Friday, October 31, 2014

Another Granddaughter

I have another granddaughter to introduce to you. She is my son's step-daughter. He was present was present when she was born. He no longer is a couple with her mother but he has remained close to her as one must when you share children.

My granddaughter adores her father, my son. She does know her biological father but has chosen to stay away from him. From what she has told me there were some physically and emotionally abusive behaviors.

When she was very small she could always be found at my son's house. She told me she was taking care of him. Her mother and grandmother lived just down the street but she preferred to be with her dad. Any females who came around were subject to her scrutiny and often lost.

When her mother moved to another state with her husband my granddaughter of course went too. But every chance she could she would have her dad purchase a ticket and she would fly to the city where we lived. She would stay as long as possible before she went home.

There was a lot of chaos at home and she really likes a calmer atmosphere. She is a quiet girl and absolutely no trouble. She is anxious to be helpful and does not wait to be asked to run the vacuum cleaner, for instance.

Ater a few years my granddaughter's family moved back to where we lived. She was at her dad's house again.

One year at Christmas we were all together for Christmas Eve as usual. The children usually sit on the floor because adults get a place to sit first. My granddaughter was sitting by my feet because she was feeling extra close to me that year.

I always give the children what I call stockings. Seldom are they actual stockings. They might be a small waste basket, a mesh laundry hamper, or something large enough to hold a few goodies. In them I put candies and small toys. They are for the children to play with until everyone has arrived. It keeps them from getting restless and they are not begging to open gifts.

This particular year I had included a small plastic animal in each stocking. They were supposed to be stress relievers because they were filled with fluid and it is supposed to be relaxing to squeeze them.

My granddaughter was having a good time with hers. She laughed and laughed when it made funny faces as she squeezed it. She squeezed it again and again. Then when she squeezed it yet again it suddenly exploded!

The fluid went everywhere. It was all over my granddaughter and me and the floor. She was shocked and so apologetic. I kept assuring her it was not a problem but I was laughing so hard I am not sure she heard me.

Like all the grandchildren she liked to come for the weekend. We often went on excursions to a state park or something. It is nice for kids in the city to get away from the hustle and bustle.

My granddaughter liked to watch for wild animals. What she really liked more I think was the peace and quiet.

My granddaughter also liked Grease. One year I discovered that the play would be in our city for her birthday. I asked her mother if I could take her.

We made a night of it. We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Then to the play. She got a souvenir sweater and was very happy.

Then it was time to go home. Her mother had asked me to drop her off at her grandmother's house because she would not be home. My granddaughter became more and more quiet the closer we got.

Finally she asked if she could go home with me. I could not take her because I had to go to work the next day but she was extremely upset.

After some coaxing I got her to tell me why she did not want to go to her grandmother's house. She was worried that her uncle would be there. He had a drinking problem and would go to his mother's house to cause trouble. My granddaughter was afraid.

When we got to her grandmother's house I took her in. Her grandmother is a nice person. I was exchanging greetings while my granddaughter put her things in a bedroom.

The uncle came in from the kitchen and was very drunk. He was happy to see me and gave me a hug. I had known him since he was a little boy. He then became bossy toward his mother.

I talked to him and quieted him each time he started to pick at his mother. He returned to the kitchen. I told my granddaughter's grandmother that I had to go home because it was late and I had a long way to go. She begged me to stay.

I stayed. I know that the family has violence issues. Like most drunks the son was happy to have someone to talk to so he talked to me off and on for quite some time. The grandmother managed to sneak away to call the son's wife. The wife would call and ask him to come home.

I stayed until after he left. When the wife called to say that he was asleep I told my granddaughter and her grandmother goodnight and went home.

My granddaughter has grown into a beautiful young woman. She is intelligent and gets good grades at school. She plans on going to college next year after she graduates from high school.

I hear from other people that things are not good at home for her. She and her mother are at odds. Her mother likes to party and my granddaughter has no patience for the commotion that it causes.

My granddaughter is working two jobs to pay for the extras needed by a young person. She is so industrious and wants to better herself.

Recently my granddaughter was chosen as Homecoming Queen at her high school. It is wonderful to see her being recognized as the special person she is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


So I was lying in bed this morning as I love to do. I was looking at the sights out my window. The phone rang.

Since it was only about 7:30 AM I quickly put on my glasses to see who would call so early. The number is the cell phone of my youngest granddaughter.

I quickly answered. "Hello?" There was no response. "Hello?" No response. "HELLO?' Still no response.

Then I can hear screaming and yelling. In the background someone seemed to be crying. "HELLO!"

I still heard no answer. Suddenly the phone hung up.

I immediately called back. No one answered. I tried again. No answer.

So I called her mother. I told her what had happened. She said my granddaughter was at school. We live in a different time zone so I had not considered that. 

Her mother said she would call the school to see what was happening. She would call me back as soon as she had spoken to my granddaughter.

After a grueling 45 minute wait the phone rang. My granddaughter had been on her school bus when her phone called me. The noise was apparently normal children-on-the-school-bus noise. 

My granddaughter did not realize that her phone had dialed me. It was in her pocket. Somehow it also hung itself up. She was surprised that it happened. 

Her mother thanked me profusely for contacting her. Of course she was my first thought after my granddaughter. If it had been my child I would want to know. Thank goodness nothing serious happened. It was one of those cases of better safe than sorry.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Rhode Island

My granddaughter is an athlete. She likes most sports but her first love is softball and she excels at it. Because of that she was invited to participate in SAG.

SAG stands for Student Athlete Games. It is an event held every four years I believe. Students are chosen for both athletic and scholastic prowess. Young people from all over the world are invited to take part. It is quite an honor.

My granddaughter's parents decided to take a vacation and tag along. They invited me and I was excited to go. The games were being held at the University of Rhode Island.

My granddaughter would be staying in a dorm with other participants. Of course we needed a place to stay so we reserved a motel room. It was in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts.

The opening ceremonies for SAG were held the morning after we arrived. All of us attended mostly to see my granddaughter march in with the others.

Because the university was built on land from the Indian tribe native to the area they always opened important ceremonies with a blessing from the medicine man of the tribe. He intoned the blessing while inhaling the smoke from his ceremonial pipe and issuing toward the various points of the compass. I have to say that the smell of the smoke was familiar and perhaps had a hint of illegality to it.

After a few speeches the participants left to do what they were there to do leaving us to find something to do.

We decided to visit the home of Lizzie Borden first. You know Lizzie Borden. Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had don, gave her father forty-one.

When we got there a tour was in progress so we visited the gift store to wait. Of course we made a few purchases. Then the tour guide came in to get us ready for our tour.

In rushed a young man in his very early twenties. He was so excited and had a photo he wanted to share.

He had been on the tour the day before and took a few pictures. He picked up what he thought was a ghost in one. I saw the picture. I am not sure what it was.

So he wanted to know if he could go back in just long enough to take some more pictures. They told him to go ahead. He said, "Alone?" Yep

So our tour began. The guide was an older man who looked a lot like Lizzie Borden's father. He accentuated that by dressing like him and delivering the narrative in the first person.

He took us through the whole house. We saw the kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs that are available to rent for a night. Then we saw the rooms where the Bordens slept. We saw where Lizzie's step=mother was killed and her body was discovered. We saw the living room where her father was killed as he napped on his sofa. They even have a dress form standing in one bedroom that is dressed in the dress Elizabeth Montgomery wore when she did the Lizzie Borden movie.

In a question and answer session afterward two women were very proud that they we cousins of the Borden family. Their last name was Borden. They were miffed when the man said that there were no other Borden males in the close family tree. Someone asked if he thought Lizzie was the one who committed the murders. He thought that was the case.

My son knows how much I like lobster and there we were right in the midst of lobsterland. He wanted to treat me to a lobster dinner and maybe try it himself. We went to a seafood restaurant.

My daughter-in-law wanted no part of anything fishy but she went and ordered "normal" food as did my grandson.

My grandson has a real weak stomach. Or should I say a strong gag reflex? The poor thing had to sit with his face to the wall because everyone around us was eating oysters. He suffered through that whole meal just so I could eat my lobster. He is so sweet.

We drove to Boston to spend the day steeped in history. We visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. It is an impressive building on a little point of the ocean. There is a large paved area outside to wander on and look into the water.

The building is classy just as I would expect something designed by Jackie would be. The many exhibits are informative and I learned a lot.

What I liked the most however was the misty rain that was falling when we were looking at the ocean before we left.

We had so many other places we wanted to see. The problem was that we got hopelessly lost. With us not knowing the city and construction and one-way streets we spent literally hours trying to find something/anything we could recognize to get out of there.

We did stop a couple of times to ask directions but no one else seemed to know where we were either. It was such a disappointing day.

Across the river from where we were staying was a naval museum. My father served in the Navy in World War II. I was very interested.

There were five vessels I think. Daddy was on a battleship so I really wanted to see that one.

We were able to go on all the ships there. We could climb around and explore what the sailors experienced. Up and down steps that are little more than stationary ladders. Below deck smelled horrible.

In the movies they always show the sailors sleeping in bunks. Ha! The sailors on these ships slept in hammocks. Unless they were of an elevated position of course. They get bunks.

We climbed on the guns and took pictures pretending to operate them. It was great fun and I felt close to my father that day.

In between all the sight-seeing we were doing we attended the softball games my granddaughter played. Her coach was a very young man from Australia. All the girls had crushes on him. My granddaughter simply told me, "He;s kinda cute."

She also went to other sporting events when she was not involved in other things. And there were the inevitable pizza parties in the dorm. She had a great time too. Although she was upset that we went to Lizzie Borden's house without her.

Former President of the United States Bill Clinton was the closing speaker for SAG. We certainly did not want to miss that.

As we were walking across the campus to the building where he would be speaking we spotted my granddaughter with a group of her peers. They were playing some sort of game similar to soccer but it was not that. My daughter-in-law immediately wanted to join. My son stayed to watch. My son and daughter-in-law were very young when they had the children so they fit in well most of the time.

My grandson and I continued on to the building. He looked at me and said, "I wish they wouldn't do that." Of course I wondered what he did not want them to do.

He said that they tended to forget that they were the parents. It embarrassed him.

That was when I told him that the hardest thing a parent has to do is to let go. It is so difficult to see your babies grow up to be not babies. I told him to try to give them some slack. Now that he has a little girl I am anxious to see how long it takes him to understand what I meant.

Bill Clinton is a hypnotic speaker. Even though you know he is speaking to hundreds of people you feel that he is speaking just to you. It is a gift.

After his speech he answered questions. He sat in a comfortable chair and seemed totally at ease as he fully answered each question. He was not hurried in his comments and often added even more. No wonder he was elected president.

It was a wonderful trip. I think everyone had an exceptional time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Just Like Riding A Bike

 My mother was a remarkable woman. When she decided she really wanted to do something she learned how to do it. She just put her mind to it and did it.

Mom grew up on a farm. When they went somewhere of any distance they rode horses. She rode a horse to school.

When Mom was about 50 she decided she wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle. She did not have the opportunity when she was a child. When her children had bicycles she was busy raising us and did not learn. So she never learned to ride a bike. Now she wanted to.

She went out and bought a bicycle. It was a bike made for a female which I felt was a small mistake. For some reason boys' bikes seem to balance better. But that was what she wanted.

Every day Mom went out for a period of time and attempted to learn to ride. Sometimes she had family there and sometimes not. But she kept at it.

Mom finally got to where she could ride a bit. She was wobbly but she was riding.

My sister had just bought a brand new car... not used but brand new. It was her first new car. She drove it over to show my parents because she was very proud.

Mom was practicing her bike riding but stopped to ooh and aah over the car. My sister went into the house to get a drink before Daddy came home from work so she could show him. Mom kept practicing.

Soon Mom came into the house. My sister was sitting in there where it was cool. Mom looked a little pale. Maybe this bicycle stuff was too much for her.

Mom had to tell my sister that she had been riding her bike in the street. She was doing so much better but was still not in complete control of the bicycle. Mom had a "little" accident.

My sister was concerned that Mom was hurt. No she was not.

She had been riding up and down the street. She was feeling pretty good. Then when she was almost finished she was in front of the house. She lost control and started to fall.

My sister's brand spanking new car broke the fall. The handlebars of the bike went right through the windshield of my sister's brand spanking new car.

Now when I heard about this the loving big sister in me took over. I laughed so hard that I almost could not breathe. I could not laugh at Mom... it just is not done.

Mom did learn how to ride and was a good rider after much practice. To my knowledge she never "took out" another car.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I've Been Hit

When my children were quite small I went to pick up my oldest from school. His brothers and sister were in the car with me when he came out of school and hopped into the car.

We drove around the corner and were headed home when I saw a dog running through the alley. It was headed our way. I stopped the car.

The dog ran right into the side of the car. It yelped and took off back the way it had come.

We tried to call it to see if it was seriously hurt. When it did not come back to us I took the car and drove through the alley to see if we could find it.

We searched for a long time and found no trace of the poor thing. It hit the side of the car with its head. It had to be injured. There was nothing we could do except go home.

At home I thought to check the car for dents. No dents. But there was a big round rusty looking spot where the dog's head hit. It must have been blood because it washed off.

I treated my children, my mother, and my youngest brother and sister to ice cream. We all placed our orders and were enjoying our frozen treats.

When it was time to go home we all piled into my car. I went to the end of the parking lot and stopped. I looked left then right to ease out onto the busy street. But my view to the right was blocked by a large van.

I began to pull out into traffic when suddenly a bicycle was right in front of me. I stopped immediately but I hit him anyway.

He was a boy of about 14 years. The front tire of his bicycle was severely bent and not usable.

I was so frightened that he was hurt. He had come from behind that big van so that I could not see him until too late.

I asked Mom to park the car. Then I proceeded to make sure the boy was okay. He was muttering something so I took his arms to have him look at me. Then I asked again if he was hurt. He said no.

I asked if I could call his parents to have them come get him and he looked alarmed but said no.

Suddenly there was a police car with two officers there. One officer was out of the squad car telling the boy not to be afraid. She would not let me hurt him!

The police had been at a coffee shop down the street and saw the whole thing. They took all my information. I wanted to be sure the boy was not hurt. She assured me they would make sure he was safe and sent me home. I never heard anything further.

 Yesterday I was driving on the highway and saw several deer under a bunch of trees along side the road. I know how silly deer can be so I stopped my car. Actually it is an SUV and sits up rather high.

Then one of the deer suddenly broke from the rest and went to dart across the road.

That stupid deer ran headlong into the side of my car! It fell and rolled a couple of times then ran off into the trees. I did not follow it.

As soon as it was safe to pull off the road my son who was with me got out to check on damage. The deer hit the door handle.

The lock broke off from the handle and the door. The mechanism hooked to the handle to open the door is off. There is a small dent but the door handle took most of the force of the blow.

I would like to know why things run into me. I would never run into them. It is another puzzle for me to unravel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Niagara Falls

My mother and I worked for the same company for a time. We taught people how to paint on cloth and almost any surface. Then we hoped to sell them the paints and other materials needed to do the painting.

The company was having a convention in Niagara Falls, Canada. We decided to go. My husband would care for our children. My father decided to go too so my youngest brother and sister also went because they were quite young.

Niagara Falls was not far from where we lived so we drove. Of course. And Daddy drove the whole way because Daddy always drove. And when Daddy drove what we did was get in the car and he would start it up. Then he would aim it and off we would go at top speed.

My father was a good driver. He just did not want to mess around. No bathroom stops unless absolutely necessary and who needs food anyhow? We were there in practically no time at all.

My family did a lot of road time as I was growing up so we had road games to keep us occupied. One of the favorites was watching licmuseum. ense plates. Each new state was added to our list. It could be played while we tried to be the first to spot a haystack, a billboard with yellow on it, or a scarecrow. We watched for unusual names for towns and funny signs. It was fun.

We made the decision to go at the last minute so our hotel was not the same one where the convention was being held. That was about a block and a half away. But it was a nice place.

We were right next to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. They had oddities on display. My favorite is the giant faucet that is suspended from wires but not connected to a water supply. Yet water flows constantly from the faucet. Even though I know the secret of how it works it fascinates me.

Roughly two blocks away was Niagara Falls itself. All we had to do was walk across the park in front of the hotel, cross a little street, and there we were.

There is a viewing platform with guard railing to protect you from getting too close or falling in. You can walk right up to stand beside the spot where the water falls over into the water below. Standing in that spot you watch the water rush over you can be hypnotized by the amount of water. It is almost like a crowd trying to get out of a crowded theater that is on fire.

It falls into the pool below and splashes halfway back up just from the force. Down there it bubbles and churns constantly.

There is an observation area behind the falls down there. We were not able to see it because they were working on it while we were there.

We did take a ride on The Maid Of The Mist boat. They provide each passenger with yellow rain slickers and hats to protect clothing. Then they take you right up next to where all that water lands after it falls from above. You are in the midst of the thickest mist ever.

After the ride you have to climb a steep set of steps to get back up where you belong.

In the near distance you can see the Horseshoe Falls. They are part of the Niagara Falls complex. We never did get down to see them because we were busy with meetings and workshops.

So during that trip we saw few of the sights. For myself I was happy to just stare at all that water roiling over the edge and down into the pool below.

All the way home my youngest brother and I drove Daddy crazy by making weird noises. Until he yelled at us anyway. It was kind of fun being a kid again.

My mother and I stopped in Niagara Falls again many years later when we were on vacation together. It has changed so much.

There is a little strip mall type of place on the street we crossed to get to Niagara Falls. Most of the shops were closed while we were there. We did not go on Maid Of The Mist because Mom was not crazy about the water. But I did stand and watch that immense amount of water charge over the edge to the pool below.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Be More Childish

The word childish has a negative connotation and it should not. What it means to me is as a child. Some may say that child-like is the more proper term. Child-like means to be like a child. I suppose the difference is minimal but think about it.

To be child-like you must work to be like a child. To be childish you simply are more like a child. So you may insert child-like but I mean childish.

Think of a baby tasting a new food or eating a favorite food. Do they act "cool"? No. Their eyes light up and their bodies wiggle. They roll it around in their mouths and smack their lips. They might put their hands in it and slap it to see what sort of sound it makes. Why they might even share it with other portions of their bodies like their hair. They are not shy about wanting more. Coould life be better?

As a quick side note I made sure that all of my children came with a guarantee that they were washable. That way I could clean them easily after a fun meal. Make sure to order your children that way too.

Mud is a great thing for a little one. It squishes in hands. It oozes ever so lovingly between toes. They might get a tiny bit in the mouth before you can stop them. Do not worry. There is the washable guarantee. Besides they do not grow properly without eating just a touch of dirt. I still love to step into the mud and feel it between my toes. (Try it. You will like it.)

A two year old child is the perfect age. That sense of wonder is at its fullest. They are full mobile and they can talk. Best of all they have learned that they are people. What they say and do matters.

These little people have often been referred to as being in "the terrible twos". They have learned to say, "NO!" They have opinions and expect people to listen.

A two year old has a completely uncensored imagination. They will tell you some great stories with very little encouragement. Ask them to tell you why the squirrel ran up the tree. With a few well placed comments from you there might be a monster chasing them or a baby squirrel wanting its Mommy. All that limits them is attantion span. They soon need to move on to another activity.

I love to walk with children. It is an adventure. They like to explore because everything is new and they want to see what it is. That is why they want to look under the neighbor's porch or peak into the sewer. Make sure they are safe but allow as much searching as possible. It would not hurt you to peek into that sewer either. There may be a treasure there. You will not know until you look.

Do you ever look at a leaf? I mean really look. Up close. Pay attention. Is it smooth or bumpy? Is it dark green or light green or has the color begun to change in the fall? What color is it exactly? Are the edges straight or striated? Has something been chewing on them? What was it? Is it on the tree or has it fallen off? Why? What do the veins of the leaf look like? Is it a pretty pattern?

See what I mean? We take so many things as normal that we forget the wonder of them. A child can find that wonder in its finger and examine it for a long time. That is childish and beautiful.

I want to experience my life with the glee that a child has. The glorious wonder and sense of awe that cannot be contained is a joy to watch in others. But to have that sense of wonder and awe is indescribable. And the best part is that all we have to do is open ourselves up and feel it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Am Afraid

Not much scares me. Oh I have some things that keep me alert. Those things are not really fears but I am watchful.

For instance electricity baffles me. I understand how it works and how it comes into being but when it comes right down to it I have a good healthy respect for all things electrical. I do not take it for granted and I am careful when using electrical appliances.

There are other things that I do not understand at all. People who hold so much hatred that they have to release it in the form of violence or cruelty I will never understand. I am much less naive than I used to be so I can even recognize some of them right away. Never the less I stay away from these kinds of people. That may be fear to an extent but it is more common sense.

I fear something bad happening to one of my children or grandchildren. It is a normal fear to worry for those you care about. (Knock on wood) I am so fortunate that the bad things that have happened to my family are relatively minor. They are all healthy and functioning the way they should.

Intrinsic fears are those that are inborn. I read that babies are born with only one fear... the fear of falling. Perhaps other fears may be instilled at a very young age so the person may not remember being unafraid.

For instance my oldest son has always been afraid of water over his face. Even a washcloth covering his eyes would cause him to gasp for breath. My mother was afraid of water in her face too. Was it genetic? Who knows.

I have an unnatural fear of falling. I always thought it was a fear of heights until I realized that as long as I felt a secure base beneath me there was no fear.

If I climb a tree I feel perfectly safe. The branches are sturdy and will protect me from falling. I can look down with no feeling of vertigo... none. I can stand right up at the edge of Niagara Falls and watch the water fall over the edge (for hours if you let me). I have something solid to stand on.

But that fear of falling keeps me from riding any of the up and over rides at a carnival. I can ride the around and around rides all day. But no up and overs.

When you are riding the Ferris Wheel you go up at the back of the wheel. Suddenly you reach the top and you are looking out at scenery. You feel like there is nothing beneath you and it looks that way too. FEAR.

I do not ride roller coasters at all. I did ride a small one once. Never again. Have you ever seen how flimsy they are built? They go so fast and there is no way I can stop them. I need that control.

An amusement park I took my children to (yes they all love those rides) has a ride called The Demon Drop. You wait in line forever to get a turn at this ride. It holds maybe 6 people on a seat with a lock-bar holding them all in the seat. Slowly it cranks itself straight up into the air. Up and up it goes then up some more. Not for me. Then it stops at the very top and sits still for a while. Then suddenly it drops straight down all the way to the ground. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There is not one fun thing about that.

So I have a fear of falling. Sue me.

It has been well-documented that I am afraid of vampires. Vampires are the one thing I believe there is not. I have to believe that or I would go mad. But I am afraid of them.

That is an irrational fear. I know it is crazy. I know a vampire cannot get me so it can bite my neck. I know I will not become a vampire. Still I am afraid of vampires.

Some people lose some of their faculties as they age. Reflexes are slower, we cannot get around as well, and our bodies do not perform the way we wish. Most people have to wear eyeglasses when they get older. We are in more danger of breaking a bone when we fall and in more danger of falling because we do not move as well as we used to.

Some people cannot remember things. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease come to mind but there are lesser memory problems too. Heart attacks and strokes are a couple of health issues that we associate with age. The ability to speak can be an effect. Can you imagine being inside a body that refuses to allow you to communicate? It has to be extremely frustrating.

My biggest fear is blindness. I even dream about it. I will be driving along and suddenly everything is black. The person with me has to try to save my life as well as the others in my vehicle. I will then wake up.

If I were unable to see I would not be able to read. It is my greatest pleasure. I would not be able to see the faces of my family. I would not be able to get on the internet to write this blog. I would not be able to drive. I would not be totally independent.

I would be trapped in a world of darkness. I know you can be retrained to do things another way but there is no way it can be the same.

I do fear being blind. I want to see. It is my biggest fear.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Virginia Beach

I had been working hard. At the time I only had one full time job and two part time jobs. I sometimes had a heavier work load but I was tired. Two of my children were grown and two were almost grown. I needed some time to relax.

Two of my dearest friends are sisters. At that time one was trying very hard to find a reason not to marry a man who was a few years younger than she was. She was worried about the age difference. The other was contemplating divorce. He was a very nice person but they spent practically no time together because he always had something more important to tend to.

We were discussing our woes and one of us said we needed to go on vacation from our problems. We shortened that to vacation and began to plan.

We decided to go where there was an ocean. The Atlantic Ocean was closest. One of the guys in the band loved Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and recommended that. Another friend of ours said to go to Norfolk, Virginia. He had lived there for a time and could tell us a lot of places to visit.

We compromised and went to Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was right on the ocean and a drive through the tunnel would take us to Norfolk. We made reservations. We had a hotel for the first few nights. Then we were in a motel right on the beach for the rest of the time.

One sister had just bought a new car and wanted to take that so that is how we drove there. We would take turns driving with one person to navigate and keep the driver alert while the other would nap in the back seat. That way we would not have to stop overnight on our way.

We were doing very well until we hit Washington, DC. We found ourselves going around and around not knowing where or how to get to the highway that would take us south. We tried asking at a few service stations but none (and I mean not one) of the people working there spoke English well enough to help us.

Finally we saw a way to get close to Arlington National Cemetery. I was astounded at the sight of all those headstones in the distance.

We turned into what must be a service entrance drive. There was a guard shack there and we hoped for the best. Immediately a guard came out and ordered us to turn around. We explained that we were lost and trying to get to a certain highway. Could he give us directions?

He certainly did have directions. Turn the car around and drive out of the lane we were on!

With much maneuvering we finally found our way out of Washington, DC. And all by ourselves thank you.

Our hotel was very nice but it was quite a ways from the ocean. We arrived later than we had hoped so we decided to just get something to eat and get some rest.

The first thing next morning we were on our way to the beach bright and early. I covered myself with a strong sunscreen because I burn easily. I never tan but the burn can be uncomfortable. The other two used baby oil and I was aghast.

As we sat on our blankets I could actually see the one sister turning brown. She just got darker and darker, Amazing. The other sister burned but not too bad. In the morning she was brown too.

We did go swimming. I had to be able to say that I had been swimming in the ocean at least once.

The salt water is an experience. As I waded out to get deep enough to swim all I could taste was salt. Osmosis really works.

We spent every day at the beach but were told that sharks were active at night. We intended to try different activities at night anyway. Besides looking at the sights we ate at different places each night.

One night we went to a restaurant in Norfolk. It was managed by a friend of our friend. He was so nice to us. The food was great. We had been told to order the mud pie which we did. The manager gave that to us free. It was scrumptious besides so it was a good deal.

We had been looking at a lighthouse when we were on the beach. After several days we decided it would be fun to explore. We asked about it and it turned out to be a restaurant. We made a reservation because it was quite busy and we did not want to stand in line.

The Lighthouse (as it was called) had wonderful food. The view was what really made it a wonderful place to eat. As you looked out the window all you could see was the ocean. It was simply beautiful.

For desert at the Lighthouse we shared a slice of cheesecake. It was a huge piece of New York style cheesecake with fresh strawberries stuck to the sides of it. Delicious.

There was an all you can eat buffet place near the motel. What a disappointment. There was little in a choice of meats. The salad ingredients were wilted. It seemed like everything was greasy. Not a recommended place to eat.

We went to a place that had dinner theater one night. The theater consisted of a man playing piano and telling jokes. The food was good but he was mediocre. Some of his jokes were funny but most fell flat.

We walked a lot on the beach. One day we came across some sailors who were trying to take pictures to send home to their families. They asked us if we would take them. I am not good with a camera but the other girls were more than happy to help.

The sailors posed in front of the ocean. They posed on the sand. They posed together and separately. They did those silly muscleman type poses. It was great fun. They still ahd film left so they wanted to take pictures of us.

We obliged and did a few muscleman poses ourselves as well as a shot of us in front of the ocean. We gave them an address to mail copies of some of the pictures and continued on our way. We never received any pictures but it was still a good time.

I am a big fan of cheap souvenirs. I buy them for everybody when I go on vacation. Virginia Beach had a lot of cheap souvenirs many made of sea shells. I was in heaven.

So we had a great time on vacation and all three of us were happy to go home. I was well relaxed and ready to go back to work.

My friend decided to marry the younger man. He is a wonderful husband and now father. It was a good decision as I knew it would be.

Her sister decided to divorce her husband. They are much happier apart. In fact both have remarried and are very content.