Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Best School Year Ever!!!

When I was in the 9th. grade we had a massive snowstorm that kept us out of school for most of January and February. It started off as a typical school year, just going to school day after day. It had been years since we had a snow day off from school. When it came time to go back to school after Christmas break the skies opened up and the most we went to school for the next 2 months was 2 days a week. Usually it was only one day a week. This was back in the days when they didn't make you make up the days at the end of the year or have 2 hour delays or any of that pain in the ass stuff.

Then in early March I was waiting for the bus and no one else was there. This was unusual. A passing car stopped and told me that the wall had fallen at Central and school was cancelled. I went home to listen to the radio and sure enough the retaining wall had fallen at our junior high school. Central Junior High School was perched up on the side of the mountain overlooking Logan, West Virginia. It was built behind a massive retaining wall that was easily 50 or 60 feet high. We were out of school for a week while they decided what to do with us. There was no way the wall could be repaired before the school year was over.

They decided to send us to East Junior High School - our arch rivals. To minimize the possibilities of fights we started school an hour after the East kids and we went home an hour earlier than they did. We also had staggered lunch hours so that we didn't take lunch at the same time. I think some of the teachers were more traumatized by the move than we were and we learned quickly how to take advantage of the situation. We were particularly thrilled when Mrs. Triolo and Mrs. Mendez got into a fist fight because Mrs. Triolo called Mrs. Mendez a dike! Boy, was that a story!

Some teachers padded our grades, saying we were traumatized and upping them a whole letter. (Not that it mattered to me. I was an "A,B" student anyway so that didn't help me much.) We got every concession that a teacher could possibly give a student. Some didn't even give tests for a whole month so that we could adjust to the situation.

Then in May there was a massive flood. There was about 6 feet of water in East Junior High School. It took a week for the river to subside and then another week for them to get the school cleaned up so that we could go back again.

By then there was about 2 weeks to go and school was out. I started High School the next year so I am not sure but I think that it took several years to fix the wall and the kids at Central continued to go to East well into the next school year.

I Almost Drowned Once

I was 5 years old and I went out with my dad to catch crawdads. We were at Bluestone Lake. The last thing my mom told me before we left was not to get my pajamas wet which wasn't a problem since we were wading. I followed my dad holding a plastic bowl and he had a net that he was catching crawdads in. It's process is called 'seining crawdads'. When he would catch them he would put them in my bowl. We were going to use them to go fishing.

We were on our way back to the camp and we were almost at the bank and the next thing I know I was under water. I remember I was not scared, I was not even aware that I was in any danger. I remember watching the crawdads float around me as they left the bowl I was carrying. I was just floating underneath the water looking around. I did not know how to swim and I didn't even realize that I needed to swim!

The next thing I know my dad is carrying me to the bank and my mom was screaming and going crazy and she grabbed me and started hugging me and checking me over. I started to cry because thought I was in trouble because I got my pajamas wet! I had no idea what had just happened to me. It turned out that she was the one who saw me go under. My dad had been leading the way because he was taking me around the deeper pools of water. My mom said I just took one wrong step and went under. My dad turned to me when my mom started to scream. He had to reach down in the water and he pulled me out by my footbecause I was upside down. I was very lucky!

We never went back to Bluestone Lake again. I have heard that alot of people have drowned in that area. After that we were never allowed near water without a life jacket - except for supervised swimming pools of course.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wide Track Pontiac

The first time I went to my ex husbands parents house, we were leaving. I heard his dad say, "Bobby, you brought home a wide track pontiac!"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pamala Peehole!!!

We used to play all over the mountain behind my Granny Brennan's house. There were tons of aunts and uncles and cousins to play with plus whatever friends were hanging around too. We never did make it to the top of the mountain, even though we set off on more than one expedition. One time when I was in the 6th. grade, we ALMOST made it.

There was me and Billy and Rhonda and my Aunt Robin and my cousins Allen and Angie. We set off one day with the goal of making it all the way to the top. We were almost there when we came upon a huge log in our path and the only way around it was to literally climb over it. It may have been the biggest log I have ever seen. After getting everybody over it (we had to help the little ones) we continued our trek. Allen was leading the way.

After about 20 feet Allen stops and calmly says, "Snake."

Robin walks up and looks and says matter of factly, "Snake." In a tone like "yep, that's a snake."

I walk up and I see a snake coiled beside the path(probably resting as I look back on it now). I promptly SCREAM, "SNAAAKE!" At which time everybody takes off running full speed back down the mountain. The problem was we all hit that tree at the same time. Here we were 6 writhing, screaming kids panicked out of their minds caught in a massive traffic jam trying to scramble back over that log. I was last. I was so sure that the snake was racing back down the mountain straight at us that I peed all over myself.

Once we managed to get over that log, we all flew down the mountain to our parents screaming, "Snake! Snake!" the whole way. It scared our parents to death. Once they heard the whole story they died laughing (there is no snake on earth that is going to chase a bunch of screaming kids down a mountain). The most humiliating part is that everybody knew that I got so scared that I peed my pants. To add insult to injury we didn't make it to the top of the mountain either.

That is how I got the most hated nickname, "Pamala Peehole!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


that is the alphabet backwards

I can rattle it off in less than 10 seconds ( it would be faster if I could talk faster)

When I was in the 9th. grade, Mrs. Triolo was going to put the whole class in detention. She gave us one out. Whomever could learn the alphabet backwards in 5 minutes would not have to go to detention. I was the only kid in class who did not have to go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"What do you mean, watch him? He's your brother!"

When Bobby and I were first living together he got the flu or something. He was really sick for 3 or 4 days. On Saturday afternoon his brother came down and said he couldn't get a date for the night and he wanted to know if I wanted to go out with him since Bobby was sick anyway. I asked Bobby if he minded and he laughed and said, "no".

Just as I was about to go out the door Bobby looked at me and said, 'Watch him."

I said, "what do you mean watch him, he's your brother."

Bobby just smiled and repeated, "watch him."

I left and Dexter and I drove to Charleston (about an hour away) to go to the Galaxy 2000. The greatest disco club in WV at the time. Almost from the time we got in the door he was hitting on me. I tried to ignore it at first but as I got filled with drink after drink and various other substances it was getting harder and harder to ignore him. (It was fun too though because I was one girl who could hold my liqueur and it was obvious to me he was trying to get me very drunk)

Finally it reached the point where I looked at him and I said, "I want you to be the first to know, Bobby and I are getting married." From that point on Dexter was a perfect gentleman. We still partied the night away but he didn't hit on me anymore for the rest of the night. It actually turned into a celebration of my impending wedding to his brother.

When we pulled into the driveway and I was getting out of the car to go into the house all of a sudden Dexter grabbed me and laid one hell of a kiss on me. Then he let me go and smiled at me and said, "welcome to the family." After I shook the kiss out of my head I went home.

Bobby was waiting. He said, "well, how was it?" And he had a huge grin on his face.

I replied, "you were right. I had to watch him." Bobby doubled over laughing and I told him about the evening. The only part that surprised him was when I told him that his brother backed off when I told him we were getting married.

Two years later Dexter married a girl who could have been my sister, she looked so much like me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My mom's favorite story about me

I used to love commercials when I was a kid. I would memorize every song and I would actually leave the room when the regular shows came on only to return for the next round of commercials.

One day my mom took me to the store. I was a toddler. After letting me pick out my toy (which was invariably a book - I had my own rocking chair and magazine rack) we went to the front counter to check out.

Out of nowhere I started pointing to the cooler and saying, "buy me a Fall City Beer, mommy. Buy me a Fall City Beer." She says I was pointing right at the cans of Fall City Beer so it was obvious that I knew what I was asking for. She, of course, fully denied even drinking the stuff and she had to leave the store as the clerk and the other customers knowingly looked at each other as if to say, "yeah, sure, she doesn't drink beer.".

I guess I should add that to my knowledge my parents didn't drink at all except for the parties they threw for special occasions. My mom was actually furious with me a couple of years ago when I mentioned that she used to get drunk at these parties. She says she NEVER drank even though ALL my aunts and uncles and various other invited guests were there getting sloshed. I did ask my dad and some of my aunts and uncles about it. They confirmed that even though they were drinking like fish, my mom never did drink.

My Granny's Recipe for Apple Stack Cake

Blog Entry My Granny's Recipe for Apple Stack Cake Jul 23, '09 10:43 AM
for everyone
I found my granny's recipe for apple stack cake. She used to make this cake for us and we would have to wait until after Sunday dinner before we could eat it. (pure torture for a kid) Usually she would make it on Friday or Saturday because it only gets better when it sits! The only difference between this recipe and hers is that she liked to use applebutter or Whitehouse applesauce between the layers. She also said you had to bake each layer in an iron skillet. To make it extra special she would warm it up and slather butter on it! Delectible!

4 cups dried apples
2 2/3 cups water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups white sugar
5/8 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried apple slices for garnish

1 In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of dried apples and water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until apples are very soft. Mash the apples slightly, and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool.

2 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3 In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ginger. Mix in the flour about 1 cup at a time to form a stiff dough. Divide dough into 5 equal portions. Pat each portion of the dough into a 9 inch circle on greased cookie sheets.

4 Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Carefully remove layers to a cooling rack.

5 Stack the layers onto a serving plate, spreading about 3/4 cup of the apple filling between each layer. Spread the rest of the filling over the top layer, and arrange dried apple slices on top for garnish. Let stand overnight before serving.

Makes 1 - 9 inch round stack cake

"I'll give you a house and 3 rooms of furniture, if you'll marry me"

That's what my Pepaw Farley said to my Granny the first time he ever saw her. She was living with her brother, Sherman, and his family (this was in 1938) because it was winter and she had no where else to go. She was walking to the outhouse, barefooted in the snow, when my Pepaw, who was living in the boardinghouse next door saw her. She told him that if he would let her sister live with them that she would marry him and that was that. They got married and he bought her 3 rooms full of furniture and my Granny and Aunt Edna had a home for the first time in their lives.

My Granny Farley, Anna, became an orphan when she was 5 years old in 1925. Her mother died in childbirth. Her mom was not married and she had 5 kids by 5 different men. (My Granny didn't like to discuss her mom because she was a loose woman. My Aunt Edna Ruth told me these things about a month ago) There was nowhere for the 5 kids to go so they roamed southern West Virginia and lived with whomever would take them in. (Usually they were separated) They would work helping to plow gardens in the spring, hoeing gardens all day in the summer, harvesting crops in the fall and helping to can the vegetables or whatever other work could be done. Usually they would get kicked out of the house in the winter because nobody could afford to feed an extra mouth back then.

One time when Granny was 12 years old, she and her sister Edna were living with a family. Edna was younger than Granny, so she looked out for her. They had worked hard all day as they always did and Edna was crying because she was hungery. Granny went into the kitchen and took a biscuit and 1 piece of bacon and gave it to her little sister. The next day the woman kicked them out for stealing. She knew Granny had taken the bacon because there was a mark in the fat where the bacon was laying.

Granny used to speak kindly of a black woman who lived on Hart's Creek. She let her stay with them longer than anybody and Granny appreciated everything she ever did for them. She worked hard but at least she had a roof over her head.

That's all I know about my Granny's early life. She was an Aunt Bea kind of Granny and I was lucky to have her.

"Pam, you can't be sleeping. Pay attention to what the lady's saying."

When I was in high school the health department ruled that women who cooked for their church bake sales had to have a food handler's card. My Granny Farley and Aunt Mary Ann never missed such a sale. Their church was their life and they did everything they could to support it. Granny's chicken and dumplings and Mary Ann's cakes were always the first to sell out at every sale.

The problem with this ruling was that my granny could only see out of 1/2 of one eye (due to surgery for a brain tumor) and my Aunt Mary Ann is retarded. They could not take the test that the health department gave. They both of course kept clean kitchens and there was no reason for them not to cook other than government paperwork. So my family decided that I would go to the health department and take the test for them.

We all met at the health department for the test and the room was full of people. I escorted my Granny and Mary Ann to the back of the classroom so that we would not be observed. We sat through the whole boring lecture. Actually I was trying to sleep through the whole lecture when my Granny reached over and poked me hard in the side. She said, "Pam! You can't be sleeping. You've got to pay attention to what this lady's saying."

I growled back half asleep, "Granny, I don't need to listen to this lady, Mommy has spent half my life drilling this stuff in my head!" (my mom was studying to be a dietician) "It will be just fine, " I told her. But I did sit up out of respect for my Grandma and made a monumental effort to stay awake for the rest of the lecture.

When the woman finished she handed out the tests. I took my test first and gave myself 100 points. I took Granny's test and I made sure she got a high B. Then I took Mary Ann's test and I made sure that she just barely passed. That way nobody would suspect what I had done. I told Granny to wait 5 minutes after I left and pretend that she was still taking the test. Then I left and we all met at the 10 cent store for lunch, which was my Granny's favorite place to eat.

I can honestly say that this is the only dishonest thing that my Granny ever did in her life. And it was for the church afterall.