Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unusual Jack-o-Lanterns

In 1999 we had our best batch of painted pumpkins ever. 
 The Sesame Street theme turned out so cute
 that they were all stolen off our porch Halloween night!!

If memory serves, the artists were (from left)
 Andrea (age 8), Joe (age 5), me, Carolyn (age 10), Pete (age 3)

And here are some other unusual Jack-o-Lanterns...

Carolyn as crayon and Andrea as pumpkin in 1991

Joe as crayon and Peter as pumpkin in 1996

Sunday, October 28, 2012

All Hallow's Eve

Soon it will be Halloween and I was thinking about how it is currently celebrated in the U.S. versus the Mexican version of El Dia del Muerte.  

The U.S. version evolved from All Hallow's Eve, which was the night (eve) before All Saints and All Souls days on Nov. 1st and 2nd.  (Hallows means holy ones.) Way back then it was a remembrance of our deceased loved ones and of the saints of the Catholic church.  Now there is still All Saints and All Souls days on which Catholics go to church, but over time the eve has morphed into something else entirely.

El Dia del Muerte (the Day of the Dead), as I understand it, is celebrated from Oct. 31st through Nov. 2nd and is a fond remembrance of loved ones who have died  The decorations do include skeletons, but the families celebrate with the foods and items their loved ones enjoyed.  Instead of celebrating at home, they may choose to have a picnic at the grave site of a loved one.  Sounds a bit creepy at night,  but during the day might be quite enjoyable.

When I look at current Halloween decorations of bloody dismembered bodies and witches and gory masks, I cringe.  I'm not suggesting that my family start boycotting Halloween, although I can see why families would choose to have nothing to do with it. But I do think it's good to know the origins of the holiday and pass that on to our children (and grandchildren someday).

In raising my children I have tried to focus on fall harvest decorations and mild-mannered costumes.  (See my post on Oct. 10th, Halloween Costumes, for photos.)  I admit we have ventured among the scary costumes at night to trick-or-treat because that's what Tom and I did as kids, and it's really hard to say no to all that candy.  My sons would actually weigh their haul when they got home!  Boys can make a competition out of anything.

Below are photos of some of the loved ones I think about on All Souls Day.  They enjoyed seeing the grandchildren's Halloween costumes and were part of trick-or-treating fun in their own neighborhoods.  I miss them so much!

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

Tom's parents in 1997
My dad in 2001

Thursday, October 25, 2012


   Recently I watched the 2012 version of Steel Magnolia's (with a cast of wonderful African-American actresses) which is about a group of women who are best friends through all the seasons of their lives.

   The next morning I went to an early morning Mass at a convent chapel and enjoyed worshiping with the nuns.  As I drove home I thought about nuns I have known and how in 6th grade I had wanted to be one.  I also thought about my own two sisters and how far apart we live, which makes me sad.

   When I got home I wrote this poem about the three meanings of "sisters".  I chose this photo because it just shouts "sisterhood." 

            Sisters  by Janet Sobczyk, 2012ⓒ

Sisters are we
and forever will be,
joined at the heart
whether near or apart,
good times and bad          
during happy and sad.
Sisters are we
and forever will be.

“Sisters” can also mean
those who come clean
and speak truth together
knowing weather          
will change, but they remain
friends just the same,
growing closer each year
through fun and tears.

“Sisters” are those
who wear black and white clothes.
Together they
work, minister, and pray.
In peace and calm,
their lives a healing balm,
seeking to live
in God’s will as they give.

Three meanings of
a word that portrays love.
Sisters by blood,
or through friendship and love,
even by vow,
all are truly blessed now.
Sisters are we
and forever will be.

1960 photo of Sr. Clarice and friends