Friday, December 11, 2009

11 December 1955 “1955: My Nicotine Patch of Consumerism, Some Fun Christmas How-To.”

F1255 We really can see the beginning of the consumer driven world starting in post war USA. We could even say it is the launching pad to today's economy and consumer world. Yet, there is an innocence and a hope about it.

I have said this before, and most likely will again, that the 1950’s USA seems an almost pivotal point in time that one can reference for learning to live in the modern world. It seems to have an almost magical mythical quality about it. In fact, today it is almost an Avalon, if you will. Rather we see it as a time of white bread American elitism or as it truly was: a time when the country as a whole had an almost shared consciousness of ‘let’s make it all bright and shiny and new and forget the past’, it seems to reverberate with most people on some level.

Now,who could blame those new families in the 1950s wanting so much new and shiny and plastic. After two world wars, the Depression and so much loss of life and really a break up of what many had thought was the ‘normal’ world for centuries. Yet, in that hope of new and better, I think we somehow  followed the wrong path to where we are now.

Certainly, one could say the paths are relative to your situation, but I don’t believe so. Somehow the newness, the production, the new plastic furniture, medicine, houses, clothes, and toys that were the answer to every problem just got the better of us. I think we began to see the product more than the people. The original intent was certainly to make a better world for future generations, but as anyone can see that is not what is happening.

Christmas is a good example of this.  The 1950’s really saw the explosion of the ‘over the top’ Christmas in the this country. Cheaply made goods and toys were flooding the market from war torn Japan (the China of the 1950’s) and everything was easy and new and rather cheap. People wanted to celebrate and forget about the scrimping and saving of the past and to make a better happier future for their children. Unfortunately, I think this only lead to spoiled children who could not understand the context of the immense amount of commercialization of Christmas, as they were not around for the wars and the Depression. Good intentions gone bad.

So today, really, I think it is our responsibility to fix that. I know it is hard, but gosh darn it, it is worth it! And, in many ways, I find myself going back to the 1950’s as a sort of touchstone. A place in our recent past that we can relate to for its TV, Plastics, NEW, and Consumer intent, but yet it was in its infancy. It’s innocence can help us to use this as a guide. Perhaps if we could steer ourselves back to the beginning of the consumerism, than we could get a better handle on it. It makes for an easier transition. I am not sure if I am making myself clear, but by referring to this decade we could use it as a means to slowly taper off the current trend in our country to spend  and spend without care of where or how it is made or the expense and loss to our own economy and environment.

A smoker is aided by a nicotine patch. It is a little ‘jolt’ of what they are used to and it helps them to wean themselves off the addiction. I have found 1955 to be a sort of ‘nicotine patch of consumerism’, if you will. There is enough in it  that is familiar. There are the TV shows, “Oh, I understand that” there are inexpensive goods available for all, ‘Oh, that is familiar” and then you can sort of walk your way backwards into the decade to see some helpful changes. “Wait, there is no Old Navy to buy endless ‘same clothes’ made by Chinese children, but I can make or buy a vintage dress and wait it has more style? More individuality?” Sure there are McDonalds and greasy food joints, but wait, a post roast Sunday dinner with all the trimmings is so easy and cheap to make. You sort of can wean yourself from some of the ills of today.

I really think there is a sort of prescriptive magic to this decade. It has a little bit of everything for all of us to look to and adjust our modern way of living for the better.

I am going to be getting more into wanting to be self-sufficient. To garden and grow more. There is a movement like that today, yet I feel I want to do that but also have the time to make part of my life ‘stylish’. That is to say, I want to be out there in my Wellies in the muck planting my crops and tending my chickens, but then I want to clean up, put on my prettiest frock and petticoat, a darling little hat and go to town.

I feel somehow that the ‘various’ movements of ‘vintage’ or ‘self-sustaining’ the ‘modern hippy’ they are all separate and feel they need to draw a line in the sand and throw mud at one another, when really they are all of the same ilk. One who cares about fashion certainly can care about gardening and its design, they really share so much. Someone who wants to learn to grow and can and preserve can also find joy in a pretty dress or a moment of personal style our grandmothers did! I think one is not contradictory to another. I think there is as much importance as personal style that could help our consumer driven modern world. It is easy to buy cheaply made things at chain stores, but then one gets slovenly and lazy. I honestly believe there is a REAL tangible correlation between our appearance and how we approach our day and life. If we are dressed as if always comfortable to go to bed, then perhaps we shall all day feel that way. A nice style and uniqueness also leads to one wanting to make up their own look without having to always turn to the mass produced ill made cheap things. Buying hand made, making your own and buying old clothes is also great for the environment and your local economy, as well as good for you own well being and your personal view.

I guess I am saying that as 1955 draws to a close, I am replenished with the idea that it has come to mean a new philosophy of life for me that is all inclusive. We don't’ have to have sides. This modern concept of defining oneself by the ‘group we belong to’: “Oh, I am into this, so here are the things I buy that represent that. Or this is my philosophy, so part of my energy must be spent in talking down those who do not share it or talk of how ignorant they are compared to me.” It is a damaging way to be, but really it just makes us more formed into little product niches. I am a Goth teen therefore I want and do only these things and buy this. We have allowed ourselves to become demographic markets easier to be sold to.  Why limit yourself to any one thing?  The definitions of ourselves have become marketing tools.

The whole world is out there and full of wonder and interesting things. I want to know I can build a house, raise a chicken, plant a crop, but also sew a dress I designed, wear it stylishly to the city, enjoy a concert, read read read and study and write my thoughts down. I don’t want to be defined by a specific point or item, yet 1955 has allowed me to realize this. I know now that I will most likely always refer back to the first half of the 20th century, as it has so much to teach me and us. I just hope that any of you out there who do want a change or maybe you look at your life and think, ‘hmmm, I think I am okay but I feel sort of blah or something is missing’ that you can really take a look back and see that we are not what we buy or spend.

We do not have to be defined by whatever ‘look’ or ‘philosophy’ is going at present. The true core to happiness seems to be becoming a true well rounded person. To cook, clean, learn, study, question, sew, paint, write, garden, build, darn, iron the list can go on. Those things we continually try to find ways to do easier or not at all are really part of being alive. It is who we are as a species. So, the next time you buy that premade dinner because it’s easy, think of what you are doing with the time you are saving by not making it yourself. Are you doing it so you can sit and watch a show you have seen 5 times already? Is that living? Is that life? There could be moments of living and realization in that kitchen when you are reading the cookbook, cutting those vegetables, tying up that bird with string that IS living! Be careful what you so easily toss away to convenience and modern living. If you are bored and feel aimless it is because you have purchased away your humanity, your independence. Why pay to give up the joys of living?

Well, enough of my soapbox, though it does feel good to be on it again!

Now, to brass tacks, if you will. I am STILL ill and can barely talk. Everyday I get a little stronger, but find I need to rest in between my usual daily chores. I have notices that being sick in 1955 after all the skills I have begun to gain and the amount of activity I do in one day is so much more frustrating that the old modern sickness. Then, so what, sit and watch TV and drink oj how much different is that than not being sick? But, now I see all the things I need to do. Then, when I do a 1/4 of them, find myself exhausted from the work of it! It is a sort of fitting way to put all I have learned and now do in perspective, that is for sure. I appreciate where I have got to this year and where I can still go.

couple with giftIt is unfortunate that I am sick this month, however, as I love Christmas. I always have. And there are so many darling ‘home-made’ gifts and food and decorations at this time (1955) so I do want to have a go at them! Let’s see what I can muster today.

gift giving 1 In one of my Christmas Magazines for 1955 there is a fun spread of different Kitchen Gifts they are fun and most of these could be had today fairly inexpensive through ebay or local thrift shops. This one is of particular interest as you see the little television making its appearance as a kitchen ‘necessity’. I love the fabric. You can also see as the Decade progresses the mixture of the more sleek modern with the increasing interest in ‘Early American’ or ‘Colonial’ look. The numbering and decoration of the wall clock has a modern antiquity compared with the more straight lined edges of the earlier decade. Also the use of gold tones and brass is beginning to be incorporated into kitchen design. This will of course culminate in what I rather think the most unappealing decade of Kitchen design, the 1970’s when ‘Spanish colonial’ is in vogue with dark stained wood, avocados and gold and overtly turned spindles and overly adorned dark wood plays its role accented by the avocado green shag carpet of the family room. gift giving 2  From the same magazine spread comes the color combination I love and is rather modern today: turquoise and brown. Again, you can see the feeling of a slight decorative edge to the modernity, as in the clear glass canister's turquoise design. I actually love these and maybe one day will find them. The heating/chaffing dish in turquoise is also lovely. You can also notice now, halfway through the decade, that the magazines are beginning the layout we still use today, that is photographing items of similar color and utility together into an almost modern composition. This is still done today in many magazines which, for the most part, have become advertising flyers we pay for. Pretty colors, though, are they not?

Now, here are some fun holiday decorations to make 1950’s style: glass plate christmas tree 1I love this ‘Glass Plate Christmas Tree’. It could really be done up modern or in this fun retro way with things you have around the house. And here is the How to:glass plate christmas tree 2(as usual, just click on the image and it will become large enough to read) I think you could also use, in place of the disposable pie plates, cute colored cupcake papers cut as flowers and add a petit fors in reds and greens!

poodle dog 1 You can’t get more 1950’s than with the poodle, the dog of the decade. This little darling could be so fun in pinks and grey too! Here are the instructions.poodle dog 2

I will be sharing my fun ‘how to’ decorations and gifts this month. Do any of you think you might attempt any of these if I were to include more?

Now, though I am excited about my new Dione Lucas French Cooking book and want to make such lovely desserts as Souffle’ au caramel froid (cold caramel souffle’), one cannot but help being drawn into that very American Dessert of the 1950’s: garishly showy, sometimes overtly literal and always creamy and sugared. So, look at these four lovely pies:christmas pies 1

 christmas pies 2 If any of you gals would like to try these for the holiday season I will be posting their recipes next time.

Now, as most of my energy has now been spent on this post, I must rest before I attempt laundry (I know it isn’t Monday, but a gal’s schedule is all over during her illness!).

I think I will leave you with this cute video I found on YouTube. It really shows no matter what time or persuasion, the most important part of the holiday or really of your life, is friends and families and the memories you make.


  1. I really enjoyed the video. It brought back many good memories. Thanks!

    From what I understand, Christmas as we know it is an American invention. We could probably put the blame on Charles Dickens as well.

    I know plastics have a bum rap these days, but plastic has really increased the quality of our lives. It allowed us to have quality, safe, goods at reasonable prices. Along the way, big business focused on more profit and "more effective" advertising. We see the results today. Plastics gave us good jobs, and American made products. It saved and continues to save lives. It isn't all bad.

    I don't think people really started out wanting more and more. We lost our religious moorings by the roaring twenties. When the Great Depression was over and people's basic needs were met, they filled that void with other things. Consumer goods was certainly one of them. During the 80's I remember my stomach turned when I heard, "The first one who dies with the most toys, wins." Advertising has a much greater effect on people than they are willing to admit. There is a tremendous amount of money spent on advertising and influencing people via all the media forms. The money wouldn't be spent if the results weren't there.

    Years ago I had an Indian Professor. She was disappointed that the average American felt comfortable buying clothing off the rack, when she went to a seamstress and had clothing made that was one of a kind just for her. She had a point, but it was American women in decades past that made their own clothing.

    I most certainly agree that there is joy in making! There is joy in the accomplishment of learning a new skill! Life is a banquet, but most people are starving.

    No Idle Hands

    I hope you are feeling better soon!

  2. Thank you, I have now been prescibed antibiotics, so we shall see where that leads me. I cannot believe I have now been sick over 8 days and my voice has been almost gone for three! Luckily I had the H1N1 shot so I know it is not swine flu. Just the time of the year, I suppose.
    I wasn't really bashing plastic, using it more as a euphamism for the ideal of 'new and shiny' often viewed during post war america and certainly plastic makes many things possible especially in the realm of science. I hope we have a replacement for it when the oil runs out, however, as it is a petroleum product.
    I do hope, that overall my posts come off positive, for I do not feel we are all doomed, but I do feel that many of what it is to be alive and happy we sort of sell off to the consumer world. Is it better to have some things easier like prepared food and cheap clothes in the long run? Do we use the 'free time' in a way we are proud of or that enriches our lives? or do we just use it to be feed more of what we NEED to buy through the media? I don't know, I feel that this year has made me happy in the simple things that in fact are not simple at all and by their challenge, have found my life!

  3. I frequent a simple living forum that has the stereotypical "crunchy hippy" frugal, tree-hugging, back to the land type of folk. As this recession has progressed, they've been sort of split into two groups of thought: half of them are optimistic and hope that the mainstream public will see the error of their consumeristic ways and are glad to see more traffic of newbies posting on the frugality threads, and are more than happy to lend advice and tips.

    The other half scoff at the newbies and take the attitude of, "We've been living this way for years and will sail through this recession with flying colors, and will remain living this way once you newbies have jumped off the bandwagon once it is no longer trendy to be frugal." In other words, they feel that these people haven't truly changed their way of thinking and are only learning about frugality and such because "it's the thing to do these days."

    Granted, there's probably some people who are only on "the bandwagon" because they have to be, and once their situation improves will be right back at the mall with credit card in hand, but hopefully not everyone is like that! The latter group also kind of takes the attitude that unless you're living off the grid in a yurt and cooking all of your organic food in a solar oven, then you're not worth talking to. They have definitely compartmentalized themselves into a narrow-minded way of thinking, despite their belief that they're the liberal free-thinkers and everyone else are opressed dolts! It's sad, really.

    It's going to be interesting watching what happens in the next 5 or so years, and seeing if people once again allow mad-rampant consumerism and greed lead them by their noses, or if the hard lessons being learned right now stick.

  4. On the topic of poodles and 50's great-grandmother got together regularly with her sister and sisters-in-law (The Girls) and worked on handwork together. They would bring what they were working on individually or tackle a project together. One time they all crocheted pink poodles that fit over whiskey bottles (they were all strict teetotalers...wonder where they got the bottles). Those beauties were filled with bath salts and stood in the corners of The Girls' 1950's bathrooms.


  5. Gingerella-yes, I do know the sort you mean. It is as if when some groups get together they want so badly to belong that their focus is the excluding of others. Or the overt preaching of their ideals as the 'only way'. That is why, quite honestly, I don't really feel like I fit into any sort of modern gengre. As I said, I love to garden and want to consider making more eco friendly ways to make my own power etc, yet I feel equally comfortable talking of fashion or oohing over some Dior styles and pretty things. I might wear a vintage fur (the animal has died and what a waste of a life to just throw it in the landfill) but then decide to buy a 'free range chicken'. I think trying to see others ideas and incorporating all that can and will be interesting into one life is much more rewarding than living to only exclude or to proclaim statements with "Oh, well you know 'those people'..."
    Rebecca-ooh, they must have been absolutely kitchsily (if that is a word) divine!

  6. IT wasn't until a few years ago I found out what a free range chicken's was.You see I grew up in a rural community. Chicken were chickens. You slowed down not to hit them on the gravel road. I moved to the city to here so much about free range chickens. Then I realized that is what all of us had.(we never called them that)
    On NPR (national public radio)yesterday they were talking about France charging a tax for carbon. It is a new idea the are thinking of implementing to pay for your carbon foot print.

  7. I loved the little video. That house in the very last scene...*sigh* I would kill for ahouse like that. I guess it comes from having lived in places that were always too small all my life.

    Anyways, I wanted to say that I have been shocked the last few days. I have been a lurker/commenter on this blog since sometime around March...nearly the whole time. And ALWAYS were the comments in the coffee klatch interesting, respectful if not always in accord. We have always agreed to disagree in areas, and remembered that we are sisters in homemaking.

    Now, suddenly, in the last week, there are new posters making some seriously snide remarks. One was that Janice and her very derogatory remarks in regard to SAHW/SAHM and how we are "weak" and "dependent". The other was an anon. post who made a crude comment regarding your and your friends weight.

    I am disgusted that people would come here and make such comments. This is a community, and if you don't agree...LEAVE. I consider my friends here just as important and deserving of my respect as the people I deal with here and in person. It is so sad that cyber anonymity allows people to be so crass and disrespectful.

    And, in regards to that anonymous poster speaking of your weight. Ignore them. You and your friends look just lovely, Donna. The modern concept of "waif" skinny is just disgusting. Thankfully, my hubby agrees. I put on some extra weight with the 4 kids, and he likes me just the way I am. If you wish to lose some weight for YOU and your health or whatever, you go girl. But don't think you look "bad"...because you don't. You look beautiful!

  8. To Lorie Bronson: I always admire your comments because of their intelligent,well grounded and wide vision life experience base..You have expressed very well the ideas and thoughts of many of us regarding homemaking-household management and the blog. Best Holiday Wishes ........Dianne

  9. Mrs Tailleur-How funny! Well, that is true, free range used to be 'normal'. Actually, again, the 1950's saw the move towards the ends of todays poultry where they are basically mass marketed, debeaked, locked in cages in which they cannot stand for the whole of their lives. There is an interesting video from late 40's post war about the 'new' way of keeping chickens. In it you can see how they up the level of production, but they have not yet got to the point that is actual cruelty. Good intentions gone bad. It seems an almost hallmark of the decade. That is why I feel to refer back to that time when we were beginning to form the now modern world, look at their intent which is good and then follow it to today to see where it went wrong, so we can fix it.
    Lori-I had noticed that as well. I could have deleted it, but I thought, "No" this is part of the experiment, I am not going to contort it in anyway. In fact, my best idea was simply to respond in an honest but kind way. I feel, were we to reduce ourselves to 'shouting' back at them, then we will sink to their level. Honest, intelligent and considerate discourse shall always win out here. Let them have their snide comments, but see how alone they will feel with only kindness is returned. That is NOT what they are looking for, they are looking to ruffle feathers. I am not sure why people feel the need to do so. Perhaps, in some way, they feel inadequate or perhaps they were mistreated or currently treated poorly and therefore their response is to lash out, as they have been lased out upon? I thank you for 'standing up' for our community and I think you did a fine job of responding with actual intelligent points to counter their snideness. Anyway, bully to them, for now I feel I will do a post about it and the difference between what is consdidered appropriate and polite today as compared to 1955.
    Dianne-I agree with you and really all of you who comment really can claim this blog as part you. You have all made it so wonderful and so much more 'alive' than just a single voice calling out into the great void. It has given me hope and promise for the actual and virtual world that kindness, intelligence and community can be brought back! Brava to all of us!

  10. I have to say 50's Gal, you and your friends look beautiful in your 50's dresses next to the tree.

    Don't pay no attention about that horrible anon poster who said you need to lose weight. You look very healthy, and that's the main thing. (I struggled with borderline anorexia as a teen- so this is close to my heart)- no wonder girls today are so pressured to be something they are not......I went from 120 pounds in two months down to 96 pounds (I am five feet four inches 3/4's tall) I'm a healthy weight but cannot look at myself in the mirror.....sigh.....

    Your slideshow of Christmas pics from the 50's reminds me of the pics I have of my mom and aunt from the same time period.

    Sigh at times I wish, I could have a coffee klatch during the day, the women in my mom's neighbourhood growing up had a tremendous amount of support, there was always get togethers with cards and such.

    And today we claim to be advanced, when in a way we are so backwards we don't even know our neighbours anymore.

    I love being a housewife, everything about it whether it's doing the laundry, dusting my nic nacs or being able to pick up my Gr. 3 child for lunch, he still runs out and says, "Mommy" as he hugs me, even though he's just seen me that morning.

    My boys and I today made simple peanut butter cookies and the joy of us being together in the kitchen was tremendous.

    This site actually inspires me to be a better wife, and mom, it provides a forum for someone like myself who always said she should have been born fifty years ago.

    I hope I can raise my boys with the same morals and values that my grandmother, my mom (all SAHM's) inspired in myself.

    I sometimes feel like the odd woman out in my generation, I love the security that being a housewife provides, my husband loves to take care of me like I love to take care of him......and my father is definitely a throw back from the Victorian age, so maybe that is why I have little in common with people of my own age :)

    Mom in Canada

  11. Dianne - Thank you so very much for your generous words. I sometimes worry that I am going to offend, but I write anyways. I just believe in telling things as I see them, and being as honest as possible. My family is very (VERY) midwestern. My folks raised us to be honest, hardworking type of people who are more conderned about family than stuff. I think that is why I have hung out here so much this past year. It had been a real blessing to meet and chat with women whole believe in the same basic things I do.

    Donna- *applauds* I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a post regarding manners and what is acceptable in comparison to 1955 to now. I think the thing that really miffed me is that the one commentator couldn't even be bothered (or was brave enough) to share their name or handle. cheap. Thanks for the reminder to be cool and be a lady all the time. Class NEVER goes out of style!

  12. BTW, How are you feeling? I hope better. Did the antibiotics help?

  13. Hi 50's Gal!!

    It's Stefanie here - the Australian girl that used your project in my story on 50's fashion and women's lifestyle! I want to say that i hope you are feeling better!! I sent you a copy of the completed story, i don't know if you have checked your emails yet!

    I hope you like it, let me know what you think!Wishing you and your family all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.


  14. I would also love a blog on manners and etiquette.
    Though my husband and I were both products of the early 70s, we find ourselves talking as though we were products of the 50s when we approach manners. We find that even the people of our own age who are just spoiled and rotten attitude. That is not to say ALL people are, but there is a larger majority of people who are down right rude now days. I'll save this rant for a later date, haha!

    I am seriously thinking of making that poodle! I vaguely remember my grandmother having something like that out during the holidays when I was younger!

    Those pies look so mouthwatering! I cannot wait for the recipes!


  15. Good morning every one! Believe it or not I am still sick! I think I am on the mend, but it is the exhaustion that is the most frustrating. When I attempt one small part of my day, it takes hours and I am spent afterwards. It is sad that it has to happen during the Christmas Season I love so. Oh, well. I am on day two of the antibiotics and I think they are helping.
    LPM-OH, do make the poodle! I would love to see a photo of it. If I could get mended we could have our website up by Jan and you could share it with all of us.
    I will honestly try to get some semblance of a post up today, pie recipes and etiquette, I think.

  16. 50sgal:

    Sending you get well thoughts. I'll bet you'll be tip-top by Christmas!!

    I had to comment about snobbery during the current rough patch. Our website has tried to focus on buying from local shops. We do articles, visit the shops and promote, promote, promote.

    Well, *THE* buy-local organization for St. Louis is on Twitter, so I (our business) followed them...only to find out we were BLOCKED. I have never been blocked from anyone. I couldn't figure it out. Was it a glitch in Twitter?

    So, I e-mailed the Buy Local organization and said I was confused and hoped I hadn't offended them in any way. I explained that people from our community work and BUY in St. Louis every single day. I thought for sure he would unblock me...or state that he had hit a wrong button.

    He told me (as if this made perfect sense) that they are restricting anyone else other than St. Louisans. They want to promote ONLY St. Louis.

    I was floored. I thought, especially in the buy-local movement, that there was a spirit of cooperation and sharing. But apparently, it is also every man for himself.

    And, to be clear, it is no skin off my nose that he doesn't unblock me. I don't really care other than to support the movement. I don't understand what my threat to him was. Am I competition? That's so weird.

    It made me very sad. Not just from being rejected, but from the realization that snobbery has extended to grassroots areas, too.

    Color me naive.


  17. Kris7-unfortunately, I feel the things we do might change but often people don't. I suppose there will always be that rotten apple in the barrel and they seem to be the squeeky wheel that gets into the place of power. Sorry about the mixed metaphors, but they are just so darned appropriate here! Yet, as you said, you shouldn't let the markets/owners suffer for some ill though person in charge of twitter (whatever that might be! Can someone tell me for I have people who follow me on Twitter and I an glad for it, only I haven't any idea what it means? I mean am I twittering? How does one twitter or is it tweet?)
    So, good for you, support local and dash it all his ill-bred atitude towards you! It sort of makes me think of Mrs. Oleson from Little House on the Prairie!

  18. Mrs. Oleson was indeed quite the lady, was she not?! She helped make the show, though.

    I do hope that you gain your strength back soon as far as this wonderful Christmas season goes and all the preparation that it entails. I can hardly believe that it is less than two weeks away! Blessings to you, 50sgal, and all that you are doing.

  19. Mrs. Olsen. LOL. I haven't thought about her in years.


  20. Well, that was an excellent post for you still being under the weather and all - I especially liked the link to the Christmas slideshow! I hope you continue to feel better every day, and look forward to your next post. :)

  21. As the year is coming to a close, I have to tell you how impressed I have been with how self-sufficient you are becoming and the "a-ha" moments you have shared with us. I know I have been remiss in not commenting very often but I still strongly believe we are kindred spirits on this journey.

  22. So true, Dr Julie, so true. Sometimes I imagine I can hear the non comments coming through our shared community. Imagined, but lovely none-the-less and I am thankful for any and all of you who have come along on this journey with me, for surely it is our victory, not just mine!

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