Good Old Days Newsletter

In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Who was one of the more well-known artists to work with The Saturday Evening Post?

Hope in the Mailbox

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I trudged through the snow, pulling my parka a little closer to my body with my gloved hands. The wind was biting at my face, and the little dog trailing behind me was getting bogged down in the drifts that came up to his chest. It's a familiar trek to many who live in the country -- that 60 steps or so to the mailbox at the end of the lane. It's too short to drive to, and too long to walk to in the bitter cold of winter. But walk I do, almost every day, to retrieve the mail. Sometimes I mutter under my breath, "Why do I live in Ohio again?" or "I thought the groundhog said this stuff would be gone by now!" Duty calls, however, even though the mailbox usually contains nothing but bills.

Except for today.

Today I received a ray of hope in my mailbox. At the bottom of the stack, somewhat wrinkled and damp from the wisps of snow that had blown into the box, were two beautiful seed catalogs. On their covers were magnificent, full-color photographs of red and purple clematis blooms and bright pink hollyhocks. Boy, do those catalog publishers know just how to get my attention in the waning weeks of winter!

I couldn't wait to open the catalog labeled "heirloom." I inherited a few sections of my grandma's picket fence from her farm, and this year I plan to plant some of the same flowers along that fence that she did decades ago. Many of the plants and flowers that were popular in my grandma's era are not readily available today. But here they were in this catalog, helpfully tagged with gold stamps touting "Circa 1806" (a blue coneflower) and "Circa 1905" (a leafy coleus). And they have such nostalgic names: Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, Cup and Saucer Vine, and Will Rogers Zinnia. Suddenly, I could picture my picket fence, with its original white paint now almost fully chipped away, as a proud backdrop to a colorful display of heirloom plants this coming summer.

My walk back to the house was much warmer.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Do you recall flowers tended by your mother or grandmother long ago? Do you have favorite plants that remind you of your childhood? We want to hear about them! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are several email responses from the Dec. 31, 2014, newsletter question: When did you first learn to sew? Do you still sew? Have you created any special, sentimental projects?

Candi F. shared: "I learned to sew from my mother, but she was (and still is) such a perfectionist. She would make me take out sleeves and zippers. I'd get frustrated and lay it down for her to finish! When I asked my late husband in 1966 to buy me a Singer Touch & Sew after we married, my mother told him he was making a BIG mistake. Well, several years later, I had on my list of things I'd made: nearly all my maternity clothes, a lot of my three children's clothes, some Vogue dresses for work and, for my husband, a suit, some slacks, a sport coat and ties. And now I do machine embroidery and piece quilts. I would say his money was well spent! I've made money sewing for other people too."
Alison H. told us: "The most sentimental project I attempted was altering my old wedding dress for my daughter. It turned out well in spite of the size being considerably smaller than needed -- my daughter was not the skinny mini that I had been. Matching the color of the former white dress was a bit of a challenge and adding material in all the right places was a lot of guesswork, but it turned out great. That dress has been through four weddings."
Ellie B. responded: "You made me laugh with your sewing 'experience.' We are opposites when it comes to sewing. As a little girl, I couldn't wait to be part of a 4-H sewing club with the clover emblem. My enthusiasm allowed me to join before the minimum age requirement of 8 years old. I was a 'Clover Bud' and have been sewing for over 50 years. It is still a joy sewing for my family, friends, myself and my home. I also made money sewing as a tailor on a naval base, and doing bridal alterations for bridal shops and contracted work for individuals. There is something special when you give a gift made from the heart. Your heart ornaments are certainly special in holding a memory of your father-in-law."

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Trivia Answer

Amos Sewell. He was born in San Francisco, Calif., in 1901 and was, interestingly enough, a nationally-ranked tennis pro during his 20s. After leaving the sport because of a string of defeats against championship player Donald Budge, he eventually moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League and the Grand Central School of Art. He was one of the few nationally known artists to work in a charcoal medium, making his full-color works very rare.

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