Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Grade Trauma

Jerry Springer sent me a picture the other day of a first grade class that was taken at Garfield Elementary School in Cherokee. The two children that I recognize in the picture was the beautiful red head, Pam Long and Jerry, himself. Aren’t these pictures so much fun? I have a scrapbook that has lots of these pictures and I just laugh because some of them are so awful.
I did not go to Garfield, I went to Lincoln Elementary but I was thinking how traumatic first grade was for me. The teacher’s name was Miss Blackwell and as far as I was concerned she was the meanest woman I had ever seen in my life. I don’t remember who the child was, but Miss Blackwell pulled up her dress and spanked her in front of the class. Two things snapped in my mind, my parents didn’t spank and two, to lift up her dress in front of the class was unheard of. The first thing I did when I got home was to tell my mom what happened. I can remember she frowned and did the mom “hmm” but she did tell me this. “If I ever hear that you get spanked at school, you will get another one at home.” I have never forgotten that and for the most part I was always good at school. I am sure Mom just forgot to say, “If the spanking was warranted.”
The second thing that happened that year was in the dead of an Iowa winter and Rosemary stuck her tongue on the fire escape. Everybody was so scared, I was scared. No one had ever told me not to do that. I don’t remember how they got her loose probably poured warm water over it, but it sure caused a stir. It seemed like everybody on the playground had come to watch to see if they could get her loose and how long it was going to take and if they were going to have to cut her tongue off etc. etc.
You know I always wanted to be a teacher, I eventually taught classes in Kansas for caring for Alzheimer’s patients, but I think now what if I would have been the teacher that day trying to calm a screaming child and attempting to keep her from tearing her tongue on that fire escape

Miss Quirk Memories

If any of you that are reading this remember Miss Quirk, I think you will understand that I had a problem with her. I don’t remember what her title was, or if she had a self made title.
I do remember that she taught penmanship and I suffered her wrath with a ruler on my hand. I was angry and embarrassed, but did not tell my mother, I remembered what Mother had said about being disciplined in school and I figured I could do better at writing cursive. The crack on my knuckles only happened once so either I got better at writing skills or she was in a better mood from then on.
She always wore what they called nylons in those days with seams in them. She was so skinny that the nylons and the seams wavered on her legs. That used to fascinate me and I found myself watching her legs as she walked up and down the rows of desks in the classroom.
One day she came to me and ordered me, Miss Quirk never asked, to make coffee for the Parent Teacher Conference. She did not tell me that the meeting was going to be in the evening. So she told me how much coffee and where the coffee pot in the basement was located. She could have gotten the coffee started in the amount of time that it took for her to tell me how to do it.
When I got to the basement I made the coffee. Whew, the roof blew off the school, she let me have it with both barrels and proceeded to tell me that the meeting wasn’t until evening and generally how stupid I was. If I remember correctly she didn’t call me stupid, clever of her, wasn’t it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lu Has A New "Do"

Ever since I can remember which was about five years old, I have had a permanent in my hair. I posted about my traumatic experience with an electric permanent machine when I was five on the January 28, 2009 post. I thought I was going to be fried alive. My hair is straight and it started turning gray here and there when I was twenty seven. My mother also turned gray at a very early age and didn’t have the money or the ability to get to the beauty shop to get it colored. She made me promise her on several occasions to always keep my hair colored. Well, I have kept that promise. Sometimes I did it myself, other times I had the beauty operator do it. But boy, I am telling you even in this rural area I live in it costs eighty dollars to have my hair permed and colored. So I happened to meet a friend of mine at the beauty shop the other day not much younger than me and she had this very cool “do” and the beauty operator said I would look good in it too. I silently said, “Sorry Mom” and had the beauty operator cut the curl off and make my hair spiked yes, spiked and straight. When I walk into a room now people are in shock, especially the people that have known me for years with curly hair. My own daughter doesn’t know that have done this so I’m anxious to see what she thinks, Oh by the way I didn’t have her color it either. AuNatural!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Slip And Slide At Grandma's House

As I mentioned yesterday, the weather was not tropical when Melanie and the children were here. It was very nice the first afternoon they got here, but time was used to explore Grandma’s house. The first thing that happened was a bunch of yelling that Ben had tipped the swing over. I thought to myself, “How could that happen?” Well there that big old thing laid on it’s back. Sure enough Ben had made it go a little too high (it’s made for old folks to gently swing in). Melanie and I set it back up on it’s legs and all was well. Ben just gave me a look like, “Why would anyone have a swing that you couldn’t go high in.”
We have a trampoline that someone left here when they moved out. I know Melanie would like us to burn it because the kids always want to jump on it. It sits on a slant and has no sides on it. The kids have one at home, but it has the sides and is safe. The children have to have someone with them when they jump on this one.
So someone got the idea to use their slip and slide in the cold weather. I thought it was a horrible idea, but I got out the towels and they had a wonderful time, so did Fran. Fran had six children also, so my grandchildren, I am sure, give him memories galore. Here are some pictures.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Tooth Fairy Couldn't Visit At Grandma's House

We had Melanie and her six children came to visit for one day only. I was really upset because I hadn’t seen them since Christmas, but you know what, I think it was ok with the kids. We live in a small trailer and yes we have a big yard and a big porch but our house would fit in their basement.
Then I got a phone call that they were going to turn the water off to put in new shut offs. Eek! No water with nine people so Melanie turned around and went home after dinner.
The weather wasn’t even cooperating. It was cool and misty and windy. The kids wanted to slip and slide and they had a ball. Cool, no I say cold! But, I am not a kid any more needless to say
Fran fixed their favorites to eat, he grilled humongous hot dogs for one meal and brats for another meal and hamburgers and I fixed spaghetti for one meal. As long as there is Honey Nut Cheerios for snacks and breakfast everyone is happy.
Yesterday afternoon Ben came to me with a bloody Kleenex and a tooth, so we went to work and fixed a place where the Tooth Fairy would be sure to find it, well we had to tell mom about a detour for the Tooth Fairy.
I love hats and I have a wall just for hats so some of the kids modeled for me with my hats on. The older ones weren’t real happy, but they humored me.
I so enjoyed getting hugs from those sweet babies.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Birthday

My birthday was the best birthday that I can remember. I was on the phone at eight o’clock in the morning until one thirty in the afternoon with birthday wishes. That includes computer calls and instant messages. Then in the afternoon my best friends came for a pot luck. I burned the ham, put the beans in the microwave and didn’t serve them. Put out my salad which is good and a Mexican dip and won two hands of cards. Can you even imagine a better birthday than that?
I got new acrylic nails, clamato juice, an herbal garden a gardening bag and tools, a wonderful cake pan with my name engraved on it and a table top for my lap top which was also part of my birthday present. My very best part though, was getting a card from my brother. I haven’t seen him for several years and I haven’t seen my sister-in-law since my mother died about nine years ago. It will be just wonderful to see her again. I almost forgot, Fran got me a new cowboy hat and a new pair of boots that didn’t come from Walmart. Whoopee! I didn’t know there was a life without Walmart.
I just want to thank all my friends and relatives that made this such a wonderful birthday. I don’t think I will ever forget it.
While we were playing cards we got to arguing about the different kinds of adhesive for false teeth. I said "Did you ever in the world think...." we all got out the different kinds of medicine in our purses and put on the table and they said "put this in your stories, Lu!" So this is what happens at age 65!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day/Decoration Day

My family always celebrated Memorial Day with a picnic. Now that’s how I remember it. My first memory was of real flowers being put on the graves. Then when I was a teenager artificial peonies were put on the graves and to tell the truth they never looked shoddy.
At the picnics at the park, mother gave only a sparse history lesson of our family and it’s soldiers. Our family had more pioneers than soldiers, but that’s ok, we needed pioneers then too.
We used to mark Memorial Day as the day it was okay to wear white shoes, the beginning of summer, unofficially.
Oh one thing I do remember distinctly was always getting lost in the cemetery. Rosie and Mom would always argue and I would always grin in the back seat.
One Memorial Day I was helping get the artificial peonies out of the trunk. I told Mom that they almost smelled real. She smiled and said, “It’s my perfume.” She liked to tell that story.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My First Baby

My First Baby
Wally and I had never had children. Melanie was our first baby and we were both scared to death. My mother stayed with us for a week and things went very smoothly. Mom seemed to know every thing that was to know about taking care of a baby and a new mom. Well one day my dad decided that he wanted her to come home. Wally and I showed no outward nervousness and hugged and thanked and waved to my parents as they went down the street.
We both went into the nursery and looked down at the week old baby girl and looked at each other and said, “Now what do we do?” Wally said, “Well you’re the mother,” and I said, “Well you’re a lot older and came from a family with a whole slew of kids.” Melanie continued to nap for about fifteen minutes. Just long enough for me to tidy up the kitchen. Then the wailing started. I wanted to join her. There are no handbooks for babies, no motherly instincts that tell you just what to do. I was nursing, I didn’t like it. I wanted to sleep through the night, she wouldn’t let me. It was about a week later that I thought about sending her back, but couldn’t figure out how to do that. The thing about having a new baby and having a husband that has a lot of brothers and sister-in-laws close by is that you do have a lot of company and suggestions. However, one day I sneaked in a shower, had a robe on and wet hair and there was a knocking at the door. I went to answer it, thinking how terrible I looked. It was an elderly lady with a gift for the new baby. I welcomed her, made coffee and apologized for my appearance. She said not to be silly she had had babies and remembered that when the baby slept you needed to either sleep too or did things you couldn’t when the baby was awake. We chatted for a couple of hours. She had not given me a clue to her name or her address. I asked Wally who she could be, I asked everyone I could think of. The mystery lady never got a thank you note, which to this day I feel badly about. I learned my lesson that day, even if it embarrasses me to death, I ask people what their name is. People that are close to me are on to me though, if I forget their names, I will say, “Well, hi kiddo!” I think that just about covers it.
Well, Melanie was our experimental baby and she turned out fairly well. Wally thought a couple of times I was trying to kill her. I couldn’t seem to get it through my head she could turn over. She fell off the couch and changing table. He always seemed to be home when things like that happened. He did raise his voice at me once, with something like, “Are you trying to kill that kid?” Nah, just a new mom. Sorry, Melanie.
The picture that you see is a new Uncle watching me mix “y-ugly” stuff for Melanie to eat. Wow we both look really young don’t we, maybe nineteen and twenty three?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

State Vs. Religion

I have no clue what happened to Pam's picture, but I have done this post three times and I am not doing it again. So the little bitty picture is Pam. It was beautiful. For some reason it came out like a thumb nail picture every time. Oh well. It's my blog so that must be why my picture is the biggest! The picture on the left is Joan. We all hung out together and had a great time. We have started Instant Messaging and Pam and I have even talked on the WebCam, so we will get Joan started and then we can pick up where we left off.

I can remember when each and every one of my kids graduated from high school. I can remember when they graduated from technical school and from college. I was very proud of them, however, I got kind of a strange little feeling in my stomach. I felt like they looked at me differently. I think that was pretty much my imagination, but that’s how I felt. You see I didn’t go to college, just one semester, because that’s all I could afford.
I lived in Iowa when I graduated from high school. It was a two day affair. We had a religious service called baccalaureate. There was even a prayer before and after our commencement exercises. In my estimation they have separated church and state to the point where the young people of today have to go to a place of worship like a church or synagogue to experience any type of familiarity with religion if there is none at home. If that’s the case, I don’t think in most cases it will happen.
I found this in our local newspaper and thought “How appro pro. “They walked in tandem, each of the 93 students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps. They looked almost as grown up as they felt.
Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles and moms freely brushed away the tears. This class would not pray during the commencements not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.
The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation. A salutatory student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then he delivered his speech. An astounding---SNEEZE. The rest of the students rose immediately to their feet, and in unison said, “God bless you.”
The audience exploded into applause.
The graduating class found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval. (Author Unknown)
I want you to see my friends that I now called the Golden Girls and my children, Melanie, Joe, and Mike. My kids’ dad was really proud of our children, there was only one brother I believe, that graduated from high school and went on to college out of twelve brothers and sisters. Besides being proud there was always a lot of food and liquid libation! I stuck a picture of my mother in her graduation nursing uniform when she actually graduated from nurses’ training. I have always loved this picture, and I am so happy I can share it with you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Rose Is A Rose

I just wanted everybody to see my roses. I am amazed at how beautiful they are. This is only the second season for them. I have over a hundred blooms on the salmon one. Enjoy my roses, I wish I could send everyone one. One thing that might make you smile, I hate, bees and everything with a stinger. I told them all to move over so I could take a picture yesterday. Yeah, I did that!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lemonade Out Of Lemons

M. R. I.'s are necessary to show the neurologist if M.S. is increasing, and if so where in my brain that is happening. Magnetic Resonance Imaging is such a romantic expression for a horror chamber. This time, however, the neurologist wanted my brain done twice with and without contrast, my neck, my middle spine, and my lower spine.
When I was first diagnosed, my best friend just couldn’t understand how the doctor could tell and diagnose what I had. I told her the M.R.I. made the lesions look like stars and planets in the universe. That is exactly what they look like, then when I walk around a corner too fast or roll over in bed, I tell the doctor I feel like a fish in a fish bowl of slopping water.
Anyway getting ready to go to the hospital Friday, I was really grumpy. I did have about a half cup of coffee even though I knew I shouldn’t. They won’t let you stop for a potty break. Thank goodness it was a shorter test than normal. I don’t understand why because there were three more tests than normal.
I wore a sweatshirt to the hospital because it is so cold in there. Then they give you ear plugs so your brains don’t get blown out by the noise of the machine. I was going to bring home a pamphlet that explained the noise. They called it a soft thumping noise. Ha! They have you lay on a very narrow “bed” that slides into the machine, they put a plastic hockey type face mask over you. The most important thing you must remember is to close your eyes. If you don’t close your eyes, you suddenly realize that there is only about four inches between your nose and the top of the chamber. While I was waiting for the test to begin, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons. The clicking started and I decided to memorize the sounds for those of you that have not had one of these tests.
The first sound you hear is a clicking, that gives you a false sense of security no matter how many of these that you have had. Then the next sound you hear is a banging on a tribal drum, then it gets really creative and adds a chord. There is also a funeral dirge sound. While this is all going on you wonder about the pamphlet they give to innocent patients. The banging and clattering sounds were normal to me after all these I have had. I also figured that out while I was in the chamber. I figured that at two thousand dollars a piece I have cost the federal government and my insurance company about twenty thousand dollars just for that one test.
Then the itching started. Do any of you realize how often you flick your nose during the course of the day? Well in the chamber you can’t flick, you can’t move. Then I had an itch on my head, and the worst one was in my arm pit on my left side. I thought I would lose my mind. I thought that I would cheat and do just a little scratching and found that my right hand that was on the emergency ball was numb and couldn’t move. Those of you that know me really well, know that I was not a happy camper. I really wanted to tell some people off, but couldn’t choose a culprit. Suddenly something happened that had never happened before. The whole machine started to howl and shake and shudder. I didn’t know if the technician was in the room or not, but I was pretty much horrified. Then I was rolled out and given an IV and told only six more minutes. I was so relieved, because remember I had had some coffee!
I was pretty much out of commission yesterday, better today and should be off and running tomorrow. Hope you missed me!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pity Party On Friday

No post on Friday. The doctor says that I have to have four MRI’s so will be out of commission. Those pretty much lay me out for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could move around and talk, or sing, or tell jokes, you know, be normal.
I guess the worst part about it is that I can’t have any coffee before I go, because you know what that means. For some reason they just won’t let you out of that thing to go to the bathroom.
Well, anyway I will be back telling stories on Saturday or Monday at the latest. I will miss you!
Notice that the nurse is smiling! The reason is because it is not her sliding into that horrible thing.

May Is My Birthday Month

I used to think that I was the only little girl that had a birthday on the twenty fourth until I went to school. Birthday’s were celebrated with ice cream and cake for the most part. I have mentioned that I was older when I had my first birthday party. I didn’t miss having a special party though, because my family always celebrated with me. Somewhere I have a picture of my dad holding my big angel food cake that mom had made me pretending to take a huge bite out of it. Of course, I was screaming and yelling to play the game with him. It was fun. I took some pictures of the birthday checks I would get. I never cashed these. Mom made the suggestion that I might want to keep some in my scrapbook. I am so glad I saved at least one. The usual amount of a birthday check was one dollar. One time my grandma sent me two birthday cards, each with a dollar in it and mom made me give one back. She said that Grandma had just forgotten that she had sent me one and so she sent me another. I was rotten I wanted to keep them both.
One of my birthdays was traumatic. My mom gave me three dollars to get the kids in my class a dairy queen. I lost the money. I cried and cried. I think the teacher paid for it and mom gave her the money again.
One birthday I had on a new dress. The skirt was rows of ruffles. I got up on top of the slide and a screw was sticking out and caught the stitching on the bottom row of ruffles and tore the skirt all the way to the waist. Again I cried. The teacher had to call mom and dad to bring in clothes for me to wear. I was so embarrassed I just wanted to go home.
I am sitting here staring out the window looking at the beautiful timber across the road, trying to remember birthdays. I cannot remember another childhood birthday after the one at the farm. I think there may have been sleep overs, but I think that was it. Here is a picture of an invitation to that party. A party I don’t remember. It was on a Sunday at Lincoln School at two o’clock in the afternoon. I cannot imagine a party at a school ground. It was in 1953 therefore I was nine years old. I am kind of thinking we were picking up girls to take them home with us. If anyone reads this and remembers, it would be fun to hear. You will also see a photo of the birthday check. That was in 1948 for my fourth birthday; the things we save.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maggie Wants A Clean Blanket

For a few days now, Maggie has been grabbing her blanket with her teeth and dragging it out of her kennel. I have a friend that raises bashons. They were doing that one day and I asked her why. She said they wanted a clean blanket or towel. Sure enough I put a clean one in her “little house” and she was very pleased with herself. This is the second time she has done it so I am convinced that she knows what she is doing. I change the sheets on my bed, so it makes sense. I am making this story very long, but hang in there it is kind of interesting. I put Maggie’s blanket in the washer along with a few other things that were outside clothing, like Fran’s really dirty jeans etc.
I just went in the laundry room to transfer the wet clothes into the dryer and what a mess. The washer was full of pieces of Kleenex. Well, besides irritating me it brought back memories of my little folks having interesting things in their pockets. It also brought back memories of me being careless by not checking pockets. I thought and realized that again I had not checked pockets this morning. I started shaking out the clothing and the special blanket and I was amazed at what I found. The only thing is, I don’t know who to blame. Fran and I have spent several days planting shrubs. We used the weed preventer that comes on a roll. You pack it down with dirt and mulch and presto no weeds. Well, we must have had an extra one, because I found one in the washer with almost all of the “cotton” washed away from the black plastic. Hmm, I wonder which one of us is responsible for not throwing that away before putting the jeans in the hamper. I cannot and will not take full responsibility for all this mess!!! Fran and I will have a visit. We had a "visit" about five minutes after I wrote this. We live in Missouri, he lived in Texas for several years, however the ol' Massachusettes drawl comes in really handy. It goes like this, "nnnnnnnnnnnooooooooohhhhooooo, I didn't do that, you must have." Good grief, it's not worth the effort.

My Uncle Roy

Dad had gotten a phone call. My Aunt Nellie was very ill and had to have an operation. She was unable to take care of her children and my Uncle Roy was sick too. Mother went to work immediately and created a bedroom for them out of nothing. She got a crib from somewhere. Uncle Roy may have brought it with him. My cousin Jim was not very old at the time. I am thinking he was about my brother’s age so he would have been less than two years old.
Oh, I thought this was really wonderful. Full time company was something I had never experienced. I had someone to play with. I felt like smiling all the time. My cousin, Bonnie, and I got along really well. I was a selfish little girl, but I seemed to do alright with Bonnie.
My Uncle Roy had a terrible disease called psoriasis. From what I saw his head was thick with it. He had suffered from this for years. When he and Jim came to our house, he asked my mother if she could do anything about it. Every day my mother would “work” on it. She would put a newspaper on the floor in front of him. She had a steel bristle brush that she brushed his head with. Then she put some stuff on his head that she rubbed in and let it sit. Uncle Roy yelled something fierce, but he knew that it helped him. After the medicine had sat on his head for about twenty minutes, then Mom got out the Fitch’s Shampoo. That hurt him too, but every time he got this treatment, the psoriasis seemed to lesson.
Mother’s cure for every ailment was good nutrition. She knew that my Aunt had been sick for a long time, and Uncle Roy wasn’t cooking properly for the family. Mother was serving vegetables, meat, and fruit, and every meal had a very rich dessert. Uncle Roy’s skin and scalp started to be better with the treatments.
Uncle Roy went outside a lot with my dad and got lots of sunshine and fresh air.
My Uncle always had to deal with psoriasis, but at that particular time he did get better. The sounds of his laughter and the pounding of backs were heard every day while he and his children were visitors at our house. I smile every time I think about those days, I loved my Uncle Roy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Aunt Nettie

Aunt Nettie was my grandfather’s sister. Her name popped up in conversations as I was growing up as well as when I was an adult. Little things would trigger my mother’s memory about this extraordinary woman. At least she was extraordinary in my mother’s eyes.
Aunt Nettie was a spinster. She never married and never wanted to. She was very independent for a lady in those days and was very educated.
I had an opportunity to talk to my last living uncle the other day and I coaxed him into talking about his ancestors. Uncle Les is almost ninety three and is sharp as a tack. Aunt Nettie’s name came up and he started to laugh and said, “She was a spinster, you know.” Every time someone talked about her, they prefaced their conversation with the “spinster” description.
Aunt Nettie traveled to Ames, Iowa and attended the college there as did my brother in later years.
For a woman to travel about two hundred miles unescorted was unheard of. Nettie was a determined woman and nothing deterred her. My mother never told me what she got her degree in, I don’t think that it really mattered, she had one.
Aunt Nettie was an astronomer. She loved the atmosphere and it’s mystery. She had a telescope and taught my mother how to use it. When I was little my mother taught me how to pick out the little dipper, the big dipper, and other constellations, which I cannot do now.
Aunt Nettie, like her brothers and sisters did not have much of a sense of humor. She saw life as something that was serious and short. She was determined that her nieces and nephews would get the same interest in education as she had. Yesterday I opened up an old encyclopedia that was copyrighted in the 1800’s. They were a gift to my Uncle Leslie from her. It was difficult for me to envision the full of fun Uncle Leslie that I knew, even opening one of the books. There were only four books in that set. Imagine a set of encyclopedias with only four books.
My mother was an overachiever and finished high school early and was awarded her Normal Teaching Certificate when she was sixteen. My mother didn’t like teaching, she wanted to be a nurse, but that was not allowed. Her mother told her that only prostitutes became nurses. Ladies did not look upon a naked man’s body unless it was her husband’s.
Aunt Nettie, of course, also wanted mother to teach. She insisted that mother go to Junior College in Cherokee. There she took courses that were for ladies. She told me one time, “ The courses I took at that college did me no good whatsoever for my future.” I remember she said she took two years of French. Young ladies were required to take that. I know she took a lot of mathematics also. That she enjoyed, but saw no use for it. She did see a use for it many years later. When Mother was sixty three or four she enrolled in Morning Side College in Sioux City, Iowa and took accounting. Needless to say, she got straight A’s. All she could talk about though were the good looking young men in her class.
There were stories about Aunt Nettie that I don’t know are true. Some stories are handed down from generation to generation and they tend to lose some of the truth and gain imagination.
The other day, I was digging through Mother’s memory box and there was an article that Nettie had written for the Cherokee newspaper concerning my ancestors. I will put that article in my blog, probably will paraphrase it because it is extremely long, but also extremely interesting. Also interesting, and I would say it to her face, she was a terrible speller. I checked the dictionary to see if the words that she misspelled were spelled differently in those days. They were not. Sorry, Great Aunt Nettie, I just had to add that for posterity’s sake.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Joey Did It!!!

I can remember when Melanie was about eighteen months old or less, I was so angry with her I just couldn’t stand it. I walked in the living room and she had taken every Kleenex out of its box. I was so frustrated I called my mother and told her about it. My mother laughed and said, ‘Oh Honey, you have a lot to look forward to as she grows up”
At that point in my life I was a fanatic on keeping my house clean and picked up. Clutter was something I just couldn’t handle. I learned to adjust to a child’s clutter such as toys and sofa pillows that were thrown to the floor. However, nothing prepared me for my second child. A boy named after his father, Wallace (Joey). He was absolutely the cutest baby in the world. He had bright red hair, so chubby, and little bitty angel kisses on his nose.
When he was two, he was a terror. I didn’t know if I would live through it. My sister-in-law said he was programmed to destroy. I believed her.
There was a part of me though, that could not believe that he was always responsible for all the things that were broken in our house. I even threatened Melanie not to tattle on Joey all the time.
One day when she was two years old she came to me and said,” Mama is it tattling if I told you that Joey is in the middle of the street sitting in his lawn chair?” I tore out of the house a hundred miles an hour to grab him and his chair before he was killed.
One evening my husband’s brother and his family came to play cards at our house. They had two little girls. The youngest one, Stacey, was just a few months younger than Joey. Joey was standing by the table watching us play cards when I heard a horrible crash coming from the living room. Quickly added was this little voice that said fearfully, “Joey did it!!” I knew then for sure that my cute little boy did not do all the things that he was being blamed for.
Sometime after that incident, I went outside to see what Wally was doing. He was working on the lawnmower. It wouldn’t start and he was very frustrated. He told me he thought Joey had put water in the gas tank, well that was just too much. I had taken some psychology courses, so I used them with Joey. I said, “Joey where did you get the water that you put in the lawnmower?” He said, “over there,” pointing to the outside faucet, “I don’t like that noisy thing.” I was devastated. The only thing I knew at that point was that he was not guilty of breaking the lamp the night that we were playing cards.
As Joey grew to be a man, he tried my patience until it screamed, but to this day, I have difficulty believing that he in fact has done all that he has been accused of.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I wasn’t always able to spend Mother’s Day with my mom because of work and miles. I missed a lot of opportunities to be with her, however I always tried to call her and tell her I loved her. I got cards yesterday, email cards and cards in the mail. I loved them thank you so much! I thought you might get a really big kick out of a Mother’s Day card I made my mom when I was in Fourth Grade; even in my scrapbook I say this is really a bad picture. My mother exclaimed all over it and told me how wonderful it was. Mother’s are something else, aren’t we?
Side Note: I knew I had this picture, but when I went to take a picture of it, it was a Christmas picture that the teacher had taken in the same year. It seems to me that I had eaten just a few too many cinnamon rolls

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Moving To Second Street

Keith and I have been having a lot of fun with the posts about the tar truck rolling over and splattering the tar all over our house. Well if truth be told, if Keith and I would have had our way, we would have stayed in the little house on Maple Street. We had both fallen in love with that little house. It was our first taste of living “in town” and making friends that could actually come over to play without having to make plans with parents and times and arrangements to get the kids home, drivers, etc.
Mom and dad told us one day that we were going to be moving to the house on second street. I think that Keith and I were in shock at first and second of all we were mad! The new house was all the way across town. Mom told me that the house always had to be in the “show mode” so that the real estate people could show it. That really made me mad because I was in charge of a clean house. I was the oldest. Not fair!
Our little house had a second floor that essentially was a loft where Keith and I slept. I tried to get him to help me clean and he wouldn’t. I mean he wouldn’t help at all. I tried to physically drag him out of bed one day and couldn’t get the job done. He finally got out of bed and went outside to play. He yelled and I yelled; nothing like a thirteen year old and a nine year old. Oh I was so mad at him, so I locked the doors. Oh my goodness, he was so angry at me he scared me so I really wasn’t going to unlock the doors then. Well he put his fist right through the glass window in the door. Of course, he bled all over the place. Then I was really scared. Oh when mom got home, she was mad. It was just a bad day all the way around. She gave us all the guilt trip. It went something like this. “If I didn’t have to work, things like this wouldn’t happen, I would be home to supervise these children. They shouldn’t be left alone to fend for themselves, I can certainly see that.”
Well that was not the last of the “accidents that happened to Keith in that little house.” I am sure he will tell you that it was all my fault, but I don’t remember that it was. (The really cool part of being my age is that you can blame poor memory on your age and no one can say a word.)
One day Keith came in and went to the bathroom and got in the medicine cabinet. I asked him what he was looking for about the same time as I saw him take a double sided razor blade out and put it in his hand. I yelled at him and told him he couldn’t have those and that they were dangerous and jerked it out of his hand. Whoops! Blood all over the place. One thing Keith does not like is blood; especially his. Oh, that blood was not just dripping or oozing, it was running. Thank goodness it wasn’t spurting or I wouldn’t have a brother. What is the phrase? God protects children and angels. Well we certainly were not angels. We were children and fools. Anyway once again I was scared, this time I thought I had killed him. He didn’t faint, but he bled like a stuck hog. He probably still has a scar, if he does I’m sure he would gladly show you what a terrible sister I was. I on the other hand would gladly show you the scar and the point of a number 2 pencil that he jabbed me with so many long years ago. I am sure I am innocent of all wrong doing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tricks and Pranks

When you look at this picture, can ever imagine that any one or all for that matter could ever pull any tricks or pranks on the other one? Never. Oh yes. The prankster would surprise you. The prankster was Rosie. She was very naughty, but so quiet about the whole thing and with such an innocent face, Mother would never believe me. Or if she did believe me she in fact, thought it was funny too, whatever “It” was.
One thing Rosie would do to me was come home from a date in the dead of winter and whisper to me to roll over and the shock of the ice cold bedding would wake me up and I would scream and yell. She would just laugh and said, “That’s what you get for sleeping on my side.” I was only five years old! And she wondered why I would write things on the dresser mirror with her lipstick.
One day she called me and said, “why don’t you come down for the week-end?” So I did and we had a good time. We went out to dinner at the Green Gable Restaurant which I just loved. She ordered Matzo Ball soup and chicken. She whispered to me that there was a couple behind us that she didn’t like. The booths there were quite high, I couldn’t see them and for that matter I didn’t know them anyway. She got that sparkle in her eye she always did before she did something naughty. She started “talking” with her hands and had a chicken leg in her hand. Her hand got wild and hit the old man behind her who had a bald head with the chicken leg. She got the giggles so bad she could hardly talk, but apologized profusely to the old man and put her finger in her mouth in the signal “gag me.” Naughty. I think that Keith and I are pretty much perfect in that category. I can’t remember either one of us pulling pranks. I think we were pretty much perfect, don’t you, Keith? Oh Keith has hair in 1980 I had forgotten that, and for that matter my hair was still brown, I think. lol

Thursday, May 7, 2009

White Sauce

My mother made the best white sauce. She melted real butter that she had churned herself, then she put a heaping tablespoon of flour in the pan and stirred it into the butter until the mixture became a very smooth paste. Beside the pan she had a cup or two of milk that she added to the melted butter flour mixture a little at a time. When the milk was all added she simmered it on the stove and it ended up being a gravy or what she called, “White Sauce.” Mother had no cans of cream of mushroom soup, or cream of anything soup. I told my daughter not too long ago I could not cook if I didn’t have cream of mushroom soup. Well, that is not entirely true. There is one thing I can make with my own version of white sauce.
The first thing I do is go to the grocery store and buy a good brand of dried beef. The next thing I do is tear the dried beef into shreds, then I add it to the white sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. While that is simmering, I make toast, my mother used to make mashed potatoes, some ladies make biscuits. For those of you that know what this dish is called, just use the initials in the comment section. See what you started, Keith?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time Out For Maggie

After almost six weeks of living with Fran and Lu and being an exceptionally smart and good little dog, Maggiemae found herself in timeout and in poor graces with them, especially Fran.
Fran went outside this morning and Maggie slid out the door as fast as she could and ran even faster. I was in my jammies and slippers and watched the fiasco from the front door. I was afraid to laugh but it was so comical. The faster Maggie ran the louder Fran yelled at her. Maggie was running so fast I thought for sure she was going to run into something because she was looking behind her to see if Fran was going to catch her.
There is a lot of timber across the road from us and she looked like she thought that the timber would make a wonderful place to play. Then of course, Alex got involved. Alex roams the park because he is the King and is allowed to do that. Well Maggie thinks that whatever Alex can do she can too. Oh, the smoke was coming out of Fran’s ears. Then Fran started yelling at me to do something with “my dog.” So I went in and got dressed and got my shoes on and walked a bit, made a smooching noise and she came right to me. I explained to her that Fran was really, really mad at her so she had to go to time out for awhile. She looked so sad when I put her in there. But like Alex, Fran is the King of the Castle. Just a side note, while I am typing this, Fran and Maggie are sitting in Fran's big ol' easy chair. Fran is petting her and talking soft to her while he is watching TV. Whose dog?

A Spanish Fire Drill

In the latter part of my career I was the Director of a new Alzheimer unit in a brand new facility in Overland Park, Kansas. The unit was beautiful. The program for the anticipated residents had been thoughtfully planned out. The paint, the furnishings, and lighting was designed especially for confused people with a special layout that would be easy for them to navigate in. The dining room was large and spacious, the living room was enormous and plenty of walking room which Alzheimer afflicted people require. There were game tables, spacious bedrooms with private showers. Everything that the experts and I could plan for had arrived and been put together by the maintenance people and the contractors. There was just one thing that I nor had anyone else had anticipated; Spanish speaking employees.
When the Unit was completely finished. It was time to put the linens on the beds. I had no idea that the staff did not speak English. I told them what to do, showed them where the linen closets were and left them to their duties so I could take care of other last minute things of my own before the new residents arrived the next day. I had a busy schedule that day, one thing that was very important was to run a mock fire drill to make sure the alarms were all working. The one thing that I didn’t do which I almost always did in the work place, was ask if anyone had any questions.
A short time later, I went back to the Unit to check on the staff; nothing was done. They were wandering around looking lost. I asked them why they hadn’t made the beds and put out the towels. I got an answer that I had not anticipated; all Spanish. They understood some hand gestures. So I had them watch me as I made a hospital bed and gestured for them to do the same. I put out towels and had them do the same. Things went smoother then.
That afternoon, I coordinated with the Maintenance Engineer that I wanted a Fire Drill to take place at one o’clock in the afternoon. What a disaster! The staff went round and around in circles looking absolutely scared to death. The alarm was very aloud. I started shouting orders to them. Then I remembered that they couldn’t understand me. I started slamming doors, throwing pillows outside the doors, pretending like I was getting the residents away from the fire. They looked at me like I was crazy. My last resort was to find someone that spoke Spanish. I did; the chef. He was very educated in both Spanish and English and the problem was resolved with much laughter on his part, not on mine.
The Spanish speaking staff were transferred to wings that had Spanish speaking residents and all went well from then on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tanker Truck Flattens Patrol Car
28 Ton Capacity Transport
Flings Tar Onto Home

BUT THAT WAS MY HOUSE! The day was Wednesday, June 28, 1961. I will never forget that day as long as I live. Interestingly enough, I do forget some of the details. So I do expect my brother to post a lot of comments and anyone else that reads this blog and lived in Cherokee at that time.
I was a junior in high school and had a job at a photo studio during the summer. My dad and I often went home for lunch together. The paper where he worked, and the studio that I worked at were just a couple of doors apart. The part I don’t remember is how I found out.
The highway patrolmen were conducting brake checks on traffic as it entered Cherokee. The truck driver was not aware of this check point held by two highway patrol men and could not see them as he came down a steep hill. He tried not to hit the patrol car in front of him so he turned the corner sharply but “ flattened it like a pancake,” so said the Cherokee Times.
I can remember walking home with dad and him telling me what happened, now that I think about it. Mom worked nights and was in the house and so was my brother, Keith.
The tar broke out a basement window and got quite a lot of tar in the basement, and all over the driveway and the yard. I cannot believe that Mom and Keith were not injured or burned.
I was just sitting here reading the article and thinking that the damage sounds so minor. It took my dad a year if not longer to get the tar out of the house.
I can also remember a box fan in the bedroom window where my parents slept, blowing air out. That was said to be a blessing keeping at least some of the tar out of the house.
Of course, my parents had to sue for damages, I used to have the papers that Mom had saved. I don’t remember much, but I think their lawyer sued the state for having a check point at the bottom of the hill. I do remember how much money they got after the lawyer fees; just over two thousand dollars.
My dad patiently took so many things and soaked them in gasoline to clean them. I do know that they had to have a new cement driveway put in.
I am going to let Keith fill you in on details that I have forgotten.
One thing I am remembering as I sit here writing this story is the smell. I don’t think I will ever forget the smell of hot tar. The only way we could get into our house was with planks that were put over the tar as temporary walk ways. It seems we used those planks for a very long time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Joey And The Raspberries

I don’t know if you’re like me, but it doesn’t take much to make me nostalgic. Melanie put a post on one of my stories the other day that there used to be an cassette tape of my trip with Rosie. Well, I looked to no avail. I searched and searched. That tape probably was at Rosie’s house when she died, and tossed. Well, while I was looking, I did find a cassette of Wally and the kids and I at the zoo when they were really little. I thought perhaps that the trip to Kentucky was on the back side of it, but it wasn’t. I had just recently made some cd’s of the zoo trip for the kids, but I listened to it again today and got tears. The trip was about thirty seven or thirty eight years ago, but listening to their little voices it made it seem like yesterday. Wally and I didn’t have a video camera and didn’t take that many pictures. I wish we could have afforded to do things like that, but we have that recording of our children.
I did smile while I listened this morning, my voice is just about identical to my mother’s. I used the same terminology and the timbre of my voice was the same. I am so glad that I did that.
Now days the young parents have access to such wonderful high tech things to preserve their children’s voices and antics. My advice to them is “do it” as often as you can.
Today is just a short little story about Joey and his cousin, Stacey. They were only about six months apart in age. What one didn’t think of the other one did. I don’t have a picture of Stacey, but this is a picture of Melanie and Joey standing in front of the fence where a few minutes later, Joey and Stacey went exploring with no supervision.
We were all at Wally’s brother’s house visiting outside with our kids. After a bit I said aloud, “I wonder where Joey is.” We started searching behind this fence because we could hear little voices. Behind the fence was a huge patch of red raspberries. When they came out Joey and Stacey’s faces were stained with raspberry juice. Joey grinned and me and said, “Good strawberries, Mama.” Priceless.

The Mirrors To The Soul

When I am gone from this world, people will probably say Lu Anne always had a quick laugh and friendly smile.
I made up my mind years ago, that through tough times, a smile made people feel better and helped me through some rough spots.
When I had two small children, I needed to help to supplement our income. I did not want to go to work and leave my children with a sitter, so I decided to run a daycare center from my home. I took children on a daily basis, and for a week at a time while their parents went on vacation, and I also took a terminally ill two year old boy. He had brain cancer and had had surgery, but the prognosis was not good. His mother begged me to care for him while she taught school. It was imperative that she work because of the medical bills. At first I told her that I just couldn’t. I was scared to death that another child would hit him in the head with a toy and severely hurt him. After I had a serious talk with my husband, he said to go ahead and take him, but give him and his brothers time to make him his own playground in our back yard. They fenced it off away from the other kids swing set, made him his own sand box and safer toys. It was wonderful. He could watch the other children play, and I let one or two little ones play with him at a time. Kevin stayed with me about a year before he died. I will never forget that little boy. I always thought that God had helped make it possible for me to care for him. Smiles on the days he was there were hard to wear.
I often think, if people were really in tune with me, they would know that I may be smiling on the outside, but if they would just look in my eyes, they had to know how sad I was.
I worked in long term care for almost twenty years. I often wondered if I made a difference in those peoples lives. I know that they made a difference in my life. I would laugh with them and they with me; sometimes it was so difficult. At times I wondered when I stepped in the door if there was anything that I could laugh at that day. I always found something.
I wasn’t feeling well for awhile. One day the nurse at the nursing home where I worked sent me home. She said I was staggering and that I needed to make a doctor’s appointment. I was surprised. I felt alright, not super, but alright. But I did what she asked. After some tests and quite a long period of time, the neurologist said I had Multiple Sclerosis. I laughed. I was so happy. He said that that was the most unusual reaction to that diagnosis he had ever seen. I told him I was so relieved it wasn’t brain cancer, any other diagnosis was a blessing.
One day after being married to my husband for almost twenty years, he asked for a divorce. He said he couldn’t live with the diagnosis of M.S. Of course, that was a lie, but be that as it may. I didn’t think I would ever see anything funny in life again. But once again, I put on my mask of “Normal” and took one day at a time. People thought I was adjusting well. They weren’t there in the middle of the night when I would cry out, “Why, Why?” One day I started laughing. I thought “you hate mustard in your potato salad. She puts mustard in her potato salad. Hope you’re happy.”
Someone once said that the eyes are the Mirror of the Soul, My thought to that is, “People, you need to look, really look into people’s eyes and then you will see either the reflection of your own emotions or the real image of the eyes that you are looking into and act accordingly.”
I have a very good friend that always knows when something is wrong just by looking at me. There is a similar phrase that says, “the face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are it’s interpreter.” How very very true.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Sister, Our Kids And A Motor Home Part 3

I was really ready to leave Kentucky. I love to travel, and I love to experience and taste new things, but I was up to my eyeballs with new experiences. It was time to go to Indiana to Santa Claus Land. Yippee!
I take hundreds of pictures, but after digging and digging, I could only find one lonely picture of Melanie and Joey at Santa Claus Land. I think that Julie was standing with Rosie when she was taking the picture. In 1971 I have a picture of Rosie licking the battery in an old Brownie camera to take a flash, so I think Rosie had all the pictures. She must have sent me this one. If you look close there is a great big tree in the background that is decorated like a Christmas tree. My memory is really gray about this little amusement park. I do know that a lot of people sent Christmas cards from here so they would have a really cool postmark.
Santa Claus Land had people dressed up in costumes that amused the children. You can see that Joey isn’t quite convinced that Minnie Mouse is the real thing. The building in the back is the entrance where the parents took their little ones for the kiddy rides. We had a really good time and didn’t have to worry about the little ones getting away from us. I did spend the last of my money there. I think I may have had about two dollars and some change left when we got back in the motor home.
It was about a six or seven hour drive back to Sioux City, and that again, is a guess. Except for the Southern cooking, we had pretty much lived on minced ham sandwiches, chips and things like that. I told Rosie that I would make the last batch of minced ham sandwiches and that would get us home. Then we would have some hot food. Rosie said she would buy us all some hamburgers and I said no, that she had spent enough money as it was. We were going through a town of about ten thousand or so and we stopped at a red light to let some pedestrians cross the street. The camper had a snub nose so you could look down and see perfectly. A young teenage girl was crossing the street. In her hands she carried a sack from McDonalds and a chocolate shake . I told Rosie that that girl had no clue how lucky she was to live another day. Rosie knew what I meant and we got the giggles so bad, we missed the green light and horns started honking and that of course, got my dear sister’s dander up. She proceeded to tell the other motorists that if they had lived on minced ham sandwiches for six days they would understand. We talked about that poor girl for months and years after that. I think probably every time we had a minced ham sandwich we thought about that lucky little teenager.
On the way home all we could think about is getting home and relaxing. All of a sudden a horrible noise sounded from the back of the camper. It was so loud it sounded like an explosion. Rosie was scared to death. Here she had three little kids with her about three hundred miles from home. She told me to go outside to see if I could see what the problem was. Oh, I could see alright. The muffler had completely fallen off and had rolled down the ditch. Just as I was going to pick it up, she screamed at me, “No, No, No.” I thought she had lost her mind. She had the presence of mind to tell me that it was extremely hot and I would burn myself something fierce. We had to sit at the side of the road and let it cool off, wrap it in a towel, put it in the side of the camper and very noisily head home. We did stop to see how much it would cost to fix it but they would not take an out of town check so Rosie said, “Fine, we are going home.” That my dear readers was probably the most fun I have ever had in seven days. But that is not the best part. When Wally came to pick me up he told me he had gotten a raise. It was just a few cents an hour, but every little bit helps. How about that for a wonderful ending to an exciting story?

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Sister, Our Children, And A Motor Home Part 2

(Salt Cellar)

Even though the night was a short one, Rosie, and I and especially the kids were anxious to get day two underway. Well, there was no arguing, we would stay at Pauline’s house for breakfast. Now I have to remind you, Rosie and I were from the north. Breakfast was definitely southern. Pauline had grits (I thought they were disgusting) she also had ham and biscuits and red eye gravy. Why the people from the south call it gravy is beyond me. Now that stuff in my opinion should not be served to humans, just to clean out the skillet. For people who have never had it, it is just grease from the ham which she really browned, the ham was quite fatty. Then she took the ham out of the skillet and put some black coffee and a little sugar in the grease. She cooked it down some and there you have red eye gravy, the staple of most southern breakfasts which is used for biscuits. Pauline was a very sweet southern lady, and I enjoyed her very much.
I don’t remember if we had to travel to another town to Mammy’s house or if we just had to go to another part of the same town we were in, be that as it may we were on the road again. It just doesn’t seem like it was a long time. I believe the name of the town where Mammy lived was Elkton. Little did I know, but the fun was just going to begin as we pulled that big old motor home into this little country village.
Mammy lived in a small house. I think, maybe a little two bedroom cottage. Her kitchen was small, made a little bigger by an added screened in porch. Her home did not have city sewer. I was not aware of that. My little guy, Joey, was getting really tired of being cooped up in a motor home. He was ready to play. Our home was really big with a great big wraparound porch. He was just not used to being confined. He went outside and ran and jumped and played. I was watching him out the window, to make sure he was being safe and staying on the yard. He would play tricks and run really fast and jump across a little drainage ditch at the edge of the yard and then back again. He was being such a good little boy. He was about three years old then. Rosie came up to me while I was watching Joey, and said, “Uh you might want to stop Joey from jumping across that ditch.” I could not imagine why she would say such a thing, so I asked her. She then told me that the ditch was the drainage ditch for the sewer. Eww! Yup, I checked his shoes, sure enough they did need cleaning. Oh, Dear, the joys of being a little boy’s mom and a culture shock.
That evening was also inclusive of a culture shock. I don’t remember what Mammy fixed for the main course, but I will never forget what she had for a vegetable; okra. She had multiple vegetables. It seems like our little trip was in the latter part of July or the beginning of August. I can remember sweet corn, tomatoes, and all kinds of goodies. The dish came to me that had okra in it and I asked what it was. I could tell by the sparkle in my sister’s eyes that she was being really naughty. Mammy said it is very good, just don’t chew it, just swallow it. Well I took some and cut it with a fork. That is all she wrote. No chewing or swallowing. No way! Oh they laughed.
After supper was over, of course, I was going to help clear the table. I was told to put the dishes in the sink and just cover the things on the table. I was so stupid!!! I asked her if her refrigerator had quit working. She told me that even the salad with the Miracle Whip would be just fine sitting over night on the table with a clean dish towel over it. What had I just eaten???? Well I survived. I didn’t get sick. I guess the human body is extremely resilient.
The next morning I was determined not to have red eye gravy again. I went to the camper and got out cereal for Julie, Melanie, and Joey. Mammy’s kitchen, like I said was small and she had a narrow sideboard under one set of cupboards where I could fix the children their cereal. Evidently Rosie fixed Julie’s because Julie didn’t yell and scream like Melanie did. On Mammy’s sideboard was a cut glass dish that was beautiful, similar to my mother’s sugar bowl. There was no spoon in it, so I looked for the silverware drawer, grabbed a spoon and put a heaping spoonful of sugar on Melanie’s cereal, poured milk on it and called Melanie to the table. Within seconds of putting it in her mouth, Melanie started to scream and spit. I was so embarrassed I wanted to kill the child with my bare hands. Until she asked me why I had put salt on her cereal. It was not a sugar bowl, but in fact a salt cellar. Oh, Dear, for the third time in twelve hours. Tomorrow will be the third and final chapter of our memorable trip.

My Sister, Our Kids, And A Motor Home

This story is stretching my memory because it happened when Melanie was five so that was thirty seven years ago. Rosie called me one day when my husband and I were at our brokest. I don’t know if that is a word, but it works for me. At that time, I generally made pancakes for supper every night from scratch. I remember Wally telling me that if he never ate another pancake it would be too soon. They were good pancakes, I had made the homemade apple butter for them, or the homemade chokecherry syrup or whatever we wanted, everything was homemade.
Anyway, Rosie had called me and said that she would like me and the kids to go to Kentucky with her and Julie in the motor home. Oh, I could have cried. I wanted to go so bad, I could taste it, but there was no way that I could squeeze out enough money to go on a trip. In my mind, Kentucky was half way around the world. So of course, I told her the truth, I would love to go, but I just couldn’t. Then she said the magic words, she said she would pay for everything but what I wanted to spend on the kids. Rosie said she would pay for our food even. Oooh, things were getting a little easier for me to visit with Wally now. You have to understand that Wally was a proud man. He wouldn’t even let me buy clothes at a yard sale because he wore hand me downs all his life. So this little “visit” was going to be difficult I knew. Wally was a proud man, but he was a soft old teddy bear. He said I could take twenty five dollars on the trip and food out of the pantry to take on the motor home.
I almost broke both legs getting back to the telephone to call Rosie back.
I think that Wally took me to Sioux City and we loaded up the motor home. I took home canned pickles, and all kinds of things that I had “put up.” Rosie and Jr’s motor home was called a Champion. It was beautiful. I have only pictures that I got from the internet of their motor home from the same year. It was a big old thing, but you put three little kids and two grown ups in it somehow it shrinks.
Rosie had a travel plan. We were going to go to Indiana to Santa Claus, Indiana and we were going to go to Adventure Land in Iowa. I think it was like a miniature version of Six Flags. There were many stops for us along the way too. One of the places my sister just loved to go was to visit the Amish Colonies. She loved to have some time to do some “wine tasting” and she inevitably bought some goodies.
Ok, let’s get started on our trip. Wally went back home, I made sure I had all of my babys’ things packed away and out of the way. Rosie, got behind the wheel, I sat in the co-pilot’s seat and away we went. NOT! Everything in the refrigerator flew out and all over the floor. So Rosie had to stop and go to a store right there in Sioux City and get something to keep the refrigerator door closed. It took all I had to keep it closed manually until she got some tape or maybe Velcro so it would stay closed. I may have said something to her that I hoped that that was not going to set the tune for our trip, but we just laughed and took off like fools.
Our next stop was the Amish colonies. Everything was going extremely well there. Rosie didn’t do too much “tasting” I think she bought a broom or a quilt and away we went.
We both had stocked the motor home with food for sandwiches and goodies, so every so often, Rosie would stop for potty breaks and we would have a picnic. The kids loved it and so did we. Rosie and I were separated by age and miles. She worked as a nurse and I as a housewife and mother. So our quality time together was extremely limited. So what I am trying to explain to you readers, is that our mouths were going a hundred miles an hour in visiting not just eating.
If memory serves me right, we went to Adventure Land next which is somewhere by Des Moines, Iowa. It’s really strange, it has only been thirty seven years, why can’t I remember all of this? Well anyway, we had an absolute ball there. I got my sister on the log flume and I thought she was going to scream her lungs out. We had so much fun. It was so good for our little ones too, to see their moms in a different perspective. They were acting pretty "goofy!"
We decided that we were going to drive straight through to Kentucky so that we could spend more time with Rosie’s mother-in-law. Now I have to stop here, because when I woke up this morning I started thinking about this story. The first place we stopped in Kentucky was not “Mammy” or Jr’s mother’s, it was his sister’s house, I believe her name was Pauline. We had arrived a day early, so that’s why the gun. By the time we got to her house it was late at night and Rosie knocked at the door and a guy came out with a gun and pointed it at her stomach. I thought I was going to faint. I am sitting here laughing my head off. That’s what happened later that night too, but not right then. Anyway when they later realized who Rosie was, we were invited in and the gun put away. I ushered the kids out to the motor home after awhile and put them to bed. They were utterly exhausted it was way after midnight.
I went to bed with a magazine, but kept one ear and eye on the door to make sure my sister was going to be okay with those crazy people. After awhile she came out to the motor home and I could tell she had been “tasting.” What, I don’t know, but where we were in Kentucky, it was a dry county, so it was probably moonshine mixed with soda. Anyway she and I were visiting and I could hear her get her bed ready which as most of you know that have ever camped, was the kitchen table. She was closer to the windshield and my bed was closer to the kids. She was really talking and laughing and I was grinning to myself, wondering what she had been “tasting” when all of a sudden the most horrible noise and a great big thump followed by a “uh!!” My poor sister’s bed had collapsed. She evidently had put the boards too close to the edge when she put the bed together and when she rolled over, down she went. Her legs were up and her head was up and her bottom was on the floor; she was a perfect V. I had to get up and help her out of her situation, which wasn't all that easy either. I thought we would never quit laughing. We were still laughing when the sun was coming up. We would get real quiet, then someone would go, “uhm, uhm” then it would start all over again. This is a two part story. The second part of this story is probably even funnier than this one. What a crazy trip. See you later, from the boon docks of Kentucky!