Friday, July 24, 2009

PA Updates on shortman

Finally at the local library 'puter. Enjoyed a great meal and visit last night with Carlie, Pam. Bev, Kathy & Sam (Kathy's brother who accompanied us for Jerry's benefit...so Jerry would not have to listen to all the women.) Rich stopped by too, my old friend, attorney, etc. Who is always good for advising Jerry that he can represent him here in PA! Kathy asked me earlier that day, "Is Jerry going?" To which I said, "well if he wants to eat he will!" So she suggested Sam come along so he could have someone to talk to. That was nice, but actually Jerry is getting quite used to these PA gatherings with my friends. After 42 years with me he doesn't get worked up about much....

Except when he goes into what I call his Jerry-Bob-Jerry mode. Sandy knows that's the combo of her Bob's spirit with Jerry! Both small men, with big attitudes at times. Jerry would not listen to my advice to not pack those clocks until the estimator came. "No it's fine. When we moved Mom from CA she left all her drawers filled." My comment, "But that was different, it was clothing, not valuable heavy antique clocks." "Well I know what I'm doing. And these are my clocks, Jinx wanted me to have them remember!" Oh yes and I know he's quite proud of them! I am destructively anti-mechanical and realize my own limitations! For some one on a retiree schedule which is not at any special time, I'm amused at his fascination with clocks. Likely the mechanical thing again. Who knows why? watches.

So Jerry spent a couple days packing the antique clocks securely into the dresser drawers of the antique bedroom set we'll be shipping. When the estimator from Wesleski Moving arrived she said the clocks could not ship in the drawers but must be in separate boxes. That set off the short man Jerry-Bob-Jerry who "knows what he's doing." He proceeded to show his packing job to which she turned a blind eye! This annoyed him no end, and he amply expressed his displeasure. To which I glared at him, like, "shut up....she's the expert. Let it be." Oh no. Has to get in the last word. Finally he departed to the basement to check on a load of clothes in the dryer. I apologized to Mary Ann and we both laughed, "it's a guy thing."

I have not seen this behavior since his actions with our contractor when addition was underway. It surfaces periodically. Would not tell him, but it's the short man complex in action!

Same with my friend, and attorney, Rich. Wonderful guy, but the same stature as Jerry and quite capable of displaying the shortman attitude. What is it with me and these guys!

Oh of course Jerry did not let it go. The next day when he went to their office to pick up the boxes, he talked to one of the guys....who agreed with him and said, "ah that dumb broad" or whatever name it was...So now even though he has repacked the boxes with the clocks as advised, under protest. He is once again right! After all the guy, an older guy (translate knows what he's doing, been in the business forever) agreed with him. "We like to have the weight in the drawers. Look at all this paper I have to shred from packing...waste of time." Ahh, male chauvinists at work.

Otherwise things going as well as can be expected. Unfortunately the TV in the motor home has given up! This is not amusing as it's only from 2007. The TV works in the bedroom but not the big one in the front. Ahh there are worse issues to deal with. Will handle it when we get home.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

PA update funeral and status

Here we are in PA. Tuesday was my aunt's funeral & heaven smiled with perfect mild weather. The service was held at St. Mary's in New Kensington, our old family home church, founded by the Polish immigrants in the 1800's. Rusciewicz, our long time family funeral director set it up there. I requested two hymns, "Be Not Afraid" and "In the Garden." George, the music director chose of all things, the Matka Boscwie (sp??) which I remembered from way back. It's a Polish celebration hymn to the Blessed Mother! I was amazed that the words came back--it was a perfect send off for Virginia who loved to speak Polish now and then. As the casket left the church with Carl and me behind it, I could not help but smile! Billie, the Bethany Hospice Chaplain accompanied Carl on his other side. So meaningful.

The church did the finest--a nun read the liturgy and selected the passage from the Book of Revelation which I would have chosen--behold I am creating a new thing.... Rather than the altar boys we had an altar girl! I know my aunt liked this. The priest's homily was perfect. At first I trembled, because she did not want to be talked about--I wondered from my pew between Jerry and Uncle Carl! "Oh no, what will he say!" The father told a wonderful Arab parable about how we all meet death. I know she'd have liked this story--after we return home I will add it here as I have never heard it either. Uncle Carl finally got it a bit and I noticed a few tears, which he quickly wiped away as he did not want me to see that. To him I'm still the kid in a lot of ways and he's the adult.

Her house is jammed full of so much stuff that we are overwhelmed. Yesterday Jerry opened 3 60-gallon containers--massive drums/barrels which were sealed in the basement. (Jerry has been hanging out in the basement uncovering no end of treasures while I try to deal with the upstairs main floor) These drums contain thousands of yards of wonderful fabric--I quickly grabbed a cream one with gold tole print and 6 yards of a gorgeous screen print! Then I stopped. I cannot begin to go through these to select more. I sure hope the estate sale brings quilters, sewers, some one who can use this wonderful find. So much, too much.

I even find myself passing on the 12 piece place setting of china, which I have no room for at home. It would match our sets, but we already have more than what we need. So hopefully someone will buy and appreciate it--it's from Montgomery Wards, Style house, silver trimmed, lovely. I have to pass up so much because I have my own collections. Thank God for the wisdom I'm growing to pass up this stuff. Not that there are not so many items to bring home. And Jerry is finding treasures that he could not imagine--his focus is on old tools, wood. He found my grandparents old wooden tongue and groove breadbox! We are taking it along with a magnificent silver carafe set of sorts, likely from the Irwin family. Solid heavy old silver with a bell to call the servants in the old mansion. Trouble is all the carafes were wrapped in plastic and have cracked--still a priceless find with ornate human heads on the 4 feet. It is about 18" tall. I'll photo & post here after we return home.

Well I am at the library and my time is nearly up so I must sign off. One last accomplishment which is bittersweet. I took Uncle Carl to the doctor who convinced him to go into a personal care home. I know he will adjust eventually and is amenable so far. What a blessed relief to not be worrying about him falling down or of his wanderings off. The neighbors now have peace of mind too. 91 years old and he has outlived his mind. The doctor said his body is slowing down, his blood pressure was only 100/60 Thursday! Who knows where mine hovered!

Tomorrow we will go to my friend Kathy's place in Mercer for a party/reunion and that will be our break. We have been busting our buns day and night. I now see the benefit of Jerry's strategy that we bring the motor home--it forces me to leave. It forces me to leave the "scene" and give up my churning! It is overwhelming clearing her home.

Yesterday Jerry mentioned an Agape Mission Thrift store at the Methodist church nearby. I didn't think it was open, but he was right and we stopped by. I delivered 10 boxes of clothing of all sorts. The women were thankful and said it would sell. Aunt Jinx was so tiny that I am skeptical. But they provide clothing free for those who come with county vouchers, so that is a good thing. I also donated a beautiful plaster head of Jesus to them. I have no place for it and I thought the church would be appropriate.

I wish people who she knew would come and take something, but they like we are already set with all they need. Randy, the neighbor across the street said, "I need nothing." Monday a lady will come to give me information about how she will hold an estate sale. She is a referral from a friend so I hope this works. Monday the real estate agent will be there for me to list. She believes this house will go quickly. She had just sold the home down the street and has 3 potential buyers already. She was ecstatic when she came to the housed, "this is beautiful, immaculate and move in ready.! I have not seen anything like this for many years. "

So we hope for the best and are grateful for the watchful eyes of the folks from beyond. Library time up!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sandra Brown's "White Hot" Read

On my way out the door, I must include this book. If I let this set aside until we return I'll surely forget it. Sandra Brown is one of my favorite trashy reads. She's not that trashy, no f-words, none of that, but she's hardly literate. Sandra Brown is always a good woman's read and some call it a thriller genre. "White Hot" is the saga of the Hoyles in Destiny, La. From the Daddy who rises to own the foundry by marrying the owner's daughter, the book chronicles the saga of his children. It culminates with Danny's death and Sayre's return home. Sayre is the long estranged daughter. After the cemetery, burial Sayre meets Beck Merchant, the hired attorney, loyalist to her father and family. The story really ends with a surprise so I will not give it away! This has to be one of Sandra's best. I loved it and will pass it along. A great summer read!

Helps from Beyond


My aunt Virginia passed on Tuesday. We'd been on alert vigil with hospice beginning July 2 on our way home from WY. I last talked to her on July 4 by phone while the hospice nurse was there. I told her she could close her eyes and sleep peacefully now, not to worry about a thing, I had it all handled,that I love her and she had been like another mother to me. It was hard for her to talk but she did and said, "I'm trying to just go to sleep." So when the call came at 4:45AM Tuesday, July 7, I was expecting it.

I've made all arrangements through Rusciewicz funeral home there. They have attended to all the funerals in my family, grandparents and perhaps even my grandmother's father. It's a long time Polish relationship. What a good thing!

We will use this photo for her obituary which I will not run until we arrive in PA. It was taken at her 50th high school reunion, several years back. It did me good to look through old photos when her life was good. I especially love the big black and white one of her at PPG driving the forklift! I wrote a story about her back in 1989 while I was enrolled in a state/federal intergovernmental year long executive program. somewhere I still have that in my collections and will have to get it together with other photos. She enjoyed a full life up until this recent siege with cancer. Age 87 is enough. As her husband, my favorite Uncle John would say, usually when someone had passed and people were sad, "Just how long to people have to live anyway before they can die.?"

We will be in PA Saturday when I will tell my 91 year old Uncle Carl, her brother. I just prefer to do that in person. No telling how his mind will take this. And too he might just forget.

Aunt Jinx was adamant over the last years that she wanted no funeral, no viewing and that's fine with me. But talking with the funeral home, Bill asked, "do you want a mass?" I agreed that for my uncle's sake and probably mine too that would be good. So we will have the mass and then go right to burial at the cemetery on Tuesday July 14.

So yesterday I called the church to request two hymns--In the Garden and Be Not Afraid. No problem. About an hour later, Bill Rusciewicz called me and the conversations went like this. "Pat how are you doing?" "Oh good, we will be there Saturday." "Pat, you called the church to request a couple hymns?" "Yes." "Well, trouble is you called the wrong church. You called St. Margaret Mary's." "Oh I thought that's where it would be. My uncle goes there and it is closer to the cemetery." "No, I have it for St. Mary's in New Ken." "Oh that's our family's home church, where I was baptized, had first communion, confirmation, etc." "Yes, I know that so that's why I scheduled it there."

Seems I caused some long distance head scratching. When the Monsignor talked to the secretary he knew there was no funeral scheduled at St. Margaret Mary's. So he called Bill.

Well not a problem anyway. Just that I'd been telling people the wrong church. OK so I can make those calls again and tell others when we arrive. I called St. Mary's and spoke with their secretary who had a good laugh. She said, "It was just meant to be." I explained that I always check in at my home church when I'm in PA but that in May I was far too busy to get there. And even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, there is still that draw with my church (as well as some Catholic practices that stay with me.)

I had to laugh. I thought of Aunt Jinx up out in the peaceful beyond. I believe her spirit has linked up with my best friend Roberta who passed years back. Roberta still has fun with me! I think their conversation went something like this.."I didn't want anything, just to be buried." "Well funerals are for the living not for the dead." Let's have some fun now..." All's well and all will go on. Proving once again that people need to watch over me and my actions. I'm on one of my rolls now---busy, busy, busy....Jerry keeps an watchful eye on me. But this time help from beyond was in order too.

I knew she had her plot paid for right there alongside my grandparents and her husband at Greenwood. But while in PA I could not find any other funeral arrangements. But Bill called me Tuesday evening with "good news." His sister recognized the name and looked through their records--sure enough she had paid for her vault when Uncle John died. She also had selected her casket giving nstructions to them that she wanted the same as John's. So I am thankful I will not have to choose a casket--I was not looking forward to that chore! Thanks Aunt Jinx!

In these last years, I'd just call her Jinx, dropping the aunt. The Jinx comes from the Polish for Virginia, Vircwinka. I can't spell that either.

Now I flash back to the Polish for aunt, "CZOCZI?" I can't spell it but most of my life I called her CZOCZI. One day while visiting in PA years ago, I was in my 30's and at my mom's. I said, "Wonder when Czoczi & Uncle John are coming over..." Mom snapped at me and said, "Don't you think you are old enough now to call her Aunt Jinx? Why do you keep saying that word?" I'd never thought about it, it was a natural to me. It didn't bother my aunt, but my mother? Who knows why, Mom was strange at times. But from that time on I'd dropped the czoczi (pronounced, chouchee). A few years ago,Jinx asked me why I'd quit calling her czoczi. And I told her I didn't know but that Mom had blasted me for it. She said, "Oh you know your mother just always has to say something..." I never spoke much Polish, but as a child I heard it. I can still say some Polish prayers which my grandmother taught me. And I guess I just picked up the Polish and used it.

And another thing. Tuesday I spent so much time on the phones between my cell and home phone. I'd be talking on the home phone and the cell would ring, and vice versa. So tiring! I commented, "I am sick of these phones!" Bingo yesterday after Bill's call, I tried to call my dentist to reschedule. No phones. Of course the cell still worked. But all the phones were off. It seems there was a massive power outage all over town. A cable had been dug out during some road construction. Phones were off for several hours. So I did get the peace and quiet from the phones ringing! More curves from beyond? Let's help our Patty down there....Who knows....I only know that I've always had people beyond watching out for me. At least I believe that! And now, one more has joined my heavenly hosts!

RIP Aunt Jinx.