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The Taste Left in My Mouth…In Memory of Mama Betty

Have you ever eaten something that left a taste in your mouth? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines aftertaste as the persistence of a sensation (as of flavor or emotion) after the stimulating agent or experience has gone. Things that come to my mind that always leave a taste in my mouth are onions and garlic. Good thing I love them both. However, just like the bitter or sweet aftertaste left in our mouth after food or drink consumption, so is our legacy after we are gone.

I have to be honest, I never thought of legacy in terms of aftertaste until today when I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “Coffee with Chrystal“, hosted by Chrystal Evans Hurst. Leaving a taste in someone’s mouth, she explained, simply means leaving a lasting impression on another. Listening to Crystal’s podcast this morning while brushing my teeth, my thoughts immediately drifted to Betty, my mother-in-law from my first marriage. Today is her birthday. She would have been 68.

I met Mama Betty when I was 17 years old. I had only been dating her son for a few weeks; she predicted right away we would be married and referred to me as her daughter-in-law well before her son and I said “I do” two years later. Wanting to surprise my new young husband with his favorite side dish, I asked Mama Betty to teach me how to make her famous potato salad. “It’s all about the pickles,” she would profess. The Vlasic Dills had to be cut into thick chunks and there had to be a lot of them. On the day of my cooking lesson, she made me do everything while she leaned against the kitchen counter and provided directions. I remember her saying it was better to do than watch if I wanted to learn. She didn’t use measuring cups or a recipe – she tasted as she went and encouraged me to do the same.

I have thousands of memories of Mama Betty. She was a bonus mom during my teen years. She became my biggest supporter the day her son and I divorced. She was the loudest cheerleader at my second wedding. But the fondest memory I have of her is the love she displayed the day she taught me how to make her potato salad.

It was simple. It didn’t cost a dime. It was an expression of who she was.

That is what legacy is – the taste we leave in others’ mouths when we are gone. This is the taste she left in mine.

Happy Heavenly Birthday Mama Betty. I made a batch tonight, especially for you.

Vivian and Mama Betty
Me and Mama Betty at my second wedding. She was front and center – just where I knew she would be.

~Viv

This is 50!

Half a hundred. That is how old I am as of 9:04 a.m. today.

Some would call 50 ‘middle-aged’. I suppose that is true, but I choose to think of 50 as a re-birth. A time of reflection – a time to look back on the past and recognize the growth that has occurred. As I do so today, I am reminded of moments of pain, happiness, fear, joy, and uncertainty. I am encouraged to worry less about things I cannot change, and to say no to things that do not matter.

I won’t lie; it is difficult for me to fathom that I have reached this age. My body reminds me often that we are no longer 20, my mind still remembers my youth as if it were yesterday. I vividly recall memories from my childhood, high school, and my twenties. Oh how I would love to go back and mentor my younger self.

The first thing I would tell her would be to stop striving for perfection; that only stresses you out and makes you miserable. Nobody is perfect. Next, I would tell her to wait for the man God has for her instead of rushing to get married right out of high school – marriage is such a gift when you marry your best friend. I would encourage her to not climb the ladder of success so quickly; there is something beautiful in pacing. I would remind her to call her parents more and not wait until she wasn’t so busy with her career – family is more important than your livelihood.  I would steer her away from bathing in the sun and visiting tanning beds in an effort to keep the cancer away. And I would tell her every day she was beautiful, especially on those days that others told her she wasn’t. I would be her cheerleader; her biggest fan, and best friend.

I cannot go back in time. And to be honest, I wouldn’t even if I could. The experiences I have had over the past 50 years are testimonies. We all have them and I believe we have a duty to share them in order to help others.

Age is just a number and today, dear friends, my number is 50!

~Viv

Vivian and birthday cupcake

Hey! I want to celebrate this milestone with you. Please check out the MemoryBlogger Facebook page to find out how you can win a $50 Visa Card!

The Cigarette Fights Back

Smoldering Cigarette

The Cigarette Fights Back

I’m a small little thing,

Not much in cost,

But smoke me awhile

And I’ll show you whose boss.

You killed my great Grandpa

To win a childish dare,

By the time you were twenty

You just didn’t care.

You’ve stomped me, you’ve burned me,

You’ve given me away,

Just keep on inhaling,

I’ll get even some day.

Your eye balls are burning,

Your lungs are on fire,

You’ve got my dead brothers

All over your car.

You’ve dropped a half dozen

On the wife’s newest rug.

That’s not anyway to get a big hug,

You think a good meal is some kind of joke.

You say, “Aw I’m not hungry,

I’ll just have me a smoke.

Hubert K. Mandrell

12-29-56

 

Grandpa Mandrell

Labels

Hat and flowers

Assumptions, accusations, pity, and blame

All emit from a society, uneducated in me

Questions, inquiries, probes, and shame

Try to blanket my existence; why can’t they see?

 

Offspring is tied intimately to women’s worth

But her significance is rooted deep from within

Her value is not attached simply to giving birth

A childless womb does not equate to sin

 

A nurturing spirit is a gift from above

But some tend to narrow it in scope

You don’t get to decide whom He gave me to love

For when He made me, he gave her hope

 

Two broken spirits, a single dad, a disrupted life

God chose to heal us, one-by-one-by one

Our lives were changed when I became Eddy’s wife

Abandonment faded – I became her bonus-mom

 

Women nurture pets, angels, and children of others

These words are simply a reflection of my life – my fable

I bet there’s more women like me – idle wombs, yet still loving mothers

So world, show respect to a woman – don’t judge, assume, and don’t label

 

~Viv

Just Kiddin’

stacks of money

“Babe, Babe, stop. Put the phone down.”

“Why? I need to call somebody!”

Eddy grabbed the phone from my hand. He was in hysterics. Barely able to speak through obnoxious laughter.

“What are you doing? I need to call somebody!”

“No”, Eddy said, composing himself. He knew I would regret dialing the Human Resources department at Hill Air Force Base. “You can’t quit your job. It was a joke. You didn’t win.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. “What? But the numbers match.”

For one minute – 60 blissful seconds, I floated on a cloud of reprieve. I was free. Free from embarrassment. Free from guilt. Free from a 10-year marital mistake, which left me floundering in a sea of red.

I was a newlywed, yet still married to my past. The debt I owed had been a miraculous conception, as I had no part in creating it, but the law said I was responsible. I hated that I brought unfinished business into my new life.

“I just need enough to pay off these bills,” I told my new beau as I climbed into the passenger seat of our Chevrolet Silverado. Our state didn’t have a lottery; we had to embark on a one-hour journey to Idaho, where, I was certain I would purchase the winning ticket.

“Okay, Babe, if you say so,” Eddy smiled.

Traffic was heavy. Utahans headed North on Interstate 15 – all seeking a piece of Idaho’s $125 million bounty. The scene resembled a story I learned in Ms. Brown’s Oklahoma History class – the Oklahoma Land Rush.

According to the Internet, I informed Eddy as I marked the bubbles on my lotto card, the most common numbers drawn were 2, 15, 33, 34, 54, and 67. “Okay, babe.” Eddy’s smile was beginning to irritate me. Where was his faith?

The idea to deceive me struck Eddy on our return from Idaho somewhere between the town of Logan, Utah, and our home on Hill Air Force Base. I talked of nothing more than my winning ticket. The suffocating excitement that pervaded the truck cab fueled Eddy’s plan. Engrossed in his plot, he wouldn’t remember driving home, an eerie feeling, he later acknowledged, as we pulled into the driveway.

Three hours later, my life changed.

The prank was locked and loaded, ready to fire with one click of the refresh button.

At exactly 7:00 p.m., I sprinted upstairs to log on to the Idaho lottery website.

“All ya gotta do is click the refresh button,” Eddy instructed. That was more like it – finally, he was showing some support.

The refresh tested my patience. I was reminded of a time I waited for a tardy passenger bus in the middle of a Florida monsoon. “Hurry up already!” I yelled. “Why is our Internet so slow?” Eddy didn’t answer. I was unaware he had tip-toed out of the bedroom, into the hall.

My saucer-sized eyeballs were fixated on the monitor; my body became tense as my left index finger traced the numbers on the screen. The first two numbers matched. The third number matched. “Shut up!” I screamed.

I felt a shockwave of anticipation and a blinding flash of hope when the fourth number also corresponded with my ticket. I continued to scream, “Shut up!”

To this day, I do not understand my choice of vernacular during such excitement. Who, exactly, did I want to ‘shut up’?

The fifth identical number caused me to rise from my leather chair.

The sixth number, the one that controls the jackpot, ushered in a tidal wave of hysteria.

“Shut up! Hey Babe, we won! We freakin’ won the lottery! Holy crap, I need to call somebody,” I squealed, reaching for the cordless phone.

Eddy came rushing into the bedroom. He hadn’t been far; he witnessed the whole spectacle from our neighboring bathroom. He was all smiles, but for an entirely different reason. He wasn’t smiling because he was a millionaire.

You see, Eddy was a gifted web designer. His talent included the ability to mimic websites. Three hours earlier, he copied my numbers into a fake Idaho State Lottery website, to which he developed. It looked real, thus creating the illusion that mine were the winning numbers. Gifts and talents should be used for good, not evil, just sayin’.

“Babe, Babe, stop. Put the phone down.”

“Why? I need to call somebody!”

“No”, you can’t quit your job. It was a joke. You didn’t win.”

And just like that, I went from being poor, to rich, then back to poor. All within 60 seconds.

As far as jokes go, this was, by far, one of the best. Yes, I eventually paid off that pesky debt. Yes, Eddy and I are still married, though he was in the dog house for a while after the prank. But, I am happy to report, a few years later, I played those same numbers, and guess what? I actually won the Idaho State Lottery!

Just kiddin’.

~Viv

Just Breathe

Poppy in field of Baby's Breath

Heavy. I can not move. My right leg is eager, willing to handle the weight of my body, but it resents having to do so. Sure, it is a part of a team, but for an entire year, it has had to carry the left. It is tired, worn out, disproportioned. Not as disproportioned as her sister, for she is disfigured in a different way.

Cancer has a way of taking something away from you. Your hair, your life, your dreams, your mobility – and sometimes it takes away your lymph nodes, those tiny nodules that you never think about until they are stripped from the confines of your body. Though there are many, removing just two can disrupt the entire system, creating heaviness, burning, and a sense of fullness from deep inside. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, despite my doctors assuring me that the pain I feel when my foot hits the ground is good for me; it is worth it, they say, walking is medicinal.

My toes, now fat little sausages, burn from the inside out as thick fluid builds up begging for a place to escape. I wish I could drill a hole in them to relieve the pressure and drain the pain. I wish I could feel my skin, but it is blanketed with a layer of scar tissue that has left a scaly, lifeless indention. I used to have cute feet. The bubblegum toe polish is just a façade.

I am told to breathe – that deep breathing helps move trapped lymph fluid. I have to admit, I don’t do it. Seems like a bunch of bullshit to me – breathing can’t possibly relieve the constant pressure and pain I feel in my lower extremity. And it certainly can’t take away the disfigurement; the crater that stage IV melanoma so cruelly left behind. But today I tried. Today I took deep breaths. I concentrated on my fat toes. I visualized my reddish-purple foot and ankle releasing the evil toxins that hold them captive. I imagined the crater closing up and the thick juice turning into a flowing river of necessity. My thigh welcomed the prodigal solution – it had been waiting for its return. The system had been restored, if only for a while. It will take repetition; a concentrated effort of self-love to reunite, but the time invested is worth it. Breathe my sweet sister; you are alive. Breathe, my love, for you have been healed. You are a survivor. Just breathe.

~Viv

Just Breathe Rocks and flower
                                                                                                                                          Photo credit: Vicki McLead

 

My First Job

Mason jar of lemonade

I was finally going to make some real cash. I was tired of being broke and unable to have the finer things in life. Becoming an entrepreneur and selling my own product was a sure-fire way to guarantee home ownership.

This is what I told my two homeless Barbies the summer of 1978. I just celebrated my sixth birthday and was having regret that I didn’t ask for the pink and yellow Barbie Dream House I saw in the Sears catalog. My Barbies had never owned a house. Instead, they lounged around my parent’s house all day. When bedtime rolled around, they retired to the cramped quarters of my old Raggedy Ann and Andy lunchbox. I apologized to the plastic beauties every night as I shoved them inside and blanketed their contorted bodies with piles of tiny clothes and accessories. “I am opening a lemonade stand; I’ll be able to buy you a home soon,” I promised as I closed the lid on their hopeful faces.

Thanks to my Grandma Schmidt, I already had a fine collection of inflatable furniture for my Barbies’ future home. I had a living room, bedroom, and kitchen set. The orange floral print of the couch, chair, and coffee table didn’t match the green design of the bedroom furniture, but it wouldn’t matter once inside the Dream House. The kitchen furniture was yellow. The refrigerator didn’t stand up on its own very well once filled with air. Its cardboard doors were covered in a stretchy plastic and when opened, you could see a painted picture of nourishing staples inside. I remember thinking it was funny there were bottles of pop and veggies in the fridge. But what really cracked me up was the whole turkey that was sitting in the freezer.

My older sister wasn’t into Barbies anymore, so she gave me a plastic Barbie bathtub she acquired years earlier. I don’t remember there being a toilet, sink, or vanity – surely I had those too, right? The bathtub was cool though – it made bubbles. With a little bit of water, a drop of kitchen soap, and a few pumps of a button at the foot of the tub, I was able to create a mountain of fluffy white suds.

When I told my mom about my career choice, she was supportive. She even helped me procure the supplies necessary for my lemonade stand: a Tupperware pitcher, a stack of Dixie cups, and a tiny packet of yellow lemonade. I insisted on making the tart liquid myself. Mom smiled as she backed away from the counter and let me take charge. I had seen her do it thousands of times – empty the lemon-flavored powder into the pitcher, add sugar and water, stir, and then add one more cup of sugar. Okay, my mom never added a second cup of sugar, that was my idea. Nothing but the best for my customers – the more sugar, the better.

Real estate was easy to come by for my business. I simply chose the front yard of our house. Between the street and sidewalk, I erected a folding T.V. tray and metal chair in the grass. I placed the pitcher of lemonade and stack of small Dixie cups on the T.V. tray – I don’t remember displaying a sign, but each cup of my lemon brew would cost consumers 10 cents.

My mom suggested I have a change box in the event someone gave me big bills, like a dollar. I repurposed an old “My School Box” that previously held Kindergarten supplies. What once housed pencils, crayons, scissors, and Elmer’s School Paste (I can literally smell that paste as I write this!) now held loose change for my lemonade business.

I only had one customer that day, but I will never forget him. Not because he was my one and only customer, but because I damn near killed the man with the thick, sugary beverage I had the nerve to call lemonade.

He was a police officer. One of Chickasha’s finest, who patrolled our small Oklahoma neighborhood. I waved at him as he approached my stand in his police car. When he pulled up against the curb, I could see inside the passenger window. There were lots of flashing lights and buttons on the dash.

“Whatcha got going on over here?” the police officer asked as he exited his car. His thick brown mustache couldn’t hide the handsome smile on his face.

“I’m sellin’ lemonade. You want some? Ten cents a cup!”

“Why, I was just thinkin’ I was thirsty,” he said reaching for his wallet.

Ecstatic, I immediately went to work, carefully pouring the yellow juice into one Dixie cup. The police officer held the cup for me; the pitcher was heavy – I had to use two hands.

Once filled, I handed him the cup and he, in turn, handed me a crisp one dollar bill.

“You can keep the change,” he informed me as he lifted the cup to his lips and took a swig. Suddenly, he started gagging and coughing uncontrollably. I watched in horror as he attempted to catch his breath and gain some level of composure. His eyes were watering and bulging at the same time. When he could finally speak, he muffled, “It’s good.” He managed to choke down the rest of it and handed me the empty cup with a weak smile.

“Good luck with your sales,” he said as he walked back to the driver’s side of the police car, still coughing. Bless his heart, the overly sweet concoction must have given his system an unexpected jolt.

After an hour, I decided I no longer wanted a career in lemonade sales. I didn’t want a Barbie Dream House anymore either. I had made a whole dollar – not bad, I thought, for my first job. A dollar was more than enough to buy a new bag of shiny marbles from TG&Y – and that is exactly what I did.

~Viv

Me at a lemonade stand I found while exploring Bodega Bay, California (November, 2021)

 

Love Your Heart

Red High Heels

One year ago, I found myself in a hospital bed in the Emergency Room hooked up to all sorts of machines. The little sticky pads on my chest were making my skin itch. I was having trouble breathing, even with the oxygen mask covering my nose and mouth. The nurse had trouble finding a vein in my right arm, so she took blood, which would be tested for the protein, Troponin T from the top of my right hand. What a horrible place to stick a needle.

Thirty minutes earlier, I passed out at home while teleworking in my office. I had been feeling tired for about a week and my heart seemed to be beating extra hard. It fluttered, then felt like it would stop, then restart within a matter of seconds. The restart felt like a kick in the chest, but from the inside. The start-stop ritual had been going on for a week; it kept me up at night. Yet, it took me hitting the ground to do something about it.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we procrastinate when it comes to our health?

Another nurse came in with a tiny cup of water and one aspirin. “Take this,” she instructed. It wasn’t until I was given an aspirin that it dawned on me how dumb it was that I drove myself to the hospital. My husband, Eddy, and our kids didn’t have a clue I was there.

I was being carefully monitored by nurses and machines, but I was all alone. I managed to stay connected to the machines as I leaned over to the visitor’s chair in the corner and grabbed my purse. I pulled out my phone, but before I could dial Eddy’s number, it rang in my hand.

“Hello?” I inquired, not recognizing the phone number.

“Ms. Cumins, this is Dr. Neuenschwander’s office with Tanner Clinic, Dermatology. We received the results of your biopsy; it is cancer and we need to schedule you for surgery immediately.”

“Is this seriously happening”? I said aloud.

“Excuse me?” The women on the other end said. Bless her heart, she had no idea what I was currently going through.

“Nothing,” I replied.

I had gone to the dermatologist a week prior and had a biopsy on a spot on my left shin. Honestly, I didn’t think about that visit until right then. I could hear the beeps coming from the machine next to me. My heart was starting to beat faster. I needed to call Eddy; this was all just too much.

“Hey babe, don’t get mad or freak out, but I am in the Emergency Room. They are checking my heart,” I told him. My voice started to quiver. “And I just got a call from dermatology that the spot on my leg is cancer and I have to have surgery.”

I can only imagine the shock, worry, and anger that flooded over my husband in that moment. I quietly accepted the lecture coming through the receiver. I shouldn’t have driven myself; I should have called him or an ambulance – he was right in all he had to say. I could hear the worry in his voice, so I simply listened, and agreed. Then, as is typical for my husband, he provided comforting, positive words of wisdom that promised we would get through this together. If you follow my blog, you already know my cancer journey. If you don’t know, you can read the story here.

Two hours later, I walked out of the Emergency Room with referral paperwork in hand. Thanks be to God, I had not had a heart attack; however, my heart rhythm was severely ‘off’ and I was being sent to a Cardiologist, where I would undergo an echocardiogram and a nuclear cardiac stress test.

I was in the middle of two major health crises; which one do I tackle first? My newly acquired medical team suggested we get to the bottom of my heart rhythm issue first, then take on the cancer surgery. So, that is what we did.

Premature Ventricular Contractions”, otherwise known as “PVCs”. That was my diagnosis. My heart was throwing in extra heartbeats – 400 extra beats per minute. The good news was my heart was otherwise healthy. Medication would bring my heart rhythm back into sync; and to this day, I remain ‘flutter-free’.

Today, the first Friday in February, is about the HEART.

National Wear Red Day is celebrated each year on the first Friday in February. On this day, people wear the color red to raise and spread awareness in hope to help eradicate heart disease and stroke across the nation. Check out the links below for more information.

I am Crazy Blessed, y’all. A lot has happened since I was in that hospital bed in February 2021. I am still here. I have purpose and a calling. I accept each day as a gift. And I take care of myself.

Love your heart, my dear friends. Not just today, but always.

American Heart Association

National Wear Red Day

Women and Heart Disease

~Viv

My Calling_A Poem

Created with Purpose

It was there all along,
Never elevating past a whisper.
Patiently it waited,
The time would come.
Life was noisy,
I could not hear.

Selfish existence is hollow,
I always knew there was more.
But life’s purpose won’t intrude,
It wants our full attention.
Life was noisy,
I could not hear.

Sometimes bad things happen,
For me, it was cancer.
But good can come from bad,
If we simply choose to learn.
Life was noisy,
I started to hear.

Trials build character,
If we refuse to faint.
Preparation for destiny,
Often occurs through tears.
Life was noisy,
I needed to hear.

One step of faith,
Leads to another.
Confirmation, then peace,
Renews mind, body, and soul.
Life was noisy,
I wanted to hear.

Obeying without knowing,
Requires undisputed trust.
Doing what we know to do,
Allows God to do the rest.
Life is noisy,
But I finally hear my calling.

~Viv

The Original Ice Castle

Ice Castle

One of my favorite winter attractions is the magical Ice Castles that come alive every January in the small, Swiss-themed town of Midway, Utah. Built on an acre of land, Ice Castles attracts thousands of curious visitors, all looking to unleash child-like imagination and get lost in a whirlwind of fantasy.

Ice Castles are constructed from hundreds of thousands of hand-placed icicles, ice blocks and frozen walls. Inside, custom caves, walkways, tunnels, mazes, and slides encourage hours of icy play and exploration. At night, colorful lights, synchronized to music from Disney’s Frozen, bounce off the glistening interior and add to the enchanting experience. Without fail, every visit to this winter wonderland takes me back to my childhood. Long before Ice Castles rose to fame in 2011, my sister, Vicki, and I were celebrities in our hometown of Chickasha for building our own icy fortress.

According to weather records, Oklahoma averages a measly two inches of snowfall a year. Winter precipitation, if any, typically shows up in the form of freezing rain, but in January 1977, Chickasha residents woke up to a lot of both.

“I hope they cancel school,” Vicki said while our mom placed our General Electric radio on the kitchen table and fiddled with the tuner knob. We didn’t have email or text messaging back then; the quickest way to get local news and learn of school closings was to tune into the KWCO-KXXK radio show. I agreed with my big sister; playing in the snow was far better than going to school.

The man in the radio read through the list of school closings in alphabetical order, however, he had already passed the “Cs” by the time we tuned in. Disappointed, Vicki and I had to wait for the next commercial break to hear if “Chickasha Public Schools” made the list. Our mom went about her morning routine of preparing cups of hot tea, cold milk, and buttery toast. We still needed to eat our breakfast and get ready for school, she told us, just in case.

As I munched on strawberry jelly toast and listened to Paul Simon sing “50 Ways to Leave your Lover”, I got lost in the busy wallpaper staring back at me. It didn’t match our brownish-gold kitchen carpet or aluminum table with floral-padded chairs. Instead, it portrayed a colorful pattern of coffee pots, cups, and muffins. I thought the muffins were funny and took pleasure in seeing how many of them I could count. At age five, I was still learning big numbers, so my ability to get very far, numerically, was limited.

“Here we go!” Vicki said, turning up the volume. Suddenly, I snapped out of my wallpaper trance and joined my sister in leaning towards the radio as if our hoovering bodies would somehow affect the announcement. One-by-one, the radio man recited school closures – again in alphabetical order. Finally, he said it: “Chickasha Public Schools are closed today.”

Hallelujah! Vicki and I wasted no time putting on our coat, hat, boots, and mittens. Even our mom bundled up to join us, though her mission was to de-ice the driveway, steps, and sidewalk.

I don’t remember who came up with the idea to build the fort, but it seemed like the appropriate thing to do with the growing collection of excavated ice chunks. Using a shovel, our mom chipped away at the slippery surfaces while Vicki and I hauled the two-inch ice blocks to the front yard.

One-by-one, we stacked the chunks on top of each other. When I could no longer reach the top, I handed the blocks to Vicki, who used her tippy toes until our fort reached an astounding six feet. With little daylight left, I quickly formed a snowman and rolled his body center stage so he could stand guard and protect our fort from evening intruders.

As days passed and temperatures rose, our lovely masterpiece and snowman started to melt. It was sad to watch them slowly dissipate after so much work – in a matter of days, our fort and snowman would be gone forever – or would they?

I don’t remember his name, but we had a neighbor who worked for the Chickasha Daily Express (now known as the Express-Star) newspaper. He drove by our house on Virginia Avenue every day on his way to work. Unbeknownst to us, he snapped a picture of our fort the morning after it was built. What a surprise it was to us to see our fort among the top stories in the Sunday newspaper!

The caption read: ICE FORT, followed by a cute introduction to our kitty, Snowflakes, whose timing was perfect; she was a great photo-bomber. Our mom cut out the photo and story and placed it on the refrigerator. Our hard work, innovation, and creativity had been showcased to the entire town – it was a proud moment for our little family.

What’s even better than memories are the old photographs that accompany them. Below is the newspaper clipping featuring our ice fort; forty-five years later, it still stands.

Share in the comments below of a time when you built a fort. Was it inside or outside? What materials did you use? Never built a fort? Well, it’s not too late! Build one today and post a picture in the MemoryBlogger Forum!

Original Ice Castle

ICE FORT – This cat stands guard at an ice fortress in the 100 block of Virginia. With all the ice storms, thaws and more ice, it was easy to chip these blocks and pile them up for the brick style fort. A lone snowman stands sentry duty inside the half circle.  Chickasha Daily Express, 1977

~Viv

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