The Many Changes to My Childhood Home

I grew up in the small town of Molino, Florida, which is located north of Pensacola, Florida in Escambia County.  The population as of July 1, 2019 was 1,394.1 Although I could not locate anything to back it up, I would have to estimate back in 1967 when I was born, the population was probably under 500. It was a town where everyone knew everybody.

The house that was my childhood home has been in my dad’s family since 1937. The house was built in 1928. My grandfather used to take the train from Chicago, Illinois to Barrineau Park, Florida where he met my grandmother. He made many trips back and forth, eventually marrying my grandmother and moving her to Chicago where my dad was born. By the time, my dad was a year old, his parents had purchased the family home which was occupied by my grandparents, my dad and his one and only sibling, an older brother, Richard.

Over the next 80 plus years, the home would change many times, not only on the inside, but also on the outside. Currently the home is unrecognizable from what I remember as a child. The one thing that hasn’t changed since I was born is the back porch. The bricks leading up to that concrete porch have busted many lips over the years.

I remember and wish the front of the house was still like it was when I was a child. There was a big porch all the way across the front with big white columns and the longest sidewalk I had ever seen that as kids we had to walk down to get to the road to catch the bus to go to school. I’m sure my love of front porches is because of my childhood home.

This home has been the backbone of my family. The place that I could always go to no matter where I lived or who I was married to or what was going on in my life. It was the most stable thing I’ve ever had. It provided a safe place for my children as they were growing up and a place they could always go “home” too as well. It’s a place where many weddings and family gatherings have taken place. A familiar and steady place that everyone feels love and comfort.

The oldest pictures I have are from 1938; although the house was built in 1928. The people here would be my grandmother, my dad and uncle.

The fireplace in the front was taken out by Hurricane Frederick in September 1979. We reused them to build a new fireplace (shown in a more current picture below). Not sure when the back fireplace was removed; although it was not there when I was a child. The room on the back of the house is where my dad used to sleep as a child. It was later converted to an “inside” back porch and the current back porch.

By 1967 the front of the house had changed as some of the surrounding brick had been removed and the front columns had been changed.

This pic from Easter 1970 shows a different view of the porch where you can see where the original brick had been removed. On the left above the bushes you can see where the brick had originally been.

It would have been after Hurricane Frederick when the chimney fell that daddy changed the front of the house and closed in the front porch turning that area into a den with a much bigger fireplace. The front had cedar siding.

The building to the left is the garage and it changed colors many times as well. I have seen pics of it being silver, brown, red, and most recently yellow. (I always like the red color the most).

The back-porch area, which has been this way more than 50 years. The only thing that changes is the chairs.

The house wasn’t the only thing that changed through the years, the grounds did to. Somewhere along the way a pond was added, which we all love to fish in. It’s probably been there around 10-15 years as of the posting of this story.

This pic shows the house before the most recent renovations along with the red garage, the red barn (on the left) and the yellow building (which use to be part of the chicken pens back in the day).

During the most recent renovation, the cedar siding on the front was covered by vinyl and the front door was removed. The old fireplace from the 1930’s was removed, and a door was put in for a side entry. A new roof was added and other minor updates. The only thing that now looks like “home” is the back porch as the rest of the house looks nothing like my childhood home.


The magnolia trees that had been there my entire life were recently cut down changing up the appearance of the grounds even more than when all the bushes were removed around the house. The yard is still immaculate as dad insists on mowing the grass every week.

All of these changes are hard to accept, but it also shows that time changes everything and all we have left are the memories we make. I wish now that I had taken more pictures of our lives as we were growing up so I would have more memories to share with my children and grandchildren.

My hope is that if you take anything from this post that it would be to cherish every memory you have growing up, take pics of all the changes that take place in your life as that is all you will have when the world changes and life keeps moving on.

One of the most precious memories of all from this childhood home is the family pics we took for my parents 50th anniversary in 2011. This pic is just another reminder that things change every day.

The Original 5

The grandkids, 3 of which are my children

The great-grandchildren, (my grandson)

The last pic of me and my children together!




April Weight Loss Update

As of Tuesday, April 28th I began my final round of HCG shots. I am still getting two lipo shots per week as well. For the next six weeks I will take a shot first thing each morning. In addition, my calorie intake will drop to around 500-600 calories. My goal on this last round is the loose at least 20 pounds. Once the shots end, then I will go through six weeks of maintenance before the entire program is over. At the end I will be measured to see how many inches I have lost since the beginning.

I had done some measuring myself along the way and was surprised to see that I had lost 4.5 inches in my boobs, 6.5 inches in my waist and 3 inches in my hips. My beginning measurements went back to March 2019 when I was at my heaviest. No wonder I needed new clothes last month. Even though the weight loss is not where I would like it to be I still have to look at the positives and seeing the inches fall off is definitely a positive and something I am very proud of myself for accomplishing.

My final weigh in and measuring will not be until July, but with the way time is flying by, it won’t be long before that day comes. In the meantime, I will strive to do the best I can to stay on track for the next 6 weeks during HCG and then stay strong for the final six weeks so I can get the most bang for my buck as this program is not cheap.

Quarantine- Day 45

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in quarantine and working from home for 45 days now. I never imagined I would go through a pandemic. On Friday, my boss announced that although the state was starting to open up this week and let some businesses go back to work, we would not have that luxury. Instead we should prepare to work for home, not only for the rest of April, but also through the month of May. I’m okay with working from home to a point, but after this many days I’m ready to get back to my routine and see co-workers in person as opposed to seeing them through the Zoom app.

As the state prepares to open back up this week, they are only allowing restaurants and retail stores to open; however, they can only open at half capacity and with lots of guidelines to follow. This first opening will be phase one and if the number of cases doesn’t increase over the next 14 days then they will go on to phase two. There will be a four phase opening and it is not until the last phase that the state wants people to go back to work that have been working from home. I’m eternally grateful that I have been able to work from home and continue to draw my full paycheck. I was paying to park in the parking garage, but I canceled that and will be charged for April even though I was never on campus during the month.

They are asking all residents to wear a mask when out in public. Not sure how that is going to go over with everyone, but just in case some stores will not allow you to enter without one, I have dug through my fabric scraps to find material to make us each at least one. I’ve resisted wearing one until now as I don’t see the purpose as it will not prevent you from getting COVID-19 if you’re exposed. To me it’s just a way for people to hide their identities. My boss also mentioned that when we do return to work we may be required to wear one, so since I know how to sew I can at least make me some cute ones. Always look on the bright side.

The one thing I don’t understand with the government, the ones determining all of this, is that they will not allow hair salons, nail salons or tattoo parlors to open up until phase 3 and then only by appointment. However, they will allow gyms and bars to start opening prior to this same time frame. How can a bar be safer than a nail salon? Some of these people are gonna really need a hair and nail salon in another 6-8 weeks. I’m wishing I had gone to the nail salon myself before they locked it all down, but at the time I didn’t think the government was going to go off the deep end and close everything down. In addition, I’m ready for my next tattoo as I ha e finally decided what I’m putting on my arm. I have an old tattoo that needs to be covered. It has taken many months agonizing over this to decide what I want and now that I have made up my mind I can’t get it done.

I have had a lot of time to sit and ponder and wonder where I see myself in the future and what I would like to pursue and in doing so I decided to make my photography a priority. I’ve been looking over some of my portfolio and I have some wonderful portraits to be proud of. I have received multiple compliments on my work from people who are not family that has helped to inspire me to put myself out there and see what happens. If all I get is a couple photo shoots a month, it will be a great way to fill my time and do something I enjoy.

I hope all of you are making good use of your time in quarantine and not going too stir crazy. Feel free to drop me a line or two and share what you have been doing and your plans for the future.

My Life During Quarantine

My day starts around 6:00 am as I like to get up and have time to myself before the rest of the house gets up. By 7:45 I’m signing into my computer at work so I can get my workday started. Some days are long and boring and seem to go on forever while some go by fast. Other than working from my house, not much in my work life has changed in the last six weeks that I’ve been at home.

By midweek things seem to be running together and I usually forget what day it is. Talking with others let’s me know that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Although I talk to co-workers through email and Skype almost daily, I still miss being in their presence and seeing people. Last week I went to the office twice, which was a mood booster. Just being able to get out of the house and see that there is still life outside these 4 walls was good.

My weight loss is at a standstill, which is all my fault, but it still affects how I feel about myself, but not enough that I’m willing to make the changes that will make a difference. I weigh myself every other day to make sure I’m not gaining any weight. On a positive note, it shows me that I can maintain the weight I have lost and not loose myself in all the stuff that is going on. On the last day of this month I start back on my HCG shots for six weeks and during that time I must be disciplined and only eat what I am allowed. This is my last round on the program, so I need to make the most of it.

My weekends are spent being what I call extra lazy, although this past weekend on Saturday I did get the house cleaned up a little and the laundry done, but on Sunday I spent the entire day in bed. We did get up and have breakfast, but because Greg didn’t feel good, he wanted to lay down and watch tv in bed so off we all went (dogs included). I ended up taking a nap and then spent the rest of my time surfing the internet. Finally, around 6:00 pm we moved back into the living room. I had wanted to start a sewing project this weekend, but never had the get up and go to get started.

Depression is an ugly thing and my life is being taken over by it right now. It’s hard to pull myself up and get back to living. Every time I think I’m making progress something happens that throws me a curveball, but I’ve been through worse.

Just last week, someone said they couldn’t believe I had moved to Nashville back in 2009 with no job, no family and only 1 friend. I told them that move proved that I could survive anything. Besides I had already survived losing the love of my life the prior year, so how bad could it really be.

Since 2008, I have lost my husband, my son graduated bootcamp and spent 10 months of 2010 in Kuwait only to come back and within months become estranged from all the family he has ever known. I’ve gained 3 grandkids, supported a child through a divorce, 1 through a marriage and 2 births and I don’t know how many moves for myself. My life has been through so many ups and downs over the 50 plus years I’ve been here, it’s a wonder I’m still alive. My motto is, “What doesn’t kill you, makes your stronger.” That will be my new tattoo, so I have a permanent reminder of everything I have gone through.

My current state of mind changes each day as this quarantine continues for another day. More and more people become infected and more people die. I’m grateful I get to work and get a paycheck, but I really want this to be over. I don’t want the government telling me when I can leave my house. I want the freedom the constitution gives me to come and go as I please and do what I want. I missed my granddaughter’s third birthday and if things continue at the current state I will miss more birthdays and vacations.

March Weight Loss Update

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this program for 21 weeks now. I am proud of my accomplishments thus far and look forward to reaching more goals as I continue my program through July. I am now in a 6 week maintenance phase of my second round and it is getting harder and harder to stay on track. For the last two weeks I have been working from home due to the COVID-19 virus and most everything in our town is shut down. Being at home makes it easy to get off track, plus I’m not getting my usual walks and stair climbing that I was doing each day. I have tried to start walking around the neighborhood, but it’s not very appealing and I have to force myself to go out. I have eaten more food that is not on my “approved” list than I should be and in doing so I beat myself up and want to give up. The thing that keeps me going is when I look in the mirror and see the difference that all my sacrifices have made.

Although I said I didn’t want to buy any new clothes until I had lost 50 pounds, there was no way to keep wearing what I had as I was starting to look like I was wearing bags every day as my clothes were literally falling off my rear-end. It makes me feel good about myself when I see the progress I have made and get to buy smaller clothes. I went through my closet and drawers and pulled out two bags of clothes to give to people in need.

As of my weigh in on the 30th, I am down a total of 33 pounds. Over the past two weeks I haven’t lost but 1 pound, but I know this is due to me eating stuff I’m not supposed to be eating and not getting the recommended foods I’m supposed to have. I have to get back on track or I will never reach my goal.

Please pray that I will have strength and stamina to get through this phase and continue to loose weight.

February Weight Loss Update

Time for another update.  I’ve been doing this now for 4 full months. The first 12-week round was not that bad. It only took a few days to get use to giving myself daily shots, which only lasted for 6 out of the 12 weeks.  During the last 6 weeks of the first round I got to add additional food items each week, which was great, and I maintained all the weight loss that I had the first 6 weeks.  I was very proud of myself for not falling back into old habits.

On the 1st of this month, I started back on the HCG shots that I must do every day for 6 weeks. The first two days I was in what they call upload mode where I was able to eat whatever I wanted. This was where I splurged by getting Chinese and Dairy Queen.  The good part about doing that was when I went to my weigh in that Monday after starting this on the weekend, I had only gained 1.6 pounds, but by the next week I had lost 3.8 pounds, so I didn’t do too much damage. The bad part was trying to get back into less and less eating as you are very restricted when taking the shots.

I’ll be honest, the first couple weeks were a real struggle. I didn’t want to give up the delicious nuts I had been eating, but after seeing only a 0.8-pound change in one week to the next I knew I had to give them up as they were causing me to stall.

By the last check in for the month I had lost 6.2 pounds in the month of February. Not where I really want to be in this process, but better than no weight loss at all. My total weight loss to date is: 27.2 pounds.

I’m trying to stay positive, but it’s hard as I don’t see myself loosing as much in the second round as I did in the first and that is really getting me down. I’m not giving up. I just need to fight harder. I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time and I know I can do this. The sacrifices I am making will be worth it when I reach my goal. It might take me longer than anticipated, but I’m not giving up.

The picture below is of me in July 2019 verses me in February 2020. I can see the difference in the shape of my face and it further shows me that I am doing this. My clothes all look sloppy, but I don’t want to buy new ones until I’ve lost at least 50 pounds. Luckily, I know how to sew, so I think I’ll just alter the clothes I have in order to make them work for me now and then reward myself with something new when I reach one of my goals.

I have two more weeks of HCG shots and six weeks of maintenance before starting a third round. Once I get through round 3, I will have to figure out how to maintain my weight loss on my own as I cannot continue to do these rounds. Pray that I will have the strength and will power to keep going as the struggle to give in is more real on some days than others.