Saturday, December 31, 2011

Janine's Bio

     Janine spent her early youth in the old Indian Territory of Western Oklahoma. Her later youth was spent in the old Mexican lands of South Texas. She had ancestors tied to both lands and would often hear stories about them. Her mother used to brag she was part Cherokee, but it was never verified. Relatives contradicted her mother's claim. However, a cousin hesitated and then replied, "Oh yes, we did discover a scalp in grandmother Ellsworth's trunk in Oklahoma, after she died."
     After receiving a master's degree in sociology and a concentration in ethnic studies, she anxiously prepared to teach history and sociology with a multicultural focus.
     Janine taught in public and private high schools and junior colleges the past 30 years. Her background in multicultural history helped her understand her students, but it also helped her teach them about their cultural history, which is often neglected, in favor of Anglo Saxon history.
    As Janine realized that the interesting stories about the southwest were often untold and unknown, she began to gather some of the stories and weave them with fiction to highlight their place in history. Janine's knowledge about her ancestors helped shape the characters in her story, "The Voyage of the Ebony Piano".
     Janine serves on several boards in her community and works on primary elections every two years. She loves to play MahJongg with her girlfriends and her passion is folk art that she loves to paint and collect. Writing her memoirs and reflections is her favorite pastime, as well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

WHAT A CHRISTMAS

IT WAS THE CHRISTMAS OF 2011. THE OLDEST WAS 80. THE YOUNGEST WAS 18. THERE WERE A FEW IN BETWEEN. THIS WAS LIKE OTHERS WHEN MORE CAME WHO DIDN'T. BUT THIS YEAR THE ONES WHO USUALLY DIDN'T DID AND THE ONES THAT USUALLY DID DIDN'T. OUR ONE WHO USUALLY DIDN'T MADE UP FOR THE YEARS SHE DIDN'T. SHE ARRIVED ON SCENE WITH BAGS AND CASES OF GIFTS. SOME FOUND AT THRIFT STORES AND HOARDED AND OTHERS WERE NEW. THE FORMER OUT NUMBERED THE LATTER. THERE WERE BOOKS GALORE. SOME WERE LIKE NEW AND OTHERS WERE WARPED AND YELLOW. BUT THE TITLES AND SUBJECTS OF THE BOOKS WERE CHOSEN SPECIAL FOR THE RECEIVER. A BRASS SIX INCH PLANE FOR THE PILOT AND A BOOK, "FLYING WITH  LINDBERGH", COPYRIGHT, 1928 WITH PAGES SO YELLOW, THEY ARE ALMOST BROWN. WARPED AND CROOKED BOOKS ABOUT WINE, WELL INTENDED FOR OUR "WINE SPECIALIST" IN THE FAMILY. THERE WERE BOOKS ABOUT THE SEA AND A TALKING FISH ON A PLAQUE TO HANG ON THE WALL OF OUR FLY FISHERMAN.

THE FISHERMAN  WHO MISSED LAST YEAR, ARRIVED ON THE SCENE ON TIME. HE WAS LADEN WITH GIFTS AND JOYFULLY HAPPY. TO  HIS FATHER, HE GAVE A NEW WISK BROOM TO SWEEP HIS NEW CAR. TO HIS MOTHER, HE GAVE TWO SIZES OF FLASHLIGHTS SO SHE WOULDN'T BE LOST IN THE DARK. TO HIS NEPHEWS, HE GAVE EACH A JUMPER CABLE FOR HIS CAR. FOR HIS BROTHER HE GAVE BALLS TO HITCH TO ONE OF HIS CARS FOR A TRAILER.

WE LAUGHED MORE THAN ANY CHRISTMAS EVER. IT WAS FUN AND WE ENJOYED ONE ANOTHER'S COMPANY.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

IN THE COURSE OF A GOLFER'S LIFETIME

In the course of a lifetime, a golfer’s dream is to have a hole- in- one.


Our golfer pretty well let it be known when he made his hole in one after numerous years of playing the great sport.  Many sponsors gave a variety of valuable prizes.  His picture was taken and published in the city’s paper, along with a write up about him and with whom he was playing. And in addition, the name of the club where he made his hole- in- one. Needless to say, if a golfer repeated this highly acclaimed achievement at another time in his life,  rewards again were bestowed upon him and the attention he would receive was doubled. It’s every golfer’s dream.   

One day, two opportunities to play golf with two different groups at two different clubs became a dilemma for this golfer. The first group that he accepted an invitation with was a group of his best customers. He enjoyed these guys and he looked forward to playing at his club that he was most familiar with. The other group was a group of guys he had known for a long time and with whom he didn’t often get to play because they lived out of town.

They were to play at Onion Creek Country Club, known for its challenging holes and the place where champion golfers play. Our golfer, who seldom told lies, told his first group of golfers whom he had promised a day of golf that something came up in the family and he had to excuse himself. He felt guilty but this was going to be an
opportunity that he had longed for.

Low and behold, on the sixteenth hole of the Onion Creek Country Club, our golfer made his second hole-in-one. Now what? How does he keep the Pro from putting it in the paper? And when asked by a member of the team of customers he was originally suppose to play with, how his family was doing, he thought, “Holy Crap, do I lie again?” 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

WHAT IS BEYOND


                                                     What Lies Beyond ?




What lies beyond is a question that does not concern me. Nor do I give much thought to it. I guess when one is close to someone who has a fatal disease or has a fatal condition herself she is more likely to ponder such ideas. I try to live my life to the fullest every day possible. And in doing so, I do not ponder such thoughts. I don’t think of a God per se. I don’t frequent churches anymore, now that I’m in the latter part of my life. When I do pray, when the need arises, I pray to our Blessed Virgin Mary. I find more strength praying to her than a male figure. She purportedly is in the “Beyond”.

When I force myself to think of what lies beyond, I recall stories of those who have “near death experiences”. They often see and feel wonderfully warm and positive images and feelings. Whatever forces are pulling them beyond are sometimes described as being close loved ones, who themselves have already passed and who are using loving forces to attract the person who is presently passing. Often those who come close to death say they experience beautiful things that make them see more love. Some see a tunnel of light that is drawing them to it.

Recently a genius of science and a great innovator died a long and painful death, from cancer. I heard that his last words on his deathbed were, “Wow, Wow, wow.” I would like to think that he was beginning to see and feel all those wonderfully warm and loving experiences that others have reported on their near death scenes when they thought they were going to the beyond. If this is what lies beyond, why should we fear it? I hope that we can say that these reported experiences is what its like to pass to the “Beyond”. If that is the case, this is how I will think of it when the time comes.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'M A WANNA BE CHICANA LADY


         
                                 

I WANNA BE, I WANNA BE A CHIC CHICANA LADY,
SEEN SO LONG AGO IN OLD MEXICO,
IF I COULD, I WOULD BE OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE,
THEN PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER,
WOULD WANT TO PRAY TO ME.

I WANNA BE, I WANNA BE THE CHIC CHICANA PAINTER
FROM LA CIUDAD DE OLD MEXICO,
IF I COULD, I WOULD BE THE PRETTY FRIDA KAHLO,
BUT WOE IS ME, I WOULD  BE THE WIFE OF
FAT MACHO DIEGO.

I WANNA BE,  I WANNA BE A CHIC CHICANA WRITER ,
FROM ESTADO DE NEW MEXICO,
IF I COULD, I WOULD BE BEAUTIFUL ANA CASTILLO
OR IF I COULD, I WOULD SIT  RIGHT BESIDE HER
AND HOPE TO SOME DAY WRITE JUST LIKE HER.

JANINE STUBBS
SEPTEMBER 27, 2009


Thursday, December 1, 2011

TOO LITTLE TOO EARLY

                                                     

      Edith Wharton said she had little memory of books or stimulation that stretched her mind, in her early years. Sounds unbelievable because she published so many works of literature, and supported herself well on earnings from her writings. My attention to literature developed at a snail’s pace, as well. There is little memory of books with any flavor that stretched my thinking. Sunday school and Bible classes in summer stirred my curiosity of stories from the Old Testament, supplemented with maps, of exotic faraway places of Egypt with the Nile and pyramids. At Christmas, the kings and wise men riding on camels and somewhere a story of Persia and flying carpets carried me to magic places.
     Elementary school readings are not memorable except   “Dick and Jane” and “Heidi”, who lived in the Alps with a grandparent. The Alps were difficult to imagine when I was surrounded by the flat lands of Oklahoma. The largest elevation of earth was the Arbuckles in the southern part of the state. Okies called them “Mountains. But they didn’t know better. The Alps were very far away. In the third grade “Nancy Drew”, captured my attention because she was young and drove a roadster through the hills and country, looking for mysteries to solve. I guess I found her at the library.
     But I do remember I found a college prep text. A previous tenant left it behind at my girlfriend’s house in her basement, where we sometimes played. Betty Lou said I could take it home. I glanced at the stories from time to time. It was filled with short stories and poems. I tried to read a few, but realized they were pretty advanced for me. I used the literature text to store my movie star pictures I cut from magazines and catalogued according to importance and then placed them between the pages. Viola, my first scrap book. My star pictures were of Bing Crosby, Gloria DeHaven, Peter Lawford, Betty Grabel, Clark Gabel, Mona Freeman, Lois Butler, Bill Holden, Joan Crawford, Dick Haymes, and Van Heflin. The names are barely visible, written on the blank pages in front. They are barely familiar, as well. I’ve kept the book since the third grade and now it sits on a shelf with hundreds of others.Over the years, the pictures slipped out and were lost. But I've kept the old book, published in 1933 and have read my favorite stories. They include A Ballad Rime of Ancient Mariner, Annabel Lee, and The Finding of Livingston. When picking up the faded blue book in more recent times, I’ve started the old legend, Treasure Island, savoring each word.
      I  was intrigued by "Gone With the Wind" a year later, when I moved in with my aunty and cousin. I didn’t read it.  However, my cousin Helen, who was my age, read it for thirty minutes every day, while indulging in her morning constitution.  We were only in the fourth grade and she was a better reader than I.
      I inherited this same book, my great aunts, Aunt Mary and Aunt Opal said vividly described Atlanta, as their grandmother Cornelia had described to them when they were young girls.  Their grandmother had been horrified about The Civil War and its aftermath. After the War Between the States, as it was called then, Grandmother Cornelia's second cousin, Captain Albert Baird returned to Athens, outside of Atlanta and married her. Mother used to tell me that there were so few males left because of the high fatality rate of the war.
      The War was a constant memory in the family. At least two generations often talked about it. Over the years, "Gone With the Wind's" binding came apart and I taped it with masking tape, the other day so it would stay together when I read it.  I’m reading it this summer. It was published in 1938. I will hold it so carefully and remember those in my family who read it and reflected upon the memories of that time. I know I’ll never catch up on those important books that I missed, beginning when I was young, but I will die trying.

I REMEMBER NELLIE, MY GRANDMOTHER


                               I REMEMBER NELLIE , MY GRANDMOTHER

      Nellie was a beautiful, talented woman of independent means before her time.
For over 40 years she was a proprietor of a flower shop and a fabric shop in Yoakum,  near Victoria.
     She was born in August of 1900 in Midland, Texas, at the ranch of her maternal grandfather, Alonzo Edwards(Edwards was a rancher who diligently led one of the longest trail drives, from Weatherford, Texas, to Oregon in the 1870s). Nellie’s birthday is the same month and year as that of the Queen Mother, mother of Queen Elizabeth of  England. Like the Queen Mother, she was reared in a strict family environment with Victorian values. Her grandmother Cornelia Baird read the Bible to her and taught her to crochet, embroider, and tat before she started school. She continued her handwork into her ‘90s. The theory was that busy hands would keep the devil away.  
     As a shy child, Nellie was a straight-A student and she developed many hobbies. She was an avid reader into her “90s, reading three books and at least 10 magazines a week. At 13, she designed her own clothes and sewed for herself and her sisters. Later, Nellie purchased and played her grand piano. She mastered sketching and painting, rivaling many accomplished artists. Her gardening provided many flowers and vegetables for friends and family.
     Nellie was never bored.
     Growing up in a large two-story house with parents, grandparents, and three younger sisters, she had many chores as her mother was ill with cancer. After her mother’s death, she worked in an office, saved money and bought fashionable clothes.

     In the early 1920s, she became manager of a silk hosiery store in the city’s first
department store.
     At night, she taught clothing and design at a continuing education school. Nellie bobbed her hair and wore flapper clothes and danced the Charleston, as was the custom in the cities in the 1920s.
     At the end of the ‘20s, Nellie’s fiancĂ© bought a business with movie stars Wallace Berry and Charlie Chaplin.
     With her daughter from her first marriage, Nellie met her fiancĂ© in  Hollywood to marry. She soon decided that Hollywood was not for her. Canceling her wedding, she returned home, bought a house and married an old beau, Robert Haynes.
     Oil was soon discovered and a well was built in her back yard.
     Months later,   Nellie produced another daughter. As the 1930s Depression
worsened, Nellie purchased a five-acre tract of land and a cow. She sowed a
victory garden and had the cow milked. In the 1940s, Nellie and her family moved to south Texas and bought an oil business. Nellie played bridge, gave dinner parties and danced again.
     In the late 1940s, when Nellie’s husband became ill, she bought a flower shop and years later, a fabric shop, in Yoakum. She worked until she was 91and quietly retired.
     Nellie is not of royal descent, but to me she seemed to be.
     She was always nicely groomed and dressed, with refined manners. She told me
that in life we must do what we have to do, despite the many obstacles.
     August is Nellie’s 102nd birthday. It’s also that of the Queen Mother. After
breaking her hip, the Queen Mother died recently.
     Nellie broke her leg a few months ago and it’s not healed. She may not be here
in August. But I envision the two queens meeting at their new home and celebrating their 102nd birthdays together.

****This essay was published in the Victoria Advocate, Wednesday, June 5, 2002.
A notation after the essay said,
                  Janine Stubbs lives on a ranch outside of Cuero.
                She is an adjunct professor for Coastal Bend College,
                teaching sociology and history.

*****Another notation should be made. Nellie died the summer of her 102nd birthday.
She did not make it to August, 2002, but I just know she probably did meet the
Queen Mother, as they  had a lot in common.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

COUNTY CHAIR ELECTION CONFERENCE



Just got home from a weekend in Austin. I attended the Secretary of State's Conference for Texas County Chairs. You wouldn't believe all the changes that are in place and ruled for the next primary elections. We will definitely earn our small wages and much more. The beautiful Secretary of State,Hope Andrade, personally thanked us for our services and said how important it is to all work together for the good of our country. She did, indeed, give us hope.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NEW ORLEANS VISIT

I saw the French Quarter and its rare book stores, fine art Galleries, fine restaurants and boutiques and spent time with great friends in their old building, built in 1840. To get to the fourth floor to their apartment, we pulled on a cable and stepped into a charming old open top,  3 sided  wood container of car siding painted with layers of different paint that has many times peeled with a rich patina. It took us up to the brightest area with huge rooms and windows that looked up to the sky and down to the streets of the French Quarter below. Wow, it was a Fabulous week-end!! Thank you Ed and Stacey Smith.