Thursday, October 31, 2013

You Can Call Me Whatever You Want

Just don't call me 
Late For Dinner.

Big has a few names.
You may have noticed.
Miss Osborne.
Mrs. Osborne.
Aunt Mary
And, Big.

There are a few stories as to the origin of 
my name. 
In part I am named for Big.
Mom told me one time that part
of the reasoning behind the spelling
of my name was to differentiate between 
me and Big.
Um, that only helps if you're writing me a check.

Big never liked the sound of
Aunt Mary, 
said it made her think of an old lady
in a rocker, so to tell us apart
the family resorted to the creative solution of
Big Mary and Little Merry.

I outgrew my title, 
Big never did with me.

Big has a very dear friend who when she
had children could not stand to have them address 
Big with such informality
so they were required by their mother to call Big
Aunt Mary. 
So much for the old lady in the rocker! LOL

Big was a school teacher 
well, almost.
The kids who could keep things straight called her
Miss Osborne.
Those who couldn't called her
Mrs. Osborne.

When Shanna was learning to talk
Big Mary came out as 
And that is Big's favorite name of all. 
Happy 90th year Big!
I did it!
I filled a month with you!
...with a little help from my friends :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Me-Meism #12

Gonna dance with the dolly
with a hole in her stocking
While her knees keep a knocking
and her toes keep a rocking.
Gonna dance with the dolly 
with the hole in her stocking
by the light of the silvery moon.

-Andrews Sisters-

Know how most of us sing, 
oh maybe, 
Jesus Loves Me
to our kids?

Yeah, Big sang 
Dolly with the hole. 

And I can still sing it too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Love From Maggie

Hi. My name is Maggie.
 I am Merry's niece and Big's
(Or as we called her Meme) great niece.
 I have only had 1 grandma and 1 Meme my whole life. 
I don't hear many people talk about how important their
 great aunt is to them.
So, even shorted a few grandparents,
 I am very very fortunate to have 1 Meme + 1 grandma.

I think Meme always wanted twins in the family.
(Pls note: Shanna and I are *not* twins.)
I am the proud (first time) owner of
one year old twin boys. 
When I told Meme and grandma 
I was expecting they were so excited!! 
After that every week or so when Meme
 would write me a letter 
and she would always tell me a story of the 
multiples she taught, or include a diaper coupon.
Breese, Leon and Conner.

Meme does not travel anymore. 
Around the time my aunt Mer 
was planning her 90th year celebration, 
my cousin Breese was here in Orlando helping 
me take care of 6 week olds with reflux.
 I mentioned to Breese how cool it would be
 if the boys met Meme. 
Then Breese and I remembered what 
Meme did for us one summer. 
Meme flew with Breese out to Colorado
 (where I grew up) to visit. 
She then took both Breese and me 
back to STC. and I got to visit the 
family there for a couple weeks. 
We figured it would be pretty tricky with 
4 month old twins.
 But, Breese is a forward thinker. 
She planned it all out, got my and my husband's "ok" 
then she and my other awesome aunt Gaye made it happen. 
And these are the results:

We ding dong ditched Meme. 
She did not have a heart attack. 
We had a great time that whole week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Me-Meism #11

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as 
happy as kings.

Via Robert Louis Stevenson.
But Big made it popular.
I'm sure.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christmas Letters

I'm pretty sure Big invented them.
Every year she would turn out
a one to two page recap of our family's year.
It was always fun to see who got top billing.
If you were born or
got married that year,
you had a lock on it.

She stopped writing them.
I'm not sure if it had to do with the antics
of our family that were not suitable for public
dissemination, or if it had to
do with her Christmas card list
growing to about 300.
But end they did.

 We have kept a copy of each one over the years.
They are our history.
I thought I had lost them once.
Turns out Shanna has them.

Shanna has started writing Christmas letters herself.
Carry on, Shanna.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Me-Meism #10

Pictures to hold.

As in, none of this digital stuff,
I wanna hold my pictures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Big's Earrings

Breese posted this photo to her
Facebook wall. She was playing
"find the matching earring."
This made me think of Big.

She used to wear clip on/ screw on 
earrings every day.
Remember these?

But actually, using the plural 
is a bit misleading.
By the time I would see her at the end
of her work day there would 
more times than not 
be only one earring left on.

So Breese, if you didn't find the matches, 
rest assured you come by it naturally.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Me-Meism #9

Purple Passion. 
As in to dislike something with a
purple passion.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


A 2011 survey by the United States Postal Service
indicated that the typical American home
receives a personal letter
once every 7 weeks. 
Thanks to my aunt, 
my daughter and niece and
many more people are able
to contradict that survey.

They receive a personal letter 
EVERY week.

It's Big's passion.
She started writing to the girls 
when they went away to college.
I think she figured to only write until they graduated.
Ten plus years from graduation and she's still writing.
And they are writing back.

It's Big's ministry. 
She wrote to Lory's son
while he was fighting in Iraq.
She's written to many service members.
All of them family of friends.

It's Big's heart.
She writes to shut-ins from church.
The first time I took her to Hallmark
I about passed out when they totaled up her sale.
They just hand her all the freebies 
when she walks in.

It's Big's legacy.
She saves all the letters the girls write to her.
They have all of hers too.

Love and prayers.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Me-Meism #8

Busier than a one-armed paper hanger. 

Is that politically incorrect?
If so, sorry, 
it was the 60s.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

School Days

Big liked to say she went to school every
September from the time she was five
until she retired at 64.

Big has lots of school stories,
starting in grade school when she and her best friend
decided to take egg salad sandwiches for lunch 
every day. 
All year.
Not sure she will touch the stuff now.
And stories of teaching at
 Grove School
right out of college with
her friend Marge.

And stories from our beloved 
Middlefork School.
Harry Collins gave it to her.
I say *our* beloved because I feel it is woven into 
the history that is our family.

I remember setting her doll collection up in 
the display cases in the front hall every year.
I remember her office 
with the Necco wafers in the desk drawer
that in later years became those awful
eucalyptus drops.
I remember helping her put the new school supplies 
in her room at the start of a new school year.
I remember the smell of the supply closet.
I remember the purple haze from all the cigarette smoke
in the teacher's lounge.
I remember going to the fair every year as a child
and then taking Shanna and Breese.

One of my favorite teacher stories Big tells
is about the little boy who just couldn't sit still. 
Finally out of exasperation, Big tossed an 
eraser at him.
I think it bonked him in the head.
This was before the days that such a 
thing would have landed Big in jail, 
but nonetheless, she figured she'd 
catch a little flack from his mother.
Turns out he went home and told his mom,
"Miss Osborne is treating me just like you do."
No jail time, just a chuckle among adults
whose hearts were all in the right place.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Aunt, Mrs. Clause

I stumbled across this picture along with 
a thank you note Big had received.

It seems it was some sort of 
PTA fundraiser.
Big was so proud of me and that costume.
But really, Big is proud about almost 
everything I do. 
Even when I mess up she still makes me
feel special.

Mom once asked each of us kids who 
we thought was her favorite.
We each said she didn't have a favorite
which turns out was the second best answer. 
The answer she was looking
for was each of us to say "Me!"

Well, I AM Bigs favorite.
And I will fight any of you
kids for the title!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Little Something Extra

Ava broke her wrist.
She was at Adventure Club last week where she 
told Mike she tripped over her own feet.
We all thought it was a sprain but a week later
and Ava still favoring the wrist, 
her mom felt it was time for a professional opinion. 
PS, not all broken bones look broken.

This reminded me of a Big story.
I broke my arm once. 
I was running backwards in some race 
at some summer school camp program.

I had a cast from my wrist up to my mid-bicep.
This was back in the days of plaster
and not being able to get casts wet. 
Big was taking us up to Door County
for a little vacation. 
Well, she talked with some lady who told her to 
wrap my cast in saran wrap, 
tape it with electrical tape,
and then put a plastic bag over the whole mess.
Big did just that. 
And then, because she is the best aunt EVER, 
she put me up on her shoulders and walked around
in the pool.

I asked Ava if she could imagine such a thing.
She thought a bit and then said, 
"well, not now!"

Me-Meism #6

Upon realizing someone is very hungry:
"your stomach's going to think your throat's been cut."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Booze Bag

When I was a kid I went on quite a few
road trips with Big and Grandma.
Something they always traveled with was
The Booze Bag.
I think it looked something like this.

We would get to where we were stopping for the  night
and Grandma or Big would yell, 
"don't forget The Booze Bag."
Somehow that just doesn't sound so 
PC in this day and age, but these 
were the times of Mad Men.
Kids could climb over the seats
while the car was moving, 
you could throw your trash out the window,
and transporting open alcohol
was a necessity on a long trip. 

And somehow we lived through it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Me-Meism #5

Alternative answer to the question:
where is my mother?
"She ran off and joined the circus."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Perfume Tray

Gaye was over yesterday and we were talking about
the posts I am doing all month
and she came up with a memory of Big
that I hadn't thought of.
Big's perfume tray.
We both remember all the pretty little bottles.
I remember rearranging them.
But funny, neither us us remember
Big having a particular *scent*. 
So, either she used a different one every day
or, she used none and she just liked 
pretty little bottles too. 

It appears this is another tradition of Big's that 
Breese has carried on. 
However, Big's bottles were smaller and prettier.
...just sayin'...

If I had to associate a scent with Big it
would be Listerene.
How was she able to put that
vile stuff in her mouth!!??
And she still does!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Me-Meism #4

When asking where our mother was,
"down cellar in a teacup."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love From Lory

This post is by Lory.
This is the closest picture I have of her
with Big.
It's a good pic.

Here's Lory:

I am currently laboring over writing a book – 
and there is more labor in that than at the birth 
of my three sons – combined. 
I’m not complaining, mind you, 
I love the result of my first three labors…

Big Mary (or affectionately, just “Big”)
 has been laboring for decades over her book, 
that she writes one letter at a time. 
And by letter, I mean the kind that is keeping the 
US Postal Service is business – single handedly.  
Seriously, if Big ever stops writing the USPS 
will be forced to lay off people!  
They should honor her with a stamp!

When my oldest son was in Iraq with the Marines, 
she wrote him every week.  
She didn’t expect a response from him, 
and she never got one (to his mother’s dismay). 
But she wrote faithfully for years.  
I can assure you that his mother felt the love!

Have you ever received a thank you card from Big? 
If you know Big, you probably have; 
so you know what I’m talking about.  
You feel properly thanked –
sometimes disproportionally thanked
to the object of the thanks!

And with the aid of Hallmark,
 her letters are beautifully illustrated. 
When you buy a card at Hallmark, 
they ask if you want the gold seals.  
They don’t ask Big, they just put them in her bag(s). 
And if they were real gold
 (which they should be for Big), 
she would still put them on the envelope, 
cuz that’s the way she rolls.

Yeah, I’m a “Big” fan!  
Happy 90th year, Mary, with much love!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cracking Big Up

Retelling this story would send Big into
such laughing fits that she couldn't 
speak and her eyes would tear up.

It's basically a story about a girl
who wears a green ribbon around her neck.
She gets married and her husband wants her to 
take the ribbon off. 
I don't remember exactly how it goes but 
I believe he takes the ribbon off
as she sleeps.
Her head very promptly falls off. 
For some reason, when Big 
gets to the part where her head falls off
she losses it.
Big time.

The girls would ask her to tell them the story
all the time. 
Not because they liked the story so much, 
watching Big go bonkers was the

Weird story. 
Weird reaction. 

But this from the lady whose mother used to
move her index finger in circles around
a babies belly and say, 
"load my gun, load my gun,"
then poke their bellies and say
"shoot my pig pig."


Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Story Telling

Shanna and I love to tell stories.
Sometimes when we are just hanging out,
 one will say to the other, 
"tell me a story."
We get our gift of story telling from Big.

She is in charge of remembering all 
our finer moments:
buttered toast,
Grandma and the policeman,
sh@t, I mean shoot,
Daniel and the gin,
Maggie and Toys-R-Us.

She's got a million of them. 

I'll let you figure out which story
this relates to:
And they lived happily ever after. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Me-Meism #1.2

Love and Prayers.
It's how she signs all her cards and notes 
to the girls.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sunday School

Big made some things look effortless.

She taught school 5 days a week
and then taught Sunday school.
It seemed perfectly natural to me.
I would think most teachers are interested in staying
out of a classroom on their days off.

As an adult I have taught Sunday school. 
Not well, but volunteers are hard to 
come by.
Churches struggle the beginning 
of every year to fill all the 
teacher needs they have.
They are so desperate that they 
will even take me!
I liked doing the bulletin boards best.

Imagine how blessed those kids were
who had a real teacher
teaching them about God.

Imagine how blessed I have been to 
have lived with the example 
of Big.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Me-Meism #1

While driving:
"They're taking their half otta the middle."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's My Month!!

To celebrate Big's 
90th year!
This has been so much fun.
It's been fun to see what each member of the family
has done to commemorate their month
but it's been even more fun to watch
Big enjoy it all. 

Big is such a 
part of this family.
I have said in the past that I am
glad she never married and had kids of her own.
I'm glad we didn't have to share her.
And, I am fairly certain, 
no kids of her own could have loved her more
than we do. 

So this month all Blog posts
are about Big.

Happy 90th year, Big. 
I love you lots!