Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Out With The Girls

Friends are so important in life. I have been fortunate to have both male and female friends. But I must say that my female friends have been more in tune with my feelings and moods. My girl friends and I have had some interesting adventures together.

My daughter was in a dance class. The mothers stayed there while they rehearsed and learned their dances. A couple of my best friends also had daughters in the class. They met once a week.

We decided to go out after dance class just to relax and have some fun. We would meet after dropping our girls off at home and pick a place to go. It became a popular weekly activity and several mothers joined us.

We went to a bar one week. It was probably a poor choice of place to go because it was a rather seedy bar but there is safety in numbers after all. There was a live band so we could dance and have a couple of drinks before going home.

My husband and I had only been separated for a few months so I was not interested in making any attachments with any men. Us women usually just danced together.

So we were in this bar. A huge bear of a man who had been "happy" for quite a while announced that he was celebrating the birth of his daughter that day. He bought pitchers of some concoction and had trays full of shot glasses. He just took the pitcher and poured in a circular motion until the shot glasses were filled and passed them out to people in the bar until they were gone and he would start all over.

It was great fun and the shots were good. I did wonder why he was at the bar and not at the hospital with his wife.

Soon he came over to ask my very beautiful friend to dance. She informed him that she would not dance with him but her friend would and pointed to me!

I was unprepared and could not find a graceful way to tell him I did not want to dance with him. So as I rose to dance the whole table of women (who used to be my friends!) tittered.

This gigantic man's idea of dancing was crude. It did not help that he was very drunk. Now I am not a small person but he tossed me around the dance floor like a rag doll. And the whole table of my friends were laughing the whole time.

I escaped uninjured and learned to decline the invitations I wished to decline. I needed to because my friend did it to everyone and then laughed. She can be an evil woman.

We were at a bar that served breakfast after they could no longer serve drinks. It was a great idea and they always had a good crowd. Plus we could keep dancing if we wished to do so.

Now my beautiful friend was a bald man magnet for some reason. She was actually a man magnet but bald men really loved her. A short little bald man dressed all in leather from head to toe and thinking he looked very "hip" sauntered over to our table with his best moves.

He sat down uninvited next to my friend. She decided to have some fun with him. She had a mean streak in her that beautiful women sometimes have. She teased him along as the rest of us tried not to laugh. He was in heaven thinking he was going to "score".

Eventually she grew tired of playing so she told him to go away. He stayed. Finally she suggested that the two of us go play Frogger thinking he would leave while we were gone. Not so. He was waiting with a goofy smile on his face when we got back.

She was still trying to figure out how to get rid of him when the photographer came to the table. Would we mind if she took our picture for a local entertainment magazine? We were happy to oblige.

The photographer began to pose us by moving our chairs closer together. I noticed the little bald man standing in the shadows off to the side. I grinned and invited him into the picture. He demurred. I insisted.

Suddenly he said, "Uhh, I have to go now." He practically ran from the place. I realized when he was standing in the shadows that the reason was that he was married. He certainly would not want his picture in the magazine with a couple of women.

Getting carded is when the waitress or doorman asks to see you identification to make sure you are old enough to be in the establishment. I took my sister to the bar where my band was playing. I had the night off so I could just enjoy myself.

When we seated ourselves the waitress asked to see my sister's ID. I pretended to be indignant. "I have been coming here for months and you never carded me!"

The waitress who I knew quite well said, "Okay. Let me see your ID." I handed it to her. She said "Oh my God! You're almost as old as my mother!" I never did that again.

Across the border in Canada they had male strippers. A group of us decided to go over there one night. We made arrangements ahead of time. We even rented a limousine with each of us paying her fair share.

We met for dinner at the house of one woman. She made a fabulous kielbasa soup with lots of fresh garden vegetables. When the limo came we were ready to go. There was champagne provided by the limo company.

After going through customs at the border we went straight to the strip club. I had never seen anything like that. Men were marching around without a stitch of clothing.

The limo driver was not allowed in the club. It was for women only. But he did tell us that his company had a deal with the club to get choice seats for us. So he got our tickets.

We were right up beside the stage. Our tickets had numbers on them. If the number was called during the breaks between shows we would win a free table dance.A table dance cost $10.00 if you paid for it.

My friend had brought a"peter meter" with her as a joke. We had a good laugh over it. Then she won a table dance.

We were in the middle of a deep discussion about something when her dancer came over. He began to gyrate but my friend was busy with our conversation. Finally the stripper tapped her on the shoulder and informed her that he was dancing for her.

She immediately stood, grabbed her "peter meter" and said, "Do you see this? (She chose a very long measurement) When you can match this come back and see me. Right now I 'm in the middle of something important." He finished his little dance and left.

I had men working for me at the junk yard. They were all friends of mine and often we would stop for a drink after payday. Their wives knew I was no threat so there were no problems about that. By the same token the wives and I would often go out for an evening. The men knew I was not man hunting so they did not worry about me corrupting their wives... usually.

I took the wife of one of the guys with me to hear my band. She refused to learn to dance so she was not in huge demand as a person to spend time with. She was, to be extremely kind, a boring person. Even so she was a friend and deserved a night out so she could have fun without her husband.

We went in my car. I had been having a little trouble with it stalling but it always started again if I let it set for a few minutes. (The catalytic converter was overheating but I did not know it at the time.)

We started for home at the end of the night. The car was really acting up that night. We would drive a few blocks and the car would stall. It took a little longer to restart each time and it would stall again in less time. We did not get home until almost 4:00 AM. Her husband was beside himself.

I tried to explain the next day what had happened but he was having none of it. Being a bit of a player himself he was only too happy to think the worst of his wife. We never went out together again unless it was a group setting and her husband was there. Pity.

One of the women heard of a night club in a different state (but close to us) that had three different bands for dancing on any given night. That was our kind of place. We made arrangements to go on a Thursday night.

After a quick meal we set off. We walked into a totally dead night club. They only had the bands on Fridays and Saturdays. What a disappointment.

But we did not need a band to have fun. We played the jukebox and danced. The bartenders were fun-loving fellows.When we decided to climb up on the bar to dance they cheered us on.

It was still a fun evening. The few patrons of the nightclub seemed to be amused at us beiing silly.

Another time we walked into a bar that was supposed to have a good band. It was packed but no one was dancing. How boring.

Of course we were ready to dance and headed for the dance floor. It has been my experience that most people do not want to be the first ones to dance. Once someone else does they will jump up and go for it. That is exactly what happened.

We had a good time even though the place was a little over crowded for my taste. Before the night was over every member of the band had come over to say hi to us. The drummer even begged us to come back the next night.

We were all sitting quietly and recovering from dancing one night. The band was on a break. Over sauntered a truck driver with an enormous belt buckle. Guess who he was wanting to get know? That's right. My beautiful friend.

He introduced himself as somebody-or-other with the last name of Twitty. He claimed to be Conway Twitty's brother. Well of course Conway Twitty's real name was not Twitty.

He tried to impress us by buying a round or three of drinks. He did dance well so he was good for something. He was another disappointed man who was left behind by my friend.

One night we had no plans. We decided to just cruise and see if we could find something to do.

You know how a car full of men can harass a lone woman in another car? Well that night we ran across a man alone in his car. We rolled down our windows and started with cat calls and whistles.

That poor man white knuckled his steering wheel. He kept looking over at us nervously and tried to drive a little faster. When we tired of it we turned off and I saw a wave of relief wash over him.

At the time I thought it was funny. Looking back I feel sorry for that poor man. We might have been lunatics.

We of course were listening to music. We stopped at a red light and a great song for dancing came on. We all jumped out of the car and began to dance. There we were in the middle of a busy intersection having the times of our lives. Luckily no police came.

There were however a couple of very nice men who followed us to the diner where we were going to have breakfast.

They asked if they could sit with us and buy us breakfast. When they saw us hesitate they explained that they wanted nothing from us. All they wanted to do was enjoy our company while we all ate.

We agreed to sit with them and had a nice time. They got up after eating and paid the bill leaving a generous tip for the waitress. Then they went on their way. What nice men.

One night I was to meet my best friend at the bar where the band played. She said she would decide where we were going. The problem with my friend is that she has absolutely no sense of time. I used to tell her an event was an hour earlier than it actually was so we might not be too late getting there.

On this particular night she was more than 2 hours late. The owner of the bar came to me and asked if I would mind helping the waitresses. They were busier than usual and had fallen way behind. I had no other plans so I put on an apron and went to work.

About 45 minutes later my friend came in. I was still very busy waiting tables. She looked at me with a question mark. I looked back and shrugged. I was busy.

We are the friends who roll with the punches so she just sat down to wait for me. Of course the men were all anxious to buy her drinks. I introduced her to a friend of mine so she would not have to sit alone. He is a nice guy.

They decided to drink shots of tequila. My friend had not drunk tequila before and did not know enough to pace herself. She got soooooo drunk.

My friend lives way out in the country. I cannot find her house in the daytime. Now I had to drive her home in the middle of the night.

In the beginning she gave me good directions. Then she was falling asleep. I woke her up once and told her I did not know where to turn. She gave vague directions but we were on our way.

When I drove up to an intersection of roads in the country with cornfields all around me I had no idea where I was. I tried to wake her up.

Finally I said, "You have to wake up. I don't know where we are."

She managed to rouse herself and I repeated that I was lost. She said for me to drive forward a bit.I did.

Then she suddenly sat up straight with a panicked look on her face leaving me to think, "Oh my God. I have been taking directions from a drunk!"

She told me to turn left. I did. There was her house. Relief.

I took her in and made sure she could get to bed safely. Since we had her car she told me to stay and sleep in her daughter's room. (Her daughter was at her aunt's house.)

Now I have mentioned throughout this piece how beautiful this woman is. She even has beautiful feet. Not fair but there it is. Well when she got up the next morning she was so ugly.

There is nothing like a hangover from tequila. She was sick and had a terrible headache. And she had to go to work.

I teased her all the way to town about how ugly she was. She was ugly all day and I kept reminding her. That is what friends are for after all.

These are but a few examples of good times with my friends. I did not mention the quiet times we would just sit and talk and commiserate. We saw each other through so many bad times and good times. Those were the times we really needed each other.

When we went out it was never for the purpose of hooking up with a man. We wanted to enjoy being friends. And some of the group were married.

I have moved far away but we all stay in touch. Their lives have changed over the years too. But we still love and support each other. That's what friends are for.

Keep your friends of the same sex. They are the ones who will understand (or at least sympathize) with what you are experiencing. You need them and they need you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gallows Humor

My son has some more stories to share. I put in a couple of notes to update and I changed or eliminated names. I certainly do not need a lawsuit! This may be the last from him for a while because he is busy with appeals. They are rapidly coming and they take a lot of his time. Things are looking good.

This story is about when the bank put $111,000 in my bank account by mistake. It was at the time that the cops put all 20 of my trucks in the impound and were saying they were all illegal. They knew they were all legal and bought from legitimate dealers but that's the excuse they used to keep them in the impound and not let me get them out. 

They said I had to wait until their inspector inspected them, I tried to get my own but they wouldn't let me. They were holding them for months so I couldn't make my payments. I had over $20,000 a month in payments. They held my trucks for 4 months until the banks came and got them! 

Anyway, I called the bank to check my account because I just put a check in for $1,110. They made a mistake and put 2 extra 0's behind it. I was a very bad book keeper so I thought the money was mine, so I took it out and spent it. 

I had a friend a few years before this that another bank put over $1,000,000 in his account. He had one semi and it was old and he didn't have any money. I told him to take that money out and use it, he would never see that kind of money. 

He was scared of going to jail and after a couple of weeks, told them about it. They sent him a thank you letter, they didn't even give him a coffee pot! 

Anyway when my deal finally got around to being found out by the bank (6 months later) they took me to civil court, it's not criminal! When we get there, there are a lot of big companies there for bankruptcy. The bank had 6 lawyers and everyone else there had a bunch of lawyers except me, I had one. 

We got called up first, the judge listened to both sides and asked the bank's lawyer to turn and face the court room and tell them where you're from. The lawyer asked why? 

The judge said everyone in here is here because they need money. I want them all to know where to go and get $111,000 for free, case dismissed. My lawyer grabbed me and said lets get out of here, we were gone, and done with them! 

I mentioned before about helping a guy with his sentencing. I learned from that and others I helped what to do in different court hearings. That's how I got years off my sentence at my sentencing. It wasn't luck, I studied and I was prepared. 

I had help along the way, in our county a couple of the corporals and the law clerk let me go into the law library every day and study case law. No one gets to do that. The most you get is 1 hour a week and you get rushed out at that. I would put the books back in order after the day was over and they let me stay all day and study. 

I learned from a lot of different sources how to fight; Dr. Phil book, Sovereignty, winning cases, and even losing cases, and a lot of others. 

The law clerk and I got to be good friends, I showed him some stuff that got him started with the sovereignty and he, after a couple years ended up becoming sovereign and quitting his job there. He worked as the law clerk there for over 12 years. 

The corporals let me go to the law library because when my name was put in the newspapers, they said I got indicted with 4 cops. The cops looked out for me because they knew who came to see me and I never told on anyone or talked to a prosecutor. So they looked at it as I was taking care of the other cops buy not telling on them. 

Even though I didn't even know those cops, but they didn't need to know that,haha. I learned that to win, you NEED to look outside the box, you can't do what everyone else does. 

This one is a little crazy. I'm already in the county jail, waiting for court on a couple different cases and they take me to another city to start court proceedings on a couple stolen vehicles. I get there and they try to give me a lawyer that I already heard about that is the worst lawyer ever! I tell them I don't want him and I'm not taking him as my lawyer. 

 They try to force me to and I tell them no! They tell me there is nothing I can do about it, I tell the lawyer if he gets near me I'll punch him in the face, he will not be my lawyer. I already heard and saw his work and I won't be screwed like he does all his clients! Finally they give me another lawyer and also put me in restraints also. I don't care, I just wanted a new lawyer and I would've done anything to get one. 

The next time I go to court, I'm in a mood that I just didn't care about anything and I didn't care what the judge was talking about. I stuck my tongue out at the court clerk and told the judge this whole thing was a waste of time. 

I said I was on multiple charges in other courts that held life sentences and large term sentences and this was nothing to me! He said you think this is a joke! I said yes! 

He said I'm going to give you a $100,000 bond! I said I can't get out if you give me a $1,000,000 bond, give me that! So he did. It didn't bother me, I couldn't get out if he paid my bond himself. I was on parole with a hold and I had bonds in other courts I couldn't get out on. There was nothing they could do to me in that court that would bother me, or so I thought!?! 

Then the next time I went to court, I was in the back talking to my new lawyer. He asked me if I was going to hit him if he came in the cell to talk, I said no, I was only threatening the other lawyer because he was a piece of *edited* that didn't work for anyone. 

The new lawyer said that my co-defendant would be in court in this hearing? I said co-defendant, I don't have one? He said they arrested your mom. 

Boy did that shock me! I couldn't believe it. I found out later, the feds arrest peoples' family a lot, they do that to make you plead guilty. They don't care if your family has nothing to do with anything. Sure enough she was there and I didn't act a fool again! 

When the cop was taking me back to County jail after court, he said they treated my mom with respect when they arrested her and he didn't want to do it, the F.B.I. made him. I said don't give me that bull*edit*, how can you treat someone with respect while you're arresting them? 

They can get real dirty, I would've never thought they would do that but after I read a couple stories about peoples cases, I saw that the fed's do some real dirty, illegal stuff to get you! My lawyer was amazed because I got a deal for only a year in the county for this, he didn't think they would do it. I told them I would go to trial if I couldn't get it, and I meant it. That case was a real mess. 

Note from Emma: I was arrested for auto theft, believe it of not. I appeared in court and the judge dismissed the charges because they were unfounded. I have no police record. They were simply trying to get my son to plead guilty in order to protect me.

This is about my state drug charge. As you know, I've been fighting it since Feb. 2005. Back in I think it was April 05 me and my lawyer were in court at a hearing to see if we could get my case dismissed for illegal search. We did. 

The court date before that we were supposed to do this but the prosecutor said they had a case that showed it wasn't illegal, so the judge gave them time to get it and bring it to court. I had the regular prosecutor from the county and a special one from the state capitol. When we got back to court, the judge asked the prosecutor if they had that case. They said they were in a rush and must have left it in the office at the capitol. 

My lawyer said "I know for a fact they don't have one that fits this, I'll stake my law degree on it". He studied my case for a month straight and knew they were lying. 

Anyway, the judge ended up throwing the case out and the prosecutor from the state called me a monster and a menace to society and got so mad she threw a book at me and just missed my head. My lawyer grabbed me and rushed me out of the court room. 

Now here is where this story gets interesting!! I was in prison on my parole violation because of this and saw on the news a story about a prosecutor from the County that got caught with a dead body in the trunk of his car! It was the same prosecutor that called me a monster for selling drugs. 

The prosecutor was getting high all night with his friend and his friend O.D.ed and died. The prosecutor was high and didn't know what to do so he put his friend's body in the trunk of his car and was driving around the city. 

This is the same person with the other prosecutor that thought so bad of me. What an example! 

I've been fighting this case for years and they did everything they could to stop me from appealing this case. I started in Feb. 2005 and they lost my paperwork in 2007 and found it again in 2009 to get me convicted, then they lost it again in 09 so I couldn't appeal the case and didn't find it again until 2013 when I put a motion in that said they either had to (find) my paperwork or let me out of prison, they all of a sudden found it, amazing! 

Note from Emma: My son was finally able to file his appeal on this case after years of trying to get any kind of cooperation from anyone about his case files. He recently won his appeal.
This is the story of when the feds tried to frame me for beating one of the Smith (the name has been changed) brothers. I think it was Bob (again changed)? 

Anyway, he got beat in the face with a wooden pole while he was at a bar in the city. All the bones in his face were broken and he was in the hospital for a long time. 

This happened in Feb. 2006. He told the feds and the prosecutor I did this to him and also a (confidential informant) told them I did this too. They both gave the same exact statement and said they were sure it was me! 

I told my lawyer I'm not worried about that charge, we are going to beat that. He said, I know your confident and all but this is a very bad charge and they got a very good case against you. I said no they don't, I got the second best alibi I could have.The best would be if I had been dead at the time.

I was in a state correctional facility from mid 2005 until late 2006. There's no way I could've done this unless I broke out of prison and did it and then broke back in before they missed me! He was shocked! 

He went and told the prosecutor they had the wrong guy and why. The prosecutor, instead of being glad they didn't lock up the wrong guy for this crime was so mad that they couldn't charge me threw her water bottle across the room. 

That's when my federal lawyer started to see "The Springfield curse". That's the curse of the Springfields that makes the cops hate us and want to do anything they can to get us!

Here's another story about my dad. He was on the run from the cops so he moved to Tennessee. His house was on a highway inside of the mountains, right outside of a small town. 

I was down there one time visiting him when all of a sudden a bunch of cops pulled up in the driveway. There were a few people in the house and we were all surprised. 

Dad ran to the back of the house and we all stayed in the front. The cops came and beat on the door. I said what do you want? They said they were looking for a person named John Springfield and they wanted in. 

I said you can't come in if you don't have a warrant! They said they were going to bust the door down, they didn't need a warrant! Dad's wife let them in. 

They came rushing in the house and looking through everything. They had us all in the same room and checked all of our I.D.'s. They asked us if we knew John Springfield? We all said no. They came to me and said it's funny you don't know him when you have the same last name as he does? I said it's a common name I suppose. 

They knew better but it's not me they were looking for and they can't do anything to me for not knowing someone. They were mad, real mad because they didn't find him. They stayed a while and finally left when they saw it wasn't doing them any good bothering us any more. 

He had a trap door in the floor of the back room and went out from there. There was no back door to the house. Right behind the house was a stream of water and he crawled from under the house to it and swam down a ways to a friend of his house and stayed there for a while. 

The reason they were looking for him was, some people told them his name because the cops were looking at him as a suspect in a murder? From what I hear, there was a guy that was going around there and robbing the older people in their homes. The guy would target people that were too old to even get around! 

The reason they were looking at Dad was the guy robbed Dad's friend and someone ran him over with a Semi on one of the very small back roads. Dad was one of the few people that drove around there with a Semi so he was a suspect. 

Later when he got caught here in this state, they checked about him being involved in that and decided he had nothing to do with it. I just thought it was a funny story how he swam to freedom when the cops came. Ok I better end this, talk to you later. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend Getaway

I was a young mother with four young children. They were all in school but I worked while they learned. Then I had all the things people do when school and work hours end. Cooking supper, supervising the children, and straightening the house.I needed a vacation!

I began to squirrel money away. An extra couple of dollars here and an extra bit of change there. It really does not take long. I did not want to deduct money from any family funds because this was a strictly selfish thing.

I then told my husband what I intended to do. I told him that I was taking a weekend for myself. If he wanted to come along he was welcome. Of course he wanted to come... he said.

I told him to pick a weekend that would fit in with his schedule. He did. It was about a month in the future.

I asked my parents if they would keep the kids for the weekend. Of course they would. My vacation was becoming a reality.

It was not going to be anything expensive. I just needed to get away and enjoy some peace and quiet. I made a reservation at a hotel that was not too far away but not too close to home. I would be doing no cooking or cleaning or taking care of anybody else.

The weekend drew near. I reminded my husband to make sure he had his business in order so he would be free that weekend.

He tried to stall and said maybe we could do it another time.  I told him that of course we could but I was going that weekend whether he went or not. It was my weekend. He finally realized that I was going so he got ready too.

So I packed a bag, dropped the kids off at my parents' house, and picked up my husband. Off we went to the hotel.

The room was nice and clean with two big double beds. This was a weekend for relaxation, not a second honeymoon. We each took a bed and relaxed while we watched TV.

After a nice shower with no children screaming that they needed something from me I crawled into bed to watch television. I promptly fell asleep.

I slept late the next day. How nice. My husband was still sleeping soundly as I ordered room service. It is so nice to have someone bring breakfast. I sipped on my tea for a good while after my food was gone.

We simply lounged on our beds watching television with no interruptions. The problem is that there is only so much to do in a hotel room. We were both getting a little antsy. We needed to get out for a while.

We went to the mall. This was to be an inexpensive weekend so I had not planned for shopping. We window shopped and made wish lists.

My husband spent a lot of time looking at riding lawn equipment. I guess it took him back to days on the farm.

I looked at pretty things. Most of them were impractical and I knew I would never own any of them.

We stopped at a little restaurant in the mall for our evening meal. We enjoyed the food and talked about nothing at all. Very nice.

We considered seeing a movie. There was nothing showing that we wanted to see. We went back to the hotel.

The television was waiting for us. We watched an old movie or three and fell asleep.

The next morning we again ordered breakfast from room service and lounged in the room. It was Sunday and my weekend was coming to a close.

We went and picked up the children. We visited with my family for a while then went home. Real life started all over.

But I was content again. I loved my family and enjoyed my children. I just needed to relax and recharge which I did.

Now this may sound like an extremely boring little vacation to many. And it was. It was exactly what I needed. Just a little time to myself without knowing that with the next breath I had other obligations. I was satisfied.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Third Grandson

My third grandson is as precious to me as all of my grandchildren are. Unfortunately I do not know him very well. His father has been in prison since he was about two years old. His mother sometimes lets us see him and sometimes she doesn't. Since I moved almost four years ago I have not seen him at all.

I do talk to him on the phone when he visits one of my children but those visits are not often. It is hard to hold the attention of a little boy when he really does not know you so the conversations are short and bittersweet.

I was so excited when I learned that my son and his girlfriend were going to have a baby. I knew how much he wanted to be a father and I knew he would be a good father. His girlfriend seemed to be good with my son's daughter when she was discovered and she had a little boy from a previous relationship.

Then my son was arrested. His girlfriend stopped answering calls from us most of the time. We were concerned about both her and the baby.

One day while I was working my daughter called and asked for me. When I called her back she told my my grandson's other grandmother had called to let us know his mother had gone to the hospital. I immediately left work. I assumed she would not want me in the room as she was giving birth but I was hoping she would see me and let me see the baby after.

When I got to the hospital her mother greeted me and told me she was fine. She had fallen and they were not sure if she was going to have the baby or not. Since I was there she decided to go home for a while.

I sat with the mother while she slept. The room was chilly and I noticed her trying to tug the blankets around herself. When a nurse came in I asked for another blanket. She got a warmed blanket that I placed over the mother. She seemed to resr more peacefully after that.

Finally she woke up when her phone rang. She talked to the person for quite some time. Then she rolled over in bed without acknowledging that I was there.

I was getting ready to leave when the doctor came in. I was not asked to leave so I stayed long enough to find out if she was having the baby.

From her discussion with the doctor I discovered that she had been out with a former boyfriend who beat her up. She was being released from the hospital as long as she could assure the doctor that she would not put the baby in jeopardy.

I then waited for her mother to return so she would not be alone. I told her I was there for her if she needed me. Then I left.

I was at a softball game my granddaughter was playing in when we found out that my grandson had been born a couple of days earlier. I was hurt that we did not know earlier but so happy to have a new baby in the family.

After he was about two months old we were finally allowed to see him. His grandmother took him to the house of a friend of hers. The man was very nice and told us to be comfortable there as long as we wished.

My grandson was beautiful like all the babies in our family. He looked like a combination of his father and his older brother.

As we were leaving after just enjoying the feel of my grandson his grandmother took me off to one side. Her daughter needed $1500.00.

I will never know why they thought I had that kind of money available to me. I would not have given it to her if I had. But I was grateful for anything that allowed me to see my grandson.

Over time we were allowed to see him. We even had him for weekends sometimes. You could just look at his eyes and see the intelligence there. He was so smart, again just like the rest of the babies.

And such a big boy. He is going to be tall like his father but I think his bones are bigger so he may be built more like a linebacker than a basketball player.

We noticed that he especially liked toys that would light up. We made sure to have a good supply of them at Christmas. One year his aunt and uncle gave him a toy gun that made rat-a-tat noises and blinked its lights as he fired it. He could hardly put it down to open any other presents. We actually had to change the batteries in it before the night was over and it was getting low when his mother came to pick him up.

When his father got out of jail he immediately went and picked up his children. He let their mothers know that he wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. He actually had them for days and sometimes weeks at a time before their mothers wanted them back. My son was happy.

He took his son with him everywhere. My grandson adored his father. And we were able to see that little guy as often as we wanted.

I took him to parks and out to eat as well as having him overnight with my other grandchildren. I kept toys and things to do for them to keep them occupied. He and his sister liked to take the sidewalk chalk out and make huge pictures on my sidewalk. I always left them until the rain washed them away. And my refrigerator was covered with artwork. I loved it.

My daughter's children and my son's children were with us at my daughter's house. We were all sort of doing whatever we wanted to do outside. My grandson picked up a stick and proceeded to shoot everyone. He would shoot and he would laugh while we pretended to be hit. Even the boys who were playing basketball with my daughter's son played along. (My personal opinion is that teenagers today are much more aware of little ones than they were in my generation.)

Then it began to rain. We love rain but we were not sure how my son's children would react. They danced in the rain along with the rest of us. Alone and together in the group we all did "our thing". It was a glorious afternoon.

My son was arrested again. He had been gone for quite some time but we were fortunate enough to have his children for the weekend. My daughter asked us to stay at her house and she got some extra time off from work. The kids and I would be sleeping in my grandson's room so we could all be together.

We were just sitting there talking and trying to decide what to do next when one of the older kids said something about Daddy. My grandson's head whipped up and he asked, "Daddy?" My heart was broken. He had been with his daddy almost constantly and then his daddy was gone. How do you explain that to a child who can barely speak?

These days my grandson makes the most of his visits with his aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is still a big boy, not fat mind you, just big. He loves to wrestle with the other boys even though they are older. Wrestling seems to be a favorite family activity. He enjoys family outings.

My grandson is very quiet and shy according to my second granddaughter. He likes video games (what kid today doesn't?) and likes to play outside. He is only 8 years old.

Like I said I do get to talk to him on the phone occasionally. His father has promised me that one of the first things he will do when he gets out of prison is bring his children to visit me. I am waiting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where Were You?

There are few events in our lives that we remember vividly enough to remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. I remember the births of most of my siblings ( I was too young for a couple of them), I remember my graduation from high school, I remember my wedding, and I remember the births of my children and grandchildren. I remember the horrible days that I learned that my brother had been killed in Viet Nam, my niece died, my father died, my mother died, and my other brother died. I remember joyous occasions like weddings and births.

Those are personal memories. Sometimes the memories blur a bit because some things are too painful to deal with all the time. But the memories are there waiting to be acknowledged. All I have to do is call them up and it is like they happened yesterday.

Then there are memories that are shared by most of the world. We watch enraptured as a new pope is elected. We watch as countries elect, choose, or have new leaders forced upon them. We see the atrocities committed for whatever cause is supposed to be the "right" one. We see how people can come together, united for the benefit of most. All of those are so important.

There are those memories that you look at someone and say, " This is where I was when that happened." Usually they are catastrophic events. Usually they change the way our world is viewed from then on.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first "rock star" president. He was the first to use television as a tool to help him be elected. He was photogenic and so comfortable in front of the cameras. He looked like calmness and strength during his debates with Richard Milhous Nixon.

JFK was beloved by his followers and by the people around him. Secret Servicemen and media members all were pleased to do his bidding. "Regular" people had pictures of him prominently displayed in their homes.

The United States as a whole adored the young president and his family. His wife Jackie was lovely and obviously elegant. Women wanted to be like her. His very young children, Caroline and John-John, were beyond cute. We loved to see them interacting with their father... just like he was only Dad and not the President of the United States.

Even though the Kennedys were one of the wealthiest families most of us felt they had empathy for us, the little people. Most politicians give the impression of being born to money and many people feel that those politicians do not understand the day-to day struggles we have.

But not JFK. He understood and wanted to do something about it. At least that was the way most people felt.

In 1963 the US was gearing up for elections the following year. President Kennedy was running again for president so he was in the midst of campaigning as well as running the country. One of his most important stops was Dallas, Texas.

In early August that year Jackie Kennedy had given birth prematurely to a son. The baby did not survive.

Needing to feel close to her husband and knowing that she was an asset to his campaign Jackie decided to accompany JFK to Dallas in late November. They were both still grieving the loss of their baby and being together made sense for many reasons.

While in a motorcade with John Connally, the governor of Texas, and his wife, John F Kennedy was shot and killed.

The phrase "where you when JFK was assassinated" came about years later. The thing is that we all remembered where we were.

I was in Algebra II class. It was a split class. We went for half a period and then went to lunch and then back to class. When we came out for lunch students and teachers were in the halls crying and with looks of disbelief on their faces. The President had been shot. He was rushed to a hospital. We had not yet heard that he was dead.

So that is where I was when I found out. For the next few days all television stations showed and reshowed all things Kennedy.

Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested for the shooting. Two days after the President died Oswald was being transferred to another facility. As was the practice of the day media was present at all events they chose to attend. They chose to be there when Oswald was moved. It was being shown on live television.

Since the schools were closed and the whole thing was important we were glued to the television watching. Suddenly a man jumped from the crowd in the basement of the police station. He had a gun in his hand and shot Lee Harvey Oswald right there on live TV. We saw it as it happened.

Fairy tales do come true. We saw it happen when Prince Charles married Diana Spencer. It was a fairy tale wedding and we watched on television. She was such a beautiful bride. He was a regal husband.

We were thrilled when Princess Di as she came to be known had two heirs to the throne of England. They were a fairy tale family.

Then things began to ravel. Rumors of infidelities circulated. Eventually there was a divorce. The Prince remarried. The Princess had suitors. The young Princes seemed to be relatively normal.

Princess Di was the darling of the paparazzi. She was beautiful and went to the most chic and fashionable places with the most in demand people. The paparazzi all wanted to get that picture that no one else had in oprder to make their names.

Leaving a nightclub Princess Di was besieged by the usual photographers. Her driver tried to get away from them and had a terrible accident. Princess Di was killed.

I worked the night shift locked away in the cash office of a major department store chain. One of the cashiers came to the little window they used to communicate with us for whatever reason. She asked if I had heard about Princess Di. I said, "noooooo?" and waited for the punch line. I thought she was going to tell a joke.

At first I did not believe her when she told me that Princess Diana was dead. Finally she convinced me. I was in shock that something so terrible had happened. That is where I was when I learned of the death of Princess Di.

My sister and I worked together in the cash offece of a major department store. We rode to and from work together. After a long night at work I dropped her off at her house and went home. I still had to drive my son to work. He could not drive at the time for medical reasons.

When I returned from taking my son to work I laid down on the couch to watch the news. I promptly fell asleep.

What woke me I do not know. There was a talk show on TV. They were talking about an accident involving an airplane. As I watched a plane flew right into the building they were showing on television.

The World Trade Center in New York City had been attacked. Two airplanes flew directly into the towers. I saw the second one as it happened.

I called my sister and asked her if she was watching television. She answered no. Why? I told her, "Somebody just declared war on us." I could not believe it. But there it was in front of me.

Both towers of the Trade Center were hit by planes. Both collapsed causing many deaths. The devastation did not end there but that was the beginning. Today everyone on the globe is trying to deal with terrorism.

I actually called off work that night because I was mesmerized by the coverage on TV. The downed plane in Pennsylvania and the crash into the Pentagon only added my need to understand. Unfortunately I still do not understand. But I know where I was when it happened.

I was watching the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. I do not want to go into space but the space program has always fascinated me. As I watched the Challenger exploded. All seven people aboard were eventually declared to be dead.

I just remember where I was. I was sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed.

Is it strange that I have such vivid memories of such unhappy things? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that none of them should have happened. They were all preventable. Most were the actions of someone trying to harm someone else. Why?

Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm With The Band

I used to manage a Rock and Roll band. Are you surprised? I do seem like a rather dull person after all.  But it is true.

They were a bar band that played mostly oldies. I met them not long after they were formed by the owner of a bar. He wanted a good band to bring in weekend customers. He also like to perform a little. His signature song was Annie Had A Baby originally sung by The Midnighters. It was sort of a sequel to Work With Me Annie also by The Midnighters. He did it very well.

The band consisted of a drummer. guitar player, bass guitar player, keyboardist, and saxophone player. As with all bands there were members who left and others took their places but the same instruments were a constant. All the members could sing, some better than others. Usually there were only two members who did the bulk of the singing.

The original five were chosen by the bar owner. There was a guitar player who was a friend of the owner and he sort of built the band around him. He sang a lot of Dion and the Belmonts songs and songs of that type. He was the first to jump ship.

All of the guys were good friends to me. I kept track of them for years even after the band was no more. Their favorite saying was "All bands break up". It did eventually but I was gone before it was completely dead.

The original bar was a rather grubby little place. It was a place frequented often by bikers of the lowest sort. It was not in a safe neighborhood. We negotiated and found a new home.

A friend of the saxophone player had a popular place and was interested in opening another. We were happy to move. Besides it was more money. It was a great gig.

We played there Wednesdays through Saturdays. Sundays and Tuesdays we played at the original bar of the new boss. Mondays we occasionally played at another place. We were in high demand because the guys were good.

I have to admit that one group of the fellas was my favorite. The saxophone player and keyboard player had been originals with the band. The guitar player almost became a family member after he introduced me to his brother. The bass player was such a talented singer. And the drummer was a real character. I will tell you about them and maybe a few of the others.

If you ever frequent a bar that has a band you will notice that even though they circulate to get to know the crowd they usually have a table of their own. I was in charge of the band's table. Actually I was often the most popular female in the place.

I was amused at the women who flirted and tried to get the guys to just notice them. One of the guys had the nerve to try to look innocent and surprised when I said that they all knew they could have their pick of any of the women in the place.

A lot of the women tried to become "besties" with me. Actually I did make several true friends who are still important to me.

I would sit and chuckle to myself when I saw a certain woman set her cap for a certain member of the band. The saxophone player was a favorite target. I think it might have been partly because he was very friendly but it was mostly because he was looking for a companion for the night himself.

I remember one night when there were three women at the band table waiting to see who he would choose that night. Each of them knew that the other two had the same thought. Juggling for position and attention while trying to be "cool" was a sight to see. He ended up with someone else that night.

The drummer was new. He was quite young... to the point that he did not even know some of the music the rest of us were familiar with. He had to learn a lot of the songs the band performed.

One night I was discussing the playlist with the soundboard operator. He also DJed during band breaks so the customers could keep dancing. Suddenly someone grabbed me around the waist from behind. Reflex made me elbow the ribs as hard as I could. It was the drummer.

As soon as he caught his breath he apologized. When he told the other band members what had happened they jumped all over him. We did become great friends once he realized I was not a groupie.

My favorite of the drummers was tall and skinny. I do not mean thin I mean skinny. I used to tell him that if he turned sideways he would disappear. He grew up poor in an ethnic neighborhood and was happy there. He told me that he knew he was a different color than the other kids but he was pretty sure his skin would change as he got older.

His mother told me she knew he would be a drummer because he would bang on anything that would make the noises. As he grew older he began to sing and oh could he sing. He was a sessions singer at Motown Records for years. With the band some of the songs he sang were Lionel Ritchie songs. The saxophone player once said that the drummer put Lionel Ritchie on the map.

The saxophone player and the drummer were old friends. They had worked together for several years with the Elvis Wade Review.

Bald men love my best friend. She does not understand it but they are drawn to her like moths to flames. The truth is that most men are drawn to her because she is really beautiful. We were laughing about it when we were first getting to know the band.

I was telling the guys about the bald men liking her while the saxophone player was trying to put the moves on her. While I was telling this hilarious tale I looked at the saxophone player with his always present hat. I said, "I'll bet even you are bald!" and grabbed his hat off his head. Except for the two lines of hair plugs in the front the top of his head had absolutely no hair. I am not sure which one of us felt worse.

Our bass player took a job with another oldies band in the area. They were very popular at the time. His replacement could sing almost anything. How many people do you know who can do a good job of covering the Animals version of House Of The Rising Sun?

I am not a big Willie Nelson fan. He writes some of the most wonderful music but his voice makes my backbone tighten and hurt. Our bass player sang Angel Flying To Close To The Ground. The amazing thing is that he sounded like Willie Nelson but without whatever irritating noise that is. It is a beautiful song.

His father used to come in to visit his son once in a while. He liked to dance but was not looking for a relationship. Well I like to dance and I did not want entanglements either. He was a good dancer with even a little ballroom dancing thrown in. We had a good time and went our separate ways when the bar closed.

I had never been able to master the polka. It sounds silly I am sure but I just could not seem to get it. The bassist's father actually taught me to do the polka. I still need someone to start the dance with me but I can do it.

Our guitar player also sang. He began to sing a song called On Broadway. I never did like that song. I think maybe it was a little too "funky-bluesy" for my taste. But he did it so well. I told him that I did not like the song but I liked the way he did it. He told me it was one of the best compliments he ever received.

Often I would suggest songs for the band to learn. Some of the songs just were not right for the band but sometimes I got lucky and they would learn it. Imagine my surprise when they performed a song I had suggested for my birthday one year. The bass player dedicated it to me and then began to clumsily say that it sounded funny to dedicate the song to me because it was not they way they felt. The song was I Hate Everything About You originally done by Ugly Kid Joe. I loved it.

The keyboard player could sing but did not normally. Once in a great while he would. He felt his voice was too thin. He just had to choose the right songs for his talent that's all.

I even got in on the act occasionally. I cannot sing. But with a good soundboard and a little echo most of us are okay. The band would invite anyone who wanted to participate to come up on the stage. We would crowd around the microphones. The song was Do Wah Diddy Diddy as sung by Manfred Mann.

I sang the lead beginning with There she was just a'walkin down the street and the rest of the people would follow with Singin do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do. It was great fun for all of us. Sometimes I was quite good and sometimes not but I had a good time and it was a good way to make the crowd feel like a part of it all. Once I was even excellent. The whole band just stared at me. I just told them that it comes and goes. My goodness I was cocky.

The many incarnations of the band and I went through so many things together. There were births, deaths, marriages, divorces, new homes, tragedies, betrayals, and love affairs. Through it all we were the best of friends most of the time. None of us is in the business of music any more but we all still love music. And we still love each other.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mom's Car

Mom wanted her own car. She had use of Daddy's car whenever it was available but she decided she wanted her own. The thing was that she was a homemaker and did not have an outside job. She wanted it to be all hers as in she made the money and paid for it.

Not having a job outside the home meant no money. She could not get a job because she would not have regular availability of the car. What to do? Daddy told her he would get her a car and she adamantly refused.

My inventive mother decided to collect refundable bottles and cans to see if she could raise the money on her own. She collected all the bottles that her children were too lazy to return to the store. She regularly visited our houses to pick them up. She also scouted along the streets of the city and picked up bottles and cans that people had littered the area with.

She would take them to the grocery store and cash them in. The money she received was placed in a bank account she had opened specifically as her auto account. It added up surprisingly fast. So as she still collected the bottles she began shopping for a car.

It took a while but she finally found one that fit her criteria. It was compact but had a roomy trunk. It was a used car but ran well. That was Daddy's only contribution to the whole thing. He checked out the car to make sure it was in good condition for her.

It was not a car I would have chosen. It looked like an old lady's car but it was what she wanted. The paint was an ugly color. I do not even remember what it looked like but I do remember it was ugly. But Mom was happy with it.

She had enough money from her pop bottles to pay cash for the car. She had enough left over for insurance and license plates AND a full tank of gas. She kept collecting bottles for a long time to pay for anything she needed for the car and maybe a little extra something personal for herself.

Mom and I were involved with a small company in which we taught people to paint on fabrics and metals. The hope was that the people would enjoy it so much they would purchase the paint and other supplies from us. We did moderately well.

I used the money I made to buy things for my family. Mom reinvested in product. She had paints to be used with brushes, thinner, remover, brushes, and spray paints. She bought things by the case and got really good deals.

The company that we were affiliated with went out of business. Oh well. But Mom had all these paints lying around.

As I said her car was an ugly color. Mom decided that since she had all this spray paint she would paint her car. She got the necessary items like masking tape to help cover windows and chrome and got the car ready to paint. Then she chose her color.

She had several cases of phosphorescent blue so she chose that. Being the capable and artistic person she was she did a good job with her painting. The car looked great.

My parents did not have a garage. No one in that neighborhood did. They all parked on the street in front of their houses. My parents' bedroom also happened to be in the front of the house.

The first night Mom parked her car in front of the house after her paint job they noticed a strange glow out front when they went to bed. It was an eerie bluish light. Aliens? UFO? Nope. Mom's fluorescent blue car. Daddy got a good chuckle out of that.

Being in the big city has definite drawbacks. One is the amount of crime. Often the people committing the crimes tried to elude police by hiding in residential areas where it was easier to conceal themselves from the authorities. If the crime was serious enough the police would call out the helicopter to help them search.

The helicopter has a strong searchlight that they play over the area. Often they can see things that are not visible from the ground. It also illuminates areas that the ground police might not be able to see well. It is a good tool and being in the big city we saw that helicopter quite often.

One night Mom and Daddy were asleep when the helicopter began to make so much noise that it woke them up. Daddy got up to see what was going on. After all you do not want criminals loose in your neighborhood. Almost immediately he told Mom to get dressed and come out front which she did..

Outside were several squad cars and the helicopter hovering very low above the street.  They had been chasing someone when the helicopter spotted this glowing blue object and reported it. Squad cars were immediately summoned to the area. There sat Mom's car.

After a discussion about why on earth the car was glowing in the dark and why on earth anyone would paint it to do that everyone had a big laugh. The police and their helicopter went on their ways. Mom and Daddy went back to bed.

Mom had that car for several years. Because it was a used car when she got it problems eventually were troublesome. She kept it in repair as long as she could but she finally had to let go of it. She had other cars after that but never any that she loved as much.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Sunflower For You

Georgia Girl With An English Heart shared a special award she received with all her readers. It contained a fun quiz that I thought would be nice for me to share. After you read it you might want to go to visit her site to see what she has to say today. Just click on the link above and it will take you there.

1.  WHY DO YOU BLOG?   I have always wanted to write a book of family stories for my children and grandchildren. An old Celtic saying tells us that we are what we come from. My problem was trying to organize the stories into something that made sense. My son kept telling me to write a blog. It was not until another blogger (thank you John (click on his link)) said the same thing that I decided to give it a try. I can choose the thought that pops into my head and write about it. Someone else can organize it if they choose. My blog is for my offspring. Anyone else who wishes to enjoy it is more than welcome.

2)  ARE YOU AN EARLY RISER OR A NIGHT OWL?   I have always been a night owl. The night sounds are relaxing and the moon is never too bright.

3) FAVORITE SMELL?  My very favorite smell is a freshly bathed baby. Flowers especially lilacs also give me pleasure. I like the smell of earth after a good rain too.

4) IF FEELING SAD, WHAT ONE SONG WOULD YOU PLAY OR SING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?   There are so many. Old Time Rock& Roll, The Unicorn, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Mrs Fogarty's Christmas Cake, I Wanna Be Like You (from the Jungle Book), Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy... need more?


6) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?  It depends on which me I am. Some days I am carefree and nonchalant, or I might be childlike and playful, or I might be quiet and aloof, or I might be thoughtful and mature (not too often though). There are plenty of other "me's". I am always as surprised as those around me.

7) NAME SOMETHING IN YOUR LIFE YOU ACCOMPLISHED THOUGH SHEER DETERMINATION. I think life needs determination to make it through. Perhaps the most difficult thing I ever did was to arrange my mother's funeral. Nuff said.

8) WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT WORLD OR NATIONAL EVENT THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN YOUR LIFETIME?  The Viet Nam War had the most impact on me and my family because my brother was killed there. There are so many things I remember and a lot of them affected my deeply but the war is the answer.

9) IF YOU COULD SPEND YOUR LIFE IN A DIFFERENT CENTURY, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?  I have no idea what future centuries might offer. I certainly do not want to go back in time. People had to work so hard and they often had nothing to show for it. Besides they had no indoor plumbing and we all know how I feel about that! I believe I am just fine where I am.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?  I can talk about anything... just ask me and I'll begin. But my favorite subject is my family. All the stories whether they are funny, sad, or just day-to-day life. I can talk you to death about my wonderful family.

Did you find these to be thought provoking questions? It is good to take a look inside sometimes. We are often surprised at what we find. You do not need to make the award if you do not wish to. But I do wish you the sunny color of happiness.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Washington DC

My son and his family planned a vacation to Washington DC. They asked if I would like to tag along and of course I said yes.

My son asked a relative to plan the trip because she is a travel agent. She was to book the hotel. It should have a pool because the kids like to swim when they stay in a hotel. She was also to make reservations for tours of the city for us. We would be there a week.

Whenever we travel we always share one room. It is cheaper and we get along just fine so there are usually no problems.

We drove and even with several rest stops we arrived a little bit early. The hotel would not let us check into our room. Fine. We would park in the garage and wander for a little while.

We were quite surprised to find that there was not enough room in the structure for each room of the hotel. What? They had a meager parking area that was completely outside. The hotel was not responsible for any damage to the cars outside the parking structure. My son checked every day and as soon as he could he pulled into the structure. We were not driving anywhere so it sat until we were ready to go home.

The hotel was right next door to some embassy. I made a mental note at the time to remember which country but I cannot remember it now. It was for a smaller country. Fences were high all around it with a huge wrought iron gate in front. It seemed a little run down from my vantage point. I never saw anyone coming or going.

Across the street was a church. The architecture was gorgeous. We could see it from the window of our room.

There was nothing spectacular about the room. One hotel is much the same as the next but we had no complaints. Except when the kids wanted to go swimming. The hotel had no pool. Guests at the hotel could use the pool at a hotel two blocks away.

The kids and their parents dressed for swimming and trekked to the other hotel. It was cloudy and we had no plans until the following day. I remained at our room to recuperate from the trip.

In no time at all the whole troop were back. The pool at the other hotel was on the roof. It had begun to rain and they had to close the pool. Poor kids.

The following morning was our first tour. The bus picked us up at the hotel and we were on our way to Arlington National Cemetery. I had seen it once from the road outside and was in awe then. I was really looking forward to this.

Arlington National Cemetery is located across the Potomac River from Washington DC. It is on land that was confiscated from Robert E Lee and his wife Mary Custis, a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. Their home Arlington House is still on the grounds.

Just to stand at any spot in the cemetery and see all the headstones for as far as you can see is an awe inspiring sight. Many military personnel are buried there. Sometimes their families were also buried there so it is not all soldier's graves. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt standing there looking at all those headstones and I will not try. But if you have the opportunity experience it for yourself.

We saw the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers. One representative from each war from World War One until the Viet Nam War was interred there. They are called unknown because officials had not been able to identify the remains. The soldier from Viet Nam was identified using DNA testing. His family claimed the remains. That tomb remains empty but the honor is still there.

The changing of the guard at the Tombs of the Unknowns is a solemn and ceremonial thing to see. Even children remained quiet with no prompting from parents.

Nearby is the burial place of John F Kennedy with its eternal flame. Another fine thing to see.

Back on the bus we were taken to the Washington National Cathedral. This church was originally an Episcopal church but it welcomes any and all religions and denominations. The grounds are spacious and pristine. A good place to walk in quiet reflection.

As you step into the church you are met with beauty. Again I have never seen such a beautiful building in my life. The main chapel is the one you most often see on television. It is very large with a wide center aisle. The ceiling is a couple of stories high. On either side the walls contain magnificent stained glass windows.  They line the walls and there are two levels of windows.

The lower windows are all traditional religious scenes. The upper windows are more modern. One even commemorates man walking on the moon and moon rocks are incorporated in with the stained glass.

The altar is all carved wood. The artistry is breath-taking. They told us all about it but by that time my brain was on overload.

The thing is that is not the only chapel. There are almost a dozen all together. One of the lowest ones has a rock floor that is worn smooth with time and traffic. Each has its own unique charm and function.

Several notable people are entombed within the church. I will not list them because I want you to be able to have the full experience when you visit. If you are unable to visit you can check the internet.

That was the end of our day. We had a free day the next day and wanted to tour the White House. We were told that you had to be issued a ticket the day of your visit and be there early because they give out a limited number.

We got up and walked to the White House area at about 5:00 in the morning. It was only a couple of blocks from the hotel. We crossed the park being careful not to step on the people sleeping there. As we neared the White House we saw a long line. We were late for the ticket line and might not be able to get tickets.

As luck would have it they were giving out more tickets than usual that day and we got our tickets. They are free. You must be a certain age to receive them and you are limited to four tickets. There were five of us.

We had met a tour guide who wished to get tickets for some of his customers but he got there too late. If we would get enough tickets for them he would give us a free guided tour to whatever we wanted to see. It was cheating but we got the seven extra tickets.

The White House tour is very structured and very rushed. At the same time it was wonderful to see the most important building in our country. I am so fulfilled when I can actually feel history.

That afternoon we had a tour to go see the monuments. We drove by the Lincoln Memorial, Washington's Tomb, Watergate Hotel, and so many others. Then we went to where the Viet Nam Wall is.

It was the one memorial I really wanted to see. My brother's name is there. We had been told that there were people who would help us to get etchings of the names from the Wall but there was no one, absolutely no one, so inclined. The veterans give out papers and pencils to do the etchings but that is all.

My brother's name is high up on the Wall. My granddaughter climbed up onto my son's shoulders to get etchings for us and it was still a stretch. On top of that is was a scorchingly hot day. Cement and stone was all around us and we were all ready to wilt. With a lot of effort she was able to get the etchings for us and we moved on.

The Korean War Memorial is also impressive. It consists of 19 military figures. They are life sized and weigh about half a ton each. They look like a combat unit creeping through Korean landscape. The figures are reflected in a mirrored wall to make 38 to represent the 38th parallel which is the border between North Korea and South Korea.

World War I has a memorial in Washington DC. It is lovely and must be surrounded by cherry blossoms in the spring. It looks like a spacious gazebo.

The Iwo Jima Memorial shows the six servicemen who raised the second flag on Mount Suribachi during World War II. They were beginning construction of a World War II Monument while we were there so we have not seen it.

That day we were so happy to be back at the air conditioned hotel. August is unbelievably hot in Washington DC. Showers and a good rest made us ready for our next adventures.

The following day the tour guide we met kept his word and picked us up at the hotel. He had no one else in his tour so he said we could see whatever we wanted to. We left it up to him. He showed us the narrowest house in the city. There are many historical homes in the area. They are lived in but the people who own them must  keep them in historical condition. Any repairs or decorating has to be submitted for approval.

This guide also told us how to get around in the subway beneath Washington DC. I think it may be closed right now. Anyway if we took a certain subway to a certain terminal we would end up in one of the congress buildings. That has definitely been closed. I do not think people in the building were too happy to see us step off the subway.

We went to the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, The Senate House, The House Of Representatives, and so many other places. He was a good guide.

We went to see the Smithsonian. There are so many buildings of Smithsonian. We went to the Museum Of Natural History to see dinosaurs and other prehistoric beings. There was a diorama of a caveman funeral. My granddaughter was fascinated because she thought the live cavemen were beating the deceased to death. She loved it.

The Museum of Flight had every form of flying machine you could imagine. Then there was the museum where we saw the Hope Diamond, Fonzie's jacket, and so many other iconic bits. Each building had learning centers for children. Things to do and things to touch. They even had a paper airplane construction seminar. Then a paper airplane race.

We ran out of time before we were able to see even half the museums. I would love to return and spend a day in each one.

We spent a day going to Mount Vernon where George Washington lived. The tourist part of the farm is huge. There are all the usual outbuildings many still in use for the sake of tourism. There are even a couple of burial spots.

The house itself is a mansion. Most rooms are small by today's standards. There are formal entertaining rooms that are much larger. The old-fashioned dangerously narrow stairs are there. Bedrooms are unbelievably small. If I were wealthy my bedroom would be as large as a parlor with a spacious room for my bed and privacy.

Anyway bedrooms must have been used for nothing more than sleeping because there was no room for anything else. People were not as large as they are today and the beds reflect that. The bed that George and Martha shared was shorter and only slightly wider than a twin sized bed of today.

What I liked the most was the porch. It was as long as the whole house and looked out over the Potomac River. It is lined with rocking chairs maybe twenty of them. I sat in one and rocked. I could have relaxed there forever.

There were so many other things we saw on our vacation. We packed so much into that little week. I would very much like to return with a little more time.

One thing that disappointed me was the homeless people. I feel bad for anyone who has no place to stay. That being said I was appalled to see every available doorway, park table and bench, and any other spare space being occupied. While visiting the Smithsonian there were people lounging on the grass and they obviously were there to stay. Some were even quite lewd in their lounging.

I asked a tour guide why they were allowed to stay there when signs prohibit being on the grass. He told me the authorities are told they have no right to chase them away.

It is sad that the capitol of my country looks like a flop house. Surely something could be done.

Other than that I recommend a visit to Washington DC. There is so much to see. I have not even scratched the surface.


Parts of the United States that experience cold winters are known for quilts. Quilts are those snugly warm coverings for the bed and some can be quite heavy. Some are strictly utilitarian... made to keep you warm. Often however they are also artwork. 

Most of the quilts we had as I was growing up were patchwork quilts. They were made of patches of whatever fabric was available. Often it was left over from making clothing. On the farm my grandmother had many that had a lot of denim in them. They were the warmest.

Anyway the patches were cut and sewn together to make squares. The squares were sewn together until there was a giant piece the size needed to make the quilt. Bunting was used as a filling and there was a single piece used on the other side of the bunting. The warmest ones were flannel.

All the edges were sewn together to make a big blanket sized quilt. Thread or yarn was used in even sized spaces to hold the bunting in place so it wouldn't bunch up in one spot or another. Sounds comfy doesn't it? They are.

There are also patterns for making prettier quilts. Daisy and double wedding ring are two that popped immediately into my head. With all of the "artwork" quilts the pieces of fabric are sewn into planed designs to create the desired picture. The rest of the process is the same.

Quilts are entered into contests like the ones at county fairs. They are judged by the artistry, originality, and stitching among other things. Often they are sold for large amounts of money. And believe me they are beautiful.

Now way back in the "good old" days quilts were a way for women to get together to socialize. In the pioneer days there really were not many activities for women away from home. So they would have quilting bees.

The women would meet and bring their quilts scraps and needles and set to work while catching up on the news of the day. The quilts were made for a specific family. It might be the family of one of the women at the bee or it might be for someone less fortunate. Remember people on the prairie had to take care of each other.

Today there are quilting clubs. They could be sponsored by a sewing teacher, or an arts and crafts store, or maybe just several people who are interested in making quilts. Usually they are making quilts for their own use and each person does their own. It may take weeks to complete but what a sense of accomplishment each one feels.

I believe it is the final rest area in Iowa before crossing into Illinois that has some interesting history about quilts. Quilts were one of many signals used by the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was the organization of routes and stopover spots for slaves escaping slavery before and during the Civil War.

If there was activity or danger of any kind quilts would be hung on the line. Certain patterns meant certain things as well as the way the quilts were hung on the line. They might tell where and when the runaways should meet to continue their journey. Or they might mean to stay hidden because there were people looking for them. If you ever have the opportunity to stop at this rest area you should read all the things they have displayed.

Quilt barns have become very popular. A quilt barn has an area, usually above the door, with a quilt pattern painted on it. Most of the time they are painted right onto the barn but I have seen some that have been painted onto wood pieces that are arranged and fastened together like a quilt. All are different and all are pretty.

I have even begun to see quilt patterns painted on garages. It is something I have been pondering for some time. I am not artistic but who knows? Maybe this is something I could do.