Friday, February 27, 2015


My mother was the valedictorian of her graduating high school class. I told you she was intelligent. Of course I delighted in telling her that it was not too difficult. There were three students in her graduating class.

I did not fare as well as she did. There were almost 1000 graduates in my class. My grades were high but there were other people who were awarded the honors.

Both of us married the same year we graduated and that was the end of our educations. Mom was so disappointed that I did not go to college. I was too. But at that time being married meant you were supposed to be a wife and in due time a mother.

So time went on. My mother had seven children me being the oldest. She nurtured us and we grew to be adults with families of our own. I had four children who of course were a bit younger than hers.

One day I stopped by my mother's house after I had picked the children up from school. She looked at me and said, "I went and signed up for college today. You need to go tomorrow."

I had no choice. Mom told me to do it so I did as did my youngest sister.

The three of us ended up with several classes together. Because we had been out of school for some time we needed the 110 classes. They were above entry level classes but below the more advanced classes. So English 110, Algebra 110, etc.

We were able to ride together for most of our classes which was nice because I did not have a car at the time. When I had a class that one of the others did not I had to take the bus.

One of our classes (and our favorite) was an English class. It was quite basic dealing with grammar and punctuation as well as some writing. Often the instructor would write something on the board with no capitalization or punctuation and have us write it correctly.

Sometimes he gave us a topic and had us write about it for say 20 minutes. Then he would have us read them to the class. It was interesting to see the different ways of looking at a simple topic.

I began thinking I would major in computer sciences. I cannot begin to tell you how boring I find flow charts. I switched to accounting and business management.

I am a born paper pusher. I would be perfectly happy with a job that required sorting and filing.  At any rate I began to do some research (a little late don't you think?) and realized that the whole area was glutted with accountants and unemployed accountants.

It was about that time that my husband left for good. I had four children and I needed to bring in more money to support them. I dropped out of college.

Once my children were older I went back to school. By then I changed courses again. I enrolled in a Natural Resources package of classes.

These classes were taught by guest instructors who were employed by the federal government. Upon completion of these classes we would be qualified for a job with the government.

What appealed to me the most about this course was that there was such a wide variety of careers available. Of course you could go on to train to be a forest ranger or to work in a fish hatchery. Perhaps your tastes run more toward the sciences and research; there are opportunities.

The propaganda field appealed to me. It ranged from writing those informational pamphlets that you can send for in Pueblo, Colorado, to writing public service announcements, to coming up with promotional ideas for various governmental agencies.

Once again I had to leave school. I only had one Economics class left to get my degree but I could not stay. Now they have changed the requirements so I would have more than a semester of classes to complete now.

The one thing I do well is learn. I cannot do but boy can I learn. And I love it. My poor little brain is packed full of totally useless information.

One of my favorite things to do is surf the internet. I find a subject that interests me and I proceed to learn everything I can about it. That is my major form of entertainment.

So I have some college. I enjoyed it but I still had children to take care of. The kids always come first. Maybe someday I will take a few online classes. I will not go back to school because too many younger people need those seats so they can go on to more productive lives. But I will never stop learning.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Comes Next?

I will be 68 years old this year. I am no longer young. Of course I do not feel old either. My health is quite good for someone who has not been kind to her body.

Even so I realize that my time here is limited. I hope it is a long limit and as I said I feel good. But I do wonder.

First I must ask a question. Why do many people have such an aversion to saying that someone has died? To die is a natural function. To die simply means to cease living. Die is not a dirty word or even an unpleasant word. It just is.

In recent years I have noticed that more and more people say passed away or simply passed. I can only assume that those terms are an effort to soften the grief of those who no longer have the presence of someone they care about.

Anyway I wonder what happens when you die. Is it painful? Hopefully it is sudden and lasts only seconds rather than minutes, hours, or days. Do you know you are dying? Are you afraid? Do you feel a sense of peace? These are only idle thoughts but they seem to pop into my mind more often as I get older.

Then there is the question of what happens next. Is there an afterlife? Is there just nothing? Will I simply switch off and cease to exist? Will there be a tunnel leading to a bright light with all my loved ones waiting for me?

Most religions speak of a better place if you follow the tenets of that particular religion. Many also speak of a terrible place if you have not behaved in the manner taught by that religion.

Heaven or the equivalent is supposed to be a "heavenly" place. Everyone is happy. Everyone is able to do whatever they want with joy and contentment. There will be no conflict only peace. All needs and wants will be provided.

Hell or the equivalent is a terrible place where you will be eternally punished for your sins. No one is happy with the exception of the minions that are assigned to make sure you are miserable at all times. Discomfort and misery are all you will know.

Some religions believe that you could be given the opportunity to be reincarnated. Maybe you will be an animal of some sort. You might come back as a whole new person. Some even believe that you come back multiple times to atone for mistakes you made in past lives. Once you have corrected your mistakes your earthly trials will be at an end. But I wonder what then?

If there is any conscious thought after you die do you still have feelings for those you love now? Will you be able to check on them every now and then? Can you try to assist them in their lives?

So is there a "next" or is there nothing? I wonder........

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Run-Away Wagon

Reading my last post I realized that sometimes my mother comes off as a bit of a flake. She was actually the most intelligent person I have ever known. By the same token my mother-in-law was the wisest.

As with many extremely intelligent people my mother did not always exercise her wisdom. Now my mother-in-law was also very intelligent but she had been pretty much on her own since she was a small child. She learned to rely on her wits and she was good at it.

She could size up a person immediately upon meeting them. She was always dead-on accurate in her assessments.

Mom knew exactly the right way to handle a situation. Instinctively she did what needed to be done with no muss, no fuss. I admire that so much.

Mom did not have an easy life. Her parents died when she was too small to really understand what death meant. Add to that the fact that nobody ever told her that they had died and she was a hurt little girl.

But she learned to not only fend for herself she took care of her older brothers and sisters as well. She and my mother were both remarkable women.

But she did have moments of flakiness just like the rest of us.

Mom's older children were going to school before most people had cars. They usually walked to school or someone would hook up a team of horses and drive them or pick them up. When that happened they took or picked up every child and delivered them to where they were going.

After Mom died we discovered a lot of history books. The family is actually mentioned in at least two of the books that recorded local history.

One day Mom had been running errands and decided to pick the kids up after school. It was a nice crisp fall day.

After dropping off all the children who were not hers at their homes she headed for her home with my oldest brother-in-law riding with her.

Somehow the horse got away from her. She and my brother-in-law were in a runaway wagon!

I have a picture in my mind of the ordeal. Mom would have been ordering my brother-in-law to lie flat on the bed of the wagon as she frantically tried to figure out how to stop the horse.

The horse was running as fast as it could finally leaving the road. It ran on and on as runaway horses will do.

Mom finally laid down flat too. The horse was run straight toward the trees. The wagon could hit one and she and her son could be seriously injured if not killed.

There was a huge jerk as the wagon came to a sudden stop.

The horse had run between two trees. They were not far enough apart for the wagon to go between them.

It did go part way. Then the wagon was stuck tight, really tight. But it did stop.

Both my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law escaped with no serious injuries. They were mightily shaken though.

And they now have their names in history books.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Friday The Thirteenth

This past Friday was on the thirteenth day of the month. The dreaded Friday the Thirteenth. It is considered by many to be an unlucky day full of bad things both large and small that are just waiting to happen to any of us who let our guards down for even a moment.

I am not a superstitious person. At the same time I do wish on the first star of the evening or a shooting star. I wish on the rolling raindrop before it joins another. I cross my fingers for good luck and I have even been known to knock on wood. But I know that I make my own destiny for the most part.

On the other hand my mother seemed to have terrible luck. It happened mostly with cars or more specifically driving cars. We learned at a very young age that getting lost is an adventure.

Mom used to say that she had no sense of direction. She would be driving on a perfectly straight stretch of road and it would just pick itself up and be going another direction. So she would keep driving until she found something familiar. She would get her bearings and we would eventually reach our destination. Unless the road changed directions on her again.

Mom had been hearing a funny noise in her car. She told Daddy that it was a chirping noise. Finally on a day she was going to the grocery store he told her to honk when she got home. He would go to the door so she could pull the car back and forth and he could hear the noise. Then he would know what he needed to repair.

She came back from the store and honked. Daddy went to the door. Mom pulled her car back and forth. Daddy abruptly turned, closed the door, and came inside. He looked at me and said, "I can't stand watching your mother try to park the car!" He went into the closet and shut the door!

Mom's crowning glory as a driver came on Friday the Thirteenth. It was a warm spring day. My aunt and a couple of uncles attended a one room country school that was just down the road from my grandparents' farm. The school year was over and they were having their end-of-the-year picnic.

As it is in most small communities everyone was welcome to participate. The more the merrier.

There would be games like sack races and egg rolls. There would be lots of food. Everyone who came would bring a dish. It was a fun event.

Mom was running late as usual. She had four children to get ready. By the time she had the last one ready to go the first one would need a face and hands cleaning. Finally we were all in the car and very late.

Mom was driving faster than she should have. As she topped a hill she saw the police set up with radar at the bottom. What did she do? She stopped. Right there in the middle of the highway she stopped.

Of course the police noticed. Mom composed herself and drove down the hill. The police pulled her over. They knew who we were because they recognized the car. My father often drove it in his duties as town marshall.

The officer told Mom that she could have gradually slowed the car and they might not have noticed. He gave her a warning and sent us on our way.

The car needed gas and there was a gas station on the highway about halfway to our destination. Mom pulled into the station. This was happening in the 1950's. The gas pumps were big bulky things. Many had a huge glass globe on top with the company loge painted on.

Mom was a little too far away from the pump so she pulled forward a bit and backed up closer... a little too close. She bumped the pump.

She watched in horror as the glass globe began to wobble. Back and forth, back and forth, faster, faster, faster then it started to settle. As Mom started to breathe a sigh of relief it fell off and broke. The attendant assured her that it was not necessary for her to pay for it. We were off again.

We turned off the highway to a gravel covered road. We were getting closer. Still running late Mom was still driving a little faster than she should have. She drove right past the corner where we should turn to take us to the school.

She stopped and backed up to make the turn. Somehow we were suddenly in the ditch.

The ditches were deep, really deep. The back end of the car was at the bottom of the ditch and the front end was near the top of the ditch. Remember this was when all cars were made like tanks. It was a big old Buick.

Now what? We could not drive out. Even if the ditch was not so deep there was no way the car would just drive out.

As luck would have it a farmer from the area came by on his tractor. When he stopped trying to figure out how we got in the ditch that way and stopped chuckling he offered to pull us out.

He hooked us up to the tractor and with him and his tractor pulling and Mom driving the car they managed to get us out of the ditch. The car was not damaged so we went our separate ways.

We arrived at the school in time for some of the games. There was a contest to see who could kick their shoe the farthest. There were three-legged races. And all that scrumptious food. Great fun.

After that we did not allow Mom to drive on Friday the Thirteenth. If possible we kept her out of the cars. And it is a great family legend.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Moving On

I have moved a lot A LOT in my life. My father had a bit of a wanderlust I think. He never seemed to believe he had found "home" so he kept on looking.

Moving could be an adventure. It is also a lot of work. My poor mother had to pack up all our belongings and all of us each time we moved.

Some of our moves were only to a different house in the same town. We lived in 14 different towns with multiple homes in most of them. That was a lot of moving.

At least the houses we lived in were anchored to the ground. My father worked for a time with a house moving company. They actually lifted a whole house and placed it on wheels and moved it to another location.

My father had been out of work for a short time and found work at a dairy farm in Washington state. He went ahead while Mom finished packing and getting rid of most of our things. All we kept were clothes and personal items and a few toys.

My mother moved 5 children almost 1400 miles by train. She ended up with a migraine headache. She suffered terribly from them all her life. I did try to help but I was only 9 years old. I am afraid I was not much help.

Other passengers were very nice to a bunch of wild children. They spent time with us and even gave us candy to keep us occupied. For us it was a wonderful trip. For Mom it was totally miserable.

As you can imagine I hate moving. I swore that once I was married I would find a home and stay there forever. Famous last words.

I married a man who was born in the house he lived in for his whole life. Add to that the fact that there was practically no work in the area at the time it was inevitable that we would move away.

We moved to the big city. I hated it there.  We were young and even though my husband's brother and his family lived in the same big city we were homesick. We tried moving home.

It did not work out. There was still very little work. I was expecting our first baby and wanted to be close to family. But we ended up moving back to that awful city. We had to have money coming in.

Once my family moved to the big city it was a little easier. My husband and I both felt we had the stability that family offers.

We had two children when my husband took a job driving truck for an out of state company. We moved to another state.

I was pregnant with our third child so I was not able to travel right away. The two boys and I stayed with my parents until after the baby was born.

Then came time for the big move. My husband had transported furniture and most of our clothes. But how were we to get there?

My sister-in-law volunteered to drive us. She was not working at the time and her college classes were between semesters. She was excited about the trip.

So we packed two small boys, two grown women, and a fairly new baby into her VOLKSWAGON BUG! We also had clothing and all the paraphernalia that is needed for a baby. There was something to drink and a few snacks. And of course things to occupy the boys. The trip was more than 550 miles.

Oh what fun we had. Two very small boys and a baby who was tired of being held cooped up for hours and hours and hours in the VW. Two grown women who were trying go faster while growing tired of traveling.

In spite of all that it was not totally unpleasant. My sister-in-law is a funny person and I have my moments. We did a lot of laughing. After we stopped for supper the boys finally settled down and went to sleep. It was a little more peaceful.

Boy did it feel good to finally arrive at the home my husband had found for us. Getting out of that little bitty car and stretching our legs was heavenly.

My sister-in-law stayed for a few days. Then the poor thing had to drive back by herself.

So my boys and I settled in to our new home. My husband came home one weekend and I let him know that he needed to watch the boys while I visited the doctor. We were having another baby.

We were both shocked. Then we were happy once we got used to the idea.

Then my husband found a different house in a neighboring town. We moved again.

We loved the new place. My husband was on the road all week so it was just the boys and me. We did a lot of exploring together. For the first time in their lives the boys had the freedom to do a little exploring on their own.

The only problem was that I had more than thirty miles to go to get to the hospital to have my baby. My babies are all born very quickly and we did not believe that I would make it in time. So the boys and I went again to stay with my parents while I had the baby.

After my daughter was born and I was able to travel we needed to go home. This time there was no one to take us. I was not up to driving all that way with four very small children. My husband could not take off work. What to do?

We decided that the kids and I would fly home. I was treated like a queen. The stewardesses (I know that is no longer politically correct but they were called that at the time) helped me with the children. They made sure they had things to do and snacks.

When the baby cried they offered to care for her elsewhere. I needed to feed her was all so while their help was appreciated it would not work. They even offered to change her diaper. It is truly the best way to travel with children.

My final move was more than 800 miles. I had lived in the big city for more than 45 years. It is amazing how much "stuff" a person accumulates over that period of time.

I rented a UHaul truck and loaded it up. My daughter and her family came along to help once I got here. My son was already here.

The plan was to have someone ride with me as I drove the truck. The rest would ride in their car. Having someone to talk to helps to keep from falling asleep. Driving can be extremely hypnotic.

My granddaughter rode with me first. She is great at keeping a driver company. Then my daughter and grandson joined me and my granddaughter rode with her father.

My daughter and grandson sat silently playing video games on their cell phones the whole time. My son-in-law was ecstatic to have someone who was talking. Before long we were fighting over my granddaughter's company. He won! Daddys always do.

It was a long old trip. I was exhausted when we arrived. My wonderful family unloaded the truck and had me rest while they did it.

I believe I will probably move one more time. I love the location where I now live but the house has some serious problems. I do not look forward to another move. I say with confidence it will be my last.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Drive Right On In

I have told you before that I can drive anything. My parents taught me to drive a car. I learned using an automatic transmission but manual transmissions were still in common use.

Of course my family had a car with a manual transmission as well as an automatic. My father had driven the automatic to a friend's house to help him work on a car he had.

My boyfriend and I took my youngest sister to the circus. She had such a good time but toward the end of the three ring shows she started to feel ill. We took her home.

By the time we got there she was really sick. My boyfriend went home. Mom decided that my sister needed to go to the hospital.

The problem was that we had no telephone and no way to reach my father. Mom told me to take the car and drive to get my father. Time was essential so I could not walk in time.

I did not know how to drive the manual transmission car. I knew the basics but I had never actually done it. How hard could it be?

Starting the car was no problem. But whenever I let off the clutch it would violently lurch and the motor would stall. It took me a few tries but finally I got the car to move forward.

Shifting gears caused more lurching but the car was in motion so it did not stall. By the time I made it to where my father was I was moving quite smoothly.

Daddy rushed home and my sister had an emergency appendectomy when they got her to the hospital. Poor thing was only 4 years old.

Because of my experience I have determined that the best way to learn to drive a car with a manual transmission is to have someone patient show you how. Explain the way to slowly let off the clutch as you step slowly on the gas. Then drive into the country where there is practically no traffic. Get out of the car and tell the student to come back and pick you up as soon as they feel comfortable with their performance.

They do not feel the pressure of having someone watching them. They will have to deal with the lurching either way but they will not be flustered at feeling the need to do well in someone else's eyes. It worked well for my children.

My boyfriend and I decided to marry. Neither of our families had much money and a lot in the way of children. Our wedding would not be expensive but I wanted a new dress. We needed rings. I prefer a plain gold band. I bought his and he bought mine. They were matching gold bands with rounded edges.

In order to pay for what we wanted we had to have extra money. My husband found a neighboring farmer who needed his bales of hay collected and stacked. Being young and strong we took the job for 10 cents for each bale.

The farmer provided the equipment needed. There was a flat bed truck with an elevator attached to one side toward the back of the flat bed.

My husband told me that all I needed to do was drive the truck so that the elevator could pick up the bales. It would lift them up and drop them at the back of the flat bed. He would be there to pick them up and stack them neatly on the truck. Easy enough.

I had never driven a truck before much less having to watch out the side mirror to make sure I lined up properly with the bales so the elevator could scoop them up. I learned. And I created a monster... my husband and I created a truck driver in me.

When he took a job driving an eighteen wheeler he was in heaven. He was able to travel the country seeing places he had not seen before. I was content to stay home with the children. Unfortunately he missed us.

His solution was for me to learn to drive those big trucks so the kids and I could go with him sometimes. So I learned and got the necessary driver's license so it could happen. I am still not great at backing up with a trailer behind me but I manage.

He finally stopped driving truck when he came home one weekend and our daughter was afraid of him. Soon he owned a junk yard. We had all manner of vehicles there. Tow trucks, hilos, and trucks for hauling. Some were regular trucks and there was usually an eighteen wheeler for transporting automobile carcasses to be reduced for recycling of the metal. I drove them all. I can even hook up cars for towing.

We had one customer who bought a lot of the motors from the scrap cars. He had a side business where he repaired cars. He rebuilt good motors from us and used them in the cars. He would bring in his pickup and after choosing the motors he wanted he left the truck. As soon as we loaded all the motors for him he would come get it.

One day I was especially tired after towing cars all day. When I pulled into the yard for the last time of the day my husband informed me that I had to deliver the motors because the motorman would not allow anyone but me to drive his truck.

I sighed in exasperation but agreed. As soon as my husband was ready to follow me so I would have a ride home I would be ready. Then I was informed that HE had a hard day and was going to the bar. The motorman would take me home.

I was furious. When I got home I informed my children that their father did not know it but I just quit And I did.

After we divorced I went to work for a friend of ours who also was in the scrap car business. He owned three junkyards. I managed one.

For a while I had one full time employee and borrowed what I needed from one of the other yards when we were really busy. On days when we loaded the carcasses for transport I usually had at least four helpers.

We would pick the car up with a hilo then back the eighteen wheeler under it so the hilo could stack it on the pile where we wanted it. I am not good at backing up.

I called for assistance but the owner (my "friend") said he could not spare anyone to help. I would have to make do.

The employee I had was my nephew who was not much more than a teenager. We set about loading the truck. I called a couple of times more to remind my boss that I needed help. No one came and my nephew and I had all but one car on the truck.

Suddenly there stood several of the guys from the other yard. The one who would be driving the load to the crusher came toward the truck to take over and back it under the lasr car.

I looked at him and said, " Back off!" He got a sheepish look on his face and took a step back. I backed that truck up like I was an expert!

Then I climbed down and smiled sweetly. "It's all yours." I went back into my office. My nephew came in and we laughed until it was time to go home.

While I was still married and still working for my husband I had an adventure. We had a stake truck. Those are the trucks that have a flatbed and stakes that look like a fence all the way around. I drove it often because I liked it.

The wooden sides were painted a pretty red. They rose about four and a half feet from the bed of the truck. There were heavy-duty metal hooks on the sides. They were used to anchor ropes when tying a tarp over the top of a load.

I had been running errands most of the day and I was ready to be finished. My last stop was the bank. I just had to make a deposit so I used the drive-through window.

There was a long line but it felt good to have a few moments of peace after a busy day. We inched along and finally it was my turn to pull up to the window.

I misjudged the distance because I forgot about the hooks on the stakes. As i pulled up to the window one of the hooks caught the top corner of the window. It ripped the bank window away from the bank. It was hanging at an angle in the spot it used to be.

I jumped out of the truck and rushed to make sure the teller was not hurt. She was huddled in a far corner of her little area with hers knees up and her arms in front of her to protect herself. The poor thing was shaking like a leaf. But she was fine otherwise.

The bank was very nice. They did not expect my to pay for the damages. I was thankful. After the police decided that i was not trying to rob the bank they left. And I had an adventure to tell you about.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Non-Pets

I live in a very small town. We have a bar, a gas station, a post office, and a city hall. No grocery store or doctor. No movie theater or hardware store. For any of these we must drive to a larger town.

There is a slightly larger town about 4 miles from here. That is where the children from our town attend school because ours was closed years ago. There is a small grocery and hardware store there. They even have a pizza parlor. But for major shopping we have to go to a larger town.

There are three larger towns that are about equal distances from us. One is in another state. They have a lower sales tax rate but for some reason I do not like the drive to get there.

I do go to the second town quite a bit. It is slightly smaller but offers most of what I need. But the drive to get there is all hills and wears me out.

The final town is where my doctor's office is. It is where I pick up my medicine. I go there more often.

On my way I notice a lot of things. There are the many farm houses. Some are new and very modern looking. Some are older but well kept. Some are dilapidated but still have people living in them. Some have been left to the elements and are barely standing.

There are fields and stands of trees. The river runs beside the road for much of the way. There are occasionally wild animals like deer and turkeys. There are domestic animals like dogs, cats, horses, and cows.

Out of all of these animals I have adopted three. Do not ask me why. I have no idea. I am not what I would call an animal lover. I have no urge to own any of these animals. But they are mine and I watch for them every time I make the trip.

The first is a mule. I noticed him soon after I moved back to this area. He is that dirty off-white color. He stands out in his grassy area in all sorts of weather. Sometimes he is grazing but most of the time he just stands there with his head down. I have named him Eeyore for obvious reasons.

Eeyore looks so despondent standing there all alone. I watch for him more than the others because he is by himself. I miss him when he is not there.

Gifford the goat lives with a bunch of horses. It is a stable and training facility for riding horses. There is a training paddock as well as grazing areas.

Gifford is a little white goat. He grazes right along beside the horses. It seems that they do not notice him but they seem not to notice each other either. I believe that Gifford is only out with the horses at certain times of the day so I often do not see him.

Down the road a ways is another mule. He grazes with a small herd of cattle. He sticks out because the cattle are black and he is that dirty off-white color of mules. He is the only non-bovine of the group.

I have named him Maurice. I havev no idea why. I hate the name (sorry to anyone named Maurice) but each time I tried to think of a good name for him Maurice is what came to mind. I gave in and he is now Maurice.

I have not seen Maurice since the fall. I have not seen the cattle either. They have been moved to another pasture for the winter I suppose. I am sure he will return in the spring.

It is rather fun to have my adopted pets. It provides a diversion when I am driving to watch for them on my trips to town.

These pets cost me nothing. Someone else feeds them and looks after their needs. I do not have to expend any emotions because they are not my pets. But I get a great deal of pleasure from my pets.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I love looking at photographs. I do not even have to know the people in them to enjoy them.

When we had the junkyard we would sometimes get cars that had pictures in them. I would look at every one. It is fun to see the expressions on the faces and try to place the times when they were taken. Each time period has its own fashions you know. Of course we held them until someone claimed them.

I am not much of a picture taker. But I like getting them as gifts from the kids. They are records of events in their lives and always evoke memories that make me smile.

My mother decided at one time that she wanted a large professional photograph of each member of the family. She would place them on a wall in the living room that she determined was just the right size to hold nothing but pictures. Then she set about making appointments for each of us to have the portraits taken.

After a few months her wall was covered with all these beautiful pictures. Mom and Daddy were the first ones on the wall and one by one the rest went up.

My younger brother had died in Viet Nam. Mom had his service picture on another wall and wanted a civilian picture of him for the family wall. I suggested a favorite school picture. Mom loved that picture from the day she got it. She said it brought out the deviltry in his eyes. It is a happy little boy with a big smile on his face and a sparkle of life in his eyes.

Mom had it enlarged and framed it. It went on the wall with the rest of us.

All the grandchildren who were around by then were up there too. My niece was not yet a year old when her parents had really cute picture taken. Her hair was white not blonde but white. Her eyes were pale blue. The picture looked like her pretty little face was ready to pop right out of the picture. It went on the wall.

When a person walked into the house the wall of pictures was the first thing they saw. It was covered from about three feet abouve the floor to the ceiling. It was gorgeous.

After Daddy died Mom moved. She packed all the pictures into a trunk because she was going to stay with my sister for a short while. The trunk was in my sister's basement when it flooded. Most of the pictures were ruined. We had duplicates of my brother's pictures because everyone in the family wanted one. He is on the wall of many of our homes.

We also had duplicates of Daddy's pictures. He hangs in a prominent place in every single home even the grandchildren. He was a special person and looked upon with reverence by all of us.

Mom's picture was ruined. It was not a good picture of her. She seldom took a good picture. In fact she seldom allowed pictures to be taken. I have no real pictures of my mother. The only one that has remained is from when I was a baby. She was dressed in the stylish suit women wore in the late 1940's reaching out with one hand to me as I sat on the porch steps.

There is also her high school graduation picture. Once my sister, my brother, and I were going through Mom's pictures. Mom had died and we were trying to decide what to do with things. My brother picked up a picture and said with a leer in his voice, "Who is this?"

I said, "That's your mother, you pervert!" She was a beautiful woman but we have no pictures of her.

My own picture was also ruined, thank goodness. I inherited my mother's lack of a photogenic face. Not a good thing. This particular picture made me look like I was in the final second of my life or in the first second after I died. And it was the best of all the poses the photographer took!

Now you know why my photo for the blog is one of my baby pictures.