Tag Archives: Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns

Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 2

#365daysofjuneday78

Today is all about my father’s favorite recipe. The one he always made. It was not cookies. It was Biscuits.

Moms Biscuits

The recipe is my mother’s [written in her handwriting.] Dad [Nelson William Stearns] and Mom [Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns] both used it to make biscuits. Dads always came out fluffier. When the Model T cookie jar was empty, Dad said, “Come here girl, I will teach you how to make those biscuits.”

I spent a day cooking with my father. I still smile when i think about learning how to make the biscuit with Dad. Sadly mine came out like my mother’s, edible but a little dense. Dad stated, “Don’t worry, girl, you learn to have a light hand.” Dad ate those biscuits with happy enjoyment spread with homemade raspberry jam made by his sister, Eleanor May Stearns Duncan.

IMG_4516

That little Model T Cookie Jar had many types of cookies and biscuit over the years. I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen. Six of us still living. What type of cookies was made depended on which sibling turn to choose. The cookies were made by my mother and each of us as we learned to cook. I was only in the home for four more years after giving Dad the cookie jar. I went away to Nursing School. I did come home, from time to time, to take care of my parents and siblings when Mom had her first cancer episode and Dad had his Heart attack. [This is a story for another day.]

Biscuits

Make all measurements level [Mom’s way, Dad always just grabbed and mixed.]

2 cups sifted flour

4 tablespoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of Tarter

Add 2/3 cup milk all at once stir till the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly flour board. Knead lightly 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough to one inch thickness. Cut and place biscuits in greased pans. Brush top with melted butter. Bake in hot oven 475 to 500 degrees 10 minutes or until done.

Enjoy.

Tomorrow’s recipe will begin my sibling’s favorite choices. I will post, in the order of the response, they returned to me when I asked what favorite cookie they enjoyed of Moms.

 

 

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Week of Remembering, Mom and Dad! Day 1

#365daysofjuneday77

This week is the is the 15th anniversary of my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, death. She succumbed to her battle against cancer 28 April 2001.

Earlier this month, 8 April 2016, was the anniversary of my father, Nelson William Stearns, 86th birthday.

This form of remembrance was triggered recently by Amy Johnson Crow’s Periscope presentation of #31DaysofBetterGenealogy, about recording the artifacts we have in our possession. You don’t want future generations discarding your memories without sharing the importance they meant to you.

IMG_4516

I mentioned I still had the Model T Cookie Jar that I purchased, with one of my first real paychecks, for my father. Amy quickly informed me I needed to blog about it, including a recipe of the cookies it contained.

Why do I say my first real paycheck? I worked with my father and cousin throughout the year at my Dad’s service station in Pembroke New Hampshire. In the summer’s I would work along beside my Dad and cousin, Ernest Perkins, Ernest’s junk yard in Sutton, New Hampshire, getting parts for cars. Dad always paid me something , even in bartering or cash for my work.

My first official job was for Leon’s Ice Cream Stand, in Pembroke, New Hampshire [Now Chantilly’s.] I started at the end of May 1968.  [Also working there was, David Paul Levesque, who became my sister, Vickie’s [Vickie Mae Stearns] first husband and father of my niece, Jennifer and nephew David.

So when my first or maybe my second paycheck came in, it was just before Father’s Day. My Mother and I went shopping to pick out something special for my father. When I saw the Model T Ford cookie jar, I know that is what I wanted to get him.

The first type of cookie to go into this jar was my father’s favorite cookie, Molasses. What people call, Hermits. Dad always called them Molasses Cookies because, “they are not Hermits without the raisins.”  I filled the jar with my mothers recipe, made by me. My father was very please with the results, except he said, “There is only one problem with these cookies.” [my face, first time he made this comment, dropped about ten feet.  Wait for the rest of the statement…] Dad always added a long pause before finishing his statement, “It taste like more.”

I had been cooking a long time so I knew what was coming. It still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes, just remembering his words.

Hermits

My mother’s Hermit recipe in her own handwriting. It is a much loved and used recipe.

Hermits

4 1/2 cups Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon [I use Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice]

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1 cup Shortening [usually Crisco]

2 cups Brown Sugar or Black Strap Molasses 

1 cup Milk

2 Eggs

Optional:

1 cup Chopped Nuts

1 Cup Raisins

Bake 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

[Cream together the shortening, sugar/molasses; add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add, alternating, between Milk and dry ingredients, until well blended. Don’t be to heavy handed or you will have tough cookies.]

Mom usually just dropped them onto the buttered cookie sheet to bake. If she made the Hermits, with the raisins, she would roll the dough out and and cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy my mothers Molasses cookies.

Tomorrow’s recipe may surprise you. It was my father’s favorite recipe to make.

 

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The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 Cite: My Mother’s Quilt of Love

The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 Cite:

My Mother’s Quilt of LOVE

 

Dear Myrtle posted a challenge on 2 April 2014. Please read and listen to the video about it in her Blog.

Dear Myrtle’s Ragu Challenge: 3-2-1 Cite!

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2014/04/the-ragu-challenge-3-2-1-cite.html

 

I posted this photograph of my husband and myself for Throwback Thursday on my Face book page.  My immediate response after clicking to post it was this would make a good Ragu Challenge. I said to self why not go ahead and do it. It meets the requirement of the challenge 3 (documents of artifacts,) paragraphs can easily be written, it is about 1 event (Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk,) and I have sources to cite. So come along for the emotional ride that this challenge unleashed.

 

1 Mike and June Butka 1999

Mike and June Butka

Bear Mountain, New Jersey

Start of Avon 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk

27 Aug 1999

 

My first step was to find the flyer from the event that I saved and the quilt that my mother made me for that event. An easy thing to do right. I knew I had a storage container for the quilt and another for my remembrances, of course they were not where I expected them. When I did find them, after a twenty minute search they had not been scanned yet; the quilt was in the storage box with other pieces of quilt material in the process of being made. Opening the storage box was where the emotions came into play. These were the last quilting pieces my mother was working on before she made her final journey home to heaven in 2001.

 

2 Breast Cancer Quit 1999

Handmade quilt by Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns 1999

My Avon Quilt was much more than I remembered. It was not just the signatures of the walkers around a pink ribbon supporting Breast Cancer. It is what my friend stated, that explains my feeling perfectly;

“Till I remembered it wasn’t so much about the cancer

As it was about

Love

Support

Caring

Family

Friends

Who chose to literally and figuratively

WALK WITH YOU

A big reminder you are not alone.”

 

I had messaged this friend with tears in my eyes telling them how much I was affected by seeing the quilt again; that this would not be an easy challenge to meet.

I remembered the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence, by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I had made that statement in my last blog post on Damegussie.wordpress.com about writing citations for Dear Myrtle’s Mastering Genealogical Proof Study 2 chapter 4 homework. What I didn’t realize until I pulled out the Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day flyer, was that it was on the back cover.

 

3 Avon 3 Day Flyer BC

Avon’ s Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk Flyer

August 27th-29th 1999

West Point to Manhattan

You do not know sometimes when an event or a person can affect your life with the smallest of things stated, made or heard. My mother made this quilt, I heard about Eleanor Roosevelt’s “face fear…” before  and my friends encouraging words will stay with my for a lifetime, even if I forgot the origin the sentiment will remind. I will not forget this time as I sit here putting my words and thoughts to paper and soon the web for all to see. I could go on about what the cost and how much was raised back in 1999, but that is not what this blog is about. It is about those who provided the love, support both emotionally and financially that is important.

 

So in this anniversary month of my mother’s death (28 April 2001) I give honor to all the love, support, courage and life lessons that she gave me by providing you with the photographs and transcriptions of the names from the memorable walk starting 27 Aug 1999 from Bear Mountain New Jersey along the Hudson River across the George Washington Bridge ending 29 Aug 1999in New York City’s Central Park. 3 Days, 60 miles, tent cities and over 1,800 people that walked alone with me in spirit or next to me.

 

3 Quilt Center

The center of the quilt

There is much symbolism in this quilt; the center is in honor the reason I walked:

Breast cancer cure,

Who I walk for, my family:

Christopher Stevenson, my nephew; Michael J Butka, my son and Tyna M Butka, my daughter are in the photograph

My sister Eleanor Ann Stearns Carne and I are both Survivors (what a weak word for what one goes through, I am more than that, I am hope, energy, positive thinker with lots to give the world, not merely a survivor.)

And all those who have dealt with any illness-

Are who I walk for.

 

The Pink ribbon is encased in a cross, showing my mother’s belief in God and his power to heal.

I can’t say that my belief is a strong as hers, but I do believe in the power of prayer, positive thoughts and the energy from mother earth. I was once asked why I didn’t want to know what faith a person was when they offered my prayers, my response was “It doesn’t matter what I believe as much as that the prayers are being sent to me with love and encouragement, who am I to say no.” I’m still here so I continue to accept all beliefs and practices that my family and friends offer. Wouldn’t you?

 

The Rose squares have a special memory for my mother:

They symbolize the love from her husband and God. They carried a Rose of Sharon bush to each house they lived in and part of that bush was sitting outside the window of my home in 1999 continuing the tradition of love and support.

 

I will now transcribe the names to the best of my ability from each square of the quilt. I give many thanks to all who supported me during that walk and now.

Special Hugs to everyone named on the quilt and those who chose not to be listed on the quilt, but are still kept in my heart.

 

Script type signatures gave not only their emotional support but financial as well in helping me raise over $1,800 for Breast Cancer Research.

 

4 bottom cross square

 

Michelle Carter

Mary Ellen Cassidy (friend from Little League)

Karen Burgess

Christen Bowen

Susan Bean (from Derry Day Care Association, June Butka previous co-member )

Ted Carey (daughter’s Cross County Coach at Pinkerton Academy)

Kelly A Carignan

Rick Calvin

Loretta Butka (mother-in-law to June Stearns Butka)

 

5 bottom left square

Cinn-Doo 7-11 Inc.

“June-you’re an inspiration! It was a pleasure meeting you. Congratulations & Good Luck!” Lisa Morehouse

“I’, so proud of you and all your efforts! The world needs more people like you!” Hope Clement (your walker coach)

“Great Job! Your efforts will touch many lives. Keep up the god work!” Bob & Terry Silver

“Thank you for being an inspirations!” Laura Schaucher

Deannie Reinhardt (Teacher at Pinkerton Academy and follow exchange student host family)

Anthony Berni Jr

Jody A Reynolds (freind of June Butka’s brother, Nelson Neal Stearns)

Marilyn Roger

Mary Ryan

Stacy St Armand (fellow Girl Scout Mom)

Shirley Stearns (creator of the quilt mentioned in this article; Mother to June Butka)

Marjorie Stevenson ( Sister to June Butka)

“May the love in this quilt keep you warm for an eternity” – Pete M. Hale

 

6 bottom middle square

Vennu Sow “for Lisa”

Carol D Squires

Melissa Williams

Stephen P’s Yacht Club (Steve and Laurie Proulx were neighbors to June Butka)

Lee Fournier (June Butka husband’s co-worker and friend)

NSA (Northeast Security Association owner Craig Stevenson June Butka’s brother-in-law)

Jeanne Funke

Cheryl A Demaria (June Butka’s co-worker)

Lorraine Higgins

 

7 left cross square

Cecile T Wlodyka

Grace Grady (neighbor and Mike Butka’s co-worker’s wife)

Phil Meuse/Mense

Cheryl L Pearl

Donna  Leuth

Beverly Meuse/Mense

Darlene Wooster (June Butka’s neighbor)

Pam Sotiriais (June Butka’s co-worker)

 

8 left side signature

“Great Job! Debbie Johnson

 

9 middle left square

Cindi Lakes dist. 2411 (others are listed above) (Leader of the Avon District June Butka was a member of at that time)

10 middle right square

Grace Reily

June Butka (walker in 1999 and author of this blog post 2014)

Rosemary Sanborn (co-worker of Rockingham Visting Nurse Association where June Butka worked)

“Avon loves you very much. Keep walking forward” Avon Legal Dept

“To: Mom Love your son” Jose Tors xxx (he wrote a tribute to his mother, the reason he walked)

The others are listed above

 

11 Right cross square1

“June you’re Beautiful! Thanks for what you have done!” Linda Taillon

“June- You DID It!” Sara Smith

Judy Ann Bailey (follow Girl Scout Mom)

Marjorie Bloden

“June, you are a “star” in our office because you are an inspiration!” Wendy Schelch “Walker Coach”

Lee Ann Buyck (from Derry Day Care Association, June Butka previous co-member)

Joann P Buskey

Heather Dunn

Debra Faria

Jamie L Ellis

Don Brown

“June- I knew you’d get here with a bright smile as always. Congratulations on all your hard work.”  Love M Riel

 

12 top right square

Mary Ellen Cassidy

Michelle Carter

Christine Doherty

Derry Animal Hospital (caregiver of June Butka’s dog and cats)

Lilian May Duncan (first cousin on June Butka’s father side)

Terri Hayward

Tina M Hanley

“Stay Healthy” Sister Sue mouse! (Unsure of spelling)

13 Top square of cross

Diane Leclerc

Heather Dunn

Rosemary Sanborn (June Butka’s co-worker)

Kelly Carignar

Cynthia Swierk

Jan LeBlanc

Pam Soturidis (June Butka’s co-worker)

Mary Palmer (director and co-worker of Rockingham Visting Nurse Association where June Butka worker)

Todd **

Donna Leuth

Marian L Merewether (June Butka’s friend through Avon)

Rich **

I made every attempt to identify everyone to the best of my ability after  fifteen years from the event, three TIA’s (mini Strokes), and just plain memory loss.  Most unnamed are walkers; if I didn’t list someone correctly, my apologies. Please notify me of any corrections needed by adding a comment to this post. Happy Walking for Health and support.

 

Peter Hale sums up the emotion of the quilt that my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns (1935-2001) created for my first 3 Day Avon Beast Cancer in New York City 27-29 Aug 1999. It was also the inaugural walk for New York City, as well.

14 love and warmth quote

Sources:

 

I hope I am following the proper citations as I have learned from:

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher athttp://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/mastering_genealogical_proof ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group

June Butka is the daughter of Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, author this work, {Private Address} 2014

Shirley Stearns Quilt Collection, Stearns Collection: June Stearns Butka, {Private Address}, {holder of the collection}, 1999

Avon’s Breast Cancer 3 Day Flyer (Pallotta Team Works, New York, New York 1999) back cover

June Stearns Butka Photographic Collection, : June Stearns Butka, {Private Address}, {holder of the collection}, 1999

All rights reserved. Please do not reprint any portion of this blog post with prior permission.

 

For information on 2014 Avon Walks for Breast Cancer please click the link:

http://www.avonwalk.org/about/cities-dates.html 2014 dates and cities

 

I submit this post with honor and tears running down my cheeks to my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns.

 

 

 

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Save the Fat Are you Crazy?

As the New Year begins you see advertisements to lose the fat. I grew up hearing my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, and Great Aunt, Carrie Lula Stearns Perkins, telling me “Don’t waste the bacon grease!”

I know it is not the same kind of Fat, but it brought back memories of long, hot, summer nights, feeling like a big girl staying up late with the adult women listening to stories, playing cards (mainly Canasta), and a little family bonding with my mother, great aunt and cousin.

One of those stories was about why they saved the grease in a coffee can. There would always be a coffee can on the back of our stove for the bacon grease or any other grease that was used for cooking. We never wasted anything, so it wasn’t unfamiliar to save any old scraps: for stews, casseroles, fertilizer or to feed the animals. The fat was purified with sliced potatoes (“French Fries” were a common staple at our table) and reused for cooking.

Coffee Can in the fore ground

Coffee Can in the fore ground

Aunt Carrie told me many stories over the years during those summer nights. I asked if any of our family served in the World War II. This prompted many stories that summer. I wish I had thought to write those stories down, but we will just have to go with my faulty distance memory of them: about my grandfather (Nathan Augustus Stearns), her father, signing up for both WWI and WWII, his V-Day flower garden and what the women did for the war effort.

One such story was about how all the greased saved, that she did not use, was taken to the Butcher each week. She would earn money for each can she turned in.  So, the obvious question came up; “Why would the Butcher want the grease?” and pay money for it, no less?  She went on to tell me that is was a way to reuse the fat for the war effort. The butcher would turn it in to a rending plant. I was young I just thought okay, they purify the fat and send it back to the stores for it to be used again. Rationing was the big thing during the war; I had learned that in school.  She said they used the fat to make explosives. YES, EXPLOSIVES. Fat glycerin is part of nitroglycerin, who know?

I recently Googled “Plant a Victory Garden NH”, hoping to find information about my grandfathers’ victory garden. I came across the New Hampshire State Library site about Unifying a Nation.  It listed several war efforts that New Hampshire housewives and those who did not go to war did on the home front, including Save waste fat. Below is the conversion chart they had listed.

Housewives and butchers all over the country were mobilized to collect cooking fats for conversion to explosive ingredients.

One pound of waste fat equaled 1/10 of a pound of glycerine.
1/10 pound of glycerine equaled 1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled 1/3 pound of gunpowder.
1/5 of a pound of nitroglycerine equaled ½ pound of dynamite.

So SAVE THE FAT, Please; was an important part of our recent ancestor’s life, along with rationing coupons for sugar, butter, gas and many other stories to follow. Maybe my next story will be about how canning was used in the War Effort. Do you have any War Effort stories to tell? Do you have a Rosie the Riveter in the Family, an Army, Navy nurse, and Navy pilot or like me, just the home front family providing support by Saving the Fat? I would love to hear your family stories.

Story remembered by June Lee Stearns Butka on 9 Jan 2014 from a Summer in the 1960’s spent at her Aunt Carrie’s Lula Stearns Perkins home in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire. This is just one of her memories from her youth. She is me the author of this blog. I plan on writing as many of those memories as I can  for future generations to read.

Links to check out for more information of World War II war efforts:

New Hampshire State Library: http://www.nh.gov/nhsl/ww2/ww14.html

Learn NC Multimedia: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/ww2-rationing/5945

Google Search: World War II Home Front Efforts

Photo: taken March 1975 by Shirley Stearns with a Polaroid instant camera at Carrie Perkins Sutton home during one of the family Sunday Drives. You can see the homemade preserves, Coffee can for the fat, and the fresh cream pitcher (yes from a cow, not the store) in the fore front of the photograph.

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