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My Little Template

Updated on December 15, 2012

I was looking for a drafting template the other day. I was mailing in my election ballot (which as a senior citizen I'm privileged to do in lieu of standing in line at the polling place) and the little oval “box” one had to fill in with a #2 pencil seemed an easier task if I had a little oval template for the chore, since there were quite a few offices for which to vote, plus a few municipal “propositions”, including one that would allow grocery stores in my “dry” precinct to sell wines and beer and licensed restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages.

At present if one wishes to buy even the most benign bottle, one must drive into another precinct which is ‘wet’. To order a glass of wine with dinner in a restaurant in a dry precinct here in this cosmopolitan Metroplex, a private club membership card is required. At one time, one had to purchase membership cards at each restaurant! Finally some enterprising soul came up with a universal membership card for $10 a year which could be used at any restaurant in the city’s various ‘dry’ precincts. Those in the ‘wet‘ ones require no such membership.

It’s absurd beyond belief. Certain factions, though, claim that legalizing the sale of alcoholic beverages will increase the crime rate. If so, then it’s already affected, since it’s not too far to get to a ‘wet’ area and buy it. When, oh, when will it dawn on people that good judgment and behaviour cannot be legislated or regulated?

Anyway - this explains why I was even looking for a template last week! In the search, I found one that “almost” fit the little oval, but had to slide it to a second position to get the entire little box filled in - within the lines. I never was much to stay “within the lines” - so maybe that’s why I find templates such a boon.

And still I didn't fill the ovals in very evenly! But mine do have 3D curves.

My computer room/office is rather overcrowded (that is a world-class understatement!) - so that I don’t have easy access into all the various cabinets and drawers. But I have an infallible memory of where everything is - IF I could only get TO it! George was always in awe that I could go to anything in a matter of minutes and find it among what looked to him like chaos. (His chaos didn't work that way for him! haha)

So I knew I still have my old templates in the bottommost drawer of a tall skinny chest of drawers in the corner with some rolling files blocking the access to all the bottom drawers between the chest and a file cabinet. You can readily visualize why I’m not into some of those drawers often! Ah, but - if I need something - - it's "in there somewhere"!

So I rolled out the files, on top of which are various other stacked trays of papers I need to sort through and dispose of. I saw copies of my very first webpage efforts from twelve years ago and all the early guest book entries in one of those trays! Yegads!

Surely, you may be thinking, it would have been simpler to just go stand in line at the polling place. But - guess what! Today is voting day and it's been pouring rain all day!! I didn't forecast this, but I did manage to avoid having to stand out in it!!

Besides, otherwise, I wouldn't have found my little template and wouldn't be writing about it! 

Simple Sample Building Template Designs

Quilting Templates & Designs

Finally I was actually into the drawer full of drawing pens, inks, eraser shields, drawing pencil accessories - and building drafting templates I used when I worked at a building company. I was first hired there as a draftsperson drawing buildings. It was before either the company or I found our way into CAD programs for drafting plans and blueprints, so it was all done manually. I really loved it.

Later I loved CAD planning even more, though that was years later, and was how I drew plans for the little ranch cabin George and I designed and built all by ourselves. No wonder I loved it.

But I also used templates when I resumed quilting briefly. I'd made quilt blocks as a child - to earn my dime for the Saturday shoot-em-up at the movie theater. But I briefly took it up with great enthusiasm at one juncture after George and I married.

Templates both for quilt-block designs and for pretty stitching patterns for the actual hand quilting process came into play. The fun of that was not only using commercial templates, but making some of my own. Fun!

When the ranch became my focus, though, continuing the quilting took a back seat.

But you can see that working woth templates has been in my life on several levels.

So - to my delight and surprise, last week, rummaging in that drawer of building templates, for room features, various angles, curves, ellipses, circles and such, what to my surprise did I find but my very first-ever little fun drawing template I had as a kid!

It’s tin and the outlines are, as you can see in the picture, various shapes, both geometric and organic in essences. I used this little “toy’” ALL the time as a child, to draw things. It was like making my own coloring books and I suppose it gave me an idea of shapes, balance of shapes and helped stir my active imagination to put simple shapes together into different pictures.

I could make endless things with it!!

I'm sure I had it and played with it for years, but I know I did when I was seven, as I am in this photo.

Just for fun, I couldn't resist making a little picture using it earlier today, though I admit that my template-art skill is pretty rusty!

All the time I was playing around with this gadget from my distant past, I kept thinking about various kinds of “templates” we all use in our lives, not necessarily physical templates, but we all use some kinds of standard "shapes" of thinking about and planning our days, our work and various aspects of our lives. Even the most non-conventional person embraces some standards of non-conventionality!

So I was wondering how much influence in our lives we can trace to any particular templates we have been given or have found handy to use - and in what clever ways?

I wondered about it enough to ask what special little manual toy did you use and enjoy as a child which may have contributed to your imagination or may have stirred your creativity?

Of course - most of us have some in common: we used pencil and paper to write stories and compose verses, more than likely, which is why we have this writing connection or bond now.

Of course, different "times" have produced and are producing different kinds of stimuli for children. Some of the things now are quite stimulating, but many are so much more pre-set and less left to the child's imagination and curiosity that they may tend to stir less original ideas. But maybe that's not how it works..

In any case, I’d love to hear about any of your experiences as a child in this regard, if you woul be willing to share.


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      BJ! Hi! and welcome back! How good to see you posting a comment!! Yeah - I know how that it, after a move. I don't suppose that it needs to even be an issue whether or not we need pity when separated from our "things". It's certainly an emotional challenge, though.

    • BJBenson profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      How can I say I have not found my template because it is still in a moving box without sounding like I need pity?


      Wanted to say HI!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Well, thank you, my sweet friend. Hugs. Such flattering words! I'm awed. The other picture had a smile, just not a big old toothy one. LOL. But I decided to put up an unmistakable one in response to your kind suggestion, Ken. I do like to smile. :-))

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I see you also found the TEMPLATE of your smiling face again. Your eyes and smile LIGHT up your tender, loving and caring persona. We all love you here and your smile brings joy to many. Thank you for sharing as a frown is always a smile turned upside down. he he

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      (*(*(*(*(Mohandano)*)*)*)*) - That is a BIG HUG for you for that wonderful comment! Yes, this is so true. We must encourage people of good will!! Thank you!

    • Mohandano profile image


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      wow verry nice, I happen to think most people of good will choose to behave in civilized manner.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Ah, Ken - wonderful childhood things. Sources of knowledge and joy. Tracing and coloring too. Building toys are great for learning skills of construction and imagination - but more, perhaps. These kinds of things instill the love of building up rather than tearing down and destroying and it becomes a life-long mindset.

      So good to share our youthful delights! Yes, when I ran across that little old bent-up template, if was a real thrill. :-) Thanks for the great good wishes!

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      My mom gave me a Websters dictionary and a Pictured Encyclopedia to read and see all the great pictures unfold before my little eyes. I loved to read when I was a child and trace pictures.

      I used tracing paper to lay over top of pictures, then when I had the outline I would have fun filling in the various shades of colors with my art set. The other toy I was so fond of were mini bricks, I would build castles, bridges and houses and spent the better part of my weekends building.

      Oh the past was so much fun. Thanks for bringing us some memories from yours. I'm glad you found your template that allowed you to stay dry at home and vote. he he

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Silent Reed - what an interesting thought!! A Love Template. It could be great if it allowed for individuality and variety - as most templates do - - they provide for versatile application of the "fixed" shapes and features.

      i was about to say, 'bring it on', but then I thought of one fly in the ointment: that the master designer saw fit to leave it totally open-ended, personal, and a matter of free will with completely random choices. Surely there's a reason for that. Think?

      Also there is the factor of needing the contrast between what works out well and what doesn't in order to fully appreciate that which does. Sigh. Maybe heaven, if there were one, would be free of all the glitches - and still be allow natural choices which would always be perfect? Perhaps our experience here on Earth would provide our heavenly existence enough contrast in the form of memory to guarantee appreciation of perfection. I gotta confess, though, hat I tend to think that "perfect" is bound to be too static to be really enjoyed, and it is the constant flow of contrast and the possibilities of making mistakes in judgement which keep things "lively" and fully alive. If heaven were to be perfect, how lively could it be? Or maybe that's part of the - er -- outcome for making too many goofs here? Eternal perfection? Oh, dear. Now I'm too far afield. hehe - But I'm smiling and enjoying your precious scenario!!! Thank you!! Hugs.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      . . . oh - and - yes - ah - World Almanacs!! - I remember browsing through those. What fun! My folks had lots of books and subscribed to several magazines too. Those were always fun. I'm still tempted by magazine subscription offers and "take" far too many. Right now, I'm tapering off, figuring is I get around to reading all the ones I already have, it will just about take the rest of my life!! LOL

      Thank you for a delightful response, Dream On. What is so nice about this is how it awakens even more of one's own memories as it's filling out more about each other's lives and experiences

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Dream On. . . You're such a delightful person. I'm glad that you get the subtle humor in so much that I write. Maybe it's because we share a lot of background. I'm so pleased you mentioned drawing around the things in your mom's cupboard! Immediately I was a little girl getting cups and saucers, lids and jars to trace around too! And I could vividly "see" how YOU would overlap the shapes to create more new ones. That's such fun!! Being in a child's mind as he or she notices what happens when doing that - such an adventure!! Ah - spices would be good, though when I was a kid, all spices came in little angular tin containers, rather than bottles as most do now. I collected bottles, though, so I could find a lot of exciting shapes among them, especially the perfume bottles.

      Your mom and mine must have had things in common, too. Mine always saved the cardboard inserts out of shirts - and I remember those that came out of Shredded Wheat boxes, which separated the "biscuits" before they were individually or group-wrapped as they are now. What fun we had using the cardboards for "canvases" for our paintings, huh? I did the first watercolour Mother really deemed 'art' on one of those Shredded Wheat cardboards. I think I still have it somewhere. It was the mountains in Mexico which were always on our horizon in the background, with a road and tree in the foreground. The perspective was pretty good for a 5 year old and the "flow" of the mountains was very nice. The tree looked more like a 5 year old, but trees were not as plentiful in my world. haha

      Actually Mother saved a lot of things, but our house burned - not to the ground, but many things were scorched or water damaged. But the fire started in my room after I went to school that day, so a lot of my treasures perished. Most of my bottle collection, many of my dolls and favorite toys. I was 11 and it was quite a blow. I can vividly picture in my mind one little perfume bottle that was diamond shaped, so that it had to rest on one side of its shape. The color was just lovely - transparent clear aqua. Ah - sweet memory, even though the fire took it. It's one of the blessings of human ability to be able to almost relive all the sensory experience of things that have happened and "are" no more. Can you clearly remember sounds and smells?

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Katie, you dear!! I truly appreciate the fine compliment of the picture. It has some merit, though dressing it up with a nice digital frame may nave given it a needed big boost. hehe. But, then, presentation is always part of the finished art form, even for chefs and filmmakers. The raw work is the cake, the rest is the icing which glorifies it. I honestly sometimes think my better skill is in what I call coordination. It's very much how I think, whether writing, drawing, designing - or just homemaking. I'm constantly putting things together into a whole entity which may often be much better than its parts. It's an intrinsic part of what I "do", I guess. I hope you'll forgive my introspection. But you told me to look at it! So I did! hehe.

    • SilentReed profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have a template for love conveniently tuck away in our desk of pens, erasers and accessories. to be taken out and use as the occasion arise. To draft it the way we plan it. Trace the path we want it to go and erase the heartaches? :)

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      7 years ago

      Each time you share a little more of you and I love your amazing life.You make such detailed and comprehensive hubs.I have to read them at least twice so I can laugh one more time.Growing up I use to be able to go into moms cabnets and take any container out and trace the shape on paper and use it for different shapes and sizes.Some times I would cross the circles and squares and make a shape totally different.I loved her spices their were many sizes to pick from.I would then color in some or make them bold by using markers. I could find no end to my simple happiness.Later my mother would save the cardboard from any new shirt and that gave us grey drawing paper.I will have to look for any pictures I had.Unfortunately through time many things get lost or ruined.I love that you were able to save so much.Great job.Books have always been one of my favorites.You can learn so much from all those encyclopedias I never had the time to go from beginning to end.I also loved the World Almanacs so much knowledge.

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      The picture is a keeper, I swear you just keep getting better! Please just look at it, it's fantastic! You go girl! :)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Miss_jkim! I love your "comments in kind"! It is nice to be read with such fine-tuned understanding! Thank you!!

      I have a more "regimented" side to my being, when the work demands it. I can do "tooly", repetitious jobs that must be done and they fall to me to do. But those are just background for creative thought going on all the time. I don't resent them, though - because they keep me grounded. Otherwise, i'd probably go flying off into the ether. hehe

      Oh to be sure - attempting to legislate it would - (and still may) - result in "morality police" if the morality insisters had their way. It used to be easier to intimidate people into abiding by others' standards, and also - many truly adopted them as their own, which can be beneficial. But these days of general freedom of thought (if we don't count PR controls) - people resist being ordered about. So if it were to be legislated, it would necessitate strict enforcement - ie: morality enforcers.

      I happen to think most people of good will choose to behave in civilized manner. Allowing for freedom of choice, rather than encouraging bad choices, is more - or at least as - likely to encourage opting for the better choices, the moderation in all things which, - face it - usually makes for a happier outcome, which most people would prefer.

      I didn't drink at all till in my 40s - a matter of choice. When I did learn to, I still preferred moderation. Since becoming more aware of how drying it is to the skin am just as content without any. But if I choose to share a toast with friends or to enhance my meal with a sip, I like to be free to choose.

      My chaos is also a part-time area of my life. When doing analytical chores, I need order, and I have many such chores to attend to. However, in the realm of creativity - the more chaos - the better. And I'm equally at home in either environment. BUT I do have one problem, and that is that if the organized area gets too far out of hand, I feel the need to start over from scratch to re-organize it. LOL. That doesn't always fit into a schedule. And others' chaos can be a bit intimidating too. George was a bit of a pack-rat (as I am in many ways). He had his areas of organization, too - but sometimes they overflowed! I did have more talent for finding things amidst it than he seemed to - I could even find his things more easily - some sort of sonar or something. hehe

      George's desk in the office still has a huge awkward drafting "arm" attached and it's too ponderous to even think of my removing without disassembling the whole small room to get at the mechanics of it! Its own big drafting table top is under the guest bed, and is about the same size as the bed! These items are all upstairs so I don't know how, when or if I will ever be able to remove them!! Not alone, that's for sure!

      I spent a lot of time trying to make a path through the garage, which was his "shop" full of big tools and heaven-knows-what-all - and I was amazed at the things I uncovered in it. I got shingles before I'd finished the task I set as my New Year's Resolution 2010, & by the time I had begun to recover, it was too HOT to work in that garage, so it's still to be completed. But at least there is a path through it and things are sorted into "like kind" boxes or stacks, pretty well. He was a golfer, a fisherman,an Engineer and inventor, so there are remnants of many kinds of things from his lengthy life. I found three huge flat wooden boxes of fine optical GLASS from one of his positions with a company specializing in the manufacture of that product, where he was a plant manager at one time. These were "rejects" - prisms, lens for microscopes, all sizes of glass objects. He never threw away a motor from an old appliance "in case he needed it". etc. LOL

      Yes - childhood toys and tools with are not electronic are sooooo valuable, even in a time of electronic overload! - Especially now, perhaps! I do appreciate your sharing!

    • miss_jkim profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow Nellieanna, you have covered SO much in this hub and, as usual, it is entertaining and thought provoking. It seems I must respond by subject, if I may.

      “I never was much to stay “within the lines”

      Even the most non-conventional person embraces

      some standards of non-conventionality!”

      Nellie, these quotes from your hub made me chuckle. They both speak volumes about you. As I have read your poetry, your hubs, and have seen your very beautiful art skills; I’ve come to understand that you are a unique and talented individual. My life and writing has been enriched by your many talents.

      “When, oh, when will it dawn on people that good judgment and behavior cannot be legislated or regulated?”

      I could not agree more. Living in the Bible belt of this great nation, I have heard all the arguments against the wet/dry issue, the lottery, bingo and gambling. My reply has always been,

      “You can’t legislate morality, if people are going to do those things; they will find a way. Morality is something that comes from within a person. If we legislate it, we become no different than the Muslim nations, we so decry, and, we too, will have the morality police roaming our streets.”

      “George was always in awe that I could go to anything in a matter

      of minutes and find it among what looked to him like chaos.”

      Now this cracks me up! I work with a draftsman who does all of the mapping for our electrical power grids. (I work for the power company) His office is right across the hall from mine and we’ve become close friends. I am always making remarks about his “organized chaos,” as I am an organized admin type. This must be inherent with draftsmen in general, he also draws, house plans and electrical schematics using CAD. From time-to-time he has reminisced about the “good ole’ days” of drawing with templates on the tilted boards.

      Lastly, the things I used to play with as a child that stirred the imagination would have to be, a Spirograph, an Etch-A-Sketch, my brother’s Lincoln Logs, jigsaw puzzles, and piles and piles of books. Wow, not one electronic game, computer, or cell phone. Now those WERE the good-ole’-days!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Katie- thank you, lovely person! So you're "driven" too. hehe. Well - I have tried to fight it - but that just wastes time! And time is meaningless when I'm into a project, - literally.

      Thanks for the nice compliment! That picture was among ones I took with my desktop's built-in webcam on Halloween before taking some in my costume. (taking advantage of having on some makeup, y'know. hehe) Thank you for liking it.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Atemptedhumour - ah, yes. I predate you, of course - but I not only had cardboard boxes to create things but many items came in wooden boxes and crates. Velveeta cheese boxes were so great for making things. Just the right size to fasten onto a skate to make a real rolling wagon for smaller dolls to enjoy - or cradles for their babies. And fruit crates made wonderful doll houses, cupboards - or pieces of furniture.

      So - we shared a love of making things from otherwise mundane boxes!

      Thanks for sharing that!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Christopher Price!!!!!! You're kidding!!!! You had the complete Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia!!!!!! wowow! How really satisfying it is to meet someone - especially someone I greatly admire - who shared Compton's. I am sure your edition was far different than mine. I pictured a page out of it about Egypt on one of my webpages about that country.

      So - you were born the year I was entering my sophomore year in college. wow. It's the same year my favorite nephew was born, by the way. So it was "a very good year", as they say!

      It's always a pleasure when you visit my hubs and leave your special comments. Thank you!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      acaetnna - I'm thrilled that you've visited me again! Thank you for such kind words!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Always Exploring - so pleased that you came and read this and liked it! It was one I thought 'might' be interesting to folks, but I had to write it, either way. Know what I mean? So it is gratifying that it touches a chord in others too! Thank you!

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh how familar this is to me, once I get an idea, I'm on a mission and it drives me nutty when I can't find something. What a delightful read. This is going to be a great day and thanks be to you for adding to the positive beginning. Love you new avatar, stunning, beautiful and a great expression of your beauty. Love and Peace :)

    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi Nellieanna i used to like making things out of cardboard boxes, like houses, probably only houses, but my dad was always full of praise when he came home from work. I used to sew, knit, make xmas decorations, build bicycles, mekano, race tracks for my cars. We used to have matchstick races in the gutter when it rained and the whole town was our back garden. The good old days? You bet! Lovely mooching around with you in those dusty but fascinating cupboards. Cheers

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 

      7 years ago from Vermont, USA


      When you prompted me to think back to my most enabling plaything as a child I quickly focused on the set of the Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia I would browse through for hours on end. We had the complete set circa 1949, the year I was born.

      I was a curious child and would drive my mother crazy with an overwhelming cascade of questions about anything and everything that would come into my head. She learned to get a little peace by telling me to "look it up". And I would begin searching out one topic which would lead to another and another.

      My mother, I'm sure, saw those volumes as a lifesaver, while to me they were a fountain of knowledge where I could suck up a world of information like a thirsty sponge.

      I love how we shared Mr. Compton as a friend so many years ago!


    • acaetnna profile image


      7 years ago from Guildford

      I was absolutely fascinated reading your hub, you are so talented.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm amazed.You have a wonderful talent for beautiful drawings,plus poetry. Enjoyed very much.


    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      poetvix - what a great comment. Thank you! The woods! You must live in East Texas, then?

      Growing up where I did in SW Texas, I didn't know what woods were except in stories like Littl Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. LOL. But then during my first marriage I lived in Indiana and learned about woods. They inspired many a poem and drawing.

      But like oceans, woods retain a bit of overwhelming awe in me, though I have enjoyed some truly amazing experiences exploring the woods. Stumbling across something totally unexpected highilghts a couple of my woods memories. And I've been to some woods in East Texas now, too. There's an unmistakeable magic about them, though I say I love trees - but prefer them fewer at a time. hehe.

      I'm thrilled to hear of your totally good experience of them. As for animals, I love them. Even these rascally squirrels back in my walls and attic. LOL. And they seem to recognize me when they're out an about. In any case, I don't scare 'em much. tee hee.

      Thanks for sharing!!

    • poetvix profile image


      7 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful glimpse into your past and your thoughts. I really like how you take the "template" object and expand upon it as an idea as well as objects used for such varied purposes in such different times in your life.

      Many wonderful things shaped me as a child but the two that stand out the most are the woods and the great animals I got to play with. It seemed back then every walk in the woods held new adventures and every animal was a new friend.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Tony - lovely childhood! This is wonderful! I'm fascinated with your background. Those black clay oxen with the white horns sound most creative! Obviously, we both grew up knowing how to use nature around us to create. We weren't wealthy either, especially when I was growing up, during the Depression when every penny was counted in trying to not lose the ranch as the majority of the neighbors were doing. But inspiration was abundant! We MADE things! We DID things.

      I too, had the exquisite advantage of educated parents who were lively and interested in many things. Mother was the artistic one and Dad was analytical - both had good senses of humor as well. Both were teachers at various times of their lives, as well. My only comparison with your Xhosa playmates was with Mexican playmates, especially at the ranch. I think they enriched my experience and broadened my scope.

      Your story is an inspiration, Tony - always! Thank you for visiting and sharing!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Martie - thank you. Indeed my brain-sphere balance remained somewhat subdued for many years. One believes others' evaluations too much. hehe. The danger, perhaps, in starting school much younger than my class, and being half-blind, as well, probably helped obscure the brain-balance. Once discovered, it was quite more fun! But at times I am abstract, dear friend.

      Calligraphy! Oh - I do admire that! I've thought about it but didn't summon the courage.

      Thank you for the response and lovely compliments. That photo was before I got into y Halloween stuff, just in the black turtleneck. I've been looking for a less summery picture to use as my profile picture, so that fit. Took it with my desktop's built-in webcam in my cluttered office - hehe.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, Petra - That's lovely! Nothing quite as amazing as the patterns and infinite combinations of a kaleidoscope. You indeed had a wonderful gift and blessing! The lesson for life is valuable, too! I am aware how dearly you treasure your father, too. I'm pleased that you shared these and they remind me of other of my own early gifts and influences, which is perhaps one of the nice things about retracing memories - they are links to others, which open up yet more delightful things, not unlike a kaleidoscope! Thank you!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      So beautiful, as always, Nellieanna! I was very priviledged as a child, not because my parents were financially ealthy (they were actually not so at all) but because both parents had lively interests in what was happening around them and in the world, and passed on those interests to me, I think.

      An abiding memory from my very young days in the rural Transkei is the young Xhosa boys with whom I played used to make oxen out of the black clay found on the riverbank and used the thorns of the accacia thorn trees (which were ubiquitous in the area) as the horns. The very whiteness of the thorns made a beautiful contrast with the black of the clay, and they were very realistic also.

      I was very impressed with their creativity.

      Books and paper and pencils were also very much ready to hand in our house as Dad was a teacher.

      Thanks for an evocative Hub!

      Love and peace


    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Nellieanna, this was a very interesting read. Do you realize that your work as a draftsperson balanced your amazing talent, forcing the left side of your brain to work as hard as your right (arty) side, and therefore you did not go abstract in the exercising of your arty talents.

      I am in awe of your talents!

      I can manage all art subjects, EXCEPT painting and drawing. The nearest to this I got was calligraphy – at first with templets, but then I rebelled against the fixed patterns and started to do it ‘my way’. But I guess if I thought of creating my own templets, I might have used it.

      Thanks for once again an interesting, worthwhile to read, hub. Take good care of yourself. You are the most precious hubber in HP.

      PS: I like your new avatar. You are beautiful!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      The most precious gift I received from my father when I was 3 or maybe 4 years old was a kaleidoscope.

      The continuous changing and shifting of colors and patterns fascinated me. As time went by I knew nothing ever stays the same and every set of complicated circumstances could be rearranged

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Eiddwen - So nice of you to share it with me! I do love making mini-webpages, which hubs are, actually. And it feels good to share some old memories, especially when they seem to be welcomed. So thank you for the welcome!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Dusty - nice to see you, as always. Yes - I notice that the more the kids' creative toys are pre-set, the less they stimulate their own ideas except within the limited confines of the toy. But now they get so many, they hardly pause long on any one, do they? It's a bit unnerving. But they are clever, for sure - both toys and kids of today.

      I'm pleased that you enjoyed my peek into the past and a bit of mundanity in the life of a little girl. You're very kind!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Ah, Steve - yes! I saw on the news that people around Dallas had to stand in line in the rain for hours. I admire that determination to participate, but not sure I'd have welcomed the opportunity to show mine.

      My children had and loved spirographs! I liked to play with it when they were at school. Fascinating gadgets. And you became a practical genius, so there you are! Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend! (short AND non-poetry, just for you!) :-)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      hello, hello - Thank you! I cannot think of anything you could say in approval that would feel better! One wonders how interesting some old memories could possibly be to others and to find they are found interesting when read is soooo gratifying!!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      VioletSun - thank you for a lovely comment! Creating is such a joy - even with templates, though I love the free-flow of watercolors best of all methods, with ether pen and ink or Japanese brush and ink next best.

      In the picture I was wearing one of my few "store-bought" dresses, given me by my eldest sister. It was a "Shirley Temple Frock" - red cotton with white dots and trim on the shirred empire bodice (or had I just almost outgrown it? It does look pretty short and probably had the hem let out! - lol) and the white ruffled collar. I loved that dress and the other one she gave me at the same time. She was already trying to upgrade me! hehe Probably began my serious interest in creating fashion.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, my! christopheranton! I had volume I of "Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia" subtitled "To inspire ambition, to stimulate the imagination, to provide the inquiring mind with accurate information told in an interesting style and thus lead into broader fields of knowledge - such is the purpose of this work." It was originally copyrighted in 1922, with this edition I'm holding in my hands, in 1934, with I was two. I guess Mother got the first volume for me as an introductory offer and the Great Depression kept her from buying any further volumes. But this one is the most delightful mix of information of the day and many fascinating things which I poured over and devoured as you did your set. The information ranges from aviation to bridges to history and geograph, flags, stories, biographies, early electronics and full-steam industry - etc. Obviously intended as an introductory volume. (it's also - ahem - defaced with some of my very early artwork, mostly human forms and houses, on which I gave myself a grade of 'A'. lol My people always had on high heels, either boots or pumps. they all had curly hair and very dramatic eyes. LOL)

      Later we got a complete set of Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedias, in a small compact form, which I also devoured and loved to use to "pass out" to my play-like students when I "played school" alone. Ah - the memories. And I know just what you mean about being the person you are because of such inspiring books!

      I'm so very pleased you visited and shared!!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Hi Nellieanna,

      Thanks so much for sharing this again. Your hubs are always interesting, well researched and varied.

      Take care.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Aye an interesting piece of Nellieanna, you make what one might think a mundane topic quite fun. The "Spirograph" that SteveoMc was a fun little tool for making designs on paper. It could involve thought but mostly I'll bet not.

      Thank you Dear, for a trip to yester-year, 50

    • SteveoMc profile image


      7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Well at least you didn't have to wait in line, me either, I used a mail in ballot and was delighted to drop it in the mail box. There are times in the past that I did not vote because of the lines.

      I remember playing with a thing as a child that made lines that were shapes and balanced and all neat to make. I forget what it was called but it was something like spirograph. It was perfect for me because it required no talent or creativity.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      A wonderful, enjoyable hub. No matter what topic you always seem to make it interesting, anjoyable and fascinating. Thank you.

    • VioletSun profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I was smiling at the beauty of your creativity, even with templates. Its a gift! Enjoyed reading this peek into your world, and seeing the photo of little Nellianna.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Thank you for that very interesting slice of Nellieanna life.

      If I can bring myself to recall my childhood influences It would be the purchase from some travelling salesman or other, by my parents of "The Oxford Junior Encyclopedia", all twelve volumes of it. I devoured that, first the pictures, and later all the accounts of people from history, and natural history. It left me with an abiding interest in the personalities of history. Undoubtedly I would be a totally different person now if it were'nt for that series of books.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      K9 - Thank you so very much for those generous words! It's nice to be appreciated!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      I just love everything about what you do! Rarely do I find such enjoyable things to read and look upon, until I travel over to your hubs. Thanks for a fun read.



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