For about the price of an expensive dinner out and a show, I have been happily transforming my old regular-8 and super-8 home movies onto DVDs. Each hour’s worth of 10 reels from the ’60s has provided memories and mirth, all accompanied by the melodies we have selected. Funny how the tunes, whether classical or not, seem to go just right with the scenes.
My husband Richard and I had left Fresno when he was first assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Del. We drove across the country in a brand new Dodge Dart, with year-old Kathy safely ensconced in the back seat, rigged up in a safety harness well before child restraints were invented. That was Richard’s doing, ever mindful of the hazards of the road. Is it any wonder they gave him additional duties at Dover as the accident investigator for the base?
We were 22 and 23, and Kathy was but 1 year old. She was the darling first grandchild for both our parents, and just a month after arrival we presented them with grandson, Alan, surely the most solemn and serious character ever. Because of that, with the rarest of smiles, he was dubbed “Big Al,” resembling the fiercest mobster in Chicago. We took reams of film of both children for the grandparents who yearned to snuggle with them, albeit at a 3,000-mile distance.
My dad would splice the short reels together and have the Macedos over for movie night. I know they enjoyed those films as much or more than I am now, all over again. And my grandchildren are now laughing hysterically at the antics of their parents, birth through age 5. It’s also funny to see how similar each generation is, rumbling and tumbling together, gathering Easter eggs, and splashing in the sprinklers or pool.
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Interesting, too, to see is how each generation becomes a little more affluent. Our parents suffered the problems of the Depression and World War II, but surmounted that. We had little more, and were caught up in the Viet Nam era, but made the most of it. Our children had it easier; and now the grands haven’t a clue about going without.
Recently I experienced some delayed gratification, becoming the proud owner of a large Margaret Randall-crafted Victorian doll house at the Friends of the Library Treasures Sale. (I'll be working with her on the Kitchen Tour this Saturday.)
Daughter Kathy learned how much I had longed for a dollhouse since I was 5. It was an unspoken wish for something I never dreamed I could have; but because of the way we were raised, I never felt deprived. We have vivid memories of the “happy days,” and now our family does also. Those movies hearken 40-some years of fun for all of us. And I bought a second dollhouse, so that each family will inherit one.
One great memory is of going out along the creek near St. Louis, and picking pails full of wild blackberries. Those small
gems had intense flavor, and we savored each one later at home with Richard — fresh, uncooked and without sugar. Last week I got a flat of them right from the field in Fresno, much larger in size, and every one of them bursting with sweet juices. They made the best pie, using the easiest press-in crust that my children and I have used with all kinds of fruit:
2 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup light-flavor olive oil
1/3 cup very cold milk Filling:
2-3 pints fresh blackberries
1/2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
In a 9-inch pie pan, mix the flour, salt and sugar as needed. In a large cup whisk the oil with milk until frothy, and dump all at once into the dry mix. Using a fork, stir until just moistened; separate out one third of the dough and reserve for the topping. Press the remainder in the bottom and up the sides with your fingers, leaving an uneven surface.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sprinkle the berries with sugar, mash slightly, and allow the juices to flow. Stir in the cornstarch, and pour into the prepared bottom crust. Lightly crumble the reserved bits of dough over all, and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet to catch any spills.
Bake in a preheated, 400-degree oven on the bottom rack until brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool and serve plain or with your favorite creamy topping.
I have used this pastry with very ripe apricots, peaches, blueberries, and a combination of white nectarines with blueberries. Strawberries do not seem to work so well.
Consuelo Macedo’s column is special to The Cambrian. Send your unique recipes to her c/o The Cambrian, 2442 Main St., Cambria CA 93428; or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.