Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Just in case later on someone is curious, posterity, too late?

Seldom blog, too old school and too much effort to sit and log in, etc, compared to Facebook where I can post, and share simultaneously with friends and family who are interested.  Too bad for those hold outs who just cannot get on board with social media, but their loss. Anyway I have been clearing out old photos, mostly left from Jerry's mother,  scanning a few, posting some to our Ancestry pages, and tossing.  I do offer them to extended family, cousins, etc,  but when they do not respond with interest, I toss the things.  I am not going to be the central repository for the ages, what for?  

One article I found was the newspaper clippings about the retirement of and the death of Dr. Reay, the LaCrosse doctor who delivered Jerry, my husband in 1937.  I always thought it odd that his mother would give him the middle name, Reay, after this doctor, but since we have lived here, I have learned that was quite a common practice in this region. Seems many were  given middle names for the doctor who delivered them.  

 In February a new restaurant, "David Reay's"  opened locally by a young man, successful restraunteer, Matt Boshcka.   I read the information with interest.  He named it David Reay's after a local philanthropist, grocer, businessman, Dave Skogen, founder of Festival Foods, well known around here and across Wisconsin. Dave Skogen's middle name is also Reay, after this same doctor who delivered him in a snowstorm.  Here is the link to the newspaper article about the restaurant 

 I sent a Matt a text via Facebook and he remarked that he just might have to have a gathering of middle named Reay's.  We have been to the restaurant which is quite modern, in Onalaska, good food, sports bar style and a bit noisier than we prefer while eating dinner.  But all Matt's restaurants do well, he has the touch and knows customers.  Here is a link to the restaurant, David Reay's https://davidreays.com/  

Jerry waiting for me at Viterbo University,
 to attend  a performance of the symphony
So back to Dr. Reay and why I am bothering to write this blog post, besides trying to keep the blog for posterity by writing maybe once or twice a year, well for one, someday someone in my husband's family might be interested.  Right now neither Jerry's adult children nor adult grands show the least bit of interest in any family history.  But maybe someday when we are gone they will wake up and realize there are many many things about their father and ancestry that they did not take time to learn about.  Maybe not, maybe it will be some very extended shirt tail cousin.  Who knows if this blog will even be around then, but here is just another place to share what I have  almost a year ago in Facebook, to responses from many.  Dr. George Reay retired in 1969 and then he and his wife moved to Scottsdale, AZ.  He passed away a year later, they had one daughter who lived in Omaha, NB.  Apparently he was highly regarded as a local doctor and coroner in La Crosse, WI and must have had a great sense of humor.  In the article about his retirement, due to failing health, he said how much he admired and learned from his father, also a physician,...."I have tried to pattern my life after his precepts as closely as I could."...."I close this medical chapter of my life and retire because of health.  It is not due to laziness because had I been lazy I would have become a specialist."  

So this is one interesting facet about my hubby and how he got his middle name.  His son thought he had the same middle name, but his is misspelled as Ray, not  the same and not keeping the tradition.  Still have to get with Matt and get that gathering of Reay's going. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The path I chose made all the difference

My grandma, Baba Rose
In my drafts I found this I had written partially  back in 2012 after all my relatives had passed away.  Today clearing drafts I decided to tune it up and post it here.  Life does take its turns and yet if we have faith and can see thru, we can navigate those twisty windy roads and emerge onto the straight a-ways.  Hindsight is indeed more than 20 20 and if we could look into the effect our current decisions would have on our futures, would we be as rash?  Who knows.  So I am posting this pondering here and kind of a tribute in a way to my grandma Rose.  Today I wear her crystal cross necklace that she received as a young girl, how I wish I had more photos of her when she came to CA but we did not take many pictures then, the cost of developing film and all.  It was 1965. She was 70 at the time, and today I am 73, she looked so much older but most grandmas did back then. So anyway, here we go......
   I do not know if this blog site that I reference is in existence today and I have long ago lost touch with that person, but I keep it here for reference.  Rosaria, over at 65 Now What pondered  "What I did for Love" You can read it at her blog, http://sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-i-did-for-love.html    . 

I  replied " As we journey through life when we pause to look back over our shoulders, the past changes shape. I have had many of the same thoughts you expressed here as we prepare to go to PA next week, my old home, not as far as Italy, but with no more family, some distant cousins who are off on their own lives. I joke that when I want to see my relatives, I go to the cemetery, but that is telling and chilling. But lately I find my mind meandering, oh what if I had not gone to CA, if I had stayed in PA. It is so true that the choices we make when we are young make our worlds different and our paths diverge. Hindsight....should'a's...oh my."
1958 PA me with Baba and two cousins visiting from CA
I was the big girl 

And it seems a mouthful.  Much good has come from my life that I was fortunate to be able to rebuild in CA. But even that I could not have done without the help of my late maternal grandma, Baba as I always called her,  Polish for grandma.  Finding myself a single mother in CA but employed, she was determined to help me. She road the train cross country to come stay with me and babysit while I worked and got some money set aside. I regret to this day that  I never thanked her enough, I could not have made it without her and when I pray for her soul I pray she knows how very dear she always was to me.  She really did  raise me as Mom was working, not common back then, but my Mom did.  

There were many reasons or justifications for my decision, most having to do with the impetuous rebellious nature or spell I felt at the time. I wished often that I could have talked with someone, my grandma, my Mom, my aunt somebody who could have rescued me from what would create the curvy twist on my life road.  At odds with my Mom, ours was a rough relationship through my adolescence, today I know she wanted better for me than what her life had been, but I so resented her.  To say we did not get along would put it mildly.  How much was my rebelliousness and how much was her innate ability to try to control me I will never resolve.  I only know that I had no intention of getting married to that guy, no intention of running off as I did, but I was so tired of Mom nagging and sneaking around finding out where I was, with whom, etc.  So to the surprise of everyone including myself as soon as the spell wore off, I eloped with him, impetuous rash dumb decision but at 18 I thought I was so smart,  Rocky road to be on, regretted it very soon, but I was young enough to think it could work and it would get me to CA,  destination of my dreams as a young gal growing up in western PA. 

One morning after arriving in CA,  I woke up across the country in CA with the man I could not stand, and thought, "What the hell am I doing here, I belong back on the Allegheny campus!"  But a stubborn soul who could not admit a wrong choice caused my perseverance and after all it was CA, the Golden State.  From that mistake,and after shedding him, I decided to stay out west where Jerry and I met and well here all these years down the road it has been a good thing.

But like Rosaria, I wonder about my family ties.  These become more important now or is it that I think more about that with the frequent trips to PA and the impending trip this coming week?  Sometimes we know it is not beneficial to entertain our own thoughts to an extreme--persevere and onward.  Somewhere in the Bible and literature those powerful themes recur.
Greenwood cemetery, PA where I visit all my family.

And when I say visit the cemetery I realize I am continuing a ritual from my ancestry; I remember going to the graves with my grandmother and her sisters.  It made not much sense to a child, but to me today long into adulthood it makes all the sense, a time to reconnect, reminisce and remember.  Remembering is important--just ask those who care for  the demented who have lost memories. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Sorting continues 
Thirty, sixty, ninety year spans or some other combination is what I spent some time on yesterday, continuing through the wonderful box of cards, letters that I mentioned in a January post.  Yesterday I found a letter Jerry's mother wrote to us in 1988 when we all lived in CA, we in Newcastle, they in Riverside.  I was surprised to find it and have no idea why or how it went into the box which held other letters from aunts cross country and lots of cards, birthday, anniversary, etc, greetings from from my Mom and aunt.  I have not completed going through the box yet, taking time and enjoying the memories,  but I have been clearing lots of other accumulated clutter out of our study.  

Bags full of papers have gone the way of the recycle bin and stacks of various books have gone to the local library sale and some to Goodwill.  A binder filled with clippings about books I might want to read someday,  entire literary review sections of newspapers some date in the 1990's.
Bottom shelves were cleared, this is a pic before purging
Remember when Sunday newspapers had literary review sections, at least our did. Here was a massive 3 ring binder, filled beyond capacity,over 9 inches thick. Apparently I started it long ago in CA,   and have no idea why I added to it and then absolutely forgot about it, left to gather dust.  So that cleared a nice space on the bottom of one  bookcase.  I noticed I had indeed read some of those books, but the others, not a concern.  There are so many books waiting on my shelf  and loaded on my kindle app for reading, and there is always another book recently released to catch my attention.

 But here was a 1988 letter from Florence, that was so coincidental I thought it worth recording on the blog. We ultimately ended up being her overseers, care takers.  Yet over the years at least my relationship with her was not always positive, sometimes it was downright frustrating, contentious even, she could be a very difficult person. But reflection of memory is a strange thing, in that once someone is gone, we, or I at least, forget the less joyful moments and remember the good. In 1988 we did not have cell phones, email,Facebook, or texting, all preferred methods of communication today.  For me today, there is nothing like texting and Facebook, I can be in touch instantly with friends/family all over the country and world,  I do not have to log in nor do others have to sign in. But enough digression as I tie the coincidental span of these years.   

Easily it starts, it is 2018 now and  Florence, aka MIL, passed in 2013 at age 96, her birthday was January 30th and she'd have been 101 this year.  But in 1988 she was only 60, younger than I am now and she was reminiscing about a Christmas program in which she participated as a young girl.  In this first paragraph of the 4 page letter she tells about the program, her part, and mentions Mr. and Mrs.Cass.  Wow,  our home was built by LaVerne Cass, the son of the carpenter she mentions.  It is a wonderful home, sturdy, first class construction, over 4800 sq. feet, many features we enjoy, and we love it. 
Part of front, our home, built by LaVerne and Marilyn Cass
Coincidentally LaVerne recently passed away here at age 92.  He  had remembered Jerry from when Jerry was a young boy here in LaCrescent and he had regretted selling this home to the other neighbor from whom we purchased it  back in 2002 when we knew we would leave CA when I retired. LaVerne said if he had known we were looking he would have sold directly to us, but that is another long story.  In 1988, we never considered  that we would relocate to MN. I still say, "If anyone had ever told me I would be not living in CA I would have said they had rocks in their head."  Back then we had no intention to ever leave CA.
One reason why we relocated to MN  was where ever we moved we had to move Florence too and she was willing to move back here to her hometown and had a sister still alive here at the time.   So much has happened  between 2018  and 1988, enough to fill a book and then some, but let's move along to the other curious events, the gist of this long tale.. 

Florence Christmas 1928, program rehearsal
Staying home this winter has allowed me plenty of time to do long neglected projects,  I have been tossing papers and photos.  Some photos I scan and then post onto our Ancestry web site to preserve the tales of genealogy, future descendants, might be researching their ancestry might be interested just as I was tracing so much of my own and Jerry's.  Right now there is no one in our direct family with the slightest interest so most of the stuff is tossed.  I send some photos, along to Jerry's younger sister who can decide to toss or keep.  Her two daughters  have some interests and memories of the family, so they can share the mementos. 

1928 Florence Christmas tree rehearsal
1928 Florence
I had been clearing thru an old photo album from Jerry's late aunt Marie, Florence's sister. Unfortunately she used one of those awful albums that adhered to the photos and then covered them with a clear film. It was not archive worthy, which would never have concerned her so many of the oldest photos have disintegrated, faded into uselessness.  

 But there in the album dated Christmas 1928 were 3 photos of Florence in a Christmas program garment.  What are the odds, that I would have kept and now found a letter from Florence about that same event?  These are the coincidences that boggle me, cause a sense of  wonder, how intertwined life can be and where one event can lead forward or backward. 

Part of fron , page 1 of the 1988 letter
Perhaps  I have the luxury of too much time to notice and wonder about such things. I had just scanned and  posted these photos to Ancestry I recognized the story right away.  Several things struck me,  it was almost Christmas here and there was no snow on the ground in the photos taken on the old farm, nor was she  heavily bundled up in 1928.  Must have been a mild winter. Take that you global warming alarmists, weather can and does change and fluctuate, hah!  She describes in her letter that she was on the platform and was about 10 years old, she would have been 11 in the photos. We cannot imagine why the Christmas tree would have been outside and decorated on the old farm.  

All thoughts from the letter and there were more, I was reminded that Jerry bought my first diamond ring band in 1988 to celebrate our 25th anniversary, replacing the plain gold band we had for our wedding.  I also recalled that would have been the year we bought the spa in CA, which I enjoyed until we left, nothing like soaking in there with a glass of wine, especially after a day of heavy gardening and pruning. And that's how 2018 and 1988 and 1928 all weave into one story. 


Friday, January 5, 2018


I found a treasure box of memory today while clearing some things out of a downstairs closet. I have not finished going through it, because I am reading the letters and notes, cards, looking at the old photos, letters from 1976 the oldest so far.. Appears I will keep more than I toss, so far keepers are birthday cards from Mom and Aunt Jinx, cards from very close late friend Roberta in CA, letters from MIL, letters from Aunt Ruth, Aunt Dorothy, this is a great indoor project. 

Apparently the box was one I tossed stuff into in our move from CA 2005 while I was very weary of packing. I can hear Jerry then telling me to just toss stuff out and I did a lot, but glad I kept some things. Hasn't been opened since we moved, shoved into the back of the closet and forgotten. Mom's comments often include, "nothing new since we spoke last week." And Jinx comments include, "your mother said you talked yesterday but she didn't tell me anything you said.  Don't tell her I said so.""  Mom and her sister lived in the same area of PA all their lives and in later years continued their on off sisterly relationship through me, each one telling me something to not tell the other.  It makes me laugh today, both are gone and I can read and hear them.  I feel sorry for people of today who either do not write nor ever receive  real letters or notes of substance.  We do have the online of email, the commemorations on  Facebook and other areas of internet, perhaps blogs, but few will ever again get pleasure that I am enjoying these many decades later from reading old letters.  Maybe no one will care, maybe they will be better off without such memory ties.  For me, it is a wonderful  inside project.  Our temperatures continue to hove in zero and below and single digits. but we do not have the abundance  of snow that bombed the east.  And tomorrow and the next few days we will warm up to the 30's  hooray.  

 Two pictures I scanned because I will send along to SIL their mom.  They often visited us.  Here in 1980, to the left,  is niece Karen  playing monopoly at our table in Newcastle, She must have been winning because she sure was happy.  Not sure if she was plotting  in the next one with her mom and sister, Christy.  

Today both nieces have families of their own.  Karen on her 2nd, lives on the island of St Kits with her husband and young son, and Christy in Denver with hubby and two sons. We are in touch easily on Facebook.  They will get a charge out of seeing these pics, blasts from the past.   Lots of miles traveled along so many old roads.  Sometimes I think that there is far more behind me than what lies ahead, that's age.  

I scanned this that I found on my computer files recently, apparently I used it in 2014 and although I am not a golfer, I liked the sentiments.  I though it worth sharing here with nostalgia.  


You know ... time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is... the “back nine” of my life and it catches me by surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that “I was only on the first hole” and the “back nine” was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me...but, I see the great change...Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant...but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd become.

And so...now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the “back nine”, and I'm not sure how long it will last...and I'm still playing. Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.

So, if you're not on the “back nine” yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the “back nine” or not!

You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

"Life" is a gift to you.
The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! Enjoy your work and its challenges. Enjoy the weather and its variations...snow, sleet, rain or sun. Welcome the opportunities that come your way, some unexpectedly and some a result of searching and effort.

Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. LIVE HAPPY IN 2014! 

Stay well, "OLD FRIEND!" Send this on to other "Old Friends!" and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!! It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.""""

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Our 2017 Christmas Card

This was the picture we used for our Christmas card greeting.  It was taken by a professional photographer and we are holding our wedding photo.  We celebrated our 50th anniversary in October.  My local church was having photos taken for the new directory and the timing coincided with our 50th. 

The photographer was more excited than we were, she kept saying she was so honored to be a part of our event.  Yet we had no big celebration as other might do. We did go out to a fine local restaurant for a wonderful dinner.  And at various gatherings we have been "announced" as 50 year celebrants.  We do not know where all those years went.  It seems hardly possible.

This was a Christmas present to a few as well, framed portraits.  I ordered more than I should have and Jerry did not stop me.  I was caught up in commemorating 50 and so spent more than necessary.  We had a minor  blip with the company.  
when our order arrived there were empty picture frames.  What?  ?Where are the portraits?  Our Christmas cards were there and the 3 in one frame I chose for us, but the gifts were only empty frames.  I called the company who assured me there would be an envelope replacing all the portraits that should have been included.  A week later another box arrived and there were the portraits which we had to insert in the frames.  Not an undoable task. But later that day another box arrived, an exact duplicate of our order including the tri-framed and all portraits in frames.  Oh no!  I did not want to purchase more, already I was regretting this splurge.  Another call to the company who apologized and said to just keep it, it was their mistake.  And no we would not have to pay to return it or for another shipment.  After all what would they do with our portraits, so we were free to give them away.  Easier said than done, we have no other relatives to give these too, we had copies for the few  family members.  So we have extra framed portraits, anyone want one?  The benefit was double order of Christmas cards, so we used those by sending along more greetings than planned.  

Sometimes ya just gotta play the hand you're dealt!. 

One of those time when I wish I were Clairvoyant

45 year old woven wheat magnet
made in PA by elderly Polish lady
Our best laid plans oft go awry and there is not a thing we can do but roll with it.  Today is the  2nd day or arctic tundra single digit temperatures here at home, and although the sun is shining today's high temperature will be 6 degrees.  Sub zero temperatures at night.  I covered up most every inch of my skin just walking from the car into the Y this morning. We should be traveling southward now to Florida, to sun and fun and two RV rallies. 

 But a couple weeks ago, I came down with the sorest mouth I have ever had, when it started I thought I had burned the roof of my mouth. By the next day, I was  beginning to hurt more but could not see any swelling along the upper right gum, etc, so I figured it would just wear away.  Googling indicated that a burned mouth could take a few days to heal and I was still thinking that's what I had done. 

 That night my upper right throbbed, the pain was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Actually I have never had a tooth ache in 73 years so I am pretty darn fortunate.  But that Thursday evening I could not sleep and I figured this was  going to mean a dentist visit.  I got through the night by taking an Advil every hour to little relief.  Fridays my dentist is closed but she takes calls at home.  When I told her what was going on, she correctly diagnosed an infection and called in heavy penicillin and told me to follow dosage and to take 4 advil at a time. Call her if not better. Well, yes much relief and I was seeing some slight swelling on the outer gum line, but still no indication, no abscess, nothing definitive.  My right cheek was getting puffy too. But I could sleep that night and I could identify the sore tooth, #4 inside  upper right, a premolar.  It was sensitive to biting on it.  But the unbearable pain was gone and I knew I would live: during the pain siege I was sure I would have to get better to die.  

Monday the dentist xrayed and sure enough a sign of infection above that tooth.  Worse the tooth had an old root canal likely done sometime before 2004 in CA.  I was not sure when.  I learned that a root canal can wear out and in this case infection had proven that.  So we can keep learning at any age.  My dentist said she would send me to an endodontic specialist because she would not retreat the root canal and she was  sure that was what was needed.  Well, but it is holiday times, and  closing in on end of year when those with dental insurance want to use their benefits before year end.  Despite her calls and my pleading the specialist had no openings until January 31.  But we had planned to be gone. What to do?  What are the odds of my going on our merry way south and nothing happening?  My dentist could not predict.  It might never happen again or it might return.  She could try to arrange treatment for me in Florida and could call in another antibiotic prescription if the infection returned.  She knew I wanted to get down south.  But no guarantees, no odds, it either will or won't.  I guess one might call that 50/50.

Friends were of mixed opinion, go on your way and risk it, might never happen, get it treated when you return in spring.  But I am not a gambler and the older I get the fewer risks I am comfortable taking. Jerry said I could decide and either way it would be ok.  There were two more days during which we could cancel all our reservations in FL without paying a penalty.  The penalties would have been nearly $600-up to $1000.  Jerry said ignore the $$.  But not me, I am too cheap!  Look at what else I could do with that $$.

So I canceled and said, "we will stay north."  Fortunately we do not have to go out in inclement weather if we do not need to.  We have little snow, a smattering on the ground, but it is brutally cold.  This cold is expected to hang around for another week.  Hunker in.  Then I called the specialist and the January 31st opening was gone, now I cannot get in until February 13th.  I figure the worst that will happen is he will do another scan and evaluation and say, all it well.  No need to retreat the root canal.  And then we could go south later than planned.  We will have missed out on the RV rallies though.  As another local friend said, "you can be sure now that you will stay home that not a thing will happen, but if you had gone...."  

So here we are.  All is not lost, I have unlimited projects to keep me occupied at home.  And there are far worse things can happen to a person.  And perhaps we can get some southern migration in later.  It is our intent to look for a permanent wintering RV spot in Florida and that will take some consideration and exploration.  Meantime, that's my little tale of woe for the Christmas season, kind of like a lump of coal in the stocking for anyone who remembers coal as I do. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meandering blogger

Ally our 2016 American Allegiance
I have not been posting to this blog but happened here after getting a notification about a comment.  So I have updated with a photo on the sidebar of our now new, to us, 2016 American Allegiance Coach, our new vacation home on wheels.  We acquired Ally, her name,  end of February, 2017 at Lazy Days in Seffner Florida where we wintered  some of our 2016-17 snowbird south. Since I did create this blog to record our RV adventures long ago, I thought I should get busy with posting the new addition.

This was not my idea, I was quite satisfied with our Excursion, but Jerry wanted newer, better,  it had under 62,000 miles which is nothing on a diesel, but he  wanted this upgrade, tag axle and a hundred other things, newer.  He began to develop a litany of things that would have to be done to fix the Excursion, and admitted it would cost way less than the new coach, but that he felt it was time to upgrade . 
2008 Excursion which we traded in for Ally

2017 February Florida, moving out of Excursion into Allegiance
what a siege and chore unloading and loading.  We were loaded up
for winter, so it took days to transfer stuff. 
Yes Ally is ultra luxurious but what a siege.  I could write the longest blog post ever about the entire process, but I have already done that on Facebook, so not repeating everything here for non Facebook people.  I fear spending big sums of money in retirement because I have a phobia of ending up a bag lady.  I always have had that, maybe it started  with warnings from my Polish grandma, "always have a way to take care of yourself and earn money so you do not end up old and poor"  something like that she told me in Polish.  Jerry who is not a spendthrift by any means, though, reminds me that we can't take it with us and we just as well enjoy while we can.  We have no one that close to us to leave sums of money too and most of what we leave will be going to various charities and organizations that we support.  While they will likely put our names on a plaque somewhere in gratitude, we should reap the rewards of the working we both did in our careers.  Further, he knows while I shudder,  that no way are we approaching financial destitution in fact, we are part of the better off retirees, we own our home. no bills, some months do not spend all our income and we do not need to save and pinch pennies and debate about purchases.  When we see something we want, we buy it.    

Back to Ally, Jerry spotted this American Coach and had been on the lookout to upgrade, even though we really liked our 2008 Excursion.  I was reluctant to do this, spending really big buck$ and then some, but I should have known that once he starts on looking at a new vehicle, it is going to happen.  Well while we were in Sefner, he couldn't get the right deal on the price of this new coach nor on trade in for ours. I was relieved but his mental wheels kept on churning and turning.  So we went on to Texas, Port Isabel where we intended to spend the rest of February and early March.  That is another story entirely and although the weather was fabulous there along the gulf, that border area is just not a place I care to revisit.  The RV Park was old and very cramped, so that we couldn't look out our windows without seeing the wall of another coach or trailer squeezed right next to us.  That is  jut not the way we like to live, so  we  were waiting out February and wiser for the experience. 

Allegiance hall way, residential refrigerator.
Behind the closed doors to the left are the separate washer and dryer. 
Jerry began making phone calls back to Florida to the sales consultant at Lazy Days and learned the American Coach was still there.  They thought they had sold it but the potential buyers couldn't qualify for financing.  We were paying cash.  For the life of me I cannot understand people financing motor homes, especially as vacation homes.  We have never charge a vacation in our lives, if we couldn't pay for it we  didn't go.  The Allegiance had barely had a first owner who kept it only 4 months and then upgraded to something bigger, a bus. Well that first owner took the depreciation, because just like automobiles, these babies depreciate the minute they leave the lot.  The Allegiance is 42 ft, but what a difference those 2 feet more than the 40 ft. Excursion make.  We gained a half bath which I really appreciate when Jerry is in the shower and the main bathroom is occupied.  We gained a residential refrigerator and a stacked separate washer and dryer, unlike the all in one combo we had in the Excursion.  I really like all these amenities, the beautiful dark cherry high gloss  luxurious cabinets and the new microwave convection oven, the all induction cook top and the dishwasher!  I never thought I would want a dishwasher in the coach, but when we winter for months, I was missing that.  I still prefer my own cooking a lot of the time when we are traveling, so despite eating out when we chose to, I cook most meals in our home.  I have always dislike washing dishes and although it isn't that bad for two people, I am much happier with a dishwasher. We have 3 smart tv's inside, one is going to come out and become cabinet space and we have an external TV for watching outside. 

Living room area sofa, not fully pulled out, there is an extension,
to the sofa which is white leather. That's why a cushion is on the
kitchen  counter, sink area to the right
King size bed
There have been some minor fixes needed, stuff the former owner never found or perhaps didn't have the acuity that Jerry has for all things electronic and mechanical.  We have an appointment in August at the factory in Decatur Indiana for some slide warranty work. That fits with our planned trip to my PA home area for my 55th high school class reunion.  Although he vowed that it would fit into it's own house that we have here at our home in MN, sure enough when we got home in March he called a contractor to have some roof beams elevated.  With each newer, bigger coach, he has enlarged the shop/house for coaches.  It is now fully extended and can go no bigger, but the beams were a bit too low for this coach, so there was an adjustment needed. Did I mention the bed is king size, which I dislike and so does he.  We are accustomed to queen size and this meant buying new linens too.  So although this is more comfortable with ability to raise feet and hear, etc. similar to the  luxury bed we have at home, with massage features, etc, we both would have opted for a queen size.  But the new coaches all have King size, likely that works well for big people, or those who are king sized themselves. We are not. We talk about replacing this King with a queen, making this bed is  hassle because there is barely enough room for hands to fit between the head and the wall. And the pillows, too  many all nicely decorative, but have to be removed for sleeping and then stored across the room.  We took several pillows out and have them in a big  bag stored at home, they will likely visit Goodwill store soon.  

We traveled  to Goshen Indiana in May to a Pushers annual event that Jerry has wanted to attend for some time. Another long story and one chronicled on Facebook.  We have some home projects under way including taking down 3 of our magnificent big ash trees from out back, victims of the emerald ash borer that has devastated this region.  I had new quartz counter tops put into the kitchen and am still waiting on the tile for the backsplash.  After I debated and pondered and made my decision, the contractor later advised that the tile was on backorder and there would be a 8 to 10 week delay.  So although  the counters were done end of April, we are waiting.  Surely this will end, but I decided to wait,  After all it took me 3 years to do this project that I have been thinking about and took me a month to decide on both counters and backsplash.  So waiting and keeping busy at home, gardening, weeding, and life. This is the update for today, last photo of the happy man in our new vacation home. 
Jerry watching one of the 3 inside TV;s from the sofa.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Right under our noses, locally

Brochure for this one day event.  Often we  do not attend events locally
when we would if we were visiting.  But the history offered was too tempting for me to miss
The Chateau on Cass St.  Front  with the original structure.
Saturday, May 16 was frigidly cold here so my plans to go on the architectural tour of some of the wonderful historic buildings in downtown Lqa Crosse changed.  The walking guided tour was to begin at 11:00 but one was free to go along at leisure until 5:00PM, so about  1 o'clock I decided to brave the frigid air and go across the river.  I really wanted to see the Chateau, aka Mons Anderson House which is a high end operational restaurant where there are intimate small dining experiences.  They serve the finest wines and champagnes and the food is exquisite I have been told by others who have enjoyed their meals at this restaurant. So many others were curious about this place as well as I saw  once I got over there, bundled up, walked the short distance from our bank where I parked.  I wore my Austrian wool hat, a cuddle dud under my sweater, knee socks under my riding boots and my packable down winter jacket that has served me so well for two seasons.  Was it really May, brrrr.  

Addition to left of the original structure
All the limestone came from right here, Grandad's Bluff in La Crosse
I was most impressed with the multi million dollars spent renovating the Chateau on Cass and fascinated with it's history.  I was appalled at some of the people on this self guided tour and applaud the Ewesr, owners for being gracious and opening the business to curious folks,  and yet, I wonder, have these people never been to any historic home?  Although Ms. Ewers detailed the history and the saga of this place they call home with their 3 children and invited people to walk, she shared it is and has been a work in progress, attributing the massive costs already to maintaining the historic integrity of this beauty. 

Ms Ewers tour guide and owner, notice the parquet floor
in one of the downstairs dining rooms
 She invited people to stroll throughout the entire place leisurely, as all rooms including the kitchen were open, with exception of the family's private living quarters, yet, anyone with an ounce of decorum would know not to touch paintings, the fine crystal, the wines, etc.  People, are so tiresome as some roamed and touched any and everything and then some who were more feeble, complained about the stairs, really, I thought.  WTH did you think it's an 1800's structure, why are you here if you cannot walk stair cases.  It is definitely a place I will want to dine for something special, perhaps taking advantage of their limousine pick up service as well for an anniversary.  

This was sponsored  by the Downtown La Crosse  association of merchants, amidst the graduations of the UW  underway at the convention center and other weekend events. From their brochure here is a synopsis of this home:  F. Mons Anderson House 410 Cass Street
(Le Chateau Restaurant) 1854, 1878 Guided Tours all day

One of the finest examples of mid-nineteenth century residential architecture in western Wisconsin. The home is a rare blend of Gothic Revival and Italian Villa styles rendered in locally quarried limestone. The home has a fascinating history; from a peak of late Victorian era opulence in the late 19th century, to neglect and near ruin by the later part of the 20th century, to its current state of complete restoration and recognition as one of the most historic and architecturally significant homes in the city of La Crosse. Not all areas handicap accessible . 

These 2 photos are of one of the ladies rooms on the first floor, opulence
When the Ewers bought the Chateau several years ago now, t
he owner from the 1980's had  used it as a bed and breakfast,
left only chandeliers when he moved away.  This
is but one downstairs, notice the ceiling too.
One of the fireplaces, this one in what is now
the library where space is available for larger
dining parties.
More photos are on my Facebook page where I posted directly about this event last week and then shared my pictures. I really tried too get photos without the people.  Finally I left after thanking them and learning about the availability of the limousine service for special events.  I detest crowds and so I did not venture down to the downstairs, basement, aka where the bar and salon will open this summer, down this wrought iron staircase.  I did not want to meet someone going down when I was coming up, no room to pass, etc.  But be sure I intend to return to at least sample some wonderful wine and appetizer.