Cheaper by the Dozen

More of Mom

I couldn’t resist putting a great number of pictures together showing highlights of Mom.


Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom celebrating her 80th birthday. That was a fun surprise party!

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Speaking of recipes….

Thought this video clip would fit nicely with the two posts on Mom’s recipes. This is from the 1998 Thanksgiving get together.

Out of respect for Dad

It’s been 36 years since Dad has passed away.  And each year on his deathday (March 11) I give a little “heads up” to him.  I think if Dad were alive today, he’d probably be doing the same for his Dad.  So, I shall do it for him.  It was 37 years ago, July 5th (I know, I know, I’m a couple of days off) when he passed away.

Here’s to HKD, Grandpa, Cranpa how ever you remember him most fondly.  (1890 – 1975)  I think the newspaper article (found today as I am cleaning through piles of papers) does a great job of describing who he was.

I always wonder why it has taken me 54 years to appreciate things, instead of appreciating them while they were happening.  Like, I came across Dad’s obituary pamphlet and there’s a list of names for his pallbearers etc.  I want to know more about those people.  And why don’t I recognize who they are?  I don’t want to complicate things by wishing they were different, I’ll just have to find out now or live with what I do know.

The “Noskcid song”

noskcid song from Georgene Becerra on Vimeo.

For those of you who don’t remember the song, once you hear it, it’ll all come back to you, in fact you’ll probably start singing along.  Dad must have picked up this song from his college years at Colorado State University , an old fraternity type song.  We’d sing it in the car as we were traveling, or around at campfire or even as we sat around the dining room table.  Gosh, that was fun.

Dickson’s Mashed Potatoes and bread crumbs drenched in butter…

Here is the recipe for the Dickson’s Mashed Potatoes…the page number refers to a page in the recipe book from JLB published in 1985.

Loved mom’s macaroni and cheese and especially the bread crumbs drenched in butter…in fact, I think I remember that most of mom’s casseroles were absolutely delicious and were always topped with bread crumbs drenched in butter!  Mmmm…

Also, I loved anything and everything from Smith’s Bakery; the cookies, the cakes, the pies, the doughnuts that mom would lock away in the outside freezer thinking that we could not get to them, but we always would (she had to have known! 🙂  Mmmm…

Another favorite…spending the night at Grandmother’s…for breakfast she would always fix eggs, bacon and toast made with Oroweat Wheatberry bread!  Mmmm…on some mornings I can duplicate the smell of those Grandmother breakfasts!

Loved Congo Bars!  And in my opinion the best maker of Congo Bars was Christine…head and shoulders above anyone else!  Anyone have the original recipe?

Pretty much ate everything mom dished out, EXCEPT Mountain Oysters and green jello with cottage cheese and walnuts…

Macaroni Recipe

Macaroni Recipe

This is the recipe for Mom’s macaroni – in her own handwriting. I’m not sure when I asked for it but at some point I did and then tucked it away. We’ve made this a few times — Leah’s favorite part is the toasted bread crumbs drenched in butter. I’d have to say that’s my favorite part too.
I can remember this, Dickson Mashed Potatoes, Cream of Mushroom Toast, and Sloppy Joes as my favorite dishes. Any other favorite Dickson Dishes??

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Less than a week away

Often times it takes me 365 days to think about what I’m going to give Mom for her birthday.    It’ll be her 86th come July 12th.  2012 – 1926 = 86!!  As of this writing, I’m still thinking, but I do have a few more days left.    Now 86 has special meanings in and of itself, but for now, it’s all about the present.

Mom definitely did her fair share of present giving.  She made sure your birthday was like no other.  The quote, “what do you think it is, your birthday?”, has significant meaning.  There were parties when we were young, and yellow boxes as we got older.  Ordering Smith’s cakes, which were decorated special for each person and then having to think about what to give each person and she did this 12 times a year, gives her that living legacy honor.

There were a lot of great presents given to Mom.  The one which probably had the biggest impact on her was when she was given about six peacocks.  I do believe RKD, the III (a great story behind that name, by the way) gave her the first of all her peacocks.  Not sure of the year, but ever since there have been many “peacock” presents headed her way.   One year I even gave Mom a set of peacock feather earrings.  (Probably not one of my best gifts).  I think she still has them in the  guest bedroom next to the kids room in the main house. There isn’t a time when I see a peacock type figurine that I don’t think of Mom.

To this day  I think there are still a couple of peacocks roaming around the yard, hard to say.

I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I think the present Mom loves more than anything was when we gathered together as a family.

This photo was taken at Thanksgiving, either 1997 or 1998.  Pretty sure it was 1998, if there is someone who could verify, that’d be great.

But look at Mom.  Doesn’t she look beside herself?  Granted this was not her birthday, but it shows how much she loves having family around.  So what am I going to give Mom this year?  Good question.  I think I’ll wait until July 12 to let you know.

The Gaming Influence…

This is a little interview with mom about her bridge group…As a child, the monthly bridge games were hugely interesting and fascinating to me.  Along with that, our wonderful great aunts (Clara and Grace) were expert bridge players.  It was a momentous occasion to be asked to play when the aunts came to visit!   I was very interested in learning more about how mom’s group came to be, and more importantly, how the group endured all these years…the interview was conducted in July of 2009. 

The Story of “The Bridge Group” an interview with Constance Macdonald Dickson 7/24/09

Bridge was an important social activity for many in Constance’s generation – men and women.   Contract bridge was the game that was played using bidding to make the contract.  The other type of bridge was auction, which Constance never played.  Constance started a formal bridge group in October of 1947, which amazingly continues today…62 years later!  Remarkably, there are two members from the original eight who continue to play with the group – Constance Macdonald Dickson and Marilyn Hickman Radoumis.

When did you begin to first play bridge?  I grew up watching, and playing some, with my mother who played throughout her life.  That’s what people of her generation did…it was a main source of entertainment.  She had a bridge group with whom she played once a month in the evenings.  She taught sixth grade during the day.  In 1947, I was living at home when Bob was in Japan.  We had been married in July and he was sent to Japan later that month.  My mother thought I should start a bridge group.  She gave me four names of teachers from Lakeside School where she taught.

Did you know how to play?  I grew up with it and learned the fundamentals from my mother.  We just started to play…it was just one of those things you did.  Bridge was the important thing for that generation.

Your Cal Berkeley journal lists your first Bridge Group game on October 2, 1947.  Do you remember the names of those who started with you?  Oh, yes…the original players…Mary Beth Teitze, Floy Stockton Ebaugh, Betty Erikson Fraser, Marilyn Hickman Radoumis, Margaret Jeffries Roberts (taught at Union school with me), Nancy and Jeanne were both teachers from Lakeside School and I cannot remember their last names.  Oh, and me.

So you began in October 1947 and played on a Tuesday evening once a month?  Yes, that is how it started.  Every month in the evening we would rotate at each other’s home.  I left for Japan in March of 1948 for a year.  It changed substantially while I was away.  Several had dropped out.  I returned from Japan with Bob and a new baby in 1949 and started bridge again in the fall of that year.  It has continued and never stopped.

What would a typical bridge date look like?  It was a way to be social because we all had children at some point.  It started at night and eventually moved to the daytime…afternoons first, and then Friday mornings.  We would start at about 10:30 in the morning, play until 12:00 noon, have lunch and then continue bridge until about 2:45.  When the kids would get home from school?  (Laughing)Yes…we socialized mostly during lunch.  During the game we really focused on the game, there was not a whole lot of conversation.  Often the hostess would provide the 1st and 2nd prizes for the most points after 6 hands – $7.00 for first prize and $5.00 for second prize.  We had individual scorecards…some bridge groups were quite formal, we were casual.

You had children at school and babies at home at that time?  Yes…

Would husbands play?  Oh yes…we included husbands on special occasions like a holiday dinner.  We used to have one right before Christmas.  We would play bridge and have a holiday dinner.

I have calculated that if your bridge group had played once a month for 11 months of the year, for 62 years, you would have played 682 games (multiplied by 6 hands a game, equals 4,092 hands).   Do you remember any occurrence that stands out?  I remember that I had brought Chet to bridge group as a newborn.  He was born early in October and our bridge group met the 3rd Friday of the month.  It seemed feasible.  Also, we celebrated 50 years of bridge back in 1997.  That was special.  We also celebrated at 40 years.  The reason we had celebrated at 40 years was because who knew if we were going to be around at 50 years.

Thinking back over these past 62 years, who do you remember as the most competitive bridge player from this bridge group?  Well, Norma would tell you when you were wrong and then tell you what to do…she enjoyed the game and was very competitive.  She took long trips and subsequently dropped from the group.

It’s really very remarkable to have kept a group going for 62 years.  Why do think it has lasted throughout all of these years with so much else going on?  It was a form of getting together on a regular basis with women who knew how to play bridge.  We were the same sort of age-group, had children of the same age, and common interests.  It was the entertainment factor.  It was something everyone knew how to do.  In the early years the commonality of the members was that we were all local Bakersfield girls or you had married a Bakersfield boy.

Who are the members in today’s group?  Joan Peacock Holladay, Marilyn Hickman Radoumis, Midge Calvin, Lucille Banning, Virginia Guerrero, Jean Sheldon, Carolyn Seidel, and me.

There are others who may have played during the bridge years, but may not be with the group today.   Can you share those names?  Yes, there were many who moved out of Bakersfield with their husbands, or would have to drop for other reasons.  Often those that would join later would have played as a substitute.  And of course now some have passed on.  It’s difficult to remember… Norma Hake Condley (moved), Gloria Valencia Stewart (deceased), Kathy Owens (moved), Clara Lou Hunt Snook (deceased), Bonnie Winger Pathe (deceased), Fran Smael (no connection and her social level was a little higher than most of us), Jackie Stigenbauer (moved), Faye Rosenlieb (moved), Eunice Nicholson (moved)…

Your journals reflect that you played bridge at other times throughout the month.  On many occasions your journal lists bridge a couple of times during the week.  Who did you play with on those occasions?  We would have bridge sessions at night with husbands once in a while…also, when you invited someone over for dinner, you often played bridge, as well.  It was an entertainment thing.

Were any members also high school classmates?  Yes, Floy, Betty, Gloria – she was a year ahead and had moved away but then came back and joined the group – Clara Lou Hunt was a year ahead, also, and Bonnie Winger.  Did you play in college? Yes, at Berkeley…when I lived in the fraternity house before they had built the student housing.  There was always a game going on…people would drop out and people would take their place.

Were your sisters bridge players also?  You know, they were both older and I’m sure they were, but I can’t give you any details.  By the time I was old enough to be involved they were long gone from the local area – they had married and were out of town.

Do your children play? As far as I know, nobody does…maybe because all the children work and they have careers…they grew up and started jobs and it did not include bridge.  Aunt Grace and Aunt Clara would play when they were here visiting in Bakersfield…the children were often included in those games as a fourth which they enjoyed tremendously…it was a real learning experience for them.

What aspect of the game excited you the most? Oh my, well, the socializing.  I began to not be very proficient at the game because I was having children and the interest was not playing the game, but we kept it going as a social game.  We were just playing just for fun. 

The Boys 1980

 Hi Mickey,

I found this one among my wedding pictures…I like this picture a lot…the boys definitely got the handsome and athletic genes!  It may belong in the same category as the Christmas pics, but I thought you’d like it anyway!