Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hair


I have put off getting my hair cut for far too long. As an older woman I really need shorter hair. Long hair and gravity tend to make the face look more slack and older.

So I went to finally do it the other day.

I also need a perm. I am one of those people with absolutely no body or natural curl in my hair. So I need some help to not look like a wet rat.

The woman doing my hair asked what I wanted. I told her. She asked me how I wanted her to accomplish what I wanted. I told her to use whatever method she is comfortable with.

So she applied all the chemicals and cut my hair.

Then she handed me a mirror. I was shocked!

My hair is totally straight. No curl or body whatsoever. She cut it along the bottom. Nothing off the top.

When I said I did not want a "bowl" cut ( looking like someone put a bowl on my head to use as a guide to cut it) she told me that was what I asked for.  I insisted she do something.

Well for one thing she would layer it just a bit. If I wanted to come back in two weeks they could curl the top a little better.

After the third time of me insisting that she fix it I gave up. I paid her. It was not right but I did it.

I will have to wait a while to have someone else try to repair the damage. Meanwhile I will wear my baseball cap whenever I have to go out.

I look like the Friendly Giant. I am not happy with my hair at all. And I always thought of my hair as one of my better features.

So for a time I will only go out when I have to. I sure hope I can find someone competent to repair the damage.  So I am hiding.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Off To Washington


I had always lived in Nebraska. We lived in many little towns and on many farms but they were all in Nebraska.

Then Daddy got a job on a dairy farm just outside of Spokane, Washington. He went ahead and Mom took care of packing and getting everything ready for the move.

We were all excited. We were going to Washington on the train. My youngest brother at the time wanted to ride in the caboose.

Mom was busy rushing around trying to tie up all the loose ends. Since she was not going to be at home she had my aunt come to keep an eye on us. My uncles were there to help moving boxes. A couple of cousins came along too. They were around my sister's age.

Mom was gone and we decided to play outside for a while. Some of us were sitting on the hood of the car talking. I was there because I liked to hang out with the older kids and my aunt and uncles were kind of a captive group that day.

We were watching the weather because it looked like it might rain later. Off in the distance we saw something unusual. It was a tornado.

We sat on the hood of the car forever it seemed. We watched that tornado for well over half an hour. We later learned that it had almost completely destroyed a town between 50 and 100 miles away.

Then we watched the train. It seemed like we always lived near train tracks. In the summer the train engine would come through every so often with the little flame throwers that were attached and burn off the weeds that grew up too close to the tracks. Sometimes the smell of the hemp weed burning was unbearable.

It was a hot, muggy day. We did not get any rain but the humidity made us uncomfortable.

My aunt suddenly realized we had not seen my sister and cousins for a long time. She sent me into the house to find them. They were not there.

We looked around the yard. No girls. My aunt sent some of us up the train tracks and some of us down the train tracks to see if they were there. No girls.

There was a lake in the woods just outside of town. We were not allowed to go there because we did not know how to swim. I decided that they had gone there and drowned. I was a melodramatic child.

My uncle and I rode bicycles to the lake to look there. I knew we were going to find bodies. But the girls were not there. We went home.

My aunt was becoming panicky. She started screaming the girls names. So we all did the same. She told us to be quiet because she was sure she heard them in the distance.

She yelled again. She listened. She heard them We did not. She was sure they were answering her. She followed the sounds she thought she heard. We followed her.

My aunt went around the house. Now we could hear the muffled sounds that my aunt had been hearing. They were far away.

As long as we were passing the outhouse (outdoor toilet that I detest) my brother decided to make a stop there. He could not get in. But the girls were screaming from behind the door.

The girls had gone to the bathroom together as girls tend to do. They hooked the hook into the loop that locked the door to keep unwanted visitors out. When they got ready to go out they were pushing on the door and trying to lift the hook. The door would not open because the hook would not unhook due to the pressure of them pushing at the same time.

The more they tried to lift the hook, the harder they pushed on the door. It would not open. They were practically hysterical from thinking they would never get out. And they were soaking wet because of the heat of the day. They poured out when we finally got the door open.

When we finally were finished with everything at our house, we went to my grandparents' house. Our train was to leave in a few days and we got to stay there until then.

It was late when we got there. We just had time to eat and go to bed.

We were settling in for a good night's sleep when Mom rushed in and told us to get dressed right away. The train station had called. They had enough seats available on the next train if we could get there in time. We had not quite an hour to do this.

My uncle drove as fast as he could to get us there. The train was almost ready to leave. We had to hurry.

My oldest brother was having trouble dealing with the escalator. We had never seen moving stairs before. But with a lot of pushing and rushing we just barely made it.

My youngest brother was screaming that he wanted to ride in the caboose. Mom told him we would be in the car next to it. Actually we were fairly close to the engine but he was satisfied and we got on the train.

The car we were in was a double-decker. In the upper portion you could look out and see a lot of scenery that you could not see from the windows in the lower part. And riding the train was nice for us because we could go from car to car. I do not know how much the other passengers liked our mobility but we loved it.

Mom was sick for the whole trip. She had a migraine headache for one thing. She had them from time to time and they made her miserable. Later she found out that she was also suffering from motion sickness. Because she needed eyeglasses her eyes did not see the passing scenery correctly. Her brain tried to correct so things would appear as they should. Her brain became confused and made her sick.

Luckily there was a nice younger couple who helped her out. They were very much in love but they were nice enough to try to keep us occupied. They even got off at one stop and came back with bags of candy. It was the first time I ever had candy kisses. I still like them a lot.

We arrived in Pendleton, Oregon, at about 9:00 at night. Daddy was going to pick us up in the morning. Mom wanted to get us a room at the hotel. Unfortunately she did not have enough money left. The food on the train had cost more than she had expected.

The management of the hotel were nice enough to allow us to spend the night in the lobby. I'm sure they felt bad for the young mother with five children. One of the younger children even got sick all over the lobby floor. They cleaned it with no complaint. Mom was so grateful.

Daddy was there first thing in the morning. He was so happy to have his family with him. We were just as happy to have our father again.

He took us to get something to eat and we started the last leg of our move to Washington. On the way we stopped for ice cream. What a treat.

Finally we reached our house. It was at the very top of a small mountain. There were evergreen trees everywhere. We had all sorts of space. And our whole family was together again.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Mom Moved


After my father died Mom lived in that big house for a while. Then she decided that it was simply too big for a woman living alone.

She moved in with my youngest sister. They were still in Detroit so she was close to the rest of us. Our other sister had moved to Florida with her son. The oldest of our brothers eventually moved to Florida as well.

Mom had been complaining about the cold winters of Michigan and Nebraska (where we were from) for a few years. She decided to move to Florida where she stayed with my sister and her son.

Mom hated Florida. She said it smelled like fish and was always raining.

The sister she was living with is not easy to live with. We all love one another but there are some people you cannot be with all day every day.

Mom moved back to Michigan.

Mom and I had been talking for some time about seeing New England. We decided a road trip was in order.

She picked me up. Off we went to see what we could see in New England.

It was a great trip. We took turns driving. We stopped when we saw something interesting. There were even a couple of times we doubled back when we saw a sign about someplace we had passed and decided to see.

On the spur of the moment we decided to drive to Kentucky to visit my sister and her sons. I did not know it at the time but Mom was toying with the idea of living there.

Mom stayed with my sister for a couple of years. Then she wanted a place of her own. She rented a small place down the road from my sister.

Mom no longer had her own furniture. She built most of her new furniture. Using 2x4's she built a couch and chair that my sister still uses today. Of course the cushions Mom made have long since worn out.

After a period of time my sister needed help because of her job. Someone had to help her boys get ready for school and stay with them after school. Mom moved once again.

One morning she did not call the boys for school. The older one found her still in bed. He sent his little brother up the hill to their other grandmother's house while he called my sister.

Mom had died in her sleep.

We made arrangements for a funeral in Michigan. She is buried between my father and my brother.

The day of her funeral was a cold, cold day with a wind that cut right through to your core. Mom was a loving person who would never hurt anyone. But I think she must have had a wicked moment of glee seeing us all freezing at the cemetery.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Parents' House


My parents lived in that house for a long time. Two of my brothers had been drafted into the Army. My sister finally returned home.  Two brothers and two sisters were married while they lived there.

My second son was born while my little family had the small apartment there. Then a few years later there was a baby boom in our family. In about a year and a half we had 5 babies in our family. My brother and his wife started it all with my loving niece. She also began a baby boom in her mother's family; they had 7 babies in the same amount of time.

Mom had her garden every year. Besides her vegetables she always had a lot of flowers. My dad had his grapevines and his roses. There were cook-outs which the kids all loved.

Our family flower became the snapdragon. Daddy would pick one blossom and squeeze it on the sides to show his grandchildren how the dragon's mouth would open and close. The kids loved it.

We celebrated holidays in that house. Mom would cook and bake. I mostly baked and contributed some of my goodies.

My niece was so full of love. She was sick all her life but she would take my daughter with her as she went visiting in the neighborhood. My niece had made friends with all the older people who lived in the neighborhood. She would knock on their doors and tell them she just wanted to say hello.

When my niece died my daughter continued the visits as a tribute to her cousin. She told me she knew those people missed my niece and that her cousin wanted her to still visit them. The brother of the woman next door found out that my daughter was making a ball of rubber bands. Any rubber bands he came across would be put on a certain fence post so my daughter knew where to find them. They would promptly be added to the ball.

My niece was 8 when she died. All of us were devastated especially the children who were born in the baby boom. There were 2 new babies in the family. She had pictures of them in her hospital room and was anxious to see them.

My brother was also killed in Viet Nam. It has been 50 years and it is still hard to comprehend. The people of the neighborhood were all so kind. It was touching.

My brother's death was especially hard on my father. They had worked together before my brother was drafted. It was the only time I can remember seeing my father cry.

There were 2 more grandchildren born. Then we began to be grandparents. The way it should be.

Unfortunately my father did not live to see them.

My brother and his wife thought they might be having another baby when my father had a massive heart attack and died.

I hate to end on a sad note. Please know that we all have such wonderful and happy memories of my father. He was a much-loved man.

Everyone from the neighborhood came to the funeral. Everyone from the plant he managed came to the funeral. Not everyone who came could fit inside the funeral home. They waited outside and accompanied him to the cemetery. He would have been proud.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Embezzlement


The stories of my family moving to Detroit is being interrupted. I have a humorous and sad tale to tell.

Quite by accident we found out some news about our little town. The former city clerk was the person available part-time to ask questions about city functions. She arranged meetings of the city council and mayor. She collected utility bills for electricity, water, and trash collection. She applied for grant money to make improvements on city properties.

The clerk also worked at the bank in the next town where we do our banking.

I thought there might be something strange when we were looking at a house across the corner from us that we were thinking of purchasing. The man we spoke to told us he was married to the city clerk.

The bank she worked at received notices of properties that would be foreclosed. She would tell her husbsnd and he would buy them as they went on the market. Then he would renovate them and resell them for a profit. That sounds similar to insider trading to me. Insider trading is illegal.

But that is not what this is about. It seems that she embezzled about $75,000 dollars from our tiny little town. Apparently she did not record all the monthly utility payments as being paid.

I jokingly said, "That is why that fire at the city hall happened!"

Guess what. In an apparent attempt to destroy records a fire was set. Investigation showed that the fire started on her desk near the computer.

Since I had been forced by the city to have some electrical work done outside my house I laughed when the fire happened. After all there was nothing wrong with my electricity but I faced severe fines by the city if I did not have it 'fixed'. It cost me $1800. It was Karma.

The city hall was closed for more than a year as they raised the money and made the repairs. It has re-opened and we have a new city clerk. I hope she is honest.

In the meantime the former mayor has moved away. We have a new mayor. We also have all new city council members.

How was your day?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The New House


My parents moved to a new house with more room. Actually it was an older home that was converted into a three family home. My parents had the whole second floor.

On the first floor lived a Mexican family with several children. I first saw them when they were playing on the porch. They had a snack of buttered tortillas. I felt so sorry for them having such a poor snack. Guess what was one of my children's favorite snacks when they were older... right you are. Buttered tortillas.

A smaller apartment on the first floor was empty. My husband and I rented it.

The neighborhood was so nice and extremely clean. In Detroit there are ethnic pockets scattered throughout the city. This was a Polish neighborhood.  Newcomers are looked upon with suspicion. We had lived there for several years before being accepted.

The house on one side was home to a family from 'down South'. They had 4 little girls. They were such nice people and became good friends.

On the other side lived an older woman and her brother. The older woman also had a boyfriend who lived with her. Her boyfriend was THE MAN FROM DOWNSTAIRS AT THE APARTMENT BUILDING!

The only times we heard him was when they were arguing. That usually happened when they were drinking. Most of the time he was too drunk to do anything much except get into the house.

A lot of people in the neighborhood drank to excess. Several times the man next door was so drunk he could not walk so he would crawl home. More often than not he had also wet his pants.

A man across the street would coax his imaginary dog to follow him home. When he reached the walk leading to his house he began to remove his clothes. After he went inside his wife would come out and quietly gather his clothes and take them inside.

The nice family with 4 little girls moved and my husband and I rented their house. My parents bought the house they were living in.  They converted the house into a one family home.

During all this two of my brothers were drafted into the Army. One went to the DMZ in Korea. The other went to Viet Nam.  Both were in active war zones.

Mom and Daddy had their back yard. There were flowers, a strawberry bed, fresh vegetables, grape vines, and lots of room for an occasional BBQ.

Shall we continue this later? I think so.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Living In The Big City


My husband and I decided to take the older of my siblings and show them around. After all there are a lot of things to see in a city.

There had been a recent snowfall. In rural areas snow sort of lays there or packs down a bit. In the city it becomes slush very quickly.

My husband was driving, I was in the middle of the front seat, and the oldest of my brothers was by the door. My sister and two other brothers were in the back seat.

As we were driving through downtown Detroit my brother had his window open and was trying not to miss anything. Suddenly SPLAT! A car drove by and threw slush up from its tires. My brother took it all in the face and down the front of his clothes.

Of course we all laughed. He was soaked so we cut our excursion short and went home.

My sister began dating a young man that my husband and I knew. It did not last long. She met someone we did not know and disappeared with him.

We searched for her for a long time but there was no trace of her. After a few years she finally wrote to one of my brothers in the Army. She was married and living in California. He gave her my address and she wrote to me.

She wanted to come home but was afraid. I told her to come to my house. I knew my parents wanted her home. The first day she came to my house I took her to see my parents. She decided to stay with them after all.

(By the way the young man she was dating married my brother-in-law's wife's sister. They divorced after having 4 children. By then my husband and I were divorced. My husband married her. Confused? We all are.)

My third brother had a rough time at school. Detroit has a well-earned reputation for being a violent city. Several days a week my brother was chased from school. They would take his shoes off of him to make sure he was not hiding any money. He never had any but that did not stop them.

The oldest two brothers were drafted while we lived in that apartment building.

My parents finally decided to move into a house. That story is next.