Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Aunt

I did not know all my aunts. On my father's side there was only one sister still living that I knew.

Aunt Bernice was my father's sister. She was much older than he was so they were not particularly close.

She married and became Catholic because that was what her husband wanted. In that process she became a devout and somewhat rabid Catholic. She seemed to feel that her religion gave her the right to pass judgement on everyone else.

She was unable to have children for some reason. It turned out for the best because she divorced her husband. Because of her strict religious rules she never remarried although she had a long-term relationship with her ex-husband's brother.

My aunt was not a loving person. In that respect she was very much like my grandmother.

My aunt had a good job as a legal secretary. She eventually became the manager of her office. She was not rich but she was comfortable.

She bought half a block with a small house for my grandmother to live in rent free. It was her duty and she was big on duty.

She also made a duty visit every summer for two weeks to my grandmother. For those two weeks we were even more on tip-toe at Grandma's than usual.

For the Fourth of July one year my uncle and his married and dating children all came for the day. There was lots of food and there would be fireworks after dark.

My mother cooked most of the meal even though she was due to have a baby any time. After everyone ate they retired to the living room. As Mom was walking in my grandmother announced that Mom could take care of clean-up so "the family" could visit.

I did help with the dishes but I was only 10 years old. I was happy to be released to go play.

When we went home my mother called her doctor and told him she simply could not take any more. She was exhausted. He checked her into the hospital. He knew how my relatives could behave.

So the next day while Mom was resting in the hospital The doctor suggested that she try to have the baby while she was there. She thought it was a good idea so they induced labor.

While Mom was in the hospital my aunt came to our house to watch us. There were 5 of us. She decided the best way to handle us was to put us to work. All of us. My youngest brother was 4 years old.

We were assigned cleaning jobs. We mopped floors, washed windows, and even scrubbed the walls. The whole time my aunt berated us for taking advantage of our mother's condition and letting the house get into this slovenly condition.

Actually we were only told the week before that we were having a new baby in the family. I guess children did not notice that sort of thing then. I know we were oblivious.

In the midst of the cleaning flurry the phone rang. My aunt informed us that we had a new sister.

By the time Daddy came home from the hospital to get some rest all of us kids were exhausted too. It was an early night for all of us.

At the end of her two weeks Aunt Bernice went home. Her duty was done for that year.

Periodically we would hear from my aunt. She always informed us that she was updating her will. She needed names and eventually married names for each of us. She also needed addresses.

I felt a bit insulted every time she did that. It was the only time we heard from her and it seemed as if she was trying to bribe us into caring about her. She was not easy to care about but we did.

When Daddy died Aunt Beernice came to the funeral. She spent a lot of time trying to dig up dirt about our family. It would be fodder for her to take to any other distant family members to make her look better than us. She even cornered my brother's ex-wife and wanted to know what horrible things he had done to make their marriage fail.

My sister-in-law (bless her) told her that she and my brother still cared for each other very much. They just wanted different things from life. (She is still a member of the family by the way.)

Then she started on my husband. He was drinking beer. She was outraged. Of course she would not come right out and say so.

Instead she began to talk about her neighbors who liked to drink. Do you know that they actually had the nerve to drink beer after a funeral?

She was going on and on about it. My husband was not stupid. He knew what she was doing. He finally looked her square in the eye and said, "That's Pa's chair you're sitting in. Nobody sits in Pa's chair." Then he walked out of the room.

When Aunt Bernice died she really did leave us some money. I received an inheritance of $300. It benefited my family at a time we really needed it. It was truly a nice thing for her to do.

I cannot honestly say I miss my aunt. I only saw her a few times in my life so there was not a bonding between us. I regret that. But I do admire her business acumen.

And her middle name was the same as my real first name. I suppose that was how my parents knew that they could use a feminine form of my father's name for me. So I will always have something of her with me at all times.

Friday, February 24, 2017


I love music... any kind of music. My children like music but they do not know how to enjoy it. At a concert they just sit and listen. Most of my nieces and nephews are the same as my children. No fun.

My youngest sister had a second son. From the beginning I could tell he would enjoy the music. He could not even sit up by himself but he could bop around in time to the music.

As he got older he spent a lot of time listening to music. He was not even in school yet when he began playing air guitar. Jimi Hendrix had nothing on my nephew.

He would play his air guitar down low, up high, and even behind his head. He danced all around the room as he did so.

Everybody would just leave the room when he got started. Everybody except me. We had some great jam sessions.

My nephew would hand me a couple of pencils so I could play air drums. We would turn the music up and have a time.

He liked Tie Your Mother Down, I Got My Mind Set On You, and Old Time Rock and Roll. We sang along using our marvelous singing voices. It was such fun.

Now he is grown with two little girls. I certainly hope he still plays air guitar with them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You Look Just Like...

I must have the world's most common face. All my life I have had people tell me that I look just like someone they know. It is amusing most of the time but sometimes I wish I had something unique to distinguish me from other people.

Usually it is nothing more than a waitress saying, "You look just like my cousin's best friend!" or someone might say, "You look just the the person who used to live next door to me!" After so many times of this happening I have learned to just smile and say, "Really? I guess I just have a common face."

My husband and I had a junk yard. We bought cars for scrap. We salvaged usable parts and sent the remains to larger scrap dealers. I was the one who dealt with the public. I also dealt with other companies, like the larger scrap companies. I went to the small factory that made the work gloves we used. I went to the company that supplied the propane we used to power the cutting torches. You get the idea.

Often I was mistaken for someone else. But this time she had a name. She was MetaCore Mary.

MetaCore was a company that rebuilt auto parts like carburetors and starters then resold them. Mary was the one who picked up the gloves and propane for her company.

I would walk into one of these companies and be greeted with, "Hi. Mary. We've got your order ready." When I would tell them I was not Mary I was always told, "You look just like MetaCore Mary."

After a couple of years of this I finally crossed paths with MetaCore Mary. I had gone to refill the propane tanks. I was waiting for my turn when I heard the man at the counter refer to the woman in front of me as MetaCore Mary. I had to get a look.

I said, "So you're MetaCore Mary." She turned around with a guarded expression. I guess she thought I was going to accuse her of something.

I could see a resemblance but it only looked like we might be related, not that we looked alike. I told her about how I had been mistaken for her for several years and I just wanted to see what she looked like. She started to laugh and had a hard time stopping.

I was puzzled at her reaction. When she was able she finally said, "I've been hearing about you too. I don't think we look that much alike, but you look exactly like my younger sister!"

Yep. I have a common face.

Friday, February 17, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Strange But True

I have told you before how my siblings and I seemed to attract strange people. It aggravated my mother because she really did not find them amusing or entertaining. At times she worried for our safety.

Then I married. Unfortunately I married a man who seemed to have the same knack for attracting strange people. I will tell you about a few.

There was a strange young man who wandered into our place of business one day. He seemed shy and when he talked he would drop his head and speak into his chest. Of course my husband hired him.

He was so strange that even I wanted nothing to do with him. My husband said maybe we should allow him to come home and stay with us. I stood my ground and refused. We had four small children. This guy was really weird.

There was the day my husband did bring him home. I did not want him there.

I finally said he could bathe and leave. It was quite late and I relented and said he could spend the night.

I told my three boys to push their dresser against their door when they went to bed. Their room was next to ours so we would hear before he could get at them. I took my daughter to bed with us.

Now I was not worried about him molesting the children. I simply was not sure about his mental state. I did not know who he talked to when he was seemingly talking to himself. I did not want him in my house. He was to leave in the morning and not come back.

In the course of our business we often took truckloads of merchandise across the bridge to another country. At the bridge customs inspected the truck, the merchandise, and the people in the truck.

One day this young man went along for the ride. At customs they asked him about his citizenship. He lowered his head and mumbled into his chest. After several tries the agents took him from the truck and put him into a holding area. They sent the truck driver on his way.

My husband went and managed to get him released. He decided to go home wherever that was. He was hitch-hiking late at night and jumped in front of a car to make it stop so he could get a ride. The driver did not see him until it was too late. He was killed instantly. Someone should have gotten treatment for him when he was much younger.

I am not sure where Crazy Jim came from. It seemed as if he had always been there.

He was one of those people who seem to be normal until you start to talk to him. His ideas were "off-the-wall" and odd. He seemed to be obsessed with the way people's (especially female people) bodies functioned. It was never a sexual thing. I think he just wanted to learn.

A few months after he began to hang out around my husband he met my husband's brother's family. He felt right at home (They were collectors too.)

He halfway moved into their home. My sister-in-law would complain to me that he was constantly going through the medicine cabinet and other storage places in the bathroom. He did not take anything; he was just snooping.

He was always hungry. My sister-in-law said she could not keep any food because he ate it all. He did not work so he was underfoot for her all day. When my brother-in-law came home from work Crazy Jim latched onto him.

My niece had no patience with him. She kept kicking him out. He would wait until his "buddy" came home from work so he could go back in the house.

My brother-in-law would tease my children the way any good uncle will do. One day my oldest son won a rubber hot dog at a carnival. He decided to get his uncle before his uncle could get him.

With a little help from his aunt who supplied a bun and some mustard my son served the hot dog to his uncle. His uncle saw what it was and did not want it. Crazy Jim almost  hurt himself grabbing the hot dog. He was disappointed when he bit into it. He did eat the bread and mustard though.

The Keyman was called that because he just knew he was going to get rich making keys. After his mother died he sold her house and lived in a camper. And made keys.

He was another who latched onto my brother-in-law after he was introduced. I might interject here that part of the reason was that I would not allow these people to stay with us. My sister-in-law was much nicer than I.

The Keyman also began to take his meals at my brother-in-law's house. But he ate regular meals and did not take everything thing else in the cupboard.

He did however hook up his camper to the house electricity so he would not have to pay for his own.

For a time The Keyman and Crazy Jim lived together. That was only until they could no longer tolerate each other and a fight broke out.

Both of them have also died. It ended their loneliness.

This partnership will be a bit confusing as I introduce them. Please bear with me. Bob was a nice young man with a family when we met him. He worked at the junkyard doing whatever was asked of him. He was a house painter by trade and belonged to the union. He would no longer paint for some reason.

Bob was a veteran of the Viet Nam War. As with many he was not quite right. He was deemed to be 100% disabled and received a whole $80 per month. His children received more than he did. He was always a nice guy.

Bob's wife left him for someone else. He never really grasped what that meant.

Red was a teenager when we met him. Again a nice guy. My sister dated him for a few months. Eventually they were no longer seeing each other. We took him over to my brother-in-law's house. It was there he met my sister-in-law's sister. In time they were married and had several children.

Their marriage did not last. Neither did mine. Red's ex-wife and my ex-husband married a few years later. Red was sure they had been seeing each other all along. I am just as sure that they were not.

So Red and Bob became friends. They came up with the idea that rather than work for their drug money they would become panhandlers.

In the big city panhandlers often stand at the exit from the expressway begging for money. These people often take in more money in a few hours than many of us do all week. But these two got greedy.

They discovered that if they jumped too close to a car or even in front of it and claimed to have been hit the motorist would be more likely to give them a large amount of money rather than wait for the police and have to file an insurance claim. It was a good scam for them. For a while.

One day Red jumped out in front of a loaded semi truck. Of course the driver could not stop. Red was hit and severely injured. He was in the hospital for more than a week before he died.

I lost track of Bob. I hope he was able to beat his addictions and is doing well.

Everybody called him Doc. I never knew his real name. He was a middle aged man who owned his own tow truck. He worked for us for a couple of years. Most of the time I think he lived in his truck.

Doc was diabetic. He kept his insulin in his truck which was not a good idea. The temperature in the truck was not good for storage of a medication that needs to be kept cool. It was also not hygienic. No one could convince him that his lifestyle was dangerous to his health.

Eventually his disease bested him. Another death.

There was an older man who worked in a junkyard near us. They did not pay him because he had a drinking problem. I think they meant well but giving a person a couple of meals each day does not compensate him for all the work he did.

When he began to work for us we made sure he had what he needed as well as his salary. If his drinking was monitored he was less likely to lose control of it.

He once told me that he did not know how old he was. He had a sister in one of the southern states. He knew her name and had an old address for her. Because he could not read or write I wrote to her for him. There was never a reply.

He became too old to do the manual labor he had done all his life. He was still alert. I needed someone to care for my children when they came home from school until I came home from work. The old man stayed with us and we cared for him in return for watching the children. They loved him so it was a good arrangement.

One night there was a fire across the street from us. Of course we climbed out of bed to have a look.

A couple of older women lived next door to us. They came over to discuss the fire. Then one of them leaned over to ask me about the man staying with us. I explained that he was there to help with the children,

She whispered, "But he's black." I whispered back, " I know. But it doesn't rub off." I always wished I had told her that he was the real father of the kids. Oh well.

He grew tired of staying indoors and moved on. They found him in a car at a used car lot. It was the middle of winter and he had climbed in to try to get warm. It was too late.

There was a man who worked for us in the junkyard. He was a decent worker and we got along with him. But he was not a good family man.

He had several children but this is about his oldest son. I cannot say he was a good kid. His father taught him to steal cars. The reasoning was that if he got caught he would only be sentenced to a juvenile facility rather than prison.

The man was cruel and apparently beat his wife and children when the mood hit him. Sometimes he would want to hit his wife but was either too drunk or too lazy. So he would make his son go beat his mother.

The kid would come over to visit at our house often. He was always polite. And believe it or not he never tried to take anything from us. If we allowed the kids to run across the street to get some candy he went along to make sure they were not cheated.

Even after my husband and I went our separate ways he stayed in touch with each of us.

He came to me one night and told me his mother was in the hospital. He had no way to go see her and it was in a neighboring city with a better hospital. I told him I would take him.

When we got to the hospital he said he would find some way home. I told him I would stay with him.

That was when I learned his mother was dying.

I stayed at the hospital with him all night. He slept on the floor when he could sleep.. His mother died the next morning. He was hurt but glad he had been there for her. She knew he had never wanted to hurt her.

He sort of latched onto my son in later years. He had a serious drinking and drug problem. My son would feed him and let him clean up at his house.

He had been gone a while. My son rented the house to someone else and moved to a new house. The kid went to the house looking for my son. Of course the people told him my son did not live there now. He did not believe them and threatened them. They called my son.

My son went there immediately. There was the kid breaking out windows in his anger.

When my son stopped his car the kid walked over to him ready to hit my son. Instead my son hit him.

He fell down, jerking convulsively. My son thought he had killed him and panicked. He jumped in his car a left.

The mother and grandmother of my son's oldest daughter called him demanding to know what happened. Apparently the kid (who I should point out is at least 10 years older than my son) revived. The two women took him into their house. It was not a fun time for them. He had soiled himself.

The next time my son saw him he said, "You're not going to hit me are you?"

There is a partially happy ending. The kid is a friend on Facebook now.

My sister had been divorced for a while. She began to see a young man and was anxious for me to meet him. I have to tell you that in the beginning every time he stood near my sister my fists were balled up ready to strike.

Then I warmed up to him a bit. That was when I found out that his best friend from childhood was the leader of the local Nazis. Needless to say I was furious.

My sister's boyfriend was having a birthday party and she asked if my husband and I would go. I said absolutely not. She begged. She pleaded. She said they had promised that no one would come in uniform. His parents (who also did not approve) were going to be there. I relented and my husband and I went.

You can guess what happened next. In walked the Nazis in full regalia. I was ready to leave.

I was sitting in a chair across the room from my husband trying to get his attention. One of those people came over and began whispering in my ear. He was trying to make time with me!

His mistake was bragging about him being a Nazi. As he was degrading Jews I turned to him ever so sweetly. I smiled my most adorable smile. In the most genteel voice I could muster I innocently said, "You know I'm Jewish don't you?"

My husband was roaring with laughter as the guy slid on his bottom across the floor with his hands up in a shielding position. He was horrified.

Once the Nazi group disbanded the leader became a loyal friend to my ex-husband. He had lost everything including his family. They moved on. He became very ill and died.

The reason I thought to write this now is that I received a Facebook friend request from another kid who is no longer a kid. He was an odd kid who was so anxious to please. Many people took advantage of him. A lot of them teased him. But he had a good heart.

I was surprised to hear from him. I had just been talking to my son about him and wondering what became of him.

He had been the best friend of the brother of one of my friends. He was devastated when his friend died of a drug overdose. To my knowledge he did not do drugs himself.

My friend and I were good to him and I think he felt like no one else was. She and I are his only Facebook friends from the people we know.

He came to my house one day to show off his "new" car. It was a clunker but it was his and he was so proud.

When we went out to look at it one of the tires was flat. I told him I had a can of Fix-A-Flat he could have. He happily went out to put it in his tire so he could drive to get a different tire.

In a few minutes he came in and said it did not work. I went out to check on it. I saw the foam from the Fix-A-Flat oozing from at least 20 little holes.

He is now living in another state. He has a family and seems to be doing well. That makes me feel good.

Friday, February 10, 2017

When The Phone Rings...

I am not much for talking on the telephone. I used to be but now I find the telephone to be a necessary inconvenience. I used to know phone numbers for everyone by heart. I even knew phone numbers that were no longer in service.

Then one day I realized that all those numbers were taking up a lot of space in my little brain. I decided to un-memorize them all. I was so successful that now I cannot remember numbers at all. Even my home number takes some work to recite. The only number I could not get rid of is the number we had for about four months that we lived in one little town. It was 246J.

I have a cell phone. I feel that they are a wonderful tool. It is good to have a way to communicate in case of an emergency. If you are away from home and have a flat tire for instance. Or if your home phone is not working you have a way to call and find out why. I do not know what the number for this cell phone is.

But I absolutely cringe whenever I see people walking around with their phones stuck to their heads like a security blanket. I do not want to be that connected to anyone.

My first experience with a phone was when I was 5 years old. My mother answered the phone. It was for me so she gave it to me and left the room. The caller was a girl I went to school with. She and her family were having a "carnival" and she was inviting me.

I had to have permission so I went to ask Mom. Before I left the room I replaced the phone in its cradle. When Mom came in of course there was nobody on the other end. No problem... Mom would just call back. Problem... I did not know the little girl's last name.

Somehow my resourceful mother found a way to get me to the carnival. They had little booths, refreshment stands, and even a side show. Each thing cost a penny. I had a grand time.

I lived in Nebraska growing up. The population is small. Party lines were used in most areas because they were cheaper for the phone company to set up. A party line is when at least 2 and up to 8 or 10 phones were on the same line. They had the same phone number. Sometimes they would have a letter or number modifier and sometimes the operator had to connect you to the right phone.

When any phone on the party line rang you would hear your phone ring. Each phone had a distinctive ring of its own. You might get two shorts and a long, or three longs, or a long a short and a long. You had to know your own ring and only answer that one. In one town we were on the same line as the drug store.

If you picked up your phone while another phone on the line was in use you could hear the conversation. It was considered bad etiquette to listen to any of those conversations. It was called rubbernecking or rubbering in. You also had to keep your conversations to a minimum so that tha line was available for others to use.

I went to high school in a fairly large city for the area I lived in. My high school had several offices, each of which had their own phones. However it was far too costly for each office to have its own line. So we had a switchboard. It needed an operator to connect the calls and that was also a huge expense. The solution was to have students (meaning female students because boys should not have to do that type of job) man the switchboard.

Every day instead of going to study hall I reported to the office and the switchboard. It looked just like the ones you see in old movies. There was a big upright board containing all these wires. The wires came in pairs and each pair was the same color. Beneath each wire was a light. There was a phone dial slightly to the right in case an outgoing call was being made. And of course there was my headset so I could hear and speak to the person calling.

When a call came in I took the wire above the lighted light, plugged it in, and answered the phone appropriately and asked how I could direct the call. As soon as I knew where the call needed to go I pulled the other wire of the colored set, plugged it in to the corresponding phone line, and pushed a button that would signal for that office to answer the phone. Then both lights were lit. As soon as the parties had finished their call and disconnected the lights would go out. Then I would unplug both wires and they would recoil into the board waiting for their next turn.

There were so many pairs of wires so that many calls could be in progress at once. It was the latest thing in technology.

Strange things happen to me on the phone. One time I called my mother and my sister answered. She said, "Heeeeeeellloooooo." in a slow lazy way. Playing along I said, "Heeeeelllooooo. " back at her. I said "Whatcha dooooiiinggg?" "Ooooh noooothing muuuuch." Suddenly I realized I was not talking to my sister! I had dialed the wrong number.

Once I called the information operator. As she was looking fo the number I needed she began to tell me what a bad day she was having. I was sympathetic. The call progressed to her telling me about the big fight she had with her boyfriend the night before. She had thrown out his clothes. I was on the phone with her for well over an hour and would you believe it? I did not get the number I needed.

I called to talk to my mother. My sister answered so I was chatting with her. Suddenly I asked her if she was eating Cheerios. She was surprised and said, "How did you know?" I told her I could smell them.

All of my friends would sit and make jokes about the obscene calls they had received. I never got one and I was feeling a bit slighted.

One evening while i was trying to cook supper the phone rang. I said; "Hello." I heard "mmmnedc gtortbnksnfwethn". "I'm sorry I did not catch that. What did you say?" "mdfwkjhgwu9fwpghs;has" "Could you please repeat that?" "sdoghprghsfbdo;ghudgnb;ad" "Please speak a little slower. I cannot understand you." "f,w'fhreu9thrguroguirg"

As it suddenly dawned on me that this was my obscene phone call the caller hung up in frustration. It was obviously his first time too.

It took me a long time to realize that the telephone is mine. If I choose not to answer it I can. With the innovation of voice mail anyone who has something important to say can leave a message if I am busy or just do not feel like talking. I will call back at my convenience. So call me... maybe.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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 the only contribution Daddy was allowed to make. 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, February 3, 2017

Another Goodbye

I recently was informed that my niece died. She was the oldest child of my oldest sister-in-law.
After I married my husband she and I became good friends. If that sounds odd remember that she was actually a bit older than my husband and me.

My niece had a cute little boy. He had gorgeous dark hair and big dark eyes.

Her husband was very  nice. He and my husband liked to hang out together so we "girls" had plenty of time to get to know each other.

She was one of those feisty fiery people who can be so much fun. And fun is what she was. She had a marvelous sense of humor.

Eventually my husband and I moved to the big city and we hardly saw each other.

My niece divorced her husband. I do not know the particulars and they are none of my business. She and her son lived with her mother then.

She told me that one day she was riding the bus going downtown with her little boy. He was misbehaving the way children tend to do. My niece was embarrassed because she could not make him settle down. Finally she said, "If you don't settle down I'm going to tell your mother that I won't babysit any more!"

My sister-in-law also had divorced her husband so all of them along with my three nephews moved to another state. There my niece was married again. So was my sister-in-law but that is for another day.

My niece had several more children. All of her children are now grown just as mine are.

She has been ill for quite some time. Her little oxygen tank became her best friend. That made things hard for her because she had long been a heavy smoker.

She died peacefully with all her children with her. They have accepted her death with grace that I have seldom seen.

Our family has lost an important piece.