Paul Robert Van Sickle 11/23/1938 – 10/25/2021

Remembering Paul Robert Van Sickle.

A loving husband, father of three, and a proud grandfather. A brother, a teacher, a gifted musician, gardener, and woodworker.

And our beloved cousin.

Cousin Paul R. Van Sickle, photographed June 2017

We’ve just returned home after celebrating Paul’s life during a Memorial Service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox, Massachusetts last Saturday the 20th. Paul would have loved all the music- the singing, the playing of the organ. It was beautiful. Poignant.

The cousins drove in from Vermont, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. After the service we gathered together at his home to share stories and memories.

Paul built his workshop

I felt moved as I entered Paul’s workshop, behind his home, and inhaled the scent of wood. He could repair things, too. See his tools all lined up? His grandfather’s toolbox on the bench. There’s a wooden toy box in my home that Paul crafted for my son, Mark.

A panorama of his workshop

Paul was a master musician, organist and vocalist. He had a beautiful singing voice. I remember his playing our family piano when he’d visit our home. J.S.Bach was a favorite composer.

Paul’s favorite cookies were my mom’s recipe for Sour Cream Cookies. His wife Susan baked them for the family gathering after the service. My mother baked them for a Paul in the sixties when he’d visit our home. That kitchen was in Morris Plains, New Jersey and he’d visit when he was on leave from the US Army -Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top, a pinch of nutmeg in the dough. A soft sugar cookie, moist from the addition of sour cream.
Here’s a photo from June 1974.
Paul and his daughter Amy at my wedding.

It’s hard to sum up a life in a few words. Paul was a blog follower and told me one time I was a little heavy on the photos showing decay. You know those abandoned buildings and discarded furniture pieces, the garbage I post? 😂 We’re going to miss his laughter, his kindness, his generous heart- full of love for all of us.

Here’s a link to his obituary in the Berkshire Edge.

Hymn of Promise Author: Natalie Sleeth (1986). pianist Evan Alperone sung by Tim Silva

Park Bench Memorial

Monday morning we went to the playground in Upper Arlington. Ohio. Charlie and his friends didn’t mind playing in the heat but I found this lovely bench in the shade. As I sat and knit on a sock, I noticed this plaque in the cement. I don’t know who Cornelia R. Pond was but her son Jim took good care of her and donated the park bench in her memory.

9/11 Memorial Guest Blog

My sister Mary photographed this
9/11 Symbol of Hope New York City 

At the base is a 35 page metal book with the names inscribed of those who died 9/11

“….. is called ‘9/11 Cross, A Symbol of Hope’.This statute is located near St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church near the 9/11 memorial. This statute represents the wreckage of the twin towers forming a cross from the aftermath of 9/11. The original cross was moved in the 9/11 Museum. This cross was sculpted by Jon Krawczyk. Cardinal Egan picked him to sculpt the new cross. ”

 World Trade Center Memorial Lights as seen from Mary’s apartment

And below is a photo of the 9/11 Memorial I photographed when we visited with the grandkids a few years ago.

Silent Sunday Guest Blog

My good friend Vincie saw this statue and inscription while walking in the cemetery. Someone visited and left a stone.
Thanks for sending me this image.
Perfect for Silent Sunday

Someone Tied a Yellow Ribbon on a Tree To Remember

The gold letters on the yellow ribbon spelled “Cousin”.

Left as a remembrance.

The sign that someone came and put the ribbons there as a tribute touched our hearts even though we didn’t know the person.

Steve and I saw the ribbon on a tree when we were walking in the park. Then we noticed the bench with the memorial plaque right by the tree. We’d not seen it before.

The obituary told how he passed, peacefully under an oak tree in Highland Park, after doing what he loved – hiking. He had a congenital heart condition. So young.

I came home and googled the name and if you click it you can read about his life. Christopher Emmons

The ribbon on the tree, the memorial bench and the message on the plaque, so poignant. Can’t even fathom how much his family misses him.

Month of May Stitched in Memory- Guest Blog

These photos are from May 1987, taken in Kentucky.  Sent by my good friend Joanne. We were so much younger then, we’re older than that now……

And a tribute to Phyllis George who passed May 14th.

Joanne, Phyllis, Ruth

Ruth – you and I reconnected as Army wives in Fort Knox, KY in 1986 after we both moved there from Germany, where we first met.  You taught me the art of smocking and we spent a lot of time together stitching beautiful outfits for our little girls.  Then we decided to make it a “cottage industry” and created our business Handsmocked in Kentucky.  We took special orders and sold our work in the  Kentucky Arts Council In Louisville … where we attracted the attention of Phyllis George (then wife of the Governor of Kentucky!) .

We had such fun and dreams with our little business, and then all of a sudden we were invited to Phyllis George’s home as a vendor for her Kentucky Derby celebration which featured Kentucky based artists!  What an adventure ….
33 years later I still have a lot of memories and a wardrobe of smocked dresses to hand down to some special little girl.  
My memory of Phyllis George was a gracious, giving woman who cared deeply about Kentucky artisans.   (And she wrote us a check for a handsmocked dress for her daughter.)

Joanne was able to go into her boxes of photos which are all labeled and put her hands on these photos.

Joanne even put her hands on our little brochure.  Her sister did the artwork.

Our daughters Laura and Anna at a tea party, sporting our smocking. This photo is in Germany where both girls were born.