Memory lane across the span of three cupboards

My trip to the farm has come & gone.

Out of one world, into another, and back again.  Just like that.

Now I’m fighting a nasty cough, likely brought on by chats, the dry climate and a wind that never stops. Yep, “like trying to stuff 12 pounds of potatoes into a two-pound sack” we absolutely did just that.

So now I am here again, bridging my two worlds, and thinking of an epiphany  experienced in my childhood home: this was the first of all of my trips back “home” that “home” wasn’t there to be found … turns out, home is here, where I’m at now.

It was odd … sleeping in my old room, using the same coffee cup I’d favored as a teen, sitting in Dad’s chair .. and not feeling that familiar sense of home anymore.  It took me a while to see the obvious: I’ve grown up and moved on and I don’t really fit in there anymore.

I’ve lived more years away than I did there.

Once I got past that, I could lean into the visit.  And lean into it we did.   We spent most of our time just being together. Within touching distance.

Hugs good-night and good morning hellos.

Passing the jam.

Washing my hair in the kitchen sink, like I’d done as a girl.

Fixing the coffee and instinctively finding the grounds where they’d been forever (beside the fridge, on the floor, in a large tin can).

We finished stories and told new ones.

We stayed up late.

We asked “whatever happened to so & so?” and we were there for the answers.

We settled into a routine and I became part of the landscape where Mom’s lived and loved for 62+ years.  The home I hope she can stay in for many more.

It’s not my home anymore and that’s O.K.

But it did take time to be able to see it.

It took even more to be able to admit it.

And oh, before I forget, I made a pie!

It was a bright sunny morning, the country radio station was blaring and I took over her kitchen to whip up a pie … and, the funny thing is,  I enjoyed the making as much as I did the tasting … look at all that meringue – yum!

That  experience of standing at her counter tops – listening to familiar radio chatter once more – using Mom’s “harvest gold” measuring cups and battered mixing bowls – all of it … made me smile.  The trip down memory lane happened across the span of three cupboards.

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Flapper pie; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

It also took this trip back to my roots for me to finally understand why I’ve never been a fan of surprises or surprise parties.

You see, part of the fun for me is the anticipation. Don’t deny me that, please.

Trips are like that, too.

Trips and pie.

Sometimes the process can be as enjoyable as the end result.

It was soon gone.

The Flapper pie was soon gone.

# # #

When was the last time you had an epiphany?

What did you learn?

# # #

My sister-in-law’s Mom’s Flapper pie recipe:

(while talking about baking pie, my SIL Colleen quietly mentioned her Mom had been quite a good baker in her day and had a great Flapper Pie recipe and might I like to have it? Of course I would! So here it is.  Thanks Colleen!)


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • Melt margarine, pour into crumbs and stir in sugar.  Press into large pie pan and up including sides.


  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Stir in microwave-safe pourable bowl; Microwave on high until thick.  About 2 min, then stir, then another 1-2 min, depending on strength of microwave.  Watch closely, must be thick but pourable.  Pour into shell.


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Whip with an electric hand mixer or whisk until frothy & forms peaks (to test, turn off mixer and lift beaters away from mixture. If a peak remains, you’re set. If not, keep going.  It took me about 5 min with the hand mixer set to high to get the peaks formed).
  • Spread over filling and bake in 375 F oven until golden brown, about 8-10 min.

Allow to cool at room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge – best served cold with some strong “Farmer’s Coffee!”





Categories: Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Personal, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Memory lane across the span of three cupboards

  1. I thought about you so many times in the past couple of weeks, MJ! I knew you were having a wonderful visit.
    (and I, too, washed my hair in the kitchen sink…!)
    Glad that you’re comfortable with the “moving on” part, but even more glad that you had the time to spend with your family…
    I’m gonna try that pie!

    • Thank you, Dianna. I sure wished you could have seen those swans. Never – even in all the years living there – have I ever seen such a sight~!

      Had a good visit, many wonderful moments but I’m glad to be home, too 🙂

      The pie is mild, creamy, light and delicious. It’s not a “knock your socks off pie” it’s a “hello, have some of this .. oh wait .. have some more” pie.


  2. Missed you! My mom died when I was a young 40. When I visited her it always felt like home. I had to stay with her sometimes at the end and her home was more…ummm….primitive than mine. Shower in the tub and be careful so water doesn’t get on the floor. The bath vanity was like 10 inches by 10 inches. No room for a toothbrush! No closets. No dishwasher. I would marvel on how spoiled I had gotten. It was always home until my Mom died. Then I felt like an orphan without a base.

    • I understand, Kate. It is good to go home and “touch wood” and to see how far we’ve come, too. I enjoyed how quickly the 2 of us fell into a routine together but when I hugged her good-bye and she put her little head on my chest, I thought my heart would shatter into a million pieces. The distance is rough stuff…


  3. Mac McDonald

    Wow, What a nice blog. I printed it and we will enjoy making the Flapper Pie.! I must phone your Mom and see what she thinks of “California Chrome’s” chance of winning at Belmont Park in NYC. That would give him the “Triple Crown”. Have a Great Summer and Love to All.!! J & M

    Sent from Mac’s IPAD


    • Thank you Uncle Mac & Auntie Janet 🙂
      Try the pie – it’s a winner!
      It will be fun to see how Chrome does – I think this is a tougher field but he sure made the Preakness look like a quick jog around the track, didn’t he? Gonna be fun to watch.
      Love to you both,

  4. Welcome home. Your visit sounds wonderful, and that pie looks delicious. I know what you mean about going back to where you grew up and it no longer feeling like home. Feeling familiar, yes, but home, no. It didn’t take long for my own house to feel like home; mom and I were often at odds, and once I completely moved out, she took over my old bedroom and promptly got rid of my bed and dresser drawers.

    • It’s difficult to adequately describe — It’s still home – and my childhood home — but yet it didn’t change, I did.
      Nonetheless, it is always good to go back and it’s always good to come home again, too.

  5. Welcome home. I saw your comment to Dianna about seeing all those swans. Breathtaking, I bet. With that I knew you were having a wonderful time.

    Awww…you remembered, of course…the flapper pie. I think I have everything but the corn syrup to make this weekend. What timing. Thank you.

    So nice to have you back.

    • Corn starch not syrup 🙂 that’s the thickening agent!!

      The swans were amazing, wish I could have snapped a photo.

      Happy Memorial Day, GS!

      • oops! Thanks for the rescue on that. Got it!
        The house sold! Oh gosh, lots to do. Sunday will be my last post for a while.
        With your trip, now this hiatus, I hope we can reconnect in July or so.
        Happy Memorial Day weekend to you, too.

      • good for you, GS! Lots to do but hopefully some pressure off 🙂 Take good care!

  6. Great to have you back!! As for the cough…pour yourself a stiff drink, it’ll help you sleep better too.

    I figured out that “home” is wherever I made it to be…when I was in my early twenties. Its about where your heart and mind is at ease I suppose.

    I thought about your visit home often. I hope that you took some photos of the farm, and share them with us.

    Take care.

    • I have been “doctoring” all week — but coming back to work and talking in my job means I still sound a bit like “Roz” from Monsters, Inc. 🙂

      You’re right that home is wherever I made it to be – and I think what I’ve learned is that, in all the years I’ve lived “away,” I didnt realize how at home I feel right here – with my own family. It was a good realization 🙂

      I did take some photos and will share them soon.

  7. I’m so glad you had a great visit. Your descriptions of your trips to your mom’s house always sound perfect…a wonderful blend of memory and appreciation of the present! I know just what you mean about visiting and realizing that space isn’t “home” any more. My mom lives in the house she and my dad built when I was in first grade, and I know it by heart. But it is her house, not mine, although it holds great memories. Good to know where you’re roots are, and where you belong now!

    Impressive meringue! I’ll have to give it a try! ~ Sheila

    • Oh Sheila you nailed it! You said exactly what I was struggling to say — yes I grew up there, and am still a “farm kid,” but it’s her house, not mine and it holds great memories. I always appreciate your heartfelt and thoughtful comments, thank you 🙂

      compared to the pies in my header photo, the meringue was a bit flat, but I appreciate your kind words — it’s not something I make all the time, that’s for sure!


  8. Oh, I’m so happy for you that your visit was such joy! I know it probably felt too short and yet you were glad to get back to your home, all at the same time. My parents moved out of my childhood home 25 years ago, but there is still a part of my old home in their house. So I know what you mean about the familiar things and placement of things.

    Epiphanies are such a good thing when we take the time to recognize and accept them. I had one just today about being happy and accepting what is.

    Enjoy this beautiful weekend, MJ!

    • Thank you, Terri. I knew you’d “get it.”

      I love epiphanies and love it even more when I am aware of them and take the time to learn 🙂 Happy weekending you!

  9. That’s a lovely meringue you made! I don’t know when the tables turned, but at some point, I realized one really can’t go back. Maybe it was when they made a road through my parent’s (former) property and built a house where the chickens had been kept.

    • Thank you; nothing like a bit of meringue on a pie 🙂

      They put a road through your parent’s home? yeah that’s pretty harsh!

      • The road went through the yard and divided the property into two. The house was still there the last time I went by, several years ago.

      • still … yikes! That must feel very final. MJ

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