What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Party Like It's 1969

Well, you guys really came to my rescue on that last post!  Thank you and keep the good ideas coming.  I swear I am never, ever asking for compliments, but you guys always have the loveliest things to say to me.  Thank you, my friends.  

Rosie asked if I had anymore old photos to share.  Boy DO I!

You are all very familiar to this photo from my blog header.  That's Lora and Ray Hodgell - my great grandparents.  Ray died before I was born and Lora died when I was six years old.  But, I have many, many happy memories of Lora.  She was my Great Grandmother, but she was the one that did Grandmotherly things for me like have me over to spend the night.  When I would spend the night she would make me toast and an egg, but cut a hole our of the toast and put the egg in it.  I think that has a name, but I thought that ONLY she knew how to do it and that she ONLY made it for me.  I found this photo at several years ago at my Grandmother;s house and I knew instantly that it had to become my header, my business card photo, my brand, if you will.  All the vintage decor - the dishes, the paintings, that lamp, her jewelry - it's all just perfect to represent the vintage things that I love.  And those hats.  Well, that's a whole 'nuther story.

I have that very necklace she is wearing and that pine cone pitcher on the table.  I found both of them at my Grandmother's house.  See the Gurley candles in the back?  I don't have those actual ones, but I have some just like it.

When my Great Grandmother (who I called Grandma) had a family dinner, she did it up big time. Especially if it was a birthday dinner or a holiday dinner.  She had a built in hutch filled to the top with every pastel color of Lu-Ray dishes.  I remember pale green, yellow, pink and blue dishes along with matching pastel tablecloths.  I have several of her tablecloths too.  I would kill, I tell you KILL to find a set of pastel pink Lu-Ray dishes.  She would use pink dishes on a pink tablecloth or mix it up and have different colored place settings.

But, the finishing touch to every party were those crepe paper hats.  Made to fit each member of the family at each party in a coordinating color to match the holiday or decor.  She had a big craft cupboard full of new packages of Dennison Crepe paper and curling ribbon.  She made the hats for everyone before each party.  That's how they always fit and the always matched!  

The parties stared way before I was even thought about.  That's my Mom on the right peeking out from behind her brother Bob.  These are all her siblings and cousins.  She the hats on the table?  

I wish these photos were in color so we could see the dishes and the hats.  Now that I look at this photo all blown up on my computer, I see that I do have these dishes too - pine cone dishes.  My Grandmother (her daughter) was not a sentimental person and she never talked about the past or told stories.  She held grudges against so many people in the past that she never wanted to be reminded of them by telling stories.  So, when she died and we cleaned out her house, we were stunned at all the things that she had that belonged to her mother. She had even put notes with the things so we would know when we found them.  Everything was packed up in boxes and never put out once she moved to Arkansas.  But she had kept it oddly enough.  I would have loved to know that she still had all these things.  I am the family dinner host.  I could have used those dishes.  It would have made everything even more special.  But, I have them now.  I suppose that is what matters.  The best thing we found was my Great Grandmother';s wedding ring.  There was a note on it that said, "Keep Mother's diamond in the family."  She had four children and four grandchildren, but she had never thought to share that ring with anyone.  Instead, it sat in a box for 40 some years.  But, now I wear it every day.  

My parents and me on my birthday at Grandma's house.  I think I was two here.  I was the first grandchild and the only granddaughter until two years ago when my cousin had a baby girl.  Everyone thought I was sort of special.  :D
This is my fourth birthday.  I'm not sure what my Dad and my Uncle are up to in this picture.  Something mischievous.   

My Dad seems to be getting a kick out of the GREAT BIG HUGE HUNK of cake I had just cut for myself.  Somethings never change.  I still like a big hunk of birthday cake!   

When you got a bit older, Grandma would put little toasting cups on the cake.  I searched and searched and finally found a set years ago.  Then I found another.  And another.  And a collection was born. :)
This is one of my favorite photos of me from back then.  That was probably one of the lat times I wore a dress or crossed my legs or did anything ladylike.  :)

Since I was the only grandchild, I think I was a little spoiled with presents.  But, isn't' that how it should be?  Look at all those gorgeous presents!  That little wooden box beside me is a real set of silverware.  Tiny forks, spoons and knives all in a satin lined box.  I loved it SO much.  Considering how many things I have from my childhood, I am amazed that I not only do not have it, but I have no memory of what happened to it.  This is always in the back of my mind with I am thrifting and surfing ebay.  I would love to find another set.  
So, there you have it.  The story of Grandma Lora and why I loved her so.  Like it says in my header, she was the original Martha Stewart.  Fun parties, silly homemade hats and lots of love.  

Thank you for the writing prompt, Rosie.  I had fun with this one.  More to come from your ideas everyone.  Thanks again!


  1. OH - Her GLASSES! Her RINGS! Her FROCKS!!!
    What a 'stylin' & classy Lady!'
    (and a Beautiful tribute from her 'favorite' Great-GrandDaughter!)

  2. Wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing Grandma Lora with us.

  3. My parents always called the eggs with the toast and the hole "Peekaboo Eggs."

  4. When our dad passed away, my sister and I found boxes of old family photographs. Our grandparents were serious party animals and they loved to photograph every single event. We went crazy over all of the decor. And the amount of vintage barware was astounding! I see where I get my obsession with it now.

    I've seen those eggs and toast thingies called Birds Nests. What an awesome memory!


  5. This was so much fun! What an amazing woman and lucky you to have her genes! Love and adore those hats, so fun and such a family tradition. This makes me want to go look at old family photos of my own! The vintage dishes would be my favorites also!

  6. What a fun post and the pictures were swell (that seems an appropriate word for that time frame don'tcha think?) your grandma seems awesome and fun, just the kind I had and the kind I will totally be someday! I will call you Sharing Shara, thanks!
    P.S I have never seen toasting glasses, how fun! I see where you get your love of birthday stuff!

  7. What an awesome Grandma! In our family we have what we call "Grandma Eggs" they are a poached egg served on a bed (in a bowl) of torn up bite size bread pieces. So yummy and no had to help you cut your breakfast up :) We called an egg in toast/bread "Toad in the Hole"
    I would LOVE to know how to make those crepe paper party hats! What a fabulous grandma!

  8. I love hearing family stories! Your great grandma sounds like my kind of lady! Thanks for sharing. My mother in law has a big set of Lu Ray that I'm hoping she will give me, but since I'm the DIL and there are 5 daughters I probably won't get them. However, I'm the only vintage lover, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

  9. I'm just smiling from ear to ear reading through this post. It's just lovely looking at all those special pictures and hearing about your family. I'm glad those treasures eventually ended up with you.

  10. Anonymous8:11 PM

    We called that dish "Sailor in a Raft", but there are other regional names for it. Thanks for the wonderful stories about your great grandmother.

  11. Love the family lore. Those hats are wonderful....one of those things that if I found at an estate sale I would totally buy. What wonderful family parties to grow up with.

  12. What s great family. Grandma Lora was definitely the Martha Stewart of her day. Love the hats and all the wonderful things she did to make her parties so special and memorable. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  13. I adored reading this post. She sounds like a remarkable woman, it is no wonder the influence she had on you. FYI... I wear my mother's, my grandmother's and my father's wedding rings every day.

  14. Hi Shara, I just loved this post. I quick grabbed a box of my own family photos so I too could take a trip down memory lane. So fun. I am the keeper of all things family on my end as well. I have so much of my Grandmother's and my Mother's things. I treasure them all. I also have the rings too! Now all we need to find is the pattern for those awesome party hats. I am sure they are Dennison.

    1. Thanks Lysa - happy to hear many of us are the keeper of things! I guess I got thrifting looking for the things I don't still have. I know how to make the party hats I'll have to do a tutorial someday!

  15. Shara! This was such a fun post! I can't get over that your Grandma Lora passed away when you were just 6 years old and yet you have so many vivid memories of her. I can barely remember Jr high, let alone my 4th birthday! Thanks so much for sharing. Love, rosie

  16. momsav6:10 AM

    This was wonderful! My Grandmother was more like a Mother to me, so i can relate a bit; she always went out of her way for us/me. And, she could cook wonderful meals from nothing! Thanks for sharing the memories!

  17. I am totally grooving on your dad's yellow shirt! Also your mom's hair-do. Awesome! I was the oldest grandchild, so I got a lot of the doting. My dad's mom passed away when he was a teenager, so my grandmother told me that she always felt like she had to be both grandmothers for me. She did a good job. That last pic, with everything matching, even the chair? Priceless! Wonderful post. Thanks for the smiles.

  18. Love the photos. Your great grandma looks like a hoot! Any idea how she made the hats? They would be fun to try to replicate. I love them, so festive!


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