Writing from Tennessee

I’m in Tennessee for my mother’s 98th birthday party, which was Wednesday.  This is her having fun at the Botanical Garden in Knoxville.  It was a beautiful, mostly sunny and warm mid-summer day.  We had a good walk in the gardens – then headed back to Oak Ridge to chat on the porch – have a wonderful dinner complete with birthday cake.  I didn’t count the candles on the cake, but there were a lot, including a 9 and an 8.  Mom blew out all the candles but one with the first try!  She then opened gifts and we played “steal the package”.

  Here’s my sister, Ann – me – my mother – and my brother, Dave.  My mother was born in 1919.  Woodrow Wilson was President…my mother has lived under 18 different Presidents.  Two of the great inventions of 1919 were the rotary phone (allowing you to dial the number you were calling instead of going through an operator) and the pop-up toaster (bread was cut by hand…all the slices were different, so hard to do a toaster – now with the invention of the bread slicer – bread slices were even and could be put in a toaster.  Congress approved Daylight Saving Time in 1919 – the Germans were first to move the clocks to “spring time” in 1916.  It would be another year until the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote.

  One more pic. of mom.  She was born in Winnetka IL.  Her father lived to be 98.  His father (mom’s grandfather) was born in Almelo in The Netherlands.  He died at age 29 from something that would be quickly curable today.  He left a wife and four kids.  His wife remarried and had 3 more kids.  Her mother was born in Austria.  She came to America by herself on a ship just after her 24th birthday.  Her parents and most of her relatives had passed away and she thought there was opportunity in America.  She found work as a cook in New Jersey for a wonderful family who taught her English.  She moved to the Chicago area, because she thought she could make more money as a cook there.  She worked for the Hibbard family, who owned Hibbard Hardware.  She met my grandfather there.  He delivered for the local dairy and did some gardening.   My mother sang and played piano for the USO during WWII.  She married my father in July 1950 and I came along 10 months later.

  Here in E. Tennessee, some airmass showers and t-storms formed over the higher mountains to the east (Smoky Mountains) and to the west of Knoxville.  You could see the building cu turning into relatively small cumulonimbus clouds with their characteristic anvil shape.   This is storm total rainfall from the Morristown (Knoxville) radar.

We have one more day in Tennessee – then we head home on Friday.  I’ll be back to work on Sunday.

Comments are closed.