Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Accidental Diamond Ring Heist

It happened.

Let me set the stage.

Winston and I became engaged in 1971. Very eager to get on with the major jewelry purchase but also very poor.

We visited a lovely store in downtown Houston called Sweeney's. Decided that a plain narrow gold setting would be perfect. Decided that a third carat diamond was more then enough. Round "brilliant" cut. Gorgeous!!!

Let the nice salesman know that we were going to have to put it on "layaway". Winston made a down payment. Nice man wrapped the diamond in a bit of tissue and deposited ring and stone in a small brown envelope.

Now going downtown was one of my favorite activities in life. Often my mother and I would spend the day going in and out of stores and shops, have lunch in the L&C Cafeteria.

And visit my ring.

That's right. We'd go in, ask the nice patient man to bring forth the little envelope. He would remove the stone from the tissue wrapping and using a tweezer apparatus, place it right within the prongs so that I could admire its gorgeous-ness yet again. He never seemed to mind at all.

One afternoon with my mother as usual I asked what a pear-shaped diamond looked like. I had heard of such a thing and couldn't imagine what it would be like. So, nice man smiled, nodded, and removed a ring from the case. He smiled as I placed it on my finger and got busy with a customer who might actually be making a bona fide no-delay purchase. I decided that although this stone was certainly huge, it in no way was as pretty as mine.

A good-bye wave to the nice man and Mother and I went across the street to Foley's department store to do a little more not-buying looking.

Everything was fine and usual until I looked  down at my left hand.

You guessed it.

"Mama! Oh my GOSH!!! I forgot to take the ring off!"

I began to shiver with fright.

"He'll think I stole it!"

Mother, calm as I'd ever seen her (and I hadn't seen her calm very many times), directed that we should just return to the store and all would be well. So off we speed-walked across the street just in time to see the little dark blue curtains on the little display windows being pulled shut with a flourish. One by one. It was closing time!

I knocked on the door. No response. Again. No response. Finally nice man, looking a bit distracted, came forth behind the glass of the door and signaled with his watch that it was too late to  pay another visit to my ring.

You can imagine the expression on his nice man face when I held up my hand and pointed to the huge sparkler on it!

Quick as a wink he opened the door just wide enough to take the item and the accidental heist was over!

 *Whew!*

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lawrence Bruce Crosby - Daddy to Me

I have always thought of my father with a hint of sorrowful protectiveness. This is because he had a paralyzed right arm which ached in something called "phantom pain" and it  worsened as he aged.

As a child I noticed this defect of course, his very slender bony arm which swung helplessly unless he rested it across the small of his back. I recall that posture and felt great sympathy toward him on that account  from a very early age. I remember with some regret that I sought to "make it better" by insisting he submit to my ministrations. The one I remember well was placing his clawed hand in a round tin cake pan and surrounding it with marbles. Then the final cure was the application of moistened Kleenex tissues as a sort of poultice. He would endure this occasionally but in a rare display of crossness with me, his oldest child and only daughter, he would extricate hand and limb from my tender attentions. I would ask, "Is it better?" and he would mumble, "Yeah."

Poor Daddy!

The injury defined the man I knew as my father. I think it gave me a very deep sense of empathy, which was a good thing. I never made fun of anyone for an imperfection - ever. I never ever wanted to cause him any further hurt. I was always concerned about him. Maybe it was also because he was 43 when I was born, so rather like "an old man." One with a grave handicap dealt him at age 19 as well. Someone to be very tender with.

The man who was to be my father was born into a family with few resources. And lots of grief. His  parents lost two baby boys before he was born. A younger brother died of measles at age five. An older sister was blind and of abnormally short stature.

 The oldest sibling was spared any of these defects or ailments but died very suddenly and shockingly in his 40's of a heart attack.

My father never said the words, "I love you" to me. And yet I never had the slightest doubt! He demonstrated his affection by buying us treats and I was always dismayed when he would direct us with that beautiful movie star grin to "Go look in the ice box." There inevitably would be a can of peaches. He truly believed that this would  be a finer joy to us than candy! I knew to act thrilled and this was our somewhat off-tilt little love language - his "surprise" treat and my loving pretense of delight.

As I grew older and he realized how much I loved green seedless grapes the ice box surprise changed.  And finally when I grew up and brought my babies home to visit "Papa" he would tell me to go look on the kitchen counter. There would be an array of Gerber baby food jars arranged in a long row.

Just imagining him standing there in the grocery aisle with that peculiar posture developed by long decades of resting his useless arm on the small of his back filled me with immeasurable love.

As a young man he was very athletic...ran the "100 yard dash" and enjoyed the nickname "Lightning" . Was captain of his high school football team at Milby High School in Houston. Courted a pretty red-haired girl named Audrey Dozier. Earned a scholarship for both athletics and scholarship to the very prestigious Rice Institute (now University) in Houston. The summer he graduated from high school spun out like a golden gleeful anticipation for Lawrence Crosby. In fact, he was so jolly and full of fun that he even volunteered to be an extra onstage in the vaudeville shows that preceded films in the cinemas in those days!

His uncle Allen Wynn Crosby owned a drilling company and hired both my grandfather and my father to work on an oil derrick that summer. The structure called "the Christmas tree" needed some kind of maintenance and my father climbed the very top of it. Suddenly as I understand the story, it began to lean to one side and clearly was going to topple over. The men on lower segments managed to jump off to safety but my father fell the 40' with the structure. Somehow he was not crushed but part of it rolled over onto his back and then off again (I am assuming). He was knocked unconscious and vomited black-eyed peas (his lunch) all the way to the hospital. He remained in a coma for three days and the young student nurse assigned to his case was horrified but assured, "Don't worry - he won't make it through the night."

But live he did. His lung was penetrated by broken ribs and there was a deep gash under his handsome chin. Worst of all, his right arm was paralyzed. Somehow he did not realize the gravity of this permanent injury as his arm was in a sling. One day the doctor came in and my father asked if the wound under his chin was going to be a scar.

"Young man, " the doctor gravely replied, "You have a lot more to worry about than a scar."

My father was, I suppose, very much an eighteenth century kind of a man. Very modest and reserved. If during the night a call came to him and he had to answer it on the only telephone we had in the house - on the kitchen counter - he would put on his slacks before venturing down the hallway.

Most remarkably of all, in our green Ford Pinto on the way to the church for my wedding, as I sat the backseat with my wedding gown across my lap he suddenly turned to my mother and asked, "Olga, have you TALKED to Penny?"

Her curt reply was, "Of course!"

Ah, my goodness. Glad we didn't have to take a detour into the Walgreen's parking lot for  Mama to give me "the talk" while my father paced outside the car!

Daddy was compensated with three gifts - a keen intelligence, an enormous sense of duty and honor, and truly extraordinary good looks.

His mother would watch him grooming himself to go out and say, "Lawrence, you look like a collar ad!"

Think of the old sketches in newspapers in the 1930's  and those chiseled chins in the ads for the shirt collars which were sold separately from the common round-necked shirts.

That was his look.

Manly perfection.

When I was in college he came one evening to pick me up from a play rehearsal. One of the snobby pretty girls in the play came to tell me,"There's a handsome man waiting outside for you. Is that YOUR FATHER?"

I was overcome with a soaring pride I can feel to this day.  Naturally I told him about that but he acted unmoved.

But that evening I caught  him admiring himself in the wall mirror!





Sunday, June 26, 2011

Little girls are for grandmothers to fuss over

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Penny.

Her mother was something of a perfectionist when it came to her children's clothes.

When Penny was about 8 store bought dresses would not do. She was "too tall for an 8 and too small for a 10."

Penny's mother ironed her hair ribbons and sending her only daughter off to school in a dress that didn't "fit" was unthinkable !

Back in those days little girls wore dresses to school. Socks with shoes. Not jeans or t-shirts with rubbery depictions of Disney princesses on them. Little girls were groomed just as neatly as their mothers who wore gloves and hats on shopping excursions " downtown."

A neighbor lady named Mrs. Nelson agreed to sew for Penny and the result was a set of very pretty dresses, one of which has survived the passing of 52 years. Think about that for a minute.

More than half a century!

Penny grew up. Now she has 9 grandchildren. FIVE beautiful granddaughters!

Here is my beloved oldest granddaughter. Eva Rose. Wearing my dress.

I could cry.

I have 3 dress pattern envelopes from that era and have enlisted my sister-in-law to make another dress as similar as possible to a pale sage green one I loved especially.

Each granddaughter in turn will wear it, have her photo made in it - and I will cry at the sight of each one.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

In lieu of flowers...

Fourteen-year-old Sketchy Meow Dollahon shuffled off this mortal coil early Friday morning.

His glossy black coat had become reddish - so that's how black cats go "grey."

He had lost part of his lip in a backyard fight which resulted in an Elvis sneer, had a ravenous appetite (until recent days) and was a prolific producer of hair balls.

Sketchy was known to the grandchildren as "the nice kitty", as opposed to "the mean kitty", Colette. This was not based so much on measurably nice behavior - Sketchy mostly just sat immobile and looked at you - while Colette strikes horror in the tender heart of each grandchild by the time they are mobile enough to experiance a Collette confrontation.

Sketchy's relentless bawling to get into the house when out or to get out of the house when in - will be missed.

His impressive talents for producing hair balls no one would discover for weeks - having fossilized under the dining room table or behind an armchair ~ and then alternately offering moist wet ones on kitchen countertop, seats of chairs and on papers you wanted to keep - will not be forgotten.

Sketchy was preceded in death by a few days by his actual sibling, Spanky Dollahon, also of Houston.

Companion survivor Collette (aka the MEAN kitty) was consoled with an extra scoop of Tender Vittles. She then vanished to take a nap and could not be reached for comment.

In lieu of flowers, cash or money order donations can be made to assuage the intense grief of Sketchy's caregivers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If it happened...

My younger son Sean just asked me what Dad and I would do if all our grown kids died in a common accident and we "inherited" our 8 grandchildren, who are all aged 6 and under.

Uh hem.

Well, as soon as we gathered up all the necessary clothes, sippy cups, pacies, Monster Trucks, Barbies, etc., etc., etc. and scooped out spaces in our house to bed down each little head - I would call the TLC network. We'd immediately be signed up for our own reality show, which would nicely cover the expenses.

Our show might be called, "Aging at the Speed of Light".

The children would all flourish and Dad and I would rapidly deteriorate.

Episode #4 would be "Mimi's Makeover". It would be a tragic failure.

By the end of Season One all the kids would be treated by TLC to excursions to Chicago and New York City for appearances on Oprah, Good Morning America and Larry King Live.

Larry would look better than Dad by then.

By the mid-way point of Season Two I would be training to be on "Dancing with the Stars" and all of America would be pulling for me, being the obvious underdog, what with Sally Field, Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley, my eerily (what's up with that?) youthful age-group counterparts giving sorrowful interviews to PEOPLE magazine about how "sweet" I am and how they soooooo wished I could get the hang of the lunges, "Bless her heart".

That body language expert gal on Fox would dissect film clips of my eye twitches and declare that I was "stressed".

Duh.

Dr. Perper would come on and state that I was probably suffering from an extremely delayed onset of Progeria, seeing as how I was only 60 and looked 96.

Then finally someone would observe that Dad and I seemed "happy" to have 16 little arms around our necks and that would cause a flurry of thousands of Facebook hits agreeing that they had never seen such contented (albeit BUSY) grandparents.

Each evening Dad and I would fill the punchbowl with popcorn and set all the little ones (those with teeth) down in front of it on beach towels as we watch episodes of Andy Griffith together.

It wouldn't be so bad.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unforgettable Mama

My mother, Olga Eva Taylor, was born on Annunciation Street in New Orleans on February 12, 1915, just about 2 miles from the infamously enticing French Quarter. She was born in the Mardi Gras season and the aura of this point of arrival very aptly conveys her personality and temperament. She had a flair for the melodramatic, was a bit on the reckless side, was colorful, impulsive, and did not hesitate to express her feelings without restraint.


She was a registered nurse (R.N.) and as I recall earned the second highest grade on the Louisiana State Boards upon her graduation from Touro Infirmary. She was pediatric ward supervisor at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She loved her little patients and told me a story about a very tiny premature black baby girl who was declining and not expected to live. Her glamorous name was Marie Antoinette! Almost on a whim it was suggested that she be given a blood transfusion and my mother had the right type. The other nurses joked that my lively, excitable mother's blood would pep her up, if anything could. The tiny dying infant did indeed pep up, and survived to eventually leave Charity Hospital. With a new attitude, no doubt!

During WWll my future mother was reeling from a heartbreaking divorce and wanted to serve overseas. But she was underweight, and tried drinking milkshakes in order to become just heavy enough to pass the physical. To no avail. A friend told her, "Olga, you could sit on a dime and still read 'In God We Trust'!"

After she remarried in Houston and became pregnant with me, her first child, at age 35, there were signs that she might miscarry. My concerned 43-year-old father insisted that she stop working in order to safeguard her pregnancy, and she did. Twenty years later when she returned to nursing she boldly applied for the position of supervisor in a private geriatric nursing facility. Despite lacking any experience in all those 20 years with new technology or medications, etc., she was hired at age 55! Needless to say, the strain on her was enormous as she faced such a "learning curve". But she regained her exceptional ability to start IV's that other nurses could not manage, and was sometimes called from home to come in for that very purpose. No vein was too tiny in infants or too elusive in the elderly for Olga to find!

My mother had very dark hair - almost black, very dark brown eyes and an olive complexion. In her 40's she had a series of vision complications - cataracts in each eye followed by detached retinas in each eye following separate accidents. The first was a car accident and in the second a big husky refrigerator repairman was pulling the door closed as he left and my mother impulsively stepped forward to say one more thing - and the door slammed into her temple. By age 50 she would have been declared legally blind without glasses, which had dark green lenses and were very thick. When I was a child my friends would ask why my mother wore sunglasses in the house! As a result of these injuries she developed a fear of suddenly going blind and would not sleep without a light on.

When I was about 9 she decided to take swimming lessons with my class. She was the only adult in the group - fortunately I was still too young to be mortified! I can still see her kick-floating all the way across the pool wearing her rubber bathing cap. She never did master the art of breathing while swimming so it was a mighty mastery of breath-holding the entire way, end to end.

She could be very surprising. One afternoon when I was about 11 at a neighbor's house she suddenly sat down at their piano and played a lovely melody. I had no idea that she had taken lessons as a child! Another afternoon she jumped on my bicycle and took a spin around the block. I had no idea that she could do that and I stood in the middle of the street, hopping up and down and laughing, waiting for her to come back! Those were one-time-only demonstrations that left me utterly and delightedly agog!

She had very beautiful hands. "Isn't it a shame," she would ruefully remark, "that my best features are so far from my face?"

As a mother, the role in which I knew her best, she was intensely interested and devoted - always abundantly generous and affectionate. She would spend hours talking to me about "being a Southern lady", being kind to others, being sensitive to other people's "feelings", being mannerly. Saying "yes ma'am" and "no sir" was so deeply ingrained in me that I had a tough time knowing when I was old enough myself to drop that habit. It was when younger people started calling me ma'am that I figured the time had come!

While watching the Miss America Pageant she advised me that it would be better to win "Miss Congeniality".

She had a particular concern that our clothes be "smart", tailored, and neatly pressed. She even ironed my hair ribbons and plaited my long hair so tightly and neatly that a boy in my class discovered to his amusement that my braids could be twisted as if stiffened with wires. I went around the classroom many a day with one braid bent at a 90 degree angle.

She was emotional, wept with compassion at a sad story, had a deep voice for a woman and a throaty, unforgettable laugh. Her personality was so compelling that she either annoyed a person to distraction or else attracted them as a friend forever. Her temper could be as intense as her good cheer.

She had a thousand stories and could pull one out to suit every occasion. She was terrified of dogs because when she was a child in Biloxi, Mississippi they had a French maid and her face had been mauled by a dog when she was a child. Tant Jolie told my mother to always cover her face if she saw a dog coming her way. Sure enough, up went those pretty hands if Fido even looked in my mother's direction.

My mother's family had another French maid called Fay Lay-SEA' (phonetic spelling here) and when we were sick our mother gave us a little bell to ring at our bedsides and we were to call out, "Fay lay-SEA'!" I never quite understood the meaning in that practice but dutifully, we did it! And Mama came running.

One of my sweetest memories of being in her company was standing on a street downtown in front of a department store called Foley's in winter waiting for my father to pick us up after a long day of shopping. (shopping was one of her greatest joys. Things for her children - never for herself). It was bitterly cold and she had a lovely reversible wool coat, cut A-line and very wide at the hem in the 1950's style. It was black on the side she liked best, with a wide white lapel collar and white cuffs. She wrapped it around me and my head poked out above the big black buttons and I think my head was no higher than her waist. It was the coziest feeling ever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Memory of Mercy

Way back in the summer of 1973 I was pregnant with our first son, Walker, and Winston was living several miles apart from me, at what they called "The Schools' Command" in a barracks on Pensacola Naval Air Station.

I wasn't yet 23 and trying to manage living alone for the first time in my life - in a new town in a different state from our home in Texas. Looking back, I was unsure of myself and timid and quite intimidated by those in the medical profession. I didn't have a lot of initiative or confidence and the entire having a baby prospect was exciting but also daunting. I certainly took it seriously.

I was of course scheduled to deliver in the hospital building on the navy base.

At my first OB appointment in Pensacola I was over 6 months along. Much to my dismay, instead of seeing a doctor I was seen instead by a rather brusque woman who was identified as a "nurse midwife". I had never heard of such a title and found her manner to be unsettling. When I asked her who would actually be delivering my baby, she said emphatically, "I will".

Now here I must explain that I had a feeling of foreboding.

I was absolutely and beyond any doubt certain that this woman should not preside over the birth of my child. I did not feel that she was competent!

I don't know why but I was suddenly convinced that I should just go to a civilian hospital when my time came.

I had no idea, however, that that would not be an option for me in Pensacola. Soon I learned that I would have no medical coverage unless I delivered at least (I think it was ) 30 miles away from a military base.

It was then that I decided to go home to Houston where I could have the OB who had seen me before the move to Pensacola. This meant that Winston would not be with me. This was a wrenching sacrifice for me.

It meant staying with my parents, which was unfortunately not going to be an ideal situation. But I was sure that I could not remain in Florida and let this woman deliver my baby.

As it turned out, Walker was 9 lbs. 13 oz. and had to be delivered by forceps. But he was absolutely unharmed and a very healthy, bright child.

Four years passed and we moved back to Pensacola after a tour of duty in Hawaii. One morning I looked at the newspaper and read an article entitled, "Navy Hospital Named in Lawsuit".

A month following my son's birth another little boy was born at the navy hospital and a lawsuit had apparently recently been filed by his mother.

To quote,

"She charged that officials negligently entrusted the care of herself to an uncertified and inadequately trained obstetrical nurse practitioner (midwife) for delivery of her child.

As a result, she said that her son suffered brain damage during the course of labor resulting in cerebral palsy and great disability of his mind, including but not limited to, paralysis or loss of use of both of his lower extremities and his upper extremities, muscle contractures and skeletal distortion requiring surgical correction, casting and cutting of nerves."

I have kept this article all these years as a reminder of how close I likely came to a true tragedy.

I have always felt that the unusual unrelenting boldness that came over me to take charge and change my situation was a blessing from God.

I am forever grateful for that strong Heavenly "nudge"!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Having a baby 1973 style

Winston was in Pensacola, Florida in Naval Aviation Officers' Candidate School. I was in Houston, staying with my parents for the event of my first child's birth. I made that choice almost by instinct and will post later about how it is that I learned (4 years later) that I had made a very, very wise decison. Praise God.

My parents were both alive and I was just newly 23. I washed my hair and it was about to my elbows and they didn't have a dryer so I stood in their backyard "swishing" my hair to get it to dry. I was cramping and feeling pretty anxious but you couldn't just go downtown with wet hair. Mother painted my toenails for me because I couldn't "reach". I packed two new Alfred Hitchcock short story paperbacks because I was under the impression that I would get bored all those hours waiting for the baby to be born.

My father was pacing around and finally, toes painted and hair dry, they drove me to the Medical Center in the same old green Pinto they had driven me in to my wedding two years earlier.

Daddy let Mother and me off at the ramp in front of Methodist Hospital and when I entered the elevator I looked so huge and miserable that two or three people got out to make it less crowded for me.

I never cracked the back of those paperbacks! It was like all aboard the pain train! from the minute those nurses got a hold of me.

Winston was called in Pensacola at the training command and he was pulled out of class so that he could go home and wait by the phone. After they had given me Demerol and I was loopy they wheeled my gurney out to the nurses' station so that I could take his call. (Boy, did we need cell phones back then! They weren't even portable.) I told him that I felt "like I've had 7 beers." I'd never had 7 beers in my life but that seemed like a good analogy.

I kept hearing other women in Labor and Delivery screaming and I imagined that the nurses and doctors were doing something to them and working their way down the hallway to do the same thing to me! Later after Walker was born and I had done my share of moaning I wondered what those women were SCREAMING about because I didn't think it was leg-sliced-off sort of pain at all. Hmmmm...

Meanwhile an hour or two had passed and my father had never showed up at the Methodist Hospital "Dad's Club" waiting area.

My mother (unbeknownst to me!) was trying to trick the staff into assuming she was my private duty nurse because she was wearing her nurse's uniform and hovering over me. It went fine until I said, "Mama..."

They kicked her out.

Now she realized that my father was not there in the waiting room and she thought he'd had a heart attack or something. She ran down to the ER to see if he was in there collapsed or worse. She didn't want to leave the floor I was on but she was worried about him, too.

Finally he sauntered in looking sheepish. He had driven around the massive Medical Center and parked and entered St. Luke's Hospital and spent a couple of hours in their "Stork Room" wondering where my mother was!

At 7:41 PM I became a mother.

"Squeeeeek...."

Dr. Brown asks, "Penny, did you hear that?"

Still astoundingly clueless, I thought it was the squeaky hinge of some sort of a medical implement!

"Penny, that's your baby! It's a boy!"

Welcome to the world, my son Walker!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paperweight Babies

One of the cutest stages in babyhood is the "paperweight era". They are pretty, plump and not yet mobile. They are very smiley and drippy about the chin with teething juice. You carry them in and set them down and they sit there and stay put. Generally after a short while they wave their arms as if trying to take off in flight or they might eventually just topple over. No embarrassment or outrage. They act as if they meant to topple over all along.

As if to save face they automatically begin very ernestly to study their fingers, or more likely taste them to see if the flavor might have changed since the morning nap finger-savoring routine.

Nope. Still the same. Pretty good, actually.

How precious are our paperweight babies!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sausage Casing Pajamas


You know what I mean. Those p.j.'s with footies for babies that say they are precisely the right size for a year old child. I don't think so....must be they are manufactured in an island culture where babies remain very slender and tiny instead of getting to look like dimpled dumplings as our USA-bred and fed babies quickly do!

I was trying to dress our grandson for bed, attempting to pull the sleeves over his pudgy wrists without causing him some sort of joint injury. Winston, looking on, remarked, "Isn't that too snug for him?"

"Too snug! You've got to be kidding! Too TIGHT maybe - we are well past the 'snug' stage now!"

Eventually, after much tugging and straining on Mimi's part, said baby boy was all zipped up in what can only be likened to a sausage casing. The back of the neckline was dipping down toward his shoulder blades, his feet had to have been curled up like fist-feet because there was certainly no room for appendages like toes. I looked at the tag. Yep. Size 18 months. He was just over 12 months. Should be roomy, right?

Ah, but what a cute little sausage he was!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Young Now

Written Mothers' Day, 1990

Walker, look at me!
I'm young now!
"How could such a little girl have such a fine, big boy?" people ask.
I'm young now!
I carry your diaper bag loaded with toys to amuse you, and I don't care how heavy it is,
I can run half the length of the block behind your stroller just to hear your laughter,
I can watch you crush your crackers into crumbs and run for the camera because your messes are so cute and I'm not tired.
I'm young now!

Laurel, listen to me!
I'm still young.
I hunt for old pictures of me and the school dresses my mother kept, and I put them on you and brush your hair into a ponytail (too tight) like mine,
just to see you look the same.
But you are so much prettier!
I marvel at your femaleness and feel, shushed with awe, that I have recreated myself!
I listen to you all day long, because you love to talk, too!
And it's so much fun!
I'm still young!

Sean, this is me.
I'm not young.
I look into your eyes, like mine (without the crinkles) and see how deep and wise they are.
I take the time to sit with you and look at books on dinosaurs because you weren't sure how to pronounce "carnivore" , and you wanted me there - even if the floor needs sweeping.
I know how to listen to a teacher tell me you're clever and how to be wise enough not to deny it for politeness' sake, because I know it's true.
I corral you in my arms for kisses even when you're outside-sweaty,
and when you try to escape, I'm still young enough to win!

Even though,
I'm not young now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dear Me, from Me

Today my daughter-in-law, Missy, asked me to write a letter to myself - the self I was when I was raising small children. Here goes;

Dear Frazzled Me, (1982)

I realize that you haven't been out of the house (and that you HATE this house...three bitty bedrooms, one bath for a family of five, teensy narrow galley kitchen, single living area swallowed up by the sofa, no garage...creepy chilly dungeon basement)...in 10 days.

The snow is up to the hubcaps on the one car you share with Winston, the absentee car which is with him at work, as always. Walker is 9 and at school which is directly behind this shrinky dink house. Laurel is 4 and an incessant talker with a lot of whine thrown in, Sean is 2 and has developed a compulsion for swallowing coins, and neither of them is fond of outings in the snow. Laurel doesn't like to have a cold face and Sean looks like the Michelin Tire Man in his gray snowsuit and cannot walk in his boots, so he stands with snow up to his thighs, rooted in place and screaming, "Mamma!" Snot looks pretty strange when it freezes.

I don't like my one available friend very much so I would rather not invite her and her children over or even walk to their house for a change of place.

We have the tiniest, crummiest house of anyone I have met here and with three rambunctious kids we are cramped beyond tolerance. There is not a spot in the entire house in which we don't have to walk single file. The previous owners glued red flannel to the wood floor in the hallway for some reason. I have been chipping away at the flannel all week.

I have the awful idea that we are sinking lower year by year rather than progressing UPward. Our first home purchased 5 years ago was a delightful Florida ranch - brand new! I'd give anything to roll back the clock as far as that goes...I don't look forward to anything now, so I do a lot of reminiscing.

We've left the most exciting and marvelous experience of our lives - two years in Japan! -and I deeply miss the exhilaration of life in a foreign country, the Japanese housemaid, the amusing next door neighbor I loved so much. I miss...I miss...I miss...

WAIT. Who did I say was a whiner?

Penny, wake up! You are a blessed woman! You have a great husband (as husbands go...ha!), terrific children (as children go...) and yet you are unwilling to do anything but sulk. You think that you are in a rut, that nothing is ever going to change.

Haven't you observed by now, at the age of 32, that life evolves?

Sure, Florida was a sunny time when 4 previous lost pregnancies was wonderfully resolved with the birth of a daughter and a new baby due as we embarked for a tour in Japan. Japan was delightful, as you welcomed the arrival of a second son and enjoyed the novelty of so many unique and fascinating experiences. All that was wonderful. Granted.

Now it's bleak times in "Bleak House". Life has gone sour and you wanted a picnic year-round. Didn't you?

Well, guess what? Right this minute as I write to you from age 58, I would gladly spend 10 days cooped up with those precious children again. You'll miss being able to walk with them and look down on the tops of all their blond heads. You'll miss bathing them and touching those pudgy baby limbs. You'll miss being Mommy Everything to them, before they have friends they enjoy better, spouses they love more and pudgy little children of their own.

Nothing lasts forever.

If I could, I would read to my little children. A lot. Instead of scrapping red flannel off the hallway floor.

I would pay more attention to teaching them table manners (I found out it's hard to catch up on that when they are twelve).

I would concentrate more on making the best of a bad situation than brooding about it. I would want them to learn something about the benefits of good cheer when times are tough. They, too, will have tough times. Alas.

I would have hidden the scissors so Laurel couldn't have cut her bangs.

I would have made the most of the time with my father I had left. I would have engaged him in conversations with me alone and asked him about his childhood, his heritage, so that at 58 I wouldn't be digging for names and dates on ancestry.com filling the gaps I helped create. I would have thanked him for having been such a steadfast, dependable father to me.

I would have greeted Winston when he came home with funny kiddo stories rather than gripe about how much I hated that house.

I wouldn't have made such a big deal about the wheat bread in the toilet...Sean...was it you? Laurel...fess up?

Maybe I would have trusted God more, knowing that I was not exempt from the frustrating episodes in life - I wasn't God's special "pet". I would have exhibited a lot more grace in times of stress and I think I would have baked cookies more often.

And let me tell you one thing, Penny...you are going to LOVE being a grandmother! Trust me - the best is yet to come!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dancing Bladder Balloons

Now that I am 58, some of the uh-hem, changes in my overall self are becoming slightly problematic. Recently I suffered what is known in layman's terms as a "frozen shoulder". Guess what? You need to be able to move your shoulder in all sorts of directions without pain to find everyday activities (like combing your hair) comfortable. Well, at the physical therapy location (they call it "Sports Medicine" which had me completely baffled because I thought that was a service for people who DO SPORTS. But never mind.) Anyway after about 20 torture sessions instigated by very peppy young gals whose shoulders did not hurt them day and night, I came to recognize my fellow agonized shoulder sufferers. Two men about my age were groaning in unison and I laughed - haha- wasn't it great to be middle aged? Hoho. I remarked cheerily that I just couldn't wait to see what part of my anatomy would fall apart next.

That evening at home hubby and I were enjoying salmon for dinner when I discovered something like a chunk of bone in my mouth. Hmmm. Fish don't have bones like that. Hmm. Oh! Well, well. A tooth had just broken right in two. How interesting. A mere $733 later and a brand new crown. Good as new!

Then the other day I was watching a commercial and it featured dancing balloons representing full bladders. Kind of cute. Until the pharmaceutical's ad agency crossed the line and depicted a banner welcoming "The Class of 68". That's my class, thank you very much. So folks my age need to worry about bladder control on top of everything else? Super!

I don't think I'm going to crack anymore jokes at "Sports Medicine".

Sigh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mary Ellen: joy of the ages

August 13th our sweet new granddaughter, Mary Ellen, became our newest (7th!) delight and I must say, having a new grandchild - even a seventh one - is fully as exciting as every one to come before. Mary Ellen's other grandmother and I stood in that wide familiar hallway listening at the door for any sign that she had arrived, and then Sean emerged wearing that age old paternal smile of enormous relief.She's here! She's fine!
I was struck with renewed wonderment and the recall of that quote which is so succinct;

A new baby is God's desire that the world should go on.
We are a nation at war, with all kinds of troubles and dire predictions of more trouble to come, and yet here is this tiny beautiful face wrapped in her mother's arms, designed to live on this wobbly planet with the radiant possibilities of every child ever born since the beginning of time. Mary Ellen has a divinely determined place, a role to fulfill, challenges to meet, opportunities to seek, lessons to learn and later on, with her own children ~ lessons to teach.

When I look at those infant eyes as they slide to and fro, those curled fists and slender air-dancing feet, I see that already she is preparing to search, to fight for what is right and to leap with joy!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow...
Mary Ellen, Mimi loves you so much!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Don't know why. We just did.

A few posts back I mentioned my affinity for keeping junk. I found a particularly oddball/embarrassing/incomprehensible item that my mother had kept. She had to have kept it originally because I was too young to be in the least bit sentimental at oh, say, age 11?

Then I discovered it in a box of "stuff" she had kept for posterity, and I am trying to figure out what it signifies. Here is a photo.
Do not trouble yourself overly much in trying to imagine why it has been in my treasured clutter collection for the past 18 years. I have to keep it.

It falls into the category of:

I HAVE KEPT IT SO LONG, I HAVE TO KEEP ON KEEPING IT NOW.

I actually remember the shopping excursion. I was the sort of child to be totally thrilled. I even pranced into the living room to show my father the new item I had bought. 99 out of 100 little girls would have been bewildered. Or embarrassed. Not me. I thought it was great news! Look at this!

My father, it must be noted, was not a goofy, fun-loving, jovial kind of a man. He was an austere nineteenth century kind of a man. He went to work. He read the paper. He didn't discipline us. He talked to my brother about college football. He didn't know what to do about his impulsive, effusively excitable daughter. He was a modest man. After he had gone to bed if he got a phone call from his boss he put on his slacks to venture into the den to answer the single telephone we had. He wasn't cuddly. He never said "I love you" to me and yet he was so very, very loving.

Deeds do speak louder than words when you have a Daddy like that.

About a year or two before I waved that new item in front of the newspaper he was reading, he saw a sketch of a little girl wearing a striped dress. It was a Foley's Dept. store ad. He called out to my mother, "Olga, do they have this dress in Penny's size?"

Yes, for no special occasion at all, my father wanted me to have that dress. I loved it!

A few years later, when I was a freshman in high school, again he saw an item in a news ad. This time it was a very old-fashioned "Gibson Girl" blouse, white, with full sleeves and lace on the bodice. Again, Mother went at his behest to buy that blouse for me.

So. That is love. I think my mother kept this little box because it reminded her of a funny family story. I clearly didn't take into account my father's reserved personality when I ran in to show it to him. I was happy and I suppose I just had a trust that those who loved me most ought to be in on my joy! To me, it was better than an "A" on a report card.

To my father, it was probably just another dismaying event in the process of raising a girl.
I miss you, Daddy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Falling Rain

Well, Winston and I are visiting Laurel, James and toddler g-daughter, Wendy. When we arrived we felt that we were also visiting an unborn g-child, "Bitty". Thursday I went with James and Laurel to view the first ultrasound and we had sad news. The baby had "stopped" growing. No heartbeat. Just a still little form remaining.

"Into each life, the rain must fall".

I lost four early pregnancies in the 70's and had not given those long ago emotions much thought in decades. But it all came bubbling back.

The Lord gives and He takes away. We are greatly comforted by the knowledge that there is a purpose in every experiance we have, both the joyous times and the sad times.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The True Meaning of Junk

In the past few days I've had a bee in my bonnet to get rid of the clutter in my house.

This is no simple matter. For one thing, if it were easy for me to get rid of clutter, I wouldn't have collected it in the first place.

It is a love-hate relationship, between clutter and me. I cherish my piles and bins of stuff, while resenting the messiness and sheer volume of it.

So the day before yesterday I took step #1. I targeted the most offensive site - the bedroom which was Sean's. All the boxes, bins and piles came out of their hiding places.

I don't know about your clutter. Maybe you don't have any. If you don't have any, I'm not sure that I understand you. But I guarantee I'll admire you!

My sister-in-law gives me a subscription to Martha Stewart's magazine and the one thing I marvel at is the sleek lovely barren beauty of every room featured. That's what I like. That's the goal! But still I wonder, what does a person who lives in such a home do with all their junky treasures? They can't fool me. Come on! They must keep their kids' report cards, special baby clothes, VCR tapes of events in the 80's, letters, and the like. I'll bet off-camera there is a bin lurking around the corner. Or 11 of them stuffed into a closet. Gotta be.

Anyway, the project is on. Hubby comes home for lunch every day and scowls at the piles on the sofa. It's like a living thing. I clear out and toss 3 lawn and garden bags of junk in the daytime and when I awake in the morning it has spread down into the hallway. Like an amoeba.

Just in case you have any interest in what the piles consist of, I'll give you a rundown;

Tea lights, in bags and loose.

Cassette tapes. About 50 of them. Gotta listen to them all because there might be some with my precious childrens' voices on them. My children are now parents themselves.

Batteries.

A shirt a size too small with stains on it. I was going to shrink myself and take it to the cleaners and wear it again. Right?

Shoes that look like a refugee's footwear.

Recipes! I mean a lot of recipes! I am not lying here. I spent hours watching Fox news and looking at each one. The weight of the paper, clipped out of newspapers over a decade+ and ripped out of magazines is estimated to have been about 8 pounds. No kidding. 3/4 of that pile is going to the curb. I am never going to make Oysters Rockefeller.

Now I have to confess a small sin here. I think it's a sin...? If you ever go to the doc's office and are leafing through a magazine and can't finish the story about whether or not this marriage can be saved and discover a hole where the counselor's assessment would be, then you will know I have been there.

I am stealthy. I can tear out a recipe with almost complete silence. It's a fine art. Like pick-pocketing, maybe? The trick is to go slooooow. I would consider selecting a doctor based on the quality of the magazines in his waiting room. Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living and Good Housekeeping are on my hit list.

How ironic. Good HOUSEKEEPING.

Is there a support group out there for recipe addicts? I really want to get help now.

Next post I hope to be able to show you how sentiment drives a GREAT deal of my hoarding problem. If an item reminds me of a happy time, however mildly, I want to keep it. Maybe I can get Missy to help me post a photo of the wierdest item I have kept - I mean since, oh, 1962?

All for now. The pile is marching into the breakfast room and leaping up onto the table...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Three Weddings in Three Years: Bonanza!

When our oldest son Walker announced that he was engaged to be married, I was all in a dither. I realized that not only would I be gaining a new daughter, but also the dress-up wardrobe of my dreams!
Having not worked in years, I had a pretty skimpy and dated set of jackets-with-skirts and blouses-to-go-with skirts which worked fine for church and club meetings. The navy one. The green one. Here she comes in the maroon one again. On any ordinary day I would be seen in jeans, a camp shirt and Target flip flops.
Now my elder son, my baby, was getting married!
I wanted to do back-flips down the street! I told everyone I knew and had to restrain myself from telling whoever was in line behind me at the grocery store. We were adding Missy to the family! I had tons to do! I had a rehearsal dinner to plan! Showers and parties to attend! The wedding itself! Meeting her family, her friends!
Then it hit me. Clothes.
I needed new clothes. I needed to represent my son well, look stylish, even chic. The mere fact that my daughter Laurel was so excited about the prospect of her brother getting married and her enthusiasm for accompanying me on my urgent shopping excursions made it all even more delightful.
I was reminded of many years ago when I went shopping with my mother, not with an eye on what she might buy for me, but great joy over the fact she was going to buy herself some new dresses for a trip to New Orleans to visit her relatives. I recalled how pleased I was to see her in a flowy floral skirt for the first time with a new handbag to match.
So off we went, my daughter and I. My mental list was extravagant, but I was on a roll!
A lovely salmon-colored Capri pant set with beaded pants caught my eye, a deep turquoise pant set for a shower, perhaps, the luscious moss green sik blouse, the sleek black slacks. The shoes! My chunky black office heels would never do! Sling-back pumps with that impossible needle toe...then the DRESS. That all-important dress for the wedding. Mother of the groom! Imagine that! Gliding elegantly along on 3" champagne colored strappy heels in a matching bolero jacketed sequined dress fit for the Academy Awards! Gorgeous!
I wanted to look wonderful, even glamorous for my son. It was an expression of love no doubt lost on a male child, who most likely just wants Mom to remain Mom.
Suffice it to say that on my son's wedding day, I was stunning! Plus the clothes rack in my closet was practically groaning with brand-new snazzy apparel.
Not a year passed before our second son breezed in with Stephanie on his arm, to tell us that they were engaged! With ruthless glee I informed my husband that I really needed not only a new mother of the groom dress, but also at the very least a "going to the airport" ensemble to pick up his relatives at the airport. With matching shoes and handbag, of course. It worked.
Barely down from the second wardrobe blitz in two years. Just a little breather, then daughter Laurel and James announce that, yes, they are engaged. I'm off to the mall again! Three weddings in three years! Apparel in every conceivable hue and style, beaded and shimmery or simple and sophisticated. Shoes, bags, clip-on ear-rings, three different mother of the groom dresses fit for a coronation at Buckingham Palace.
Now I have run out of children and out of excuses to descend on malls with the zeal of a pilgrim in the wilderness...won't somebody invite me to a fancy-dress event?

I've got the dress, the shoes...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quotes about marriage you'll enjoy!

Married life teaches one valuable lesson: to think of things far enough ahead not to say them.

~ Jefferson Machamer

The honeymoon is the vacation a man takes before beginning work under a new boss.

~ Anonymous

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experianced pain
and bought jewelry.

~ Rita Rudner

When a man and a woman marry, they become one. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

~ Anonymous

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing - and then they marry him.

~ Cher


and my fav;


Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

~ Rabbi H. Schachtel

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hell on Earth

Last Sunday during his sermon, our pastor David said that someone had once made a remark to him which was startling. But true.

"For Christians, Earth is Hell."

I have had the same thought. Think about it!

It is here that we suffer anguish, fright, dread, worry, misery and grief.

It is here that we may be mistreated, hurt in body, wounded in spirit, challenged in ways that trouble us.

Here we lose, here we misbehave (sin) and shame ourselves (Christians have a conscience most of the time!), here we know despair and anxiety and face uncertainty which is almost the worst pain of all.

Tough as life on Earth can be for Christians, what a blessing that this is as bad as it gets!

Then - Paradise!

Beyond that thought I got to musing about how we cope as we struggle through this "vale of tears." I realized that the people we are linked to (not by fluke or by accident, but through the design of God with lofty purpose), our families,, our closest friends, should be sources of comfort, inspiration and encouragement to us. With those special (truly very few) people we should be especially kind, loyal and patient. God attached them to our lives to soothe us and nudge us toward better behavior and by the same token we are entrusted to be merciful toward them.

In my life I see that the familiarity of being close also makes us "comfortable" about being mean, rude or downright taking advantage of those closest individuals. Yes, I am thinking of my own misdeeds. It is so easy to take loved ones for granted! Worse than that - to target them for the slings and arrows of our harshest criticism!

This year we gave our three sons copies of "Sweet and Low" for Father's day simply because Randall recommends it and I thought it would be a good read for those three business-oriented guys. Haven't read it myself, but ironically it describes the back-biting, greed and ruthless actions within the family which created that product. The achievement of astonishing wealth seems to have been a catalyst for the destruction of an entire family (surprise, surprise).

Maybe we all should be grateful that we don't have vast family fortunes to squabble over!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!


Our 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter, Maggie Belle, has always been on the timid side. Yesterday she and her three siblings , all aged 4, 3, 2 (Maggie herself) and 1, had a modeling opportunity for a company that produces pro sports DVDs featuring small children in mini uniforms. Cute stuff.

Of course we knew that rough and tumble Shepherd, aged 4 1/2, would warm immediately to the notion of suiting up like a real athlete and tossing foam rubber balls and bats around. Eva Rose at 3 1/2 plays dress-up all the time and the pom poms attracted her right away so all went well with her session, of course. Then little Ingram, still crawling and with the stick-up blond fuzz he inherited from his father, was of course pretty clue-less but adorable nevertheless.

I think we saved Maggie for last because the chances for a spectacular Maggie Belle melt down were prime...at home she might have been napping. Instead we were restraining her from walking around the tiny cramped studio. Not a choice situation with Miss Mags! Added to that insult was the fact that there were no snacks, but Shepherd and Eva Rose had discovered a cold water dispenser and were guzzling it as if H2O was the nectar of the gods. Two grandmas and one harried mother were barely enough staff to keep 4 kiddos from injury, outright carnage and towering rage tantrums!

Whew!

At last it was Maggie's "turn". Missy decided at the last minute to pull her blond curls into twin ponytails and hurriedly we dressed her in tiny white baseball trousers and a white baseball shirt..."Dodgers". She looked like the one child in America least likely to ever play any game that involves roughness and sweat. Despite the sports gear that looked quite natural on the other kids, she in fact looked like a fairy, as always.

Nervously, I took Ingram for a spin in his stroller around the reception area, just knowing that Maggie was not going to like all this tightly controlled instruction, having to stay in camera range, being told to hold this or jump or spin or whatever the action might be. No way!

But hearing laughter and whoops of delight from Missy and crew, I learned that Miss Maggie had found her glory at last! Her personal spot in the sun! She was almost meticulously responding to every bit of direction, behaving like a professional between takes, standing solemnly to await the next shot, then springing into action with just the right amount of animation each time! I never knew she could stack a tower of blocks so high, smile so beguilingly for a camera-person she didn't know. It was astonishing!



When finally she was told she was "all done", she lowered her chin and frowned. She didn't budge. Come on, Maggie! Let's go! Time to go home!

No.

Alright. Missy had to go walk right on the set and pick her up, weeping and struggling.

The video lady shook her head and said,
"She's a natural..."

Wait a minute, Mr. DeMille.

I'm ready for my close-up now!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mimi's high school - 1966-1968

Every Sunday morning on the way to church, my husband Winston and I pass by our old high school. Without fail, our heads turn to the left and take another look at it.

The facade of the building has changed since we were students there (as alas, have our own physical facades!), but we remember those long hallways lined all the way down with grey steel lockers, the enormous clock above urging us to stop lingering and get on to class before...before...The Bell Rings!

We remember how we admired the cheerleaders, each one cute as a button with a perfect "flip" hairdo, petite and perky every minute of every day. We would spot the football team practicing out behind the building in intense southern heat, and we thought that they embodied everything marvelous about perseverance and raw roughness. Winston and I were not among those elite. We were firmly entrenched in the "everybody else" population, but there were common denominators between shyest girl and Homecoming Queen, struggling freshman math student and Summa Cum Laude senior.

We were all Cardinals!

I recall the litter in the hallways in those days, trampled red and white "spirit ribbons"... GO, CARDS, GO!, folded hall passes, "David D. to office - 1:45", the random gooey mascara wand, the candy wrappers (acceptable if consumed after lunch) and the putty-like ball of chewing gum wrapped in foil (NOT acceptable on campus at any time!) To this day the fragrance of Aqua Net hair spray catapults me back to the girls' locker room...every girl carried a giant grandma-like purse to accommodate the colossal can of spray. By the handle...tiny shoulder bags were yet to come.

Would any teen today believe for a second that in my three years there, I never heard a vulgar word?
Never once saw a student sass a teacher (oh, but the fun we made fun of them behind their backs, poor souls) My boyfriend, Winston, won my heart by creating a fabulous caricature of a particularly unintentionally hilarious lady who shall remain un-named here.

The teachers! The charmingly courtly English history teacher, Mr. Dillman, who wore a black stocking over the stump where his hand had been before it was blown off in a terrible accident when he himself was in high school - actually AT his high school. Each year he commemorated the anniversary of that date by telling the entire gruesome story, about how he and a friend had decided to confiscate some chemicals from the science lab and mix them together in a jar and then stand around chatting beside his car while the jar heated to super-sonic temps on his Fry-Baby car hood. Next thing he remembered...well...no one could tell it like Mr. Dillman!

My own father suffered a paralyzed arm as the result of an oil field accident when he was 19 years old, and I knew the story of that even, too. But the difference is that Mr. Dillman did not speak of it as tragedy at all. I do believe there was even a question and answer period offered following The Telling of the Story, but we all sat leaning forward, mute and awestruck, not by Mr. Dillman's familiar black-sheathed stump, but by his gentle gracious demeanor, wry awareness of our shameless curiosity and astonishing good will despite this calamity. Wow. Is this how we should bear adversity? I think so.

Winston's favorite teacher was also a man, Mr. Pedigo, who taught English with an irrepressible zeal and startling boxer-dude sudden moves when throwing the blackboard eraser - HARD! - at sleeping students. What would that get Mr. Pedigo today in terms of jail time and court dates?

Let me state what it earned him in my 59-year-old husband's memory....respect. After the first or second eraser blast, all eyes were on Mr. Pedigo and every ear took in every word he spoke. What did he call students who did poorly on a test? "You bunch of lazy, worthless hounds!" Did parents call the school board about little Johnny's self-esteem? Not one. Why does Winston remember this man with such regard to this day? Because here was a teacher who could TEACH!

Lest I speak too fondly, I must admit that the cafeteria lunches were gruel on a beige plastic plate (thus the profusion of candy wrappers), the hall monitors were mean and enjoyed their duties a bit TOO much.

Things were different in those days. Virtually all the students had two parents, a curfew and said "Yes, Ma'am" and "No sir". Failing grades were a disgrace. Let me tell you some time about the pink failing slip I hid in my bedroom!) Smart students were ultimately admired more than the beauteous ones. No one wanted to "get into trouble" largely because they didn't want to face the mortification of those vigorously strict parents. We loved them, after all.

So, the story continues. Winston (class of '67) and I (class of '68) married and left town for his Navy career in 1973. Our lives revolved around planes, ships and deployments all over the world while raising three kids in places that couldn't have been more different from home, places like Ewa Beach, Hawaii, snowy Brunswick, Maine and exotic Japan. Finally to our astonishment opportunity led us right back to a home only a few miles from our old high school.

Now every Sunday at about 9:15 we pass by that school and chances are we will swivel our heads to the left for a quick look. If anyone happens to riding along with us we might simultaneously exclaim, "There it is! That's the high school where we met!" with a glee our passenger is not likely to comprehend.

We might remark that "our bench", which had been precisely THERE, right, Honey? has long since vanished, and we feel a little bit sad. Then the rest of the ride down that tree-lined avenue, we are quieter, lost in our own red 'n white Go, Cards, Go!memories once again...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

For Walker - Nov. 29, 1979


November 29, 1979



REMEMBER


When I gaze at our son,

many boys fill my sight

As the babe held aloft

on that warm, starry night

With wishes and deep love,

so gladly bought

Can't be gone! But lies on,

in the cradle of thought.

And the man yet to come

so strong and so tall

Will not dim my visions

of Walker yet small.

For it is quite certain

there's plenty of space

For boys of all ages

in my Memory's place.

Making Medical History


Our three-year-old son Sean was very much annoyed by his older siblings, who were always reminding him that this toy or that one had originally been theirs. Finally one afternoon he emerged happily from his room carrying a huge dump truck, saying, "I was born with this!"

Bald was beautiful, too...

August 11, 1984

Today I cried.
At the store, among the hair ribbons,
clips, barrettes and brushes,
I cried.
I was buying those things for you -
for the long hair I thought you'd never have,
When you were bald.

For...your first day of school.