Monday, January 21, 2019

Wintry Blahs Gripes

Another cold winter snow swath is predicted to hit us tomorrow, so today I prepared by getting ready to be stuck at home and the just in cases.  I filled up with gas and made a grocery run.  Jerry had warned me when he woke me up, "If you have anything to do best do it today because tomorrow is not going to be good weather" Oh great  again.

When I got out of bed this morning I already felt what I can only describe as "Blah" 
and decided I would not go to the Y for my Monday morning Zumba.  Used to be I would prevail upon myself and tell me I needed the activity and  when I did not want to go was just the time I should, and I would be right and glad I did it.  But today I could not muster up that conversation with myself,  I cannot talk me into doing much these days.  Long winter blahs have  overcome me, even though we have had bright sunshine  the past few days. Jerry is still healing and we have not been as active socially as I would like, but that is all part of waiting out  the winter. So long as I get out around most days, I am  somewhat content, but I am getting cabin fever and at a minimum frustration  with lack of variety.  I do not understand how those cooped into smaller places cope. Frankly this is not what we planned, we are supposed to be down south in Florida in our coach living the good life.  Plans, we make them and God laughs.  

Snow from  over nite Jan 19, 2019
The weekend snow storm  and sub zero temps would have the La Crosse Y parking lot Y icy, they do not clean the snow off thoroughly  the last year.  I have noticed many things have gone down hill with the retirement of the senior staff, maintenance crew and now in the hands of the younger staff.  And today MLK Holiday the Y will be even more crowded.  Mondays have become a drag, almost an impossibility to park even on the far side, King Street where I usually park.  Nothing frustrates me as much as not being able to park to work out.  Honestly the Y really needs to do something about the situation, but what?  The do not have the parking capacity but continuously do outreach for new members, holding meetings, enticing people to join, and encouraging folks to sit there for hours.  Actually there is I feel too much lobby and area sitting,  many people just congregate there, I guess it is social and all for the good, but while they sit  their cars take up all the parking spaces.  I have long supported the YMCA for their Christian values, but truth be told I am now questioning my  commitment to them.  I  wonder why I would support an organization where I no longer enjoy the  activities and experiences as I once did, has it just grown old for me or  has it changed, have I?  Ahh too many wintry questions. When I helped in their annual fundraising efforts, which I no longer do, I  learned that  25%  of their membership is  on a subsidized  plan of some sort, this means lower fees for  those unable to pay and higher fees for  the rest of us.   I used to think that was nice but lately I have been either becoming less charitable or more aware?  Is this  just another  socialistic movement with a Robin Hood like agenda, take from the haves and give to the  have-nots, make it all equal.  That is a philosophy which I rather detest, it leads to dependence at worst and laziness at best, socialism, communism.  Not for me.  So I find myself feeling less amenable towards solicitations for the betterment of whatever group.  I donate very generously to my church and to a few select organizations, and really do not consider myself hard hearted or stingy, but  when does enough become enough? Truly if there were other options than the Y I would switch, but the gyms are not for me, and the community ed group classes are in the evenings, I prefer daytime.  And so  I may be stuck with the Y, it occurs to me that being cooped for the winter makes me think more about things like this than I would if I were outdoors.  

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Curses foiled again

snow dusting ou tthe back garage door
The title are the words that I thought this morning when I awoke to the overnight snow dusting. Yesterday had been nice and sunny but here in southeast MN almost WI, we  get a day of sunshine at a time.  For which I am always grateful.  I had considered going to get a pedicure today and fortunately I had not made an appointment because Old Man Winter had foiled my plans. Although just a dusting that Jerry refers to as "nuisance snow" and my late friend Carlie called "onion skin dusting" I knew it meant I would have a chore to clear the house  driveway before this stuff turns to ice and  stays underneath another layer.  More snow is expected this weekend or later tomorrow although we should not see the siege of the weather predicted to sweep across the plains and  up through the Ohio Valley into the east.  Sigh, our snowplow guy would not be out for this.  So I waited and then shoveled down the drive to the mailbox just putting something in the mail in time for the carrier to pick it up and  give me our delivery.  Anyway, I am so very tired of winter weather.  This makes me seriously want to sell off and move south.  But as many know our medical care here is second to none in the world and there is nowhere else with the same level, not even the Mayo systems in AZ or FL.  And so, here we be, it would be tolerable if we had been able to migrate south for the winter as we planned.  But, " curses foiled again."
House driveway cleared of snowdusting by me today
I was curious, where did those words come from, so I quickly tried Google but found nothing that seemed to fit where I might have heard it. 
So I went immediately  to my primary form of communication, my Facebook page and asked and within seconds several friends responded,  from Mr. Magoo, iconic cartoon of the 40's and 50's. One we watched at the movies and later on black and white tv.  Another friend, who is obviously younger,  responded with a reference to Rocky and Bullwinkle who likely borrowed it from Magoo and with a link to what could be an interesting read  in Pioneer Productions although obvioulsly unaware of Mr Magoo.

And remember another friend added, "Oh Magoo, You've done it again!"  Oh yes I remember that, I said it all the time, especially when I talked to myself about something I had messed up.  Wikipedia says this about Mr. Magoo,..."a character in a series of US cartoon films (1949-65). He is old and cannot see very well, so he talks to objects and walks into dangerous situations. A Walt Disney film, Mr Magoo (1997), used real actors, with Leslie Nielsen as Magoo."  How's that for dredging up thoughts from the past.  As I responded to another FB comment, "who knows what other words will surface from the pits of my thoughts in this dreary winter." 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A month later than planned

Us, Jerry and me May 5, 2018 at the LaCrosse Symphony
Although this blog is not, nor has it ever been  a means of communication for me,I  will try to keep it somewhat as a frame of reference for all that I have written here in the past.  Way back when I started  this, it was how I thought folks would check in.  I was wrong in that judgement.  The blog was an outlet for my  writings and through it I met  some  great folks, mostly on Sepia Saturday where we could share old photos, histories, etc.  But  those same folks have too migrated to social media, Facebook, where I have found a home and the best way to keep in touch with  friends and family.   For the  wary, nervous, or perhaps technology and change resistant people who do not  use the media,  it is their choice. But then they should not  wonder why they hear not from others.  We can use our smart phones and post in an instant and so Facebook replaces email and old time blogging.  I do not understand that fear and aversion to social media, it is as safe as one  chooses to make it, but so it goes.  There are many things I do not understand and truthfully now, at 74 years, my age, I do not even ponder nor try to understand those others nor their choices.  

I meant to post excerpts from our 2018 annual greeting letter, but truth, I sent few cards and greetings this year.  You will know why as you read,  2018 has not been a good year for  us, never the less, we made it and look ahead, always ahead to far  better times!  
“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” so wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Me rearranging some of the study,
what else to toss or donate?
"Merry Christmas, 2018   This was our year of trips canceled, hospitalizations, dental and medical treatments, surgeries. Last December I canceled our snowbird reservations due to my sudden tooth ache, an old (30 years?)  root canal went bad, infected, antibiotics healed it but I was reluctant to travel and end up looking for dental care in a strange place with no way to know if it would  return.  I am less adventurous than some of my friends who  urged  me to not cancel but just go! Ended up with oral surgeon for extraction, early February. So, began process of months for healing, consults, dental implant and crown, ending in October.  Fortunately I did not need a bone graft and healed well but those periodic appointments kept us home. I used that time to clear out a lot of clutter, collection of old magazines, etc from the downstairs study.  As much progress as I made  there is always more to do. 
Grand daughter Janine and husband
John and their dog
Easter Eve, Jerry ended up in the Emergency Room, severe gut pain,determined it was from adhesions from his former surgery >35 years ago in CA.  The surgeon cleared the adhesion with a probe, avoiding surgery.  That was a 2 week + hospitalization, culminating in canceling our travel plans to CA for grand daughter’s wedding in April.  Very disappointing. 

Jerry had a bout of laryngitis April which led to an ENT specialist treatment, injection to cure a bowed vocal cord.  During that, diagnostic scans revealed a suspicious spot on his upper left lung, almost under collar bone.  Antibiotics followed and all seemed well. He has some lung fibrosis which the pulmonary specialist has been watching for years. Even the Mayo Rochester specialists thought it was an infection, so we were relieved. 

along the hiking trail up Devil's Tower I
made the trek alone and was absolutely blown away 
In August we took a short motor home trip to an RV Rally in Spearfish, SD a wonderful area with many hiking opportunities.  But the altitude and the latent smoke from the Canadian wildfires bothered Jerry with shortness of breath, and coughing. So rather than proceeding on to Denver area as we planned we returned home.  We hope to return to the Spearfish area another time, there is a wonderful RV Resort there and so much to see.  Because Jerry was not feeling right he did not attempt the trail hike up the mountain and back down but waited for me at the Ranger station.  I was glad I did it, but as I said, want to return to the area.   The American Coach Association RV Rally was awesome and we were able to meet interesting fellow RV travelers and renew friendships.  
Just one of the views from the trail

End of September we flew to Arlington, VA for a gathering of my American World War II Orphans Network, ceremonies at Arlington and the WWII Memorial, banquets, and some sightseeing.  We were in DC during the Cavanaugh hearing protestors nonsense which interfered with a few plans.  
WWII Memorial DC, for my father and all the others, my AWON
siblings, we all lost our fathers in WWII

Mid October more diagnosis for Jerry, as Mayo persisted, ultimately led to consults with oncology, potential treatments and surgeon who recommended a lung biopsy. Extensive lab tests disclosed the spot was an elusive cancer that needed to come out.  The surgeon advised he was well and healthy enough for surgery, done November 7, took over 6 hours in 2 phases; removed all the cancer, confined to that sole nodule, upper left lung lobe, all lymph nodes were clear. His son Al flew here from CA for a couple days and surgery and back home day after. Jerry came home to recover Nov 13, my birthday, and had been healing ahead of expectation. He needs oxygen at times, though less now.  Most of his pain is tolerable, achiness from healing 2 ribs that were broken for the surgery as well as cutting through his back muscle and removing a rib. (I asked the surgeon what kind of person would be made from that rib?  He laughed and said, “that’s a good Catholic question!”). They recommended 3 follow up chemo treatments as a precaution lest there be an errant cell. It began December 18 then every 3 weeks. So far, his major bad after effect, extreme fatigue, depression, so his mid-day naps continue.  Oncology Dr believes he can handle it and has many good years yet ahead. (Update January 2019,,,he has decided to forego the remaining 2 chemo doses.  The first treatment  set him back on the healing path, caused him to lose weight and zapped him of energy and enthusiasm.  He declared that was not living but merely existing, and I know that was true.  After our conference with the Oncologist January 7  where she assured him that she could decrease the dose, eliminate the steroids that led to the bottom out chemo crash and she urged him to reconsider over this week.  But although I have tried to persuade him to try again, he is determined no more and will just proceed with healing.  It is not a simple choice, but one  that created ponderance, especially since there  is no evidence of cancer.  He just  cannot bring himself to go through another round of poisoning hell. )  We are fortunate to live here with Mayo care; lesser doctors would have missed this. December 7, he had a  severe spasm cough which ended up with severe rib pain and a trip to the ER.  There more tests to determine all was ok, healing ribs jolted a nerve near the fractures, would require him to take strong narcotic pain meds for a few days.  He’d been getting by with Tylenol.  Now off all stuff again. He is frustrated but I remind him to be thankful.

Here we were at a Czech restaurant in Prague,
November 2015
In November after another unpredictable medical emergency I lost my last closest high school friend from PA, Carlie with whom I'd gone to Europe for the Christmas markets, Danube river cruise, n 2015.  We did not get to PA this year.  She & I talked on the phone weekly and I teased her about ganging up on me with Jerry, told her I was going to come back and move her here and get a 2 for 1 discount at Mayo. She was hospitalized about the same time as Jerry, but hers was massive lung cancer throughout bronchials. No chemo nor surgery possible though she had 9 doses of radiation which did nothing for her.  She died a week before Thanksgiving.  She never married so she was the last of her family.  She was my last lifetime friend whom I could talk to any time.  I was and am heartsick. She was previously healthy and also not a smoker. I considered flying back there but with treacherous weather, flights, and all I had to handle here I did not; she would have understood.  Every day when Jerry was in the hospital, he asked about her. I miss her, she was the last long time link of my life someone I could talk to whenever about whatever. I have lost 3 of my dearest friends, never having had a sister they were my sisters.  Roberta back in CA so long ago, Sandy another CA just a few years back and now Carlie.  We have very few real friends in our lives and I was blessed with a trio, but now all gone. 

Days fly by with follow up doctor appointments, I am the driver.  I am learning to do most all the things, that he has always done other than what we hire like electrician and snow plowing.  During the first light snow dusting, I shoveled our driveway and front steps, took me 90 minutes with one break and a lecture from Jerry on how to do this.  Hah!  Had an electrician replace all the downstairs fluorescents in suspended ceiling with LED’s, previously Jerry had replaced some.  Looks good now all done although he grumbled that he could do it later, I figured just as well get it done and over. We look forward to spring.  I’m really busy but so long as we get good days of sunshine and I can get to the Y to work out life is almost a normal keel. By the end of the day I am done, I’ve never had insomnia and these days I hit the pillow and out. 

 I managed to tackle our 7-foot, artificial Christmas tree out of its box in the corner of the closet and assemble it., decorated it although it has all its own LED white lights so that is easy.  I like the light in these long winter dark days and might leave it up until February or March. When Jerry got up from that nap he could not believe I had done that, he said, “it’s bigger and weighs more than you.”  But I did it! (Update Jan 2019, now all is boxed up and put away, but Jerry had recovered enough to help with the disassembling of the tree back into its 3 parts and repacking it into the box, tying that box up and getting it back into the closet corner.) 
I am very late on sending cards, this was a year of challenges, confirming that aging is not for sissies.  

We are looking forward to spring.  Wishing a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   "

So there it is,  the events that led to being suspended snowbirds, stuck northward another winter, cancelling all FL reservations.  Two weeks ago Jerry felt well enough to venture down the back to the motor home house to check on the rolling castle on wheels, all is good.  Ahead, the future, always ahead, do not look back, that never works well. 

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  

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,    . 

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 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 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, 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!.