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Sunday, December 16, 2012


From the minute I heard the news about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, I could not stop thinking about it. Numb and in disbelief and then reality set in for I was an elementary school teacher—a fact which made this evil seem even closer to me. It could have happened at my school. It could have been my class or other students. But thank God, it wasn’t. But for those little babies to have died in such a way is unthinkable to anyone. The principal, counselor and other teachers that lost their lives were heroes. And none of them had a chance for there is no chance when someone is wielding an assault gun. None.

I have had prior students that were documented over and over due to their violent behavior and some who were sullen were also documented by me. Yes, the principal knew about them and meetings were held to discuss this abnormal behavior and plans were laid out for courses of action. Were the parents notified? Yes but did most show up for the meetings? No or if they did, they were nonchalant about their children’s behavior. I followed these students as they progressed through my school and into middle school. Some changed but for the most part, their behavior only intensified into the danger zone. Again, teachers and administrators documented this behavior on permanent record cards and other mandated school documents.

Lost track of some of these students who by the way were all males—odd but true. Six of them turned out to be imprisoned. Did I know that would happen? Yes as did the teachers before and after me who had them predicted their fate which came true, sadly. And sadly, why weren't these students' permanent record cards checked yearly for intensifying violent behavior or that which was out of the norm? Principals and teachers checked them but any criminal sector of society cannot for these students are considered minors and it's illegal to look at these record cards. It is time for the privacy act towards these documents be changed for lives could be saved. That is out of my control: The law needs changed toward this and now. Perhaps you are not aware of this privacy act but I urge you to think about the consequences of it and having it changed. Only those in the federal government can act on changing the privacy act re students' permanent record cards.

I want to say that if you have a child that is misbehaving out of the norm, please see it as a big red flag. Getting help for him or her is nothing to be ashamed of but rather an act of helping them survive and cope in today’s world. My own sons went to the school where I taught and I told every teacher that they had to please let me know if anything irregular came up: I wanted to know. Yes, many kids change for the better with help and vigil. But others fall through the cracks and become more violent. The students I had that became imprisoned had major documented accounts on their permanent record cards.

There is no undo button on what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday. It was the most heinous and evil act ever and I grieve over those that lost their lives as do you. A normal mind does not premeditate such horror or act it out. I weep for the little lives lost as well as the adult ones.

May God have mercy on the souls that perished that day. I will never forget it nor will you. Keep your children to your heart, tell them that you love them and hope that this horror is never repeated. 

Sherry Hill

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Seems like the other day it was just Halloween. Of course, I said that last year about this time too. Time has a way of flying the older you become. When I was little and in school it seemed like it took forever for any holiday to arrive. And waiting for summer vacation took years in kid time. Well it’s not kid time anymore and I am sure that you readers know exactly what I mean by that remark. Days, weeks, months and years now whiz by as if some huge hand is pushing them faster and faster.

This very minute my Christmas decorations are outside and so is the white pumpkin I just had to have for Halloween. Magazines and sites on facebook featured white pumpkins; had to have one. And there it sits out there no doubt petrified. But I just got it the other day it seems. And so it will go by the wayside literally—I will throw it over the hill and hope that some critters devour it. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t or maybe it will retain its appearance and be useable again next year. Doubtful.

Right now I feel the rush to make my Christmas cards which I do every year: It’s a daunting task to make each handmade and different but I do it. And I can’t put that off or people will receive them in February if I don’t get started.

Shopping? A lot was done online and a lot will be paintings or the like. Decorating inside? I’ve done that and have huge messes in three rooms with decorations I decided not to use—all of that has to go back to the basement. I am definitely feeling the rush on my part for there is so much to do and time will zing by! It does that you know. Christmas is upon us and yes, I’ll be ready for I’ll get into that panic mode that makes me hurry to get it done. Anymore it seems like panic is what makes me get anything done that is necessary—do you get that way? Things will get done in time for the holiday and I will also be done—done in that is. Nothing new on my part as I can do this dauntless task I keep telling myself. Next year I am going to prepare for Christmas the day after Halloween. That’s a promise for time goes too fast for me. Why it was just July the other day; I swear it was.

Sherry Hill

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I was eight years old when my parents decided to move to St. Albans, West Virginia. Was not that far from where we did live but it was a whole new wonderful world to me. There were actually houses all around me and so many kids to play with that I was sure it was the closest thing to heaven. And being the explorer that I was born to be, I explored every nook and cranny in the neighborhood.

Right across the street from us was a big white two story house that was inhabited by an elderly woman, her husband and her sister. The elderly woman was in a wheelchair and it was the first time I ever saw a person in one. All three of these people treated me as if I were their own. My parents became fast friends with them as well. Sally was the sister of the elderly woman and I thought she was ancient. No doubt she was no more than forty but she appeared ancient to me. And she was a little strange. Maybe it was because she lived with them I thought to myself or maybe it was that she was rather homely but she had an aura about her that was downright scary.

By some circumstance, my parents decided to take a trip to Pence Springs and they asked Sally if she would like to go. Of course, she jumped at the chance and I remember having to sit in the back of the car with her. She was seated behind my dad who was driving and I was sitting behind my mom and clinging to the side of the car. I had no idea how far way Pence Springs was nor did I know at that time what the place was famous for but I was about to find out the answer to both. I kept glancing over at Sally: She had on those old type of stockings that looked like leg warmers to me and laced up black shoes. Reminded me of the teachers I had and that too scared me.

The trip seemed to take forever and ever. Not sure that we stopped at all along the way.  I found out why we were going when my parents discussed with Sally that sulfur water was plentiful there and that a woman at our church had a sister who was a warden at a women’s state prison! And where was that prison? It was in Pence Springs. I knew the word “prison” and that was enough to conjure up more fear: First it was fear of Sally and now it was fear of going to a prison. My heart raced. We finally got to the prison and as soon as we all got out of the car, we were headed to the front door of a huge brick house near it. I remember my mom knocking on the door and a lovely older woman came out and greeted us. She was the warden of the prison.

We got the full tour and all I remember were women making jewelry out of coal. I knew what coal was for my mom worked for a coal company as an executive secretary. But I had never seen a coal mine in my life. Those women prisoners seemed to have a hundred sets of eyes that stared right through me—ah another fear aside from Sally.

As for the sulfur water, I had never seen it or smelled it before in my life. After we left the prison, we went somewhere that had a building and outside were lots of glass gallon jugs. Enough right there to set an eight year old mind’s ablaze with all types of thoughts. My dad stopped the car and again, we all got out. Right then and there I knew what sulfur water smelled like! It smelled like rotten eggs and I thought I’d throw up my insides. Some old weathered looking man approached us and asked if we’d like to tour the place. I wanted to run away to anywhere but to go in there but did I have a choice? No much to my disdain.

The tour seemed like it lasted days and days. The smell was overwhelming and gagging.  When we departed that building, Sally insisted on filling up two gallon jugs of that horrid sulfur water. My parents declined thank heavens. I suppose I should add an important fact here and that is that long ago and perhaps today, many people found sulfur water to be healing of a multitude of ailments. The well-known resort, The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, was famous for its sulfur water and still is to this day.

I’m think we had lunch at the warden’s home before we toured that sulfur building. And as we got in the car, Sally insisted upon having those two gallon jugs of that nasty smelling stuff with her in the back seat and of course, I was sitting on the other side of her—way on the other side of her. The trip back took us on many windy roads for they are prevalent all over West Virginia. About an hour later, those jugs rolled all over the floor of the backseat and one crashed into the other spewing out that horrid rotten egg smelly liquid all over the car and all over my feet. Windows were rolled down instantly and instantly my dad stopped the car and we all got out. It was downright horrible. And we were in the middle of nowhere.

My mom used tissues to wipe my feet but that did not help the prevailing smell coming from the car. The day was hot as Hades and there was no choice but to get back into the car and for my dad to drive us back home. There was no car air conditioning then so you can imagine how awful it was. Sally had a death grip on the surviving jug of sulfur water and I had my head out of the window on my side. Seemed like we were never going to get home and I was getting sicker by the minute. The car was now permeated with that horrid smell.

My dad had to make three stops for me to get out of the car and one for my mom. Sally never did get out the car until we arrived home and that arrival seemed to take months. The minute my dad stopped the car, I jumped out and ran to our front door; right close behind me was my mom. Unfortunately my dad had to walk Sally across the street with that surviving gallon jug of the nastiest smelling stuff in the world.

Thank God the trip was on a Saturday for at least I did not have to miss school that coming Monday. I was sick the rest of the weekend—car sick and sick from smelling sulfur water. And having to sit beside Sally all that time did not help matters either. To me, that entire trip was a disaster in every way, shape and form—a scary woman, seeing women prisoners, that horrid smelling water and a day that was as hot as Hades. That was my first and last trip in my life to Pence Springs, West Virginia. Albeit it is a nice place to visit when one is an adult and when one is living in today’s world but then? It was a trip I never ever forgot. Wish I could forget it.

Sherry Hill

Epilogue: Eight years after this trip, my parents and I learned that Sally’s sister had died. And what did Sally do? She married her brother-in-law! Maybe there was something rejuvenating in that sulfur water after all. But I never want to find out if it’s true or not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Every home around me has a back deck with the exception of one house: It has a front porch. What was it that inspired everyone to build a deck on that back of their houses? To get away from it all is my surmise. The whole time I have lived in my house, I always wanted a deck out back; got it when this house was remodeled and loved sitting there. It was like being in the woods and ever so peaceful. Then it became too peaceful for I see no one unless people are here with me.

Within the last several years, I have seen photographs of front porches and I was instantly taken back to my grandparent’s house for it had a huge one. Everyone in the family sat out there when weather permitted and people would stop by and talk about this or that. “Visiting” it was called and that’s not done in today’s world much if at all. Trust me, I was a visitor to just about everyone’s front porch in my grandparent’s neighborhood. Kids played on them, people discussed events and problems and even ate out there. It was a wonderful mecca for happy or lonely people.

I would compare a front porch to therapy in today’s world. And no, I haven’t had therapy but thinking back to front porches, so many problems were solved on them, friendships made and  they were places to just drop by. Oh I see a lot of them on much older homes in my city and have such a desire to go and sit down on one. But since I don’t know the inhabitants that would not be a safe thing to do in today’s world. Still I linger for a front porch as no doubt many others do as well. Being out behind one’s house on a deck is not interacting with people. It’s isolation at its finest.

And yet in today’s troubled world, unless you lived in a gated neighborhood, a deck is about the only place you have to get away from it all and feel safe. Therein is the shame of it all. Who wouldn’t love to sit on a front porch and talk to passing neighbors? It certainly would heal a lot of wounded people in that they could talk about their problems instead of hiding them deep inside. At least I have my memories of my childhood spent on a front porch and they will stay with me forever. It was nirvana. It was the rule and not the exception.

If you have a front porch, count yourself lucky for you see day by day the passing people, pets and know what is going on in your neighborhood. I mourn not having one built onto my house when it was remodeled—I got a back deck instead. What was I thinking?

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Picture from zetsydishes.com

A friend and I were talking about how much we love Fiesta Ware and how much the both of us have. Not much here on my part but enough to make me have happy memories of my parents having the whole set of it when I was six. My mom’s male cousin had given us the set and to me, it was like looking a huge box of crayons only they were dishes. My eyes were full of wonderment and awe. Seemed to me that every color in the rainbow and then some were in those dishes, pitchers, cups, saucers and in the salt and pepper shakers. It was love at first sight on my part.

As a child I loved drinking milk from a purple cup one day and then an orange one the next day. That was and is the beauty of Fiesta Ware: You never get tired of it because there are so many colors. I can still see our kitchen table set ablaze with those dishes—it was breathtaking.

My parents had that set forever and then for no reason at all, my mom decided to give them back to her cousin. I was heartbroken. Why didn’t she ask me is a question I will always have for there is no one to answer that now. So long ago.  Her cousin moved to Florida and took the Fiesta Ware set with him and heaven only knows what he did with it. Probably sold it.
I did learn that Fiesta Ware was made in West Virginia where I have always lived and it is still in production through the Homer Laughlin Company. But the really old pieces such as we had are either retired or highly sought after by collectors. Google it and see what old Fiesta Ware is worth: You might just be surprised or perhaps you already know the answer.

There is no use in crying over spilled milk as the saying goes but I will say that I owe my love of color to those Fiesta Ware dishes: They sung to me and released creativity in me like nothing else. Since then color has been a high point in my life in decorating and in my paintings. Funny how inanimate objects can produce such an effect on a child and now an adult but they did. And so I owe a huge thank you to the Homer Laughlin Company for producing them in the first place and to my mom’s cousin for giving us that rainbow set. I am forever grateful for who likes dull? Count me out on that.

Sherry Hill


It was a Friday evening in May and the finale of Dallas was coming on. Like everyone else in the world at that time, I just had to see what J. R. would do. My then-husband was out of town and I had taken my older son to work at Kroger’s: He was a cashier. I said it to him: “You have the house key right?” “Yeah” he replied in a hurry.” Then I rushed home, picked up my younger son and four of his friends and dropped them off at the downtown Cinema 7. Kept looking at my watch: It was 7:00 and I knew I had time to go back to Kroger’s and get a ton of groceries. The house was empty of food. Anyone who has had two sons knows all about that!

Something told me not to buy a month’s worth of groceries. Maybe it was the impending doom that would come down on me but whatever, I’m glad that I only got about five bags of food. Rushed home, searched in my pocketbook and found no house key! It was getting dark so I headed back to Kroger’s and had to get the manager to get my son off of the cash register. “Where’s the house key?” I asked him frantically. “I don’t have it. Kevin does.” Kevin, my younger son, was at the movies.

I ran to my car and head uptown to Cinema 7 and parked in front. Knew full well that my son and his friends were inside but ah the cell phone wasn’t invented yet. I asked at least three people to go to the manager and page Kevin. Sat outside hysterical. No one came back to tell me a thing. I couldn’t park right there and the parking building was too scary [even then] so I rushed home. Went to a neighbor’s house and called a man whom I knew—you’d know the name if I were to write it—and he sent the police to my house. It was now dark and I met the police and they used my credit cards and who knows what else but couldn’t get in the house! The frozen groceries were melting and so was I. By now I was in a major panic mode. The police called the fire department and it wasn’t long till a huge fire truck came roaring up my hill and stopped by the side of my house. My neighbor’s boyfriend had come over in the meantime with a six foot ladder [like that’d help with a two story house] and he had a drink in his hand. He was no help at all and he was bombed.

I explained the situation to the two firemen and I have to say that I was still dressed from teaching school: I had on a dress and high heels. The minute one of the firemen put the huge ladder up the back of the house by my younger son’s bedroom window, my dog started barking and growling.  “We think you should climb the ladder” said one fireman.  “Oh great” I thought. Had to take off my heels and climb that metal ladder while those two firemen held it steady. Each rung killed my feet. When I got to the top, one of them shoved me through the double window and I slid over the metal frame and wound up on a big table in my son’s room. I was hysterical by now.

The two firemen removed the ladder and came around to the front of my house to be sure I was all right. Was I? No way! And I still had to go out and retrieve the soggy groceries. Did that and looked at the clock and it was 11:00! I had missed Dallas and even worse, where was the house key? Meandering around the house in a panic mode, I had to find that key because I had to pick up both sons and those friends as well. And what would I see on the kitchen table? The blasted house key. And one son said he had it. Oh sure, not.

I crammed what groceries I could that had to go in the fridge and set off to get my sons. The whole thing was like some nightmare. Had missed the show, had to climb through a metal window and even worse was that I had on a dress. Mortififed. I’m sure that I passed out after all this going on. I was thankful that my friend had called the police even if they couldn’t get in the house but more thankful that the firemen helped me get inside.
This all happened on a Friday night—one I never forgot ever. The next week was the patrol trip for the sixth graders at my school and since I was the acting principal, I called as I always did at that time and asked if the fire department would send the same two firemen as they had done the year before. “No problem” said the voice on the other end. Well the fire truck came to Robins all right and so did the two firemen: I now knew them well for it was the very same two who were at my house. Feeling stupid, embarrassed and not sure what to say or do, I just said “Boys and girls, the firemen are here to show you their truck and tell what they have to do.” I was never so glad when that day was over! What are the chances of the same two firemen being at my house and then at my school where I taught? A million to one that’s what it is. Oh and rest assured that I rushed out and got four copies of the house key made too. One key just didn’t get it as you now know.

Sherry Hill

Monday, October 8, 2012


It was my first year in college and I was at Marshall University. Nirvana.
I was in sensory overload as well as excited yet somewhat timid about being around thousands of people the same age as me. My timidness didn't last long as my roommate and I found out really fast that what we wore had to make a statement. And we did. But this was a time in which girls were not allowed to wear pants outside of the dorm. Yep, the Dark Ages was upon Marshall.

And so every day, I wore a skirt or a jumper. Mostly skirts with a blouse or a sweater depending on the weather. Same for my roommate. But it was fall and no way was I wearing a sweater. I will never forget that specific day ever. Never. I had on a madras plaid wrap around skirt, a white blouse and a madras scarf tied around my long hair. Ah but underneath my clothes was a full slip. It was the norm: You had to wear one whether you liked it or not. And I didn't question it because it was just what you had to wear under your clothes.

That day was hot and it was nearing lunch time. Oh the dreaded cafeteria loomed in the foreground as I stared ahead. Luckily, my roommate appeared and we both went in there together like we always did. The cafeteria was a place of hormone high for two seventeen year old girls as well as hundreds of other girls and guys.  I'd stare at guys and so would she and they'd stare back. We had to go to the serving line and have horrid food slopped onto our plates and go from there to a fountain where you got your drinks.

I remember placing my tray down on a tiny counter and picking up a glass to get something to drink and that's when it happened--my wrap around skirt came undone and fell to the floor! I was mortified as I stood there not knowing what to do but the football team knew what to do: They stood up and cheered and then the wolf whistles about blew the bricks off of the cafeteria. My face had to be as red as a beet. It felt hot as fire. I left my food on the tray and picked up my skirt, put it back on and ran out of the cafeteria like a pack of dogs was chasing me. Straight back to the dorm and horrified. I pictured myself being in the newspaper with some caption and my mother seeing it. All kinds of thoughts rushed through my seventeen year old mind.

My roommate had left her food as well and came into our room. She consoled me but yet she laughed. I made up my mind that I would never set foot in that cafeteria ever again but then what would I eat? I had a paid meal ticket for the entire year. Had some spending money and there were times that I ate off campus with friends but that wasn't going to work at all. My money would have lasted two days. I was sick to my stomach just thinking about my skirt, the football team and not to mention who else saw me. Didn't go to classes that afternoon. Got on the bed and got myself into a frenzy. Easy to do when you're young and have that on your mind.

I slept. Woke up and it was dark and the impending next day was looming on me like a heavy blanket. Hadn't eaten. My roommate and other friends went to the snack machine and scoured other girls' rooms bringing me tons of things to eat.  What did I eat? A pack of peanut butter Nabs that stuck in my throat like sand paper. "It will be all right" I heard from everyone around me in the dorm room. Oh sure I thought. I wanted to run away or get a bus and go home but that would have been stupid. And so I stuck it out and had not only my roommate but girl reinforcements when I had to enter the cafeteria the next morning for breakfast.

No wrap around skirt. I decided that I would never wear one ever again in my life. Had on a straight skirt and a blouse and marched in there with them and realized that not one single guy or football player had forgotten the day before. The mortification continued for a week or so on my part. And then I was over it by some miracle. Went on with my college life that year and actually loved it. But I never forget that incident the entire time I was at Marshall. And madras plaid was still the style rage. But not for me. I feared it.

Forward in time and lo and behold, madras came back time and time again. And long slips were a thing of the past. Gone. If I can be thankful for anything that day it was that I had on a full slip. I look back at that day and laugh for look at what girls wear today in college--near nothing. And do I wear a slip? Never. Who does? Oh and I do wear wrap around skirts at times but they are straight and not like the one I had on that day. 

Four years ago, I had to call a guy I remembered from college. Had to tell him about something for the Marshall Alumni magazine. We were talking and then he said "Did any more skirts fall off?" It was then that I remembered he was a football player and with that bunch of guys that day. I laughed and said "Not that I remember." That long he didn't forget it and neither did I. Both of us laughed and the call was ended. If I had looked into a mirror, I'm sure I would have seen a smile on my face. 

Some things that happen to us are never forgotten. The day my skirt fell off was one of them.

Sherry Hill


There is no way I'd ever do this but I have a friend that had me paint
a painting for her. Wanted an ocean scene. Finished it and called her.
She was so excited when she saw it and loved it--or so she said. Took
it home with her. I then remembered that I needed to put a coat of gloss
on it to protect it and called her. 

She promptly came here dragging the painting with her. "It won't take me
long" I told her. After half an hour, the gloss had dried and she grabbed the painting and went home.

All the time I was at her house, I never saw that painting. No where.

About two months ago, she got into a throwing out mode and asked me to come to her house to see if there were anything I wanted..as if I need stuff. But the thrill was there and I followed her downstairs to her basement. What did my eyes land on first? My painting! It was wrapped in bubble wrap and was on the floor. My heart sank.
She saw my reaction and said "Oh, I don't have any place to put it."

Well she certainly did have many places that painting could have gone but I said nothing. Picked up my painting and told her I'd take it home.
The minute I got in my house and settled down, I took paint and a palette knife and completely transformed that painting.

Now it's in my kitchen.

The point I am making is that if I didn't like something that someone made for me, I would either give it away to a friend or put it away so no one could see it. But give it back?

That's just rude. I hope if you make something that someone wants, you don't find yourself in the same situation as I did. No, I didn't let it get the  best of me and I have a new painting that I love. Case closed.

Sherry Hill


Trust issue: You're at a party and there is a big tray of cheese and fruit. The cantaloupe is cut into cubes as well as the yellow cheese and both have toothpicks in them. So what goes first?
The cheese of course and you pick up a cantaloupe cube thinking
it's cheese and it's not! 

And the second one is looking at a pile of cookies on a plate and thinking they are chocolate chip. You reach for one and take a bite only to find out it's a raisin cookie.

Both of these make me have major trust issues. Oh and there are a lot more when it comes to food.
Best thing is to do the smell test I guess. But then you couldn't put it back. What to do?

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wanted you to see this list of my grandmother's sayings. Special thanks to Beth Jacks for
publishing these on her page USADeepSouth.  I am forever grateful.


Sherry Hill

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


For as long as I can remember, I have loved finding beautiful fall leaves.
It's like picking up seashells at the beach: You find one you love and then another and another until your arms are heavy laden with them. But leaves
aren't heavy like seashells and I am always on the quest to find perfectly shaped ones and those of brilliant colors.

When I was little, I would make a leaf notebook: Inside I would paste leaves I loved and then look at them. Of course over a period of time, their beautiful colors would fade and I'd put that aside till the next fall.

I no longer make leaf notebooks but I sure do pick up those gorgeous leaves.
The brilliant ones appeal to me as I'm sure they would to anyone. But what do I do with them? I stack them up and bring them inside to look at their soon to be gone beauty. Casting those aside, I am out on the quest for more and mostly just leave them on an outside table by my front door and they are carried away by the wind. And where do they wind up? They scatter here and there in my yard along with the ten thousand maple leaves that fall from my tree. And then they are hidden and forgotten.

By that time, I am back out in the street looking for more perfectly shaped leaves or the brightly colored ones. I've used them in artworks by applying acrylic paint to them and using them like a rubber stamp: Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But do I worry about that? No, because there is an overload of leaves all around me for the choosing and for that, I count myself lucky.

What's not to love about fall leaves? And when their color is gone, they have a wonderful smell that only can be experienced to describe. But once you have smelled that smell, you never forget it ever. It loads up your senses to the max of past falls and childhood memories.

As long as the magnificent colored leaves are outside, I will be there too. I'm a creature of habit and this is one habit that costs nothing and makes me feel fulfilled. Sometimes the best things in life are like that--costing us nothing but rewarding us ten-fold. Catch the fall leaves while you can! I will be.

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I found this Graham tartan online and yes I am a Graham descendant. My late mother's cousin sent us so much information on this line that I have two drawers full of genealogy. What's not to love about having a Scottish ancestral line? Or for that matter, what's not to love about the history of Scotland and how the clans came to be?

If you saw the movie "Braveheart," the first clan called up by Mel Gibson, playing William Wallace, was the Graham clan. That part stunned me and I sat there staring at their tartans as well as their actions. The entire movie was excellent and so moving that afterwards, I was literally drained. Felt like I had lived that movie.

I've never been to Scotland but rest assured it's on my bucket list. Oh how I'd love to go there and find some long lost relatives. It may never happen but I can wish it. Bagpipe music gets to my very soul. Love the history of Scotland, some of the food [I'll skip haggis--google it and you might too!,] and the ancient castles leave me breathless. Add heather, crags and bogs and the mystery and it adds up to my kind of country to visit.

As for the Graham line, I'm thankful I have that lineage. Do you?

Sherry Hill


Are you bothered by someone using bad grammar?
I am to the max! The more I read and the more I hear on TV, the worse bad grammar is becoming and not only that but becoming acceptable.
Several years ago, the double subject became the norm as in this sentence: "The woman she went to the event." That's just down and right wrong. And yet I hear it all of the time and now young children are saying it because if it's on TV, then it must be right.

Well it isn't right.

People are just plain lazy to know the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE. I see it all of the time on facebook and it gets on my last nerve to see it used wrong. YOUR means ownership and the word OUR is in it for a clue. YOU'RE means you are.

Another grammar gripe of mine is to see an apostrophe in a plural word. An example is: I saw LOT'S of treasures there. Why would someone write that? In essence, that person is saying: I saw LOT IT IS of treasures there and that makes no sense whatsoever. An  apostrophe is used in a contraction such as IT'S meaning IT IS. No one would write "The cat lost IT'S toy." But wait a minute, people do!

Oh the list could go on and on and I'm sure that you've heard or have seen bad grammar everywhere.
Something has to be done to stop it before it becomes the norm. If you are a grammar police person as am I, then we must band together to educate the populace--but it's a major undertaking. Try correcting someone who has used incorrect grammar on facebook and wait for the blasting comments coming your way: It does not work at all.

Bad grammar bothers me and the more I see it, the madder I become. The more I hear it, the more I cringe.
But is there an answer to change it back to the correct way? Doubtful with the usage of texting and a world of faster everything. I'm sure that my college English professors are rolling over in their graves. Heaven help us all.

Sherry Hill

Monday, August 27, 2012


If you don't live in a place that has the season of fall [autumn,] you are missing out on my most favorite season ever. Fall has the most vibrant leaf colors, a smell in the air that is so distinct, azure blue skies and it gives me the crunchy feeling when I walk on leaves gathered in the yard or street. Fall is simply nature at its best for there is nothing not to love about it. Pumpkins abound in their orange colors, acorns fall to the ground making a small sound if you are near them and it seems as if the entire world is blanketed in color.

My past memories of fall bring up thoughts of happy times as a kid running through leaves or jumping into leaf piles or drinking apple cider and eating candied apples.  People used to have bonfires going out in the country or here in town when it was allowed and the smell of that burning triggered every sense in my being. And of course Halloween is in fall--another thing to love about it.

I was and still am always on the lookout for perfectly shaped trees cloaked in their vivid colors. To me, they are just magical to look at. But the imperfect ones are just fine with me as well for their colors leave you breathless. If you have never been to West Virginia and especially in the fall, google photos from here: You will be left as breathless as I stay in fall. The only bad thing about fall is that it doesn't last long enough for me--I wish it lasted far longer than it does. And of course coming on its heels after it is winter--a beautiful but desolate time where everything is drab unless there is snow. Fall is a "Catch it while you can" time and I try to catch every minute of it. It just makes you feel wonderful and alive and is no doubt the most beautiful of all seasons.

Sherry Hill
*Photo from online


After I wrote about my grandfather’s garage, I felt that I should write about the car that inhabited that place. My grandfather had a 38 Chevy long after I was born: It was black and the seats inside were made of wool. Running boards on the outside made it fun for my cousins and me to stand on when we were playing in or around that car. I know that my grandfather did not drive that car much because he only drove it to work to the furniture store of which he was part owner and to The Pub, a then-local beer place, to get his cigars. The rest of the time it either sat out in the partial driveway or was in the garage.

When I say partial driveway I mean that my dad and uncle poured cement for two wide strips that led to the garage. Not much of a driveway but it was what my grandfather wanted and what he got.

Since he smoked cigars, my cousins and I would get the small wrappers and put them on our fingers. Probably where I developed my much later ring fetish no doubt. But I can remember sitting in the hot back seat with my female cousin putting those cigar bands on our fingers  and itching at the same time from those wool seats. And it was hot as Hades in that car in the summer. No air conditioning in a model 38 Chevy. If there had of been, rest assured that my grandfather would not have used it. When it came to things, he was on the stingy side except with whatever we, the grandchildren, wanted and then it was no holds barred as the saying goes.

Never remember that Chevy being ever dirty. Not sure where he went to have it cleaned but it was not as his house. When he died, my grandmother sold it for she didn’t know how to drive and had no need for it. And there went another play place for my cousins and me—it was our secret place to sit in and swelter and pretend.

To this day, I can remember how it felt to sit on those hot wool seats while wearing shorts in the summer and it was not good. But the cigar bands of my grandfathers were an added bonus to being in that car. I do have a picture of it and will post it later. Whoever bought it sure did get a good deal because it no doubt had little mileage and was in tip top shape. Many times I wonder who it was who bought it or where that car is now and I have a sneaking feeling that it is still somewhere in my town.

Sherry Hill

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Not long ago, I was thinking about my grandfather’s garage: It was there long before I was born.  Typical old type made of wood with two big doors that one had to close manually. Inside was a dirt floor and two wooden planks for the car to rest upon. There were no windows and the funny thing I remember is that there was never any mildew in there and there was only enough room for one  car.

What I do remember is the distinct smell of being inside that garage for I was in it a lot when my grandfather had the doors open and was looking for bug spray or the like. It smelled of wood, bug spray and had a faint smell of gasoline. And I loved that smell. I can conjure it up right now from memory: Some things are like that with me and perhaps with you the reader. It brings back happy memories of my childhood because I was always the rummager and would look for things in that garage. I do remember finding some old medicine bottles and asking my grandfather about them but he declined any comment.

When I asked my grandmother about those bottles, she told me that his first wife was a Christian Scientist and did not believe in taking medicine in any form. And so he sneaked out to the garage and took his medicine and hid the bottles from her. I wish I had kept those bottles but like most things, they didn’t seem important to me at that time—just a fleeting treasure.

I definitely remember that bug spray: It was in a metal pump and smelled awful. But he used it so much that I developed a tolerance for it. Heaven only knows now what it was made out of and I’m sure I could google the contents but would be afraid of the findings and no doubt, they would have been really bad.

The push lawnmower was in the garage but my grandfather paid a man to do the yard; later on as a young child, I got to push it in the yard. Didn’t do much grass cutting but it was fun to mess around with.

My grandfather died when I was eleven and not much later, my grandmother sold his car. Oh yes, I still would go in that garage to get things to help her out and later as an adult, she asked me if I wanted my wooden childhood play things. Have no idea why I didn’t take my doll bed or doll high chair but I did take my red leather little chair. It was like the other things in perfect condition which surprised me and no doubt her.

When my grandmother died in 1971, my mom and her sister rented the house. This went on till about 1980 and then the house and garage were sold. I’d drive by just for security’s sake to see both and it made me feel safe. Six years ago, the owners of both had them demolished. Broke my heart. Loved the house and that garage was a thing of wonder to me. Gone but all I have to do is to think about it and I can see it in my mind’s eye. And I remember the smell—how could I ever forget it?
My grandfather’s garage was a special thing and place to be in.

Sherry Hill

*I have no picture of the garage; it reminded me of the one in the movie "A Christmas Story."

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Queen Anne's lace is abundant and grows wild.
Did you know that it is really wild carrot? The roots are similar to that of a carrot--and I've certainly pulled up my share of them in my life time. But mostly I just love to pick Queen Anne's lace and bring them home and put them in a vase along with water.

To me, it is beautiful and miraculous--not a rose by any means or a hot house flower but a humble one that is so overlooked as just a "weed." No way!

This flower is not considered humble by me: A cluster of them makes a thing of beauty.
If you're out and about, pick some, take them home and enjoy them. After all, they're plentiful right now and most of all, they're free for the taking.

If you want more information on this lovely flower, google how it got its name: Lots of interesting reading. "Gather ye Queen Anne's lace while you may!"

Sherry Hill

*Photo from online.


I found this saying on a facebook 
site and wanted to share it here.
As a child of two working parents,
believe it or not, I was never read to--ever. Didn't stop my love of books though and when I was in the first grade, I was five. And I learned to read that year and developed such an insatiable desire to read every book I could get my hands on. Think "Matilda" if you've ever seen that movie where she devours  books --books that were way beyond her years. That was me. I read Dickens when I was six years old.

With my love of reading, I read to younger kids in my neighborhood since
I was deprived of it. The library was my favorite hang out where you could take home as many books as you could carry--and I did.

When I was in grade school, each room had its own library. You weren't allowed out of your seat unless you had to sharpen a pencil, go to the bathroom or get a book. Not many choices there but mine was mostly to get a book to read.

Forward in time when I was teaching and oh how I read aloud books to my students. No doubt, I read about twenty or more books a year to them and to this day, many still remember those books but more remember my reading them aloud. When I became a mother of two sons, they were read to at an early age: I took the time and I wasn't back to teaching yet.

That is what it boils down to: Time. Every parent has time to read aloud to his or her child. Dr. Seuss books are wonderful as starter books for children to listen to for they consist of very few words but those words
are repetitive throughout each book of his. And how do children learn?
They learn in lots of ways but repetition is an important factor.

So please take Dr. Seuss' advice and read to a child for I was deprived of it and to this day wonder why. Your child or children will thank you for it.

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I've always loved wisteria; as a kid, when my parents bought our first house, it was covered in the front with it. The smell was heavenly, the bees were not. Nonetheless, I loved it from the get go and the color purple added to its charm.

Forward in time to when my then-husband decided to plant wisteria in our front yard. We had gotten a huge arch made out of metal tubing and I had no idea he had planted it until he told me. Said he planted pink on one side and purple on the other. "Great" I said thinking it would look something like this picture--it is a real one of my friend's wisteria in Alabama.

And so I waited and waited. Oh the vines started climbing all right--they eventually got about twenty feet tall and curled this way and that as if they were alive.  Did it ever bloom? It had one bloom on it and that looked absurd. One day when I came home from teaching school, I saw about twenty or more blooms. What had happened? Well, I'll tell you what happened: He had gone out and bought fake wisteria blooms and had hung them on the vines. Who in their right mind would do that? I mean it looked nice but they were fake. Neighbors came over to see those glorious new blooms and upon feeling them knew they were not real. So much to his disdain, he took them down and it was much to my relief.

After we got divorced, that wisteria grew even more tall and seemed to take on a life of its own. It grew and grew and curled to the roof and curled to the fence to the right. Frightening if you were to ask me and it did remind me of that movie "Little Shop of Horrors" where the plants came alive. The wisteria came to be scary. I'd hire people to trim it way down and almost the next day, it had grown taller. Developed a hatred of it because it never bloomed and that fear factor didn't help one bit. None. Nada.

Three years ago I got a new arch and prior to that, I had to hire three men who said that they knew what they were doing. It was like watching The Three Stooges at work. Why they got the old arch out all right--they threw it across the street and over the hill. Then they got the new arch up and cemented it into the ground. Sort of looked like what eight year olds would do but at least it didn't fall over. They also cut down that wisteria and I felt not only happiness but gratefulness in that it was GONE. Wrong. Within a week, that vine started to grow again.

Called a woman who does yard work and she used weed killer on it and it was gone--or so I thought.

Now when she does my yard, she has to rid the wisteria...it's coming back up again in all sorts of places. Whatever kind my ex planted, it sure wasn't any normal variety. Come to think of it, neither was he. Maybe there was a connection there. Had to be. And so you can see why I am not fond of wisteria anymore or at least whatever form is out in my yard. I just now rhyme WISTERIA with HYSTERIA. Works for me.

Sherry Hill


Found this cartoon on facebook and it made me laugh! I feel like the popped ear of corn! This summer here has set heat records like no other summer before. And I hate the heat!

Being a former sun loving goddess and always at the pool or taking a sunbath loaded with Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion, I had more than my share of the heat. I loved it. Loved having a tan and loved soaking in the rays.

Not anymore! I go outside and the humidity and the heat do a number on me. Why I can't get back inside to an air conditioned house fast enough. When I'm out there, I can't breathe and it literally makes me sick. Has to be an age thing although I hate to admit that: Who would? Even the birds are hardly out in my yard much less squirrels: That says something if they cant't take it as well.

Oh I have shorts and bathing suits but they remain where they were last put--in the cedar chest. My attire has drastically changed into what was hip to what is now comfortable and cool. But inside, it's cold [the ac is set on 70] and I find myself wearing layers.

"If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!" is a popular saying. Well I can't take the heat but my computer is in the kitchen and it's cool in here! Hard to say goodbye to the sun loving goddess that I used to be. But since I have olive skin, it does help--at least I'm not pasty white. As for the high temperatures, take them please. I can't take the heat.

Sherry Hill


School starts here next week for all students. But had I still been teaching, I would have been at my school about two weeks ago working like there was no tomorrow. If you're a grade school teacher, there is so much more to do than say being a middle school or high school teacher. Boxes of crayons have to be numbered, pencils sharpened, supplies put away, new text books numbered and the list goes on and on.

Do I miss it? How could I not? The minute I see back to school items in stores, I start to go into a panic until reality sets in that I am no longer teaching.

And it's sad in a way for I loved my job. I remember my very first day teaching school and my very last and have such mixed emotions. Loved kids and loved watching them soak up learning like sponges. Miss the interaction, being being the bearer of ideas and  just plain miss it all.

One thing that I don't miss is the now overload of paper work on the part of a teacher. When I first started teaching, I had a lesson plan book and a grade book--that was all. When I quit, I had a lesson plan book that was at least four inches thick, a grade book, an anecdotal notebook and at least thirty other notebooks on this and that. Yes, times changed and I changed with the times.

When that first day of school arrives, I will fall into my normal funk of not being there as a teacher. How could I not?

Last week I did what I have done in the last several years: I bought three new boxes of markers, some folders and some new fine line Sharpies.  Habit? Of course. Oh I'll use them all right when I do art or make cards but it's not the same--how could it be? These things are just innate in me to have every year. Skipped the notebooks though for why would I need them?

I met every new school year with enthusiasm and excitement and every last day when the students left, I cried. Every student left with a part of me and I had a part of them residing in me. Guess I am the compilation of every student I've ever had and if you were to ask me how I feel about it, I'd say it's a good thing.

I will always miss teaching school. Always. And so, I'll get out my markers and create something to let that first day go by: I have to.

Sherry Hill



3-4 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
1 [14 ounce] can of chicken broth –divided [Swanson’s chicken broth]
1 8oz. carton of sour cream
3 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced
2 teaspoons of fresh dill, minced [save a dill sprig]
Peppermint if available [2 leaves washed and cut up]

*In blender, combine cucumbers, 1 cup of chicken broth and a dash of salt and cover and process till smooth.
*Transfer cucumber mixture to medium bowl and stir in remaining chicken broth.
*Whisk in sour cream, chives, peppermint  and dill. Cover and chill before serving.
*Garnish with a dill sprig.


Sherry Hill
*I found this recipe online but altered it some. Trust me, it's wonderful!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I write often about my grandparents’ house and the reason is that I lived there from age two weeks to age five.  From then onward, I spent about every summer day there and when I was twelve, my parents got divorced. My mom and I had moved close to their house: It was my constant. As a teenager and adult, I still frequented that house for my grandmother had become a widow and I loved being with her. The house was built by my step-grandfather in the early 1900’s for him and his wife who later died. My grandmother married him in 1938 moving in with her two teenage daughters—one of whom would be my mother. As for the green glass window, there were actually two of them in this large two-story house: One was on the landing in the downstairs hall and one was in the dining room. Both were half windows placed high up and could be opened with a hinge. Once you opened them, there were screens behind each. I’m sure that the glass has a name but to me they looked “Coke” bottle green.

The green glass window in the dining room mystified me for the light streamed through it and landed smack onto the shiny mahogany table sending green sparks everywhere. Over the years as a child, I must have stared at that window a thousand times. In the summers at dinner, my step-grandfather would open that window to let air into the room. Why he didn’t open up the  bay windows that were on either side remains a mystery to me to this day. Those windows were the old double hung type; I never remember anyone opening them up except the ones in the kitchen. Strange in retrospect.

I’d sit at the dining room table with my grandparents, my mother and numerous relatives nightly. Summers I remember the most because it was so hot. Here we were eating hot food, sweltering and praying for a rush of air through that green window.  It never happened from what I remember at all.

As I got older, I realized that I loved that green window because it had been magical to me as a child. When my grandmother died, my mother and her sister inherited the house. After several years of their attempts at renting it out only to see disaster, they decided to sell it. I was devastated. But I was married, had a house and a baby son. On a whim, I asked my mother to ask the realtor if I could have one of those windows; the other would go to one of my cousins. Guess what? I got the dining room green glass window—casing and all. And I still have it in my basement. Does it belong there? No. It actually would fit inside any of my new windows in this house if properly mounted. And it’s going to happen because I think I need a little sparkly green magic. Who wouldn’t want that?

Sherry Hill

Thursday, July 19, 2012


As I write it is still hot outside. And I am so grateful for air conditioning; face it, I’m used to it just as you are. Every day seems to be hotter than the one before it and just going outside for a while makes me literally sick. Used not to do that—think it’s a thing called age and no tolerance for it anymore. But when I was little, there was no air conditioning unless one went to a show or certain restaurants that advertised “Cool Inside.”

How did I survive without air conditioning? I burned up like everyone else—that’s how. As a kid, I remember playing outside and burning up but still not affected by the heat. But come nights when I stayed with my grandparents was a different thing. They had a fan in one bedroom window and there were three bedrooms. And that upstairs was a hot as all get out despite that one fan for it did nothing but move hot air. My grandparents let me sleep with them and when my grandmother or I got restless, she would get up and take me first to the front bedroom: We’d lie on a bed near the window gasping for any cool air and found none. Next, it was off to the back bedroom to see if it were any cooler and guess what?  It wasn’t. [My step-grandfather always slept right through that heat. Amazed me.]

By moving twice in the night, my grandmother and I were just plain worn out and finally slept. But it became a ritual when I stayed all night with them—the moving from one bedroom to another in hopes of a cooler room which never happened.

Worse was the bath I had to take at their house in a huge claw footed bathtub because the bathroom was in the hot upstairs. I remember that red bar of Lifebuoy soap in my hand and the sweat dripping off of my face in a constant flow. By the time I had gotten clean and dried, I was wet again with sweat. You just don’t forget something like that ever.

Things were the same at the apartment and later the house where I lived with my parents—hot and no air conditioning. Lots of times, we ate outside in the evening because being inside was like sitting in a tinder box. Of course that meant bugs and that horrible smell of a citronella candle to keep them away—it didn’t do much for anyone’s appetite to say the least. To this day I can’t stand the smell of citronella. So many people today say that they lived through no air conditioning and survived as did I. But trust me, it was something you just had to deal with and try to get cool by any means like sucking on ice cubes or spraying yourself outside with the garden hose or you name it! My grandmother used to get cotton balls and put rubbing alcohol on my legs and arms; it really did make me feel cooler for a while. I’m just grateful I didn’t live in the early 1900’s or earlier. Imagine wearing all those clothes that girls and women had to wear and the petticoats. No wonder people had fainting couches in their houses—people fainted all of the time from the heat or had vapor attacks.

I’ll take air conditioning anytime. Face it, we are all used to it even in our cars. Would you buy a car without air conditioning? Of course not nor a house without it. I’m thankful for it and have mine on right now plus two fans running to circulate the air. No citronella candles outside here for I can’t eat in the hot outside air and that smell is horrible. And no Lifebuoy soap for it dredges up memories of those hot baths in my grandparents big claw footed tub where the sweat outweighed the water.

Not into bedroom moving to see which one is the coolest and so thankful that I don’t have to do that as well. If you’ve done any of the above things as a kid, those memories never leave you. Today’s kids have no idea what it was like then and would throw a fit: I can see it now. Well we threw no fits. We just dealt with the heat as best we could and survived—sort of.

Sherry Hill