Monthly Archives: October 2015

applebutter day

So, a step away from the memory trip to Hawaii to bring you breaking news from the McFeaters family.  This past Saturday we had our annual family apple butter making day.  On Friday evening we gather to peel apples and share desserts and snacks.


On Saturday morning we gather at a different home to start the process of getting apples and a little cider into the copper kettle over an open fire.

While some work on that others work at preparing buck wheat cakes with sausage and wurst meat for a hearty breakfast.  There are those who still insist on syrup, but, in my opinion, why waste a good buck wheat cake?


While the endless stirring, and the addition of apples goes on and on, people arrive and children play.

The people arriving also bring, you guessed it.  FOOD!!  Yes this is actually a food frenzy disguised as an excuse to make apple butter. At noon we gather around the kettle as family and friends to thank God for our time together and our family heritage.

The family highlight of the day is presenting the copper kettle award to a person who has continued to be supportive and helpful on apple butter day.

The line forms at the front door picking out your favorites from three counter tops and a kitchen island laden with casseroles and crock pots simmering with good food.

The eating finale comes when the last of the steaming hot butter is put in a jar and the warm, fresh baked bread comes out of the oven to be slathered with apple butter fresh from the kettle.


This year we had a reporter from The Patriot, a Harrisburg, PA newspaper come to do a story of the apple butter day.  You can see her photos and read the story by using the link below.


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Memories from 20 years ago

Read the second edition of what might have been Chapter 15 to “A Wish Called Wanda.”  The post is taken from my journal written while on a trip Dick and I and our friends Karen and John took in 1997 to Oahu.  This was our first visit since we left in 1968.  The pictures in the post are from the recent trip I took this past April.

After a quick and late dinner at a Subway shop on Kalakua Avenue, Karen and John continued up the street, but Dick and I were anxious to see Saratoga Road that was just a few blocks away.We started walking down the street and I was walking on air. I began to recognize some of the smaller hotel/apartments including the building where I made that first phone call home to mom the night Chris and I arrived. Parts of the phone booth were still there but no phone.


(No phone booth now, but this is the place. Note the cell phone in my pocket, how times have changed.)

There is a large Post Office building on the De Russy property where the NCO club used to be. As we neared the 245 address, I could see the three palm trees that bowed out over the sidewalk and
grew right in front of our living room window, were still there.

The apartment building is gone and in its place is a modern, nondescript two-story building that is some kind of a meditation tea room. The present building also encompasses the space that was our courtyard. The Kai Aloha Hotel at 235 Saratoga is still there and has the same kind of lanai enclosures that I climbed up to get into our room. The entrance to De Russy has changed, the beach is still there, but looks less accessible than we remember.

We turned around and met Karen and John at the other end of the street to walk back to the hotel. The streets are crowded with Japanese tourists. It was just before ten pm but we were all ready to crash. Karen and John take the bedroom and we have the living room which works out fine, because Dick likes to watch the late news, and John gets up before we know it is morning to get a daily paper.
The next morning he quietly walked into the kitchen, deposited his goods, and slipped into the bedroom just about the time Dick and I were beginning to stir. It was still early but warmth and light flooded the room making it easy to wake up. Along with the newspaper, John bought some eggs, bread and a fresh papaya. Yummy for breakfast on the lanai. We lingered over the papaya and made plans for our first full day. On our way out made reservations at the desk for dinner and the show at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

We drove around the back of Diamond Head and soon made a stop at the school where Karen had taught. She said it really had changed little. From there we continued to Kokohead.


We wanted to stop at Hanauma Bay, but just got a quick look as it didn’t open till noon and there was an entrance fee. Go figure.


We did stop and look at the still familiar Sandy Beach where I lost my sandals and hairdo one night, and near by Makapu where I spun around like a top trying to body surf, nearly loosing the top to my swim suit so many years ago.  (Yea, you really should read the book, it’s a lot of fun)

Back on the road, our navigator kept referring to an old Hawaiian Catholic Church near Punalu. It was on the same road we were on and that would put it very near the place we spent our honeymoon. Twenty nine years ago the trees and bushes were thick around our cottage and we didn’t see much of the church, but we were awaken by the ringing bells and could hear every word of the Latin mass.  Now, it was our best land mark, for spotting the honeymoon cottage and all eyes were on the highway looking for the church.
Dick saw it first, but just as we passed it. John turned around and parked across the street. There was a cottage just beside the church with a yellow caution tape around it. The cottage had been burned out but it was still recognizable. We knew right away that we were in the same place we came to that Saturday night in 1968. We crossed the yellow tape and looked around a bit. The tire swing where we had a picture taken was gone, but the beach was still accessible. We recognized the entrance way, and had a grand picture-taking time not getting to close to the now dilapidated structure. Perhaps this was the reason the trip worked out to be on our 29th anniversary rather than our 30th. I am sure the buildings were taken down shortly after our visit.

We drove on and on taking in the beautiful mountains and ocean views, stopping for lunch at a state park with a view of China man’s Hat Island in the distance.


Lunch break was short as the rain came in just as were finishing our tuna sandwiches. It was a passing shower – over before we got out of the park. Around that same area we stopped at a road side stand and bought some macadamia nut cookies, a papaya, a few small bananas and some Aloha Iced Tea.  Seeing the crouching lion brought back many good memories as well.  Can you spot him?


Next time visit the lovely Polynesian Cultural Center, always changing, still the same in many ways.

Thanks to Lisa for contributing some of the pictures for this post.


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Memories are made of this

I have always thought about doing this, but then wondered if it was a good idea.  Today I decided to try it.  This could be chapter 15 of my book “A Wish Called Wanda,” but in the end decided not to include it. I just kept thinking that someday I would blog it.  Today is that day.  The pictures of Hawaii used in this blog will be from my most recent trip in April, however the story is from 1997, our 29th wedding anniversary.  I hope you enjoy each short segment of this unusual post.

The Years have passed,

the kids are grown, so

we’re going back to where

the love seeds were sown.


It was the year that Dick and I started dating again. Not that we had ever stopped “seeing” each other or that we made a drastic change in our normal routine, but because I worked a lot of three to eleven shifts, when we did have an evening to spend together, we called it a “date.” That simple adjustment with a bit more concentration on paying attention to one another led to some great times on our “dates.” Most of them consisted of watching a movie at home or one of our favorite TV programs. Sometimes Dick would make us a cup of tea and a special dessert we call coffee cakes.

In early April of that year, my friend, Anna and I purchased tickets to the musical play “Forever Plaid” at a local theater. Since Dick was taking me to Hawaii for our 29th anniversary, I wanted to do something big also—–OK——not as big, but this was to be a really nice date. The tickets were for May 30th 1997, just two days before our 29th anniversary.

On the big night Mel and Anna, and Dick and I met up with another couple, and had a nice dinner at a restaurant on the way to the theater. The show was excellent, bringing back teenage memories with songs from the fifties. We laughed so hard our faces and stomachs hurt. Dick and Mel, not your regular enthusiastic play goers, laughed and enjoyed the antics and old songs as much as anyone. On the way home we drove into Gettysburg to the Lincoln Dinner for dessert, and did not get home till midnight. This was a real date for empty nestors!

Now all we had to do was wait for the long time in the planning trip to Seattle for Dick’s nephew’s wedding on June 21st.  We had written my former roommate in Hawaii (in 1966,) Karen and her husband John asking them to make the trip to Hawaii with us as they lived near Seattle. Her first response to our quite unexpected letter, explaining the wedding, and the fact that we were half way there being on the west coast, was simply a card with nothing else on it but a huge lettered YES! I danced with delight the day it arrived.

It was fun to be with the grandchildren on their first flight. The captain welcomed them aboard by name, and while we were flying through the clouds, five year old Zachary looked up at his mother and asked, “Are we in heaven yet?” The snacks kept coming, but Zach and Jake were hungry and fussy by the time we landed in Seattle. We kept promising them food. A trip to the local fish and chip place was the first thing on the to do list after landing. However, as soon as the boys got in a moving car they fell fast asleep and did not awake till breakfast time.

We had four days in Seattle and made the most of them. We spent time with Dick’s family, attended the wedding, took the kids to parks, the zoo and the waterfront aquarium. On that day Jake had three bananas he wanted to take along to feed the sharks and he wouldn’t be talked out of it. When we exited the first building he saw a body of water he decided it was time. We broke off a shark sized piece of banana and let him throw it in the water. We were in the midst of telling him that a shark would surly come up and get it sometime, when a seagull swooped down and picked it up. We think that the gull almost choked on it, because of its size, and it also looked like he had never tasted banana before. Jake got a big kick out of the whole episode and it satisfied his desire to feed the sharks.

Very early Tuesday morning we were meeting Karen and John at the airport and the rest of our family were leaving later for home. We had said our good-byes to the kids going home, and to Dick’s family on Monday night. In the morning we were saying Hello to our big new adventure, and our long time friends.

Every time we made a trip to Seattle, which we had done several times over the years, we made a point to see Karen and John. They always lived somewhere close Seattle where we could spend a day of our family time with them. So Dick and the kids had gotten to know them through these visits.

We landed in Honolulu in the late afternoon, following the five hour flight across the ocean. It was warm and sunny, we picked up our luggage, and a Buick at the rent a car. John volunteered to drive, Dick was happy to navigate. We headed for Waikiki.

My first overwhelming thought was, WOW! Things are really crowded. There were major freeways and buildings everywhere, while I remembered, two lane highways and a lot more open space. Our condo was right in the heart of Waikiki beach area, on Kuhio Avenue. We had a one bedroom, with a hide-a- bed couch in the living room and a small kitchen, on the 26th floor. Standing on our lanai was quite windy, but the view was wide spread, overlooking the distant mountain where, years ago, we would drive late at night to gaze on the lights below. Now that same hillside was dotted with houses all the way to the top. To the right we could get a glimpse of the ocean.


We took a little time to settle in then went out for a walk straight up our old stomping grounds of Kalakua Avenue. Karen and I were giddy. As she was pointing out things to John he had never seen before, Dick and I were looking for familiar things. The street names were the first things that came back to us. Kuhio Beach was right across from where we came off of our street and remains the main public beach on Waikiki. We recognized the Moana Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian which is still low and pink while squeezed in among the high rise hotels around it.

Here is a view from the Top of Waikiki restaurant in April 2015


The International Market place has changed from a surreal, exotic walk in the park with cute little shops and open air jazz and piano bars, to a crowded touristy, trinket shop stop, but is still at the same place.



This is what International Market Place looks like in April 2015.  Perhaps progress has been made to restore it to a semblance of what it was in the 60’s.

Stay tuned, the fun is just beginning.



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