Sepia Saturday – Love Notes

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

I learned this song with slightly different lyrics, but I do enjoy this video. Here are the words I learned as a child:

A-tisket, a-tasket, 
A green and yellow basket. 
I wrote a letter to my love, 
And on the way I dropped it.

I dropped it, I dropped it, 
And, on the way I dropped it. 
A little boy picked it up, 
And put it in his pocket.

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

School started this past week and I am reminded of my eldest daughter’s first day of school. Trying my best to be a good mom, I put a little love note in my daughter’s lunch box. I don’t remember exactly what it said. Probably just, “I love you! Mom” – or something simple like that.

When she returned home, I asked about her day. Her reply, ” Well, I was okay until lunch. Then I saw your note and started to cry.”

Needless to say, I did not put little love notes in the lunch boxes of the next two kids I sent off to Kindergarten.

I kept a scrapbook when I was in college and there are a few love notes from my future husband.

He was big on giving me roses. He still is. Although he didn’t follow his first idea to mark each year together with that number of roses, he has more than made up for it! When I was diagnosed with my first cancer 6+ years ago, he started bringing home roses when he did the grocery shopping every weekend. Sometimes he switches up and gets a seasonal bouquet or now, in the spring, peonies are often available. Since they don’t grow in Texas and he knows my sentimental regard for them from my grandmother’s garden, he always gets them when he can. He has only missed a couple of weeks in six years.

When I had my stem cell transplant, I was not allowed to have fresh or potted plants in my room. I was in the hospital over Valentine’s Day and he found me a little plastic solar powered flower.

Unfortunately, our big grand dog wagged his big tail and broke it.


My great-uncle Fred Webber wrote a love poem to his future wife. I included it in a previous post, but I’ll just include the relevant information here.

“Carol Webber shared with us the following poem. She explained that, while they were both students at the University of Iowa, she and Fred  went on a picnic with friends. They fetched a bucket of water for the group. Later, Fred presented Carol with the following poem, above which he had mounted a picture of the two of them carrying the pail of water for the picnic.”

I also have a previous post that includes a letter my grandfather Thomas Hoskins wrote to his future wife, Eveline Coates. I consider it a love note because he made sure to let her know at the beginning of the letter that writing to her was first on his agenda when he arrived at his destination.

Here they are pictured on their 50th anniversary.

Okobogi Ia       July 3, 1922

Dear Eveline: I have just arrived at Okobogi, I have been here but about two hours, so you see I am prompt in writing. It is sure a beautiful place here. 
We are camping in Highland Park, I think I will like it fine. There is plenty of shade and as I am a fish you know, I will enjoy being in the Lake. I think I will go down and catch a big fish pretty soon but not until I get something to eat for I am nearly starving. I am sending you some pictures of Storm Lake we just left there this morning. There is going to be lots going on here tomorrow. We have just been trying to find out who was the cook of the bunch but nobody seems competent of the job.

Well if you want any fish you had better get in your order as we are going to make a shipment up there the last of this week. Well I will close for this time as the boys are naging me to get a bucket of water.

I will try and write more next time.

Write soon.
Thomas Hoskins

I received a letter from my grandmother Eveline in Feb. of 1983. She was 82; I was 29. She had fallen and broken her hip. She wrote::

“I refused to take my therapy this afternoon. Can’t see that it is helping very much. I feel a lot better sitting here and writing to you. Will just leave the rest up to God. 

Well Kathy, I still love you and I hope this letter doesn’t discourage your faith in me.”

I had been thinking for months that I should write a letter to my grandmother expressing my gratitude and love for her and this note prompted me to do just that. I won’t share the whole letter; it is too long and maybe my whole post here is a bit too personal. My parents separated and divorced when I was two and my mom and I moved in with my grandparents. We lived with them until my mom remarried when I was almost eight – some very formative years spent in the care of my grandmother while my mom went to work. I’ll share a few excerpts from my love note to my grandmother.

The return letter I received from my grandmother included this sentence:
“Your letter was so full of loving memories I am going to put it among my keepsakes as a reminder of you.”

My aunt was caregiver for my grandmother for several years. She found the letter in my grandmother’s purse and returned it to me.

I know there must be many little love notes around here, but these are the ones that first came to mind. I’ll close with this photo of my other grandmother’s nephew, who has a basket that would hold many, many love notes should he choose to pick them up.

Who knows what will fill the baskets of other Sepia Saturday participants. Go visit and find out – here.

Sepia Saturday (2) – A Dream to Dance

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

Sepia Saturday 483 : Theme Image – A Trifle Shy

The theme image reminded me of a photo hanging in my Dad(Jerry)’s home. It is of his wife, Josefina, as a little girl in Mexico. She looks about the same age as the girl in the prompt photo, however she does not look shy, but looks very happy posing in a traditional dance costume. The costume is from Chiapas Mexico and is for the dance called Las Chiapanecas. I am not familiar with all of the symbolism and I’m unsure about some of the decorative touches, but I see the sequined eagle on the skirt as well as butterflies and what looks like corn. Most of the information about Josie was provided by her daughter, my half-sister.

Here is a group of girls doing the Las Chiapanecas. The girl who is center stage in the video seems to really enjoy dancing as I imagine Josie did at that age.

Josefina looks like a healthy and happy child in the photo above, but her childhood was not an easy one. She was born sickly and the doctors told her parents that she would not live but a few days. To protect themselves from becoming too attached, her parents gave her only the minimum of care. She slept in a shoe box and was fed and kept clean, but her parents did not hold her or give her a name. Miraculously, she lived, and her parents named her and began to care for her and love her as they did their other children. Josefina Martinez Pineda was born March 19, 1932 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Josie suffered from rheumatoid arthritis as a child and was unable to walk due to the swelling of her joints. She was carried most places because her family could not afford a wheelchair. They would carry her to the park and set her on the grass to be near the other children. She dreamed of dancing and had an incredible imagination and never gave up on her dream. According to an article in the Oskaloosa Herald, Josefina “began her career at the age of eight when she was given a scholarship to study drama and dancing.”

Josie became a professional dancer, appearing on the Max Factor of Hollywood show produced by Televisa in Mexico City. The format of the show included performances of Classical Ballet Folklorico followed by interviews of movie stars or singers in a talk show format. Her daughter thinks there is a picture somewhere of Josie sitting in the interview chairs with the cameras on her. Josie stopped dancing when her father became ill so she could help care for him.

While attending classes at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México she met Thomas Jackson Meacham of Monahans, Texas. They were married January 5, 1959 and made their home in Odessa from 1960-66. Josefina was a member of the Odessa International Club. In Odessa she costumed and directed Mexican fashion shows and taught traditional folklorico dance to 4-H clubs and entered them in a talent show. They won first place and because of this were offered the opportunity to appear on several TV programs. Following the death of her husband, Josie returned to Mexico City to be near her family.

In 1971 she married my father. My dad was traveling in Mexico by train and struck up a conversation with another man, who invited my dad to join his family for dinner and that is where he met Josie. After several months of courting and correspondence, he convinced her to marry him and live in the tiny town of Hedrick, Iowa.

I am sure this was a very difficult move for Josefina. At least Odessa, Texas was closer to Mexico than Iowa and there is a lot of Mexican culture in Texas. In Iowa – not so much. So Josie brought a bit of Mexico to her new home in Iowa as she had in Odessa.

Josefina shared her dance and knowledge at nursing homes and clubs in several of the surrounding (and larger) towns nearby. I never saw one of her shows, but at my dad’s and my request, she did dance for me in their home when I was visiting on at least one occasion. She had a large square of plywood that she could put on the carpet to practice and that is how I saw her dance. She also showed me one or two costumes and told me the legends and symbolism in the designs.

Me with my dad and Josefina and her beloved chihuahua

Josie’s daughter was born in 1973 and Josie was a very devoted mother, which she expressed in many ways over the years.

A newspaper article titled “World fellowship day celebrated with fling” appeared in the Ottumwa, Iowa newspaper dated November 12, 1977 and includes these photographs:

In June of 1982, Josefina prepared a show for the Hedrick Centennial celebration. It was a special performance because it included her daughter for the first time. Josie had made the costume for her daughter when she was three and redesigned the skirt to use on this occasion.

Here are some pictures from a performance at Wm Penn College in Oskaloosa, IA in 1983:

Josefina in blue

Josefina was a talented dancer, teacher, and seamstress. She once showed me a painting she had done. According to her daughter she worked from a tiny picture in a magazine. She was taking a painting class for the first time. I think she could have pursued painting as well as her other talents.

Josefina was kindhearted and full of energy and adventure. She was also resilient, courageous and determined – perhaps another post on another day. Her early medical problems followed her throughout her life, especially affecting her heart and requiring heart valve replacement. Josefina left unexpectedly and too soon, leaving a very large hole in the hearts of her family.

Have some fun and visit other Sepia Saturday participants here