I’m loving this autumn season despite our lack of color here in the southeast. It was just two days ago that I first noticed a hint of red color in some of the maple trees in the neighborhood. It just hasn’t been cool enough here to see much of a change in the leaves. It’s another thing I’ve noticed that’s different since my childhood days of growing up in the southeast. We used to get lots of snow. We very rarely do now. We used to have vibrant, colorful autumns here. We don’t now. I’m hoping this year won’t be like years past where the leaves just turn brown and drop to the ground before any appreciable colors appear, but it’s looking like it might do just that. I’ve been meaning to get out to the local state park for a fall walk, but between hubby taking a bad fall on the driveway a few days ago which caused a trip to the ER and a CT of his head (all was fine but it put quite a damper on the last few days of his vacation) and the rainy weather the past few days, I haven’t made it to that park. I’m recovering from a back injury as well.
I visited both my sons in Alabama recently. I was missing them a lot. My husband and oldest son did some work around his house like pressure washing and staining his deck, pressure washing the vinyl siding on his house and the sidewalk, and some tree and bush trimming. I baked pumpkin muffins, did some cleaning inside, and caught up on some reading. Son #2 came by with his wife the first night we were there and we had dinner together and visited. We also had dinner at their house the night before we left. It was good seeing everybody.
I’ve been reading After All, which is Mary Tyler Moore’s first autobiography. She wrote it in 1995. The older I get, the more I seem to enjoy reading memoirs and I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a page turner with short chapters which I liked.
I grew up watching her on The Dick Van Dyke Show (which ran five seasons from 1961-1966) and The Mary Tyler Moore show (which ran seven seasons from 1970-1977). I’ve recently been binge watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I had forgotten just how much I loved that show. While some of it is dated, it’s still good to watch a good clean comedy sitcom with fantastic actors/actresses. It has made me realize how “raunchy” TV shows are today.
Watching it had me wondering about Mary Tyler Moore so I decided to read her first memoir. I’ll confess that after reading some of the one star reviews, I almost didn’t read the book, but decided to anyway and am very glad that I did. A lot of the readers who gave the book a bad review commented that it was depressing and that MTM was a negative person who whined a lot. I really didn’t see it that way at all! She told it like it was and didn’t hold anything back. She told about the good and the bad. She did not have an easy childhood and grew up with an alcoholic mother and a very distant father whose approval she was always trying to win, even in her adulthood. Perhaps people who didn’t grow up in an alcoholic household don’t know how that affects a child and the dysfunction it causes. She battled alcohol addiction and lost a younger sister to a drug and alcohol overdose, and a couple of years later, lost her son to an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She also lost a brother to kidney cancer. Mary Tyler Moore sought treatment for her alcohol addiction at the Betty Ford Center and later also gave up her smoking habit. She overcame a lot in her life. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her early thirties and suffered the side effects from that later in life. Anyway, I loved this book and especially the last chapter, which was just so beautiful (I won’t give it away but she told the story of a horse she once owned that she named after her brother and she used the story as a metaphor for her entire life). It was so touching that I read it twice and I must say, it made me tearful. That last chapter is what made me give it a five star rating.
I think I’ll read Mary Tyler Moore’s second autobiography now, Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes, which focuses more on her life with Type 1 diabetes. She wrote it in 2009.
I have been remembering Halloween and how much I love this day. I have so many happy memories of Halloween when I was growing up and we had such a great neighborhood for celebrating. I fondly remember Halloween parties, my father always carving a jack-o-lantern the night before Halloween with my sisters and I gathered around him. My mother would always display it on the mantle top table in the living room picture window or on the front porch. My father always took my sisters and me and a few neighborhood kids trick-or-treating after my mother fed us a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade chili. One year there was a neighborhood hay ride. Halloween always brings back a tinge of the sadness of the empty nest though, as our family had so much fun decorating, coming up with costumes, trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, and reading Halloween books. I do miss those days. We also had fun traditions of going to pumpkin farms every year, where we would go on a hay ride, visit a pumpkin patch and take on a challenging corn maze. We live very close to The Hermitage (home of Andrew Jackson) and a few times we went to Hauntings at the Hermitage which had a lot of fun Halloween activities – trick or treating, picking a pumpkin from a large pumpkin patch and picking cotton out in the cotton field. A tour of the mansion was also part of the evening where the tour guides told ghost stories of the Hermitage. The evening ended with a haunted hay ride through the woods. You haven’t lived until you’ve zoomed through the woods with an intoxicated hay ride driver who decides it would be fun to turn the lights of the tractor out!
Today the sun is out for the first time in days. I’m baking some pumpkin bread and making a pumpkin pie. I’ll make a pot of chili for dinner since that was always a Halloween tradition when I was growing up. I’m not expecting any trick-or-treaters as we live in a hilly neighborhood that isn’t real trick-or-treat friendly. Besides, all the kids on this street have grown up. But my candles and jack-0-lanterns will all be lit, and I have candy ready should any little spooks come by!