Hola dearest Girlfriends    . . .  MUSICA

reasons to go on living

It’s a very good day for counting our blessings out loud . . . Despite the evil we know exists, it is still an amazingly beautiful and wonderful world filled with good-hearted, thoughtful, giving, kind people everywhere. Pray, Love, Remember. 


I really can’t bear to see the replay of the Twin Towers falling.  I don’t need to see it again to remember, my memory is painfully clear.  So this is one of the days I am my own chaperone, do what is best for me, and turn off the TV.  I honor this day they way I want, working in the garden, cooking something wonderful, hugging my kitties. The Toy Wife is on TCM right now. It is wonderful background noise for blog writing and the dresses are GORGEOUS.


We are home from our little jaunt off to Rhode Island ~ the washing machine is going strong, the day is beautiful, the laundry’s all going on the line to dry. We had a lovely time with PBS,(You can see a couple of pictures if you scroll down HERE) but there is no place like home.


I think you can see why . . . I mean LOOK at those eyes! Jack is so soft and mooshy, and as squirmy as he looks . . .


Home is where someone expresses her joy at our presence in no uncertain terms by wiggling all over the table cloth in the dining room.


It’s where leafy late-afternoon shadows dance down the walls . . .


And the sun set so beautifully behind the house next door.


Back to my own little world this morning, doing my favorite thing, writing away on the new book . . . it’s good to take a break, it makes you that much more excited to start again!


This afternoon, out come the fall decorations . . . we can feel a little nip in the air here, I’m wearing a sweater this morning, although the windows are all still open.  We’re going out for our walk the moment I press the “Publish” button on this post.



Not quite ready for this yet, but it’s coming!  Our next stop to sign books is Best of British, up in charming Newburyport, MA on Sunday, September 28th, at noon o’clock ~ it ought to be beautiful! Joe and I are going for a short leaf-peeping trip and stopping at this small store that imports lots of things from the British Isles to sign books.  It’s free, open to the public and we’d love to see you.  In case you need a weekend getaway. You can read about this and other events HERE.


Blessings Girlfriends . . . XOXO

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282 Responses to SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH . . .

  1. Jean says:


    Thanks for the lovely post. 9/11 will always be a hard day. The world changed in so many ways for all of us.

    On your trip to lovely Newburyport, if you meander up Rt 1A in NH, please please try to have a meal at the wonderful Carriage House restaurant. It’s opposite Jenss Beach(?). This time of year, the fire will be burning and it is so cosy.

    Safe travels!

  2. Amylisa says:

    Thanks for this posting. I have been overwhelmed with life in general lately, so I have stayed away from news for the most part. I appreciate your perspectives that you shared here.

    On another note, I finally ordered myself one of your Tea Tins for my yellow kitchen. However, my youngest son instantly loved it so now it is his. It was full of dents before I ever got to it. 🙂

    I am LOVING the Autumn book! Just ordered another one to give to my daughter who also loves this season.
    Your work brightens my life, thanks again.

  3. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you for the precious post. It’s been an emotional week here. My girls dearest aunt went to heaven Wednesday, she baby sat my girls from the time I had to back to work till they were old enough to not need a baby sitter. My daughter came up from Georgia for the services and hit a deer night before last, lots of damage to her car, but she was not hurt in the least, thank goodness. I woke up this morning still emotional and picked up my iPad, said oh I need some happiness and there you were! Thank you dear girlfriend. Xoxo

  4. Tracy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful encouragement to count our blessings. You might consider reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. A truly inspiring book.

  5. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Afternoon~
    I just made applesauce this afternoon~ from Heart of the Home~ yummy but I add a little extra cinnamon~ It’s still warm that’s when it’s best!
    I went to an estate sale this morning and bought a cast~ iron Aebleskive pan (for $4) and I am going to make Aebleskivers for the first time~ they are yummy for dessert or breakfast~ My Danish friends make them and serves them with powdered sugar and jam~ I may try honey on them too? ~ It’s cold today ~ bearly 50(!) so it’s a good day to warm up the house!~ Enjoy the rest of the weekend! ~ Trivial Pursuit tonight!! ~Lynn~

  6. Tina Mandeville says:


    No matter what the season, the hour, the time, or circumstance, you just know how to comfort and spread joy! xo

  7. sondra fox says:

    Hi Susan, While eating lunch today, I discovered a program on PBS that you’ve simply GOT to see. Narrated by Prince Charles, who is an artist in his own right, the program centered upon royal artists. Queen Victoria had many children, of whom she painted, as photography wasn’t then in action. The children were exposed to art at an early age. I was surprised to see what they’d achieved at an early age. You’ve really got to see this program Susan. You’d just love it. As I mentioned, it’s on PBS, the title being “Royal Paint,” I believe, or “Royal Paintbrush.” If you can’t find it on PBS, you can acquire it by calling:

    • sbranch says:

      I saw it!!! Wasn’t that interesting? I was just telling Joe about it out on the walk. Thinking how wonderful if all young children, not just the lucky Royals, had the opportunity to be “taught” to draw and paint in watercolors and oils.

  8. sondra fox says:

    Oops, I went to correct the phone number & hit the wrong button, WHOOSH, everything disappeared. The phone # to call for the “Royal Paint” video is
    1-000-playpbs The cost of the video is $24.00, but I do hope you can find the program on PBS in your area. The watercolors they show on the program are just too fantastic, all done by royals. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  9. Susan, I was so excited to find a lovely article about Tasha Tudor in the Sept / Oct. issue of Yankee Magazine. Did you see it?? I haven’t finished reading the article, but wanted to make sure to mention it to you!! I left the island on Thurs and arrived back in MI on Friday 🙁 so was very glad to have a taste of New England waiting for me (I still have the Yankee issue that you were in. . .in fact, I keep them all as the recipes are wonderful & I love browsing thru them when I need some New England flavor). Thank you for your lovely blog for 9/11, and as always, I love your pictures. Great kitty shots!! Happy Fall (its currently 56 degrees here in MI!).

  10. Janet in Rochester says:

    Every year on Sept 11, MSNBC runs the as-it-happened “Today” show coverage of the attacks in “real time” from 8:30 am til noon and if I’m home, I always watch. It feels like the least I can do, like the price I should be paying for surviving this massive national tragedy personally untouched. I never fail to learn something new I hadn’t heard before, and while it is obviously awful to watch, it in no way compares to what those experiencing it, victims and survivors alike, had to endure. May God continue to bless America and all peaceful world citizens everywhere…

  11. Dear Susan,
    You just made my day (actually night, since it is 11 p.m.) when I read that you will be in Newburyport on September 28. I have been waiting, praying that you would show up in my “neck of the woods” at some point, ever since I wasn’t able to get to Danbury, Ct. earlier this year due to health issues with my husband. I will make the trip to Newburyport from here in Wells, Maine that day and can’t wait to meet you in person. It will be like a dream come true. I wish I could bring all of your books that I own for you to sign. But it looks like they only have you booked for an hour and I am sure the lines will be long. However, I am looking forward to it and will likely buy another copy of A Fine Romance for a friend – I have it on my Susan Branch shelf. BTW, my Summer book is now back with my large collection of cookbooks and Autumn is out on the shelf I have in the kitchen. And I made the broccoli salad from the Girlfriends book today for a neighborhood brunch. It was scrumptious and everyone raved about it. Luckily, there was a little left over, so I got to nibble on it all afternoon. I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes. So, so looking forward to finally meeting you after being a fan since getting Heart of the Home years and years ago. Also would encourage you to plan to go over the bridge into Maine during your leaf-peep tour and check out the dozens of wonderful antique shops along Rt. 1 from York through Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk and Arundel. I can recommend a few if you’d like. And you might want to visit Stonewall Kitchens headquarters and flagship store in York, also on Rt. 1. Take care and can’t wait to say hello in Newburyport!
    Nancye Tuttle
    Wells, Maine

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for all of that Nancye! I look forward to meeting you. Don’t worry, I’m staying until everyone leaves, I’m not sure an hour will do it, they don’t know how slowly I write! So glad you can come down!

  12. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan..I’m so like you, I spent the day in remembersnce of those who were lost. I wrote this last year “Life is not always the way we plan it or would like it to be…but it’s still life! So with this gift we must savor every minute of every day!” I feel it’s so true!

    Glad you had a good time, and are back home safe…with your fur babies! It is so wise to take breaks when you’re working at your desk. I always had such a hard time doing that before I retired, finally I put a small alarm clock on my desk to go off every 20 minutes to remind me to get up and move around! (Sometimes I’d ignore it and keep working…bad girl!) Lol

    It really feels like fall here this week, with frost last night..sad.. I’m not ready yet… But we go with the flow don’t we??

    • sbranch says:

      It’s sometimes hard not to ignore it! Too much fun to be interrupted! But I know what you mean. I’ve fixed a place where I can now stand up and work on the computer, so I’m not doing as much sitting. Fall here too, I haven’t turned on the heater yet, but I’ve wanted to! Just covered in shawls!

  13. Karen says:

    Thank you Susan You are truly a inspiration Wonderful post

  14. Annie Littlewolf of Littlewolf Studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just “rediscovered” you! I stumbled upon your Book of Days in a box I had put away in the closet. I wondered if you were still about, and checked online – yes! My goodness! Lucky me! Then, wonder of wonders, you too knew about one of my favorite authors, Gladys Tabor! I wanted to let you know about another incredible author – B.J. Chute. She wrote, among other books, “Greenwillow”. I think that it has now been reprinted. I have several copies (I get every copy I can find at old book stores) and give them away. I read it several times a year and love it each and every time. A magical book guaranteed to put a warm feeling in your heart. Timeless! I PROMISE!
    Like you, I started late in life as an artist, beginning with calligraphy. The other day, I pulled out an old canvas I had tried painting on – a sunset over snow-capped mountains. I had stored it, thinking it “bad”. But pulled it out and took a second look at it. Really not that “bad” at all – and realized (now that I’m in my sixties (hopefully older and wiser..hmmmm??) why would I have condemned myself to thinking that “my” art had to match up with somebody else’s work to be deemed “good”? Anyway, it is now hanging up on the wall and in fact looks pretty darned GOOD! And the easel is up now and I’m ready to do more painting! Things are looking good!
    We have six dogs that live with us. Oliver, Sweetpea, Sparky, Alice, Madison and Odie. They are a handful and all have medical problems but love each and everyone of them and I count my blessings every day that God has chosen them to be in my life.
    I am glad to have found out that you are still around! And now have joined the Gladys Tabor fan club too! I hope to spread the joy of Greenwillow to your followers and will check back here to see if others like that book too. I think they will fall in love with Dorrie and Gideon and Martha and especially that rascal, Micah!

  15. Lynn Cunningham says:

    I love so much “A Prayer for a Little Home” ~ everything about it: the words, the lovely painting above the words, the leaves surrounding the poem. Everything about your blog and books express the sentiments contained in those words. You’ve made your home a true refuge ~ and I enjoy feeling the heart’s ease of it all. Thank you so very much ~ I really needed to see this today. Just got back from a trip to Gettysburg, Pa. ~ helping my 86 year old parents with a couple of things. Your writing is a balm to the spirit, and I thank you more than words alone can say!

  16. Gabi says:

    Live your best life- it’s the only way to combat evil. Stream sunshine into every corner of the good existence you have created and let that wonderful life be a beacon of hope to everyone who is covered with the shadow of doubt.
    When faced with evidence of the tragedy and horrors that ignorant, greedy, and hateful humans make, I counteract them by counting my blessings off like beads in a rosary made of joy, today’s were:
    I found a first edition Gladys Tabor’s “The Stillmeadow Road” yesterday in my locally owned bookstore. I am savoring each word as I read.
    I felt the chill of the Autumn coming in the air and the scent of a wood fire on the breeze. The leaves are turning red up on the mountains.
    I cuddled with my honey under the blankets this morning until he arose and made oat waffles and bacon for our breakfast. We ate the last of the summer raspberries, savoring each tiny jewel as if it was the first and last.
    I sit in my garden and think of all the good human beings in the world whose care and kindness make the world a good place. You are one of those people, as is everyone who loves and is loved by you. 🙂

  17. Susan Bochman says:

    September 11 almost became the birthday of my first grandchild this week but he decided to come on the 12th. (Thirteen babies were born on the 11th at the hospital where she delivered.) My daughter-in-law was worried that he would be born on such a tragic day. I told her as tragic as that day was many wonderful things happened when heroes saved lives and our nation pulled together to help those that were affected by this tragedy. Nature made the decision and our little grandson was born after midnight on the 12th. I would have taken him any time that he decided to come. I plan to print out your blog to put in his baby book especially the poem about counting your blessings. Our family is counting our blessings for our wonderful little baby and his parents.

  18. Nellie says:

    The best thing about taking a trip is the good feeling we have when we return home.

    I knew those kitties would be thrilled to have you return!

    My post for Friday featured “Autumn!” Made those Molasses Cookies from the book, too. Soft and yummy!

    xo Nellie

  19. Darlene says:

    Thank you Susan for all the beauty and goodness you share. xoxo

  20. Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

    Like you, I can’t bear to see the replay of the Twin Towers falling and don’t need to see it to remember that horrific day. I say a prayer for peace and move into my day the same way you do. Jack has the BEST expressions! He always makes me smile. And the picture of Girl Kitty makes my heart sing. We lost our precious Princess in March this year and she did exactly what Girl does, stretching out and sleeping in pure bliss. She was 23 years old and was happy and healthy, still playing with her string on a stick, until she died. We miss her terribly, but know she was spoiled to pieces and had a wonderful life. Now Max, our other kitty is spoiled even more, having all our attention. He’s a very happy boy. I love your art studio it’s so light and airy; I can see why you love to write your books and create your art in that room. Thank you for another beautiful, wonderful post! Blessings to you Susan… xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry, twenty three years is so good for a kitty! So much love, of course you must miss her. Hug Max for me xoxo

  21. Mamey Brown says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your space!! Your office is gorg!! Great picture. Thanks for sharing. As always Susan, your blog has lifted my spirits for another bright filled day!! You must get so sick of hearing that……..You really do make a difference in ALL of our lives. I thank God for you!!

  22. Deb in Michigan says:

    LOVE the picture of your studio/office. I think I will change the name of my home work space to “studio”. It sounds like such a nice place to be. I also need to get some bookshelves hung. Your walls just make me happy!
    Have a wonderful day!!

  23. Sherry Palla says:

    Thanks Susan for reminding us of what is important! I love your “Blessings ” picture and want to FB it to my friends soon~! God bless you with many fall blessings!

  24. Carol Lichwala says:

    Susan, I am so excited to know you are coming to Westfield. I will definitely be there. I can’t wait to see you again. You signed my Autumn book…the first edition.
    Thank you for the “Count our blessings” poem. I count mine everyday I wake up.
    Looking forward to seeing you again.

  25. Deborah.T.Norling says:

    Jack’s adorable cat face looking at you from your studio window ….too hilarious and scrumptious at the same time !

  26. Deborah.T.Norling says:

    and Girl Kitty’s tummy and paws simply must be smooshed and squeeeezed !

    • sbranch says:

      She is in the chair next to me now, cuddled between upholstered arm, and upholstered me. Plenty of smooshing going on here!

  27. Audrianne says:

    Your posts are always refreshing. Thank you. Cooler weather here in Holland MI. Honeycrisps have been picked with my niece and her daughter. Pumpkins are beginning to appear all over the house; I can’t help myself. The car seems to know its way to every farm stand in the area!

  28. judi says:

    Queen Mary 2 heading into Boston harbor right now (9/17). Looks like she will be there by 9:00 a.m. 🙂

  29. Good Morning, Susan!
    Just had to stop back again to take another peek at your Studio. It’s such a lovely place to write and paint, filled with memories and so much inspiration! Do you think you might post a little ‘tour’ of your Studio one day? We would LOVE to take a closer peek at all of the little things that surround you as you work. It would be great to see how you have set up a place to stand at your computer. Such a wonderful, healthy idea!
    Warm hugs!

  30. Anne Laird says:

    Absolutely love the picture of Jack rolling around on your table cloth. We have a calico named Chole who is about the same size as Jack and she loves to stretch out on our dining room table. Lucky you to have Fall weather. Its been in the 100’s here in S. California.

  31. Mary Cay Martin says:

    Any chance of the Count Your Blessings picture turning into a poster? I would buy it in a flash to hang in my bedroom!!!

  32. Mary Cay Martin says:

    actually I meant the first picture in this post but would buy the other one for presents!

  33. Linda Hurst says:

    Susan you are the ‘on’ button for digging out all the fall stuff to hang, drape, swag and nail to the walls! Thanks!

  34. Diana from Ohio says:

    I love your office. It is so inviting. Thank you so much for your blogs as they always make my day.

  35. Jack says:

    Another of life’s blessings – Johnny Cash’s – Tennessee Black Top Box !!!

  36. Joan H. says:

    Hi Susan ,
    Loved reading your thoughts in this latest blog . They’re always very calming & a reminder to live in the moment . I also turn off the news on the 9/11 anniversary . I say a prayer for everyone lost & hope it never happens again . Also , we watched you on the RI PBS show. It was fun and my husband was introduced to your work . He’s an Anglophile too 🙂 …. By then, I’d already ordered your Autumn book & it’s just great ! Can’t wait to start baking . I also ordered A Fine Romance , and it’s a Christmas gift for him . Our anniversary is just 2 days after Christmas , married 40 years , so it’s the perfect book . I’d also like to take this opportunity , to say how nice the customer service people are , when I order from the online store . Recently , I added another book to my order , hours after I placed the first order , and Sheri went out of her way to add the second book . The items are packaged so well & one was carefully wrapped in pretty floral tissue paper with a sweet stamp to secure it . Thoughtful things like that are rare in today’s rushed world , and I think it says something special to the recipients . Thank you and enjoy this beautiful Autumn ! Best , Joan H.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so nice to tell me. Sheri and Kellee care as much about everything as I do. We are the perfect combo! I couldn’t do it without them. I HOPE it says something special, that’s my prayer. We can’t control everything in the shipping world these days (ie $$) but the part we can, we do. xoxo

  37. Mary says:

    On 9/11/2001 my husband and I were in Niagara Falls, Canada celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. The horror of that day will never leave me and like you, I cannot watch the reruns of all that happened and the sadness of all those people and the terror and desperation of so many. We couldn’t get back in the US for several days and our daughters, who were both away at college, were so fearful. When they finally opened the borders again, we were searched but of course we didn’t mind it because it gave us a little reassurance. We didn’t want anyone to be able to get in our country and do such a terrible thing like that again. People everywhere were a bit nicer and gentler, even the border patrol was a little kinder and more understanding. Our country changed at that moment and it seemed that we were all united and perhaps more loving and appreciative and caring of one another. Sad to say that did not last forever. Even though we have the beautiful memory of our wedding day on September 11, 1976, we also still carry the vivid memories of that horrific day in 2001. So we do Pray, Love and Remember on that day for many reasons. Thanks for reading and letting me share my memories. I love reading your blog and this one was particularly inspirational for me. Love, Mary

  38. Chris Clingenpeel says:

    Hi ~ love everything that you do, make, cook!!
    Unfortunately, for me, I was diagnosed with osteo arthritis, and doctor’s orders are no sugar and limit fat. I don’t have so much a problem with the fat, but sugar is tough. I have all of your books and am wondering if you have a suggestion for a sugar substitute. This is the time of the year when its finally cooling off in sunny California, and its time to bake…
    Thank you! Chris

    • sbranch says:

      Google sugar free diets etc — there is SO MUCH out there, lots of people in your shoes with good advice. Hope this helps Chris!

  39. shirley burt says:

    Susan, I was in England and have just returned and read this blog. You always say what needs to be said. I thank you for it.
    Much love and bunny hugs,

  40. Annie Littlewolf says:

    My daughter was living in Northern Virginia on 9/11. I was at home in southwest Virginia, and frankly was still asleep (sleeping in – ahem…) that morning, when the phone rang. My husband and I were empty nesters at the time – our daughter was on her own, attending college there. Her boyfriend was there, working in Washington D.C. I answered the phone sleepily. It was our daughter, somewhat hysterical and breathy – she shouted over her car phone that she was on her way INTO D.C. trying to find her boyfriend – I couldn’t figure out what in the world she was talking about! She asked why – hadn’t I heard the news? No. “Turn on the TV!” she said. I did. Oh no! I watched in horror as she tried to tell me that her boyfriend who worked in a federal building near the White House had been told, along with his co-workers to get out – and he decided to (believe it or not) to RUN out of DC – and my daughter, who was outside of DC was going to drive INTO DC via the interstate and hopefully would find him somehow and they would meet and turn around and get out! I was scared to death and tried to talk her out of this, but she said no, she had to try to save him. I could understand, but as a mother, I wanted my baby safe. Her phone went dead. I tried to call back, but the lines were down or busy. The second tower had not yet fallen – but in horror I saw on TV that it just went down.
    The morning was a horror show, not only on TV, and for those inside those buildings and for those trying to rescue them, and in my own way for worrying for our daughter trying somehow to find that one guy running out of a building down the highway…..what in the world was happening?
    Those are my memories of that day and how such a thing can affect so many people and even just one family. Yes, she found him – unbelievable. They were safe. And scared. So was I. I didn’t hear from them until after noon. When we were all numb. I still cannot get that feeling out of my head. I don’t like to watch it again and again.
    Now I know that we need as much love and kindness and sweetness and innocence in our lives. My daughter now has two children and I make sure they know Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle and get gooseberry tarts and that the Tooth Fairy visits them. They don’t need video games and World of Warcraft. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but those are just my opinions. I wish childhood to be full of magic, innocence, and sweetness and fairies and surprise! Stardust, and gnomes and wee things. Not war, not games where one blows up anyone who gets in their way for a “quest”. So, maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but when children lose those magic things, and instead sit in front of video games that encourage them to just “kill” what gets in their way, I just think that is wrong. Sorry if this sounds like a rant.
    Anyway, I made a batch of praline cookies this morning to send to them. They only live a mile away and their daddy came by to mow for us this afternoon and picked them to take home. YUMMY! (I stole two cookies for us!).
    Going to make popovers tomorrow night along with the roast. Are Yorkshire puddings really just popovers cooked in the juice that comes when you cook a roast in the proper way? I’ve got to figure that out.
    Thanks for the lovely post, Susan. I feel better just reading your words and seeing your artwork. Inspirational!

  41. Annie Littlewolf says:

    This may sound odd, but one of my most favorite smells of the upcoming winter (I just LOVE winter – cozy, pinecones, cinnamon, baking, CHRISTMAS!) is the smell of the first time the furnace kicks on. That sort of dusty/musty smell. Mmmmm…… We have an oil furnace and I know it is not wood smoke (which I love too), and we do have neighbors with fireplaces (we have one), but when that furnace kicks on automatically and suddenly I’m aware that temperature must have dropped low enough for it to “kick on” – I KNOW that now – NOW it is OFFICIAL! Winter, or at least REAL fall has begun. YES! Sweaters, boots, hats come out – and I start thinking about apple dumplings, and cranberries and gathering ingredients for fruitcakes (I bake 3 – one to soak in whiskey, one in apricot brandy and one with orange juice), and I begin knitting, and quilting and thinking about all the things I want to get done. I love that smell! How about YOU? What is YOUR favorite smell of the fall?
    Annie, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

    • sbranch says:

      I always think it might blow up the first time I turn it on. So I put it off, then hold my breath and go for it. And I’m happy to report that we survived another year! One of my favorite smells is in the woods, the mulching leaves mixed with ocean smell.

  42. Annie says:

    I would like to share a favorite wonderful memory from my childhood. I do it hopes that some one you grandmas might like to do this for your grandchildren, like I’m getting ready to do for my 2 and a half year old granddaughter, Hayley. When I was just almost 3 years old, my Nana made me a choo-choo train. Looking back, I see how she made it: there were 3 shoe boxes. She had cut “windows” in the sides, and on the inside of each window, she used some sort of tape (I guess, perhaps she used glue) and covered the opening with colored tissue paper (each opening had different colors of tissue paper). Then, a votive candle was placed inside each box (I guess she set them in something – perhaps a mason jar lid? I don’t recall – but having just read Susan’s article about other uses for flea market finds, you surely can find something suitable. Then, Nana used string and put the lid on each of 3 shoeboxes and tied each shoebox to the next, and the first shoebox had the longest string for ME to PULL the entire train with! So, to get the big picture – imagine this: I’m (big almost 3 year old) pulling a string that is tied to a line of 3 trains of shoe boxes tied to each other that have lit up colored windows dragging along the sidewalk! In the evening! It is getting dark and I’m the HIT of the evening! (or at least “I” thought so!) I was enthralled! Thought I was BIG STUFF! I had my own choo-choo! And Nana made it for me! Pretty neat!
    I’ve collected the shoe boxes and have the tissue paper. (you can buy a bunch of just circles of tissue paper of different colors from misterart online (not affiliated, yada yada) if you can’t get out or don’t want to buy a lot of tissue paper). It is easy, quick and cheap. If you don’t want to put actual candles or lit things inside, I think small flashlights would probably also work. But, evenings when it is getting dark would also be ideal. The cool part is the colored light showing through.
    Just wanted to share a very cherished memory!

    • sbranch says:

      It sounds adorable, but I don’t think you could put the lid on those shoe boxes with candles lit inside? She must have done something else, or maybe you can do it if you only do it for a moment or two. The flashlights, or maybe one of those short, battery operated strings of lights might work too. But how DARLING!

  43. Annie says:

    You know, you must be right — I can’t remember exactly, been SO long ago. I just know that I felt so special! Dragging along that TRAIN with those colored windows – like stained glass! The light shining through in the growing dusk === seems like there were candles, but of course, it could easily have been flashlights or something else – I’m almost 62 now, so that is about 60 years ago, and my childhood memory is tarnished, I’m sure …the specialness is more about the detail that Nana went through to cut out the windows in those shoeboxes and put up the colored tissue paper and then tie the boxes together for me and fix it so I could pull them along — no store-bought toy could replace that kind of memory. I was SPECIAL because NANA made that for ME. And now I am making one for MY granddaughter! I hope she will feel special too. I have 3 little flashlights that I will be using duct tape to hold down inside at the back and will cut windows out ahead of them – hopefully it will work. Wheeeee!!!!! Simple pleasures! The innocence of childhood.

    • sbranch says:

      Not really tarnished, you held on to the magical part just fine! And now you’re passing it on, and someday, sixty years from now, your little granddaughter will be remembering YOU!

  44. Rebecca says:

    I love the picture of you when you were a little girl. Such cute freckles spattered over your nose and cheeks. Thank you for encouragement and the beauty of your art.

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