Sunday, December 29, 2019


2019 was a good year for me. I have a roof over my head and plenty to eat. I have clothing appropriate for each season. I have heat when it is cold and cooling when it is hot outside.

I am healthy. I have a way to get myself where I need or want to be. I have family I love and who love me back.

When I was asked before Christmas what I wanted I realized that I have pretty much what I desire. I have a good life.

I am sure 2020 will be more of the same for me.

For you I wish a prosperous, healthy, and very Happy New Year.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Ghosts of Christmas Past.

There were five siblings in 1957. From left to right:

Gary, one year younger than me. Died 2010
David, six years younger than me. He will be retiring in just a few days.
Randy, two years younger than me. Died 1970
Becky, four years younger than me. In a nursing home after the effects of a stroke.
Me, ten years old. Retired and writing this blog.

            Merry Christmas to all.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

To Give; To Get

Christmas is approaching. I have sent off all the gifts that need to be sent. As a matter of fact, my sister who is in a nursing home because of a stroke has already opened hers.

I love Christmas. I suppose it may be that my family did not have much money. We could not afford birthday gifts for instance. We did get to choose our birthday dinners.

At Christmas, my parents went all out. Santa always left us nice toys.

A big production was made of opening gifts. No grab and rip. Each person was handed a gift in turn. That gift was opened. After we all oohed and aahed over it the next person was handed a gift. It would be a long time before we were able to get to breakfast and we loved it.

Giving gifts has always been my favorite part of Christmas. Choosing just the right gift for each person and watching delighted faces as they open them gives me such joy.

Of course, I would feel a little silly if I did not receive a gift too. In my life, I have received a lot of wonderful gifts.

A good one was my first watch. It was a sign of being more mature and I was glad to be recognized that way. The problem was that it felt hot on my arm. I told my mother and she explained that I would eventually get used to having it on my arm.

After complaining several times I finally had proof that the watch was hot. It had burned me and there was a big blister where the watch had been. My father took it back to where it had been purchased. They examined it and found that a tiny drop of oil that should have been there to lubricate the moving parts was missing. I got a new watch and no further problems.

Probably my favorite gift was from a man I was seeing a few years after my husband and I divorced.  He bought several small gifts in size. He wrapped them each separately and placed them in a quilted tote bag which he also wrapped. The gifts were all nice but what I really loved was opening all those small packages. I really am like a child I guess.

The favorite gift I ever gave was to my grandmother. I was in the second grade. We had been working with modeling clay. I made the bust of a woman. It reminded me of Grandma when it was done. I gave it to her for Christmas with the provision that I get it back when she died. (Children are so tactful.)I checked on my "Grandma" every time we visited her. When she died an uncle and his family quickly cleared everything from the house. No trace of "Grandma" was ever found.

Out of all the wonderful gifts you gave or got what were your favorites?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Being Thankful

We all look forward to the feast we will be offered on Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberries, corn, sweet potatoes, etc. Then comes dessert. Pumpkin pie is my favorite for Thanksgiving.

Some of the things I serve are prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. If they need to be warm I can put them in the microwave. It gives me more time to watch the parade and spend time with family. Of course, the smell of the turkey permeates the house. It is a comforting smell and makes us hungry.

We eat, sometimes too much. Then we begin telling family stories. It is a good way to reconnect.

What we need to remember are the things we are thankful for.

I am going to share the things I appreciate.

My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are healthy, loving, active, and intelligent. I was fortunate to have wonderful parents and grandparents. My life has been filled with love.

I married into a loving family and immediately felt accepted. I am basically healthy and alert. My life has been fairly long and moderately exciting.

I live where I wish to be and how I wish to live. I have nice neighbors and a good community. I have everything I need and much of what I want. Life is good.

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Like many families, my family has a lot of people who served in the Armed Forces. Most of them came home and went on to have families and decent lives. Some were 'lifers' and some only served as long as necessary. I am proud of each of them and I thank them all for keeping our freedom.

My father was in the Navy during World War II. He was wounded but still made it home and had a large loving family. He did not talk about his time at war.

My oldest brother served in Korea on the DMZ as an MP. Things were not as peaceful as we are led to believe. It is, after all, still an active war zone. He came home and eventually married. He and his wife divorced and had no children. He did not talk about his time in a war zone.

My second brother served in Vietnam. He wrote letters to us. Many had tears on them as he told of buddies who had been killed.

He told us before he left that he would not be back alive. He made arrangements for the dispersal of his things. He was right. He did not come back alive.

My brother did not have a chance to marry and have a family. He was unable to continue his life. He was not much more than a child himself.

As the saying goes 'War is hell'. It hurts so many. Most of all it hurts those who served. They seldom speak of experiences. Usually, the most they will say is that they served and where.

They may have physical wounds that we can see. All of them have inner wounds that they do not often share.

Thank you to all the veterans.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Creamed Spinach

We had our first snow today. We have had flurries a couple of times but today the snow melted before it had a chance to make things white.

Today's snow is still lying on the ground. It is not much but it is there.

I had to go to the doctor today so I was unlucky enough to drive in it. The driving was not bad. At least the deer stayed off the road in respect for the first snow. Turkeys were another matter. We all know they have no sense.

I am sure the snow will melt tomorrow. The weather forecast calls for warmer temperatures.

As I was driving home I kept thinking that the snow on the bright green patches of plants reminded me of some sort of food. Then it dawned on me that it looked like creamed spinach.

No wonder I was so hungry when I walked into the house.

Friday, November 1, 2019


My husband came from a farming family. They often had little money. He had good parents who taught him the value of hard work and treating people with respect. 

My family moved often. We often had little money. I had good parents who taught me to work hard and to treat people with respect.

We did not know it at the time. We had only been seeing each other for a short time. 

At that time seeing each other meant going to an occasional drive-in movie or driving 'the loop' downtown. The loop was the activity most often because it was cheaper. And all our friends were doing the same thing.

One night we were driving the loop and my husband wanted to take a break. He drove to a little neighborhood grocery store near where his brother lived. He told me he would be right back and ran into the store.

He came back out with a small paper bag. In it were two large oranges. One was for me.

He presented it with a great flourish. He thought those oranges were the most exotic things he ever had and wanted to share them with me.

It was the most romantic thing that ever happened to me.

What was your most romantic moment?

Sunday, October 20, 2019


I love Halloween. I have so many happy memories of trick-or-treating when I was a child.

We would go out as soon as our mother would allow. Then we would get the best treats: cupcakes, cookies, candy bars, popcorn balls, candied apples, bubble gum, coins, various candies in small bags, wax lips, assorted fruit... you get the idea.

When I was grown and my children went out I still dressed up in a costume to give out candy. We even made our own scary tapes to play on the porch to set the mood.

These days children do not trick-or-treat here. I live in a very small town. The few children who live here go to the next town where there are more people.

Halloween began as the Irish celebration of Samhain (pronounced as soween). It was around the time of the harvest and also the time when the boundaries between the worlds of living and dead were blurred. 

The dead were believed to cross into our world. Some would cause mischief or tricks. To ward them off people left treats on their doorsteps thinking that would satisfy the otherworldly visitors and keep them from committing mischief against them.

Soon local troublemakers saw an opportunity. They would cover their faces in grotesque masks to scare the people. They helped themselves to the treats left on the doorsteps. Trick-or-treat was born.

My favorite Halloween story tells of the birth of the jack o'lantern.

Stingy Jack was well known around his part of Ireland. He liked his drink and was thought to take liberties with other people's property. He cheated, deceived, and misused anyone he could. Stingy Jack did not particularly care what others thought of him. All that mattered to Stingy Jack was Stingy Jack and his comforts.

Now the devil had been keeping tabs on him. Stingy Jack was a prime candidate for the devil's domain.

One night after a night of heavy drinking, Stingy Jack was stumbling home. He came upon a body lying in the road so he stopped to see if there was anything of value in the pockets.

Suddenly the body moved and jumped up. Stingy Jack realized that it was the devil and Jack's earthly time was to end. But he was not ready to go.

Stingy Jack asked for a last wish. The devil saw no harm in granting a final drink to Stingy Jack. Off they went to the pub. Stingy Jack was a frequent patron and knew the bartender well. As the duo walked through the door the bartender smiled. When Stingy Jack got the best of somebody, the bartender got a nice part of the take.

Stingy Jack proceeded to have a sample or more of every type of drink in the pub. When he finished he told the devil to turn himself into a silver coin to pay the tab. He promised that he would get the coin back so the devil could change back into himself.

The devil turned himself into a coin of silver. Stingy Jack grinned at the bartender who grinned right back. Stingy Jack dropped the coin into his pocket which just happened to also contain a crucifix. The crucifix took away all of the powers the devil had. He begged and begged to be set free.

Stingy Jack, being the kind-hearted soul he was, said he would set the devil free IF the devil would promise not to take his soul for 10 years. Of course the devil agreed.

Ten years passed with Stingy Jack continuing in his evil ways. The devil appeared as he said he would. Stingy Jack knew his time was up. The devil had Stingy Jack by the arm ready to take him to Hell. Stingy Jack asked if the devil would climb the apple tree they were standing next to and pick an apple for him to eat on the way. The devil heaved a heavy sigh and climbed the tree.

While the devil was picking a nice apple Stingy Jack hurriedly surrounded the tree trunk with crucifixes. The devil was stuck in the tree.

Once again the devil found himself pleading for his freedom. Finally Stingy Jack made the devil promise to never take his soul. The devil begrudgingly promised. Stingy Jack took the crosses and happily went home knowing that he had outsmarted the devil.

Stingy Jack continued his evil ways but eventually he died as everyone does. He sat and waited patiently for his turn to enter Heaven. When he approached the gates he was turned away. He was told that he was far too evil to be in Heaven.

With resignation Stingy Jack went to Hell. He knocked on the gates and the devil met him there. The devil reminded Stingy Jack of their agreement and told him that since he could not have the soul there was no place for him in Hell. He was doomed to wander in nothingness for eternity.

It was Stingy Jack's turn to plead. Eventually the devil agreed to give him an ember to light his way through the darkness. Jack placed it in a hollowed turnip or rutabaga to keep from burning his fingers.

Stingy Jack came to be called Jack Of The Lantern or Jack-O'-Lantern. At certain times of the year, such as Halloween, when the world of the dead is close to the living Jack-O'-Lantern is seen wandering.

In Ireland during Halloween the living tried to make sure the dead cannot cross back. They began leaving meals on their doorsteps to keep mischief away. If they had to be out in the night they would wear masks and costumes to fool the spirits so that they would not be molested.

Carved pumpkins called Jack-O'-Lanterns are placed on the doorstep to remind spirits of Jack-O'-Lantern and his plight. They do not want to be caught in between the worlds of the afterlife so they avoid any house that is protected by the Jack-O'-Lantern.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Pay It Forward - Revisited

Recently I told you how happy I felt when a complete stranger paid for my meal at a fast food drive through. I was so surprised that I simply drove on through with a smile on my face.

I wished I had extended the favor for the car behind me. I was just too surprised.

The other day I was in town. As I often do when I drive that far I stopped to grab some fast food so I would not have to cook when I got home.

When I pulled up to the window to pay I asked how much the order for the car behind me would cost. I am limited because I have only my retirement funds to spend. I could handle the cost.

I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the car behind me. She asked if I knew the person. I said no. Did I want her to have my name. No. She took my money.

I went to the next window only to be told that they were in the middle of cooking something that I had ordered. Would I please pull ahead and wait? Of course I would.

As I was waiting the women whose order I paid for drove by. They both had big smiles and waved in appreciation.

I was happy. They were happy. It was a pleasant experience.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Secret Shopper

When I was working as a cashier we were told that the company had secret shoppers. Secret shoppers are paid by a company to shop in their stores and then rate the service they received.

At least one cashier I worked with was notified by our manager that he waited on a secret shopper. He was given high marks. It went into his record.

Not long ago my son and I went to pick up a pizza at a service station in the next little town. They are the closest thing to fast food near us.

Standing ahead of us in the line was a man purchasing beer. The cashier asked him for identification as the law requires. He furnished his drivers license and she entered the date into the computer as her company requires. He paid his money, took his beer, and left.

Almost immediately the man came back in. He handed the cashier an orange piece of paper and dashed back out.

The cashier looked at the paper. Then her mouth popped open and she had a shocked look on her face.

She had been visited by a secret shopper. She passed with flying colors according to the orange note.

It was her conscientious sense of duty that earned the orange piece of paper. At the same time she was given the extra "pat on the back" that showed her that she was appreciated. She felt so good.

Once more all it took was an orange piece of paper to make someone feel good about herself. It might be nice if we all gave out a nice note to someone who only did a job the right way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Pay It Forward

I was having a ho-hum day. I had to go into Sioux City to pick up my medicine. While I was there I picked up some groceries.

Since I hate shopping and especially grocery shopping I do most of it on-line. They gather up my order. All I have to do is wait while they bring it to my car and load it. All it takes is a few minutes and I am ready to roll.

When I finished all I had to do it was the later part of middle afternoon. I still had a half-hour drive ahead of me to go home. I decided to have fast food for supper.

I was sitting in that long line and noticed a woman who looked particularly grumpy. I felt bad for her and wondered why she felt that way. I was soon right behind her in the line.

When I got to the window to pay for my order I was informed that that nice lady had paid for my order.

She waited ahead to make sure I received my paid-for meal. Then she drove off with a backward wave.

I learned some things that day. The first is something I already knew. Do not make assumptions about someone until you have facts. I thought she was grouchy and I was wrong. Lesson re-learned.

Second: it made me extraordinarily happy that she did that for me. I smiled all the way home. I hope my wave back at her was a sufficient thank you.

Before you ask I did not pay it forward for the person behind me. I was so surprised that I did not even think of it until it was too late. I intend to do it in the near future however.

If you want to make someone smile pay for their coffe or pay it forward at the fast food place. I can tell you I felt so good about the whole human race at that moment. To do that for another person would make it worth the extra cost.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday The 13th

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. One 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 into 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 back 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 allow her in the car.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Ants Go Marching...

Do you remember a children's song called The Ants Go Matching One By One?  It is sung to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again. The first verse is:

The ants go marching one by one
Hoorah, Hoorah
The ants go marching one by one
Hoorah, Hoorah
The little one stopped to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down in the ground to get out of the rain. 

It is a fun song for children and has many more verses.

I was coming home from a drive the other day when this song came to mind. Why is the question that comes to your mind. Let me tell you.

As I was walking up to the front of my house I noticed a few little red ants rushing toward my front steps. Oh no. I was about to be invaded by ants!

As I watched I saw hundreds and hundreds of ants rushing that way. Then I noticed that even though part of them ran along the side of the bottom step they all kept going at a full run.

When I called my son out to take a look (he got into the house before I did) he was surprised too. He tried to follow the mass of ants back to their beginning but did not find it.

I have no idea how far they were going or why they were in such a hurry. I can tell you it was quite a sight to see.

Saturday, August 31, 2019


 Tomorrow is my father's birthday. On September 1 this year he would have been 93.

My father was the quiet strength of our family. He could make or fix almost anything.

Daddy enjoyed being a father. He enjoyed spending time with us. When grandchildren came along he did the same for them. They all have memories of doing things with Grandpa.

He was a naturally likable man. People gravitated toward him. He liked them back.

As much as I loved my mother I was a Daddy's girl. I was the little girl he always wanted and I felt special because of that.

I miss him.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


My mother's birthday was the 20th of August. She would have been 90 years old this year.

I have written before about the woman she was and what a good mother she was. Mom was such a good influence in my life as well as the lives of my siblings and children.

Mom was the smartest woman I ever knew. She valued education. She wanted us to pursue our interests and encouraged us to continue learning.

On top of that she was funny. She did not mean to be but she was. Some of the strangest things happened to her. She took them all with her natural acceptance and grace.

I miss her.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


I have put off getting my hair cut for far too long. As an older woman I really need shorter hair. Long hair and gravity tend to make the face look more slack and older.

So I went to finally do it the other day.

I also need a perm. I am one of those people with absolutely no body or natural curl in my hair. So I need some help to not look like a wet rat.

The woman doing my hair asked what I wanted. I told her. She asked me how I wanted her to accomplish what I wanted. I told her to use whatever method she is comfortable with.

So she applied all the chemicals and cut my hair.

Then she handed me a mirror. I was shocked!

My hair is totally straight. No curl or body whatsoever. She cut it along the bottom. Nothing off the top.

When I said I did not want a "bowl" cut ( looking like someone put a bowl on my head to use as a guide to cut it) she told me that was what I asked for.  I insisted she do something.

Well for one thing she would layer it just a bit. If I wanted to come back in two weeks they could curl the top a little better.

After the third time of me insisting that she fix it I gave up. I paid her. It was not right but I did it.

I will have to wait a while to have someone else try to repair the damage. Meanwhile I will wear my baseball cap whenever I have to go out.

I look like the Friendly Giant. I am not happy with my hair at all. And I always thought of my hair as one of my better features.

So for a time I will only go out when I have to. I sure hope I can find someone competent to repair the damage.  So I am hiding.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Off To Washington

I had always lived in Nebraska. We lived in many little towns and on many farms but they were all in Nebraska.

Then Daddy got a job on a dairy farm just outside of Spokane, Washington. He went ahead and Mom took care of packing and getting everything ready for the move.

We were all excited. We were going to Washington on the train. My youngest brother at the time wanted to ride in the caboose.

Mom was busy rushing around trying to tie up all the loose ends. Since she was not going to be at home she had my aunt come to keep an eye on us. My uncles were there to help moving boxes. A couple of cousins came along too. They were around my sister's age.

Mom was gone and we decided to play outside for a while. Some of us were sitting on the hood of the car talking. I was there because I liked to hang out with the older kids and my aunt and uncles were kind of a captive group that day.

We were watching the weather because it looked like it might rain later. Off in the distance we saw something unusual. It was a tornado.

We sat on the hood of the car forever it seemed. We watched that tornado for well over half an hour. We later learned that it had almost completely destroyed a town between 50 and 100 miles away.

Then we watched the train. It seemed like we always lived near train tracks. In the summer the train engine would come through every so often with the little flame throwers that were attached and burn off the weeds that grew up too close to the tracks. Sometimes the smell of the hemp weed burning was unbearable.

It was a hot, muggy day. We did not get any rain but the humidity made us uncomfortable.

My aunt suddenly realized we had not seen my sister and cousins for a long time. She sent me into the house to find them. They were not there.

We looked around the yard. No girls. My aunt sent some of us up the train tracks and some of us down the train tracks to see if they were there. No girls.

There was a lake in the woods just outside of town. We were not allowed to go there because we did not know how to swim. I decided that they had gone there and drowned. I was a melodramatic child.

My uncle and I rode bicycles to the lake to look there. I knew we were going to find bodies. But the girls were not there. We went home.

My aunt was becoming panicky. She started screaming the girls names. So we all did the same. She told us to be quiet because she was sure she heard them in the distance.

She yelled again. She listened. She heard them We did not. She was sure they were answering her. She followed the sounds she thought she heard. We followed her.

My aunt went around the house. Now we could hear the muffled sounds that my aunt had been hearing. They were far away.

As long as we were passing the outhouse (outdoor toilet that I detest) my brother decided to make a stop there. He could not get in. But the girls were screaming from behind the door.

The girls had gone to the bathroom together as girls tend to do. They hooked the hook into the loop that locked the door to keep unwanted visitors out. When they got ready to go out they were pushing on the door and trying to lift the hook. The door would not open because the hook would not unhook due to the pressure of them pushing at the same time.

The more they tried to lift the hook, the harder they pushed on the door. It would not open. They were practically hysterical from thinking they would never get out. And they were soaking wet because of the heat of the day. They poured out when we finally got the door open.

When we finally were finished with everything at our house, we went to my grandparents' house. Our train was to leave in a few days and we got to stay there until then.

It was late when we got there. We just had time to eat and go to bed.

We were settling in for a good night's sleep when Mom rushed in and told us to get dressed right away. The train station had called. They had enough seats available on the next train if we could get there in time. We had not quite an hour to do this.

My uncle drove as fast as he could to get us there. The train was almost ready to leave. We had to hurry.

My oldest brother was having trouble dealing with the escalator. We had never seen moving stairs before. But with a lot of pushing and rushing we just barely made it.

My youngest brother was screaming that he wanted to ride in the caboose. Mom told him we would be in the car next to it. Actually we were fairly close to the engine but he was satisfied and we got on the train.

The car we were in was a double-decker. In the upper portion you could look out and see a lot of scenery that you could not see from the windows in the lower part. And riding the train was nice for us because we could go from car to car. I do not know how much the other passengers liked our mobility but we loved it.

Mom was sick for the whole trip. She had a migraine headache for one thing. She had them from time to time and they made her miserable. Later she found out that she was also suffering from motion sickness. Because she needed eyeglasses her eyes did not see the passing scenery correctly. Her brain tried to correct so things would appear as they should. Her brain became confused and made her sick.

Luckily there was a nice younger couple who helped her out. They were very much in love but they were nice enough to try to keep us occupied. They even got off at one stop and came back with bags of candy. It was the first time I ever had candy kisses. I still like them a lot.

We arrived in Pendleton, Oregon, at about 9:00 at night. Daddy was going to pick us up in the morning. Mom wanted to get us a room at the hotel. Unfortunately she did not have enough money left. The food on the train had cost more than she had expected.

The management of the hotel were nice enough to allow us to spend the night in the lobby. I'm sure they felt bad for the young mother with five children. One of the younger children even got sick all over the lobby floor. They cleaned it with no complaint. Mom was so grateful.

Daddy was there first thing in the morning. He was so happy to have his family with him. We were just as happy to have our father again.

He took us to get something to eat and we started the last leg of our move to Washington. On the way we stopped for ice cream. What a treat.

Finally we reached our house. It was at the very top of a small mountain. There were evergreen trees everywhere. We had all sorts of space. And our whole family was together again.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Mom Moved

After my father died Mom lived in that big house for a while. Then she decided that it was simply too big for a woman living alone.

She moved in with my youngest sister. They were still in Detroit so she was close to the rest of us. Our other sister had moved to Florida with her son. The oldest of our brothers eventually moved to Florida as well.

Mom had been complaining about the cold winters of Michigan and Nebraska (where we were from) for a few years. She decided to move to Florida where she stayed with my sister and her son.

Mom hated Florida. She said it smelled like fish and was always raining.

The sister she was living with is not easy to live with. We all love one another but there are some people you cannot be with all day every day.

Mom moved back to Michigan.

Mom and I had been talking for some time about seeing New England. We decided a road trip was in order.

She picked me up. Off we went to see what we could see in New England.

It was a great trip. We took turns driving. We stopped when we saw something interesting. There were even a couple of times we doubled back when we saw a sign about someplace we had passed and decided to see.

On the spur of the moment we decided to drive to Kentucky to visit my sister and her sons. I did not know it at the time but Mom was toying with the idea of living there.

Mom stayed with my sister for a couple of years. Then she wanted a place of her own. She rented a small place down the road from my sister.

Mom no longer had her own furniture. She built most of her new furniture. Using 2x4's she built a couch and chair that my sister still uses today. Of course the cushions Mom made have long since worn out.

After a period of time my sister needed help because of her job. Someone had to help her boys get ready for school and stay with them after school. Mom moved once again.

One morning she did not call the boys for school. The older one found her still in bed. He sent his little brother up the hill to their other grandmother's house while he called my sister.

Mom had died in her sleep.

We made arrangements for a funeral in Michigan. She is buried between my father and my brother.

The day of her funeral was a cold, cold day with a wind that cut right through to your core. Mom was a loving person who would never hurt anyone. But I think she must have had a wicked moment of glee seeing us all freezing at the cemetery.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Parents' House

My parents lived in that house for a long time. Two of my brothers had been drafted into the Army. My sister finally returned home.  Two brothers and two sisters were married while they lived there.

My second son was born while my little family had the small apartment there. Then a few years later there was a baby boom in our family. In about a year and a half we had 5 babies in our family. My brother and his wife started it all with my loving niece. She also began a baby boom in her mother's family; they had 7 babies in the same amount of time.

Mom had her garden every year. Besides her vegetables she always had a lot of flowers. My dad had his grapevines and his roses. There were cook-outs which the kids all loved.

Our family flower became the snapdragon. Daddy would pick one blossom and squeeze it on the sides to show his grandchildren how the dragon's mouth would open and close. The kids loved it.

We celebrated holidays in that house. Mom would cook and bake. I mostly baked and contributed some of my goodies.

My niece was so full of love. She was sick all her life but she would take my daughter with her as she went visiting in the neighborhood. My niece had made friends with all the older people who lived in the neighborhood. She would knock on their doors and tell them she just wanted to say hello.

When my niece died my daughter continued the visits as a tribute to her cousin. She told me she knew those people missed my niece and that her cousin wanted her to still visit them. The brother of the woman next door found out that my daughter was making a ball of rubber bands. Any rubber bands he came across would be put on a certain fence post so my daughter knew where to find them. They would promptly be added to the ball.

My niece was 8 when she died. All of us were devastated especially the children who were born in the baby boom. There were 2 new babies in the family. She had pictures of them in her hospital room and was anxious to see them.

My brother was also killed in Viet Nam. It has been 50 years and it is still hard to comprehend. The people of the neighborhood were all so kind. It was touching.

My brother's death was especially hard on my father. They had worked together before my brother was drafted. It was the only time I can remember seeing my father cry.

There were 2 more grandchildren born. Then we began to be grandparents. The way it should be.

Unfortunately my father did not live to see them.

My brother and his wife thought they might be having another baby when my father had a massive heart attack and died.

I hate to end on a sad note. Please know that we all have such wonderful and happy memories of my father. He was a much-loved man.

Everyone from the neighborhood came to the funeral. Everyone from the plant he managed came to the funeral. Not everyone who came could fit inside the funeral home. They waited outside and accompanied him to the cemetery. He would have been proud.

Friday, July 5, 2019


The stories of my family moving to Detroit is being interrupted. I have a humorous and sad tale to tell.

Quite by accident we found out some news about our little town. The former city clerk was the person available part-time to ask questions about city functions. She arranged meetings of the city council and mayor. She collected utility bills for electricity, water, and trash collection. She applied for grant money to make improvements on city properties.

The clerk also worked at the bank in the next town where we do our banking.

I thought there might be something strange when we were looking at a house across the corner from us that we were thinking of purchasing. The man we spoke to told us he was married to the city clerk.

The bank she worked at received notices of properties that would be foreclosed. She would tell her husbsnd and he would buy them as they went on the market. Then he would renovate them and resell them for a profit. That sounds similar to insider trading to me. Insider trading is illegal.

But that is not what this is about. It seems that she embezzled about $75,000 dollars from our tiny little town. Apparently she did not record all the monthly utility payments as being paid.

I jokingly said, "That is why that fire at the city hall happened!"

Guess what. In an apparent attempt to destroy records a fire was set. Investigation showed that the fire started on her desk near the computer.

Since I had been forced by the city to have some electrical work done outside my house I laughed when the fire happened. After all there was nothing wrong with my electricity but I faced severe fines by the city if I did not have it 'fixed'. It cost me $1800. It was Karma.

The city hall was closed for more than a year as they raised the money and made the repairs. It has re-opened and we have a new city clerk. I hope she is honest.

In the meantime the former mayor has moved away. We have a new mayor. We also have all new city council members.

How was your day?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The New House

My parents moved to a new house with more room. Actually it was an older home that was converted into a three family home. My parents had the whole second floor.

On the first floor lived a Mexican family with several children. I first saw them when they were playing on the porch. They had a snack of buttered tortillas. I felt so sorry for them having such a poor snack. Guess what was one of my children's favorite snacks when they were older... right you are. Buttered tortillas.

A smaller apartment on the first floor was empty. My husband and I rented it.

The neighborhood was so nice and extremely clean. In Detroit there are ethnic pockets scattered throughout the city. This was a Polish neighborhood.  Newcomers are looked upon with suspicion. We had lived there for several years before being accepted.

The house on one side was home to a family from 'down South'. They had 4 little girls. They were such nice people and became good friends.

On the other side lived an older woman and her brother. The older woman also had a boyfriend who lived with her. Her boyfriend was THE MAN FROM DOWNSTAIRS AT THE APARTMENT BUILDING!

The only times we heard him was when they were arguing. That usually happened when they were drinking. Most of the time he was too drunk to do anything much except get into the house.

A lot of people in the neighborhood drank to excess. Several times the man next door was so drunk he could not walk so he would crawl home. More often than not he had also wet his pants.

A man across the street would coax his imaginary dog to follow him home. When he reached the walk leading to his house he began to remove his clothes. After he went inside his wife would come out and quietly gather his clothes and take them inside.

The nice family with 4 little girls moved and my husband and I rented their house. My parents bought the house they were living in.  They converted the house into a one family home.

During all this two of my brothers were drafted into the Army. One went to the DMZ in Korea. The other went to Viet Nam.  Both were in active war zones.

Mom and Daddy had their back yard. There were flowers, a strawberry bed, fresh vegetables, grape vines, and lots of room for an occasional BBQ.

Shall we continue this later? I think so.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Living In The Big City

My husband and I decided to take the older of my siblings and show them around. After all there are a lot of things to see in a city.

There had been a recent snowfall. In rural areas snow sort of lays there or packs down a bit. In the city it becomes slush very quickly.

My husband was driving, I was in the middle of the front seat, and the oldest of my brothers was by the door. My sister and two other brothers were in the back seat.

As we were driving through downtown Detroit my brother had his window open and was trying not to miss anything. Suddenly SPLAT! A car drove by and threw slush up from its tires. My brother took it all in the face and down the front of his clothes.

Of course we all laughed. He was soaked so we cut our excursion short and went home.

My sister began dating a young man that my husband and I knew. It did not last long. She met someone we did not know and disappeared with him.

We searched for her for a long time but there was no trace of her. After a few years she finally wrote to one of my brothers in the Army. She was married and living in California. He gave her my address and she wrote to me.

She wanted to come home but was afraid. I told her to come to my house. I knew my parents wanted her home. The first day she came to my house I took her to see my parents. She decided to stay with them after all.

(By the way the young man she was dating married my brother-in-law's wife's sister. They divorced after having 4 children. By then my husband and I were divorced. My husband married her. Confused? We all are.)

My third brother had a rough time at school. Detroit has a well-earned reputation for being a violent city. Several days a week my brother was chased from school. They would take his shoes off of him to make sure he was not hiding any money. He never had any but that did not stop them.

The oldest two brothers were drafted while we lived in that apartment building.

My parents finally decided to move into a house. That story is next.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Apartment Building

Our apartment building was in the Cass Corridor. Only three blocks away was the Masonic Temple which hosted plays among other events. Next door was the Employment Office. Across the street was a hotel of ill-repute. At the other end of the street was Woodward Avenue which is one of the main thoroughfares of the city.

My husband and I lived on the third floor... no elevator. We had a living room/dining room, bedroom, and bathroom. It was not a bad place to live even though the neighborhood was bad.

My son who was a baby slept in a dresser drawer atop the dresser. That way he was close when he woke up hungry and I was still in bed.

This was where my parents stayed with us when they first arrived. Of course it was crowded.  Besides my husband, baby, and me there were my parents and six brothers and sisters.

My parents rented an apartment on the first floor. It was much larger. So my family moved there. They enrolled the children in school. Daddy looked for work.

In less than a week my father was employed. The kids were in school. It seemed that things were working out well... for the most part.

The apartment directly below my parents was occupied by a strange man. Apparently he had been a merchant seaman at one time. He was loud and rude. One of his ears had been pierced.  During a fight his earring was ripped out leaving his earlobe split and separated.

He had a habit of imagining enemies outside his window. He would scream and curse at them. Then he would throw firecrackers and M-80's at them. This usually happened after he had been drinking.

On his good days he would place his radio in the window and turn it up as high as it would go.

My parents asked him nicely if he could stop with the fireworks and not play the radio quite so loud. He was congenial and agreed to be quieter.

The noise did not stop although he only played the radio loud when he knew my father was at work.

Finally Mom had all she could stand. She had a pan of water boiling on the stove. She took it and leaned out the window. She threw the whole pan of hot water at the radio. BULLSEYE! The radio sputtered and crackled and died. When he got a new radio he kept the sound down.

Next door to our apartment lived a man with his daughter and son. The daughter and my sister became close friends. Over the years they grew apart. However the girl married my husband's younger brother. They now have seven children and a whole bunch of grandchildren.

More next time.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Places To Live

When I first arrived in Detroit my husband and I stayed with his brother and family until we found an apartment on the East side. We lived just a few blocks from the Detroit River.

Our apartment was on the second floor. There was another apartment on the same floor. The first floor was occupied by a young family with several children. The husband was a veteran. The wife was from Germany.

The third floor was not much more than an attic. A strange man lived there. He drank to excess. When he was drinking he would play records of Hitler's speeches. He was sure that would attract the woman from the first floor.

The day he went out into the street and stopped traffic was the day they finally did something about him. Because the traffic was backed up the police came. He was delirious and violent. That was the last time we saw him.

Eventually we moved to another apartment. It was in the Cass Corridor near downtown Detroit.

The Cass Corridor is a bad area. Not the worst but bad.

Across the street from our building was a hotel. That was where the prostitutes took their 'clients'. Sometimes some of us who lived in the apartment building would choose a hooker and see how many men she would entertain in an afternoon. It became a game.

When the riots in 1967 happened that area was dangerous. We happened to be visiting my husband's brother and family that day. A mutual friend came into the house in the evening to watch the news to see what time the curfew started. We all thought he was crazy.

We stayed there for a week until it was safe to go home. In the meantime there was a high-speed car chase down the street as we were standing in front of the house talking to neighbors.

My parents were frantic. They had not yet come to the big city. They had no idea where I was or whether we were safe. They sent a telegram that I did not receive because I was not home. I had no idea that it was national news.

My family was relieved when I called them to let them know that we were all safe.

Later that year was when I took my baby to meet his grandparents. Then they came to the big city.

More next time.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Together In The Big City

My husband and I had been married slightly less than a year. There was very little work in this part of the country. What work there was offered little opportunity to better oneself. After much discussion we decided to try our luck elsewhere.

My husband's older brother had moved to Detroit. He told us that work was plentiful there. Detroit was where we would try.

My husband drove to the big city. I went to stay with my parents until he found work. After he got his first paycheck he would send for me.

After a couple of weeks I was on the bus headed for Michigan. We settled in to live where the work was.  I did not like the way people live on top of each other in the city but we made the best of it.

After another year I had my first baby. I desperately wanted my family to see him. I took time from my job and rode the bus with my little one to visit family.

I had a good time being with everyone again. They fussed over the baby of course. We also spent some time with my husband's family who were also thrilled to meet the newest member of the family.

My father's company had done away with the night shift. He was foreman of that shift. They told him he could go back to the day shift as an hourly employee which was basically a demotion. He decided to try his luck elsewhere. They would drive me home and see what the big city had to offer.

It was a fun trip. Both my parents, my six younger brothers and sisters, and my baby and I left for Detroit.

I was glad to be home and be with my husband. My family took an apartment in the same building we lived in. Daddy looked for work and found it almost right away. Things were looking good.

Friday, May 31, 2019


Summer will come eventually. I hope.

I was thinking last night about summer when my children were small. Other children often came to our yard to play. Nieces and nephews were at our house. Then came my grandchildren. We often had the yard filled with children.

When the weather is hot children need to have something to drink. And they are always hungry. It can be expensive to keep them in snacks.

Water is the best thing to drink but the kids like something with more flavor. Kool-Aid and other drinks like that work well.

Another good trick is to freeze Kool-Aid for a cooling and wet snack. Just pour the drink into ice cube trays or small paper cups. Popsicle sticks are usually available at the dollar store. Put one in each cube or cup. As the liquid freezes the sticks are frozen into it. Nice handles. Some people use toothpicks but they are sharp and I do not recommend them.

There are many snacks that are easy to make. One of my favorites is graham crackers and frosting. You can either buy cans of frosting or make your own with confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla, and a touch of milk. Spread a generous amount of frosting on a graham cracker. Then cover it with another graham cracker. They are quite filling. You can use saltines too but they are not quite as good.

Popcorn is inexpensive. Make up a bunch and give it to the children. I can tell you ahead of time that they will probably have a popcorn fight and throw it all over the yard. It hurts nothing. Birds and animals will eat up whatever falls before the next morning.

If you feel especially energetic you can make Kiddie Cookies. Pie crust is cut into pieces. I used the cut off pieces of pies I was making. Put them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. Bake them for a few minutes until they are golden brown. They are crispy and sweet.

Core an apple and cut it into wedges. Put a dollop of peanut butter where the core used to be. They are so good. One apple goes a long way so you will not have to use too many. You can also fill them with soft cheese or even fluffy marshmallow.

These are just a few ideas. It makes child'splay fun and your time a little easier.

Monday, May 27, 2019


Arlington National Cemetery is where many of our military dead are buried.  If you ever get the chance to see it GO. There is nothing I can tell you that gives justice to the sea of perfectly aligned headstones that mark the graves of fallen soldiers and dignitaries.

The history of the cemetery is astounding with many historical figures mentioned.

George Washington married Martha Custis, a widow wirh 4 children. One of her grandsons was George Washington Parke Custis. George and Martha raised him after his father died when GWPC was just 6 months old.

GWPC eventually married. He and his wife had 4 children but the only one to survive until adulthood was Mary Anna Randolph Custis.

They lived on a lovely bit of land GWPC inherited from his father. It was about 1000 acres that overlooked the Potomac River with a view of Washington DC. He built a Greek Revival home at the top of the hill to take advantage of the view.

GWPC gave a 'living inheritance' to his daughter that specified that she could not dispose of any or all of the land during her life.

Mary married a military man with a great future. He had graduated from West Point and was highly regarded in the highest circles of political society. His name was Robert E Lee.

When Lee chose to remain loyal to Virginia during the Civil War they had to reluctantly relocate. Union forces captured and occupied Arlington. As was common practice at the time Mary buried many family valuables before she left.

Because of the war the two nearby cemeteries rapidly filled. The US government realized that national cemeteries would be needed. After deliberating on locations it was decided that Arlington was the best spot.

Arlington had a view of Washington DC, it sat on high ground as protection from flooding, and it had a serene, pleasant feel to it. A bonus to using Arlington was that since it was the home of Robert E Lee he would have no home after the war.

The US government purchased Arlington for taxes after denying payment of those taxes from Mary Custis Lee.

In 1874 Mary's son George Washington Custis Lee (also known as Custis Lee) sued the US government claiming that he was the rightful owner of Arlington. He won. He then sold Arlington to the government for $150,000.

There was a signing ceremony to transfer Arlington back to the government. Attending were Custis Lee and Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln.

Arlington House is still on the grounds. It is a beautiful home.

There are several monuments and places of interest in Arlinton National Cemetery. I will let you search for them if you are interested. I want to mention only two of them.

The Tomb of the Unknowns honors those who lost their lives in wars but were unable to be identified. With modern science identification is more probable and some of the unknowns have been named.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is located on the spot where Robert E Lee had his garden.

The guards for the Tomb of the Unknowns are there 24 hours of the day. The solemn ceremony is beautiful, majestic, and sad all at once. Even small children become quiet to see them perform their duties.

Volunteer soldiers guard the Tomb. They undergo rigorous training to qualify. They guard in every kind of weather all day and all night.

The second memorial is the Eternal Flame for President John Kennedy. I suppose it is because Kennedy's assassination was such an indelible mark in my brain that I feel its importance.

Remember a serviceman today. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What Happened To Spring?

It has been raining for about a week now. I will be honest and say there were a couple of sunny days. For the most part it rains.

Today is heavy rain and a lot of wind. I had to go into Sioux City to pick up groceries. The wind made driving difficult.

It was not cold enough to freeze though. When I was coming out of the store I noticed that the water on the paving in the parking lot was thicker and slippery.

When I went to get into my truck I opened the door. When I went to step in to sit down the wind almost blew my feet from under me.

Things are supposed to calm down by tomorrow. My sister-in-law winters in Texas every year and she finally came back last week.

We are meeting at the cemetery tomorrow (weather permitting) to get things looking nice before Memorial Day. We go to three cemeteries evey year. Then we go to lunch and catch up on family news.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Divine Malady

This is a re-post of something I wrote a few years ago. It needs to be seen every once in a while. Please read it all. It might come in handy someday.

When I was 16 I took a summer job babysitting. It was a family of 5 children. They lived in a trailer park on a lake. Their trailer was a very large nice home.

They had four boys and one daughter. I would sleep in the same room as the daughter because I would stay there all week. On weekends I would go home.

Both parents worked so they needed someone who could take care of the children, do light housework, and cook at least two meals each day. No problem. Remember I have six younger brothers and sisters.

The children also had an aunt and uncle only a few trailers away. The aunt was only a few years older than I. I was asked to never leave the children alone with her because she had epilepsy. She had been in a car accident and there was a bruise on her brain that caused seizures.

She was a very nice person and we got along very well. She would come down a couple of times a week just to visit while her husband was at work.

One day she had a seizure. She was just sitting and quietly watching television when she began to act strangely. She yelped a couple of times and slapped her leg repeatedly. It took me a few beats to realize what was happening but I had no idea what to do for her.

I had promised the children I would make Johnny cake for breakfast one day. What I call Johnny cake is just hot cornbread with sugar and milk poured over it. It is delicious if you want to try it. So one Monday morning I got up early to start baking.

I did not know that the parents had broiled steaks the evening before. They decided to leave the oily aluminum foil on the broiler and clean it after work Monday.

I lit the oven and started making cornbread batter. The oldest son of the family came in rubbing his eyes and trying to wake up. As we were talking we saw the flames flare up from the broiler.

I am good in a crisis so I was going to go out and turn off the fuel tank. When I got to the door I suddenly felt myself turning to the left and spinning uncontrollably.

Then I was waking up on the couch with the mother of the family hovering over me and the children looking so frightened. She wanted to know if I was okay. I felt fine. Maybe just a little sleepy.

The oldest son had the good sense to run outside and turn off the fuel. Then he ran down and had his aunt come up. She called the mother who came right home. It was about a 45 minute drive.

The mother decided to take some time off work so I could go home. My parents had me rest and stay calm even though I felt fine. After one week I went back to take care of the children again.

I was there for about a week and a half. I was up before the children once again. As i moved through the living room toward their rooms to wake them up I turned and saw myself walking slightly behind and to the left of myself!

Once more I woke up to see the mother there as I was lying on the couch. This time my mother was with her. I was still so scared from what I had seen. The mother of the children of course needed someone who was not passing out all the time. She had made arrangements for a friend of mine to finish out the summer. That was fine with me. I wanted my mommy.

Mom took me home and we were relaxing again. That same day I passed the television as I was walking to a chair. Mom was in her bedroom folding clothes.

There was some sort of art program on television. The program was flashing from one painting to another and the lights changed with each painting.

I felt dizzy and was able to sit down. Then I felt myself reach up and tear the whole left side of my face, jawbone, teeth, and all, completely off. Then I felt that same hand reach down and tear the muscle from the top of my left leg. Of course that did not happen. I passed out.

Mom said she heard a funny noise and came into the living room to see me sitting in a chair with everything on my body trying to fold into itself. I am not a limber person. She said my hands were sort of palm up with my fingers almost touching my wrists.

I went immediately to the doctor. I do not remember much about the doctor visit. He admitted me to the hospital.

I had never been in the hospital before. I thought it was kind of cool to be served my food in bed. I did not like the testing they did as most of it involved drawing blood.

The second or third day I was there (I do not remember how long my stay was) I was lying there and I began to think about epilepsy. I remembered hearing my grandmother talk about two sisters in town who had "fits". That and the aunt of the children I had taken care of was the limit of what I knew on the subject.

My parents came in that morning and stood at the foot of my bed. They told me that the doctor thought I might have epilepsy. I said, "I thought that might be what it was."

When I got the chance I asked the doctor what this would mean for me having children. He said not to worry about it. But I did worry about it. So he assured me that the chances of my children having seizures was not even 1 in a million.

I was put on the medications that they used to treat seizures at that time. Now I am not a medicine taker. Two aspirin will knock me out. The medicine that I was taking made me so sleepy all the time. I do not know how I got through my senior year of high school that year. And with my A average to boot.

I have grand mal seizures (now called something else). Those are convulsive seizures. They are extremely painful. Each one a person has is a bit worse than the one before until they can be so bad that a person can die from a seizure. In fact I have almost died three times. I feel very fortunate to be here.

I am also very fortunate that I am very well controlled with medication. It has been so many years since I had a seizure that I cannot remember when the last one was.

I am still taking the original medications that the original doctor prescribed. One of them is a controlled substance. After fifty years I am physically addicted to it. That means without it I will go into withdrawal and the classic symptoms that accompany withdrawal. It does not mean I am constantly craving more. I just need it to live.

A dear friend of mine was on the city council of the big city we lived in. She was on President Carter's epilepsy commission. She asked me to go through the information she had and give her a synopsis. No problem. Until I saw the research. It was five books. Each one was about four inches thick except the last one. It was about three inches.

What I read was a real eye-opener for me. While epilepsy, like many other maladies, is not inherited the predisposition is inherited. That means that my children might have a weakness that they inherited from me that would make them more disposed to having seizures.

Also they used an example of a parent with four children (I have four children). If one child has seizures the likelihood of another having seizures multiplies (not adds up, multiplies). If three children have seizures the fourth will have seizures.

I learned that an uncle of mine had epilepsy. He died before my father was born. He was in a home for juvenile delinquents. My father always thought his brother was "bad" because that was better than being "defective".

My mother suffered terribly from migraine headaches. They are a first cousin to epilepsy. Many of the workings of the brain are the same in both.

Two of my sons had migraines when they were about 8 years old. Testing showed some brain activity but I would not allow them to be put on medication until there could be a definite diagnosis. Neither has had any further problems. My daughter is fine. I recently discovered that my other son has been having petit mal seizures for about three years. He did not want to worry me so he kept it to himself.

Two of my grandchildren have migraine headaches. So does their mother, my daughter-in-law. Two of my grandchildren have had seizures. One was placed on medication for a year. The seizures stopped and the medication was also stopped. He has been fine for several years now.

If any one needs to know anything about seizures feel free to ask. I am almost an expert. And if I am not certain I have the right answer I can probably guide you to the place to find it. In the meantime I am going to tell you what steps to take if you are with someone having a seizure.

1. If they are upright, lower them safely to a prone position. That will help keep them from injuring themselves in a fall.

2. NEVER, EVER, EVER, try to force anything into their mouth. Fingers have been bitten off. Tableware and wooden sticks are either broken or cause damage to teeth.

3. The human tongue is a muscle. It sits in a particular spot in the body. It is physically impossible to swallow your tongue. However the tongue like any muscle can fall to the back of the mouth and block the air passages. Gently position the person on their side. That way the tongue falls to the side instead of the back of the mouth.

4. If the seizure lasts for more than three minutes or if there are repeat seizures call for medical help immediately.

5. When the seizure is over often the person will lose consciousness or maybe just be confused. When they awaken the body and brain are busy trying to re-establish connections. They have no time to answer questions like "Do you know me?" Leave that for professionals. Simply say, "hi, (insert name, it is important). I am (insert name, it is important). You just had a seizure. You are safe and I am right here. Everyone is taken care of. You need to rest so go to sleep. I will be here when you wake up." If an ambulance is on the way or the doctor is on the way let them know that too. That way they can let their body heal itself without wondering what is going on.

In the beginning  I was up and full of energy after a seizure within a couple of hours. As time went on it took me at least two full days to be able to even get out of bed and stand on firm feet. Each person is different.

Epilepsy is nothing to be ashamed of. No more than diabetes, heart disease, or asthma. If you were ever to see the list of famous people and world leaders throughout history who had seizures you would be amazed.

But it must be treated. By a doctor who knows what he is doing. Not many do. Most of the "maladies" are only mentioned in medical school in passing. I hope I have enlightened you a bit. I hope you never need the information. But if you are confronted with a situation you now know what you can do.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jesse James

I married a man who wanted to be like Jesse James the famous outlaw of the Old West. He did not realize it. He wanted what he thought of as an exciting life.

The father of my children was not a large man. When we got married we were the same height. He grew a couple more inches as the years went by.

So he had that feisty temperament often attributed to small people. No remark was ever too slight to elicit an angry response from him. If he was lucky a fight would erupt.

Because he was an alcoholic he was often at the bar. You have no idea how many times he would call me and say, "They are picking on me!"

Of course me being the great enabler that I am I would rush to the bar to break up the fight.

There would be my husband and another man (often a friend of his) rolling on the ground and hitting each other. I would break up the fight. My husband would stand up and clap the other guy on the back and say, "That was a good fight. You want a beer?"

How can you be angry enough to fight with someone and then want to have a drink with him? I really would like to know.

So I would go back home. The combatants would go back into the bar to drink some more.

My husband liked to draw a gun on people. He is lucky he never hurt anyone.

My sister-in-law was still in shock as she told us of the time soon after my mother-in-law died that she got a call from the farm. My ez-husband moved there when Mom died. To a friend he rented the trailer house of another sister (who had died a few years before). It was across the driveway from the farmhouse.

He called my sister-in-law to tell her that he was fighting with his friend. He told his friend to move out immediately.

A gunfight ensued. No one was hurt. Both men felt big and bad and probably had a beer together. By this time we had been divorced for years so I was not a part of any of this.

When my sister-in-law was telling two of my sons about the incident they both chuckled and said, "That;s my dad." They were used to his erratic behavior.

Friday, May 10, 2019

My Mother

Mom was very pretty. I knew her as a quiet somewhat reserved person but I see in old photos that she probably got into her share of mischief.

Even though there is no Indian blood in our family it seemed that they always lived near an Indian reservation. Grandma and Grandpa did not want any of the girls working the farm so the most farming they did was to raise vegetable gardens and tend the fruit trees.. They also took care of the poultry and occasionally slopped the hogs.

Grandpa put great store in an education because he had very little schooling. Mom graduated top of her senior high school class. I used to tease her that it was easy for her because there were only three people who graduated. In truth my mother was the most intelligent person I have ever known and you would be surprised at some of the more or less famous names I could drop.

Mom and Daddy had a happy successful marriage. I never saw them argue. That is not to say that I never saw them upset with one another. Mom would stop speaking to Daddy. After he could stand it no more Daddy would try to cajole her into forgiving him. When he began to see her softening he would start with, "Hon, do you want a cup of coffee? Do you want a cup of coffee, hon? Hon, would you like a cup of coffee?" Finally she would nod her head yes and he would yell, "Emma, get your mother a cup of coffee!"

When I was quite young Mom used to write short stories. Many of them were published in women's magazines. I have no idea what they were like because women's magazines were considered too racy for little girls.

Both of my parents instilled a love of books for all seven of their children. We lived in one small town for 4 years. That was a long stay for us. Anyway during those four years we read every book in the library at least once. When new books were coming in, the librarian would let us know so we could be first to check them out.

Mom was artistic too. She painted, drew, sculpted, sewed, knitted, crocheted, tatted.... I could go on but it's depressing. I inherited none of her artistic abilities. For a while she was avid about charcoals. For Christmas that year she did a charcoal drawing of my teacher as a gift. She felt faces were the most difficult thing for her to do but that one was magnificent.

Most of us in my immediate family had birthdays within three weeks of each other. I always teased my parents that there just was not much to do on those cold winter nights on the prairies. Once she decided that she was going to have birthday parties for each of us. Since there were five of us at that time the girls would be one year and the boys another. The little one, a boy, could go with the girls because he was not in school yet.

She had imaginative parties for each of us. Mine was a treasure hunt. The morning of the party she went out and planted clues all over town. When all the children had arrived and dutifully handed over my gifts, she gave us the first clue. It was a poem that would lead us to the spot where we would find the next clue.Of course there was an adult or two with us to make sure we did not have too much trouble finding the clue. The final clue led us to the town park where Mom was waiting with ice cream and cake and of course my gifts. It was so much fun.

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.

Mom was a loving caring woman. She would never purposely hurt anyone or anything. That does not mean that the occasional evil thought would not cross her mind. She always kind of wished she could bring herself to be slightly evil just once.

Mom died in her sleep in January one year. It was a hard winter. She was living in another state with one of my sisters. As soon as we had made all the arrangements we could by phone, I drove down to help my sister and her boys.

When my brother was killed in Viet Nam Daddy bought three adjacent plots for my brother and my parents. Mom was to be in the middle. That meant we had to have her returned to the place I was living.

It was a bitterly cold day for her funeral. One of my sons had a friend who owned a limousine service who graciously loaned my son a beautiful long white limo for the funeral. Early the morning of the funeral my son had his stepsons wash it to make sure it was nice and clean to honor his grandmother. Because of the cold the doors and locks froze tight. My son missed the services for his grandmother but he did make it to the cemetery.

As I said it was bitterly cold. There was a strong cold wind to really add some bite to the cold. As we were entering the cemetery I was struck by the thought that for just as long as it would take to snap your fingers Mom would have been happy that the day of her funeral caused us to be out there freezing half to death. It made me smile.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Watch The Goose

My blogging friend Susan had a fun and funny story about a goose and a bull at The Contemplative Cat.

She reminded me of the story of the coyote that was killing my grandfather's chickens, ducks, and geese.

Grandpa was losing at least one bird every night. He saw coyote tracks and decided to listen more closely to try to catch the coyote. He kept his clothes and shotgun next to the bed. He was going to shoot the thief.

When he went to bed at night he listened carefully and did not hear anything. Until the night there was a huge ruckus outside. It sounded like all the birds were screaming. He heard squawks, and quacks, and honks. The whole barnyard was awake and making noise.

He jumped out of bed and got dressed. He grabbed his shotgun and ran outside.

By the time he got outside everything was quiet. All the birds seemed to be sleeping again. Because it was the middle of the night Grandpa went back to bed. All was quiet the rest of the night.

When Grandpa got up and went out in the morning he was looking for coyote tracks. He wanted to see which way it went when it left.

When he got to the pen where the ducks and geese lived he found more than he expected.

The coyote was there in the pen. One of the ganders was injured. The coyote was dead.

The gander had beaten the coyote to death.

As Susan so aptly said, "Don't mess with geese."

Friday, May 3, 2019

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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


My son waited to get a new dog after losing Isabella. You cannot "replace" a beloved pet with another. After Christmas he began to wish for another pet.

He looked all over for a puppy. He prefers females because he feels they tend to bond in the way he likes. A puppy needing a home rather than a purebred is preferable too.

He wanted a medium sized dog that will not fill the whole house. Our house is not huge.

He watched in the newspapers and checked with the vet's office. There were no dogs available that we could find.

My son began looking at different humane society type places. Their prices are ridiculously high. We never paid for a dog before so it was hard to imagine.

He finally found a place in the state just across the river from us. He looked for a dog that appealed to him. Eventually a little German shepherd mix became available for adoption.

He called and they had him fill out an application online. They were thorough. They did check his references. When they finished my son was notified that he could make an appointment to look at the puppy.

The place was very nice and clean. It did not have that smell of dogs and their excretions that is usually evident when you walk in.

A couple of dozen dogs were out in an enclosed yard for exercise. My son's choice was playing and did not want to come in.

The woman brought out a sister of my son's choice to see if he would rather adopt her. My son had his heart set on his choice. Apparently she did not mind as well as the other dogs did. That appealed to my son.

So now we have a new dog. Lila is her name. She was so little when we brought her home.

Lila made herself right at home. We had worried that the first couple of days would be hard but she was a real champ.

My son had not house trained a dog before so that was a new experience. Lila learned quickly and was trained within a few days.

She has also learned several tricks. She seems to be quite smart. Maybe not quite as eager to please as my son would like but she takes some satisfaction in learning new things.

We still have Bella's toys so Lila is getting her hand-me-downs a few at a time. She runs through the house the same way Bella did with the toys but with more energy.

We have had Lila for almost two months. Other than a couple of days during the time we had her spayed she has been a ball of action. Some nights I go to bed exhausted and she is not my dog.

This is the end of the listings of our dogs. Thank you for reading about them. I may report on Lila sometime in the future but I am tired of dog stories.

For now I will simply enjoy my son and his dog.

Friday, April 26, 2019


My son had been taking care of his dying father. He was out of the state where we lived. When his father died we all went to pay our respects.

It was a sad time of course. My children had lost their father.

When it was time to return home my son said that he had decided to stay. He has always felt more at home where my husband and I grew up than where he grew up. And I had long planned to move back here when I was ready. He would have a place for me.

The main problem he had was that he knew nobody here. He did not want to be all alone.

We spent my final days here having the utilities transferred into my son's name. Then we wondered what to do about a companion for him. He wanted a dog.

I suggested seeing if the veterinary in the next town knew of any dogs that needed a new owner. My son wanted a female dog that was not too big and not too small.

The vet had one dog listed. It was a female of mixed heritage. The vet called the phone of the owner and had my son talk to her. He made arrangements to pick the dog up right away.

When my son saw the dog he felt that she was exactly what he wanted. The woman said the dog was a mix of Great Dane, beagle, and something else. The rescue society had done DNA testing.

 The dog was used to being outside. It lived in the garage and fenced-in back yard. It obviously liked the woman and the several small children she had. The woman's husband no longer wanted the dog so she was happy to find a home for it.

She gave us a bit of background. The dog's name was Isabella. She had been left to die in an abandoned house with no food or water. Even though she was a small puppy she had been physically abused. She was now almost two years old.

The woman also gave us the remaining food the dog had as well as a small dog house and a wire cage for her to ride in.

My son called the dog Bella for short.

Bella disliked men. Extremely. She loved women and children. And here she was stuck all alone with a man.

It took a long time for Bella to learn to trust her new master. Truthfully I am not sure she ever completely trusted him but it was the best she could do. The severe abuse had left serious scars.

Still my son worked hard to make her his friend. She depended on him for everything. Eventually she began to sleep in his room. She liked to sit on his lap even though she was close to being as big a he was.

Bella loved riding in the car. She never tried to jump into the front. We took her with us as often as we could.

She also liked walking on the hiking trails with my son.

What she liked best of all were her toys. The first toy my son bought her was a simple squeaky ball. He called me laughing and had me listen to her running back and forth through the house. She was squeaking the toy and crying with glee. I guess she did that for about 3/4 of an hour.

When Bella was about 8 years old she got to where she had trouble moving. We took her to the vet. She had cancer in her joints. We had to put her down so she would not suffer anymore.

She was a good dog. My son gave her as good a life as he could.