When my sister and I were in junior high and our mother was teaching school there, a terrible thing happened to one of her students. Her family lost everything in a home fire! Mom knew how hard it would be for a junior high student to change schools in the middle of the year so she arranged for her to move in with us. There was no money involved, just love. My sister and I were used to having extra people stay with us. It might be family members down on their luck, or grandparents who could no longer maintain their homes, or long distant friends who often came to visit. So a young girl moving in with us was a treat. She came from a family with eleven children, and you’d think to loose one for a little while would be a welcomed change. After all, that would be one less mouth to feed, a little less laundry to wash, and one less voice you’d hear arguing with siblings. But it was just the opposite! Even with all those other children around, she was missed terribly. It was the love of her parents that gave them the courage to allow her to stay with us for awhile so she could finish out the school year and start fresh in the fall at her new school. Mother and her teacher friends arranged for clothes to be given to her and, of course, my sister and I were more than happy to share our things as well. Her name was Darlene Adams, and with so many sisters and 2 older brothers, she knew exactly how to get along with all of us without any jealousy. She admired Mom so much and appreciated what she was doing for her that when Saturday’s came and we had our chores to do, she willingly joined in and made it so much fun. The time flew by. She was always laughing about something and had us laughing, too.
Since Darlene is one of my best followers and a dear friend, I wanted to share a couple of her recipes and her own memories with you.
Here’s one of Darlene’s family favorites:
I remember one sunny summer afternoon in 1960 something, I was looking for something to do when I came across a strange piece of equipment I soon figured out was a French fry cutter. You put a potato in one end and push down real bad and it pushes the potato through tiny little knives and out came potato strips. With a little more looking my sister and I found an electric fryer. So you can imagine how excited we were to be making our own French fries!! In fact we were so proud of ourselves we told the whole neighborhood. Day after day we fried up batches of those potatoes and the back door to that kitchen on Dunkle Road became a revolving door. The Porters, Diehls, Fredricks and Wardells just to mention a few didn’t have to wait for Pumpkin Show that year to enjoy delicious hot fries!! Mother said that was the summer she couldn’t keep potatoes or ketchup in the house. 🥔🥔
I like lemons and put them in my water all the time. But I’ve never met anyone who liked lemons more than my Aunt Wanda. Through the years she put lemons in everything she made from cookies, cakes, frosting, candies, puddings and tarts. She served lemonade and lemon sherbet. She was a great cook and prepared many meals for everyone she knew and if you took the time while eating you’d probably taste a hint of lemon in most things she made. She said the secret ingredient in most things was lemon. Added to spaghetti sauce or chili brought out the flavors of all the other vegetables It makes me sad to think that my sweet aunt passed away on August 31, 2016. But I can’t dwell on that for long because she was so ready to see her Living God as she would say and point to heaven while in her hospital bed. Still she fought hard to get rid of the pneumonia in her lungs. She would try to eat even when she wasn’t hungry. She’d sit up and cough and take small steps around the room. But in the end she was really sick and very weak and she told me we have to trust God because He knows what’s best for us. 🙏
I have made lemon squares in her honor and I’m asking any of you to fix your favorite lemon recipe and send it to me and I will add it to this blog. She would have liked this. Happy cooking! 🍋🍋🍋
Mix crust with 1/2 c butter, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place in the bottom of an 8×8 pan or tart pan like I did here. Bake 335 degrees for 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking mix 2eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T fresh lemon juice and the jest of I lemon.
When the crust is done pour the mixture on the hot crust. Put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
PS A special note of thanks to Lindsay’s Bakery for the delicious lemon coffee cake I took to Aunt Wanda at the hospital to help her and Uncle Bob celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. She liked it so much she ate two pieces and we still had plenty to pass out to all the nurses on her floor. 💕
My Aunt Wanda was taken to the hospital with pneumonia and her lungs were and still are in terrible shape with scarring. She has been there for two weeks so far and in spite of her condition her biggest concern is her dear husband of over 60 years. He now has Alzheimer’s and just can’t remember whether he’s taken his meds or not. If he were to drive somewhere alone he might get lost and couldn’t find his way home, but he never forgets Aunt Wanda or the fact that he’s a Christian and he tells everyone he meets that. He’s sweet to be with and can tell you many stories from the past. He loves talking about his days in the navy. He can repeat poems and sing songs of that time. So it occurred to me to check out the veterans association to see if there was any help for him there. You hear bad reports everyday about the VA and how the government won’t help the veterans after all their service but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. How could it hurt? First I went to Lexington, Kentucky and talked to my long time friend, Robert Barnard, who had been a chaplin in the army. He is retired now from that but is working again as a Chaplin for a veterans home in Wilmore, KY. He gave me ideas to start with and phone numbers to call for help in Circleville, Ohio. I’m new at this and didn’t know that veterans have to get help from the state they are living in. A very important part of this puzzle too is they have to show their DD214. Now not being used to any military lingo, I thought, what the heck is a DD214? I starting calling the numbers Robert gave me which lead me to new numbers which lead me to more numbers and so on. I tried talking to Uncle Bob and if you got him onto the right subject he could give you his Navy ID number, and I found on his garage wall a framed Honorary Discharge paper and on Uncle Bob’s key chain was his dog tag. I thought well, with all this I formation, I’d be set. Wrong!! One of the numbers I called was the Pickaway County VA office and I went straight down there. Everything I had brought with me was not enough to get that very important DD214 document!! Finally after talking and pleading and praying right in front of the lady there at this office she said she could call the county where he joined the navy and luckily I knew from my mother who was from the same area a name to start with. I also knew where he was born and close to the right birth date so now there were three people helping me. They found him in the system after all these years and she faxed to this VA office the famous DD214 paper, which looked like a birth certificate to me. With this new information the office lady went back to her boss and gave her all the information and I had an appointment with her for the next week. This made the fouth person helping me to get Uncle Bob enrolled. At this point I still didnt know much if any help was out there to help Uncle Bob. My next move would be to go to the VA hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio. This veteran who was now working in the admitting office was so funny to watch. He knew his business backwards and forwards and jumped from chair to chair talking all the time, even faster than I do, and after calling the woman in Circleville the DD214 paper was faxed to him. He was the fifth person to help me. From there we were sent to the Social Security office to get Uncle Bob’s last year taxes to see what he had paid for his Medicare insurance. This was the sixth person to help.
I’m getting familiar with the right questions to ask. With the new information back to the VA office we went. This officer kept putting in all the information and to even his surprise over the computer came the words printed ENROLLED. The man told us of how Uncle Bob would qualify for medicines and doctors visits and a slew of others things I could barely hear because I was busy thanking God for all the wonderful help we were finally getting. The next day back to the Circleville office we went and everyone was so nice and helpful. He now has his veterans card proudly in his billfold to show off. We got his DD214 paper documented and safely put it in his safety deposit box at the bank. I am so thankful to all the many veterans out there that helped us. And I’m telling this story so others will know that not all the bad stuff you hear is correct!!
When I was in high school in Circleville, Ohio my science project was on honeybees. I had the opportunity of knowing an apiary who lived fairly close to us. He was willing to teach me everything I needed to know and allowed me to use his equipment and even gave me an inside bees hive that I kept in my bedroom closet. Now this decision limited a lot of my friends from spending the night. But not Betty McManes! Since this project lasted a long time she was able to spend many nights with me and we would go off to sleep with the soothing sounds of the bees happily humming away. One time I had them outside in the driveway and some of them escaped, but luckily I was able to catch the queen bee and bang pans together and the others followed her back to their hive. Many years later my daughter, Heather Atkinson, had to do a science project and, you guessed it, she did the honey bee project as well. During the fair some of the boys thought it would be fun to open the hive and let the bees get out! Well, get out they did and they were on everything! Covering all the other kids exhibits so the school called and Heather and I carefully gathered them up and put them back in their home. The bees were very docile so it was easy to do, but during the rest of the fair we had to have someone stay and guard the hive. Both times this meant an “A” for the class and I even got to go to the state competition and that was fun too. From everything I’ve read the honey from the bees not only tastes good but it’s good for you. Especially if you eat honey made in your area it helps with allergies. I use it to sweeten my tea and it’s great on peanut butter sandwiches. The last time I was in West Virginia, David Yaussy, had on the table during our meal a jar of honey sitting with the cornbread. I had never had it that way but when I tried it, it has not been the last time. It’s great that way. So experiment with honey! It’s good for you and helps with your sweet tooth craving!🐝
Note: Andrea Hinds is the daughter of Betty McManes Payne and she now has honeybees of her own. Isn’t it funny how things in life come full circle?