Ireland, My First Impressions

I love to travel! I’ve had several countries on my bucket list and I’ve been able to visit some, but not all! I wish I could say Ireland was on my bucket list but it wasn’t! So when our daughter, Christy, and her husband, Sean, and their two younger children, Mason and Maddie, moved to Ireland for Sean’s job, I quickly added Ireland to my list!  Our daughter, Pamela, and son-in-law, Gene, decided to go and invited us to go with them. They didn’t have to ask me twice! We flew by Aer Lingus. It’s a very modern airline and I loved it! They served us a very delicious dinner and of course, beverages and snacks. Our flight was long, about eight hours, but very smooth!Ireland Air Line (2) Traffic is, of course, very different. Driving on the opposite side is the norm. The traffic moves smoothly with few stop signs or lights because they have roundabouts! There are some traffic lights, of course. In the city of Dublin, there are more traffic lights, but not as many as we have in the US. There are few stop signs! It’s no problem! Roundabouts take care of the traffic! We have one roundabout here in my town and no one likes it! Folks get confused with it and complain about it all the time! But the many roundabouts in Ireland were very fascinating to me!

Ireland Parking Notice the parked cars are facing each other! That’s perfectly fine!

Signs were another very fascinating subject to me! Folks respected and obeyed the warning signs! Ireland warning sign (2) The end of this street ended in the Irish Sea! This sign warned drivers not to go any closer and they didn’t! Ireland sign (2) This man made right into the cement sidewalk showed which way to walk! It’s so simple! Ireland Pam and guard rail (2) Pam is standing beside the guard rail at this harbor! No one was falling in! This was warning enough! Ireland sign bends  I smiled at this sign. We would have written Dangerous Curves Ahead! But this works! DANGEROUS BENDS AHEAD.

We took the train to Dublin to do some sightseeing. I love riding the train, but oh my…I’ve never been on such a modern train before!   It was wonderful! It ran so smoothly and so quietly, it was incredible! 

Ireland Modern train (2) Ireland train                We sat and visited like we were in our living room! That’s how quiet the train was! We visited without raising our voices the least bit and we could hear just fine!

We took a tourist bus on a sightseeing tour of the city. This isn’t the actual bus we rode on but I wasn’t quick enough to get a good picture of our bus! So this one will do! We went all over the city! The driver explained everything to us! We had a woman driver and when we were in an area of not too much for her to explain about, she sang Irish songs for us over the speaker! She had a real Irish brogue!         Ireland tour bus (2) Ireland open air bus (2)              We sat upstairs on the bus, right in the front seats where we could see well! Pam, Christy, and Gene sat back where there was no roof over them! You can see them in the picture here. They could probably see even better but we wanted the protection from the sun or rain or wind or whatever! It was a ride worth taking.

Ireland is a country that cherishes and protects its history. I love it! Notice the building here behind the tree! It’s been there for hundreds of years! It’s only what’s left of the building but its hundreds of years old! Ireland Old Building (2) Ireland preserves its history! I love it! Another interesting feature here is the wall around the property. Everyone has a wall around their property! This one, above, is of bushes and vines and is hundreds of years old! Ireland Pam & Jerry by wall (2) Jerry and Pam are beside a wall covered with stucco.

Ireland stone wall (2) Jerry is standing beside a stone wall. This next one is an ancient stone wall with vines overgrowing! It’s hundreds of years old!Ireland, very old wall (2)

Most walls are stone, some are cement! The height varies from a few feet high to several feet high. Some are hundreds of years old and some are new. It was very interesting to me! In Canada, almost everyone has a fence. In the USA some folks have a fence and some don’t. In Ireland, everyone has a surrounding wall!

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This is Christy’s house with a brick wall across the front and a high wall covered with stucco along the side yard! The house is very nice and fairly new. Downstairs it has a living room, completely separate from the rest of the rooms! There is a family room, office, laundry room, kitchen, dining/sun room, and a half bathroom. Upstairs there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms!                                             Then there is the third floor! It’s all open but with the spiral stairway going up in the middle so it’s like there are two rooms. There are two skylights, one in each room.

Ireland spiral stair (2)

Mason

 We visited places that go clear back to the 11th century! Unbelievable! I’ll show a few examples here.  Trim Castle! The building of this castle was begun in the 1100’s! It was added on to in the 15th century and again in the 17th century! The folks standing here aren’t quite that old, but getting close! It’s Jerry and me, in case you don’t recognize us! Castle with Jerry and Anita Ireland Cemetary Dublin 3 (2)

Cemeteries are so old and some date back to the 1300’s or older! This picture is of one in Dublin. It’s unreal! I have more cemetery pictures I’ll show in a later post.

It was chilly that day but you can see the sky was blue with white clouds! We had beautiful weather the whole time we were there! It rained one day! We were so thankful because it was quite unusual! I’m going to stop now and write more another day! It’s actually taken me several days to write this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Scottish/Irish Roots

My dad’s side of my family came from Ireland and Scotland, so I have roots there!  This is a picture of my great-grandparents, William and Jane (Ramsey) Williamson, and their son, Andrew Stuart Williamson. William & Jennie Williamson (2) Actually, this picture was taken after they came to America. Andrew was born in Seaford, Delaware. He, eventually, became my grandfather! But going back further we can find out a little more about William and Jane in Ireland.

William’s family lived in Scotland where he was born in 1817. The family moved to Ireland while William was still a boy. They settled in or near Belfast. William became a baker.

Jane Ramsey was born in 1827 in or near Belfast. William and Jane met and were married in 1850. They had a baby girl, Mabel. I have no dates for Mabel, but she lived only a short time and was buried in a cemetery somewhere around Belfast.

The ‘great potato famine’ hit Ireland and hundreds of families left to make new lives in America. Heartbroken, William and Jane left Mabel in her grave and in 1864 boarded a ship for America. They lived first in Seaford, Delaware, where Jane gave birth to their second baby, Andrew Stewart, on September 22, 1865. When Andrew was a year old they made their way west to Iowa, where other family members had settled. William and Jane had two more children, William and Jenny.

William and Jane had moved from Iowa to Nebraska. Jane died and was buried in Bayard, Nebraska. Jane Ramsey Williamson (2)

William returned to Iowa and died in 1902. Grave of William Williamson (2)

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Andrew grew up and married Rose Williams. They had seven children. Six children are pictured here with Rose and Andrew. Bessie, Floyd, Eva, Claude, Rose, Roy, Andrew, and Louis.

Scan_Pic0032Scan_Pic0108                                                    One more son joined the family on December 22, 1909.                                                         The youngest, Glen Edgar, shown here, became my father! So there, you now have a short version of my Scottish/Irish roots!

 

Let’s Go For A Ride

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“Let’s go for a ride.” is all Jerry has to say. I drop anything and everything and say, “Okay, let’s go!”

We actually stopped going for rides for a few years because the price of gas was so high. But now with gas under two dollars, we’re going for rides again. It’s one of our favorite pastimes! It’s actually the times when we have communicated the best with each other! No interruptions! Now, of course, we have our cell phones, but we can select our incoming calls! Or just turn them off! We enjoy being together with just scenery and each other!

I remember one ride Jerry and I took to a small lake near Spring Arbor, Michigan. To get to the lake we had to drive down a steep hill. When we wanted to leave, the car had a malfunction of some kind and wouldn’t go up the hill! Oh, what were we going to do? Then Jerry discovered it would go in reverse, so we backed up the hill and out on the main road, where he put the car in ‘drive’ and off we went!

We have some rides that are even kind of monumental! One I’ll never forget was when our children were young and we had some news we wanted and needed to share with them. Jerry and I decided to go for a ride and while we had their full attention, told them we were going to have another baby born into our family! They were very excited! Their ages were about thirteen, eleven, seven, and four.

Lots of times our rides included a stop at an ice cream shop for ice cream cones! When we rode up to Wixom Lake, to ride and ski with our boat, we always stopped for ice cream cones on the way home. It was almost required!Scan_20160323 (2)

In 1990   I went for a drive all by myself to Minneapolis, Minnesota! My mother had flown there from Washington state to visit her brother, my uncle Richard. He was in the Veterans Hospital for cancer surgery. He was my uncle who had been in WWII and lost both of his legs. I always loved him but hadn’t seen him since I was about 13!

Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me driving by myself and studied road maps. We decided I could drive north to the upper peninsula and drive on US 2 across the UP until I came to Norway and US 8. I could remember Norway! I’m half Norwegian! I’ll skip the rest of the trip except to say I had no problems! When I arrived in Minneapolis, I just followed the signs and ended at the Veterans Hospital! Those were the days before internet and cell phones! It was an unbelievable ride for me all by myself! Scan_20160323 (4)Aunt Ruth, myself, and Uncle Richard.

A few years ago, Jerry bought a MG! We called it our ‘ice cream cone car’!  We only went for rides in it and often stopped for an ice cream cone!IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF  He loved to take our grandkids for rides in it and they loved it too!Sydney 032 Jessica, one of our daughters-in-law, took this picture of us driving ahead of her! We didn’t even know she was following us! Archers MG goodbye Just yesterday we went for a ride and saw some Sandhill Cranes! Jerry stopped and I took a picture of them. Sandhill Cranes    Another favorite ride of mine is to horse ride! I don’t get to often but I love it. This is Sandy and me up in Saskatchewan, Canada!Scan_Pic0238 I’ve gone for rides in airplanes, cruise ships, buses, trains, boats, bicycles, dog sled, and more! I even rode a camel up Mt Sinai, Egypt! There is nothing more relaxing, for me, than going for a ride!

Bucket List 2016

  1.  Enjoy time with each of our five children. It’s only the middle of January and I’ve already accomplished this! Rob's family  Our youngest son, Rob, with his family, was here for the week between Christmas and New Year, 2015. They left January 2, 2016! All Here  Our other four children, January 9, 2016, celebrating and surprising Jerry, for his 80th birthday, which is the next day! Pam and Ted on either side of the window. Christy and Tim on either side of Jerry.
  2. Travel to Iowa with granddaughter’s, Sydney and Bella, to visit LeRoy and Carolyn and their horses!
  3. Travel to Ireland.
  4. Travel to Norway.
  5. Downsize.
  6. Sort books, keeping only precious books!
  7. Clean out and throw away non-essential ‘things’.
  8. Remodel downstairs bathroom and reading room, making it one larger bathroom.
  9. Go to E. Michigan Conference as a delegate.
  10. Go to E. Michigan family camp.
  11. Plant flowers in Flower Bed.
  12. Yard Sale.
  13. Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!  Accomplished in March! 
  14. More later…!

I Do Love A Taco

I made tacos for Jerry and me last evening for supper. We do love tacos! Tacos  I forgot to take a picture of an actual taco before we ate them! Sorry! This lazy Susan with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and meat mixture in the center is just right since there are only two of us now.

I’ll never forget the first time my family had tacos for supper. We were in Portland, Oregon, visiting my sister, Lorraine, and her beautiful family. There were six in each of our families. This would have been in the late 60’s. Bob, brother-in-law, suggested we have tacos for supper. My family hardly knew what a taco was! It sounded Mexican. But we were game! As I recall everyone, old enough, helped out. Grating the cheese was the biggest job… We warmed the shells for just a couple of minutes, then filled them with seasoned ground beef, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Oh boy, were they good!

Tacos became a favorite of my family. Everyone pitched in to help with preparation, especially grating the cheese! We never ended up with the right amount of cheese, somehow it got eaten as it was being grated!

One year at our family camp, Pam, our oldest daughter, had her first boyfriend, Lyle. She asked if he could come for supper, one day. Sure, he was a very nice young man. Lyle and Pam were both young teenagers, and what a coincidence, my very first boyfriend was also named Lyle! We decided to have a family favorite, tacos! I worked hard making sure everything was just right. I grated the cheese myself and made sure we had a large bowl of it. We ate outside under our camper awning. I stepped inside the camper to get something and when I came out, I was shocked! The cheese was on the ground! I was mad…okay, I was upset. I said, “WHO SPILLED THE CHEESE?” No one said a word, they just looked at me, like they wished I would keep still! Then Lyle spoke up and said he was so sorry, the bowl just slipped out of his hands! Oh, I felt so bad and so embarrassed. We salvaged as much as we could. I apologized for getting upset. It could have happened to anyone. As I recall we ended up with just enough for everyone to put some in their tacos. Years later, I saw Lyle at family camp again. This time, he was there with his wife and two young children! We talked and laughed about that fateful day, so many years ago!

Years later, Jerry and I went to Mexico, two years in a row. We worked at Rancho Betania, a Free Methodist camp, near Santa Ana, Sonora, Mexico. We were there about two weeks both years. We had a great time. One highlight was going to town for Tacos! We’d been advised to be careful what we bought to eat whenever we went to town. But this little restaurant we were told was an ‘okay’ place to eat! We all went as a group. The owners knew we were coming. Oh my! I’ve never eaten such delicious tacos in my life! What a wonderful memory!

Once in a while we go to a Mexican restaurant here but the tacos we prefer are the ones we have at home, made by me! By the way, I now buy grated cheese, no more grating cheese by hand and eating half of it! What wonderful memories of a simple, but delicious meal!

 

 

 

 

Our Fun Homes Away From Home

Camping has always been a favorite activity for our family.

Jerry and I bought our first camper in about 1962. It was a fold-up camper and we loved it! We had two children, Pammy and Teddy. It had two double beds, Jerry made a cupboard for our dishes. I used the top of it for a workspace. When we were traveling the cupboard set on the floor. In this picture Pammy is in the doorway, Teddy is sitting on a rug on the ground. Fold-up camper

This was at Higgins Lake Conservation Park in 1964. Timmy was a tiny baby. We also took our camper to our church family camp.

An experience I’ll never forget happened at family camp. Sunday morning, Jerry had taken Pammy and Teddy and gone on to the big tabernacle for church. He carefully zipped the flaps down before they left. I was in the camper, not dressed yet, nursing baby Timmy. All of a sudden the flaps on the camper unzipped and flew up. A man stuck his head inside! As he looked around he said, “I’ve always wondered what one of these looked like on the inside!” There I sat, in my nightgown, nursing my baby! He zipped the flaps back down and went on his way! I had no idea who he was! What a shock!

But we have so many good memories of our fold-up camper! However, with our growing family we decided we needed something bigger.

So we bought a 17-foot used trailer.  Bunk beds in the back for the kids, a kitchen in the middle, Jerry and I slept on the sofa in the front. Yes, we had more room but we didn’t have the feel of camping!

Next was our Gem pick-up camper. We bought it brand new.  But the truck was old! These two pictures are also old, but I want to show how we loved camping as a family! The second picture shows Teddy, Pammy, and Christy, backwards in her stroller! The kids slept on the bed above the cab, and Jerry and I slept on the table which made into a bed!  This was in about 1969.New pick-up camper Gem  Pick-up Camper It was crowded but we were happy. The picture above was about 1970, from left is Teddy, Christy is sitting on my lap, Timmy, and if you look closely, Pammy is looking out of the camper window above the truck cab! In 1976, we bought a different truck and traveled all over with our Gem, clear out to the Pacific Ocean! We had another baby, Robby! Sometimes we just went to Higgins Lake State Park and every year we went to our family camp. As the kids got older they slept in a tent, so Jerry and I moved up to the bed. We just loved camping. The top picture here is at the Black Hills National Park in South Dakota. The lower picture is at the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in 1976. Jerry drove our truck right down the beach! Timmy and Christy are standing beside the truck.Camper

In 1990, we bought our Shadow Cruiser, fifth wheel trailer. It was also brand new and we loved it! In fact, we still have it! Yes, we still have it!

Jerry & Rob camping

Rob, our youngest son and Jerry, relaxing after setting up camp!

We found a map to put on the side of the camper! Grandson’s, Andrew and Matthew, were excited that we went to Pennsylvania to visit them! Andrew & Matthew map on camper

We went to Iowa to Aunt Bessie’s 100th birthday party. Several others in our family had also gone. We actually fed 11 people dinner inside our 5th wheel camper! Looking from left: son, Tim; Jerry; Mother; Dad; grandson, Matthew. The rest of us are there, just not visible!Family dinner in 5th wheel

We added Canada, to our map, to show we went to Saskatchewan, Canada! Adding Canada to map In 1994 and ’95, we went to Sonora, Mexico, to Rancho Betania!Mexico So we added to our map again!Adding Mexico

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Sometimes grandchildren stayed at family camp with us! Here is granddaughter, Sydney, relaxing by her tent! Just look at the map on the side of the camper! Our Shadow Cruiser took us all over North America! Sadly, we missed Alaska and the northeastern states. We’ve actually been to all 50 states…just not with our Shadow Cruiser! But we came close!

Oh, what wonderful memories! We love our Shadow Cruiser, home away from home!

This year, 2015, is the first year we’ve not gone anywhere with our camper! We didn’t even go to our wonderful family camp at Covenant Hills Camp. We used it as an extra bedroom for guests a couple of times in the summer. That was a relief when we had a house full!

IMG_1492 (1)Here’s Jerry, after washing it, backing it into our pole barn. It’s rather sad to think we didn’t go anywhere with it this year. Age has a way of determining when it’s time to slow down.

What wonderful, fun, loving memories we have of camping and traveling!

Mother’s English China

Back in about 1952 Dad bought and sent a beautiful set of English China dishes to Mother. We lived in Elk Run Heights, a sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa. Dad, as an evangelist, was traveling, as usual. He was in eastern Canada and had been looking for just the right set of dishes to buy and send to her. He finally found it!

I’ll never forget the day several large boxes arrived in the mail. We were both so excited! It was like Christmas day to us! Mother and I carefully unpacked the boxes. Only one cup was cracked and later it was replaced.

Mother was a beautiful hostess. Between graduating from high school and marrying my dad she had worked for a very prominent family in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. There she learned how to be a proper hostess. She said at the time she never dreamed that knowledge would be so important to her later on in life!

Being the wife of a pastor, an evangelist, an executive, a conference superintendent, and more, she had entertained many important and influential men and women. Bishops, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, college presidents, professors, the list goes on and on! Her beautiful set of English China was well used!

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Table set with Mother’s English China.

We were visiting Mother and Dad, at Warm Beach Retirement Center, in Washington, in about 1994. Mother surprised me when she said she’d like to give her set of English China to me and that we should take the set home with us! Oh, I didn’t know what to say! I was thrilled that she wanted me to have them, but how could I take them? Maybe she would need them again! Why not wait a few more years? But she insisted I take them when we left back to Michigan. So Mother and I carefully packed the dishes into a couple of sturdy boxes. English China 1

I treasure Mother’s English China! On the bottom of each piece is the name and location where they were made. I can’t read the whole thing, but I can see ‘Simpsons… Cobridge, England’. I only use them on very special occasions. Today was one of those occasions! We invited our new lead pastor and wife, Pastor Gene and Lois, for dinner! As we all sat down at the table Pastor Gene exclaimed, “Oh my, what beautiful dishes! Are these special?”

So I had the joy of telling them about Mother’s English China and my joy to be serving dinner with them.  I told them of all the important people who had eaten from them and now they were among the important folks also! It was a wonderful evening!