Winter

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Winter, On a bright winter day

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Happy Thanksgiving…. “if you walk softly, perhaps you will hear….”

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Happy Thanksgiving to all….

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okie mountain road whispers oval

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“Whispers from the families of a long ago year,” The Old Mountain Road, Sanbornton, New Hampshire

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okie mountain road whispers from the families of a long ago year

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Today,
October 1, 2016
would have been Okie’s 100th Birthday

Amazingly, we do continue to hear
“whispers from the  families of  a long ago year”

And, equally inspiring…
hearing “whispers” of those, including Okie, from more recent years…

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Today, October 1, 2016, Dick, Anne, Kathy and Peter will walk softly, perhaps along the Mountain Road…or perhaps walking, ever so softly, up near the farm, in search of Okie and Kay’s favorite hillside spring… a little spring Okie and Kay called “the fountain of youth” …a little spring they drank from each year…. we’ll be walking softly and listening carefully  for the whispers from long ago and more recent years… Happy Birthday!

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okie old mountain road

okie old mountain road 2

8This  poem refers to very olden times in New England, going back to the 1700’s. 

  This poem continues to remind us of  our inspiring ancestors…ESPECIALLY Okie!…. our ancestor of more recent years….

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okie mountain road whispers oval

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Okie, Kay and Esther grew up near the Sanbornton area.  The Carleton family had lived in this area for many generations. (I think the family came to American soon after the Pilgrims arrived.) They first lived in Massachusetts, but soon moved to this area of New Hampshire and have lived there since then.

Okie mentions  the cellar of the Emerson’s home, her husband’s  great grandfather having lived in that house from 1820-1850, when he moved to the house that Okie and her husband lived in until several years ago….so this road was traveled by many generations of the that family…7 generations at this point. Okie has 4 children, many grandchildren, and many great grandchildren, too.

The beech tree with many long ago names carved into it….Okie’s and Kay’s initials are there, too.

Okie, Kay and other friends and family spent many hours hiking, cross country skiing  and snowshoeing up The Old Mountain Road…it’s a beautiful spot.

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April 21, 2012    I (Kathy)  just found a photo essay about Dearborn Pond.…with photos of that area…at the end of the photo area, the author wrote….

“My neighbor, Okie Howe, first brought me here. We hiked in summer and cross-country skied in winter. She was in her late 80s when I was last here with her.  She lay down on the ground near the cabin that spring saying  she loved the smell of the earth. “

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A Story of the Old Mountain Road,
Sanbornton, New Hampshire

by Okie Howe

The Sanbornton Range on the west side of town
Follows the river from New Hampton on down
The Mountain Road runs on the easterly side
Walled in all the way, and wonderfully wide.

From Calley Pond north to the Old Bristol Road view
The road slabs the ridges all the way through
Each peak is named for someone of Sanbornton fame
Town fathers or loggers or first settlers who came

There’s Shatagee, the High Ledges (an old deed has that name)
Then Round Top-Sanbornton Mountain- it’s all the same.
Atkinson, then Hale, then Hersy the highest of all.
You can always tell Hersey by the spruces to tall
Burleigh by itself is east of the rest
And Knox are the peaks way off to the west.

The Mountain Road is almost two hundred years old
T’was a main thoroughfare, we have been told.
It was built for the stage coach travel in way long ago
The Stone walls and stone bridges prove it was so.

There’s a little walled graveyard at the foot of the hill
the unmarked stones are barely visible still.
I’m sure they were children and husbands and wives
Decent and hardworking all their short lives.

Farther up the road there’s a rugged old beach
Carved with initials as high as you read.
Old timers and youngsters and people you know
Signed their names on the tree as a sort of “Hello,”
There’s a giant old maple and an oak tree or two
That surely were there when the wagons drove through.

Higher up on the left the Dearborn house stood
The foundation is there and the walls are still good.
Right by the stone steps the lilies still grow
That somebody planted a long time ago.

Our great-grandfather lived at the top of the hill
We call it the Emerson cellar hole still.
There’s a great old birch tree just inside the wall
So old it’s hardly living at all.

The woods have crept in till that’s all you can see.
It’s hard to imagine where the farm land could be.
But I’m sure there were pastures and fields all around
And crops to be raised on the good rocky ground.

The old timers tell us stories their grandfather told
Of hard work and hard times and winters so cold
They said that on Sunday ten teams would come down
To the Baptist Church in the little mill town.

When the young men came home from the long Civil War
The looked at the life differently than they had before
They had seen there was surely an easier life
Away from the rocks and the cold and the strife.

The years went on by and the farmers moved down
Some to the cities or just into the towns
The road was abandoned for travel and trade
And the fields turned to forests but the cellar holes stayed.

The only people you’ll meet on the old road these days
Are hunters or hikers with backwoodsmen ways.
But it if you walk softly perhaps you will hear
Whispers from the families of a long ago year.

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okie mountain road whispers oval

 

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okie mountain road whispers oval

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“Sister, sister, let us be….friends forever ’til the sea……” Kay and Okie

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Kay and Okie sister sister take my hand

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Sisters…Okie and Kay
Photo above taken on Kay’s 95 th birthday:  11/18/2013

sisters…a lifetime together

Okie Howe:  10/1/1916 – 9/07/2015
Kay Boyle:  11/18/1918 – 11/20/2015

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Link to:  Kay and Okie

Click below to continue reading this post

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A Celebration of Okie’s Life…a wonderful weekend!

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Okie Celebration of Life Okie a life well lived autumn leaves

 

There was a wonderful, fun, heartwarming Celebration of Okie’s Life held on October 24 and October 25, 2015.

Amazingly enough, Okie lived to just less than one month short of her 99th birthday!

Okie’s friends and family arrived from all over the local New Hampshire area, as well as Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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Okie celebration of life family and friends gather

 

Click below to continue to read this post and to see a variety of wonderful photos from the family weekend gatherings and celebration of Okie’s life.~

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“Inspired by Okie….” Live Your Own Life…sharing inspirations with each other

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Okie Honoring Okie Live Your Own Life

~Okie set such a positive example for all of us to…
Live Your Own Life!

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“Life”

Okie Life 3

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A newly created  “post,”  accessible  up in the upper headline area…
“Inspired by Okie…Honoring Okie…Living Okie’s Example…”

Please join in … with friends and family
Enjoying
….reflecting and remembering
Contributing…
your own ideas and inspirations
about your memories and interactions with Okie

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Click below to read the rest of this post

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Life…in the big scheme of life, it’s the way it should be….

Okie Life 3

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“Life has been good and I don’t fear the night
It’s part of God’s plan and I know it’s all right.”

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Okie passed away peacefully, early this  morning, September 7, 2015.  She was 98 years old.

Okie had talked with much of her entire family yesterday, via speaker phone, as they celebrated the wedding of one of her beloved grandchildren, Kevin, in Maryland.

Okie was still alert, still writing more poems for her writing group and still social and engaged with life…just the way she would like things to be.

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My sister Kay…. “Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle”

 I just received this  from Okie… very touching….

(Kay is Kathy’s  (aka Pocket Perspectives) mother )

 

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Okie hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle the cow jumped over the moon

 

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And…the original,below.    Okie prefers that her writing be read in her own handwriting….the voice that comes through that personal touch….

I usually type up Okie’s writing selections for ease of reading, for people reading on smaller monitors or screens.

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Okie and Kay  hey diddle diddle

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Note from Kathy…. to anyone who might be reading this blog post…if you’re with or near family members, loved ones, pets, friends…anybody…..perhaps you  might turn to them and give them a smile, share a little laugh together,  give them a warm hug… remembering to appreciate those who are here with us, on this very day…..

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Happy 98th Birthday, Okie! Happy, happy birthday!

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Okie’s birthday, October 1st!  Happy, happy birthday, Okie!

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Okie Happy 98 Birthday!

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still writing….
still creating…
still reciting poetry…
still appreciating nature

still engaging…
still enjoying people!

98 years old and still living “richly!”
Happy Birthday, Okie!

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This blog started out as…

“95 years old and still writing”
then,
“96 years old and still writing”
then
“97 years old and still writing”
now…
“98 years old and still writing”

Wow!!!!

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Okie Happy 98 Birthday! Still Writing!

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I think I remember a “Keep on Truckin’…” poster,
hanging in Okie’s house in the 1970’s!

Little did Okie realize how true that would be…..!!!!!
😀
Happy Birthday, Okie!

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Okie Happy 98 Birthday! keep on truckin

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Perhaps, of interest to the Okie and the relatives that visit this blog…. visitors to Okie’s blogs, since August, 2012…countries “viewers” of this blog are from…absolutely incredible!!!!  WOW!!!!!  How amazing that ideas can be shared among so many people from so many places!  What a connected world we are living in! …oh, the power of “google”….!!!!

And way down below these countries is a link to, and youtube of,  the song Okanogan Okee!  Wow! What a find!!!


(Dick or Tim, would you show these flags and countries to Okie? …I think she’ll be astounded!  Can you imagine what Grandpa might have thought to imagine people from all of these countries viewing Okie’s writing on something called a “computer”….?    I guess Grandpa “rode the rails” around  the United States as a hobo and Okie is “riding the waves”  of the internet around the world, as a writer!  Stunning!)

Okie's blog...flags of the world

okies blog views from around the world...page 1Okies blog views from around the world page 2okies blog views from around the world page 3

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Wow!!!!

Added a few hours later: a friend of Okie’s  at the Veteran’s Home, Marmie Nichols,  played this song to Okie, Peter and me in August.  It’s called Okanogan Okee and it’s a  delightful song by a Canadian singer, Stompin Tom Connors.  Maybe there was another Okie in the world????  A delightful song…

Link to lyrics (and lyrics are in the comments section, under this post, too)  http://artists.letssingit.com/stompin-tom-connors-lyrics-okanagan-okee-115rnkh#axzz3FJ1fZU5N

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“Fly away, you smart old Blue Heron”…. by Okie Howe, age 97 and still writing

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Okie fly away you smart old blue heron

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Okie fly away you smart old blue heron older and wiser

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Added by Kathy, from the blog Pocket Perspectives: I visited with my Aunt Okie and my mother, Kay, a few weeks ago in New Hampshire.  Okie continues to write in her weekly writing group.  She is continuing to write a variety of clever and insightful selections!

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“From There to Here- My Life-1930 …. on the blog “97 years old and still writing”

Written by Okie, last year in April, 2013.
(note added here by Kathy: perhaps, notice in one of the paragraphs below, about the choice of classes for Okie to take in High School. Okie was, and continues to be, a very capable, competent, intelligent, well read person. And yet, look what type of classes the School Superintendent recommended for her to take. Thank goodness, times have changed, but that didn’t help Okie then.)

Okie prefers that her writing be read in her own handwriting. The handwritten copy is presented first, and then the typed copy of this selection is below that. (Some people may have small computer monitors, so the typed copies might be easier for them to read. Kathy added extra paragraph breaks in typed copy, for ease of online reading.)

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Okie From There to Here page 1~

Okie From There to Here page 2~

Okie From There to Here page 3~

Okie From There to Here page 4

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okie from there to here   page 1okie from there to here   page2okie from there to here   page 3

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From There to Here- My Life- 1930 and on
written by Okie,  4/13/2013

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I went to a one room school. There were 2 of us in the 8th grade finishing our grammar school life- a boy who had no intention of going on to school and me who was going on to high school.

My family lived on a farm in Meredith, New Hampshire- in the west side of town, and 10 miles from the town of Meredith Vally, where the high school was.

Most of the roads were dirt road. It was the Depression Years.  My family had bought a Model T Ford in 1928 and my mother learned to drive. But the roads were only passable part of the year- not in the winter at all and not in the mud season in the spring.  So, we went to school with the horse and wagon, or the horse and sleigh, until the roads were dried out again.

Since home was 10 miles from the High School, it was too far to drive each day, so we had a room at a house with an older couple in town.  We had kitchen privileges.  We paid $1.50 a week for the room and some way my parents scraped together enough cash to give us $1.50 a week for groceries.   We took a lot of good food from home- potatoes, milk and always a big jar of soup that Mom had made.

My older sister had been in High School for 2 years already when I started.  I remember how big the building seemed and a whole classroom of kids I had never seen before.

My parents had taken the advice of the School Superintendent and signed me up for the Domestic Arts course.  I remember the Superintendent reminding my parents that most country girls got married shortly after high school and the Domestic Arts course was a great help for family life.

I had been a Tom Boy all my life (13 years), but there I was signed up for Domestic Arts.  I remember the first day of school, the teacher told all of the general education students to report to the lab for Biology.  I would have loved to have gone with them, but I was assigned to Domestic Arts and I was too afraid to tell anyone I wanted to to change.

All through High School, I had stayed away from math. I think I was frustrated by math.  Then, when I took Chemistry when I was a senior, I found something I loved- I got A’s the whole year.

The really important thing about High School was Basketball.  I loved it.  I never missed a practice- I was fast and furious and it was my thing.  The games were wonderful!

So I graduated from High School-1934. I was on the honor roll all four years, but I was not trained for anything.  It was depression time and there were no jobs and  no money.  After a while of being a house work helper, I got a job as a “mother’s helper” near Boston.  I learned a lot about house cleaning etc.

I took a free evening business class at a local high school.  I was a poor student. I guess business wasn’t my thing.

So then I continued to live with the family and do housework, but I signed up for a class to become a dental assistant.  Three days a week, afternoons, I went in to Boston to classes.  I liked the course and did very well, but due to the depression, dentists were not hiring. And too, I lacked a pleasant, outgoing personality.

I had tried to get in to nursing, but my high school records showed I didn’t have any math or science, so I could not be accepted.

My sister Kay told me how to bluff my way into a waitress job, first at a hotel in the White Mountains and then everywhere- Florida, California, Boston, New Hampshire.  I loved going to some brand new place, finding a job and an apartment ’till I wanted to move on.

Then it was War time.  Kay and I went to Connecticut to work in a defense factory for the summer.

At the end of the summer, Kay had to go back to her teaching job in New Hampshire. I stayed on working at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft. It was a good job, but besides being patriotic, I was adventuresome, so I joined the Army.  That was the place for me.  I was a WAC- that’s the Women’s Army Corp.  After several stations in the United States, I was sent overseas to England, France and Belgium  Our company was attached to the 8th Army Air Force. I was proud to be an American soldier.  Finally, the war in Europe was over- May 8, 1945.

So I came home and married a local boy I had known a long time.  We bought an old farm, had four kids and grew old together. It was a good life-not perfect, but life isn’t perfect. Many things I learned in High School in my Domestic Arts course turned out to be helpful in life.

So that’s the story of my life-no degrees, just a lot of living. I am 96 years old and  a resident of the New Hampshire Veteran’s Home. Times have changed! I read and write a lot and mostly just enjoy my great big wonderful family.

Love, Okie   4/13/2013

P.S.  Though I have to use a walker and wheelchair, I have good health, a good memory and a nimble brain!  Daisy Carleton Okie Howe

 

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Hope, by Okie

 

A new selection, below, Hope,  written by Okie on April 28, 2014.

I (Kathy, Pocket Perspectives)  was just in New Hampshire this past week and Okie shared lots of wisdom and several wonderful new pieces she has written.  I’ll post several of those selections, over the next few days.

Okie was very sick during the past month.  During that same time,  Okie’s 95 year old sister Kay, Kathy’s mother, was very sick, too.  Okie, thankfully, is feeling a lot better now and hoping to get stronger soon.  Kathy’s mother Kay isn’t doing as well in recovering, but time will tell.

Okie strongly prefers that her writing selections be read in their original form, in her own handwriting.  She thinks the “voice” of handwriting is more authentic than typed presentation.  I’ll put both a photo of her handwritten piece below and an additional typed up copy of that selection, for ease of reading for people with smaller computer monitors.

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“Hope”
written by Okie on 4/28/2014, NHVH

Okie Hope

 

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Hope

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Hope, by Okie April 2014

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~Hope
by Okie
4/28/2014, NHVH

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     I’ve read so many wonderful stories about brave people who had the courage to get strong again.  I was very sick and now it is my job to work at getting strong again. I sure hope I can do it.

     First, I think I must firmly believe that I can do it.  I used to be able to stand on my legs- even walk.  But all of these weeks of depending on the machine- I’ve lost all my strength in my legs.

     But I guess if I try hard and keep hoping, I’ll walk again.  It will be wonderful.  Now all I can do is hope for the best.

     Spring is here – almost- so it is a very good time to Hope for the best.

    If you see me walking down the hall, clap your hands and say “Good work, Okie!”

    I’m still 97 years old and quite hopeful,        Love, Okie

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Perhaps, we can all make our own hopeful wishes for Okie to get stronger again soon?

Okie mentioned that she wasn’t able to get Physical Therapy appointments, so she figured she would just quietly roll herself over to that PT area in her own wheelchair and “hope” that they might take her in, during breaks from other people’s appointments. Well, that strategy worked the other day. Perhaps…….

“hope + ingenuity + initiative + persistence”
will lead to getting stronger again…
we’ll all “hope” so…

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While Peter and I (Kathy)  were there in New Hampshire, Okie thoroughly enjoyed reciting many inspiring, long (!!!) poetry selections she had memorized in earlier years and reading aloud the various new pieces she has written in the past few months.

I did an audio recording, on my iphone,  of Okie reciting one poem and will see if I can figure our how to add an audio recording to this blog. (Do any other wordpress bloggers know how the actual “steps” involved in accomplishing that process?)

Okie’s son Dick might continue to audio record Okie reading some of the other pieces she has written and might email them to me to add here on this blog.   Okie’s  voice is so strong, authentic, dramatic and expressive!  I’d love people to be able to hear her reading her work!

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Okie seems to be quite intrigued by the idea that so many different people from all over the world (!!!) appreciate her ideas and her writing. It’s really special to see her reaction to that awareness!  Amazing, that a 97 year old woman is still writing and happy to share her ideas in this manner…remarkable, I think.

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Seasons

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Okie prefers her writing selections to be read from her handwritten copies, but the copy I received from her a few days ago was a bit blurry. I’ll post the handwritten copy below the typed copy….enjoy… Kathy (Okie’s niece)

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Seasons
12/2/2013

Here it is. December again. Where did that year 2013 go? I know I got a year older, which makes me 97 now.  And all my grandchildren and great grandchildren seemed to grow overnight.  You see I have seven grandchildren- 6 boys and one girl.  And now I have so many great grandchildren, I lose track of them.

But back to Seasons.  All my life, I loved winter best of all. It seemed as though all the other seasons, I had so much to do, but in the winter, there was time to play.

In the spring, we had to get the garden ready for planting- both vegetables and flowers.  Then in the summer, we had all the upkeep around our old house- painting, repairing, and always mowing my great big lawn.  Then came Fall (Autumn) and all the things one must do to make a very old house ready for winter.

Then with the woodshed full and the storm windows on and a million other things, I was ready for winter. Clay did all the heavy work.

So- then I had the ordinary daily chores but then it was my playtime. I had wonderful cross country skis. In fact, I was so at ease on my cross country skis, I felt they weren’t something I put on- they were really a part of me.  I could go up or down on any hill or trail.

Then later I did more snowshoeing- really wonderful little metal snow shoes (L.L.Bean)  There was a beautiful mountain range just up the road from my home in Sanbornton, N.H. (my sister Kay called them “The Sanbornton Alps”)  And there were snow mobile trails to follow all up and down the wilderness country.  I had wonderful companions.  We built fires to cook hot dogs (a piece of birch bark and a few dead pine twigs to get the fire started)

I love the woods and the deep snow.  (in fact we always wished for three feet of snow, for then all the stone walls and underbrush were all covered up- good skiing for Kay and me.)

So, now winter is my season. Now I’m in the New Hampshire Veterans’ Home- well cared for with lots of memories.  Sincerely, Okie Howe, age 97

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A photo, below, (1990…Okie was around 74 years old … young, active and full of energy!)  from a winter cookout many years ago.  near the farm where Okie and Kay grew up… grandchildren and little cousins around her. Kathy and Kathy’s daughter Julie were there, too. (Clayt was sitting in the chair…someone had driven him up to that location )

Okie winter cookout

The first page of the copy of Okie’s handwritten selection, below,  is a bit blurry…both sides came through on that first page.

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Okie seasons page 1 001

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Okie seasons page 2 001

Okie winter cookout~

Kathy visited with Okie a few weeks ago. Okie is still going strong with an excellent memory, a continuing love of  writing, poetry, reciting a huge assortment of well loved poems from memory, very current on world affairs and busy reading.

A wonderful photo below on November 18, 2013…Okie (on the left) and her sister Kay, on Kay’s 95th birthday…at Kay’s place.  (Kay is Kathy’s mother) Okie came over to Kay’s for a very special visit.

Okie and Kay on Kay's 95th birthday, November 18

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Okie and Kay on Kay's birthday

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“A Correction, From Carlton to Carleton”

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An experience Okie had, while in her 80’s.
(Okie is now 96 years old)
Okie prefers that her writing be shown and read in her own handwriting
(a typed up copy is far below, for those with smaller computer screens)

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Okie, changing road sign from Carlton to Carleon

Okie changing the road sign

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Note added by Kathy: the post on that road sign was unusually high, probably so that the snow plow drivers could see over larger snow banks that get very high at that intersection. The sign post was much higher than normal road signs!….all the more remarkable to even have a tall enough ladder  and THEN to actually climb that high on it…particularly for a person in her 80’s.

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Carleton Road Sanbornton NH

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 here’s a computer created graphic, superimposed on a photo of CARLETON Rd.

Okie Carleton Road sign 4

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A typed up copy of Okie’s writing, in case people are viewing on smaller computer monitors

Carleton Road, Meredith NH, changing the road sign

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!wow!
Has anyone noticed how independent New Hampshire women can be?
😀

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Link to an expanded post about this idea on Kathy’s blog, Pocket Perspectives: “Climbing our own “ladders” of possibility…living with inspiration, determination and possibility”

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“I have a good life – even if I can’t jump over the brook”… “The Brook” written by Okie, 96 years old

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Okie The Brook page 1

Okie,  The Brook, page 2

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Okie likes her writing to be presented in her own handwriting…the “voice” seems more authentic when reading her handwritten selections.

In case anyone is reading on a smaller computer screen, however, and therefore might not be able to read the handwritten selection, I’ll add a typed copy below.

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Okie, The Brook

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“It’s the hat me father wore” …an Irish poem and song

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I was talking on the telephone with Okie today…she mentioned a poem that her father used to recite to them, when they were kids. They were old time New Hampshire Yankees, not Irish, but enjoyed poetry, stories and literature from all over the world.

The directions for “reciting” this poem include to get an old hat, hold the hat in your hands. Turn the hat over and over in your lap. And then say this poem….

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it's the hat me father wore

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Kathy just googled the poem and found that it’s from an old Irish song….here’s a copy of it from a 1931 newspaper….looks like Okie’s family had their own variations…with a bit of drama added, of course!

it's the hat me father wore

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a different photo background….
taken at their own “isle so green”…
the barn, on “the farm” in New Hampshire…

Okie it's the hat me father wore farm in NH

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ps…for any of those who saw the previous post…about Okie being 97…. Kathy’s brain must have been jumbled by some of those pesky leprechauns…. mixed up about birthdays!….Okie’s 97th birthday won’t be until October, 2013… February was her son Dick’s birthday, not Okie’s.

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Winter

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Winter, On a bright winter day

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Snow Tonight

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okie poem snow tonight

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“Whispers from the families of a long ago year…” the Sanbornton Mountain Road

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a poem by my Okie,
“96 and Still Writing”
who grew up on a New Hampshire farm,
part of a very old time, pioneer  family,
old time, poor New Hampshire Yankee farmers

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written several years ago
(and previously posted)
about a local road,
“The Old Mountain Road”
in Sanbornton, New Hampshire,
resonating with the spirit of those early settlers
…the spirit of courage, hardship, struggle

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added by Kathy:
(who just posted this poem on PocketPerspectives,too )
As we approach our own Thanksgiving week and day….
appreciation, gratitude, thankfulness
to those early, courageous pioneers
who endured, persisted, persevered
“whispers from the families of a long ago year”

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“Don’t Call Out the National Guard”…. Kay gets lost while cross country skiing….

One of Kay and Okie’s many adventures….

The two sisters, cross country skiing, in the 1980’s…
Kay on left, Okie on right
a sunnier and happier day
than the event on the day described below

November 18, 2012
Today is Kay’s 94th Birthday.  Happy Birthday Kay!
Okie,  Okie’s sons Dick and Tim, Tim’s wife Valerie,
Esther’s daughters Dawn and Rita and their husbands…
probably whomever Okie rounds up…
are taking pizza and birthday cake to Kay’s place for Kay’s birthday

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Okie and Kay’s childhood “chant”….when playing in the woods…
(a photo or Robinson Pond, on a sunny fall day, in the background)

Link to Okie’s “tribute” to Kay on Kay’s 75th birthday
“They Say We Are Old, Could We Possibly Be?”

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Kay, you now have your very own blog, just like Okie does!
Link to Kay’s new blog: A Dirt Farmer’s Daughter,  94andstillfeisty
(Blogs created by Kathy, PocketPerspectives, Kay’s daughter)
(wow…Kay, ONE follower just signed up for your new blog!)

“Don’t Call Out the National Guard”
written, by Okie in 1982
(describing the day that Kay got seriously lost,
while Okie and Kay were cross country skiing)

“Don’t Call Out the National Guard”
January 13, 1982
A true story by Okie Carleton  Howe

I’m 65, quite wrinkled, a little overweight and a real lover of the outdoors, especially in the winter outdoors.  Kay, my sister, is two years younger, has more education, endurance, ambition and physical fitness than I.  (She runs 2 miles every day of her life) Regardless of these minor deficiencies, we are friends and we are cross county skiers.  To be more accurate, we are cross country touring explorers.  Our joy is a good winter day, temperature of not much importance, good warm clothes, our backpacks full of wine, cheese, sandwiches, soup and coffee, sheets of plastic to sit on while we eat lunch, extra ski tips in case of a broken ski, and matches and jackknife to carve our initials on some smooth barked tree deep in the woods.

We always talk over where we are going to plan to leave Kay’s car, some place  in a convenient spot to ski back to, for Kay hates to ever come back the same route.  We’ve covered a great deal of the country around here (Sanbornton, NH), sometimes following old wood roads, or more often,  just striking off through the woods in the general direction of where we want to go.  Each year, we’ve extended our skiing area, especially toward Sanbornton Mountain, which holds fascination for me from my family’s hunting stories and for the huge old trees, the stone walls,  the old cellar holes, the brooks, nobs and ridges.

Clayt, my husband, says as sure as shooting, one of these days Kay and I are going to get lost and he’ll have to call out the National Guard to find us.  (He’s retired National Guardsman)

On 13 January, 1982, we set off on one of our many cross country ski expeditions, but it was late, 10:30 AM, when we started, so we decided to ski up through Hermit Woods, then west and north of Robinson Pond, then back across the pond, probably not more than four or five miles (a real cinch for us)

About 11 o’clock, we stopped for lunch near an old cellar hole, about a mile from the farm where we grew up.  After lunch, we set out to find an old road we vaguely remembered that cut around the north end of the pond.

It wasn’t terribly cold, maybe 10 degrees above zero, and the skiing was good. It was cloudy, with a few snowflakes in the air, but we didn’t think much about it because where we were going was an area we knew fairly well and where we could always slab to the right and come down to the pond.

We skied along a logging road, but couldn’t seem to locate the old road we were looking for. So Kay, who was ahead called, “I’ll ski up to the higher ground and look!” and I shouted back, “I’m going to head for the pond.”  We usually ski together, but this time she was higher up in the hardwoods and I lost sight of her.  I didn’t think a thing about it because she would come back down to the pond shortly.  I stopped and “yoo-hooed” a few times, then went along, thinking she’d turn up just ahead.

I found the old road and followed it across the pasture and field, stopping often to look back and call. I really took my time skiing back across the pond, thinking all the time that she’d pop out of the woods along the shore.  It seemed strange skiing alone, but I wasn’t worried about Kay. She had a marvelous sense of direction, remarkable health and stamina and can ski up or down or absolutely anywhere.  So, I just figured she had gone farther up on the high ground and would be back down any minute.

Back at the road at the western end of the pond, I waited and waited and waited. Finally, I skied back to the spot where we had eaten our lunch, thinking she might have come back that way for some reason, but no Kay.   I returned to the pond and waited at the fork of the roads, maybe an hour.  Then I put some branches for markers back to the car and skied the mile or so back, hoping maybe we hadn’t understood each other and that she thought we were going back another way.

The car was just as we had left it and I waited again, sure Kay would show up from some direction.  After awhile, I knew I’d better do something so I decided the best thing would be to call Clayt and have him come and get me, so together we could decide what to do.  There was no one home at either of the houses near where we had parked, so I left a note for Kay, marked in tiny bits of snow on the back window of the car. “Gone to call Clayt, be right back.”

The next house was about a mile away, but Clair was home.  It was 3:42 by her clock when I called Clayt.  He picked me up shortly and we drove back to Kay’s car and left a note saying if she arrived there, she was to leave a message with Clair and I would call her back shortly.

In order to get back to the road by the pond, we had to drive 8 miles around by Sanbornton Bay for the road through the Hermit Woods is not plowed in the winter.   Back at Robinson Pond area, we looked and called her again. It seemed as if Kay had just vanished from the face of the earth.

There were some young men shoveling off a camp roof on the south side of the pond,. They hadn’t seen or heard a soul.  The next step was to stop at a nearby farmhouse and call Clair again.  No change.  Clayt and I talked it over. We know we’d better do something pretty soon, as it was late afternoon and in no time, it would be dark.  It seemed as if we’d have to get help and follow Kay’s tracks because she must have broken a leg to keep her from showing up.  Maybe we could get the boys shoveling the roof to go with me to follow Kay’s tracks.  “It’s starting to get dark, we’ve got to do something right away!!”

One more call to Clair and “Thank God,” Kay had just been there.  Kay’s husband had called our son Tim, and Tim drove around through New Hampton and met the lost skier, hiking up the road toward home.  Our 8 mile drive home seemed endless, but the five “lost” hours evaporated, for Kay’s car was really in our yard and Kay was in the kitchen making coffee.

“Hello, kid, nice to see you. For heaven’s sake, where have you been?”

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Link to Kay’s  first hand description of what happened that afternoon,  as she was lost and tried to get out of the woods… “The Way It Was”  from Kay’s blog, A Dirt Farmer’s Daughter, 94 and still feistya tribute to the strength of  two girls who grew up on a backwoods New Hampshire farm.

An excerpt from the Kay’s  selection:

“For a few minutes, I faced a sheer blind panic and had to battle myself for control. What now? God, what was west was east, south was north, my stonewall seemed to have stopped at the top of the hill and I had no idea what to do next!!

Darkness would be coming on within the hour, so there was no time to waste.  Maybe the wall I had come on and followed up would, if I followed it back, lead me down into familiar territory.

It was a forlorn hope, but better than no plan, so back down the wall I went, forcing myself to stop rushing and to stay calm.”

Link to the rest of this story:   The Way It Was”….on Kay’s own blog

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Posted in Family, Sisters | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

“Could it be me? or me?”

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A typed up copy of that selection, below, in case people are reading on a smaller screen.

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8/21/2012
NHVH

Could it be me? Or me?

Sometimes I wake up and night and I have strange thoughts running around in my brain. I know I am a 95 year old woman living at the N.H.Veteran’s Home in Tilton. But how did I get here or was that another me?

I grew up on a back woods farm in Meredith, NH in the depression years. I was a Tom Boy, skinny and freckled. I was a pretty good student, but completely lacking in being a part of the social world. I had a lot of common sense, but no social sense.

After High School, I got a dumb job near Boston, babysitting.  They called them “Mother’s Helpers” in those days. Then I managed to get a waitress job in Florida for the winter and a ride to California in the spring with a Russian cook who had bought a new car. My girlfriend and I loved California but we decided it was about time to come back to New England.  The “Great Depression” was over and my sister Kay and I got a job in Conn. It was World War II days and I was quite patriotic besides being adventuresome.  So I joined the Army.

After several stations in the U.S. I was sent overseas.  My WAC Company was attached to the 8th Air Force.  After almost a year just outside of London, I went on to France and Belgium.

Then the war in Europe was over and I came home.  I married a local boy, (home from over 4 years in the army) and we bought an old farm that had been in his family for years.  Life was hard but good- we had 3 boys and a girl and we did a lot of living.  Years went by and the family grew up and my husband and I grew old. Clayt was 83 years when he died. He had been sick a very long time. I took care of him for years. Then I was free as a bird.

I had a good car, good health, lots of friend and time to do anything I chose.  I was a “Merry Widow” for a lot of years and it was good.

But then one day, I fell and broke my hip and my worn out old heart, after the hip repair, wasn’t good enough to fix my very bad knee.  So after a while I went to a nursing home to use up my life savings, then I came here to the Veterans’ Home. It’s a good place to live, good care, good food, good life.  So I got to be 95 years old. But sometimes when I wake up at night, it almost seems as if I’m here, but also there is another me left over from long ago-two me’s,  but I’m a 95 year old woman in pretty good health.  Then I wake up and there’s only one of me and that’s me.

Sincerely, Okie Howe

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Posted in Life | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Robert Frost’s poems, read by Robert Frost

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This post is a surprise for Okie! 

Below are youtube videos of some of Okie’s favorite Robert Frost poems, read by Robert Frost himself.  I’m quite certain that Okie can recite these poems, from memory. Okie used to have tapes or cd’s of  Robert Frost reading some of these, but I don’t think she has them anymore…. So….here are a few…..

😀 Happy Watching and Listening Okie! 😀

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(I hope all the youtubes in this site don’t make it too slow to load…if other viewers find it slow, please leave a comment below and Kathy can change it to pdf links instead of the images…thanks)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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(I told Okie I put this poem on here and she then recited it to me, from memory)
(Okie: just click on forward arrow to start…the volume can be turned up by clicking and sliding the dial to the right of the speaker image, the screen can be changed to full/big screen by clicking on lower right brackets)

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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Birches

Okie,
perhaps you might write of your own experiences
of swinging on birches?
(Okie mentioned on the phone today that it’s important to choose a birch tree with the right size trunk…not too big or too small…but just right for bending.)

Birches

By Robert Frost

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

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The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Mending Wall (not read by Robert Frost)

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The Robert Frost Place,  Franconia, New Hampshire
(Franconia is about 50 miles north of where Okie grew up and now lives, 15 miles north of where Kathy grew up)

A few miles north of Franconia Notch lies the farm where poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) wrote his most famous poems, ‘The Road Not Taken’ and ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.’ The farmhouse retains the simplicity and inspiration of Frost’s day.

Behind the house in the forest is a half-mile-long poetry-nature trail. Frost’s poems are mounted on plaques in sites appropriate to the things they describe.

In several places the plaques have been erected at the exact spots where Frost composed the poems.

Robert and Elinor Frost owned this house from 1915-1920.
There are wonderful little paths through the woods, behind this house.

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View from the front of the Frost House…Cannon Mountain

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Photo below

Mount Lafayette, from Cannon Mountain

The Old Man of the Mountain,
The Great Stone Face,
a symbol of New Hampshire people’s
strength, determination and independence,
used to be just down this mountain,
and to the right of where this following Mt. Lafayette photo
was taken by Kathy. 

“The Old Man” was a lot like the strength in Robert Frost’s poems.

“The Old Man” fell May 3, 2003.  Okie and 2 “gentlemen friends” drove up to Franconia Notch, the location of the Old Man, the morning the  news came out that he was found crumbled down below, to say goodby to him….it was a deep loss for New Hampshire people.

Okie had a young friend, Carl, who was a helicopter pilot… who helped transport workers and supplies to the top of that face…to wire the face together, years before it fell. Okie enjoyed riding there in that helicopter, to the top of  The Old Man,”  to drop off supplies. Okie’s son Dick also piloted helicopters and gave Kathy and her husband Peter, and I’m sure Okie too…. a flight over The Old Man, Franconia Notch and Franconia…scarey, but wonderful!)

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Okie, you can watch these anytime….
(you can print out these steps…write down your user sign in name and password, too)

  • just go to the computer room,
  • turn on the computer,
  • sign in with your user name and password (maybe write those down…they’re easy to forget)
  • go to/click on the internet symbol,
  • type in “poemsbyokie” or “okies poetry,”
  • that will give you links to this blog,
  • click on a link
  • and here you are…at your blog

Anytime you like, you can watch and listen to Robert Frost.
How about that???? Amazing, huh?
I told you the internet is incredible!  😀

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I sent an email to Okie, containing a  copy/paste of bloggers comments about “A Memory.”  She was really touched that people are so appreciative of her experiences, writing and ideas….and how far and wide the commenters are from.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

A Memory….The White Cliffs of Dover, WWII

Okie was stationed in England, in the Women’s Army Corp, during World War II

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A typed copy of that selection, in case people are reading on small screens

NHVH
(New Hampshire Veterans’ Home)
5/7/2012

A Memory

Today a group of middle aged men and women came to sing songs in the dining room. One song they sang brought back a long ago memory. The song was “The White Cliffs of Dover.”  I was a very popular song in World War II. It really brought back for me a long time ago.

I was a member of the Women’s Army Corp-WAC. My company was attached to the 8th Army Air Force.  We were stationed in Watford, England, a town just outside London.  I must have had the day off for we planned a train trip to Dover, a town on the east coast of England on the English Channel.

So many times I had seen the bombed out buildings in London.  There was hardly a whole building left.  Many people slept in the subway at night because it was safe there. Many children had been sent to stay with relatives or friends in northern England where they would be safe.

We took the train from London to Dover. There in Dover were the high chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel.  We followed a path along the top of the cliffs.  The English Channel was all we could see to the East.  We thought about the terrible war that had gone on across the channel- the D Day landing on the coast of Normandy-the awful fighting all the way toward Berlin. It gave you a strange feeling of just being a little away from it all-sad and frightening.

So you see why the song, “The White Cliffs of Dover” was so meaningful to me.  The song says it all.

The White Cliffs of Dover

There will be blue birds over
The White Cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow just you wait and see
The shepherd will tend his sheep
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again
There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free

Okie Howe
NHVH
(New Hampshire Veterans’ Home)

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

“Old Bridges and me”

Okie just shared this selection with Kathy, over the weekend….

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In case that’s hard to read on some computer screens…here it is typed up.  (Okie prefers handwritten for the flow of the writing…that’s her handwriting above)

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Please go to Kathy’s blog, Pocket Perspectives for expanded ideas and pages about this thought of older people, and bridges,  perhaps being considered  “functionally obsolete”….whether “tongue in cheek” or for real….please click on this link….
Pocket Perspectives: Old Bridges and me…a “must read”… by my 96 year old aunt. The parts of bridges and people’s bodies may get a bit worn out, but with good fortune, the mind continues.

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Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“Summer Leaves”

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Posted in Inspiration, Nature | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

5/25/2012 “Springtime In My World”

 

 Springtime in My World
by Okie Howe,
May, 1996
90 years old

The barn swallows are back, I saw them today
They flew in on a breeze from a land far away
The dived and they swooped through the open barn door
You could tell at a glance they had been here before

Each evening as soon as the sun has gone down
The peepers pop up from the cold muddy ground
They sing and they sing from far and from near
A night full of music-sweet music to hear

The orioles are here in our old willow tree
Bright orange-so lovely to hear and to see
Perhaps if I’m quiet and hope for the best
They’ll stay for awhile and hang up their nest

Soft shades on the hillside, everything’s new
Trilliums and cowslips and fiddlebacks too
The brook running full and washing everything clean
Indian poke on the bank so sturdy and green

All of these things are right here by my door
Flowers and birds and green leaves and more
I’ll listen and look and stop for awhile
To treasure my world, to be happy, to smile

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Posted in Nature, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

4/9/2012 Sisters, sisters…take my hand

This poem, written in 1993, by Okie for Kay’s 75th birthday is so special.
Okie is now 95, Kay is 93 and the oldest sister Esther was 97…but passed away in May, 2012.

Kathy typed this poem up again today, on a different background, adding a few early photos along the side….a lovely tribute from one sister to another.

And some photos from those long ago days…

And one more photo…taken 2011,this past summer…of the 3 sisters…
Okie, on the left…and Kay, on the right. are well.
Esther,in the center,  has been well until several days ago…

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4/11/2012…
it seems that this might be  a good addition….for today…
it’s posted in another post, but I wanted to add it today…

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November 19, 2015:  A photo taken on Kay’s  95th birthday, November 18, 2013     (Okie is on the left, Kay is on the right)

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Okie and Kay on Kay's 95th birthday, November 18

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Okie and Kay on Kay's birthday

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Posted in Poems, Sisters | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

My Garden

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Geranium Children

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That’s a photo of  just one of Okie’s many geraniums, when they were blooming outdoors….before being brought inside for the winter.

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Posted in Life, Nature | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Whispers from the families of a long ago year,” The Old Mountain Road, Sanbornton, New Hampshire

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okie mountain road whispers from the families of a long ago year

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okie old mountain road

okie old mountain road 2

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This seems like a fitting Thanksgiving post,since it refers back to very olden times in New England,going back to the 1700’s.

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okie mountain road whispers oval

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Okie, Kay and Esther grew up near the Sanbornton area.  The Carleton family had lived in this area for many generations. (I think the family came to American soon after the Pilgrims arrived.) They first lived in Massachusetts, but soon moved to this area of New Hampshire and have lived there since then.

Okie mentions  the cellar of the Emerson’s home, her husband’s  great grandfather having lived in that house from 1820-1850, when he moved to the house that Okie and her husband lived in until several years ago….so this road was traveled by many generations of the that family…7 generations at this point. Okie has 4 children, many grandchildren, and many great grandchildren, too.

The beech tree with many long ago names carved into it….Okie’s and Kay’s initials are there too.

Okie, Kay and other friends and family have spent many hours hiking, cross country skiing  and snowshoeing up The Old Mountain Road…it’s a beautiful spot.

April 21, 2012    I (Kathy)  just found a photo essay about Dearborn Pond.…with photos of that area…at the end of the photo area, the author wrote….

“My neighbor, Okie Howe, first brought me here. We hiked in summer and cross-country skied in winter. She was in her late 80s when I was last here with her.  She lay down on the ground near the cabin that spring saying  she loved the smell of the earth. “

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A Story of the Old Mountain Road,
Sanbornton, New Hampshire

by Okie Howe

The Sanbornton Range on the west side of town
Follows the river from New Hampton on down
The Mountain Road runs on the easterly side
Walled in all the way, and wonderfully wide.

From Calley Pond north to the Old Bristol Road view
The road slabs the ridges all the way through
Each peak is named for someone of Sanbornton fame
Town fathers or loggers or first settlers who came

There’s Shatagee, the High Ledges (an old deed has that name)
Then Round Top-Sanbornton Mountain- it’s all the same.
Atkinson, then Hale, then Hersy the highest of all.
You can always tell Hersey by the spruces to tall
Burleigh by itself is east of the rest
And Knox are the peaks way off to the west.

The Mountain Road is almost two hundred years old
T’was a main thoroughfare, we have been told.
It was built for the stage coach travel in way long ago
The Stone walls and stone bridges prove it was so.

There’s a little walled graveyard at the foot of the hill
the unmarked stones are barely visible still.
I’m sure they were children and husbands and wives
Decent and hardworking all their short lives.

Farther up the road there’s a rugged old beach
Carved with initials as high as you read.
Old timers and youngsters and people you know
Signed their names on the tree as a sort of “Hello,”
There’s a giant old maple and an oak tree or two
That surely were there when the wagons drove through.

Higher up on the left the Dearborn house stood
The foundation is there and the walls are still good.
Right by the stone steps the lilies still grow
That somebody planted a long time ago.

Our great-grandfather lived at the top of the hill
We call it the Emerson cellar hole still.
There’s a great old birch tree just inside the wall
So old it’s hardly living at all.

The woods have crept in till that’s all you can see.
It’s hard to imagine where the farm land could be.
But I’m sure there were pastures and fields all around
And crops to be raised on the good rocky ground.

The old timers tell us stories their grandfather told
Of hard work and hard times and winters so cold
They said that on Sunday ten teams would come down
To the Baptist Church in the little mill town.

When the young men came home from the long Civil War
The looked at the life differently than they had before
They had seen there was surely an easier life
Away from the rocks and the cold and the strife.

The years went on by and the farmers moved down
Some to the cities or just into the towns
The road was abandoned for travel and trade
And the fields turned to forests but the cellar holes stayed.

The only people you’ll meet on the old road these days
Are hunters or hikers with backwoodsmen ways.
But it if you walk softly perhaps you will hear
Whispers from the families of a long ago year.

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Taking Charge of ~~~~

Your Inn

okie mountain road whispers oval

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Important note about the sisters: (added by Kathy)

By the way, in other posts I refer to 3 sisters. There were, however, 4 sisters, 3 of whom are still living in the area.

The oldest sister was Vada.  Vada’s mother, my grandfather’s first wife,  died in childbirth and Vada raised in Connecticut  by her maternal grandparents. She was much older than the other 3 sisters, perhaps about 20  years older.

After she married and her children were grown,  she and her husband moved to a wonderful old house in the New Hampshire family area, right around the corner from her father and Grammy Sal. (When Kathy was growing up, the whole  family gathered every Thanksgiving at Aunt Vada’s house…wonderful wonderful memories)

Vada’s husband died when she was in her 60’s. She contacted Bob, a  high school sweetheart from Connecticut, they reacquainted,  fell deeply in love and got married. They were married for more than 20 years and lived in much happiness and love . (what a story!)

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okie mountain road whispers oval

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Life







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“They say we are old, could it possibly be?”

There are 3 sisters: Esther is now 97, Okie is now 94 and Kay is now 92.

Update, 5/2014: Okie is now 97 years old. Kay is 95 years old. The oldest sister, Esther, passed away 2 years ago, when she was 97 years old)

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This poem was written by Okie to Kay, in 1993, on Kay’s 75th birthday.

(photo, below, was taken August, 2011)

August, 2011 Photo: Front row, left to right: Okie (author of poems), Esther (oldest sister), Kay (youngest sister). Back row: Dawn (Esther’s oldest daughter), Kathy, (Kay’s daughter ).

The 3 Carleton sisters grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. In this poem, Esther is referred to by her family’s nickname for her, “Digger.”  Kay is referred to as Funny, the nickname her father called her. (Kay was called “baby” by her sisters and mother, until she was in 8th grade and refused to respond to that name anymore)   Okie, whose real name is Daisy, was, and continues to be, called Okie. Okie was born in Okanogan, Washington, and hence the derivation of her nickname. The family moved back to New Hampshire when Okie was several months old, before Kay was born

Click on image for easier reading

or click to open larger font, pdf file: They say we are old…



Explanations: Esther, Okie and Kay’s father, Frank Carleton,  drove them to school in a horse drawn wagon or sleigh. Nellie and Jill were the horses…(ummm…I think Jill was a dog…I’ll check on that)  They had neither electricity, nor running water in their home. They had constant outdoor adventures on the farm…using imagination, playfulness, ingenuity and extremely high energy.

Okie and Kay continued to be very athletically  active well into their 80’s.  In their 60’s and 70’s, they went on Elderhostels to Fairbanks Alaska. (and Kay went to 50 or 60 more Elderhostels…usually hiking/canoeing/rafting/skiing… to various places in the world)  They also did a week long  Elderhostel winter Outward Bound survival week on the coast of Maine (ice climbing, sleeping outdoors in the snow in tents, backpacking, pulling supplies on toboggans, overnight solo etc)

The “pecking order” refers to Okie being the older sister and Kay being younger…Kay would be sent ahead to break a trail on their dozens of cross country skiing hikes….part of their own pecking order.

Photos taken August, 2011 of “the farm”: the farmhouse, the barn, the road to the farmhouse, the fields, an apple tree, the woods where they played…

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Note: there was a 4th sister, Vada, who was much older than Esther, Okie and Kay. Please see very bottom of “The Old Mountain Road” for more descriptions about Vada. The comment below from Jerry…that’s one of Vada’s grandchildren…  : ) Kathy’s apologies for not including Vada in the story of the sisters…she was older and didn’t grow up with the other 3 sisters, but was a deeply loved member of the family and deeply valued by the sisters and Frank and Grammy Sal, when she moved nearby.

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Sisters, sisters, let us be…friends forever…

Okie, 95,  and her  sister Kay, 93,  played a game on their New Hampshire farm, when they were girls. Part of the game was to recite the poem….”Chieftan, chieftan, let us be….”   They changed the words to “Sisters, sisters, let us be….”   Okie is now 95, Kay is 93  and Esther was 97, but passed away in April, 2012.  Okie and Kay continue to be close friends.

August, 2011 photo: front row, left to right: Okie, Esther, Kay.  Back row: Dawn, Esther’s daughter, Kathy, Kay’s daughter.

This was created for Kay’s 90th birthday party:

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Note: there was a 4th sister, Vada, who was much older than Esther, Okie and Kay.  Please see bottom of  “The Old Mountain Road,” for more details

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Sisters…on a cross country skiing adventure

kay blog

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Photos of sisters Okie and Kay, taken on Kay’s 95th Birthday,
November 18, 2013

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Okie and Kay on Kay's birthday

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Okie and Kay on Kay's 95th birthday, November 18

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Yellow Violets


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5/12/2014: Photo of a Yellow Violet,
taken by Okie’s son Dick, 5/12/14, on Hersy Mountain…what a find!!!!
(note from Kathy….I don’t think I’ve ever seen a yellow violet,
even though I’ve spent lots of time in the New Hampshire woods)

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dick okie yellow violet

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Some other photos of New Hampshire Yellow Violets

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Twenty Steps Down the Hall

Written by Okie Howe, March 2011, age 94

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Hello world!

Please see “About” tab for details about Okie and her poems

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