn't digest the milk. Mom took me to her parent's house in the Project so my experienced grandmother could help.

Dad had been greatly disappointed that I wasn't a boy. I was to be Thomas. He avoided me until one day when Mom left me in his care. While changing my diaper, a job I'm sure Dad disdained, I smiled at him. That changed everything. I was OK. Seven years passed, and two miscarriages, before Dad got his son, my brother Tom.
Mom and I on the right, Dad and Linda Guenther on the left
Mom told me stories about my antics that got me into trouble.

The old house had rats and poison was placed in the crawl spaces. One day I came out the front door of the house and saw a dead rat. I had never seen a dead thing and was heartbroken. I picked it up--by the tail--and brought it to the door, crying for Mom. Mom was horrified. She yelled at me to drop the rat and go wash my hands. I did drop it..On the floor of the house on my way to the sink! Mom had a fit. She said after she threw the rat out the door and it came to and ran off. It wasn't quite dead yet!

I was an artistic child. I loved crayons and paper dolls and the illustrations in the Little Golden Books Mom brought home from the A&P grocery store. My artistic experiments got me in trouble.

Mom wore bright red lipstick, and it fascinated me. One day I got a hold of it and colored all over the wall. I got a spanking. Another time I found the baby powder and poured it out all over the rug. I got a spanking. I drew pictures of princesses on the inside covers of her books. I don't know if I got a spanking for that because my grandfather's books were similarly decorated--perhaps by Mom.

Mom did support my artistic interests. She gave me drawing sets from John Gnagy with pencils, erasers, sandpaper sharpener, paper, chalks and pastels. They are still available at

Mom loved to paint. She took up painting classes at adult education in the school. She did Tole painting, decorating a metal wastepaper can and letter holder. After trying watercolor she switched to oil painting. I would sit and watch as she explained her process. Later in life she took oil painting classes with a local artist. Mom could get in the 'zone' painting, losing track of time.
One of Mom's early paintings owned by Alice Ennis
Mom also loved to read. She liked historical fiction, especially about the kings and queens of England. It must be genetic, because in college I fell in love with British Literature. Mom stayed up late into the night reading and sipping Pepsi. Which explains her unwillingness to get up early in the morning!
The Club. Mom is on the right, my Aunt Alice is next to her.
Mom stayed in touch with her Project girlfriends. They had The Club, meeting monthly of friends. They went out, or gathered at each other's homes for food and cards.

Mom was always singing snippets of songs, which I wrote about in Songs My Mother Sang Me which you can read at She also played records of her favorite hit songs. Two recordings I vividly recalled I later identified as The Poor People of Paris by Les Baxter and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White by Perez Prado. Her love of dancing never left her, and I would come home from school to find Mom watching American Bandstand. She also loved going to the Ice Capades and I remember going many years.

Mom loved home decorating and decorating for holidays and wrapping presents with bows. At Christmas I looked forward to the decorations she brought out: a Santa face, the cardboard fake fireplace, the aluminum Christmas tree with blue ornaments lit up with a changing color light. You can read about my posts on 1950s Christmases at
Christmas 1955
Doris told me that if someone liked something Mom had, next time Mom saw them she would give them what they had admired. She loved giving gifts. Christmas was so much fun for her. I always had a big pile under the tree. I wanted to grow up and have lots of money so I could give it to children who did not have what I had.
When Mom reached puberty she developed a skin condition, psoriasis, an autoimmune disease. Her condition worsened with each pregnancy. She also had psoriatic arthritis. After my brother was born she suffered her first major joint loss. Mom wore a neck brace and she had a device hanging from the door which was used to keep her neck stretched. She lost mobility in her neck. She also lost flexibility in her finger joints.

Mom was devastated by the psoriasis and as a teen was concerned she would be 'unloveable'. The psoratic lesions in adulthood covered her trunk, legs, and arms, her scalp, and deformed her nails. Mom took to wearing long pants and long sleeves. She tried every treatment the doctors offered.

The list of all she underwent is pages long. As a teen there was mercury ointments. Tar ointments came later. Long soaking baths with bath oils loosened the scales but left her with bright red patches. She took aspirin for the joint pain until it ruined her stomach. When I was a teenager Mom applied a tar ointment and wrapped herself in plastic wrap, then had UV light treatment until she developed pre-cancerous lesions.

I was grown up and married when one day Mom asked me if I had ever been ashamed of her. I was stunned. Mom was always looked young and pretty. I remembered her long, blond hair when I was a little girl. She loved a party. She taught my girlfriends to jitterbug, still organizing parties but now for my friends.

Having a mom with disabilities and health problems was just normal. I learned to see through people's appearances to who they were inside.
Mom told me that when she was a little girl her mother took her by train from Kane, PA to see her Greenwood grandparents in Troy. There was an African American porter on the train, the first person of color she had ever seen. She asked my grandmother why he was brown. Grandmother quipped, "because he is made of chocolate." Mom went over and bit his hand to see. How Grandmother explained things to the porter, I never learned.

Mom obviously learned that people are people regardless of differences in appearances. During the 1967 race riots in Detroit, when we lived a few miles up the road from Detroit, Mom was angry at neighbors who voiced their prejudices against African Americans. My teacher in Civics taught us that there was only one race, the human race, and Mom's reaction confirmed his teaching.

A few years later, during one of Mom's many hospital stays for a new treatment for psoriasis, her roommate was an African American woman, They bonded and afterwords Mom went to visit her. She came back very distressed. She was embarrassed to live in so much nicer a house and area than her friend. How could she invite the woman to her house when she had so much?

What was this 'so much' that we had in the 1960s? A 1920s house with a tiny kitchen, one bath, and a dirt driveway. K-Mart clothes and Depression era dinners heavy in the casseroles that stretched dollars. One car. No vacations, except visiting our Tonawanda relatives. We also had security, values, decency, warmth, love.