We had a little earthquake last night.  i was lying in bed, reading, at 11:20 when my bed moved.  Not a lot, just a gentle wave motion. But it brought back memories of the BIG one several years ago.  I don’t remember the exact year or the size of that one.  I just remember the result.  I remember being bounced up and down in bed. And not having power, as well as having to clean up the mess and assess the damage.

My townhouse was mostly OK, but the items inside were moved around.  One vase, especially comes to mind.  It flew all the way across the room. The fireplace bricks were loosened and had to be replaced, the contents of the refrigerator were on the floor, but all these were minor.  I was not hurt.  But I am very concerned about what might happen in the next one.  I live in Earthquake territory and expect another one any day now.

Christmas Memories of Long Ago

Recently I needed to share my Christmas traditions with a group of friends and it brought back old memories.

When I was a little girl it was the late 1930’s.  My father was a chef who didn’t have a secure job.  My mother didn’t work.  Obviously we didn’t have much money.  My father would wait until Christmas Eve to go out to buy a tree.  He knew that he could get one cheaply since the seller would be anxious to close up and go home. By the time he got home my brother and I would be sound asleep.  My parents put up the tree, decorated it and put our few presents under it.  Then they would come in and wake us up by yelling, “Kids, get up! Santa’s here!” Of course, we couldn’t get up fast enough to see Santa, but low and behold there was a beautiful decorated tree in our living room with presents under it.  We were so excited.  We could only open one.  We had to wait for the others in the morning.

My father did this for a reason.  He wanted us to have a good time, and best of all, he didn’t want to be awakened at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning.

My father also had other family Christmas traditions to pass on to us such as egg nog at night and raw oysters for breakfast the next morning.  The egg nog was great, not so much the oysters.

As the years passed my brother and I grew up, married, and I had a family of my own.  My husband liked the Christmas Eve activity and so we continued to celebrate it with our children.  To this day my family gathers on Christmas Eve and has dinner, then we open our presents.  This allows everyone to have a quiet Christmas Day and to do whatever pleases them.

We have egg nog, but no oysters.

Family Fun With Fish

Family Fun With Fish

I found an article by my late husband Jim on how we got started on our fish keeping activity. It appeared in the FIN FUN bulletin of the L.E.R.C., Aquarium Society of Lockheed Employees Recreation Club in Burbank, dated October 1965. Here it is:

TANKS A LOT by Jim Denyer

There is a time in everyone’s life when the togetherness urge turns into madness.

Just such an event occurred to me during the month of January, 1964. About the middle of the month, my son, Jim Jr., came home from a visit to the local discount store with a ten-gallon tank, a pump, a filter, a small paper covered book on how to keep fish in the home.

The trouble was that he had run out of money before buying any fish. My wife, Marylou, said that the store had a “lot of very pretty ones and they aren’t too expensive”.

I felt generous, so we all got into the car (this trip included our two daughters, Circe and Jennifer) and went back to buy fish. A pair of guppies, platys, mollies, angel fish and kissing gouranis are the ones I remember buying. However, in the next few weeks I started looking at ads and visiting various
Fish stores in the vicinity. A trio of convict cichlids, a pair of paradise fish, some neons, and catfish were added.

I also started visiting the public library for books to read on the subject and to find out why it was getting harder to see the fish through the murky water.

About that time, Jim Jr., came home one day and announced that he had made collections and wanted to buy his own fish. He pointed out that they wouldn’t fit with the selections of Marylou and myself, so would I please get another tank so that he could have his back?

At this moment, Marylou registered a protest that my fish were biting hers.’’

The result was two tanks.

The population explosion, both by immigration from the local fish stores and by the first exciting miracle of live birth by the mollies soon caused further overcrowding.

In fact, despite the fact that I now have about 20 tanks, most of these are still overcrowded. The days of “one large tank should take care of all of our problems” have been replaced by “why don’t you get rid of some of the fish you don’t want?”

But we still enjoy them, that is, after the filters have been cleaned and they are fed and no new problems crop up and if I don’t have to figure where to put any of the new friends won at the raffle table and . . . . .

I copied this verbatim. Didn’t change a word. Although there are some things that are not quite correct. And the number of tanks grew to 45.
Owner MizMlu’s Etsy Store



Several years ago I had a house guest for about 3 weeks. My daughter’s friend had been ousted from his apartment and needed a temporary place to stay for about 3 weeks. She didn’t have room for him and I had a guest room and knew him to be trustworthy so I said he could stay with me.

He didn’t have a car. He was an unemployed actor and was somewhat needy. Since I live alone I thought it would be interesting to have a person living with me.

At the time I was in the process of crocheting an afghan as a gift for a friend’s upcoming wedding, so I spent my evenings in the den crocheting while watching TV. Mark joined me most evenings. He watched me busily crocheting, rarely looking at directions, and questioned me about how I knew what to stitch while paying attention to the TV and not looking at the instructions in the pattern I was using. I told him that it was mostly repetitive and I didn’t need to check every stitch. He was impressed with my ability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

Mark found work and moved out, but passed away several years later.

These days I am working on three afghans at the same time. I alternate them so that I don’t get bored with the project. They are to be gifts for my great-granddaughter’s weddings at some future date. But they must be made now.

Since I am still in the same home where I lived when Mark stayed with me, still sitting in the same chair, watching the same TV, and crocheting, I have memories of Mark— where he sat, what he said, and how he looked. I do not turn around. It is enough to feel his presence.

Denyer Family in England

I just found some of my late husband’s ancestors in England. I have not been doing much genealogy lately, but I keep a toe in the water so that if something turns up I can add it to my family’s history.
These ancestors, the Endicotts, were found in the 1841 census of a town in a part of London on the Thames. The town is Deptford and has a tumultuous history.
Deptford is a district of south east London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames. It is named after a ford of the River Ravensbourne, and from the mid 16th to the late 19th century was home to Deptford Dockyard, the first of the Royal Navy Dockyards.
Deptford and the docks are associated with the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Cook’s third voyage Golden Hind, the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh laying down his cape for Elizabeth, Captain James aboard Resolution, and the mysterious murder of Christopher Marlowe in a house along Deptford Strand.
My husband’s ancestors were not famous, but to me they are a part of my children’s lives, so it’s important to know them. The genes of the elders were passed on to their descendents. The men were sawyers, which meant they sawed the wood for carpenters. None of my children are carpenters, none work with wood, but all three are creative.
Many years ago my daughter and I spent 2 months on a trip to Europe. We were in London for about a week. However I was not doing much family history at the time and had no knowledge of the Deptford connection. I did know that my husband’s grandfather was born in London and we visited the house where he lived as a teenager. I had written in advance to the people who currently lived there to ask for permission to see the house. They were very hospitable and we were treated to a tour of the 2 story home. We even discovered a street named “Denyer” and tried to find other Denyers, but the telephone listing was so many pages long it would have been impossible to pin down any relatives.

Now I wish I could go back and visit Deptford. I have much more information than I had in 1973 and perhaps could find connections to our family. But my age makes that journey impossible. My daughter who accompanied me on the trip to Europe would like to make the same trip with her daughter at some point in the future. I hope that she will be able to do it.

How much is that thing worth?

Did you see the recent story about a little white bowl purchased for a minimal amount and discovered to be worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars?  Makes you want to scope out garage sales and your attic or that crammed closet, right?

Well, I have been doing just that.  I’m going through my belongings to eliminate the things I no longer want or need.  In the process I found a Zippo lighter that had belonged to my late husband.  He had it when we met and carried it his whole life.  I happened to see an article about collectors interested in Zippo lighters.  The article stated that some could be worth from $2000-$5000.  Others just a few dollars.  That got my attention.

I found a site online which listed all the Zippo lighters beginning with the first produced in 1933 and going to the present.  So I contacted them and asked about my Zippo which had a design of Reddy Kilowatt on the front.  I had the date of its production, 1949-1955 and the patent # and clearly described it.  The response came back rather quickly, $175, if it was in mint condition and in the original box.  That wasn’t true of my husband’s Zippo.  He used it.

So I am not going to sell his treasured possession.  It will go to one of my children, none of whom smoke, but love the memories of their father.  And I’ll keep looking for my “little white bowl”.