Friday, September 27, 2013

Mean Grandma

I loved my father's mother. Much of the time I did not like her very much. She was a mean-spirited woman who's biggest joy in life seemed to be talking bad about someone, anyone, everyone else.

I do understand that she had a rough time of things. I don't think her marriage was a happy one. My grandfather drank from what I've been told. I did not know him. I have a feeling he probably was physically violent too but I do not know that.

Grandma had 11 children. Two died at birth or as babies. The Depression was a hard time for families in this country when her children were young.

One uncle had epilepsy. Back then it had such a stigma and there was little that could be medically done. He was put in a home and everyone was told that he was in a reform school. It was better to have a bad boy than an epileptic. He died there. I don't know if he knew whether anybody cared about him or not. It was way before my time.

Grandma was either the first baby in her family born in the United States or the last one born in Denmark. I can never remember which. She tried to teach me a little Danish but I only remember the word for hen.

Perhaps because she had so little when she was younger my grandmother was a collector. She had hundreds of sets of salt and pepper shakers on display in her house.

It was a small two-story house. Half of the upstairs was finished into an extra bedroom. The other half was for storage. And boy did she store a lot.

She lived in a little bitty town. The department store there actually was just a mail order hook-up. They displayed all the various mail order catalogs of the time. Grandma ordered sets of dishes, pots and pans, linens, and who knows what all. When the boxes came in she would promptly have them put upstairs. Most were never opened.

She was like that. She had things just to have them. It is such a shame they were never used. My aunt asked me what I would like as a wedding gift and I told her something of my grandmothers. I received a set of beautifully embroidered sheets. Sadly my husband went to plump his pillow and his hand went right through the material.

She did like working with cloth. She embroidered and did needlepoint. She also made the loveliest silky covers for her throw pillows.

Grandma would buy bananas and let them sit and rot rather than eat them. Heaven forbid if one of us was hungry. Whatever it was we asked for she was saving it.

My aunt had a scar on her hand. It seems that grandma was peeling potatoes for supper and my aunt asked for a piece for a snack. As she asked she reached to take a piece, grandma whacked her hand with the knife. It was a nasty cut. Grandma was stingy.

I remember once when we were visiting her she made oatmeal for breakfast. I love oatmeal. When we started to eat it we found all these tiny nails in it. Apparently she bumped the box of nails as she was making the oatmeal and it fell into the pan. Instead of throwing it out she expected us to eat around the nails.

Another time she made oatmeal again. When she served it to us we saw "things" floating in it and wiggling. She had mealy worms and saw no sense in letting the food go to waste.

She was not very nice to my mother either and that is something a child cannot forgive. She always made it clear that Mom was not a part of the family. More on that another time.

I did love her though. When I was in second grade we were working with modelling clay. I made the bust of a woman. When I finished it looked like Grandma. We went to visit her over the Christmas holidays and I took my little grandma to show her. She actually liked it and asked if she could keep it. Being an honest child I said she could as long as everyone understood that I got it back when she died.

All the rest of her life she kept it on the table by her bed. Sadly when she died it disappeared. I never saw it again.

None of my children knew Grandma. She died shortly before I married. When they were small we would look through family pictures and every time one of the kids would ask who that mean looking woman was.

I do miss Grandma. Maybe I could have known more about my father's side of the family if I had been able to ask her about it. Maybe I could have understood her better.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Great-grandpa, father of my grandfather,  owned several farms and almost all of town. He wanted to have a farm to leave each of his sons. It turned out that he also left each of them a business in town.

You might think he was wealthy. Not so. My great-grandfather got his holdings in an unscrupulous way. He traded whiskey to the Native Americans for their land. It was not ethical but at that time it was legal.

My grandfather inherited a farm and I believe the assay office. He eventually sold the assay office because it was not his area of expertise. He lived on the farm and raised his family there until he decided the grass was greener in Oklahoma.

The only great-uncle that I knew still had his farm and house when i was a child. I would not know how to find the farm now but If the house is still there I'm sure that it now has indoor plumbing and electricity.

His house in town is still there and looks exactly the same as it did then. I saw it a couple of years ago.

Another great-uncle is listed on a monument in front of the City Hall. He died of illness during World War I and was listed with the war dead.

Great-grandpa did not feel the need to supply the same inheritance to his daughters. I guess he felt that when they married their husbands would provide for their needs.

None of the land or businesses are owned by family any more. I can only imagine what all that land would be worth today. I could be independently wealthy, for goodness sake.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Mom

Mom was very pretty. I knew her as a quiet somewhat reserved person but I see in old photos that she probably got into her share of mischief.

Even though there is no Indian blood in our family it seemed that they always lived near an Indian reservation. Believe it or not they still exist today. Grandma and Grandpa did not want any of the girls working the farm so the most farming they did was to raise vegetable gardens and tend the fruit trees.. They also took care of the poultry and occasionally slopped the hogs.

Grandpa put great store in an education because he had very little schooling. Mom graduated top of her senior high school class. I used to tease her that it was easy for her because there were only three people who graduated. In truth my mother was the most intelligent person I have ever known and you would be surprised at some of the more or less famous names I could drop.

Mom and Daddy had a happy successful marriage. I never saw them argue. That is not to say that I never saw them upset with one another. Mom would stop speaking to Daddy. After he could stand it no more Daddy would try to cajole her into forgiving him. When he began to see her softening he would start with, "Hon, do you want a cup of coffee? Do you want a cup of coffee, hon? Hon, would you like a cup of coffee?" Finally she would nod her head yes and he would yell, "Emma, get your mother a cup of coffee!"

When I was quite young Mom used to write short stories. Many of them were published in women's magazines. I have no idea what they were like because women's magazines were considered too racy for little girls.

Both of my parents instilled a love of books for all seven of their children. We lived in one small town for 4 years. That was a long stay for us. Anyway during those four years we read every book in the library at least once. When new books were coming in, the librarian would let us know so we could be first to check them out.

Mom was artistic too. She painted, drew, sculpted, sewed, knitted, crocheted, tatted.... I could go on but it's depressing. I inherited none of her artistic abilities. For a while she was avid about charcoals. For Christmas that year she did a charcoal drawing of my teacher as a gift. She felt faces were the most difficult thing for her to do but that one was magnificent.

Most of us in my immediate family had birthdays within three weeks of each other. I always teased my parents that there just was not much to do on those cold winter nights on the prairies. Once she decided that she was going to have birthday parties for each of us. Since there were five of us at that time the girls would be one year and the boys another. The little one, a boy, could go with the girls because he was not in school yet.

She had imaginative parties for each of us. Mine was a treasure hunt. The morning of the party she went out and planted clues all over town. When all the children had arrived and dutifully handed over my gifts, she gave us the first clue. It was a poem that would lead us to the spot where we would find the next clue.Of course there was an adult or two with us to make sure we did not have too much trouble finding the clue. The final clue led us to the town park where Mom was waiting with ice cream and cake and of course my gifts. It was so much fun.

My aunt and uncles went to school in a one room schoolhouse in the country. On the last day of school there was a picnic and we always went. The more the merrier, you know. This year it was held on Friday, the 13th.

We set out for the picnic with Mom at the wheel. Daddy had to work. Mom was running late as usual so she was driving a bit faster than she should have. She came to the top of a hill and saw the police car at the bottom. Instead of slowing down she panicked and stopped. When she restarted and drove down the hill she was pulled over. Luckily the cop recognized the car. Daddy was the town marshal and worked with the state police on occasion. Mom received a warning to be more careful and we went on our way.

The car was low on gas so Mom pulled in to a station along the highway. In the 1950's the pumps often had big glass globes on the top with the name of the gasoline company on them. They were pretty. When Mom pulled in for gas she realized that she was too far away from the pump. She pulled forward a bit and then backed up a bit closer... whoops! a little too close.She bumped the pump. That beautiful glass globe began to wobble, wobble, wobble, wobble... it seemed to be slowing and coming to a stop. Whew. Then it just fell right off and smashed into millions of pieces.

The man at the station was very kind. Of course we did not have to pay for it; it happens all the time. (Right!) We got our 2 dollars worth of gas. That filled it up then. And we were off again.

We turned off the highway to the county road on the way to the picnic. We were merrily driving along and Mom missed the turn onto the next county road that led to the school. Not to worry... she just backed up so she would be in position to turn. Somehow we ended up in the ditch. Some of the ditches in Nebraska were like valleys. We were rear end down with the nose of the car pointing up. Now what was she to do?

Here we were with a car full of children sitting in a deep ditch with no chance she could drive it out. As luck would have it a neighboring farmer came by on his tractor. Mom waved him down and he of course was happy to help. He was so happy to help that he could not stop laughing as he hooked the chain up to the car and his tractor. Laughing as he had Mom steer the car while his tractor strained to pull us out of that ditch. He was so happy when we were completely clear of the ditch that he kept laughing. Mom had made him so happy that he was still laughing as he drove off.

Off we went again. Mom successfully made the turn. Believe it or not we made it safely to the picnic. Of course we were extremely late but there were still a few games left to be played. After that Friday, the 13th, was a day that we no longer let Mom drive. As a matter of fact we would not even let her in the car.

Mom was a loving caring woman. She would never purposely hurt anyone or anything. That does not mean that the occasional evil thought would not cross her mind. She always kind of wished she could bring herself to be slightly evil just once.

Mom died in her sleep in January that year. It was a hard winter. She was living in another state with one of my sisters. As soon as we had made all the arrangements we could by phone, I drove down to help my sister and her boys.

When my brother was killed in Viet Nam Daddy bought three adjacent plots for my brother and my parents. Mom was to be in the middle. That meant we had to have her returned to the place I was living.

It was a bitterly cold day for her funeral. One of my sons had a friend who owned a limousine service who graciously loaned my son a beautiful long white limo for the funeral. Early the morning of the funeral my son had his stepsons wash it to make sure it was nice and clean to honor his grandmother. Because of the cold the doors and locks froze tight. My son missed the services for his grandmother but he did make it to the cemetery.

As I said it was bitterly cold. There was a strong cold wind to really add some bite to the cold. As we were entering the cemetery I was struck by the thought that for just as long as it would take to snap your fingers Mom would have been happy that the day of her funeral caused us to be out there freezing half to death. It made me smile.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Terrible Twosome

I had a brother that was two years younger than me. It seemed like we were in trouble more often than not. And it started early on.

I was five years old and he was three. We decided that we wanted to walk all the way from our house in town to my grandparents' farm. After all we knew the way.

We went to Mom and asked permission.She denied us the pleasure. Daddy was at work so appealing to him was not an option.

Instead of walking to the farm we asked if we could go play on the church steps. It was a block away and we played there often. The railing was fun to turn over and try to do tricks. Permission granted.

We walked up to the church. Then we stealthily made a left turn and began to walk to Grandma and Grandpa's. After all we knew the way.

When we did not return home Mom sent another brother to tell us it was time. He returned to tell her there was no sign of us. She frantically called Daddy at work and told him we were missing. He worked in a neighboring town so it took him a while to get home even though he drove as fast as he could.

Now Mom and Daddy were not stupid people. They figured that we probably tried to go to the farm. Daddy set off looking for us while Mom stayed home with the other two kids just in case. He found us walking along beside the highway.

We had not even made it completely out of the city limits in all that time. I remember Daddy sweeping us into the car and spanking us in the same motion. It was one of the very few times he hit us.

We were living on a farm when our dog Trixie had puppies. I know there were quite a few of them. We named one of them Ugly for obvious reasons. They all had names but I do not remember any of the rest.

We had no indoor bathroom. There was just one of the outhouses that I detest so.

One day I walked into the kitchen with my brother. I put the most innocent look on my face that you could ever imagine. Then I announced, "Mommy I don't know how it happened but all the puppies are down the toilet hole." I tried to sound innocent and surprised.

Mom went into the living room and told my father that we had thrown the puppies in the toilet (we did) and she needed him to at least help her get them out. Daddy started to laugh until he could not breathe. Still he kept laughing.

Mom was worried about what would happened to those poor puppies so she went out to fish them out of there. She then had to take them all to the water pump and clean them off. After all the place they had been was not terribly sanitary. When she was finished she went back in to sarcastically thank Daddy for all the help. He was on the floor laughing and trying to breathe.

My two brothers and I were playing cowboys and Indians. I assume the brother one year younger than me was the Indian because my brother and I were on the other side. We played outside for a long time. Finally the brother two years younger and I went into the house to watch TV.

Mom thought we were being awfully quiet. She wondered where the other brother was and asked us. We looked as innocent as possible and shrugged an "I don't know" kind of answer.

Mom rushed to the back yard to find my brother hanging by his neck from the apple tree. We had hung him and could not figure out how to get him down. He was turning purple. Mom got him down and we always had to be on the same side in any kind of war after that.

One time we were in the car that Daddy was driving through town. It was a fairly big town in the part of the country where we lived. Daddy stopped at a red light.

My brother jumped out of the car and did a Japanese fire drill. That was what we called it when the car was stopped at a light and people jumped out and ran around the car, then jumped back in before the light changed to green. I did not partake in the exercise. Only my brother could get away with something like that. However I sat in the car and laughed uproariously.

My brother was killed in Viet Nam in 1970. He would have been 21 on his next birthday. It was the only time I saw my father cry. He is another of many that I miss every day. But I have such good memories.

Friday, September 13, 2013


My brother was two years younger than me. Our whole family was close. He and I were not necessarily closer than the rest but we did have a knack for getting into mischief together

The 1960's were a time of extreme change. Many people were demanding changes to the way they were treated. Peaceful demonstrations sometimes turned violent. We were learning to challenge authority not meekly follow what we were told. And of course there was the war in Viet Nam.

My brother who was one year younger had been drafted into the Army. He seemed to get a lot of breaks as far as time at home and assignments. His overseas assignment was to Korea.

The brother two years younger knew he would also be drafted when the time came. He always said that if he was drafted he would be sent to Viet Nam and if he was sent to Viet Nam he would come home in a "baggie". That was his term not mine.

So he was in fact drafted. He did not get any time at home between Basic Training and the second round of training. After that he was home for about a week and a half and he went to Viet Nam.

Before he left he made arrangements for the distribution of his things. And his insurance money was to go to our mother with the exception of a brand new car for our father. The car was to be a red Ford with black interior.

My brother was a person who lived his life to the absolute fullest. Everybody loved him. At the same time he could be so infuriating. He had a circle of friends who saw him as a leader. They occasionally got into a bit of mischief but nothing major.

One of those friends was a boy who had never really had any friends before. He was extremely overweight with an extremely possessive mother. Another boy also had a possessive mother but she had allowed him to have friends so she could entertain her gentleman friends. Another boy came from a large family too. There were others but those three stand out in my mind.

All the boys were drafted except for the one who was so overweight. The boy from the large family ended up in Germany. The boy with the popular mother was sent to Viet Nam as were the others. Members of my family and I wrote to them all regularly.

The overweight boy knew of my brother's prediction for what would become of him. He went on a rigorous diet to lose enough weight so the Army would take him. If he could just get in he reasoned that he could volunteer to be sent to Viet Nam. Once in Viet Nam he felt he could somehow find my brother and protect him. He finally fit into the weight restrictions and joined the Army.

In the meantime my brother was in Viet Nam. We received letters from him. We wrote to him. We sent him "care packages" from home. My mother, my sister, and I tried to take turns so he would receive at least one each week. We included personal items like socks, underwear, and grooming supplies. And they were full of homemade goodies.

He wrote to tell us how much his buddies enjoyed the cookies and candy we made and sent. He told me one time that there was a particular type of cookie that I sent that always arrived in crumbs. I apologized and said I would not send them any more. He wrote back and said to send them because they were one of the most popular items in the box. He suggested I send them in coffee cans so they could just eat the crumbs so that is what I did.

My brother was a tank driver. One time he was driving and his tank hit a land mine. Luckily no one was hurt but it did blow one of the tracks off his tank so he was idle for a few days until they fixed it. He sent my oldest son pictures of himself standing in the hole that was left after the explosion. It was as deep as he was tall.

He missed everyone so much. He sent silk jackets for my oldest son and my youngest brother. He sent silk pajamas to my second son who was my youngest at the time. They wore them until they were completely worn out.

One letter I received was tragic. They had been out on a mission and several of his buddies were killed. It was the first time he had ever seen anyone die. And to die so violently only made it worse. He was drunk when he wrote the letter and there are teardrops on the pages. It broke my heart for him to have to go through that.

My husband, children, and I were preparing for vacation. I had the dreaded feeling that we would be called home from that vacation because my brother had died. I had some last minute shopping to do before we left so I drove to my parents' house to pick up both my sisters to help me. They would spend the night and we would shop the next day.

It was fairly late when we got home. As I did every night I sat in my rocking chair to rock my children before I put them to bed. Suddenly I looked at my sisters and said, "Did you hear that?" Both of them asked what they should have heard. I remember telling them that it must have been the rocker creaking. They remember me telling them what I heard.

It was a young woman's voice. It clearly said, " Emma, Randy's dead." I was a little frightened but I pushed it aside and we all went to bed.

The next day we finished our shopping. I had to finish packing for our trip because we were leaving the next day. As I drove my sisters home we heard one of our favorite songs on the radio. It was Creedence Clearwater Revival singing "Looking Out My Back Door". When it was over we switched stations and there was the same song.  Once again at the end of it we switched and the same song played again.

As the song was ending we pulled up in front of my parent's house. We were laughing and carrying on. Daddy came out and came right to the car. He worked in a chemical factory and his eyes were all red. I assumed it was from something at work. He told me to turn off the car.

The girls went into the house immediately. I asked him what was wrong, hoping to find out what had happened to his eyes. He told me my brother had been killed.

My first thought was for my mother. How was she? Did she need a doctor? I took my boys into the house to see her but she was not there. I assumed she had gone to her room to try to relax. My youngest brother and sister were sitting on the couch looking totally lost.

My husband who was very close to my brother had gone to see his own brother after work. I called and talked to my sister-in-law. I told her to tell my husband where I was and that he should meet me there instead of at our house.

She could tell from my voice that something was wrong. After she insisted on knowing I told her and asked that she not tell my husband because I wanted to be the one. Then I took my boys outside. They were so small and I did not want them to upset anyone.

The boys and I were sitting on the front porch steps when my husband arrived. I told him what had happened. He didn't believe it. He was certain it was a mistake.

With my husband to support me I went back inside. My mother was sitting on the couch between the two little kids. I asked her if she was okay and told her that I had been in before but I thought she needed to be alone so I had not bothered her. I did ask if she had been lying down. She had seen me when I was in before. She was sitting on the couch with my brother and sister and wondered why I had not said anything to her!

The soldiers who came to notify my mother had stayed with her until my father could get home. They were actually so kind and so helpful. My parents decided to have a military funeral.

The soldiers told my parents that my brother's tank had been in for repairs. Some of his buddies had been caught in an ambush and he volunteered to be part of the rescue team. The vehicle he was riding in hit a land mine and he was killed instantly. They would not tell us if there were other casualties.

We found out many years later that what we were told was not the truth. What actually happened was that they were out on maneuvers. He was driving his tank and there were other tanks there too. They stopped to decide what to do next. My brother was thirsty and knew there was Kool-Aid in one of the other tanks.

That tank driver knew the area and that it was heavily planted with land mines so he told my brother to stay where he was. My brother assured him he would be fine and proceeded to get a drink. He stepped on one of the land mines. It killed him and another man instantly. Either way, he was dead.

For the military funeral there was to be a military honor guard  The Army tries to grant as many of the family's wishes as possible in circumstances like ours. We had only one wish. Remember the overweight boy who finally made it into the Army? He was in Basic Training. We asked if he could be part of the honor guard. We were told that Basic Training was rarely interrupted but they would inquire. We got our wish.

My parents were devastated at losing their child. The rest of us were devastated at losing someone who loved living as much as my brother did. The service itself was heartbreaking. But at the cemetery the military took over.

A military funeral is beautiful with all the pomp and majesty involved. They have been trained to do things exactly. There was no milling about wondering what to do next. But for the people who loved the deceased the closing can be heart-wrenching. The playing of taps and the gun salute are something that I wish for no one.

After my brother died my mother, my sister, and I continued to send the "care packages" to his unit. It was the least we could do and I think we knew my brother would have appreciated it. Some of the guys wrote and thanked us. It was comforting.

As we all know life moves forward. We still miss my brother. He was not much more than a baby when he died. It is not right. We have tried to keep his memory alive by introducing his life to our children and grandchildren.

Two years after he died I had another son. I named him after my brother. The strange part of that is that if I had waited until my sons were a bit older to name one of them after him, it would have been this one. He has a lot of the same traits, especially his love for life.

Before my brother was killed I never gave much thought to war. It was something in history books or so far removed from me that it was not real. I wish that a day will come when war is a thing of the past. No families will have to mourn sons and daughters lost so senselessly for what always seem to be petty reasons. I understand there needs to be a balance but there must be a better way to solve disagreements.

My brother died just a couple of months before his 21st birthday. He has been gone more than forty years. Too young. All of them were too young.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


My great-grandpa was a leprechaun. At least that is what I thought for years and years.

Great-grandpa was from Bohemia. He still had a bit of an accent even after all the years he had been in the United States. He had a fringe of hair around his head the way you might think a monk would look. And his voice was high pitched probably because of age.

Great-grandpa seemed small to me because he was slightly bent with age. But actually he was a big man. He had a barrel chest and from what I heard he was strong as could be.

Great-grandpa's parents died when he was young. His mother died from burns she received in a fire. Great-grandpa and his brother were brought to the United States by his uncle who raised them as his own. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for two young boys to make that trip across the ocean to a new land and a family they barely knew.

He grew up and held various jobs until he married. Then he became a farmer. Farming was a good living back then. You could raise most of your own food and hopefully enough extra to sell to supplement your income. That would pay for anything you could not grow.

I am not sure how many children there were. I know that there was at least one son, named after Great-grandpa. He died in a trucking accident after he was grown and had a family. I do know there were two daughters, my grandmother and her older sister.

My great-grandmother died when my grandma was very young. Great-grandpa had farmhands but he needed all the help he could get. So my great-aunt was chosen to help in the fields and to do other chores around the farm.

Grandma was too small to be any help so she stayed in and kept house. Even at that young age she was responsible for seeing to it that all the men and her sister were properly and completely fed. Needless to say she was not a fancy cook, but boy oh boy, what she did cook was the absolute best.

Grandma begged to be able to help with milking the cows but her hands were too small. By the time her hands were big enough she saw what being out in the sun and weather every day had done to her sister's skin. Grandma decided the kitchen was good enough for her.

Great-grandpa came to live with Grandma and Grandpa when he got older. I used to love to sit and listen to him talk with his accent. The strange thing is that I do not remember one thing he ever said. I listened to the grown-ups talking because that was how I learned a lot of the family stories.

As I said, I thought Great-grandpa was a leprechaun. One year for Mother's Day he gave Grandma a shamrock plant. That clinched it! He was a leprechaun! I am ashamed to admit I was a teenager before I discovered the truth.

Friday, September 6, 2013


We were moving into a new house. We moved a lot. This time Daddy was working for a farmer. Part of the pay package was that we got to live in one of the extra farmhouses the farmer owned. That was a common practice at that time.

At that time there were only five of us kids. I am the oldest, about ten years old at the time, and the youngest one was about three. Needless to say we had a lot of stuff to move.

Daddy was pulling a trailer behind his car with as much as he could fit in at the time. He and my uncles would bring a load, empty it, and go for the next load. Mom and those of us old enough to help were busy putting things away.

It was a fairly hot summer day. In the 1950's people did not have air conditioners. The house had good ventilation though. A nice breeze blew through and helped keep us as cool as possible.

Mom decided finally that we had been working hard enough. It was time for a break. There was no furniture there yet so we had nothing to sit on. The floor was dirty from all the traipsing in and out. We flattened a couple of big cardboard boxes and sat on them to have a snack and something cool to drink.

Mom was entertaining us by singing a few songs. Then we asked for a story. We didn't want one of the same old stories she always told. We wanted something new.

She could not think of any. We begged. Finally she started to tell a story and quickly realized we should not hear it. She said it was not a good story for us. We begged and she finally gave in.

Her story was about Dracula, the vampire. We had never heard of vampires before. It was an exciting story. When it was over my little brother was fast asleep and the rest of us had to go back to work.

We worked hard all day. At the end of the day we had not even had time to put the beds together so we slept on the floor. Our rooms were upstairs. The boys were directly across the hall from us girls. The top of the stairs was right outside our doors.

It was a sweltering night. We had all the windows open to catch any breeze that might pass by but there were not many of those.

The main problem was that it was dark outside. Vampires come out after dark. They prey on the blood of poor unsuspecting victims. We were all afraid to go to sleep.

My mother assured us that a vampire could not come into the house unless someone invited it in. We were taking no chances. She told us to leave the lights on which we did.

Having the lights on accomplished two things. Number one; it was dark outside and we could only imagine what was lurking out there just waiting to attack. Number two; moths were attracted to the light. They flew up and banged against the windows. We all knew it was vampires trying to get at us.

Mom tried to calm us. It didn't work. She tried being firm. It didn't work. She finally ended up sitting at the top of the stairs between our bedrooms until we finally fell asleep.

I have been afraid of vampires ever since. See what you did, Mom?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Call me Emma. Actually Emma isn't my real name. I want to be perfectly honest with all of you so I will let you know that Emma is the name I use online to protect my privacy. I am not going to disclose my real name.

Emma is a name I made up as a tribute to both my mother and father who unfortunately are no longer with us. In reality I am named after my parents. My first name is a feminine form of my father's name. My middle name is my mother's nickname. Of course my surname at birth was our family name. When I married I took the last name of my husband and kept it even after we divorced.

I have four beautiful children, three boys and one girl. I also have six gorgeous and intelligent grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and another on the way. One thing I am proud of is that it seems that each new generation is prettier and smarter than the one before it. There are several step-grandchildren too and I love them all.

The purpose of this blog is to tell the stories of my family. All are true at least as much as can be according to the things I have been told and as accurate as I remember them. If someone reads them and has a correction to make I am receptive.

I read a long time ago that we are what we come from. If that is true and I believe it is,  my offspring have a rich family gene pool to inherit.

Most of these stories are happy ones. Some are even humorous. A few are sad. All I am trying to do is make a written record for my children. They have been after me for years to do this. I attempted many times to do this but organization was beyond me. Perhaps blog form is what I was looking for all along. I can tell a random story and it will not have to relate to the ones around it.

I feel I must say, "Thank you" to my online friend, John Bain, for suggesting this. He writes the most marvelous blog about his experiences. I recommend it highly. If you are not a reader of his now I encourage you to visit him at Don't Unplug Your Hub.

I write for an online publication called Nature Center Magazine. We write about all things concerning nature. I hope you will visit there too.

Mostly I hope you enjoy the Leaves On My Tree. My family tree is full of colorful leaves who led colorful lives. As you get to know each leaf you will understand why my mother called me a "flibberty-gibbet". It was meant lovingly by the way.