Come in . . feel free to look around . . . . .

Good morning. I had fun yesterday writing about things on my bedroom wall. So I’m going on to show you, from time to time, some of my other little treasures.

The first thing you would see when you enter my front door is this small chest that looks like an antique but isn’t. I ran upon it in a furniture store when I was moving into this house and I said “Yes!”

On the wall above it is a grouping of oriental pictures I bought years ago from one of the quaint shops in Waikiki. Below that is a hand-painted bowl I’ve kept, not because it’s an antique but because it is pretty. And beside that is a treasure from childhood.

U;n sorry you must turn your head, but the picture refuses to turn.

When I was a child I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ and years later, when they died, I was asked what I would like from their home. I chose this paperweight. It was always kept on the small table that held the radio, and I played with it when my grandparents listened to news, and I asked them lots of questions about the picture in the paperweight. It was of a log cabin in the woods and bore the words “Only house left from the Massacre of 1857.”

This became even more meaningful years later when MacKinley Kantor won the Pulitzer prize for his book Spirit Lake, which describes that massacre in excruciating detail. Kantor was from Webster City, Iowa, the country seat, a few miles from us.  (He wrote other great books too, like Andersonville.) Today his beautiful monument is just a few steps away from my grandparents’ gravestone in Webster City.


But the  real antique, and a priceless one, is in the frame to the left. It is a tiny set of wool mittens knit by an elderly great aunt many years ago. What makes these mittens unique is that they were knit on TOOTHPICKS.  In length they measure 2 ½ inches. Do you have any idea how difficult that would be?

I treasure something like this because I too was entertained by hand work through all my years. When I was eleven I hand crocheted antimacassars for chairs and sold 3-piece sets to the ladies in town for $11.00. In high school I knit myself a sweater and knit baby sweaters for gifts.

In high school I also knit a pair of maroon wool socks for my dad for Christmas. They were still in his top drawer when he died. He said they were too nice to wear. But they went on to fame. One year, when I was away in college, my mother entered them into the Iowa State Fair competitions, in her name. And my socks not only won first prize in the knit socks category but first prize in the entire knitting category. My mother claimed the credit and the prize money. I didn’t care. She was probably the one who had taught me how to do it.

From time to time I will show you some of my other handwork, and I want you to understand I am not bragging about these things. They were projects I kept busy with, and relaxed with, while others were out playing tennis, swimming, going to ball games.

Turns out the only thing athletic about me is my fingers!


Colors from the past . . . . .


I’m going about the house this morning, picking things up, dusting things off, and appreciating little things. I’m noticing how many objects about the house are very personal to me, each with memories from my earlier years. Don’t you find that true in your house too? I’m going to share a few of my memories here from time to time

Here is the dress form from my early sewing years. I did sew some of my own clothes and certainly clothes for my daughter . . such as her prom dress. But the dress on this form happens to be one I bought in Houston probably twenty years ago. It looks old-fashioned, but it was just trendy then. I only wore it a few times, but I do remember wearing it to Sunday brunch, near the water, on the terrace of the famous Moana hotel. It seemed appropriate there, but you can imagine it would look weird in most places.

Although the fake flowers on the hat came from Hawaii, the hat itself came home with me from Peurto Rico. I had been there for a conference and upon return I shocked husband Gene by walking off the plane with a new haircut and the big hat and a bottle of rum for Gene.  I had been wearing that large hair style with back-combing. Pictures of that are horrible to look at now, but it was the acceptable style at that time.

The picture on the wall here is indeed precious to me. It was on the wall in the upstairs guest room of my grandparents’ home. When I was a child Grandma put me there for an afternoon nap, and put a Fritz Kreisler record on the Edison before leaving me alone. I had not wanted to nap, but I couldn’t help drifting off as the cool breeze blew the lace curtains in and as I gazed at my beautiful friend on the wall, the little girl with the dove. Everything about this picture said “peace”, and I’ve carried it all these years in my mind.

It seems right that now, in my old age, I fall asleep, with this little girl near, as peacefully as I did at four.



Coming soon . . . watch for it . . .


I haven’t written here for a while because I have been busy putting the last touches on my new book. That means I have been over it and over it and over it, and Sara has been over it too, looking for typos or other silly mistakes. But this week I turned it in and at this moment an editor is reading it to determine whether it is worth printing.

My first book was a collection of things I had written through the years. This book is a collection of things I wrote through this year, If accepted it will probably come out at about the time of my 92nd Birthday in August.

It will be named My Half of the Conversation. In this book I talk about many things, light-hearted moments and serious subjects as well, and encourage you to consider your half of the conversation.  In Hawaii they have a phrase I just love.  When they get together they “talk story.”  I hope you will join me in my book to talk story, and I’m leaving a few blank pages in the book for notes on your half of the conversation. We’ll think and talk about many of life’s mysteries.

Meanwhile, I am learning to live without driving a car, for no reason other than my age.  It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Writing a book? No, that’s duck soup in comparison.

And meanwhile, I have just received results of my DNA test and learned, just as expected, that I am more than half Scandinavian and the rest is English and North/West European.  Yet . . the only surprise . . I am 5.3% Italian. So maybe my maiden name should have been Doris Petersinskioliono.

I have a beautiful apricot hibiscus blooming by my front door again. It is a lovely spring, although I think summer just hit us with 100 degrees.

Have a good day.

Doris Peterinskioliiono Markland