Category Archives: Nostalgia

Hold Your Thumbs

Our dad was a giant of a man, both in strength of character and body. Standing six feet tall he was strongly muscled with meaty, thick hands, a killer smile and a heart the size of a small nation. He could be fierce and ominous to an opposing lineman on a football field but to those who knew him, he was the safest place in the world. As a young man he worked in a meat packing plant.  He was often seen carrying a side of beef hoisted over a shoulder.

Tom Keating, long time reporter for the Indianapolis Star, recounted the time “Kuntzie” cancelled the moving company Keating scheduled for a family move. Instead, he showed up with a truck and two young sons and moved the household. He even carried out a refrigerator by himself sans dolly. Our dad was full of the possible.

He was a big kid at heart. He loved to laugh. He was playful and full of mischief. He was an athlete, coach, teacher and a leader.  He was great with kids fueled by their wide eyed wonder, curiosity and innocence. He was a gentle giant who loved to hold babies, play and work hard and teach.  A lesson he taught each one of use as small children was the practice of holding our thumbs.

In our family when we wished, hoped, wanted or intended a particular outcome – those times when a prayer or good luck was needed, we held our thumbs. As youngsters, we couldn’t quite master crossing our fingers. He would show us how.  Try it now. Fold your amazing apposable thumb into the palm of your hand and gently wrap the other four fingers around the thumb creating a barrel-shaped fist.  It’s almost like a maraca at the end of each arm. This can be a subtle act, a terrific way to get grounded in a moment, harness nervousness, and build interior strength.  There’s confidence, comfort and sense of solidarity this little ritual.

So if someone says, “I’m holding my thumbs for you”,  you are in good hands. It may not have the power of a novena, but it’s pretty darn close. You can be assured that a particular saint, our dad, Bill, Kuntzie, Smiley, Coach is whispering into God’s ear on your behalf.

The Last Hurrah

Elizabeth Mitchell Kuntz, 96 (Aunt Betty) was laid to rest. Though she appeared cold and still, I see and hear her moving from table to table, working the room, hugging, laughing, and promising to catch up while never loosening her grasp on daughter Kathy’s hand.  Husband Joe watched with amusement and pride from his favorite chair as the heavens and saints welcomed her.

She enjoyed her last years as family matriarch having outlived all the others of Mitchell/Kuntz elders.  The celestial festivities will continue for weeks because she had lots of friends. She liked people and social activities, cards, get-togethers, entertaining, church and women’s groups, and bowling, even into her late eighties. Oh my, Aunt Betty loved to gamble, a lot. I once saw her wrestle the last quarter from a eight year old playing Left, Right, Center.  Honest, she took her gambling very seriously.

As a kid, playing at their house we were nearly always encouraged, NO- hustled outside, “Go on now, you kids play outside!”  She wanted us out of her hair while she talked on the phone, immersed in baking or fixing dinner.  Eating there was always a good, second only to my mom’s cooking.  They, Betty and Hank, were a bit competitive about sewing and baking prowess. Betty was generous in hospitality. I can’t remember a time as an adult she didn’t extend “come for a visit.”

One of the most appealing things about Aunt Betty was her willingness to love easily. She let people into her heart.  Perhaps it was the losses of loved ones in early life and harshness in her upbringing. She craved acceptance and I think as a result was willing to extend the same. She welcomed in- laws and step children quickly as one of her brood almost immediately.  Granted it may not have been felt by each of them as attachment but that is how it appeared looking in. So much so, I’ve heard her own children claim Betty cared more for their spouse than she did for them- in only half kidding tones.

Betty loved being on the go and involved. She wore out many a younger friend or family with her zest and enthusiasm, as long as it was almost noon or after.  All those years on a farm did not make her a morning gal. She will be missed, but heaven will be livelier with Betty in attendance tonight and for all time.

Short Video: Why Swing Sets?

 

Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit

Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit, 20th Anniversary Edition was launched in the fall of 2014!

This new cookbook begins our largest fundraising effort in the history of the Catherine Peachey Fund. We are committed to this project and to raising our goal of $1 million dollars for breast cancer research at Indiana University!

51DpwsNmoTL._AA160_ (1)Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit is a beautiful hardcover cookbook featuring a collection of recipes, entertaining tips and breast health information born from the passion and commitment of those who want to see advancements in breast cancer research continue to “bear fruit” in Indiana. 100% of the Bearing Fruit net proceeds will go to breast cancer research and programs at the IU Simon Cancer Center. The Catherine Peachey Fund has a team of over 30 volunteers working to sell and market the cookbook. This new book is poised to become the foundation for our continued funding for research.

I’m sharing this with the primary intent of connecting with other foodies, bloggers, cookbook lovers, and anyone willing to spread some love and encouragement to sell Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit. Maybe you have a connection with writers, media professionals, and families touched by breast cancer. We need help, a lot of help to meet our goal of $1 million!

We are open to ideas, more volunteers and the right marketplaces. Did I mention this is a long ardous story?
It’s a love story. A historic drama. More to come on the old stuff.

You Can get your copies at:
Cookbooks available at Bright Ideas (Indy), Cerulean (downtown Indy), Joe’s Butcher Shop (Carmel), Goose the Market (Indy), Beauvoir Aesthetics (Fishers) and Hoosier Salon (Carmel) and at www.peacheyfund.org. and amazon.com.

Confidence Training

My dad was a hero to countless people because of how he made them feel. In his company you felt like you were the most important person in the world, his most treasured friend. I was absolutely certain I was his FAVORITE Child, or at least his Favorite daughter, I am the eldest of nine. Now that I am older and wiser, I know that each of my siblings will tell you the exact same thing about themselves. This phenomenon ripples throughout all cousins, friends, former students and football players and honestly out to those meetings him for the first time. He did not know or recognize anyone as a stranger. He was amazing.

When we were little, Dad would coach us up. He encouraged hopefulness, always fostering a can-do attitude- imparting confidence. He taught us to always turn to prayer first and holding good thoughts second. He didn’t mention the idea of LUCK as I recall. Since little kids struggle with crossing fingers—We were instructed to hold our thumbs! Continue reading

Unexpected Gifts

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People will forget: what you say, what you do, but never how you made them feel- Mother Teresa

Several years ago when our youngest graduated from high school, we combined efforts with families of a niece, a nephew and another shirt tail relative to host a very large outdoor party for the four grads. Our boy Nate had attended a different school than the others so there were quite a few people we didn’t know. Early in the afternoon under the food tent, a guy, I presumed to be a classmate’s parent caught my eye, engaged my attention and waved. I waved back and smiled. Continue reading

A Letter to Someone Dear

A Letter to Someone Dear

Mom,
I was just thinking of you. I bet you were thinking of me too. So often we shared that knowing, desire, and intuition that caused the phone to ring allowing us to hear each others voices. It’s been a long time since we’ve talked and with Thanksgiving approaching and as the branches of trees grow bare you seem today more near.

I remember with affection, you directing us girls in the art of Hank’s perfect pie-making. What a fun day! All of us crowded in the kitchen, towels, flour, stories swirled amid the laughter while we dutifully forked and cut Crisco into flour trying to achieve the perfect crusts. Tethered to the oxygen but soaring in higher spirits than we’d seen in weeks, you were engaged and in command. We rejoiced and you seemed proud.

Little did any of us really know that this would be the last Thanksgiving we’d share before becoming orphans. You could still breathlessly tell the greatest stories. Your lovely blue eyes and kind heart, despite the great loneliness for dad, were such a gift to us. We speak of it still and will again this year.

Batty for Bats

bat-31963 Age 11 Bat

We grew up in the home where my dad was born. The middle room contained a door that opened to a short, steep flight of unfinished wooden stairs leading to the attic. It was dark, ominous and terrifying to kids who lived in more modern homes. I loved the attic. The best feature
the door, was completely camouflaged. Knotty pine paneling covered the entire wall including the door without a knob or handle. That corner of the room was always a promise of intrigue or surprise. Continue reading

Pansies

pansies-from-fernleaAn art project at age nine was using a sponge to apply watercolors to paper creating pansies. This child didn’t know pansies. But the process revealed heart shaped petals in purple and yellows. Ohhh, it’s a flower! A pretty flower. Her mother’s sincere acceptance of this gift of the pansy painting imbedded them into her heart. Continue reading