Apr 4, 2018

HUGS and The Summer of 1969


Another card with just paper, ink, and stamps. Love the big bang of color! It goes well with the big font.

This has to go in the mail!

Uses White Linen cardstock (which is so white it is becoming my favorite), The Stamp Market's Double Take stamp set, Lemonade Distress Oxide ink, and Versafine Onyx ink.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Pensive!

*****

This card took me back to 1969, a fantastic and troubling time.

The summer of 1969 was like no other summer. I was in high school, and earlier in the year a student travel group had come to our school to promote a trip to Europe that they were sponsoring in the summer. It was billed as an Art Study trip -- for six weeks, the students would travel from London and then down to Europe and visit the major cities, ending up in Paris.

When I came home from school that day, I told my mom about the trip. I was happy to get out of a math class for the lecture and had no expectation of going. We were not poor. We lived in a single family home and seemed just fine, but we had never gone on a family vacation or anything like that. Even the idea of driving to New York to get to the airport was beyond my imagination -- going to Europe was not in my vocabulary.

But, my mom picked up the phone right then and there and called my father. She asked him if they could use the money from a car accident to send me on the trip. Someone had smashed into our parked car and the insurance company had given them $500 to replace the car. The trip cost $840 and would cover all costs. I'm not sure where they got the remaining $340, but they sent me on the trip and just continued to drive around a smashed up car.

The trip was amazing. I went everywhere and ate food and saw art and talked to people that were so different from what I was used to. I saw the Alps and rode a gondola in Venice. I viewed the Sistine Chapel, the Pieta, the Mona Lisa and Big Ben. I ate pastry in Paris and pizza in Rome and schnitzel in Vienna. I watched the moon landing in a hotel lobby in Italy. I read headlines about Chappaquiddick and viewed the coverage of the US civil rights movement and the Viet Nam war from Europe.

But most of all, I escaped.

It had been a difficult year -- my father had voted for George Wallace, which crazed me; my mother was furious with me for opposing the war. At one point, she stopped speaking to me for 2 weeks. It wasn't just us. At the time it seemed like every family, and the entire country, was unravelling.

In any event, when I returned from Europe, I went to my room to unpack. When I l had left 6 weeks earlier, my bedroom had the Apple Blossom Pink paint my mom had used when I moved into that room 8 years earlier. When I came back, the walls were bright yellow -- just like Lemonade Distress Oxide ink. She had painted the room, and had sewed a black and white bedspread, dust ruffle, and curtains in what I now realize was a classic toile pattern. She (of course) had even covered the lamp shades with fabric. It looked fantastic, much more grown up than the pale pink.

It was only when I was older that I realized how hot it had been up there that summer. We didn't have air conditioning and my room was upstairs and got the afternoon sun. Painting up there in the heat couldn't have been fun. I suspect now that the trip to Europe and the room redo was a peace offering from my mother. This was her way of saying "I love you even though you 'support communism' and think blacks should be able to live in our neighborhood."**

Sometimes when I am banging my head against the wall watching the news, I think back to that summer and the years that followed -- the demonstrations, the riots, Watergate, etc. Our country got through some hard and deep and angry divisions and came out ok.

I like to think that if we could do it then, we can do it now.

** My mom would go on to vote for Jesse Jackson in a Presidential primary, and Barack Obama for President. We never lose our capacity for change.

30 comments:

  1. Great card! And thank you for a look into your 1969 life.

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  2. Joan--Your blog post brought back memories! I don't remember hearing about the room makeover, but it's such a wonderful story.

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    1. Charl, it was a special trip!! I'm so glad we did it together!

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  3. oh my goodness you have made me cry today. I was only 4 in 1969, but my mom used to tell me that she made us watch the moon landing -- and Archie Bunker, and Sesame Street. How wonderful that your mom gave you the gift of travel, and of a new groovy bedroom!

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    1. thanks Merry! it was an amazing time. I'm glad your mom exposed you to some of it!

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  4. Thank you, Joan, thank you. You give me hope. I actually have tears in my eyes as I write this. I guess that is a good indication of how stressful I am finding the day to day news cycle and the divisions I see in society. It is especially distressing when the divisions involve family and friends. I feel like I spend my days just holding my breath. Your card is lovely, by the way. So bright and cheery.

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    1. Yes it is stressful. I worry but I keep hope alive!! Thanks so much for your kind words.

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  5. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this card was that I remembered that those were the colors that your mother decorated your room in...in fact every time I see this color combination I think of your bedroom! I was always so impressed with any project your mother took on...I still have the Raggedy Ann type doll that she made for me...it has my name sewn on the smock/apron...I don't let anybody touch it, I cherish it way too much!

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    1. I cannot believe you remember that room!! My mom made me a doll too and I still have it. It's so funny that you still have yours. Mine doesn't have my name on it though!!

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  6. Ahhh Europe.
    Ahhh your Mom.
    And thanks for the ear worm.

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  7. I absolutely love this entire post!!! From your fabulous bright yellow card to the wonderful story about your summer trip and the room makeover. :)

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  8. Thank you for the lovely "HUGS" card and the encouragement for these stressful times! Every post you write I feel we must have known each other, we've had so many similar experiences and (I'm guessing) we are close to the same age. However, you were on the east coast, I was on the west. I'm so glad to get to know you, a little bit at a time, now.

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  9. Thanks for adding your flashback to 1969. Sometimes we all need to think back on where we were to realize where we REALLY are now. Oh, and I love your CAS card, too. :D

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  10. Loved your post. Love your card. Perhaps we can come through this current situation after all.

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  11. Love the card. Love that Lemonade Distress Oxide. Love the memories it evoked. Sigh.

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  12. Every part of your post was perfection. The card says it all. Like JanetB, I feel so fortunate to have come upon your blog & receive your reflections that mirror some of my lifetime also. It sounds like you were "cut from a different cloth" than your mom and dad. And yes, our country has gone through some extremely tough times & we will get through these current rough waters. I especially loved the postscript about your mom's voting evolution! My 98 year-old very Catholic dad voted for Obama and welcomes my gay brother and his partner (who is African-American) into his home. People can change!

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    1. thanks for those very kind words. I've watched my own opinions change over the decades so it is possible!

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  13. Love your card and your post. And didn't think I needed that distress oxide color until now! Also wondering where you get that white linen cardstock from. I always love reading your posts :)

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    1. I get it at Ellen Hutson. Love it.

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  14. Joan, I could listen to your stories for days. Your trip sounds dreamy. Your mom sounds amazing - I love that she decorated your room while you were away. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  15. Wow. This 1969 story took me back, too. It was a coming of age time for me, hyper-aware of the changes taking place and how painfully they were coming about. Vietnam, Woodstock, the moon landing, Chappaquiddick, civil rights, Charles Manson. It was hugely crazy changing times and it sure made an impact on me. Now... your mom was a complex woman, full of surprises. It moves me that she funded your trip and redecorated your room while you were gone. She was coming to grips with the young woman you were growing into and trying to accept those changes. Funny, I had grown up with a pink room, but when I got to junior high age my room changed to yellow. I still love yellow and I adore your card with all those big yellow hugs. What a way to send some happiness! Yes, it needs to go in the mail. I bought three sheets of stamps today, not realizing postage went up in January. $10 for a sheet of stamps now, but it won't stop me mailing my cards.

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  16. thank you for this wonderful card and post.

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