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Saturday, April 30, 2011


"Thank you for the music

the songs I'm singin'.

Thanks for all the joy they're bringin'.

Who can live without it?

I ask in all honesty,

what would life be?

Without a song or a dance

what are we?

So I say thank you for the music

for giving it to me." ~ABBA

 “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

-Bob Marley

Where words fail, music speaks." - Hans Christian Anderson

*Quotes from SheetMusicFox.Com

I found so many quotes about music: There are literally thousands of them. But I will spare you, trust me.

What I wanted to say is that everyone knows that music creates a mood. What would television commercials be without it? Or if you are watching a scary movie, you know good and well when the music picks up a certain tempo that something bad is going to happen. I will never forget when the movie, “Jaws” first came out: It scared me to death! A huge clue that the shark was coming was that specific music you heard each time—you know exactly what I mean. Worse was the fact that the very next week after “Jaws” came out, we went to the beach!

Tried to pacify my then-young teenage sons that if there were sharks, they’d hear that music that was in “Jaws” first. Didn’t work. And they were just as scared as I was that summer.

Both of them listened to Queen, Kiss and Metallica and since both had separate rooms, it also meant separate stereo systems. The music was so loud that it shook the house and set me crazy! Yes, I did along with their father, take them to many concerts: Kiss stands out the most for I did like their costumes but hadn’t developed an appreciation for their music at that time. I was into rock and roll and jazz at that time.

[When I was little I had developed an appreciation for classical music as both my grandmother and mother played the piano. I would too as I had to take piano lessons for eight long years and I hated it! It wasn’t that I hated music but more the teacher who would hit me across my knuckles if I struck a wrong note or make me copy sheet music for an hour if I didn’t play well. Sometimes people can make or break you: She broke me. But she didn’t break my love for music!]

Once I heard that music appeals to us for a lot of it has the same tempo as our heartbeat: That makes a lot of sense. Over the years, I have developed an appreciation for almost all kinds of music and even learned to like Queen and Kiss! I have those cd’s in my car: Who would have ever guessed that? But I love jazz, reggae, rock, oldies, Celtic music and current music. Sometimes I just like to listen to classical music for it calms me down; there would be no way I'd listen to it in my car for I would fall asleep at the wheel.

We live in an incredible time of music: It’s everywhere! We can download it, watch videos on you tube, hear it in movies on our dvds, listen to it online or in our house or cars and either appreciate it or not. But one thing is for sure: It is an international language that is understood by all and there are no words needed to detect the mood. Try watching a familiar movie and turn off the sound and see if has the same effect on you—bet it doesn’t! What seemed happy or scary is not the same without music. Try it!

All of us have certain songs that we just can't listen to for they bring back bad memories or the thought of a lost love while other songs make us feel happy and good. Some music reminds us of  extremely sad times and we can't listen to it. Association is one thing that goes hand in hand with music: It affects our moods and our lives. Wherever you live, you have music that is native to your home and you appreciate it or maybe not--maybe you like imported music. Does that matter? No way.

One thing is for sure: Music will always be with us and that’s a good thing. When words fail, music will always be there to fill the void.  And no matter the words, we know the feeling and enjoy it if it's something we like. Crank up the sound and live it up! Life's too short.

Sherry Hill

Thursday, April 28, 2011



I’ve had so many that it would take tons of posts to tell of all of the frightening incidents that I have survived. But there are three that stand out to this day and looking back, I don’t know how I had the wits to do what I did! If they had happened to me recently, there would be no coping skills.

The first horrible thing that happened to me was when I was first married: I was alone ironing for what seemed like forever. It was the time of ironing shirts that were made out of one hundred percent cotton and not only was spray starch used but so was a lot of hand pressure on the iron by me. Was watching tv and hoping that would take my mind off the pile of clothes that had to be ironed when all of a sudden, the iron caught on fire! Not only was the iron on fire but so was the cord that was of course plugged into the outlet.

Don’t know how I found the courage to jerk the “on fire cord” out of the wall outlet but I did and ran with the burning iron into the kitchen and threw the thing in the sink! Turned on the cold water and just let the iron drown right there and then. And that’s when I realized that the entire house could have gone up in flames and that’s when I got scared. I didn’t iron for several days as a new iron had to be purchased and when I did iron again, it was with extreme caution.

Several years later, my husband and I moved out of that house as we had two young sons and the neighborhood there had no children at all. Found the house in which I still am in and I had quit teaching and was staying home with my young sons [I would go back to teaching later on] and life seemed good. One afternoon, I was cooking a roast in the oven and I don’t know if was just my thought or not but the outside oven door was too hot to touch. Got out the potholders and opened up the door to take out the roast: I had to pour some juice off of it.

And guess what happened? The hot oven door came off right in my potholder-covered hands! My two little sons would have been no help and there was no one around other than them. Not only was the oven door as hot as Hades but it was heavy. As if guided by some mysterious force, I managed to use my knee to open up the storm door while holding onto the hot oven door and run off of the carport and throw the door onto the yard! You could hear the grass sizzling and if you had been beside me, you would have heard the sound of my heart beating at an unusual rate.

That evening my husband fixed the door. Lucky for him, that thing had cooled down. From then on I was afraid to touch it for fear of it happening again to me. I was never so glad in my life when that stove was replaced with a new one.

The last horrible thing [of so many] that happened also was here at this house. It was summer and my sons were about ten and twelve: They were up the street playing. And again, I was alone—that is till the mailman came by to deliver my mail. I had gotten this idea to build a rock garden out behind my house about a week prior to his showing up. Dragged one big rock after another but still needed more, of course. Since I knew him well as he lived down the street from me, I asked him if he’d help me get a big rock down to the garden.

He agreed and picked up the gigantic rock and as we started down to the semi-finished rock garden, he said, “You know there are snakes down there!” I looked at him with my mouth wide open as I am terrified of snakes—couldn’t even look at pictures of them. Had my back to a tree because that’s where I wanted him to put the rock. That was not a good idea for he screamed, “There’s a copperhead right behind you on the tree!” I was paralyzed with fear. Afraid to move. Afraid to breathe. And definitely afraid that the snake would slither onto me.

Again, some miracle happened for he told me then and there that the copperhead had gone down into the woods behind the tree. If you think that the rock garden got finished by me, think again! No way did I venture back to it: It was a man’s job this time.

An iron on fire, a hot oven door in my potholder-covered hands and a copperhead right behind me were three incidents that will forever stick in my mind. I got over my fear of irons for I had to as I was ironing shirts for three males and my clothes as well and you can’t iron without an iron. The old stove had been replaced and I just prayed a lot that this oven door would not come off and it hasn’t—yet. As for that snake, I have never gotten over it and never will for of all of the things that I hate and am afraid of, snakes are right up there as number one on my top ten list.

These are just three of many frightening incidents that happened to me. I could probably count well over one hundred: I am one of those people that if there is an accident waiting to happen, it will involve me. Peril? Of course. It should be my middle name!

Sherry Hill

I am not posting a photo of a snake!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



A common thing to say to a person upon seeing him or her is to ask, “How are you?” We hope that they will say fine and go on their way as it’s a natural thing to expect. But if someone proceeds to tell you how awful they are feeling and go on and on, we get disgusted. We want them to stop with just a few words.

But when it is you or me and we are having a bummed out day, we sometimes tell the truth and then think “Should I have said that?” And we wait for some calming words, some of which are never said. We wanted that but ah, we have to remember that we don’t like to listen to others troubles and therein lies the problem. Honesty should rule but it generally doesn’t for we are in too much of hurry to get somewhere or do something. A crisis could come down and if it did, the guilt would stay with us---hanging over us like a big sheet. We do the same thing on the phone: We hope that the answer will not be dragged out but if it is us, then it's a different story.

There are clues in the eyes and face of the person: We can tell if they are happy, sad, angry or mad. There are major clues in the tone of the person's voice and we all know that. Do we pick up on these? Of course we do but we usually ignore them and ignore more if the person is ready to scream at us or go balistic. In essence, all of us need to take time to listen when a person replies to “How are you? Might get rid of guilt should we get it foisted upon us or save a life—if the person is truly in danger and wants to tell us.

Next time you happen upon someone and say the above, stop and listen for you never know: It could be life changing for that person and for you as well.

Sherry Hill

Monday, April 25, 2011



Three years ago, I met a new neighbor who was from New York. I loved to hear her talk for she put an “r” at the end of lots of words when she spoke. She began to tell me that she wasn’t happy here and that she couldn’t understand us as we ran our words together: That was not a revelation to me! I found that out when I was five years old and in the first grade.

My teacher had us writing a lot by the end of the year and she had us write these two words: this morning. “Piece of cake” I said to myself and wrote this on my paper: this smorning. I could feel her hovering over me and then she asked me why I wrote morning like that. I told her it was how it was said [which was not a good thing to say to a teacher.]

Feeling shame, I didn’t think I would make it through the day but I did. When I got home, I was met by my babysitter: Told her what had happened and she said, “What was wrong with that?” Holy cow she was about eighteen and she didn’t know the difference either.

During my childhood, I realized that everyone around me—family or friends ran words together all of the time. Chest of drawers was pronounced “chester drawers;” good afternoon was run together as well making me think that it was one word. And “this afternoon” was pronounced “this safternoon” and still is to this day.

I spoke like everyone else but when I had to write these groups of words, I had to force myself to write them separately—and that was not an easy task. As I got older, I realized that this “running of the words together” is something unique to West Virginia just as speech in other states is different. When I was in my early twenties, I went to stay for two weeks with a college friend of mine and her husband—they lived in Tennessee. After two weeks of being there, I started picking up that accent as well as some forms of speech. The people I met thought that I was from the north!

When I returned home, I was speaking like they did in Tennessee but it only lasted for a spell and then I was back to running some words together when I spoke. Still do till I catch myself and stop. It is not like we are in a hurry here [Charleston is a big city with well-spoken people] to speak so fast; it is something that we have inherited from our ancestors.

I could list more words that are run together but I’d have to speak them first in order for you to know what they are. Maybe I can make a video and then you would know what I really am talking about. As a former elementary teacher, I had to do the same thing that my first grade teacher did: Had to make sure that my second grade students wrote down those words separately. Feel sorry for my now-gone neighbor for she moved back to New York: She didn’t give us a chance and if she had stayed here, she would have started running groups of words together too! It’s a West Virginia thing!

Sherry Hill

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Today is Easter Sunday. I'm sure that the baskets have been filled with goodies and colored eggs, that "Easter" grass is half in and half out of the baskets [you find that stuff months later everywhere!] and that all of you somewhere will be sitting down to dinner. But if you live in another part of the world, Easter is already over and it's Monday somewhere.

Easter is a time for dressing up in one's finery: Always has been a ritual and always will be. There were so many times as a young girl that I hated what was chosen for me to wear but there were also times later on, when I was so grateful and felt "glammed up." I will never forget buying my sons their first suits for Easter: Both of them had tan suits, new white shirts and little ties. Still have the picture of them and it seems like it was an eternity ago--but it wasn't that long was it?

Easter eggs are a symbol of rebirth for that is the true meaning of this day.
Take time to reflect upon your celebrations of Easter in the past: I do and have such great memories. My now grown sons loved looking for their baskets but had more fun at my mom's apartment for she hid "nests of Easter grass" under chairs, her draperies and elsewhere. She had a lot more nerve than I did in relation to that "grass" that didn't seem to scatter in her place; it did in my house! And there was always the yearly egg hunt! Could count hundreds of cracked colored eggs that were found and never eaten by anyone or anything. They just sat around in their mishapen form till they were discarded.

Last year was the first time ever that I didn't color eggs: Just wasn't in the mood for my three grandchildren are getting older-[one is sixteen, one is thirteen and one is eleven] and they weren't in the mood to color eggs either. I'm not doing it this year either but I may break down and color some if the mood happens to strike me. Rest assured that I will fix deviled eggs, ham, sweet potatoes, green beans and macaroni salad: That has always been our traditional Easter dinner and always will be.

Blessings to you on this day.

Sherry Hill

Friday, April 22, 2011



I’m sure it has happened to you: You get something, put it where you can find it and then go to retrieve it and it’s not there. It’s not anywhere. Happens to me all of the time with all kinds of things. Last week I went to the store, came home, put the groceries up and stuck things in the fridge.

Could swear that I bought a package of Kraft Singles: Twenty four slices to be exact. Remember putting them in the fridge when I was in the putting away frenzy. Are they in there? No. They just disappeared. I have looked at least ten times, pulled things off of shelves and as if by magic, the cheese is not there. Now I’m wondering if I did buy that cheese for I always do when I am out of it: I love it for grilled cheese sandwiches and my dog eats cheese a lot—in fact she eats almost anything.

I could blame it on her: Maybe she did eat all of those twenty-four slices for she has been known to eat anything and everything. Last year during Christmas, I put a cheese ball wrapped in plastic on the counter; turned around and it was gone! Shiloh, my dog, had eaten all of it—covering and all.

Still, I haven’t found twenty-four pieces of cheese wraps anywhere. I have lost all that cheese! I lose lots of things and most of the time they are right in front of me: It’s getting bad! And it’s getting worse day by day. Reminds me of an old saying: “Grandpa lost his glasses before he went to bed. Guess where Grandma found them? On top of Grandpa’s head.” Oh my, I haven’t succumbed to that point yet but it’s getting pretty bad.

One place I haven’t looked is in my car. What if that cheese fell out of the bag and is underneath my car seat? I don’t want to know. But today I will look there and I’m sure that if it is there, it won’t be something that I’d bring in the house.

Sherry Hill

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Of Pastel Chicks and Bunnies

When I was little and even up to about the age of eleven, I wanted a pastel colored bunny or chick for Easter.

It wasn’t something I dreamed up.

I saw them every spring when Green’s Feed And Seed used to be across from the Municipal Auditorium: they were in cages on the sidewalk and I wanted one so badly! All the bunnies were stacked up in cages that seemed a mile high. Same for the chicks. Didn’t matter which I thought as long as I got one.

The dazzling array of Easter colors swirled around on the bunnies and the chicks: To me they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. And I wanted one.

Every Easter I was sure I would get one or the other.

And every Easter I didn’t.

Sure I liked the candy, egg hunting and the dressing up part but deep inside I was in utter disappointment.

About the age of eleven, I thought sure that I was going to finally get a rabbit or chicken as a delivery man came to our house on the day before Easter. But the package didn’t look like something alive was in it: it was too small

My mother insisted I open it and it was a corsage full of violets.

My heart sunk again.

Funny how over a period of time and knowledge that Easter colored bunnies and chicks would grow up to be big and white, I realized that I my dream was not real smart. And I was and still am deathly afraid of chickens due to them jumping on my feet when my family was at a farm. As for the bunny getting big, I also realized that it wouldn’t last long with my big cat.

Oddly enough, it later turned out that violets became my favorite flower. And I didn’t appreciate the trouble that my parents had gone to get me the corsage. I wanted the bunny or chick. But I did learn to appreciate that a lot of things we think we want later turn out to not be so. The dyeing of bunnies and chicks turned out to be hazardous to them and became against the law and they were never seen again by the human eye—at least in Charleston. And would I want a chick now? No way. As for bunnies, I get to see a lot of them in the wild.

With Easter approaching, I always think back to my wants a long time ago and I realize that my parents knew a lot more than I did. But those Easter colored bunnies and chicks sure were breathtaking!

Sherry Hill
*Published in the WVGazette

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



We all know that smell is one of our five senses and as with the other senses, it can trigger memories recently or from long ago. There were certain smells that as a child I definitely remember: Some I don’t have to smell to remember them for they were unforgettable such as paregoric [I had to use that with my sons when they were teething babies and one whiff and it instantly reminded me of when I was little] which had a horrible smell—one that made you want to run for your life away from it.

Another was ammonia: My mother used it to clean with and it literally took away your breath. Not only was and is it bad but it permeated every inch of the house. I would run to open up the screen door to escape its smell.

Chlorine was a smell I loved as a child for it meant the swimming pool and I loved to swim. That smell was in the good category and still is to this day.

The perking of coffee was heavenly and although as a kid I didn’t drink it, I would as an adult. Brings back memories of long ago when breakfast was being cooked and so does the smell of bacon frying in a skillet. What two great smells those were and how they evoke childhood memories.

The smell of real pine is right up there on my top ten list of wonderful memories: It brings back the smells of all of those Christmases past and just makes me feel good.

Cornbread fresh out of the oven triggers a memory of its being made when I was little and wanting some so bad but I couldn’t have any till it had cooled. And so did green beans being cooked in the pressure cooker: What a wonderful smell!

Probably a faux pas but I remember my grandfather smoking his cigars every evening and oh how I loved that smell. That was long ago but rationalizing it, I know that the smell meant security for he was there with me.

New car smell: Hard to describe but once you smelled it, you never forgot it.

One smell that I don’t have to smell to remember is that of wet wool: It gagged me and just the thought of it still does. Reminds me of when my dog got wet—indescribable but unforgettable.

Spaghetti sauce being cooked reminds me of being at my aunt’s house after school and watching her fix it. I remember how steamy the kitchen windows got and much I looked forward to my favorite food ever.

Roses bring back memories of being in my grandmother’s backyard and playing: It was a happy smell and still is. But carnations reminded me when I was little of funeral homes; to this day, I can’t smell them without thinking that.

Freshly squeezed lemons bring back memories of my friends having lemonade sales and burning up outside in the heat. But it was and is a good smell still.

There used to be a television commercial a long while back where a neighbor opens up a woman’s front door and said, “Fried fish last night?” The commercial was for some air freshener. Not sure if I like that fried fish smell even today. All of us are affected by smells: Some are good while others are really bad. And it depends upon the individual whether he or she associated it with something that was going on that made them happy or sad or just plain terrible. “What’s that smell?” Who knows? Depends upon what it is! But at least you know some that I like and those that I don’t.

Sherry Hill

After some friends responded to this post, I just have to add  four smells [two were posted as one friend's favorite smells] for they were always a part of my life:

Crayons --How could I ever forget that wonderful smell? I was hooked the first time I ever opened a box of them which was probably when I was three or so. Still love to smell crayons and must have gone through tons as a kid, more as a mom and millions as a second grade teacher. When doing some artworks, I use them in mixed media and upon opening that box, I am a kid again.

Paint--Not only did I love the smell of wall paint but when I was first exposed to finger paint, then water colors, tempera paint and acrylics, I was in love with these smells. Still am minus the finger paint for that went by the wayside when I was five. Although each paint smell is different, I know and love them all.

Turpentine--Pungent when I was little and pungent today. When my parents were cleaning out brushes used to paint the walls inside our house or the outside, turpentine was always used then. I used it myself when I was using oil paints and had to clean my brushes; I quit using oil and switched to acrylics and never looked back on turpentine. Definitely not one of my favorite smells but one you can conjure up in your senses.

Honeysuckle--It was always growing everywhere I lived as a kid and even now, as an adult, it's around me. The sweet smell takes me back to my childhood instantly and reminds me of endless days of summer and happiness.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



You might have been too if you stop and think about things your grandparents or parents said to you when you were a kid: I know I was for I remember so many sayings and was clueless what they meant. But I could tell by the tone of their voices that it wasn’t good! And sometimes other kids would say these things to me or other kids and I would follow their lead and not do it.

My grandmother was an immaculate housekeeper but she’s say, “If we don’t get this cleaned up, the health inspector will get us.” I was terrified and pictured some old man dressed all in white nabbing us and taking us away somewhere. And just the thought of him scared the wits out of me.

If we were out shopping, she’d say, “We’re going to the poor farm!” Had no idea what that was much less what one looked like. The only thing I could picture in my mind was that painting, “The Gleaners” and I definitely didn’t want to be out picking wheat nor did I want to be confined to a working farm. I thought she was sincere.

I’m sure you’ve all heard this: “If you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back.” I avoided sidewalk cracks forever as a kid because of that fear that went along with that saying.

And the horrible one was that if you looked cross-eyed you were told that your eyes would stay that way. I tried it a couple of times but that fear lingered that I would wind up cross-eyed forever.

“Eat all the food on your plate because people all over the world are starving.” Heard that all of my kid life and lo and behold, the first time I watched the movie, “The Christmas Story,” there was Ralphie’s mom saying that to him. Must have been some universal saying made up by moms to get their kids to eat everything on their plates.

If you were outside with a bunch of kids and one of you played dead, you were told that you would die! Now that would scare anyone. Did I do it? Once and that was all for fear of dying right there on the spot.

I was told that girls didn’t whistle because of the saying, “A whistling girl and a crowing hen will someday come to some bad end.” Later on as a teenager, I learned out to whistle and even used a blade of grass too. I used to be able to put my two fingers in my mouth and whistle like a guy—not now but I did then.

If you were cracking your knuckles, you were told that your fingers would become deformed and stay that way. I did it and mine didn’t but wonder how many of you heard that too and got afraid?

If there were a saying for anything that was done, I heard it and kept it in my head—you know the ones like “Don’t walk under a ladder” and all those that dealt with superstitions. To this day, I am superstitious: How can I not be when it was drilled into me?

Dream about death and someone will have a baby. Dream about a baby and someone will die. I heard that all of my life and yes, I’ve had those dreams so many times but I don’t want to know the outcome of either of those sayings.

If you picked up something like a penny when you were running the sweeper, you were told you were going to be electrocuted! I did pick up pennies a bunch of times and just knew I was going to meet my end. But I didn’t.

“Don’t run all the hot water out of the water tank” was one of those fear sayings when you ran the hot water into the bathtub. What was going to happen? I never knew but I pictured something awful.

Grandparents, parents and relatives loved to use fear sayings on kids for I was the recipient of an overload of them. Maybe you were too. And guess what? I carried over some of those sayings to my sons but never the one about the health inspector or the poor farm: Those were just too ghastly to even say much less think about!

Sherry Hill



Heard these all of my life and have no idea who wrote them. I knew them as a kid and later on taught them to my sons and then some to my students—not all but some! When I was a kid, we had autograph “dogs” that looked like a daschund but were made out of material and stuffed. And we had autograph books. Friends were always asked to write on both and they did. Both of mine went by the wayside long ago.

I have you in my heart

I have you in my liver

If I had you in my arms

I’d throw you in the river!

I like him

He likes me

Better yet

We're in a tree!

We have your picture

We think it’s very nice

We put it in the attic

To scare away the mice!

Lincoln, Lincoln

I’ve been thinkin

What on earth have you been drinkin?

Smells like whiskey

Smells like wine

Oh my gosh it’s turpentine!

I saw you in the river

I saw you in the sea

I saw you in the bathtub!

Oops pardon me!

Roses are red

Coal is black

How will I giggle

When you get held back!

Adam and his better half

Never left an autograph.

Mary had a little lamb

It’s fleece was white as snow

Mary passed the butcher’s shop

But the lamb went by too slow!

Doctor Bell fell down the well

And broke his collar bone.

Doctors should attend the sick

And leave the well alone.

Mary had a little lamb

Whose fleece was white as snow

She took it down to Pittsburgh

And look at that darned thing now.

You are your mother’s darling child

Brought up with care and trouble.

For fear a spoon would hurt your mouth

She fed you with a shovel.

Fulton had a steamboat

Steamboat had a bell

Fulton pulled the wrong cord

Steamboat went to

Hello operator

Fulton’s on the line!

If nobody answers

Give me back my dime!

Jimmy’s nice

Jimmy’s sweet

Better yet

He lives on my street!

Roses are red

Violets are green

You have a shape

Like a washing machine.

There are so many more to share with you but I will save that for another time. Maybe you remember some of these sayings: I hope so.

Sherry Hill

Saturday, April 16, 2011



With all the news of “going green, recycling and the urgency of not wasting and reusing, guess what? It is nothing new if you were born a baby boomer like me. Today’s younger set has no idea of what it was like when I was a kid or teenager at all. And if they did, they might be quite shocked and so here is my shock of what was done then.

When I was little and into my teenage years, there were no paper towels: They hadn’t been invented and what was used? Dish cloths, tea towels and clean washed old rags. Those rags cleaned up many a mess and were rewashed and rewashed till new ones had to be made. How were they made? People tore up old clean white sheets into pieces: Those pieces were the rags that were used.

Plastic hadn’t been invented yet either but there was vinyl. Everything was made out of wood, metal, glass, leather, fabric or vinyl. Drinking glasses were made out of glass as were pop bottles. I well remember my parents having a set of those different colored metal drinking glasses: Just to put my mouth to one set my teeth on edge! There were no Ziploc baggies yet and what was used? Bowls that were covered with plates that semi-fit. And there was aluminum foil which was greatly used.

Shoes were another story in itself as they were only made out of leather and so were sandals for girls. You had to take care of your shoes by polishing them with shoe polish that smelled to high heavens! I can remember polishing my brown and white saddle oxfords and trying not to get the white polish onto the brown part: Never did that well at all. When you went out to play, you had to wear your old school shoes and not the new ones: No one had tennis shoes at all except basketball players. We bought new shoe laces when the original ones wore out: Some were the norm while others became quite zingy! Worse was wearing those leather sandals because it never failed that I would step on a bee or get a stick caught in them. And guess what? You had to use white shoe polish on them too: That was the only color that they came in till I reached junior high when canvas flats came on the scene: What a welcomed relief that was if ever. There were patent leather shoes for women and girls but you had to put Vaseline on them and shine them or the patent leather would crack--- nothing like today’s patent leather at all.

Men’s shoes had to be polished and buffed. If the heels wore down, the shoes were taken to a shoe store so that they could have new heels put on them. But if the entire shoe bottom got bad, men had to have it replaced. Women’s heels had to have new heel tips put on: I couldn’t count the times I had that done as an older teenager.

Does anyone do this in today’s world? Of course not! People just go out and buy another pair of shoes and throw the old ones out. We didn’t: We kept the shoe repair stores in business.

One quirky thing I remember as a teenager was to go to the shoe repair shop and get taps put on my flats. Why? Everyone else was doing it—girls as well as boys. Guess we liked the sound we made as we walked the school halls. I can think of no other reason at all.

Back to things in the house: We had no cleaners like today. What was used was either homemade or bought at a store and the choices were limited. To clean windows you used window polish that came in a metal bottle: The polish was a pinkish-white. When you coated the windows with it, you let it dry and then you took a cleaning rag and wiped it off to see sparkling windows. There was furniture polish but nothing was in a spray can—yet! It like most everything else came in a glass bottle with the exception of Ajax, a cleaner that is still used today: It came in a metal can with holes on top.

Sweepers were kept for a long time and never replaced from what I remember. They were made to last forever it seemed. They were heavy, cumbersome and did have attachments but a broom was used lots of times even on the carpet or one of those push brush broom things. Kitchen floors were waxed and over a period of time, the wax had to be removed so that a new coat could be applied. No one seemed to replace their kitchen floors for they were expensive and well taken care of. I don’t ever remember seeing a sweeper set outside to be taken away: It just wasn’t done.

Most people had two sets of dishes: One for everyday use and one for special occasions. At my house, we had Fiesta for everyday use and oh how I loved those different colors: It just set my mind on fire. No one went out and bought extra anything such as bowls, platters or the like; you just used what you had.

Clothes were well taken care of and the ones made of wool were put away in the summer in a cedar chest or closet with moth balls [to this day I still love that smell.] If something got ripped, it was sewn and fixed and if kids outgrew their clothes, those clothes were either given away or passed down to other siblings. Clothing was not cheap then. But no one in my family ever darned anything such as socks: That was well before I was born. Still, socks and such were taken care of and sometimes worn even with a hole in the toe for your shoe covered it up. And you prayed that you wouldn’t have to take off your shoes less someone see that hole in your sock.

We didn’t have a television till I was about eight years old: They were so expensive and only the middle class could afford to buy one and it only showed things in black and white. Did we have to pay for services to our televisions? No! We all had antennas on our houses: They were huge metal things that looked like a huge kite gone wrong. But we had no cable and we had no bill. I remember when my next door neighbor got a colored television: The only colors it had were the primary colors of red, yellow and blue. Weird to look at. But if you had a black and white television, there was a fix for kids: There was a television show called “Winky Dink:” You could go to a hardware store or big store and get plastic with crayons to put over your television: You colored over that plastic and you could see color. Have we come a long way or what regarding televisions?

Phones were always black and you had to dial a number. All phone numbers when I was little had five digits whereas today we have more than ten to dial. And most families only had one phone. My family never did have a party line for which I was so grateful. A party line meant that you shared your phone line with a nearby neighbor and you never knew who it would be! I knew someone who had a party line and of course as a teenager, it was fun to eavesdrop on other’s conversations. By this time, phones started coming out in different colors and shapes: What a godsend that was. We had no cell phones much less ever thought of such a thing: We did what we were told to do as kids or teenagers [well, some didn’t] and knew what would be waiting for us if we didn’t mind—either a spanking or being grounded or worse.

Grocery stores only had paper bags: Plastic bags hadn’t come on the scene yet. Those bags were reused into things that held household goods or cut up by kids and made into artworks. And when you went to the grocery store, you would not find fifty varieties of baked beans: There were none. You had to buy pork and beans and make your own at home. Other beans came in cans but mostly they were in bags so that they could be cooked for long hours. In retrospect, there weren’t many choices when it came to buying canned food and there was only one mustard: It was the standard yellow type. There were no fast food restaurants because they hadn’t come on the scene yet. If you wanted to go out to eat, you went to a restaurant or got food at a drug store that had a soda fountain. When you were home, you ate what was served for dinner and if you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to eat it but I did know a lot of kids who were forced to eat yucky things: Glad I wasn’t one of them! No one had ever heard of pizza till I was in junior high school: You had to make it because it came in a box with the flour, sauce and cheese. Tacos? Alien as they weren’t around then either.

And neither were obese kids for we all played outside in all kinds of weather and we ran, jumped, played football or did the then-normal kid stuff. Staying inside was considered miserable. We made camps out of tree limbs, created our own playthings and saw the world from a different perspective.

I have witnessed so much in my life that has been invented and now, like others, I take it all for granted. We have become a throw- away society for we know that we can just go out and get more for after all, it’s cheap and easier than fixing the old. Or is it? Perhaps it is because today’s things are not made as well as they were when I was little. They were made to last at that time and that might be one big difference. When I go to the grocery store, I am more than baffled when I try to find a can of plain tomatoes: There is hardly such a thing but you will find fifty varieties of them. And yes, I have my cell phone with me and return home to watch a gazillion channels on my cable television. When I dial a regular phone number, it has at least ten numbers if not more. And let’s not forget computers for I am writing on one right now: How could we live without them in our lives? I did as a kid for I knew nothing of them.

Still, I find it hard to throw away things and if you did grow up in the time in which I did, you know exactly what I am talking about. It was the American spirit at that time to reuse, recycle and fix what you had. People were thrifty, conscious of their surroundings and what they used and wore. It’s a different world today and I don’t have to write that for you to know it is: We are in major overload of this and that and it gets tossed out and replaced. And therein is the sadness of it all for I knew a different time way back when. I can only hope that today’s push for “going green” takes hold for it just has to. So think about reusing, recycling and fixing what you have or the world will only be in a worse shape. You already have it: Use it!

Sherry Hill

Friday, April 15, 2011



I have come to the conclusion after surveying all of the sets of dishes I have as well as those that don’t match, that I indeed have a dish fetish. And so do two of my cousins: Therefore, it is genetic. Is that jumping to a conclusion? Maybe and maybe not for they too are overloaded in the dish category.

How many plates and the like should a person have? I once knew a man who only had four plates, four saucers, four bowls and four cups: His reasoning was that it was all he needed. Sensible? I suppose unless he had more than four people who were going to eat at his house and then he’d have been in trouble, to say the least. But his dishes didn’t take up much room at all.

Mine do and although I use a lot of them, some I have never used: I just like them [that is not a good thing.] My great great grandfathers’ middle name was “Meakin:” That is the same name of an English pottery factory. And oddly enough he was born in England. Maybe he is the one who had the “china” gene for it is on his line of ancestors that we have the dish fetish.

Whatever the reason I am sure that this gene will be passed onto my grandchildren: They just don’t know it yet for they are too young to care about dishes at this point in their lives. The gene skipped my mom, landed on me, skipped my sons so I know that my grandchildren have inherited it. And boy are they in for a lot of dishes is all I can say. If you have a dish fetish, I’d love to hear about it.

Sherry Hill



About fifteen years ago, I noticed that a mom robin had once again left her nest and flown away. The nest was located at the end of my then-carport and if I looked up, I could see it but not what was inside of it. Worried me and after a week or so, my husband and I decided to knock down the nest for it was evident that the mom was not coming back. Here I was in a dress and high heels and was standing behind my house as he was on the carport with a big stick getting ready to knock down the nest and I realized that I would be holding baby birds. That specific fact is not something I have ever wanted to do in my life!

All I could do was to spread my dress out and catch the birds: First one, then two and then three baby robins complete with their feathers were in the skirt part of my dress and I was holding tight. Horror set in for although I love birds, I didn’t want them that close. They were chirping and moving frantically. “Go get something to put these things in !” I screamed.

An eternity passed before he showed up with a metal washtub and a small screen: I was never so grateful in my life. We placed the three baby robins in the tub, covered them with the screen and brought it in the house. I was worried that my huge cat would immediately pounce upon them but he could have cared less. It was my dog, Prince, a huge part elkhound and part St. Bernard who went balistic when he heard the birds chirping. What to do with the tub of birds? We decided to put it on the dining room table [a bedroom had been converted to a dining room at that time] and close the door. One episode down but oh so many more to come.

My only prior experience with a bird was taking care of my grandmother’s parakeet and I remember feeding it but these were wild birds. Went online and read that to feed them you  had to use an eye dropper and give the babies egg yolk as well as water. Had that covered but trying to feed all three at once was harder than taking care of a real baby: They were all in a furor to see who could get fed first. I had also read that these robins had to have real meat; there was no way on earth I was going to hold worms much less go out and get them—ever!

We decided to use ground meow mix along with the egg yolk to start with and then proceded to use ground beef. Weeks passed and I was worn to a frazzle and my dog paced back and forth in front of the shut door: He was more than jealous. The cat remained austere. With all animals, there is always one who is the leader and one who is the runt: I taught at J. E. Robins Elementary and so I named the birds “J,” “E,” and “R.” “R” was the runt of the three. “J” was the leader and one who wanted to be fed first while “E” was just there.

By this time the birds were growing rapidly and were taking up most of the content of the small metal wash tub. Keeping the small screen on top of it was becoming a challenge as the robins’ beaks kept ramming it. No way did I want three birds flying around the dining room and escaping out into the house: There was already enough chaos going on with taking care of a dog and a cat. And so, we bought a bird cage and already had an old stand: The ever-growing robins were so relieved to be in a bird cage as was I.

The days were becoming warmer and warmer and we made the decision to take the bird cage with the stand outside. These three robins could now feel the air on them as well as hear other birds and they not only relished in it but wanted out! “J” was the biggest, “E” was somewhat smaller and “R” was tiny but all three were in good health bird-wise. We would bring them in for the night but when outside, one of us stayed with them. This went on for several weeks and then when outside in the cage, they started ramming the cage with their beaks till “J” had bloodied his: It was time to set them free. I knew it but my husband didn’t want to let them go.

Several days later, I was outside with the birds in the cage and I was alone. And I decided to let them go free. You can’t imagine how fast they flew out of that cage—they flew like lightning and then landed on the grass. I watched as each one went his or her separate way and hoped that some other “mom robin” would adopt them. But I was never to know for my yard was full of robins in the daytime and I couldn’t tell one from the other.

I had hoped that “J” or “E” or “R” would return to me just for a little while as if to say thank you but that never happened. Relieved that I was no longer caring for the three and yet feeling remorse for lettting them go, I knew in my heart that it was the best thing to do. It was an unforgettable experience and one that I would never repeat again even if it did save their lives for the next year, the same mom robin did the same thing: She flew off the nest and left the babies. By some miracle, another robin took care of them till they could fly out of the nest. That robin was a lifesaver in oh so many ways! And as for the mom robin who left her babies stranded twice, she should have been reported but to whom? Where were the “bird police” when you needed them? Wish I had known.

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


There was once a little girl who loved to write. She would write on paper and put it in envelopes and give them to her grandmother to put in the mail. Course they had no stamps on them but the little girl thought they would get to their destination. And to her shock as well as her grandmothers, those letters did arrive—as if by magic. Happened all of the time.

This little girl knew the mailman who delivered the mail: His was tall, handsome and his name was Mr. Haynes. She recognized him always for he carried a big leather mail bag and wore a uniform [no one delivered mail by truck then--they all walked their routes] almost exactly like the above picture. He always took time to talk to her and gave her the mail to take in; did he know that she adored him? Probably not and probably never did. She continued to write to people and as usual, these envelopes went into the mail and were received—still with no stamps on them she thought. She had started this at age four and by age eight, realized that there was no way a letter could be mailed without a stamp: Was it Mr.Haynes who helped these get delivered?

She didn’t even have a complete address on her envelopes and yet, they were received for people told her that they had gotten her letters.

Into her teenage years, she would see Mr. Haynes when she was at her grandmother’s house: He was his usual chipper self and still took away her breath. The thought of asking him if he were the one who put the stamps on those letters of her childhood entered her mind but by this time, she was reluctant to ask him.

One day she was at her grandmother’s house watching her grandmother work on a scrapbook; she had made at least 25 and this girl knew all of them by heart for she loved looking at them. But when she looked at what her grandmother was pasting onto a page, she was more than shocked: There was a letter that she had written when she was four or five. And it had a stamp on it!

“How did you get that letter Grannie?” asked the girl. “Mr. Haynes delivered it to me a long time ago. In fact, he delivered a lot of your letters.” She just couldn’t believe it and laughed hysterically! The secret was out finally although the girl suspected that the mailman had put stamps on her letters for no one else had. But she said nothing about it to Mr. Haynes as she felt embarrassed.

When the girl reached womanhood, married and became a mother, she lost her grandmother but she did inherit one third of those scrapbooks. While at her late grandmother’s house one day, she caught a glimpse of Mr. Haynes: He was of course older now and so was she. The fondness that she had for him still lingered only this time it was coupled with gratitude for what he had done: He had spent his own money to make a little girl happy.

Years went by and although her grandmother’s house was rented, she would see the mailman off and on should she be driving by and as always, they exchanged greetings. Then she quit seeing him and life got in the way as it can do. A couple of years ago, she asked a mailman friend of hers if Mr. Haynes were still alive and the answer was, “No.” Sadness set in for she never got to tell him how very grateful she was for what he had done for her so long ago.

You can guess that the little girl was me and I never quit writing on anything I could find. Those scrapbooks mean more to me than words can ever say that I inherited for those letters are in there pasted by my grandmother and stamped by Mr. Haynes: He was more than a mailman! He was a magician to a little girl and a man who truly cared about seeing someone happy. I will never forget him ever. How could I?

Sherry Hill


If you read my story about uppity people, then you know that fakey ones really get to me. Class is not something that you can buy: You can acquire it and maintain it but no way can you fake it. Class doesn’t come on one level; it comes on many levels be it low-income, middle-income or high-income.

The most prime example of a person who faked class was “Mrs.Drysdale” on the Beverly Hillbillies! Yes, she wore the pearls and dressed the part but did she have class? Of course she was a television character but still how she portrayed herself left you knowing that she was faking it due to the fact the her husband was a bank president and she realized his importance as well as hers. Even the tone of her voice was uppity when she spoke to Jed Clampet or anyone she felt was beneath her standing.

Several years ago I was at a person’s house: She was pointing out all the real crystal she had [I have my own] and then I looked at her coffee table: It had a glass top and inside I saw three empty boxes of Godiva chocolate. I have never seen anyone do such a thing. She could see my eyes on those empty boxes and said, “Oh those were given to me as gifts.” Hm? I said nothing but giggled inside myself—oh my.

Another example was when I was invited to a dinner with my first husband. The woman who had the dinner had also invited a local doctor and his wife to join us. The table was lovely set with fine china, silverware and paper napkins. What class faux pas? She always tried to pretend that she was extremely wealthy and the conversation that night went from one “rich” thing to another. Tell you one thing: The doctor and his wife were not impressed. And the paper napkins were a dead giveaway of no class—that is if you are having a very formal sit-down dinner.

I am not inferring that paper napkins are wrong as I use them a lot but they have their place.

Some of my friends are very wealthy and they don’t put on any acts: They are as down home as they come. And in no way have they ever attempted to be fakey which shows that they have class. They don’t brag about what they have or do [although it is apparent that they do have wealth] and that is what class is all about—it’s being real and mannerly. When people are putting on an act trying to be classy, they get a fake tone in their voice. It becomes high-pitched and you can certainly hear it and recognize it—every time, whether it’s a male or a female. And they use huge words which no one has ever heard of before. This has always left me wondering, “What on earth?” And wishing I had brought along a dictionary to look up those weird words.

When you are out and about be on the look for the “Mrs. Drysdale” types or men who act like she did or do you have to look for people like this? Probably not and they are so pathetic!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



We are all affected by color: How can we not be for it encompasses everything in our lives. Some colors appeal to us while others send us over the edge. It’s a matter of personal taste; if you were to see my four red rooms [they are painted a cherry red] you might jump with fright and yet, to me this color is soothing. But my living room is a light tan, kitchen a hunter green and hallway an olive green: All of these colors are ones that I love and also wear a lot.

Ochre is a yellowish-brown color and one that I sometimes wear, use in artworks and instantly recognize when I see coffee with some cream. But when this color is on walls, it really bothers me. And I can tell you two specific reasons as to why it does: When I was about four, some relatives took me to an elderly woman’s house to visit. The minute I walked into this woman’s living room, I noticed the colors of the walls: They were ochre. Had no idea of the color name at that age but the more I stayed in that room with the woman and my relatives, the more frightened I got.

And so, I associated my fear of her and that room with the color. Later on as a teenager, I watched “Gone With The Wind” and the minute I saw the death scene of Scarlett’s mother, there came that sense of fright all over again to me for the lighting in that scene was ochre. Disturbed all over again.

No matter how many times I have seen this movie [ forty times would be a guess,] when that scene appears, I can’t watch it. It’s a throw back to when I was four and in that living room with the ochre walls. The coffee you see in this pot is one hue of ochre and if you were to add just a little bit more yellow, that’s the disturbing color I am referring to.

Color is a personal taste and something that at times we can’t control for we are forced to sit in rooms or see buildings around us. But we can control it in our surroundings and I will tell you that no way, no how will I ever have any walls in my house painted “ochre:” Never have and never will. I will paint with this color for it is one that is found in nature and is always around us. I will wear it for I like the color on me but to have it envelope me in a room is disturbing and brings a pall over my feelings. And you know the two reasons as to why. Bring on the color but never bring on “ochre” in my house!

Sherry Hill

Sunday, April 10, 2011



The year was 1991 and for starters, we had one blizzard after another to ring in this year. One was so bad that none of us had an electric for a week and the temperatures were below freezing. It seemed as if the snowstorms would never end as they were relentless through some of March. All of us were so glad the snow was over to say the least and welcomed spring with open arms!

Spring was joyous and as it can do, it gave all of us a sense of well-being and hope. And yes, I was teaching school—second grade and I had two co-teachers. We had spent one year prior to this year of writing units for our “Whole Language” reading program as there were none for our grade level. There were many times when the three of us didn’t leave till well past 8 p.m.—mostly like every single week night. We would find poetry and short stories that fit out units [such as Homes, March, Weather and so forth] and then make copies and I had to type what we had written. The three of us made such a good team as we got along great and really concentrated to make the units a success.

Came May and we had just finished the “Weather” unit: To culminate it, all three of us showed the movie, “The Wizard of Oz” that specific day. The students loved it as did we and the main purpose of it was to watch for weather in it. When dismissal time came, it was sunny and hot and almost a cloudless sky. But we couldn’t leave for we had to work on another unit; that meant another long evening of work.

My classroom was on the back of the building and we were all across the hall in one teacher’s room that faced the street. I had to go to my room to get a book and saw a substitute janitor running the sweeper on the carpet in my room. All of a sudden, I heard a noise that sounded like a freight train was coming: I ran to my windows only to see a huge black cloud come crashing by. The janitor jerked the cord out of the wall and ran out of the school, leaving us all three stranded. Rushed across the hall where my two co-teachers were only to witness something I had never seen: A tornado! The trees were bent down the ground, little dogs that lived down the block from school were flying in the air and trees started crashing everywhere.

I could look way up the hill and see my house! And I saw my forty foot pine tree crash on my house, watched my fence go down like toothpicks and told my friends that I was leaving right then! “No way” they echoed. And they grabbed me and forced me out into the hall with them. [In retrospect, I am so glad I didn’t attempt to go home!] So here we were out in the hall for what seemed like an eternity. Curious me wanted to go to my room on the back and look and they came along with me. The destruction that we saw was unbelievable! The heavy swing set was knocked down, trees were everywhere and the electric had gone off in the school and elsewhere.

The tornado was over and although it lasted several minutes or longer, it seemed like it had gone on forever and ever.

The three of went down the stairs and out of the school to see utter chaos and the parking lot and street littered with trees and other things. I’m not sure how they got home but I couldn’t get up my hill to my house: I had to drive around and around till I could get my car through a small path. There was no electric but all you could hear was the sound of chain saws that men were using to cut up the trees that blocked the streets. This sound would go on for weeks upon weeks.

School was out for a week as there was no electric and downed stop lights, power lines, trees and massive damage in Charleston. It was determined that the wind was well over 100 mph and the first tornado to hit our town [we would have another one several years later but not as bad] and all people could do was to drive around, if possible, and survey the damage. Some neighborhoods were spared while others got the full impact of the tornado.

When things returned to some normalcy, we were back in school and people were back to work. I will never ever forget the look on my students’ faces when they entered the classroom for like me, they too had been in a state of shock the week before. The first thing I said was,” I think that it was a very bad idea to show that movie, “The Wizard of Oz!” One little girl said, “No you shouldn’t have and I don’t ever want to see that movie again!”

What a strange twist of fate that my two co-teachers and I would have shown that movie at the end of the “Weather” unit and then be caught at school during a real live tornado. We were the very first teachers in Kanawha County to have “sheltered in place” and I never wanted to live through that again ever nor did they.

Our next unit was “Animals:” We were extremely afraid to start it as the circus was in town. After all, you never know what might have happened!

Sherry Hill

Saturday, April 9, 2011



With considering all the brilliant, devious minds we had in high school, I don't know how we missed this one.

At a high school in Montana, a group of students played a prank. They let three goats loose inside the school.

But before turning them loose, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats: 1, 2, and 4.

School Administrators spent most of the day looking for No. 3.

*I got this in an email and whether it’s true or not, it’s funny.

Sherry Hill


As an only child, I always bought my mom something that she really liked every single Mother’s Day—that is till I decided to buy her something live, like a hamster! You would have to have known my mom: She had a beautiful apartment, didn’t like clutter and never had a pet for she couldn’t as by the rules. I was eight months pregnant with my first son and was downtown: Not sure how I got around but I did. And all of a sudden I had an epiphany—I would buy my mom a hamster for Mother’s Day! In retrospect, it had to be the “mothering instinct” that drove me to buy this animal.

I went into a dime store [those are way gone] and walked downstairs huffing and puffing and spied the hamsters. Found one that was tan and white, quite like the photo and paid for it. Then, I had to buy a cage for it as well as food. Carrying the cage with the hamster inside of it must have looked ridiculous since I was eight months pregnant.

It was about ten blocks from downtown Charleston to my mom’s apartment and it was March. The day was nice but after one block, I was in terrible pain trying to carry that hamster, cage and all. Heaven only knows how I made it to her apartment, but I did. There were two sets of doors to go through to get to her place and each time, I had to set down the cage and ring the bell. Seemed like an eternity till she finally opened the door.

You should have seen the look on her face! “What is that thing?!” she asked. I couldn’t speak as I was so out of breath; went into her apartment, sat down and placed the hamster, cage and all on her lovely glass-topped Chippendale coffee table. Sitting down was no easy task for me much less for what would ensue. My mom went ballistic on me, telling me that she couldn’t have pets [“How would your landlord know?” I asked her] and besides, she’d never pick one of those things! She didn’t even know what it was till I told her.

I thought I’d give her some time with the hamster and called my then-husband to come and get me and take me home. By this time, it was about six in the evening and I was not feeling well.

The thought of calling my mom entered my mind but so did the thought of hearing her scream at me and so, I didn’t call her till the next day. “How’s the hamster doing?” I asked in a not so strong voice. “The thing bit me and I took it back! It was up all night long going round and round and made a mess.”

My heart sunk for I thought I had given her something that she would learn to love and it would be company for her. Wrong!

That was a long time ago and my mom died ten years ago. It hit me after she died, that I no longer had a mom or could give her a gift for Mother’s Day. If that has happened to you, you know the feeling. Of all the gifts I ever gave her for that specific day, I always think back to the hamster episode and realize how dumb it was on my part to buy her something like that.

Let me forewarn you: Always ask first if your mom wants something living for a gift for Mother’s Day or you will be in big trouble like I was. And if she says no, abide by her wishes. Trust me, I know what happens if you don’t!

Sherry Hill

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Violets are my favorite flower: They’re free, have a faint smell and are easy to find—except in my yard. My yard has never had a single violet, ever. Other yards in my neighborhood have them and hardly any of the people who have violets could care less and yet, here I am the one who loves them and has none.

That’s more than strange. Or maybe that’s what happens to people who love them—they aren’t near for some odd reason.

Picking a bunch of them is no easy task if you happen to stumble upon those with short stems: You wind up bent over and have a hard time straightening up! Picking a bunch of them with long stems is no easy task either but it’s not quite as hard. Personally, I’d rather have someone pick them for me—preferably a young kid who would probably delight in doing it [probably not!]

Violets have that beautiful color [some are almost white,] shape and are dainty. Yes, they are abundant this time of year but like the things we want the most, they are fleeting. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may?” I don’t think so! It should be “Gather ye violets while you can.” I’ve got mine right now in a little glass bowl and in a matter of days they will be gone. And I didn't pick them either-- my granddaughter did. Best of all, they were free!

Sherry Hill



I love old movies—you know, the ones that are mostly black and white. If you would have asked me a long while back if I did, I would have said, “No!” Of course I had seen a lot of them as a teenager and onward but it wasn’t till several years ago that I developed a great interest in them and my reasons are tenfold.

Love looking at the set designs in these movies: They are actually “time capsules” for each period. One of my most favorite set designs is the big room in the movie, “The Picture of Dorian Gray:” It is simply breathtaking, in black and white and has perfect symmetry. And it’s art deco as well which is a period I love to see in sets, clothing or objects.

The clothing that the actors and actresses wear in these old movies fascinate me: Always perfect and of the specific period. And nothing like today at all as these performers were impeccably dressed and their hair was perfect for that time. Men wore handkerchiefs in their coat pockets and were suave. Women were dressed to the nines and always perfectly coiffed. You don’t see that today in movies unless you watched “The King’s Speech:” It was a period movie and yes, the actors and actresses of course were dressed for that time.

It’s fun to look at the type of cars in these movies and wonder how they made it in chase scenes or the like. But if you’ve ever watched “Topper,” you saw that jazzed-up sports car and it did make it even after a colossal wreck. After watching this movie many times as well as the sequels, I had to go online to see what type of car that was: It was specially altered to look as it did. And definitely not on the market.

Harold Lloyd movies are some of my favorites as he was a master of comedy as well as his own stuntman. From his silent movies to the “talkies” he was more than an actor: He was a genius.

I could go on and on about black and white movies—I love “The Thin Man” and the series that followed. In reality, watching these old movies is an escape into a past that I didn’t know but have come to recognize. Isn’t that what movies are supposed to do in the first place? Transport us to another place? Old movies definitely do that. If you haven’t watched any, give it a try. You might get hooked just like I did and you will watch far more than the movie.

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


If you haven't seen this live cam of a mom eagle on her nest, take a look! The live video is from Decourah, Iowa. Amazing times we live in when we can watch the birth of baby eagles right on our computer screen! I saw one baby eagle attempt to get out from underneath the mom but she nudged it back under. Not sure how many she has had but supposedly there is one more egg left to be hatched.

Once I raised three newborn robins and trust me, that was no easy task on my part or my husband's part: Birds know instinctively what to do. Humans do not. Those baby robins required more care than my cat or dog. Wore me out but at least they were saved, raised and released.

Not busy? Take a look at the mom eagle: I am! Want to see if she's hatched the remaining egg.
Catch you later!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Everything was going just fine computer-wise until my camera wasn’t recognized by my computer. That fact led me to contact the tech support part of the company who made my camera and after an hour of uninstalling their software and reinstalling it, I was ready to explode.
Having done this before, after forty minutes with the tech rep on the phone, I told her that I could finish the rest on my own as it showed that there were only six more minutes left to finish the download. Hung up and that six minutes changed to twenty-nine minutes in a flash and I waited and waited and then the installation locked up: It just froze on my screen.
Everything I tried didn’t work and I gave up—for a while; then, I got mad and deleted the download and reinstalled the program with my disc. Guess what? That didn’t work either. And on top of that problem, I couldn’t get online.
This is now day three and counting. I have done the necessary clean ups, deleted temporary files and cleared up unnecessary files. I have called my internet provider [I use broadband but also a different server] a while ago and the tech support woman and I chatted back and forth for a long time [she was patient!] but to no avail. Even uninstalled and reinstalled a different version of their software which I wanted and again, it is not working.
You know how I feel if you have been in one of these frenzies and attempt to fix it no matter what—you try this and then you try that. Well, the “that” is not working and neither am I at this point. Today is Wednesday and I am taking a day off from technical frustration: I am worn out from it all. Scarlett said, “Tomorrow is another day!” I’m taking her words literally and not thinking about any of this today at all.
But on tomorrow I am calling in the troops. Some things you just can’t do by yourself or with expertise advice over the phone. My camera will work with my computer and I will be able to access my internet server by hook or crook! Meanwhile, send some good karma my way—I need it!

Sherry Hill

Monday, April 4, 2011


On Thursday I went to a Walgreen's just to buy bread:  They had none. Friday I went without it, thinking that I could get some the next day. The next day came all right and so did my thirteen year old granddaughter. We went out to eat and stopped at Walgreen's only to find out that there had been a run on bread. They had none! It was getting late and we both decided that we'd get it on Sunday.
You can live without  bread only so long and yes, I did have crackers. But I kept spying my jar of Jif peanut butter and wishing that there were bread in the house and there wasn't.

Sunday morning came and my granddaughter and I went outside and did splatter painting a al "Jackson Pollack:" This time she was teaching me and it was a blast.  After we finished that, which took about an hour as we both did two artworks, she said, "Now where are we going?" "Let's go to Magic Island." I agreed with her as the day was beautiful and warm. "Magic Island" is a piece of land that over the years grew larger and larger as it is attached to the riverbank. To get there, you have to park your car, walk across a four lane boulevard and then go down a concrete path [or steps] to the flat piece of land that is by the Kanawha River.

In the past, I've always packed a picnic lunch and taken cold Pepsi or Coke. But I had no bread! And there was one Pepsi left and that meant that we would have to go to a convience store to get some hotdogs and something to drink. Off we went to the favorite place that we both liked and guess what? Once inside, we looked over to the counter where the hotdogs and barbecues are fixed and there was a sign: "Food is not served on Sunday!" Had that sign ever been there before on a Sunday? Of course not. And my granddaughter had two loaves of bread in her hand as well as a cube of Pepsi: We didn't get the bread or the Pepsi cube but just some chips and got back in the car. We were really close to Magic Island but had no food as such.

Brilliant idea I thought: "Let's go to 7-11." They always have hotdogs there. After driving out of our way and getting inside the store, we saw a huge crowd of "after church" people. As we inched our way over to where the hotdogs were being cooked, we noticed that there was only one hotdog! And a woman had pulled out the bun drawer underneath to discover that there were no buns at all! Again, I had my granddaughter get two loaves of bread and she started to get a cube of Pepsi when I heard some man in front of the counter say, "You mean you're not accepting credit cards?!" The registers would not take cards. People were livid as was I. "Only taking money" said a girl behind the counter.

Setting my pocketbook down on the counter, I scrambled to find my billfold and in it was seventy-five cents in cash. And so, my granddaughter had to put back the bread and the cube of Pepsi--again.
We left there and by now I was beginning to think that there was some kind of "bread conspiracy" going on: How many places could you either not find bread, change your mind or not be able to use your credit card?
Back into the car again, I told my granddaughter that we would just drive through Arby's: It was back the other way but close to Magic Island.
Thank heavens we got food! Each of us got a roast beef sandwich, curly fries and large Pepsis.

I found a place to park near the boulevard, we got out and took our food with us, walked across the four lane boulevard and descended down the walkway to the island. Finding a bench way across near the river was a blessing! I was near maniac-stage by this time. And it was so good just to sit down, enjoy the view and eat! We devoured our food and stayed a long time either taking pictures or going down to the river. After an hour and a half, we decided to leave.
But the path we had walked down was farther away as we had moved down the island to a bench we both liked; my car was parked almost straight across from a huge flight of concrete steps.

Rock Balboa came into mind as I attempted to climb those fifteen or so steps: I felt like him only I wasn't running up them. I was barely making it up those steps and my granddaughter was way ahead of me. When I got to the top, it was hard for me to catch my breath: High steps and I don't agree with each other.
Both of us made it across the four lane and to my car and when we got inside, I had to rest--those steps had almost done me in and I didn't have on my normal high heels either!

At this point I remembered the bread quest and so we went back to the first place we had gone and got two loaves of bread and that Pepsi cube, put them in the car and headed off for more places to go and see.
By this time, I was running out of gas--figuratively and literally. We were almost home when I told her that I thought we should try the 7-11 again: Maybe their cash registers were taking credit cards by now.
Mad dash back there and lo and behold, the registers were fixed. She pumped my gas and we headed off to three more places. The day was still glorious, we had on the ac and the sun roof was open. My Black Eyed Peas cd "The End" was playing so loud that my back window was shaking but I didn't care! It felt great. And she loved it too.

Once home, she dragged in the bread for me as well as the Pepsi cube and I collapsed into a heap.
I'm not really sure what transpired after that but she did have to leave around six p.m. as she had school the next day.
The two loaves of bread were visible and guess what? I was too tired to even fix a sandwich!
Still I think that from Friday to Sunday that there was a "bread conspiracy" going on but I was so glad it was over despite the fact that we had to go to a gazillion places to get it. Some days are like that you know? But three days in a row was more than strange.
But all ended well and I had spent two glorious days with my granddaughter and that made it all worthwhile--bread or no bread.

Sherry Hill