Saturday, November 15, 2014

Names in an Old Address Book

I have three address books. I don't know why I have held onto the oldest one, where names and addresses are scratched out and old acquaintances are long gone. But an old address book is like a memory capsule of sorts. They provide a glimpse of people and events that were once a part of our lives.

Under "A" there is the name of my husband's buddy. They were best friends in high school and both joined the military and served in Vietnam. I met him once. He seemed like a nice guy. He died a few years ago.

There are the two uncles, one in West Virginia, and one in Florida, both now deceased. Uncle #2 took care of his father for many years and didn't marry until middle-age.

In case she ever needed it, I still have my daughter's college address. She actually had three addresses while in college. We moved her into the old and dingy apartment that was assigned to her and moved her into the dorm two days later because I didn't feel that the apartment was safe enough for a 19-year old girl. It was meant to be because she met her best friend when she moved into the dorm.

Under"B" there is my old friend from El Paso. We were military spouses and met in the post-partum ward (no kidding) in the Army hospital. Our kids were born on the same day. We lost touch through numerous PCS moves. Her last address was in Colorado Springs.

Another old friend and neighbor from my El Paso days lives in East Texas now. We stopped to see them on our way to Alabama and ate at a country buffet. They both worked at the state prison.

There is the name of my old pastor, listed under "C". He baptized my younger daughter 20 years ago.

An old co-worker is listed under "D". She was a single Mom and a hard worker. I haven't seen her in years.

Then there is Cassie, the little girl that my daughter befriended on a church trip and became pen pals with. Cassie was from Virginia.

An old, old school friend, also from my Army brat days. She married her high school sweetheart and became an Air Force wife. We wrote each other for many years, but once we had families it dwindled to once-a-year Christmas cards. She was very talented and multi-lingual. We reconnected recently on Facebook.

Former neighbors, listed under "G", long gone. I miss their newsy Christmas letter. They also live in Virginia. She gave the best Halloween parties. She was a writer, like me.

When we get to "H" I remember my dear friend, Grace. She retired to Florida when her husband died from cancer. We were walking partners and she was a native New Yorker. Beautiful person. She is now deceased.

The piano teacher who taught my daughters. She was a wonderful woman and taught me more about faith by her example.

Under "T" there is another old friend, Sonny. She and I met through the tutoring program at school and became close friends. A native New Yorker, she was like a mentor to me. She was out-spoken, but had a heart of gold. She and her husband died within a week of each other three years ago this month. She was a big influence to me. Once you met Sonny, you never forgot her.

So many names and addresses. All have touched my life in some way or another.

A picture of downtown taken on Veteran's Day

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I took these pictures of two recent sunsets. They looked like pictures in the sky.
Do you see the image of the cross?

And this one looks like two galloping horses.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Morning Rituals

Morning Rituals


I listen to your footsteps

turning on the kitchen faucet

and starting the coffee

I listen as you unlock the door

and walk to the end of the driveway

to pick up the morning newspaper


I listen to the clock radio

as another Top 40 song plays

and as the DJ tells another silly joke

I pull the blanket over me

through the weather report

and the latest news headlines


You open the bedroom door, softly

to see if I am awake

I rub the sleep from my eyes

and reach for my robe

which had fallen to the floor

and wrap it close around me


You pour my morning coffee

as I hunt for my reading glasses

You chatter; I am quiet

the early bird and the night owl

We are familiar with each other's habits
our morning rituals


(c)  Anita M. Ashworth


Thursday, September 25, 2014


Autumn has always been my favorite season.  I look forward to her cool temperatures and soft breezes, especially after the stifling heat of a summer day. Fall is not like Spring, although lovely to look at, she has a tendency to show off her unpredictable moods. And she is not like Summer, either, who is a show off with her tanned bodies and gorgeous sunsets.  No, Autumn's bloom is slightly fading, but she has a mature beauty. Her face is full of character and experience and paints a beautiful canvas.  Whereas all Spring and Summer want to do is have fun, Autumn is ready to settle down. She is all about home and family. Football games and marching bands. It is hot apple cider and jack-o-lanterns on the front porch. It is harvest time and hay rides and visits to the pumpkin patch. Autumn is Thanksgiving, which means  extra plates on the table for company and afternoon naps and leftovers to eat the next day. Grandma's turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole. This is why I love Autumn.  She  wraps her arm around you like a warm, cozy blanket. She has the biggest heart of all the seasons.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Worst and Best Luck

Sometimes I have the worst and the best luck at the same time.

I was having car problems a few weeks ago. It seemed like a battery problem, so I took it to the local auto parts store to have my battery tested. It was the alternator. The employee gave me the name of a local mechanic, who happened to live close by. This was on a Sunday evening. The man was very friendly and asked about my car troubles and the numbers on the ticket and what they meant. I didn't have a clue. We made arrangements for him to repair the alternator the following night, as he worked a full-time job. He seemed concerned that I might break down on the way to work and advised me not to use the lights and not much power.
The next day I made it to work and drove home, stopping for gas about five minutes from home. The car wouldn't the gas pump, of all places. I called my neighbor. She wasn't home. My best friend was out of town. My daughter lived 20 miles away. I found the crumpled piece of paper with the mechanic's number. He happened to be at the high school, next to the gas station, where he was picking up his daughter. He drove over and jumped off the battery and I followed him to his house keeping my fingers crossed and counting my blessings at the same time.

His shop was behind his house, next to a cornfield. There were old cars everywhere, but as the mechanic told me, good cars that still ran. My daughter picked me up and took me to dinner. When I came back the sun was going down behind the cornfield and I could hear the hoot owls and crickets as I waited on him to finish with my car. He was a widower with two teen-age daughters and he shared with me the challenges of being a single dad to two young women and trying to teach them values. His oldest daughter was preparing for college, so he took as many extra jobs as he could.
A really nice man. A hard worker. A man of character. I thought of these things as he worked on my car under a lightbulb and the moon looking over the cornfield.

Friday, September 5, 2014


I could never understand why people didn’t like history.  I have always loved History.  I was probably the only person in Western Civ. 101 who enjoyed the two hour lectures on Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. It may have helped that I had been to the British Museum and seen the mummy room when I was a high school senior. We lived in Germany at the time and our Honor Society spent a week in London, giving us an education that can’t be taught in history books.
Whether we realize it or not, our lives and the lives of our ancestors were touched by historical events that can have an impact for generations to come.  We were not conceived in a vacuum, but come from many history chapters before us. What will our chapter say to our future generations? What will future census records tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren yet to be born?

My own life has been affected by history. I was born in Germany and spent my early years living with my German grandmother. She and her children had been refugees after WWII, having lost their home during the war. She ended up in West Germany and my grandfather in East Germany. The details are shadowy, but the hardships affected several generations.  I had a German uncle who fought in the regular German army and was taken as a POW by the Americans. He kept a scrapbook of his time with the Americans.  

History once again was prominent in my life when in 1966 my father was shipped off to Vietnam. We moved to middle Tennessee to live near our grandparents. As I played in the shadows of an old southern plantation, walking in the creek bed behind the old house and catching toads, I didn’t realize then how history had played a role on this piece of land only a 100 years before, where Union and Confederate soldiers had fought nearby. I was in the third grade and befriended a new classmate, a little black girl that I would walk home with after school. It was the first year of integration. One day she didn’t return to school.  I walked by her house that afternoon and saw a pile of ashes. The house had burned to the ground and the family moved in with relatives. I didn’t know anything about Civil Rights then, just that I could buy my  popsicles for a few pennies cheaper when I went to the corner store in the black neighborhood.  
When I was ten we moved to Oklahoma and I soaked up the western stories in our musty Oklahoma history books. The story of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker fascinated me and I searched the library shelves for stories about the Indian chief whose mother had been taken captive by the Indians when she was a child.  Cynthia Ann Parker was eventually rescued by the Texas Rangers, who returned her to her family, but she died of a broken heart. After losing her young daughter, Prairie Flower, and missing her adopted tribe, she could never adapt to her new life. When the Indian wars were over, Quanah lay down his arrows, dressed in white man’s clothing, and became a celebrity, but kept his four squaws.

How can we ignore history when it’s all around us? I’ve walked the halls of Versailles and stood in the cathedrals at Westminster and Notre Dame. I’ve seen the horrors in black and white at Dachau concentration camp.  I’ve seen the Crown Jewels and can name all six of Henry VIII’s wives. I’ve walked along the canals of Amsterdam, where Anne Frank herself may have walked. Her home was closed for renovations when we were there. History is never more apparent than when visiting Washington DC, with all its memorials and names etched in stone. How can we not like history?

Looking at my life through the lens of a historian every part has been affected in one way or another.
This is my third time living in North Alabama. I lived here 50 years ago when the space program was in its infancy, although as a second-grader I didn't know it at the time. I lived her again for a brief time in the early 1970's. We survived the worst tornadoes ever seen in April 1974. I was a sophomore in high school when President Nixon visited Huntsville and my classmates and I went to see him speak. He was the first man in American history to resign the presidency. It was front page news at that time. Today it is history.

This photo is 40 years old.

The little town in Germany where I was born.

My husband and me, Paris 1978.

                                                           The canals in Amsterdam.

Where I lived in Germany as a young 20-year old.

The Saturn V rocket

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Heavenly Homecoming

My dear, sweet mother-in-law went to be with Jesus yesterday morning. She was at home, baking for her daughter's family, and passed away peacefully. She was 91. She had been battling health problems for some time, a result of old age, but she didn't give up. She still helped with the laundry and the cooking because she was never one to sit still for very long.

I was blessed to have known her for these past 37 years. She was a survivor. Out of nine siblings she was one of the last two still living. Now there is one. She lost a husband and two sons and still maintained her beautiful positive spirit and never lost her sense of humor. An avid hockey fan, the local hockey team called her "Team Mom" and gave her an autographed hockey jersey on her 90th birthday. She coordinated the fellowship suppers at her church for many years and looked forward to going to breakfast at the casinos where she lived. She had many friends, young and old, and kept up with countless nieces and nephews and more than a dozen grandchildren.

She always had a story to tell. The most recent one was about a "younger man in his 70's" who would sit by her in church and drive her to Walmart. She laughed at the thought of having an admirer at her age.

She called me last Friday night and left a message and ended it like she always did, "I love you".