Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

The subject of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #75 is nostalgic. I feel nostalgic for places that I used to go to, such as our family’s cottage in northern Wisconsin. We sold the cottage in 2015, which had been in my family for 50 years, because it was no longer possible or feasible to manage the place from far away. But for many years, that beautiful place was a relaxing – and inexpensive – vacation.

Dale used to love to fish there, off the pier and in the rowboat. He would stay out there for hours. This photo is from July 2013.
Our lake had a couple of pairs of loons which nested somewhere across the lake. Their calls echoed over the lake as they communicated with each other and even with loons on nearby lakes. I got to know what each of their distinct calls meant – danger/fear, looking for company, and just “I am here.” It was a treat to see them get relatively close to the shore, so that I could take a photo like this one in July 2014.
a pair of loons! They have been getting so close to the dock.
At the cottage, I always felt close to nature and sometimes I would sit on the screened porch during a thunderstorm, watch the black clouds covering the sky, listen to the falling rain, feel the cool, moist air and smell the earthy freshness that rain brings.
Another place that I have visited several times is Rio de Janeiro – I always spend at least a few days there every time I go to Brazil. Most of the times I’ve been there, I’ve stayed with in-laws or friends in Leme, at the far end of Copacabana. Just looking at this photo makes me feel nostalgic.
20161123_190534And when I am there, I always insist on taking the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf in late afternoon, and watch the sun set. And as I look over that beautiful scene – the colors of the sunset and the lights coming on in all the neighborhoods I can see from there – I always get tears in my eyes and promise: I will be back. And so far, I’ve kept that promise, but of course I never know when it will be my last time there. I took both the photo above, of Copacabana Beach looking toward Leme at the far end from the bar at the top of a hotel, and the photo below, at sunset on Sugarloaf, in November 2016, during my last trip there.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
These places I love, and the people, scenery, smells and sounds associated with them, give me what Brazilians call saudade, which is roughly translated to nostalgia, but it is more than that: it is sweet sorrow, it is happiness and sadness, love and longing, all at the same time. You can have saudades even when you are with the people and in the places which invoke it. Because you know that life is fleeting, that the moment you are experiencing is just that – a moment. Saudade reminds you not to take life for granted.


Since the end of 2013, Dale and I have had Hazel, our cat, as part of our family. But for 20 years before that, I did not have a cat, primarily because my son had asthma and was allergic to cats, which was sad for me because I love cats. Amazingly, he outgrew both his allergies and his asthma, and anyway, he no longer lives with us, so we were able to welcome a shelter cat into our home at Christmas time that year. Prior to 1993, I had pet cats for much of my life, and I remember them with nostalgic fondness.

From left to right are Kirry (a male Manx, my family’s pet cat during most of my childhood), Joia (1976-1992, a female half-Manx;  I was with my first husband then and she traveled from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to Brazil and back), and Blackfoot (female tabby, 1993 – I had this cat only briefly before having to give her up because my son developed asthma).

I have developed nostalgia (or more accurately, saudade) for all the places I’ve been and the happy times I have spent in them. That is one reason I love photography – the photos I take tell the story of my experiences and invoke memories I would otherwise have forgotten.

Song Lyric Sunday: Feelin’ Groovy

I am once again entering Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday, a challenge to post a song that fits the prompt. Here is the prompt and the rules of the challenge:

Cool/Groovy/Hip/Nifty/Radical/Swell which is our prompt for this week. I am almost certain that this category will work, so everyone can find a song that fits the prompt. Select your song, write your post and please be patient, and wait for me to approve your pingbacks, or you can just place your link in the comments section.
Here are the “rules”:
Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
Feel free to suggest future prompts.
Have fun and enjoy the music.

I chose the word groovy – immediately Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feeling Groovy 59th St. Bridge Song” came to mind! This is definitely a song of my generation. However, the YouTube video that had the lyrics is a different band, Harper’s Bizarre (although their cover is remarkably like the original).

It turns out Paul Simon doesn’t like this song. Here is a very different rendition with a political bent to it – Paul Simon & Stephen Colbert.

Jim, using “Wild Thing” by the Troggs was awesome! Oh, the memories…..!

Your Daily Word Prompt: Nostalgic

I have had many opportunities lately to feel nostalgic, mainly because we are preparing to move to a senior community in six months, so we have to drastically downsize. This means going through boxes in the basement that haven’t been touched in decades!

I have found old photos of myself and my family from the 1970s – 1990s, drawings I did in 1972 and artwork my son did in elementary school, as well as old journals (as far back as 6th grade!), comics I made and stories I wrote.

Most valuable to me at this current time is a journal that I started in 2007 which I found in a drawer of my desk. Just 12 years ago, I had only written in the first 10 pages or so. So now I am carrying it around to encourage me to write and draw instead of playing games on my cellphone! Right now it’s an all-out war between my phone and my journal! The problem with a journal is that it is larger than a cellphone and writing by hand is getting more difficult lately – my hand cramps up and nice, legible handwriting after a page or two becomes erratic and less legible! However, a journal doesn’t need to be charged after using!

My next post happens to also be about something nostalgic: the music of my generation! Here’s a link: Song Lyric Sunday: Feelin’ Groovy.

Here are some of the things I found in the basement that made me nostalgic.

My son’s childhood

Jayme at beach in Milwaukee c1986
Jayme – 18 months old – at a beach in Milwaukee
Julia Waeffler & Jayme Villa-Alvarez
Jayme, about age 3 with his cousin Julia, age 5. These two were the best of friends for many years.
Jayme Villa-Alvarez, Dale Berman
My husband, Dale, showing Jayme how to put air in his bike tires. The most striking thing for me in this photo is how black Dale’s hair was then!
Jayme wrote me this letter from summer camp. He was about 10.

My family used to gather around the piano every Christmas and sing carols. This might have been the last time we were all together (1967). My mother probably took the photo because she isn’t in it. I am standing (2nd from left), while two of my sisters were at the piano.
In high school I had a boyfriend who taught me how to develop photos in a darkroom. These are three photos I took and developed back then. The top two were taken at my school, Verde Valley School; underneath is the front of the house of a family that I stayed with in Oaxaca, Mexico, during my senior year.

Here I am with two of my sisters at my high school graduation! They had graduated from the same school years earlier. (I’m in the middle.)

When I was in elementary school – and even before that! – I loved to draw more than anything else. My mother used some of my drawings on the family’s Christmas cards a couple of times. This one made the local newspaper! I was 7 at the time.
Katy's Xmas card design - age 7

In 1973, I went to Mexico with a college boyfriend (my future 1st husband) and we traveled all over the country. This photo was taken at Uxmal, Yucatán. I am climbing down a very steep Mayan pyramid, holding onto a chain as I descended. It was scary!
Uxmal, Mex-Jan 1973
After my mother became a widow, she made arrangements to move to a retirement community. She moved there after her dog died. In this photo copied from a scrapbook, taken in 2003, I am posing with her after a concert my church choir performed at the retirement home. My mother lived there many years, first in independent living, then she moved to assisted living, and finally to memory care, where she passed away in 2014.

Posted for Your Daily Prompt: Nostalgic, 5/26/19.


June 8, 2015

V is for Vacation, a teacher’s favorite word! I admit that having summers off was an closedforsummer_colorincentive for me to go into teaching. However, teaching is way too challenging and exhausting for that to be the appeal for long!

Teachers look forward to their vacations as much as their students do. Most schools in the U.S. have three vacation periods a year:  2 weeks for the holidays, 1 week in early spring, and 2 months in summer. Each one of these vacations is a chance to relax and rejuvenate, but summer represents the transition from the old to the new. By this time each year, everyone at school is anticipating the start of vacation. Kids are antsier than normal and teachers tend to have a more relaxed attitude too.

What exactly do we spend our summer vacations doing? Often students are asked to write “What I did on my summer vacation” paragraphs when they first go back to school in the fall. If I as a teacher were writing that, what would I say?

I'm on vacationIn the early years of teaching, we often spend our summers taking classes, perhaps working toward a graduate degree. In my case, I took classes required for ESL and bilingual teaching certification. The first one I took was a survey course, and it was held in Oaxaca, Mexico – a nice way to combine work and pleasure!

Some teachers will teach summer school or tutor students for part of the summer. Some get other part-time jobs to supplement their income. When my husband was teaching at a Chicago high school, these jobs helped boost his “strike fund” – extra money put aside in case there was a strike and thus a period of not being paid.

Some teachers will just stay home and relax, catch up on sleep and do home-based projects that they never could get to during the school year. Maybe do some gardening, painting, cleaning out closets, whatever.

Of course, the vacations I most look forward to were those during which I got to travel!

Here are the trips I took during my vacation periods:
March 2001 (spring break) – Cuba with my mother
DSCN7981Every summer – our cottage in Northern Wisconsin
July 2003 – Oaxaca, Mexico with others taking a graduate course required for ESL/bilingual education
July-Aug. 2004 – 5 weeks study abroad & homestay in Costa Rica, with my son (took Spanish and a Costa Rican culture course).
June, 2005 (5 days) – Arizona for high school reunion, (where my husband met my two Cathedralbest friends from high school), and visit to my aunt & uncle in Mansurs' house in Prescott - 2005 scrapbookPrescott
June 2006 (2 weeks) – another high school reunion and sightseeing in Arizona, followed by a week in Seattle, WA where we had a family reunion of sorts with my husband’s family
Aug. 2007 (5 days) – San Francisco, with my husband, sister & brother-in-law, for an aunt’s memorial
July 2008 – (12 days) Peru – (with a tour company) see elsewhere in this blog for my 978complete journal of that trip.
July 2009 – (10 days) Hawaii, to visit my husband’s sister & Raw00107tour Oahu with a short hop to Maui
July 2010 (4 1/2 weeks) Spain – (study abroad) see elsewhere in this blog for my complete journal of that trip.
DSCN4007June-July 2012 – (road trip) ancestors tour to Ohio and Indiana, visit

Katy standing behind one of the guitars

Springfield, IL
June-July 2013 – road trip to Texas to visit 506a high school  friend, also visited Memphis, TN.
Late March 2014 (1 week) – road trip to South Carolina, Hilton Head, and Savannah, GA. DSCN8635Thus I’ve managed to take some kind of trip almost every year during my teaching career! I plan to continue traveling as often as possible during retirement, but it could be at any time of year – stay tuned!

rainbow & airplaneThis summer will seem like any other summer, except that we have sold our cottage, so next weekend is our last trip up there.  I don’t think I’ll feel “retired” until school starts again in August and I won’t be going back!

For me, the summer of 2015 marks the end of an era.