Uncropped Memories

Join me for a photo-inspired trip down memory lane.

A whole flood of memories washed over me when I paused to look at this scanned photo today. While so many of my generation “cropped” their photos to put them into elaborate scrapbooks, I’m glad I wasn’t artsy-crafty enough to enjoy that sort of activity and this photo survived totally intact. I’m reminded of so many special things from this era of my life as I look at all of the elements in this slightly fuzzy old photo. Join me as I play a little game of ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’ with this photo.

Story Time with Daddy – circa 1980

My ‘I Spy’ Memories

  • This photo was taken in our very first home on 49th Street in Milwaukee.
  • It was a tiny 2-bedroom, 1-bath bungalow-style house boasting about 600 square feet of living space. I’ve seen a more recent Zillow listing for this house stating it has 1,487 square feet. Unless they put on an addition, they must have counted the basement and the tiny rear entryway.
  • Wayne still had a Garfunkel-ish mop of curly hair. He would tell you that the hair on top of his head has migrated to his chin over the years.
  • I remember how much our kids loved it when their daddy would read a book to them because he made all the necessary silly voices for each character.
  • That classic sofa was a hand-me-down from my best friend’s mom. Betty Banner’s gift of her used sofa was a fancy-schmancy step up for us in the world of living room furniture, replacing a freebie imitation leather futon which threatened to slide you off onto the floor whenever you tried to sit on it.
  • The sewing machine was a birthday gift from my husband two months after we were married. [Note: I tell the story about this sewing machine here.]
  • I used that sewing machine to make the heart-shaped pillows on my sofa (definitely an 80’s thing), farm-themed curtains for the kids’ bedroom, and clothing for myself. You wouldn’t know it by looking at this photo, but I also made shirts for Wayne and Matt…and cute little dresses for Beth, who apparently wasn’t into wearing clothes on this particular day.
  • Money was tight, but Wayne and I splurged and bought the maple writing desk so I would have someplace other than the kitchen table where I could set up my sewing machine. I think that desk has since taken on a new life in our daughter’s house.
  • That coffee table is actually a toy box we bought at an unfinished furniture store. Wayne and I finished it together and now, more than 40 years later, it sits in front of a sunny window in our home with lots of houseplants on top. Sadly, I have only a vague recollection of what is in it.
  • That purse on the coffee table was a favorite. It rarely had money in it, but my greatest earthly treasures were sitting right there on that sofa.
  • The afghan on the sofa back was crocheted for me by my Grandma Peet. I remember her asking me what the colors were in my new home. I told her “earthtones,” because that was the trendy thing in the 70’s.
  • The ball-fringe curtains on the windows were purchased by my grandma too. I remember feeling like a wealthy woman because I had curtains from Country Curtains on my windows.
  • Wayne and I painted that table lamp together. It was one of two plaster casting-type lamps that we painted for our abode. The lamp tables were Wayne’s stereo speakers. I remember we spent more for the lampshades than we did for the lamps.
  • That avocado green carpeting was straight out of the 60’s and it butted up to the burnt orange vinyl tile flooring in the itty-bitty kitchen. Yeh, we were that cool.
  • That rocking chair was gifted to me by my husband after the birth of Matt. There was a heat vent on the floor right in front of that rocker. I would put my feet on that vent and the warm air would whoosh under my bathrobe as I rocked my fussy baby to sleep on cold nights. Memories of rocking both of my babies in that chair have kept me from parting with it as I now seek to “downsize”.

Thanks for joining me for my little reminisce down Memory Lane. I’m thankful for this nostalgic moment captured on film 40+ years ago.

4823 N. 49th Street – Milwaukee, WI

This Quieter Life: Time to Sew

I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I usually don’t know what day of the week it is anymore. Not because I feel like I’m losing my cognitive abilities; rather, my days (and yours, I would venture) have lost their structure and rhythm. With all the usual activities on the calendar wiped clean, my internal calendar has gone kerflooey.

Were it not for my phone and the special clock we bought for mom, I’m pretty sure I would often not have a clue. (Yes, it’s an old picture. Some of you may be thinking, “No wonder she doesn’t know what day it is!”)


Even though I may not know what day it is, I have challenged myself to keep busy. My house is getting cleaner by the day as I try to tackle one or two cleaning tasks each day. Cupboards and closets are being ‘tidied’ KonMari-style; even the car has been tidied, organized, vacuumed and washed. During our recent warmer weather, I was able to give the garden a little of the attention it deserves. Books that have been in my “read someday” pile are actually getting read…or removed from the pile.

My craft room is a disaster though – it looks like a fabric bomb exploded in there. This time it’s me making the mess and not my grandkids. The weather isn’t cooperating for my preferred activity of gardening, so I’m actually getting around to trying to create some of those ideas I have “pinned” on Pinterest. As an aspiring seamstress, I stink at inserting zippers. With life moving at a slower pace, I determined now was the time to practice. So, I’ve been making little things that require zippers: tote bags, makeup bags, and a little pouch.

I’m enjoying this quieter life, along with its opportunities for creativity. Even so, I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal. I’m only hoping that this time spent in quiet has helped me to see that “normal” could look different – less busy, yet more productive and fulfilling.

What about you? What have you been doing to fill your quieter days?

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