In 1969, my family and I moved into a house in a town north of Indianapolis, and there I made a new friend, a lovely lady who lived across the road, and whose youngest child was the same age as my youngest. Jayne and I have now been friends for over forty years.
I moved away in 1985 and have lived in three different places since. Jayne and her husband have deeper roots. They still live in the same house, still have a huge garden every year, still live a sustainable life, freezing and canning and making their own wine. Their kids are grown, and some have moved away, but this family’s close ties bring them together often.
Jayne’s mother, Margaret, is a very active lady as well. I featured her and her amazing activities with a three-wheeler motorcycle club last October in a post called When We’re Ninety-Three.
Even with all my moving around, Jayne and I have managed to stay in touch, thanks to her wonderful letters. When we switched to e-mail and Facebook, Jayne continued to remind me of Indiana life with her word pictures and stories. This e-mail from Jayne to her family is an expanded version of one she sent me last week, and I asked if I could share it and a few of her photos here. She graciously agreed.
Bob has been doing a lot of Christmas decorating. He has bought lights and has them up on the front deck, took old lights off our large wreath and got them working again, then restrung the lights on the wreath… and and. I bought the most beautiful fresh cut tree that is a little taller than me and a lot wider. We look great together. The tree smells better though.
I purchased two poinsettia’s and have put up some of the Christmas decorations that we have used over the years. When our children and grandchildren come for Christmas it will be festive and homey. This year we are having a good time with the decorating experience.
Snow is on the ground now. It is a light snow and there are beautiful snowy sparkles when the sun is shining.
I was with Mom all day on Friday and we had a good time. I did her hair and Mary Jane’s. I did laundry for mom and some of ours. Fed the squirrels, birds and watered the flowers that are wintering over in mom’s garage. Then we went to lunch (Bob Evans), to the bank to get Christmas gift envelopes and money, home again to the bathroom.
Off to our next adventure with a trip to Farmland to purchase Sechler’s pickles (grown and processed in Indiana) then traveled through the little village of Maxville. As children, Mom and Dad took us (me, Vance and Greg) to the swimming pool at Maxville. It seemed much larger then. After driving around the pool and adjoining cemetery we headed to Winchester, Indiana.
When our family lived in Modoc, population 200, we would go to Winchester for shoes (Buster Brown), clothing (not sure of the store name), and furniture at the Boston Store. Mom told me that Dad got his suits at a store across from the courthouse on the northeast corner. Mom could not recall the name of the store.
The square around the courthouse was busy with restoration work. The courthouse is being restored due in part to the efforts of a group of ladies, 70 and older, from Farmland and Winchester. They posed nude for pictures that were used in a calendar. Of course, all pictures were staged hiding necessary anatomical parts. The news traveled around the United States and the ladies were on national television. The calendars were sold quickly.
Just goes to show you (and me) that women are powerful and creative.
Our next stop was Wick’s Pies. We purchased frozen Sugar Crème, Pecan, Cherry and Strawberry Rhubarb pies. Some of the pies will be consumed when Greg and family come home after Christmas. (Not all of them, I took some home for our family gathering so stop drooling) Drove back to Mom’s home and found the freeloading squirrels had almost emptied their feeder again. I filled it up, put out food for the stray cats, and came home to rest.
A fun day…
See you all soon,
I had to look up those naked ladies, of course, and found a lot of information on the web. This video clip is especially good.
A big thanks to Jayne for letting me post her e-letter and photos here.
And just so you know, the blogger of Foodie Road Show is Jayne and Bob’s daughter, Angela. She wasn’t even in kindergarten yet when I first met her. Their son Eric and his wife own Sweet Treats 4 U in Muncie, Indiana. If you can access that Facebook site, you’ll be amazed at their creative cake designs. And their oldest son owns Vince’s Restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Hilary Melton-Butcher says
Hi Patricia .. lovely story about Jayne and her family .. thanks .. and I enjoyed the video clip .. our Calender Girls here did the same .. raising funds for Cancer .. after one of their husband’s died .. and it’s become very popular – Hollywood film etc .. great women!! Thank you – Hilary
Patricia Stoltey says
Thanks for all the loving comments, and to my Indiana buddies for stopping by.
And just so you know, we still have no snow here on the Northern Colorado Front Range. It’s a bit windy, but the temperatures are almost balmy. I’m beginning to think there’s no hope for a white Christmas…
Mason Canyon says
Great post. Just goes to show women can be a driving force no matter their age.
Thoughts in Progress
Thank you Pat for reminding us what a letter from the heart looks and sounds like. I too loved the story of the Courthouse Ladies. You’re right, there was a similar movie set in England – Calendar Girls with Helen Mirren.
Jayne is my 2nd cousin and her wonderful mother is my great aunt. These ladies (and their family) are some of the best people I know. Thank you for loving them and featuring such a wonderful family!
welcome to my world of poetry says
Great post, great photo’s.
Have a wonderful week-end.
Jemi Fraser says
Fantastic post! What a terrific group of ladies!
Eric ST4U says
Thanks for sharing mom’s “slice of life” from Indiana! I enjoyed reading it as well. I miss you guys too!
Angela FRS says
Thanks for this lovely post of my lovely mom–so nice.
Pat, thank you for posting my email “letter”. What an honor it is for me, mother, Bob and our family. Jayne
There’s nothing like the Holidays in Indiana! And it looks like it will be white this year as well.
I don’t get to Fort Wayne that much but I’ll keep his place in mind if we are hungry!
What a charming letter that describes pleasant, daily life in middle-America. The family activities could be from here in Virginia.
Stephen Tremp says
Looks like you are set for a warm and memerorable Christmas. An early Happy Holiday greeting to you and yours!
Patricia Stoltey says
Good morning, everyone I was very taken with the courthouse ladies, too. If I remember correctly, a group of English ladies did this for a worthy cuase and a movie was made about their campaign. I’ll have to look that up.
Jayne’s letter is so appealing to me because I get caught up in blog posts and Tweets and business-like e-mails. I miss the heart of a letter, the descriptions and the reveal. Then I hear from Jayne and am reminded what real communication among friends and family should be. It’s nice.
Margot Kinberg says
Patricia – Thanks for introducing us to Jayne. That letter is terrific and I just love that courthouse story! Whoever said people can’t make a difference!??!?!
Amy Kathleen Ryan says
I love the courthouse girls! And your friend’s letter is so charming.
Clarissa Draper says
Great photos. And I agree, women, whether young or old can make a difference. Way to go!
E.J. Wesley says