Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Summer Tree 07/19/01

Subject:  The Summer Tree
Date: July 19, 2001

The first post card addressed to "The Summer Tree" Box 165
Bryn Athyn,Pa 19009 arrived today and was duly set in a place
of honor on the aforementioned tree. It is a picture of the
White House with a lovely note from Suzanne Synnestvedt.

It brought so many happy thoughts to mind, including memories
of Suzanne - a very outspoken, forthright woman - and her
family and memories of Washington.
Elsa came into my room tonight and said, "I think that the
first postcard would make for a good posting." I agreed.
Then, she looked at me and asked, "What does thinking about
Washington bring to mind?"

Well, I could feel my breath coming in shorter, tenser spurts
and sense tautness in my body.

Why do I tend to tense up when asked an open-ended question?

Elsa seemed to sense my response and asked about something
more specific ~ "What was your most memorable visit to the
White House?"
In that moment, my breathing slowed down and stretched itself
out, as my body relaxed.

I was back almost thirty years ago, to when a group of us lead
by Margit Rohtla had gone down to our nation's capital to march
during Captive Nations Week, protesting US trade with communist
countries, especially with the Soviet Union and the nations it
held captive behind the Iron Curtain.

It was a wide range of ages who were marching, from young women
to oldsters such as myself (I was over sixty). As I was walking
back and forth and back and forth in front of the White House,
one of the young ladies in our group beckoned to me to come over
to where she was sitting on a low wall.

"Mrs. Lockhart," she said, "You are over twice my age but I am
worn out and you are still soldiering on. How do you do it?"

I knew the difference and it did not have anything to do with
being a tough old bird.

"Look at our shoes," I said.

She did and broke into a big smile of understanding - there she
was, in fashionable high heels and there I was, in my sensible
orthopedic clod hoppers.
As they did with all protestors, there were several of Washington,
D.C.'s Finest on horseback to help protect us from hecklers or
other people who might wish to do us harm. I can still see one
police officer who looked down and told us, with a big smile of
his own, "We are called upon to protect many different groups.
This is the first time I can honestly consider it an honor."
So many memories from one post card.  I wish I could tell Suzanne
how much it means to me. If anyone out there has her mailing or
e-mail address, would you please send it to me.
Feeling thirty years younger as I get ready to head up
the wooden hill - Gockers

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reynolds 07/13/01

Subject:  Reynolds
Date: June 13. 2001

It was several days ago that I talked about what an emotional roller-
coaster last Saturday way. Car problems (it turned out to be the altern-
ator (a $275.00 repair) were the down swing. Having my older grandson
here for an overnight stay was the UP swing.
Was it Friday that Reynolds called to see if he could camp out in the den
on his way from North Carolina to the Patterson summer compound in
Maine? With such short notice, there was no time to fuss over or try to
gussy up the house, which was surprisingly freeing - there was only
enough time to look forward to his visit.

I expected his stay to be special, but it turned out that the time was a
genuine godsend.

This woofy grey head cannot remember if Reynolds was here when Elsa
called about problems with Little Silver (her car), but he was certainly here
soon after.

What a blessing it was to have someone here with me during what would
have been an dreadful time. I did not obsess about the "kids" stranded in
Lancaster, nor with Reynolds a comforting hug away.
He looks marvelous, a golden young man, from his tan to his hair and his
spirit. It seemed like I could not get enough of looking at him.

It seems such a short time ago that he was skateboarding on the driveway
at Woodland Road, just a short time ago that I was visiting at the Berwyn
Road house making the children chocolate chip cookies.
We had a remarkable, emotional visit. We talked a little bit about his recent
visit to Costa Rica, but mostly I remember how we prayed together and how
he prayed over my poor beat up wrist, my legs and my head. It was a dif-
ferent experience than anything I remember having experienced befpre.  The
bit of me that felt somewhat odd ~ it was so different from anything in my
background ~ was dwarfed by feeling grateful and proud to have such a tender,
caring, Christ-centered young man in my life.

It was a certifiable blessing that of all the weekends he could have dropped by,
he came on the weekend I most needed his presence so much.

Accident? Happenstance? I do not think so - Godsend, I think, not just a
phrase in this case.
That night, tuckered out from the day's misadventures, I went to bed fairly
early (for me), around 10:00 p.m. It was lovely to be stretched out in bed and
hear the sounds of conversation from the living room, where Reynolds and Elsa
spoke together for some time. I know how Elsa feels about young people and
about family, so I knew how happy she was.

When I talked to her the next day, she told me that although she and Reynolds
did not agree about certain key basics of religion, some of Reynolds' observations
had given her different insights into some key beliefs in her life.
When I got up in the morning, Reynolds had flown.  In spite of a long tiring drive
up to Pennsylvania from North Carolina just the day before - with a stop in Virginia
to visit his sister - he was still up and out the door by 6:00 a.m., meeting his Dad
for a dawn's early light breakfast. Oh, for the energy of youth!!
Even now, I occasionally look at the chair that is sort of catty-corner to mine and
think, "Reynolds was sitting there." That lovely thought and lovely memories wrap
me in an embrace.

Love to you all - Reynolds' Gocky

Emotional Rollercoaster 07/08

Subject:  Emotional Rollercoaster
Date: July 8, 2001
This is going to be a relatively brief posting - Faithful Scribe is one
bushed baby.

Yesterday was a rollercoaster of emotions day.

The day before, Reynolds(my USA grandson) called to see if he could stay
overnight the next day. Of course! I looked forward to seeing him and
hearing all about his recent three month stay in Costa Rica (he loves to

At one time, I would have gotten my knickers in a twist because the house
is in its usual topsy turvy state. All I cared about was getting a hug.
Bright & early yesterday morning, John and Elsa were on the road to the
Railroad Museum at Strasburg. (John needed to take snapshots of an engine
for a commission he's working on. She dropped him off at the Railroad Museum
of Pennsylvania, then headed up back country roads to the Flower and Craft
Warehouse in Blue Ball to pick up more hexagonal boxes for this year's Girls
School Freshmen Tea.

On her way back to pick up John, as she wove along those winding and often
steep back country roads, the engine area started making what she describes
as a not loud but definitely a fluttering noise.

She slowed down - she was heading down some hills - and drove on full alert.
As she describes it, she had just started going around a curve at the top of
another hill when a lot of red lights lit up the control panel and the engine

Amazing, having traveled past mile after mile of lush corn fields, the car
conked out right in front of someone's house -- and they were at home.
She had a big problem - not only was the car conked out, she did not know how
to get a hold of John. (elm - this was before everyone had cell phones)

I send a mother's blessing on the people in the house - Bill and Violet - who
let her in and gave her the use of the phone. She did not know the name of
the store he went to after the museum and was coming up short with what she
found in the telephone directories. Finally, she called the motel we stayed
at last month for the museum's phone #, then called there and they called over
to the store and the people over there set out to track down John.

While they were looking, she called me - they were supposed to be home by
7:00 p.m. for supper and a good gab with Reynolds. She was pretty chin-up
when she started talking to me. but crumpled into tears within a few moments.

The car was not her big upset, it was being so apart from John and not knowing
if she would be able to reach him, let alone reconnect. While she was blub-
bering to me, Violet touched her on the arm and told her that Bill would drive
her to Strasburg to pick up John.

What a godsend!

John called within a few moments and she set off to get him. They called AAA
once they got back to Bill and Violet's house. The young man who came with the
tow truck tried to resuscitate the car and did figure out that the alternator
was acting up, but he was not able to get it back on its feet.

The three of them drove all the way from Lancaster County to their mechanic in
Warminster, with the car on the flat bed of the tow truck. John and Elsa offered
up blessings to Peter for insisting several years back they get AAA Plus, which
includes free towing within 100 miles.

It was a weary uncle and even wearier aunt that Reynolds picked up at Premier
Pizza, which is right next door to the auto repair place.

You can imagine how glad I was to see them walk through the door.
My goodness - that was a lot longer than either Elsa or I expected.  She is
flagging, so I will close this at this point. I look forward to talking in a
future post about my visit with my grandson and what an unusual and remarkable
time it was.

Twenty-four hours after we shared our final hug (he was gone by 5:30 a.m. this
morning,on his way to breakfast with his Dad and then onto Maine), the warmth of
his love and caring is still very much with me.

Nitie-nite and God bless - this Mom has to let her daughter wend her way to

to all - Gockers

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cool and Overcast

Subject:  Cool and Overcast
Date: July 5 2001

It is hard to remember yesterday's oppressive weather. Today
was just as overcast, but it was cool and slightly breezy instead
of leaden, humid temperatures.

I enjoyed sitting in the big chair and watching the breezes play
through the Japanese cherry tree. It reminded me of a hula
dancer's grass skirt, gracefully swaying to and fro.

It turned out that yesterday made a better 4th of July after all -
it started gently raining about thirty minutes ago, a few minutes
after John and Elsa started out on their evening walk.

They could have handled a refreshing rain, but the possibility of
lightning makes John edgy, so home they came.
I am reminded of a dear friend who plays a game with her son-
in-law. Every December 21st, each one tries to be the first and
cleverest to announce to the other that "The days are getting

Well, it is only July 5, but it feels already as if the days are
getting shorter. Summer seems to go by so fast following the
4th. May you all enjoy each precious day of summer with your
with your family and friends and especially with any little
children in your lives.

I loved summer vacation and hated to see school start.
Suddenly, I feel more like a young Mom instead of an old

That is an advantage of antiquity - the ability to bridge
time at any given moment, given the right memory.
Nitie nite and God bless - Gockers

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Subject:  Happy 4th!
Date: Wed, 4 July 2001

Here in Squirrel Haven, it has been a good day to take it easy.  It seems the blink of an eye when family would be bustling about getting bikes decorated 
and chicken salad whipped together and our traditional double chocolate cake baked and frosted for the picnic.  The kids would have tied up their sneakers 
for the foot races and the family would have headed up to the pond for the swimming races.

My own favorite part has always been the flagpole ceremony. This year, I had hoped to go, if either the college building or the library
had been opened so I could camp out there during the parade.   Even if one of them had been opened, it is doubtful I would have made it.   This would have 
been a difficult day to get moving, even in my younger days.  It hit around 85F and still feels like 100% humidity, a good day to stay put in the big 
chair in the living room.
Elsa has been playing Americana tunes - Stephen Foster and Aaron Copeland and Sousa - to fill the house with a sense of the day.  To make sure that the 4th 
came to me if I was not able to get out to it, she "blew the wad" and has gussied up the front lawn in celebration of the day.  Fifty American flags 
line the driveway and the lawn at road's edge, four festive mylar balloons sail from the mail box, bunting hangs over the den window and there are other 
things I cannot recall that all together sing out, "Happy 4th!"   
Our "spring tree" transformed into a "summer tree" last night in the most delightful way.  Elsa had a workshop for four young ladies - Gretchen and 
Brett Pitcairn, Brooke Blair and Ali Elsing - to make double-chocolate cakes for their families' picnic tonight.  After they were done icing and having a 
high old time in the kitchen, they trooped into the living room and took down all the springtime flowers from the tree and gussied it up with tiny American 
flags, sea shells, sun flowers, butterflies and bees, and red, white and blue stars, with a pink dragon fly at the very top.   
It was wonderful to have special friends over the night before the 4th.  I always get lonesome for the past on the 4th.  Our family came together in 
smiles and fun more on that holiday than on any other day of the year.  There was often tension at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter gatherings, but I 
only remember smiles and happiness over the 4th.   In 2000, Carol and Deno and Justine, with Lindsay Reuter, were special guests who helped us usher in 
Independence Day.  This year, it was the four lassies and two mothers - Keene and Kris - who helped us kick off the day.  
Special fun for me was visiting with Kris Pitcairn.  I find it remarkable that she is old enough to have a 14-year old son.  She is so kind when she 
talks to me.  Instead of sitting in the chair across from mine or standing close to me and looking down, she settles down in front of me so we are 
eye-to-eye.  It is a small courtesy that means a lot.  I am honored to add  her to our merry little band of Mindwalkers.   
Well, I must go.  Elsa and I have not decided what to have for supper.  We want something simple yet all-American to go with our own cake, which is not 
the traditional Lockhart double-fudge cake.  Elsa left it to John to decide the frosting - deep chocolate cake with fudge filling and a whipped white 
frosting over the top and sides, a combination of favorite flavors merged into one tasty toothsome dessert.  
It is very dark out and feels like it might break out into rain at any moment.  I am so glad that it has been good weather so far this 4th - it is 
just not the same when parades or picnic or fireworks are delayed even a day. 
Looking out the window as dusk fell, I noticed the fireflies seem out in force. Last year, back when the three of us often ate supper out back in
good weather,  we noticed that the fireflies seemed unusually active.  It was just around this time of year and we got to talking about how the fireflies 
get together every year to put on a 4th of July extravaganza for their woodland neighbors.   

We enjoyed - all three of us - that image and even now it brings a smile to my face and the happiness of remembrance to my heart.

Pretty soon, I will be hearing the distant boom of fireworks at Tamamend Park, where Lower Southampton holds its celebration, and the sound of
sparklers and firecrackers and cherry bombs from down the street, but none could top the image in my mind of the fireflies’ display in a deep woodland 
I want to wrap this up and take a more look outside while I can still see the flags at lawn’s edge and the balloons aloft above the mail box, to be still a 
moment or two with Pete and memories, so many happy moments and memories.   
A special memory before my final good bye.   After Elsa tucked me in for my nap, we talked a bit about other 4ths.  A memory came to mind so crisp and 
clear, it could have been last week, not half a century ago.  I had made cowboy outfits for Mike and Mimmy to wear in the parade.  I made a pair of 
chaps for Mike using upholstry fabric that Aunt Fanny had given me and decorated them with horseshoes cut out of red oil cloth.  I used the fringe 
from the fabric for the hem of Mimmy's skirt.  As I was making them, I was wistful that Pete and I could not afford to buy them real costumes, that 
their hats were store bought hats but the rest were homemade.  Then, I got to where everyone was gathering for the parade and saw how the other cowboys and 
cowgirls were togged out - in their store bought finery - and looked at my son and daughter and realized with some pride that they were the best of the 

That day brought home the fact that store bought - outfits as well as cakes - can rarely top homemade.
Happy Independence Day to one and all - A Yankee Doodle Grammie