Saturday, May 21

If you can read this, thank a teacher

Hopefully everyone has at least one teacher who has made a difference.

At least one teacher who believed in you.

At least one teacher who thought you were everything you thought you could be - and then some.

For Momma, that teacher was Gerri B. Fiedler. And today was Mrs. Fiedler's memorial service.

Momma first met Mrs. Fiedler in the spring of 1979. Momma had a crush and started hanging around the journalism room at Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The crush faded in time, but her love of writing and photography grew and was nurtured under Frau Fiedler's tender relentless tutelage.

All Momma really needed to know she learned in Gerri Fiedler's classes. 

This was "old school" journalism: Typewriters, 35mm cameras, darkrooms, carbon paper, newsprint, rubber cement, pica poles, late nights, early mornings, deadlines, pizza.

Frau Fiedler was always there, whether it was 6 a.m. or midnight.

Mrs. Fiedler was always there.

It has been 34 years since Momma graduated from high school, but Momma never forgot Frau Fiedler and Frau never forgot Momma - or any of her kids.

Momma would call her every now and then to share life events. Frau Fielder would call every now and then - especially after seeing Momma's byline.

She was always so proud of her kids.

Frau Fiedler was always there for her kids.

And now she's not. 

We'll see you again at the great newsroom in the sky.

Feb. 21, 1930 - April 29, 2016

Friday, May 20

Step on a crack...

...break your mother's back.

Hello! I know it has been Much Too Long, but it has been Crazy around here.

Grandmomma fell and broke her back two months ago, so Momma has been a wee bit overwhelmed. The Good News is Grandmomma is scheduled to come home next week!

Momma is also eyeing Grandmomma's back brace. She saw a steampunked version on Epbot in January and thought it was amazing. Little did we realize we'd get our own soon enough!

Also, a BIG Happy Birthday Tip of the Tiny Top Hat to my Big Sister who turns 13 today!

Yup, it's Friday the 13th for Us!

Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
(year!) old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way

 Stevie Wonder

Monday, March 7

Betsy-Tacy Go Downton Addie

Momma and I have survived yet another Betsy's Ray of Sunshine!

Nine ladies (Dare I say, Perfectly Awful Girls?) from around the United States gathered this weekend in the sun-drenched historic Willo District in Phoenix to eat, drink, laugh, drink, play (the Wildly Inappropriate) Cards Against Humanity, drink, listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, drink, shop, and watch the final episode of Downton Abbey together - while drinking.

What brought them together? A deep love of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace and a chance to eat, laugh, and drink together.

We greeted old friends, made new ones, and missed those who have gone to the Great Library in the Sky. 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Wednesday, February 24

It's what we drink around here

CBS This Morning
For those poor souls who have never heard of Vernors Ginger Ale, let alone tried it, I shall endeavor to give you a brief history.

Vernors is a ginger-flavored soft drink and the oldest surviving ginger ale brand in the United States - although there were a lot of commercial ginger drinks prior to 1866.

Vernors is a highly carbonated, sweet "golden" ginger ale that gets its color from caramel and has a robust flavor similar to ginger beer. The golden style was common before Prohibition, when "dry" pale ginger ale became popular. 

According to company legend,
Detroit pharmacist James Vernor experimented with flavors in an attempt to duplicate a popular ginger ale imported from Ireland prior to the start of the Civil War. When Vernor went off to serve in the Civil War, he stored the ginger syrup base of 19 ingredients in an oak cask.

Vernor joined the 4th Michigan Cavalry on Aug. 14, 1862 as a hospital steward, was promoted to second lieutenant on Sept. 20, 1864, and was discharged on July 1, 1865. After returning in 1866, he opened the keg and found the drink inside had been changed by the aging process in the wood. It was like nothing else he had ever tasted, and he allegedly said it was "Deliciously different," which remains the drink's motto to this day. 

Some stories say it was created in 1866. However,  James Vernor, Jr., admitted in a 1936 interview that the formula was not developed by his father until after the Civil War was over. This was confirmed in a 1962 interview with former company president, James Vernor Davis. According to the 1911 trademark application, Vernor's ginger ale first entered commerce in 1880, not 1866. (As a reference, Coca-Cola was first sold on May 8, 1886, and in 1893, "Brad's Drink," became an overnight sensation. On Aug. 28, 1898, it was renamed "Pepsi-Cola.")

For most of its history, Vernors was a regional product only sold at soda fountain franchises. Later Vernors was bottled for home consumption. Vernors was not mass distributed nationally until the 1960s. Even after expansion, Michigan accounts for 80 percent of Vernors sales. Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are the highest-selling states, but it is also popular in Florida and Arizona, which has many retired mid-western residents.

A number of slogans have been associated with Vernors over the years. Advertising in the early 1900s used the slogan "Detroit's Drink." It began using the slogan "Deliciously Different" in 1921, and for a time in the mid-1980s Vernors used the slogan, "It's what we drink around here."

It is what we drink around here.

Tuesday, February 23

Life is like a beautiful Melody

American Girl
I honestly don't know how I'm going to survive until this summer when Melody Ellison is released.

American Girl has been doing an excellent job this week promoting Melody because of Black History Month.

Because February is Black History Month, your daughter may be learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement in school. But even in our own changing times, civil rights issues and the social climate of the 1960s may be difficult for her to fully understand. That is why we are so proud to introduce our compelling new BeForever™ character, Melody, whose story reflects the changing face and history of the nation during that important era.

Nine-year-old Melody is growing up in Detroit in the mid-1960s, a time of great energy, optimism, and change for the African American community. She is a singer and loves to perform in church, with her family, and in her community. Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, which was gathering momentum, and the music scene, including the success and popularity of Motown Records and its artists.

As Melody gains more awareness of racial inequality and her sense of community grows from her extended family to include her neighborhood and, ultimately, all African Americans, she is inspired by Dr. King to have a dream of her own: to lift her voice for fairness and equality.

Because many girls are interested in music and performing, as well as starting to find their own "voice" and express their opinions, they'll find Melody's stories engaging and entertaining. You'll love that they're educational, too, helping your girl connect with the past on a more personal level. Come meet Melody Ellison and introduce her to your girl today!

But what is Momma most excited about? Vernors. Melody constantly drinks ginger ale in her first book, especially Vernors - a Detroit invention and midwestern favorite. And what did Momma spot on the table during yesterday's CBS This Morning broadcast? A teeny-tiny bottle of Vernors!

So what's the deal about Vernors? That will be a lesson for another day.