Friday, March 31, 2017

Aunt Florence

Aunt Florence was the other aunt older than my mother. She was curvaceous in the style of that time but never would you mistake her for being overweight. She had a lovely round face and the most beautiful evenly toned skin.

My mother and her sisters were all very close to each other. They lived on a farm and usually only left to go to school. They were all each other had. When horses were the only transportation you had for travel of any distance you were severely limited.

Aunt Florence married Uncle Harold. I could listen to him talk forever. His voice was hypnotic. Many Sunday afternoons I would sit on the porch just to hear the sound of his voice.

Florence and Harold dearly wanted children. For some reason it was not happening.

In the meantime I was born. Aunt Florence had me at her house quite often. I loved it there. She had a box of toys that I could play with as long as I wished. My favorite was a toy telephone. I have so many fond memories of being at her house. It was truly a second home for me.

Eventually Aunt Florence and Uncle Harold moved to Missouri. Of course I could not see her as often. We did go down there for a week one time.

They had a pretty front yard. No children to mess it up you know. Anyway the grass was so inviting. We had so much fun rolling around and doing somersaults in that lush green.

When we were getting ready for bed we were all in distress. We itched and had red bumps all ove. The lawn was full of chiggers. I had not had contact with those before.

Out came the Bactine. It stung and the itching did not seem to go away. It took a couple of days for the itching to stop.

Aunt Florence still desperately wanted a baby.

My grandfather dies when I was finishing my senior year in high school. My family went to the little town in Nebraska where my grandparents lived. Grandpa was a wonderful man and raiseda fine family.

When we first got there and walked into the house someone said, "Hi EmmaLine." No one had called me that since I had been a lot younger. I looked and there was a man with a bit of chin hair and a strange haircut. It was not just a bowl cut but a mixing bowl cut. He was soft looking and a bit overweight.

I muttered a quick, "Hello" and hurried into the kitchen to greet Grandma. I went to my mother and asked her who the funny looking man in the living room was.

Mom laughed at me and said, "That's Florence." I was shocked.

I went back to talk to my aunt. I loved her so much. She was sincerely happy to see me. She was.undergoing treatments to try to have that elusive baby.

I spent as much time as I could with her while we were there. I had missed her. It was sad When we had to say good-bye. As it turned out it was the last time I would ever see her. I married and moved far away.

But there is good news. The year I had my first baby my aunt had a baby girl. It was her only child and she was overjoyed to have her.

My Aunt Florence died after her daughter was an adult. Life may not have granted her a child easily but she had those years with her daughter that I know she cherished. After all I knew what a loving person she was.

The reason she looked so different to me was that she was very feminine when I had known her before. As soon as her fertility treatments stopped she once again looked like the aunt I knew and loved.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Dad

What can I say about my father? He was the most important man in my life. I adored him. Like all little girls my first love was my daddy. That is the yardstick we use to measure all other men, especially in choosing a father for our children.

I was a teenager before I realized that my father was not perfect. I also realized that he was so close to being perfect that the imperfections did not matter.

Daddy was born into a family of 11 children. He and his slightly younger brother were what was called "change of life babies" because their mother was older when they were born. Most of the older siblings were already gone from home.

It was a dysfunctional family. My grandmother was a cold woman who found it hard to care for anyone. I do not know the reason why or if there was one. Daddy loved her though.

His father was a heavy drinker.... sort of the town drunk. He worked as a brakeman for the railroad. My father always had a fascination for trains and had them for the boys to play with all the time.

The older siblings were gone from home. They could not wait to get away from the turmoil. Most of them moved far away and seldom came back for a visit.

I know very little about Daddy's childhood. I know where he was born and some of the places he lived when he was growing up. I know that once there was a terrible flood that destroyed their home and everything in it. That is about it.

Apparently Grandpa's drinking was a problem for Daddy. One day my father came home and found his father drunk again. They had a terrible argument. Daddy told him that he was through getting in fights to defend his father. Then Daddy left the house and joined the Navy.

World War II was in full swing so it did not take long for him to be sent to the Pacific arena. We do have a picture that he had taken somewhere in California before he shipped out. On the back he wrote "To the best Mom in the world".

Daddy was a gunner's mate first class, whatever that is. He told us very little about his experiences in the war. I do know that his ship engaged the enemy more than once. One time they were on radio silence for days. That menat no communication at all with the outside world.

When the silence was finally lifted he was notified that his father had died. It was too late for him to go home for the funeral. His last interaction with his father had been an argument. I know it hurt him for the rest of his life.

Daddy got the required tattoo of a sailor. Apparently it was a naked lady on his upper arm. He could make her dance by flexing his muscles. When they married my mother told him he needed to cover that lady because they wanted children and her children were not going to look at a naked lady on their father's arm. He went back to the tattoo parlor and had clothes put on his lady.

When the war was over he went home, met my mother, they were married. they were happy to find out that they would be having a baby soon after. My parents turned out to be very fertile.

Daddy wanted a daughter. He had come back from the war with a kimono for his wife and one for his daughter. I was the daughter he wanted and I have always felt very special because of that. 

My father is proof that a person can rise above a bad childhood. He was a loving family man. He truly enjoyed his wife and children and we all knew that. He showed it in so many ways every day.

That is not to say that he did not make mistakes. I guess when I was a baby I was crawling around with no diaper on. It was believed that fresh air helped prevent diaper rash. Anyway I bumped the table where his glass of iced tea was sitting and spilled it. He had a terrible temper and swatted my bare behind before he realized what he was doing.

When he saw the red mark left by his hand he vowed to never hit any of his children again. There were a couple of times that he went back on his word but we usually deserved a lot more that the smack we received.

My father never seemed to find his "home" as far as where we lived. He was always looking for that place over the hill and far away. We moved a lot. I went to 10 different schools before I graduated from high school. And that is not counting the times we lived somewhere only during the summer.

Most of the places we lived were in Nebraska. We lived on farms and in small towns. If we stayed in a town for any length of time we moved to different houses. We kept looking for the place that was his.

One summer we moved to a dairy farm outside Spokane, Washington. I loved it there. We lived at the top of a mountain. The only employee of the farm who lived as high up as us was a man who lived in a small mobile home nearer to the barns.

Evergreen trees covered the mountain. We could run and play in the trees to our hearts' content. And we did. My brothers got caught smoking up there one day. They were made to smoke cigarettes until they got sick. It did not stop them from smoking when they got older. Pobably did not stop them then.

The Spokane River was at the bottom of the hills and across the highway. We used to go fishing almost every day.

Daddy got very sick while we lived there. He had the Asian flu. The doctor said to keep all of us away from him. Daddy was put into the boys room. Mom had to take all his meals to him even though he could hardly keep anything down. She had to take care of all his needs plus care for all of us. Poor thing.

It seemed like he was in that room forever. He was so sick. And we were not allowed in there at all. He had never been sick before. It was a little scary.

Finally he began to get better. Sometime after that we were allowed to visit him for a few minutes only. No touching and no getting too close. He looked so thin and weak. It was hard to see him like that. Eventually he recovered and was good as new.

It was a happy day when my grandparents arrived. They moved there with my youngest aunt and two uncles. Grandpa had a job at the dairy farm too. They lived about halfway down the hill from us. My aunt raised worms for us to use for fishing. What she did was keep the soil under a big rock loose. She put coffee grounds in it every once in a while. We had plenty of worms for fishing.

The owner and his wife lived in a big fancy house at the bottom of the hill. The wife had three big bulldogs. They were her babies and she spoiled them rotten. Everyone laughed at her because when she took them for a walk to "do their business" she carried clean white cloth hankies to wipe them afterward.

The owner died at the end of the summer. His wife sold the dairy farm. We packed up and moved back to Nebraska.

Daddy always found work. He often worked as a farm hand. One time he was on the back of the tractor while the farmer backed up to get near enough to a piece of machinery that Daddy could hook it up. Somehow Daddy got his foot between the hitch on the tractor and the tongue of the machinery. He broke his foot and the farmer had to replace him.

For  a few years he worked for a house mover. People would own a house and buy new land to put it on. It was the responsibility of the house movers to get it there safely. We sometimes got to go watch them if they were driving near enough to home. One time they were close and we drove out to watch.

Daddy and another man had long poles with a "V" at the ends. They had to hook the utility wires and lift them so the house could roll safely beneath them.

While they were holding the wires up Daddy was waving to us and maybe showing off a bit. They rolled that house right over his foot! Thank goodness for those old dusty dirt roads. His foot sank far enough into the dust that all he got was a bruised foot.

After a severe car accident and long recovery Daddy got some training. He was able to get a job as a foreman on the night shift in a factory.  He loved his job. But the factory was experiencing financial diffficulties and they shut down the night shift. They told him they wanted him to stay on as an hourly employee but he declined.

I had my first son before this. I wanted my father to see his grandson but we lived so far away then. I finally saved enough money so I could take the bus with my baby and visit my family. Of course Daddy was proud to be a grandfather.

When it was close to time for me to go home to my husband Daddy told me that he would drive me. He and my mother had decided to move again. They moved to the big city that I was living in.

Daddy found a job almost right away. He was a foreman at a chemical plant. He and my mother actually bought a house. He found his place. He was so happy there.

The plant manager who was also an owner decided to retire. My father was made plant manager. He was liked and respected by the men who worked there. He was a very likable man. Most people liked him immediately.

One Good Friday a friend and I went shopping for Easter. My husband insisted that I take his beeper so he could contact me. I took it but I turned it off. I do not like being so connected. When we were done shopping my friend dropped me off at home.

When I went inside no one was home. In a few minutes my friend called me and told me my husband and children were at her house. They wanted me to come on over. I decided to stay home. It was quiet for a change. She insisted and said she was on her way to pick me up.

When we got to her house my husband finally worked up the courage to tell me that my father had died of a massive heart attack. I wanted to see that my mother was alright so we went to their house.

There were arrangements to be made. Several of us kids went with her. When she was picking out his coffin she was having a hard time deciding between two. One was a nice hardwood  and the other was a metallic gray. Both were nice. Mom said she kept being drawn back to the metallic gray one and could not understand why. When I gently told her it was because it was the exact color of a suit she had given him for Christmas when I was a little girl she smiled and chose that one. She loved that suit because she said it went so well with his blue eyes.

Daddy put great stock in honoring the dead. Visits to the cemetery and keeping graves looking nice were a must. And attending funerals was a way to show respect.

The chemical company was a union plant. When someone died the union would send a delegation to show respect. That is what they did when Daddy's predecessor died.

When Daddy died all the workers in the plant demanded the day off to attend his funeral. The plant finally realized they would have to close for the day.

It was a beautiful spring day. Much too nice to be indoors. Every last one of the men from the plant came to Daddy's funeral. They could have gone boating or anywhere else and they came to the funeral. The funeral home was so full of people they had people outside waiting to come in. He would have been so proud and touched. I know I was.

Friday, March 24, 2017

My Sister

I thought it time to update about my sister. As you know she had a stroke a couple of years ago. She is paralyzed on one side and unable to care for herself.

Her speech is back so it is easier to have a conversation with her on the phone. She has breathing problems because she is bedridden but she is given treatment whenever she becomes uncomfortable.

My sister has resigned herself to being in the nursing home... pardon me... long term care facility. She hates being there but she is dealing with it.

Her husband was helping my nephew move into a new apartment. He stepped wrong on the edge of the sidewalk and broke his foot. Poor guy. But he still visits her every day.

Recently she was taken to the hospital a couple of times because her blood pressure dropped so drastically. They have determined that she has had at least three small strokes. There does not seem to be any permanent damage from them but they are certainly not a good thing.

I am afraid she is giving up. She does not say so but I get the feeling that she feels like she is nothing but a burden. She is tired of not being able to do things for herself. And she really misses being in her own home.

So that is where it stands now. I hope to have good news next time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Aunt Frances

Aunt Frances is my oldest aunt on my mother's side of the family. She had married and moved away by the time I was born so I don't know her well.

Aunt Frances, like all my aunts, is very intelligent. The females in my family are prideful of their intelligence.

She is also the mother of the only cousins I have who are my age. In fact her oldest son is older than her youngest brother. Then came two girls one of whom is older than I am and the other is about 6 weeks younger than I. She had 9 children total.

The reason I did not know her well is because she married a young man who was in the service during World War II. He was from West Virginia. After he served his country they went home to that state.

My uncle worked in the coal mines. My aunt raised their children.

Aunt Frances looks the most like my grandmother.

My uncle worked hard in the mines. It ruined his lungs. Because of that he insisted that none of his sons did the same kind of work.

Aunt Frances is still alive and living in West Virginia. She has supplied me with a lot of information for our family tree.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Top O' The Morning!

La Fheile Padraig, or as we say in the United States... Saint Patrick's Day, celebrates the life of St. Patrick in Ireland. Now I do not promote any religion or lack of religion. However, after that disclaimer, I think the fellowship of St Patrick's Day is fun. On this one day of the year everybody can be Irish.

St Patrick was not Irish. He was born into a

wealthy family in Briton. At the age of 16 he was captured by Irish raiders and made a slave. As a slave he tended sheep in Ireland. That is where his appreciation of nature began. Being alone with nothing but sheep and the predators he had to save them from, he had a lot of time to learn about the world around him.

After 6 years, he managed to escape his captors and went back to England. He became a priest and eventually managed to convince his church to send him back to Ireland. There he used the things he found in nature to teach the people about his religion.

It has been said that St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. For those who take this statement literally, that is a falsehood. There is no evidence that there have ever been snakes on this island. But the pagans of the area were represented as snakes and that is what St Patrick tried to drive away.

St Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leafed clover which had previously been sacred to the Druids, to explain the aspects of his god. It was a visual aid that made sense to the people. When St Patrick died on March 17, the Irish people chose that day to celebrate his life. And in the Irish way, that means a party.

Now I have a few fun "facts" about St Patrick for you.

In Ireland, the potato crop was traditionally planted after St Patrick;s Day.

St Patrick's color was St Patrick blue but is now considered green in sympathy with Irish independence.

According to legend, St Patrick asked that on judgement day, he be allowed to judge whether the Irish are worthy of heaven.

Every year between 40 and 100 pounds of green dye are dumped into the Chicago River for St Patrick's Day.

In the custom known as "drowning the shamrock", the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening. If it stays floating while you drink your beer, you will have a prosperous year.

Many cities paint the middle line of their streets green to mark the St Patrick;s Day parade route.

Cities all over the world have parades to celebrate the day. One of the shortest St Patrick's Day parades is in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

An Irish toast: “St. Patrick was a gentleman, who thru strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, Here's a toasting his health
But not too many lest you lose yourself and then
You forget the good St. Patrick and see those snakes again.”

On St Patrick's Day, people drink green beer and wear green clothes. Anyone not wearing green might get a pinch.

Now everybody grab a leprechaun, have a green beer, and dance an Irish jig. And always remember...

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I guess you could say I am child-like in many ways. I like children's music and children's movies as much as they do. Playing card games and board games are the joys of my life.

I am an impulsive person. Whatever catches my eye is where my interest will go. My mother said I was flighty.

I often told my children that I know it was a trial to have me as a mother because I tend to go off on a tangent at times. they assure me that they thought all mothers were like that.

Checkers and chess are fun games. My grandfather was a good checkers player. He and my mother showed us how to play. He explained that it was very important to keep the back line of checkers in place until you absolutely had to move them. I tried but it is difficult to keep them back when all my other checkers were being taken.

I really like chess. The planning and the different pieces moving different ways make it a game of logic. The problem with chess is that I will examine the board before making my next move. I will imagine a move and try to anticipate what my opponent's response will be and what eventual results will come from it. I look and study. I plan and observe.

Then out of the corner of my eye I see a move and grab the piece and move it. Usually it was a move I had already rejected. I made a stupid move and would end up losing the piece and eventually the game.

But there are times when I appreciate being impulsive. When my children were little and their father was on the road during the week we would often pack up and head for the park. There were trees to shelter us, a creek for wading, and plenty of room to run and play. We would cook on the grills placed strategically near picnic tables. Even though we lived at the edge of town and had a spacious yard the days at the park were fun for all of us.

I'm also well-known for driving along and suddenly spotting something I want to see. I stop and see it. I may have to take a detour and spend some extra time but it is usually worth it. I have found some interesting places to visit and fascinating things to see by doing this.

I encourage everyone to be impulsive once in a while. I do it too often but you might be amazed at the joys you will experience by doing something out of the ordinary once in a while.

As the song by Leroy Pullins says

I'm a Nut, I'm a Nut,
My life don't ever get in a rut
Well Hell, my shoulders are sore and loose
That I ain't got the sense God gave a goose
Now Lord I ain't crazy but, I'm a nut

And I like it!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Daylight Saving Time

This year Daylight Saving Time begins on March 12. While I remind you to change your clocks appropriately I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit about DST.

01. Where did the idea for Daylight Saving Time come from?

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the idea. It may have been in jest. He noticed that daylight always came at the same time as the sun rose. He noted in his journal that the French (he was living at the time in France) could make better use of daylight hours and not stay up so late during the darkness.

02. Is Daylight Saving Time used everywhere?

No. Few countries near the equator feel the need to utilize more daylight. Many countries do not change their clocks to accommodate more daylight. Even in the United States, Hawaii and Arizona do not observe DST although the Navajo Nation which extends over three states does. Their part of Arizona does observe DST.

03. When is Daylight Saving Time?

In the United States it begins at 2:00 AM on the second Sunday in March and ends at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in November. Europe countries have different times. Winter is the opposite of ours in countries south of the equator so their DST is also opposite ours. Russia decided to institute a permanent DST. Many of the people there do not like it in the winter so there is some talk of adopting some other method.

04. How is Daylight Saving Time useful?

It is believed that the extra hour in the summer months gives farmers extra time in the fields. Some research shows that some crimes lessen during DST because of the extra daylight. Auto accidents seem to be fewer because fewer people are driving to and from work in the dark. It can also conserve energy because a smaller amount of electricity is used for lighting. "They" seem to think there is more time for exercise if people use the longer daylight hours.

05. Are there drawbacks to Daylight Saving Time?

During the first couple of weeks of DST more heart attacks are reported. Conversely when DST is over there are fewer heart attacks than normal. Perhaps the adjustment to a person's system is adverse. International travelers can become confused by the time changes and DST sometimes makes it worse.

06. Do strange things happen during Daylight Saving Time?

Twins were born in North Carolina. The first, a boy, was born at 1:32 AM. His younger sister was born 34 minutes later but because of DST the clocks had been changed at 2:00 AM. Her time of birth was recorded at 1:06 AM making it appear that she was born first.

In September, 1999, Israel had just switched back to Standard Time. The West Bank was still on DST. West Bank terrorists made time bombs and smuggled them into Israel so the terrorists there could plant them on two buses. Because of the time change the terrorists planted them one hour off from the time they were intended. Three terrorists were killed in the resulting explosion meant for the people who would have been on the buses if the times were the same.

A bomb threat was called in to a school in Pennsylvania. An honor student was arrested because the automated line recorded a call from him at the time of the threat. Actually he had called the school to get some information about his classes. The time changed. An hour later in real time someone else called in the bomb threat.

07. What other problems are associated with Daylight Saving Time?

Trains cannot leave the station before their scheduled times. During times when the clock changes the trains sit idle for one hour to accommodate the schedule. That can upset commuter times and family schedules.

08. What is the correct name for it?

It is called Daylight Saving Time with no "s" at the end of saving.

09. How will I know what time to turn the clock to?

The saying is "Spring, forward; Fall, behind". In the spring you turn your clock one hour ahead. At 2:00 AM you will change the time to 3:00 AM. In the fall you turn the clock back an hour. At 2:00 AM you will change the time to 1:00 AM.

10. Is there anything else I should know?

The changing of the clocks is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detector. They need to be changed twice a year and DST will remind you to do it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Back In Time

I have already talked about some of the things I have seen change in my lifetime. Today not everything will be a change but many were historic and some shocking.

Probably the most outstanding thing was the space program. There were comic books and radio and television programs about humans traveling in outer space. Pure science fiction. Or was it?

When Sputnik was launched the United States was frantic. We were experiencing the Cold War. We were not too far removed from World War II and the Korean War. There were air raid shelters and air raid captains who were supposed to guide us to safety in case of an enemy attack.

We had fire drills in school. We also had air raid drills. When the air raid siren sounded we were to "drop and cover". That meant dropping to the floor under your desk into a sort of fetal position but with your face and body toward the floor. Then you covered your head with hands and arms. You remained in that position until the "all clear" was sounded.

I have read how so many children were traumatized by "drop and cover" drills. I was a child. I thought it was great fun. Children cannot comprehend consequences of viotent acts. All parents can do is teach them what to do in case of a violent act and deal with the fallout later.

But back to the space race. The US and Russia both kept launching rockets and planning for manned space flights. It was an exciting time. Our schools did not have televisions so we could not watch the launches at school. School would close on launch days so we could watch from home. And we did watch. It was exciting.

Eventually there were too many launches to allow us to have the day off school so they were limited to only the more important ones. Animals were launched and finally came the time when there were manned flights.

Finally I got to see a man actually walk on the moon. It was like something from a movie.

I vaguely remember some of the McCarthy hearings from television. I was very young. McCarthy was a senator who  believed that Communism was not only a threat to our country but that we were infiltrated by Communists and Communist sympathizers. He chaired the Senate hearings on unAmerican  activities.

The McCarthy hearings rapidly turned into a witch hunt. People who testified at the hearings came from all walks of life. They may or may not have been guilty of any charges. A lot of people lost their jobs and were blackballed from being rehired elsewhere. It would be nice to have a reliable means of revisiting that time to find out what was true and what was not.

I watched the first televised debates between two presidential candidates when John F Kennedy and Richard M Nixon opposed each other. Kennedy had a charisma that showed on camera. Nixon did not seem as comfortable. Kennedy won the election.

There have been 13 presidents in my life. I remember all but Truman. I was just a little too young.

I am not Catholic but the process of choosing a pope fascinates me. There have been 7 popes since I was born.

When I was a child most homes had an automobile. We call them cars. We still walked most places. Everything in the little towns I lived in was too close to bother with driving.

Back then cars were built sturdy and to last a long time. They were very large. They had one long seat in the front and the same in the back. There were no seat belts or air bags. The steering wheel was huge. Tires were not as sturdy as they are now so there were a lot of flat tires.

Gas stations could fix those flats. They also did minor repairs. Most of those older cars could be repaired with a screwdriver, pliers, and a bit of wire.

Gas stations also offered full service. When you stopped for gasoline they washed the windows, checked under the hood for oil and water levels. They checked the air pressure in the tires and filled them if needed. All as part of the regular service and all FREE!

Gas was not free. But it was inexpensive. My father used to fill the 16 gallon tank and hand the attendant $2.00 and get change back.

Once a new gas station opened in town. It was right across the street from the existing station. There was a price war. For the longest time gasoline was 6¢ per gallon. Wouldn't that be nice now? And we still got full service.

Now cars do not necessarily need gasoline to operate. We have electric cars and hybrids that use both gas and electricity. They are working on cars that will hover above the ground instead of rolling along.

Penny candy was the joy of my life. For a penny there were many items you could purchase. KitKats came in a little 4 piece package. You could get a piece of bubble gum. There was a whip of licorice either red or black. Pixie sticks. Gumballs. Jawbreakers. Tootsie rolls. Suckers or lollipops. A child's handful of jelly beans or candy corn. You get the idea.

Soda pop was 5¢ and you got 1 penny back when you returned the bottle. It only came in bottle then.
Candy bars were 5¢ and my mother complained. She said they used to buy a big chocolate bar for a nickel and there would be enough for all of them to share.

There was a soda fountain at the drug store. One of my favorite treats was a phosphate. Phosphates are carbonated drinks made right at the soda fountain. You could choose any one of the delicious flavored syrups (also used to top sundaes) and that would be the flavor of the phosphate.

If you lived in town milk was delivered 6to the house. It came in milk bottles with little cardboard inserts at the mouth of the bottle to close it. When my children were small I had milk delivered but it came in cartons. I do not know if home delivery exists any more.

The saddest thing I have observed is the loss of freedom to be a child. We would be outside from the time we woke in the morning until it was time to be home for the night. It was safe to wander all over town or through the countryside. Nobody would bother us. Children now have to be wary of every person they encounter. Sad

I had an excellent education as a child. Now pay attention. There were three grades to a room. The teacher in the room taught all three grades. She taught all subjects, reading, writing, arithmetic, history, art, and recess. Often she was also our music teacher. She escorted us to lunch and made us mind. We learned at school. There was NO HOMEWORK.

I still do not believe in homework. And now teachers have specialized classes. Students with similar abilities are placed in the classroom. It seems to me that teachers could, oh I don't know, maybe teach. Then there would be time to play after school because that is a valuable part of their learning experience.

Music has changed so much. I came in at the end of the big band era. I really do not remember it but I listen to some of the big bands and love the music. Rock'a'billy and rock and roll were what I listened to when I was young. My parents liked country music and I do too. My family listened to classical music too. I have to be in the mood but it is called classical for a reason.

The English invasion changed the way we viewed music. They took rock and roll and the blues and turned our music world upside down. Then came disco music. Now hip hop but I am seeing a return of some of the older styles coming back.

Clothing styles. Oh my goodness. When I was little women were very modest in their clothing. Most women wore dresses all the time. The hem of the skirts fell below the knee. Little girls wore short skirts with lots of petticoats. When I was a teenager miniskirts were the rage. And little girls skirts became longer.

There were sack dresses with no shape, mini skirts, maxi skirts, the little black dress, muu muus, caftans, sleeveless, strapless, spaghetti straps. Permanent press fabrics made ironing easier and sometimes even unnecessary.

I have seen terrible things happen. The Viet Nam War, the Gulf wars, terrorism running rampant. I watched the endless reruns of President Kennedy being assassinated. The drum cadence from his funeral will be in my head forever.

I was actually watching television when they were transferring Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby jumped out of the crowd and killed him. There was nothing on TV for a week that did not deal directly with the assassination.

I saw the Challenger explode after take-off with seven crew members on board. I heard the astronauts when the capsule caught fire on the launch pad.

The World Trade Center suffered from an explosion in one of the underground parking lots of the World Trade Center in New York City. A truck with explosives made of fertilizer blew up at the front of a government building in Oklahoma City. I was just home from work and had dosed off on the couch when I woke up just in time to see the second airplane fly into the World Trade Center the day it collapsed and the whole world became fearful.

That was the day I called my sister. We worked together and rode to and from work together. I asked her if she was still awake and if she had her television on. She said yes and no respectively. Her question was a moderately disinterested why. I said, "Somebody just declared war on us!"

Children go to school with weapons and bombs intending to kill as many people as possible. People go to the movie theater with automatic weapons and open fire  People shoot stab, beat, and bomb at an alarming rate today. We live in an increasingly violent society.

When I was a teenager Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Carol Ann Fugate went on a killing spree. They killed her whole family and then traveled across Nebraska and Wyoming. Charles Manson and his followers were found guilty of killing a total of seven people in California. The list goes on. It is just too sad.

My own children were raised in a large city. I always hated it there but a person goes where the work is. I told them of growing up in a part of the country where people are polite. If you walk down the street and encounter another person you both smile pleasantly and say, "Hello." People say please and thank you. If you need assistance you can get it. If someone else needs assistance you offer it.

I am not certain my children believed me. A few years ago one of my sons moved to this area. He loves it here and recently told me he cannot believe how friendly and nice people are.

I think there are more amazing changes in me. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 3, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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