Saturday, June 14, 2008

Family Survey - Part 2

Here is my second set of questions from the genealogical survey:

11. What is your earliest childhood memory? My earliest memories revolve around being sick and in the hospital. I had kidney and bladder problems and ended up having major surgery on my bladder before I started school. I spent a lot of time at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. My aunt was friends with a lady that played a character on a local children’s television program, and I remember her visiting me in the hospital after my surgery and bringing me a picture of Cadet Don – the main character of the program.

12. What kind of games did you play growing up? In Houston, I remember playing with dolls, and playing games on the driveways of my friends in the neighborhood. We also played ball in my front yard. I had Barbie dolls when I was little.

When we moved to Pearland, we played outside a lot. We played jump rope and hide and seek and ball games in the circle, especially 4 Square or dodge ball. I would play jacks with my best friend, Susan on her front porch. Or we might play cards. I know we also had all kinds of board games including Monopoly, Clue and Mouse Trap.

13. What was your favorite toy? Why? I don’t remember any one toy as being my favorite, although I did have a doll for many years that was just about life-sized. And I still have my first teddy bear packed away. It’s pretty raggedy and hard to tell it was pink.

14. What did you do for entertainment (movies, beach, etc.)? Which was your favorite? I remember going to drive-in movies with my family. Mom had a station wagon, and Kathy and I would be in our pajama’s and we would pack pillows in with us in the back of the station wagon.

Since we lived pretty close to Galveston, we would go down there occasionally. I remember Daddy’s company had company parties down there. In those days, there was enough beach below the seawall that you could drive down on the beach from the seawall. The men would pull a big seine net through the surf, and we would all gather around to see what they had caught, but I don’t ever remember eating any of the catch. We learned how to hunt for sand dollars in the surf, and of course we played in the water and made sand castles, etc.

Mom would take Kathy and I to the zoo a lot while we were little. The zoo was free in those days, so she would load us up with a picnic lunch that we would eat at Hermann Park. We would save bread to feed the ducks at the duck pond. I remember especially watching the otters and monkeys play, watch the elephants get a bath and go through the giraffe house. Hi-C sponsored the giraffe house and I remember Hi-Cecil and Hi-Cecilia.

I think my favorite was probably the trips to the zoo.
15. Did you have chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite? When I was little, I had to make my bed and clean up my room. I remember helping Mom do the dishes – Daddy had drafting stools that I would sit on to be able to reach the sink.

As I got older, we had to clean the kitchen after dinner and clean the bathroom in addition to the other chores. We also had to fold laundry.

Mom went to work when Mary Lee was about a year old – I was at least 10 then. So in the next few years, I learned to cook, and helped with dinner, then had the responsibility with Kathy to cook and clean the kitchen. The one who cooked didn’t have to clean, so we would fight over who got to cook. Neither of us liked to clean the kitchen – I still hate it.

I babysat Mary Lee and Kathy during the summers from the time I was about 13 or 14. I did get paid extra for that.

16. Did you get an allowance? How much? Did you save or spend it? I did get paid an allowance. I don’t remember what it was when I was little, but as a teen-ager, it seems like it was $5 a week, plus I got $20 a week for babysitting ($0.50 an hour times 40 hours – yeah, babysitting was cheap back then). It was for most all of my normal extra expenses like snacks and toiletries. I did save some of it, but the allowance was more for expenses and less for saving.

17. What was school like for you? What were your best and worst subjects? School was for the most part easy for me. I enjoyed going to school. My favorite subjects were math and science. My least favorite was English and Literature. However, I won’t say that they were “worst” subjects because I made good grades in school – mostly A’s.

18. Where did you attend grade school? Middle School? High school? College? I started Kindergarten in Beaumont. Daddy was working on a job there and Mom, Kathy and I went with him. I finished Kindergarten and then went through Third Grade to Madding Elementary in Houston. The last few weeks, Mom had to drive us in to Houston from Pearland, but since it was so close to the end of the year, they didn’t want to transfer us.

From Fourth Grade on, I went to Pearland Schools – Pearland Elementary for Fourth and Fifth Grade, Pearland Junior High for 6th – 8th Grades, then Pearland High School for 9th – 12th Grades, graduating in 1975.

I started college at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, TX. I had been admitted to Texas A&M in the Geology Department, but got a scholarship and grant to go to TCU. I could be in band at TCU, and it was a smaller school, so I felt it was a better place for me to go for at least my Freshman year. I majored in Chemistry. But I did transfer to A&M the next year and graduated from there in 1979 with a BS in Chemistry. A&M really was my first choice, and once I realized that I could survive in a new environment (I felt really shy and insecure in high school), I was glad that I made the transfer.

19. Tell me what activities you participated in – sports, drama, etc. I wasn’t really good at sports, although I did try out for the Girl’s Volleyball team both in Junior High and High School. I did play softball and tennis, along with the volleyball for fun.

I was in Girl Scouts until about 7th or 8th Grade. I started in Brownie Scouts in 2nd Grade in Houston, and stayed in when we moved to Pearland. I went through Juniors and was a Cadette.

I was in band, starting in 6th grade. I played Bb clarinet throughout Junior High and High School, and in my Freshman year in college. I marched in Marching Band and played in the Concert and Symphonic bands.

I was active in Future Teachers of America – I thought about being a teacher in high school.

I tried 4H for one year. I did mostly homemaking activities.

I was in Rainbow Girls for about 3 years, until I felt Band was more important and had priority on my time.

And I was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship, MYF, from 6th grade on. We met on Sunday evenings, and had social activities as well as Fellowship, We also had a choir that sang at the 8:30 church service.

20. Tell me some of your memories from school – any really great stories? Any honors? Most of my memories from school revolved around Band. We played at football games, both home and away, had band contests, concets, and band trips involving competitions.

Academically, I remember placing in a math competition when I was in Junior High, probably 8th grade. We had to answer these math problems, but couldn’t do any of the work on paper. The only thing that could be on the test sheet was our final answer. Back then, I was much better at doing math problems in my head. Computers have spoiled me in that regard.

In High School, I was a National Semi-finalist for scholarships based on the PSAT scores. I didn’t make high enough on my SAT to be classed as a finalist, but it was still an honor. And I did really well on my SAT, especially the math portion. And I did make Who’s Who Among American High School Students while in High School. I graduated in the top 10 of my class.

I was Who’s Who for the Math Department my Senior year. There was a boy in my class who was Who’s Who for the Science Department. He and I were neck and neck for both departments, so he got one and I got the other. We both thought we should have gotten both honors. Wonder who was right?

We got extra points for taking Accelerated classes. And I remember the way my schedule was working out, I wouldn’t have all the Accelerated English classes for my senior year. We were on the quarter system. I took a 4th Quarter of English so that I could get my extra credit in, but didn’t realize the last quarter didn’t count in class standings. Well, I took 2 Accelerated English classes my last quarter – and remember, English was my least favorite subject. If I had done it the middle quarter, I would have placed higher, I’m sure.

One of the proudest moments in High School – we were at Marching Contest. Pearland always did well in Marching Contest. We were a military style band, marching 6-to-5. We were known for our diamond drills. This year, we did our routine, then finished up the routine by turning into the stands in a concert formation and played the final march (it was either American Patrol or American Post) just standing on the field in this concert formation – totally unheard of, especially for a military style band. We blew the stands away and got a standing ovation. I still remember the feeling of pride as we stood there afterwards with the applause.

Family Survey

I received a family survey as part of the genealogy challenge on Natural Designs In SscrapBooking ( It's a series of 72 questions that you can send to relatives that you don't know very well, and learn more about the family history, not just dry facts. I've started filling out the survey myself - I figured if I got people to fill it out for me, they might want my story in return. Anyway, I'm up to about question 23 right now. I keep going back and adding to earlier answers - I'm going to end up writing a novel.

I thought I would post my responses here as well as have it available for my "family" - some of them are really distant relatives.

1. What is your full name? Margaret Ruth Sanders

2. Why did your parents pick this name? Margaret was my paternal grandmother’s middle name and the name she went by. Ruth is my mother’s middle name.

3. What is your nickname? When I was younger, it was Tootie. Now, it’s Maggie

4. How did you get your nickname? When I was a baby/toddler, my father came home from work and asked how I had been. My mother said I had been a real toot that day – and it stuck, at least for family and childhood friends. I used Margaret throughout school. But my sister Kathy tagged me with Maggie after the Rod Stewart song “Maggie May”.

5. When and where were you born? I was born at Houston Baptist Hospital in downtown Houston, Harris County, Texas on March 15, 1957. The hospital is no longer in existence.

6. When did your family move there and why? My dad moved to Houston from Lafayette, LA for a job. My mother moved from the Rio Grande Valley with a girlfriend from home to find a good job.

7. Were there other family members close? Who and where? My dad’s sister was in Houston as well when Mom and Dad got married. There was no other family at the time, although my paternal grandparents moved to Houston prior to 1966, then moved to Pearland in 1968 – 2 years after we did. At various times, all of my dad’s siblings have lived in Houston. Three of my mom’s brothers have lived in Houston at different times, although only one is currently in the area – and he lives on the other side of town from me.

We made the trip to the Valley to see my maternal grandparents a lot while I was growing up. It was about a 7 hour trip, and we would leave on Friday night and come back on Sunday night.

And we occasionally traveled to Lafayette to see my paternal grandparents as well. I remember once riding in Pappy’s Mayflower truck – I think we were going from Houston to Lafayette.

We didn’t take a long vacation every year, but every few years we would take a 2-3 week trip, and would visit family during the vacation. In 1964, we went to the World’s Fair in New York. Dad had a pickup truck and we had a camper on the back. We took Kathy to stay with Nanny and Pappy in Lafayette, then Mom, Dad and I headed towards Washington, D.C. Dad’s brother, Raymond, lived in Hagerstown, MD with Pat and Ray, Jr. We toured Washington and Virginia before heading to New York. Mom’s brother, Cooper, lived on Long Island with Ruth, Susanne and Gary. Mam-ma and Granddaddy drove up with Mom’s sister, Iris, from Texas as well. We did the touristy things in New York as well as the World’s Fair. I remember seeing the UN building and the Statue of Liberty.

8. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? The first house that my parents lived in in Houston was at 8503 Medford. It was a small 3 bedroom/ 1.5 bath house with asbestos siding, no central air conditioning, and hardwood floors throughout. It also had a 1 car garage. I shared a bedroom with my younger sister, Kathy.

In 1966, we moved to 2703 Robinhood in Pearland. It was a brand new 3 bedroom/2 bath with central air, formal living and dining rooms, carpet in the bedrooms and the living/dining rooms. When we first moved to Pearland, Mary Lee was 6 weeks old, so Kathy and I still shared a room, although eventually, as the oldest, I got a room to myself and Kathy and Mary Lee shared a room until I went to college. I would give up my room when we had company. The yard was much larger than the house in Houston and the house was on a circle. The circle became the playground for most of the kids in the area since we didn’t have to worry about a lot of traffic. We would play 4-square or jump rope. We would also play hide and seek throughout the neighborhood.

9. For those born before 1945 did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones? This isn't applicable for me, unless you count not having central air in the first house I lived in.

10. What do you remember most about your home? For the Houston house, it would have to be the attic fan that kept the house bearable as we only had a couple of window units. And the house had a lot of pocket doors.

For the Pearland house, I think it had to be the yard – we had a huge back yard. Also, we had a laundry room in the house and we had a dishwasher and drier. I think having a second bathroom was pretty cool and the hall bath was divided. The sink and vanity was open to the hall with the door closing off the toilet and tub. That way, the 3 girls could share one bathroom and getting ready for school all at the same time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fresh From The Garden!

Tonight's blog prompt is what is your most favorite food straight from the garden. Well, I love lots of fresh fruits and veggies, so this one is actually really tough. After all - fresh squash, zuchinni, green beans - those all add to a fantastic summertime meal. Fresh strawberries, peaches, grapes, watermelon - yep those are all great! But I think my absolute favoritest food straight from the garden (and one thing I can actually grow) are tomatoes - oh, yummmmmmm! With a little salt, take a great big bite out of a tomato and eat it like an apple.

Wait - what about blueberries right off the bush? Hmmmmm - tomatoes or blueberries.... now, I'm hungry!!!!