Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dear John

Dear John,
I'm sure you don't remember me, but boy do I ever remember you.
Long, long before there were blogs, there was you.
You with your special way of adding joy and beauty to each season of my life.
The way you shared the highlights of each season through recipes, photos and lists was something that I will never forget.
Lists like this:

  Thinking back to when I first met you there on the library shelf, I realize what a different world it is today.
Back then as a young mother I found a sense of peace among those library shelves.  Although I relished my role as a stay at home mom, the demands of child rearing, cooking, cleaning, carpooling, etc. sometimes found me needing a break from it all.
That's where you came in.  Although I'm sure you never knew that.
In those days there were times when an evening trip to the library was an especially indulgent time to find a little "me time".  I'd leave  bathtime to dad and recharge my parenting battery perusing the library shelves.  

Before there was Amazon I found a way to own a copy of Down Home.  Most likely it required a trip to the local book store.  I loved you so much I introduced you to my sister and she, too, came to love you.  Something about your Ohio farmboy roots and your love of life endeared you to us so much that we often talked about you and consulted your book for inspiration and advice.  
As the years went on, I added a few more of your books to my library.  Some purchased used from the internet.
Last week "The Holidays" appeared on the thrift store shelf.  Just seeing your name brought about the fluttering of my heart.
Glancing through the pages I realized the photos were really quite dated.  The copyright of 1986 (gulp)... the year my first baby was born, reminded me of how far we go back.  It made me a bit sad that someone had discarded you like that.  Fear not, you have a new home and a place of honor on my cookbook shelf.

All these years later I still find myself reaching for "Down Home".  Your lists and photos never fail to bring about an excitement for the current season.
Now that summer is near, I am reminded of the way you lit your gazebo with oil lamps on that sweltering evening so long ago.  There amongst the pretty garden flowers you served your guests a seasonal and refreshing menu.  You provided the recipes and tips needed to allow me to do the same thing should I choose to.
So much about this book reminds me of the way we share on our blogs.  I feel like you would be a great addition to blogland.
Yet, when doing a search for you now, I only find links to your books and a few old articles.  It's then that I have to remind myself how long it's been , how many years have past since I first became acquainted with you.  Perhaps now you are retired from writing cookbooks.  I really don't know.  But one thing I do know is that you will always hold a special place in my heart and your approach to enjoying the best of each season will continue to inspire me. 

 As a matter of fact, seeing your oil lamps lighting the summer night has once again reminded me to retrieve mine from storage and put them to good use this summer.  I do believe they add a touch of magic to those summer evenings.

In conclusion, I realize that it may seem a bit one sided this relationship we share.  But, truly that's alright with me because without ever meeting you face to face, you have added so much joy to my life.  Mostly in the small, day to day ways... you know the ones that matter most.

With warmest regards,

This week marked my seventh anniversary in the blog world.
As I look back over the years, I think that, just like my memories of John Hadamuscin, so much has changed with blogging since the early days.   Once in a while I stumble across an old post and see a comment from an old "friend" that at one time was such a vital part of my day to day blogging.  I wonder how they are now... I hope all is well with them and, to be honest, I miss them.  On the other hand, I accept that time marches on and things are constantly changing.  There seems to be a lot of discussion about just how much blogging has changed in the past few years.  While I can't speak for anyone else, I can say that it has been and continues to be an inspiring and enjoyable place to hang out.
Much like my "relationship" with John, I have never met any of you face to face either, but yet, I feel like I know many of you better than I know some of my face to face friends.  
You all have inspired me in more ways than I can count and I thank you for it.
Now, on to year 8!


  1. Wish I knew something of this person...guess that I was under a rock. Where did you first learn of him? TV? Radio? How is it that I missed him completely! That reading old comments thing...yes, so true. People come and go all the time.

    1. Vee,
      I just happened upon his Down Home book at the library many years ago. Needing an escape from child rearing I would sometimes go to the library at night and just look for inspiring books, often filled with a lot of pretty photos. Once I collected my stack of books I would head home where, hopefully, the boys were bathed and in bed for the night. I would then sit down and enjoy my books. Just what was needed in those days to recharge my parenting battery. :). I think it was similar to the way I see blogging now. A great escape from day to day life with lots of inspiring photos and thoughts to read.
      Out of all of John's books that I have collected, Down Home remains a firm favorite. He brings out the highlights of each season so well. If you ever see it while thrifting, I highly recommend it.

  2. I love this post - so fun. I must admit that like Vee, I am completely unfamiliar with John, but I surely to agree with you about blogging. So glad I found yours! Enjoy the rest of the week.

  3. well, just like the previous two comments, I dont know who he is either! but I wrote his name down and when I return my library books this week, I will be sure to look him up!
    have a great day!

  4. Lovely post! I have never heard of John before now, but I wish I had known of his books. They sound exactly like the kind I love to read. I'll be searching for them now!

    I agree with you about blogging. Life gets so busy that I think maybe I should just give it up, but I just can't because I'd miss everyone too much. Congrats to you on your 7 years!

  5. Kim, where do I begin? First congratulations on your 7 years of blogging and I certainly look forward to year 8! Such a lovely post, but I'm not surprised. The pleasant surprise was that a 'Dear John' letter could be a sweet love letter to the past and remembrance of someone whose touched your life so positively.

    I loved the Summer list. It made me want to do all of those things. I, too, have never 'met' John before, but wish I had. I definitely will look him up. I noticed Susan Branch on your shelf. I have one of her books that I purchased at a library sale, and she is so very inspiring.

    Thank you, Kim, for this delightful post, and introduction to John. And a gentle reminder to write down all the blessed aspects of the seasons. I will begin to do that.

    Hugs and love,
    Marianne xo

  6. Congrats on seven years of blogging! I can't really remember when we first met up...but I think it was near the beginning of your blogging days. I started in 2007. I too love all the connections I have made through the world of blogging...and have met many in person through the years. I've met Vee...and Judy...and Pam...who all live on the east coast. I've met Jill in Salt Lake City...and Pondside and Lorrie who live on Vancouver Island. There is Trish, who now lives in Alberta. And then there are all my MGCC friends that I mostly met through blogging. They have all enriched my life in one way or another! Blessings to you as you continue to blog...for a long time to come (I hope!).

    I have never met (or even heard of) 'your John...but now I wish I had!

  7. I too have never heard of John but I will sure be on the lookout for his books.
    Congratulations of 7 years. I've known you for all of them. : ) I do believe we will meet some day and I look forward to the day. : )

  8. Congrats! I want to get that John book you mention! I'm glad you are still blogging, Kim!

  9. Kim, I wish you could find an address for John and send him this would certainly make his day. I never heard of him, and sorry to have missed out.

  10. Silly me, I forgot to wish you a very happy blogaversary. I also noticed the huge changes in blogging, tablescapes are dying out for one.

  11. Happy Anniversary!! Isn't it amazing that we become such great friends with bloggers whom we will probably never meet? But, feel like they are true friends. And most of them really are!!

    Enjoyed your post.


  12. Congratulations on your 7 years of blogging! Actually, I don't even have additional words to add to the post you shared, because like always, you shared it so well. As I was reading your heart thoughts written out to John, I smiled because I feel like you do for me, what John did for you via his books. Best part of that, is that my visits here are free, and every time I need to be inspired, refreshed, or reminded to stop and smell the roses, I just visit you here. And, I too, treasure my blogging friends, even though I never met most of them. I never saw John's books, but I wish I had. The last picture you shared of your flowers and oil lamps, is beautiful! Most of all, thank you for blogging, and I look forward to the next 7 years of your posts:) Thank you my friend!

  13. Hi Kim! How lovely to read about your love for this author and his writings. Such inspiration for holidays! I just ordered a copy that was used and I thank you for sharing this! I adore cookbooks and decorating ideas.....cannot wait! Have a lovely week!

  14. What a nice post about John and his books and how he's inspired you over the years. I've not heard of him before but his books do sound interesting. Times have changed so much from books in stores to blogs on the internet but we all still like to learn both ways. (I still enjoy going to a bookstore and have never ordered a book on line!) Congrats on 7 years of blogging! Have a wonderful week ahead!

  15. Dear Kim, I came across this post while doing a google search on John today. Reading you letter made me feel as though you were writing my same sentiments. I too have been a huge fan of John's ever since my MIL gave me "Special Occasions" when I married in 89. I own all of his books and the photography by Randy O'Rourke is actually what got me interested in the career I have now (food styling). At any rate I wanted to thank you for your "dear John" letter. He did touch many people and inspired us to close our eyes and think of happier times. I found him on FB but it's a personal account not a fan page account so I won't try and bother him. I'm just grateful to be included in the same group that could be whisked away with his down home stories and recipes of comfort. Thank you, Kristina

  16. What a great post! Like you, I found a great deal of inspiration in John's books, starting with Special Occasions in the late '80s. (I found your blog after a Google search, too, wondering idly if he had published a new book recently.) I loved your insight about the "extras" he added to his books- his family stories and those personal details helped create a real sense of place and time, a world I would have loved to inhabit! I was so sad to learn John passed away last year. There's a tribute to him on Youtube that all John Hadamuscin fans should check out. Thank you for sharing these memories-- it's great to know that John inspired such dedication and affection in others, not just me! Cheers, Jean

    1. It's always nice to hear from a fellow admirer of John Hadamuscin. I am still inspired by his books and look through them often. I just learned last fall that he had passed away and it felt like losing a good friend even though I have never met him. I am going to check out the YouTube tribute. Thanks so much for telling me about it.

  17. Hi Kim
    My name is Terri Ramsey, John was my uncle and he spent the last 2 years of his life with me in Ohio.It is to bad that you two never met, because you would have become close friends. I just came across your dear John letter and thought I would get in touch with you...he would have been humbled by what you said.I had so much fun with him here trying out recipes and him decorating around the house....miss him so much.

    1. Hi Terri,
      Thank you so much for commenting here and sharing your special memories of your uncle. Through his books I sensed that we were kindred spirits and I would have been beyond thrilled to have met him in person. It makes me happy to hear about the fun you had together in his final two years. I am sorry for your loss as I know how you must miss him. As you can tell I admired so many things about him. One thing that really stands out is how he shared his family roots through recipes and stories. Down Home remains one of my favorite books. I look through it often. He sure had a way of making every day special.

    2. Hello, John was my great uncle as well and I don't know if anyone told you this, but they read your letter to the people that came together for his celebration of life party. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us all.

    3. Skary Kid, Thank you for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me. Somebody did contact me a couple of years ago to tell me that my letter would be read at your great uncle's celebration of life party. It makes me very happy to know that. When I wrote this blog post, I felt a bit silly to be typing a letter to someone who would most likely never read it. However, John had such a great impact on my life through his wonderful books. I know he must have had a great impact on your life as well and I am sorry for your loss. Thanks again for your comment.


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