Friday, April 27, 2018

My Family Part 5

Mom was mostly a stay-at-home mother. That was the way it was back then. Fathers worked away from home to earn the money. Mothers worked at home to keep house, cook, and raise children.

Mom always had a huge garden. She raised, peas, carrots, beets, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, melons,  lettuce, squash, pumpkins, and corn. We had fresh vegetables all summer.

She also loved flowers so a partionof her garden was saved to raise flowers. There were flowers growing all around the yard too. When she was a bit older and we were also older she managed enough time to cut some of her flowers and make fresh arrangements for the house.

She liked strawberries so she had Daddy build a terraced strawberry bed. That way she would have a bigger yield in less space.

Daddy planted grapes every place we lived but they seldom gave us any grapes. He did have a knack with roses and was trying to develop a new rose.

Mom canned a lot of the  produce from the garden. She made pickles of all kinds.

In the fall when the farmers brought fruit into town to sell we would buy several bushels of several kinds of fruit.

Mom would can some, bake with some, and make jelly, jam, and fruit butter. She was a marvel.

Needless to say we had plenty to eat all winter.

When I was very very small Mom decided to make her own cottage cheese. It was the best I ever had.

She was also artistic. Bedides her writing she wanted to draw.

At the time the was a program on television called Drawing with Jon Nagy. She watched it religiously. She even ordered his special eraser. He said the more it was used the better it worked. It became black with use but always erased cleanly. So Mom was an artist. 

Just about anything she decided she wanted to do she would find a way to learn and do it.

Mom insisted on us using proper grammar and good manners. For instance the word (or non-word) of ain't was forbidden. I was the oldest and it "took" with me. The rest of the kids seemed to get by with grammatical slips. I guess it was too much work.

Mom sewed most of our clothes. I think the boys blue jeans were possibly the only exception. She would hold a newspaper up to us and make a pattern from it. So when we weren't wearing hand-me-downs we had the nicest clothes in town.

When I was in 1st or 2nd grade she used Daddy's pea coat from the Navy and made the warmest coat I ever had. I was sad when I outgrew that one.

After she retired Mom wanted to live somewhere warm for a change. She tried Florida where my sister was living. She said everything smelled like fish there.

She and I took a road trip through New England. We just drove until we saw a place we wanted to stop.

We ended the trip at myother sister's house in Kentucky. Mom liked it there. She took me home after a few days and went back.

She rented a little place a few miles from my sister. Mom actually built her own furniture. She said she had always wanted to do that. My sister has it now and is still using it.

When my sister needed someone to help with her children Mom moved back in with her.

My mother who never complained about aches and paions became ill. My sister and her estranged husband had to carry her to the car to take her to the hospital. Although the doctor would not tell her what was wrong Mom snuck a peek at her records. She had e.Coli. She went home finally but was not the same.

The last time I saw my mother who was the rock of the family she seemed so frail. I think she was tired of her being here.

Mom died in her sleep in early January. When my brother died Mom and Dad purchased a triple plot. Mom was laid to rest on the coldest windiest day. As we drove into the cemetery I could imagine her chuckling about our discomfort for just an instant.

I had good parents. Our whole family revered both of them. They are missed every day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

When I Grow Up I Want To Be...

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Maybe a famous actor. Or perhaps a pilot. Or a teacher. Maybe an olympian athlete. A firefighter. A scientist. A doctor. Rich.

There were unlimited choices ahead of us. I am certain your parents told you the same things our patrnts told us. You can be whatever you want to be as long as  you work hard and get good grades.

Getting good grades was easy. It is the one thing that comes easily to me. I never developed good study habits because  all I had to do was pay attention in class. I was not necessarily smarter than some of the others. I just have a knack for retaining information and being able to being it up when necessary.

Girls my age often wanted to be Annette or Hayley Mills. Or one of the Lennon Sisters. I suppose boys wanted to be Mickey Mantle or Davy Crockett.

Girls often dreamed about getting married. Planning a fairy tale wedding was the goal.

I really never cared about being married. A husband seemed like too much work. I did know that you needed a husband to have children.

What I always wanted to be was a mother.

Perhaps it is because I am the oldest. I helped with the younger children as happens in large families. I liked it.

So I dutifully was married before I began having children. I was so anxious to have babies but it took a couple of years before I did.

I will be telling you about my children in My Family eventually.

I used to say that I was not very successful in life. I had little money and not much in the way of possessions. That is what successful people have.

One day my oldest son asked me what I wanted to be when I was a child. I immediately replied that I wanted to be a mother.

He told me that I was successful because I was what I wanted to be.

I was a bit taken aback at first. Then I realized that I am just what I always wanted to be. I am a success.


I was the laser operator at my last job. I loved that job.

It was a small factory that made indutrialshocks. Some were huge. Those were most often used in the rides at amusement parks. If you ride a dropping type ride chances are the shocks that make the ride stop without crushing your bones was made by us.

The smallest are used in microsurgery. Microsurgery allows a doctor to do the most intricate work as he/ she views it through a microscope.

There were all shapes. Some were about an inch in diameter and maybe 8 inches long. These were used to stiffen Batman's cape in Batman movies.

Some were as wide as they were long. Some were heavy, some not so much.

Each shock had to have the company name, the number assigned to that particular size, and the manufacture date marked permanently on them. That was what I did.

I had a small room that no one could enter unless I allowed them in. The reason for that is that if the laser was operating anyone in the room had to wear special goggles to protect their eyes. I was alone in there for 8 hours a day. I did not have to deal with the disagreements and pettiness that so often happens among people who work together all day.

I had a computer that set up the program on the laser. After I set it for the size and style of shock I woul place the piece in the laser, push the correct button on the keypad, and wait for the information to be burned into the shock. Then they were ready to be assembled and shipped to the customer.

There was only one laser. It was quite old and there were a lot of problems with it. When it would break down there were 2 people in the whole place that could repair it. Those were the times I would have to go out on the assembly line while it was being fixed.

 Sometimes my machine would be down for a day or two. Thankfully I usually had several orders lasered and ready to assemble at all times.

Then came the day that there was a major, major breakdown. It happened on Thursday. There was a rush order that had to be shipped no later than the following Tuesday. It would be at least a week before the parts needed to repair my machine would arrive.

The company needed the parts lasered by Monday at the latest. We had a problem.

The owner of the company contacted a company that  did similar work. They also lasered their own parts. They would allow me to come to their shop to laser the parts on Saturday. Time and a half for me.

Friday we loaded several runs into the back of my pichup. Using my vehicle meant I also was paid milage. Saturday I went to that shop.

Oh my. I have to tell you I have never seen such a factory.

It had a workout room complete with all the exercise equipment you would find in a gym for the employees who wished to use it after hours. There was a shower near the lockers so they could go home clean after a hard day's working.

Everyone who worked there had to punch in and out, including the owner. His thinking was that the employees had the right to know if he was putting in a full day's work. They had a uniform service that provided clean work uniforms for each day of the week to be collected and cleaned once a week. Paid by the company.

The uniforms were kept in a locker assigned to the employee so the service could dimply go in and collect them and drop off the clean ones.. Then there was another side to the locker where the employee kept regular clothing and personal items. That side was locked.

There were 5, count them 5, microwave ovens in the spacious and immaculate lunchroom. No waiting to heat you lunch. There was an area right outside the lunchroom for anyone who wanted to eat out there. There was a beautiful view. There was actually a nature preserve right next to the factory grounds.

Inside the factory it was also immaculate. The floors were so clean I would have allowed my children to eat food placed on them. There was no dust, no greasy places. It looked brand new.

There were several work areas... maybe 6 or so. Each work area had a supervisor who would oversee all of the work in that area. Each supervisor had a snall office to keep any papers needed for the day and a small desk. There was no door on the office. The supervisor was expected to work with the rest of the employees unless there was something else that had to be taken care of. The office gave him a place ro answer the phone away from noise.

Each area had a coffee pot, tea and hot water, instant hot chocolate. All free for the employees. The best feature was the full sized refrigerator full of bottles of water available at all times. Each area also had a bathroom so no one had to walk forever to answer a call of nature.

It all seemed so open and large. All the aisles were wide enough to easily move a hilo with a pallet of merchandise and have room on either side. And clean floors.

The company had an intern program for high school students who were interested in that type of work. If they were interested there was an exellent scholarship program for college.

Most of the interns took full advantage of the program. When they completed their studies they returned to work at a more specialized position. Most of them stayed because the conditions and pay were so good. A lot of them had been there for 30 years or more.

Their laser was newer than mine and much easier to operate. I was finished shortly after lunch time. I did not think I would be able to do them all even if I stayed all day.

I went back to our grubby factory on Monday. Everyone who had ever been to the other factory rushed to ask me what I thought of the place. We were all impressed.

I think all employers should have to tour a factory like that. Their employees would be much more content. Content employees tend to stay where they are and do better work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Family Part 4

Our family moved a lot. By the time I graduated from high school I had attended 9 different schools. Some of them we were there for about 3 years so there were several years we went to at least 2 schools.

It is hard enough beginning the school year at a new school in thefal. When you transfer in the middle of the year it is worse. All the little groups of friends have been formed and children are not fast to worry about a newcomer.

Still we did develop friendships. I am still in touch with some fromway back.

We were all good students. Mom insisted on it. At times it was difficult because one school might be slightly ahead or behind another.

Daddy worked at a variety of jobs. Truck driver, farmer, munitions assembler, house mover, factory foreman... you get the idea. 

It seemed there was always something in the distance that beckoned to him as a better opportunity. So we would follow that beacon and move.

After I married and moved to the big city and had my first baby I went back to visit my family. I wanted Daddy to see his first grandchild. Mom had already seen him because of some complications I had after the birth.

Daddy had been working as the foreman for the night shift at a factory. The night shift was dissolved. He was told he could stay on as an hourly worker. He declined.

It was decided that instead of me and the baby going home on the bus my whole family would take me home. They moved to Detroit.

I will never know why but Daddy finally found his home in Detroit. He loved it there.

He found a job as foreman in a chemical company. Eventually he was promoted to plant manager. He loved his job. He loved the men working for him.

My parents bought a house. Originally it was a three family home. My parents turned it into a home for one family. They installed a furnace to heat the whole house instead of the original place heaters. Mom had the kitchen remodelled  the way she wanted it to be. They planted gardens every year. They were home.

When they moved to the city my youngest brother was only 5 years old.

One day Daddy was working in his little shop on the back porch. He went inside complaining of heartburn. He sat down in his chair and Mom was getting him something to drink.

When Daddy realized that it was probably something more than heartburn Mom drove himto the hospital. It was only about a mile away. It was faster than waiting for an ambulance.

Mom said shewas not too worried at first but as they were turning into the hospital she could see that it was not good.

She waited in a crowded waiting room as they took Daddy into the emergency room. After an interminably long time the doctor came out. He told her that Daddy had a heart attack. He was awake and alert. They were admitting him to the hospital for observation. Mom could see him as soon as they had him settled in a room.

 In the levator on the way to his room he had a massive heart attack and died. Mom was not able to say good-bye. It was Good Friday.

It was hard for our family. Daddy was adored by all of us. The grandchildren were sort of ost. It was the first death of someone close to them.

In the midst of all the preparations for a funeral we tried to keep things as normal as possible for the children. The Easter Bunny came and we had a big Easter dinner. Without realizing it was the last year we did that.

When my youngest brother heard about his fathe he ran all the way from his house on the next block. He could not believe his father was dead. My brother was 18 then.

The day of Daddy's funeral was a beautiful sunny spring day. The sky was blue and the temperature was comfortably warm. Perfect for taking out the boat or hosting a barbecue.

Every man who worked for my father wanted to be at his funeral. Usually the union simply sent 2 or 3 men to represent the rest. of them. There was such an uproar from the emmployees that the plant owners had to close the plant for the day.

Now you would think that these guys would take advantage of the beautiful day to do something else. They all attended my father's funeral and drove to the cemetery after. Daddy would have been so proud to know how much they cared.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday The 13th

I am fascinated by superstitions. I sort of collect them for my own amusement.

My family has a Friday the 13th superstition all our own. My mother had a terrible (but funny) day and we never let her live it down. Let me tell you all about it.

My aunt and uncles went to school in a one room schoolhouse in the country. On the last day of school there was a picnic and we always went. The more the merrier, you know. This year it was held on Friday, the 13th.

We set out for the picnic with Mom at the wheel. Daddy had to work. Mom was running late as usual so she was driving a bit faster than she should have. She came to the top of a hill and saw the police car at the bottom. Instead of slowing down she panicked and stopped. When she restarted and drove down the hill she was pulled over. Luckily the cop recognized the car. Daddy was the town marshal and worked with the state police on occasion. Mom received a warning to be more careful and we went on our way.

The car was low on gas so Mom pulled in to a station along the highway. In the 1950's the pumps often had big glass globes on the top with the name of the gasoline company on them. They were pretty. When Mom pulled in for gas she realized that she was too far away from the pump. She pulled forward a bit and then backed up a bit closer... whoops! a little too close.She bumped the pump. That beautiful glass globe began to wobble, wobble, wobble, wobble... it seemed to be slowing and coming to a stop. Whew. Then it just fell right off and smashed into millions of pieces.

The man at the station was very kind. Of course we did not have to pay for it; it happens all the time. (Right!) We got our 2 dollars worth of gas. That filled it up then. And we were off again.

We turned off the highway to the county road on the way to the picnic. We were merrily driving along and Mom missed the turn onto the next county road that led to the school. Not to worry... she just backed up so she would be in position to turn. Somehow we ended up in the ditch. Some of the ditches in Nebraska were like valleys. We were rear end down with the nose of the car pointing up. Now what was she to do?

Here we were with a car full of children sitting in a deep ditch with no chance she could drive it out. As luck would have it a neighboring farmer came by on his tractor. Mom waved him down and he of course was happy to help. He was so happy to help that he could not stop laughing as he hooked the chain up to the car and his tractor. Laughing as he had Mom steer the car while his tractor strained to pull us out of that ditch. He was so happy when we were completely clear of the ditch that he kept laughing. Mom had made him so happy that he was still laughing as he drove off.

Off we went again. Mom successfully made the turn. Believe it or not we made it safely to the picnic. Of course we were extremely late but there were still a few games left to be played. After that Friday, the 13th, was a day that we no longer let Mom drive. As a matter of fact we would not even let her in the car.

This is the way many superstitions start. Got any of your own?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Here We Go Again

We had some nice warm days and all the snow was gone.

My Son went out and cut down some small trees that should have been eliminated last year. Our neighbor was busy cleaning his yard while looking for odd bits of wood for his wood stove. He has plenty but any extra is welcome. Another neighbor mowed hi lawn for the first time this year.

There was minor flooding but the river was supposed to recede By yesterday; no they changed it to today; wait maybe two more days would be needed.

I awoke this morning and looked out the window. Everything was white.

We had probably about 5 inches of snow today. So much for spring.

There were some fairly large flakes coming down for a while along with normal snow. As usual it is pretty to watch as it floats down and lands.

Once the snow stopped the wind began to blow harder. Big clumps of wet snow blew from the trees. Some landed on the roof. Some fell to the ground leaving small craters in the snow.

At least for now there is no snow and no strong wind. Occasionally when I look out the wind a quick breeze will send a little snow racing across a yard. No swirls just straight across.

According to the weatherman it will be cold for a few days with another day of snow and rain mix in about three days.

It is supposed to warm up then... according to the weatherman. I am beginning not to trust him.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Have you ever seen a fairy? It is fun to think about.

I had a good time introducing my children and grandchildren to fantasy worlds. Now before you make fun of me think about this. Did you read stories like Jack and the Beanstalk to your children? Did your chidren watch cartoons? Did your children play video games. Did you recite poetry such as The Gingham Dog and The Calico Cat to your children? Winnie The Pooh? Did you sing Puff the Magic Dragon to them? All fantasy.

I encouraged mychildren to make up stories and silly games. We would imagine what might happen if a squirrel got his tail stuck in the branches of the tree. What do you think might happen? Better yet what do yourchildren and grandchildren think might happen?

What could be hiding behind that tree? Bigfoot? A pot of gold? A cute little bunny? There are no limits to imagination.

Bacl to fairies. Have you ever seen a fairies home at the base of a tree? Some people actually put colorful little doors on them for all to see.

If you live in fairy country you often will see little openings that lead to homes of fairies. I have had those who tell me that they are only where the roots are growing a bit too high but I know better.

Many years ago I bought a book that tells all about fairies. There are so many different kinds. Just a few are brownies, pixies, sprites, leprechauns, nymphs, and elves. If you would like to know of more you can look them up.

Some are pretty and delicate, others are not so nice to look at and not good tempered.

Sometimes you will see a circle of toadstools in your yard. They are in a circle so the fairies who are resting can sit on them to watch the other fairies dance.

I learned that we probably see fairies every day. We do not recognize them though. They disguise themselves. See that piece of paper blowing across the sidewalk? Fairy. A dry leaf skips across the street. It is a fairy. They have to be out and dancing. Is that a bit of light dancing on the wall? No it is not the sun; it is a fairy.

I often sit and look out my window and see the fairies dancing in my yard. Sometimes I see a quick movement out of the corner of my eye. When I turn to look at it the movement it stops.

I even captured a picture of one. It was at leasr10 years ago. I was surprised because I was only taking a picture of some flowers. I showed my son and he was surprised.

I saved the picture to my computer. Less than a week later my hard drive died and the picture was lost. Fairies do not approve of being photographed.

Look out your window. How many fairies do you see?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

My Family Part 3

My parents wasted no time starting a family. It was the days before reliable birth control so it was what every married couple did.

Ten months after the wedding Mom gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with dark hair and bright blue eyes. Her name was Melva Lynn after Daddy's first name and Mom's nickname.

I was a pampered child. My youngest uncle is only 3 years older than me. Actually for 4 days every year it is only 2 years older because our birthdays are so close.

My father had not known my mother when he was in the Navy. However he brought 2 kimonos with him when he came home. One was for his wife and one was for his little girl. I wore that kimono until I could no longer fit in it.

A little over a year later came a bouncing baby boy named Gary Melvan. Mom always said he was the most unsatisfactory baby. He did not like being held. He liked being by himself.

Except for a few years of marriage that was the way he lived most of his life. Alone. He had a heart attack at age 42 during Hurricane Andrew in Florida. He was in the hospital for about 3 days before he could remember our sister's number to notify family.

Gary recovered but had problems with his heart after that. He died the same way he lived. Alone. He was living in New York State and had a fatal heart attack.

Less than a year after Gary was born Randall Thomas was born. He was also a pretty baby. (We all were.) We called him Randy.

Randy was outgoing and (at least in my opinion) pushy. Now do not take that to mean we did not get along. We were all very close. Any mischief was done by Randy and me.

Randy was drafted in 1969. You will recognize that as one of the Viet Nam years. He was killed in 1970. It was the only time I ever saw my father cry.

Rebecca Rae was born 2 years after Randy. When her hair began to grow a bit it turned into little dark ringlets that looked like pincurls all over her head.

We called her Becky. She was a sassy child. she did not walk; she sashayed.

Becky had a stroke a few years ago. Her left side is paralized and she is presently living in a nursing home.

Two years after Becky came David Lee. David was a strange child. I have often said that David acted like his head was in a cloud. He often did not realize that anyone else existed.

David's passion was his cars and trucks... toys of course. He is probably the champion cars and trucks player of all time. He would take the hoe and drag it along the ground to make roads. Sometimes we played with him and sometimes he was content to play alone.

Finally I have a sibling I can report is still alive and healthy.

Right before David was due to begin kindergarten he was allowed to tell the rest of us that our parents were going to have another baby. It was so exciting.

Nalinlee Teddi was born when I was eleven. That seems to be the age a girl's mothering instinct really kicks in. She was my baby to spoil.

Nalinlee loved being a baby. When she was about 8 years old she finally gave in and allowed us to call he a LITTLE girl... emphasis on little. She was extremely shy. She would actually hide if someone outside the family came to the house so she would not have to say hello to them.

She too is alive and healthy.

Five more years passed and John Jay was born. One baby picture could be used for all of us except Johnny. He looked like Randy but like Randy was when Johnny was born.

Johnny was a great deal like Randy in personality. But he was the fussiest eater I ever saw. When he was in school he took his lunch. It consisted of one lettuce leaf between two slices of bread.

Johnny had a heart attack when he was in his forties. He has always taken good care of himself so he recovered quickly. Thank goodness his son and son-in-law were with him at the time. He has had a couple of procedures to correct problems relating to his heart.

Other than that he is alive and healthy.

My mother lost 6 babies early in pregnancy. There would have been 13 of us! Gloriosky, Sandy!


to be continued..........