English: Main Street, Louisa, Virginia.

Toddler wishes turn to teenage dreams.  With hard work, opportunity and a little luck,  those wishes that turned in to dreams can come true.  That’s every parent’s wish.

We lived in a small town.  We would walk to school on nice days.  It gave us time to switch gears and talk about the day to come.  Matt was in kindergarten.  Louisa was three.  We were talking about wishes.  “Do they come true?” Matt asked.  “Sometimes.”  I replied.  Matt said if he had one wish, he’d wish for a toilet because he had to go to the bathroom.  It was, however, too late to walk back home.  When we turned the corner to head down 2nd Avenue, there it was.  The detritus of a remodel.  A pile of broken tiles, the remnants of a sink, and yes, a toilet, whole, complete and standing upright.  There was silence as we stood there taking it in.

English: This is used to pee in the bathroom.

 “Well, you got your wish” I said.  Big blue eyes stared up at me as if I was about to say “Go ahead, you said you had to go to the bathroom”.  Probably hoping I’d say it too, as it would be the best Show and Tell story ever – the stuff of legend.  My eyes responded: “Don’t even think about it”.  They giggled a little, but we were quiet too, as we mulled over this unexpected wish granting, wondering what would have happened if we’d made a better wish.  We kept walking and Louisa said ” If I had a wish, I’d wish for angel wings so I could fly to Pathmark #1″.  That was her favorite store for reasons known only to a three year old.   We walked the rest of the way to school where Matt would find a working, indoor toilet.  Louisa and I walked back home.  I strapped her in to her car seat and backed out of the driveway.   While I couldn’t give her angel wings, I could point the car in the direction of Pathmark #1.

English: "Fairies Looking Through A Gothi...

STRAWBERRY PRESERVES from Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg & Beatrice Vaughn – first published in 1973

We haven’t tasted the jam yet but these preserves are amazing.  You don’t have to process them in a canner.  They will keep in the fridge for a month-but probably won’t last that long.  The recipe only makes 3 cups-three 8oz Ball canning jars or any jars you might have that size will work.  This is not jam. It won’t spread.  It is more of a syrup.  Spoon it over ice cream, pound cake, waffles,  pancakes-add it to plain yogurt.  We’re contemplating banana splits with homemade chocolate sauce.  It’s easy and because the amount of berries is small, it’s not time consuming or work intensive.


  • 4 cups perfect strawberries, washed and hulled (we found the perfect huller)
  • 3 cups organic sugar, divided
  • 3 quarts boiling water (boiled in a large flat bottomed pan, not a kettle so the water comes out in sheets)
  • 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ glass baking dish

Place cleaned, hulled berries in a colander in your sink.  Pour boiling water slowly over the berries.  Put heated berries immediately in a stainless steel stockpot.  Fold in 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  Slowly bring to a boil.  Lower heat and boil gently for four minutes.  Remove from heat and add in remaining sugar.  Bring mixture back to a simmer and simmer for three minutes.  If it foams up,  add 1/4 tsp. butter and stir.  Somehow the foam disappears.  Lift the berries out with a slotted spoon and place in the baking dish.  Pour the liquid over the berries.  Let mixture cool, cover and let set for 24 hours.  Pack the berries in hot jars (you should sterilize what ever jars you’re using in boiling water or run them through the dishwasher – they should be hot when you add the berries.)  Divide the berries evenly between the three jars then add the syrup.  If you have extra syrup, it’s delicious on strawberry shortcake with fresh, unsweetened berries.


We have found that most gadgets don’t work – cherry pitters etc.  But this little strawberry huller works like a charm.  We found it at Williams Sonoma-it’s silly looking but it’s cheap and gets the job done.  It did occur to us that we were glad the kids were grown because it would be a perfect little weapon to torment a sibling without really hurting them.


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  1. Loved the days when we could grand their wishes…

  2. we know…that’s a hard one to get over.

  3. TBM says:

    Ah, magical powers. I wish for endless stacks of books. So far, it’s true.

  4. every book my kids every had and there are a lot-floor to ceiling bookshelves in both rooms, are stil there. there’s something about getting rid of books that’s not hard, just impossible.

  5. lillianccc says:

    The toilet wish made me smile. And to think it was granted so quickly too!

    My wish at the moment is that I could taste those strawberry preserves. Or just any strawberries. Haven’t had a decent strawberry in ages.

  6. it was funny. i still remember the look on their faces when we turned the corner. when you get settled in grad school send us your address and we’ll send you a housewarming gift. strawberry preserves, pear butter and marmalade at the very least.

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