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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