Showing posts with label Steve. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Steve. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 and Memorial Weekend

Steve two months old
50 years ago this morning Steve was born, a small baby they said at 6 lbs, 6 ounces, but it was a difficult birth for me.  I still recall the agony and have never understood those women who claim giving birth is such a  wonderful experience. I remember the old nurse at McClellan hospital yelling at me to shut up that she'd had six babies and it didn't hurt that much.  I said, "good for you, bitch"  or something like that.   I think back to the dreams I had then and settle into the moments of today, this Memorial Day Weekend.  50 years later,  and the multitudes of life events.  Steve left this earth December 2008 and our lives took a steep turn there, it was and remains painful.  One wonders why some of us are given heavy burdens and surely we will never know all the answers on this side of the universe.  

So Memorial Day weekend when we  decorate graves here for relatives who have passed on and we pause to remember, it  stirs deeper.  His birthday was not often over Memorial Day weekend as it is this year.  We  remember and always will and wonder. We remember those long Memorial weekend camping trips to Stumpy Meadows in Georgetown, California with  many friends to the group campsite that we reserved annually.  Many of those friends have also ended their earthly journey.   

1966, Jinx, Baba, Mom
So many relatives and friends  have gone on and it is expected  to lose the older generation, my grandparents,  Mom, Aunt  Jinx, Uncle Carl, Aunt Marge, Uncle John, Barney, Florence (MIL), Bob Wiley, Phil Malnick, and more.  I remember my father, whom I never knew, a WWII pilot gone with his crew June 1944, I would be born in November.  Life would have been different I know if he had lived. As we remember Steve, we consider he is at peace.  I have accepted long ago but that does not mean I no longer wonder. So over this Memorial
Day, along with flowers to the graves and observance of  military taps played at the cemetery, why remains the unanswered question.  No answer it just is and so it will be for us to remember always. 

I found this mournful yet fitting verse online, no author was cited......I know we did our best and as a friend said, Steve was a happy little boy.     
Steve 1974 Van Damme State Park

  I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, He said.
For you to love there while he lives,
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him  for Me?
He'll bring charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief.
You'll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,

I want this child to learn. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sepia Saturday 254 Wading the waters 1975

Back after a long absence with a couple 1975 photos, from which  color is fading.  We took many camping trips over the years, especially while Steve was growing up because we wanted him to see a lot of the country.  In 1975, living in California,  we were on our way to the Calgary Stampede in Canada to meet friends who had gone a week ahead of us.  One of our stops was at Flathead Lake Montana where there had been overly abundant rain and lots of flooding.  However, this made for good swimming weather and as I recall it was mighty hot so we welcomed the chance to dip in and cool off. 

 I must have been quenching my thirst as well because you will see, I merely stepped in with glass in hand, ice clinking.  Steve was all of 11 years old at the time and  helped me wade out before he swam off.  Not sure where Jerry was while this happened, likely he was taking the photos from back onshore.  I don't know whose dog observed nor who the tube floater in the upper left corner was...nor what Steve found to  maneuver with later in the water after helping Mom

OK Mom, I've got ya

One of my chubbier times, drink in hand

Now what's this?
This is my  return to Sepia where we can share our photos to match the prompt or not.  I will enjoy reconnecting with's been awhile but we have been travelling. To see what others have matched or not to this week's prompt, go here

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sepia Saturday 228 The Sands of Time

A mention of  the sands of time,brings me immediately to recall American poet,  Henry Wadsworth Longellow's "Psalm of Life" that I memorized oh so long ago, back in school when we memorized poetry--it is with me still ages past. And yet this beautiful spring month is wistful for us for as May 23 approaches, the birthday of our late lost  son Steve, born May 23, 1964 and lost to the sands of time December, 2008, I feel a tribute to him  meets the sands theme. The heart ache that has become less painful with the sands of time but one that I suspect will never fully go away, the loss of an adult child. Sepians I give you my sands today...
1966 Steve and me
A Psalm of Life

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

1976 Steve and me   Auburn, CA
Statue of Claude Chana,  French 1849  gold miner
in the famous California gold rush

2007 employment ID photo Steve
This is my Sepia post.  To see what others offer in this international community, go to the site here...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday 204 Life changing times

The week's prompt brings many thoughts and having been around the planet for 68 years, I have experienced many life changing events, some  heart warming, some tragic.  Here in the States we are marking 50 years post John F Kennedy's assassination; he was the first president I ever paid attention to and my generation's most loved politician.  Up until then it was innocence of beliefs, faith in all being right and no doubts about what might come next.  JFK's murder, for that's what it was is an event that cut a wide swath through my beliefs as a Catholic and girl of the 60's.  That particular day I was prone on a sofa in  the apartment in Sacramento, CA, fighting the most horrid morning sickness ever suffered by a pregnant woman, and yet stirred with the TV reporting what could not be happening in front of me.  As if it were not bad enough now that I knew I was in a big dilemma, across the country from all family and wondering WTH I could have been thinking to get myself into that pitiful, dreadful marriage anyway, my President was killed.   Ahhhh life twisted along from there some uphills, some flat times and some joy, some scathing downhill jolts. 

I did get out of that mess but found myself a young single Mom, determined to stay in CA and not to return to Pennsylvania and readily admit that my mother was right.  Oh I was 20, didn't I know everything?  Not so by a long way.   To my rescue then by rail road, journeyed my maternal grandmother aka Baba Rose alone across the country from Pennsylvania,  to stay with me, help me with the baby, get me on my feet  and provide  the love she had all my life. She did not scold nor say "we all told you so....." No none of that, she was absolute strength and support.  I regret that perhaps I did not appreciate her as much as I should have although she knew I loved her very much.   

Here she is in December 1965 with Steve who is  18 months old.  We were all surviving on very tight finances; I was working two shifts at McClellan AFB and she was encouraging me to go back to school, to finish college because she knew I was too smart to stay below what I could achieve.  Above all, she told me, "you will marry again, but next time be careful, don't jump into anything and choose a good man; you learned a lesson, don't  ever forget it."  Very prophetic as Jerry would come along shortly after she left.  Wish she could have met him.   

Rose was already only 70 years old here but looks much older.  She was the grandmother who raised me; she and the family helped Mom, her daughter who was a WWII widow pregnant with me.  Rose had experience in spades with us young Moms.  She stayed less than a year before returning home to Pennsylvania.  She helped me get my head on straight and never criticized my decision to stay there in California, on my own.  She said, "You'll make it, you are smart and pretty and headstrong, don't look back, look ahead."  Before she departed for home, she found another grandmotherly woman who would babysit Steve for pittances when I worked, and who would adopt us like family.  I don't know what would have happened without her, my grandma Rose who helped me in the crisis of a lifetime.    I did a lot of growing up then, fast, through a life changing time. 
1965 Steve at 18 months with his great grandmother,
my grandma Baba,  Rose Ostrowski Kochanowski
This has been just one life changing event for me.  To see what others in the Sepia community have to say this Saturday, click here to the site

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sepia Saturday 203 Doorways and beyond

While looking for doorway photos for this week's prompt, I found  two in my  file of mystery  people ... Their identities were likely well known to my relatives who kept the photos, but here in 2013 as the surviving person, I have not a clue.  This first iconic photo taken as so many with someone out the door and very close to the step of the porch.  But another person is  standing in the doorway.  This was with photos from my late Aunt Marge and among hers from 1941-42 in Cleveland, Ohio.  She was better than most at identifying the people in her photos but not here.  It might be in early fall or spring, the woman has a coat over her shoulders and open toe shoes, purse along side, ready to  come or just returning.  A story waiting to be told.  Aunt Marge lived in Cleveland when she was a young single hair dresser before marrying Uncle Carl and some of the time when he was away in the Army during World War II.   

The second photo is from Pennsylvania and while not in the doorway, behind her ,the lady is on the porch. This was in my late Aunt Virginia's collections..It could be my grandmother's sister, Mary who lived across the river from us in a house with a big porch. I've written before about Sunday's with my Great Aunt Mary and the Janosky clan.    The back of the photo has labeling which  identifies it as a "Kodacolor Print, Week Ending May 26, 1956."  Whoever she is, she means business and might be  just leaving  for church;  my grandmother and her sisters usually display that down to business look in their photos.   She has likely just come out the door, dressed in hat and coat, while the photo is fading the hat and coat were a pink shade.  While Aunt Mary might have splurged on a new spring coat, I cannot imagine it would have been any color but a basic serviceable dark, color, navy perhaps, but pink?  

Finally another photo that is more meaningful to me today with both Mom and our son, Steve gone.  Not a doorway, which they have passed through but still posed in front.  Taken in July, 1972 in Pennsylvania at my old home; Steve and I  were there for a visit from California, it was for my 10th high school reunion.  Steve is on the front steps and Mom, grandma, is behind on the edge of the porch. Her hands are on her hips while Steve has hung his thumbs inside his pockets.  It is pre-digital photo ability and not close enough for good detail, that we could get today.  I am also surprised that this was developed in black and white, but it was with Mom's things and likely taken by Barney, her 3rd husband.  They have both just come out the door; we hardly ever used the front door to that house where I grew up, we came in from the side or back doors only.  The front door opened into the living room and we would not have thought of entering there, that was for company.  By the way, relatives also came to the side or back doors, so it had to be someone special to come to the front door.  But after I left home, and would return to visit,  Mom allowed use of the front door.  Still, I would revert to the side door mostly, it's what I was used to, an old habit.  This is one of the few photos I have of the old home which is still standing but is owned by a nephew with whom I have no contact.  He has changed the house color and I know not what else, because after Mom passed in 2004 and Jerry  and I stayed there for the funeral,  I have never again been inside the house. 

From doorways and unknowns to dear departed loved ones, this has been a Sepia Saturday post.  To see what others in our international community are sharing this week, use this link

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sepia Saturday 177 Fences

This week's prompt immediately reminded me of several  fence photos  and one nearly upside down boy, but finding them, ahh that took time.  I remember hanging upside down just like the  children in the Sepia prompt off the cross bars of swings or other things.  It was all the better to startle adults who would shout, "get off there right now before you fall and break your neck!"  And then would come warnings about too much blood going into  the head from upside down.  It never bothered any of us.  Today, I don't like an overly  upside down  tilt to my chair in the dentist office when I have exams and teeth cleaned and protest, as I did a couple weeks ago, "Better let me up for a while, too much blood going to my head."  Ahh how childhood warnings stick in the psyche and emerge so much later in life amongst our truisms. 

I snapped this photo of our late son, Steve in 1976 climbing over one of our pasture fences that were not all that sturdy.  He was 12 years old then.  Fences were a necessity when we lived in Newcastle in northern California because we had a bottom pasture with a pond and we and the neighbors had horses, which had to be corralled, "good fences make good neighbors."  This pasture  fence had a gate farther down the hill that could be opened but Steve could not bother with walking farther when he could go over.  I remember shouting many warnings about this activity to no avail because he was typical country roughneck boy,  always tearing holes in his pants and shirts climbing over  fences to shortcuts.  

I don't know how I happened to have the camera with me just in time to snap this but I must have yelled something, like, "you are going to break your neck and go over upside down someday yet.....walk down the hill to the gate."  He  never did.  There in the left lower corner is  a glimpse of Cookie, one of  our German  shepherds who went wherever Steve went on the hillsides, she could not have climbed over that fence  but she would have found a way under because wherever he went, she shadowed.  Steve's birthday is this coming week, we will still feel pangs from loss although after 5 years we have accepted.

It was less than half a mile all the way down that old dirt road to the pond, lower pasture, too far for a boy on foot to be bothered walking to reach a gate when he could hop over and run through the pasture.  The following photo shows how run down those fences had become by 1980, weather and age taking a toll and necessitating  replacement at a healthy investment.  By that time we had given up our horses so it was not as critical to mend and keep up fences.  I will have to copy this and send to a neighbor who still lives back there.  Today that old dirt road has been paved and before we sold off, many homes had been built farther down on subdivided and developed property, making the old dirt path a daily speedway.  It was just one more reason why we no longer wanted to live there on those seven acres.  Country life was going away.   

I took a photography class in 1981 which included film development and working only with black and white photography.  I took and developed this photo  March 1981 showing the partial replacement  from run down rail fence to post and barb wire along the upper pasture.  I was advised that the photo was too busy and to focus down, but today I am glad I have this "busy shot."  We no longer live there and it does bring back the memories.  I tried to post it as an extra large photo but my blog lay out will not permit it, so here it is a bit smaller than I would like. 

This has been my Sepia post for the prompt of upside down urchins on fences.  To see what others have shared this week, click this link to the Sepia site, an international community.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sepia Saturday Week 71 Easter (Click here to go to the Sepia host site)

1965 Steve with Easter bunny and candy
Thought I would skip this week of Easter but I have been rummaging old photos looking for some of a grand aunt on my father's side after a new connection this week with cousins, previously unknown to me.  While on that search I found these photos of Easter past, long past.  Sometimes it helps to just remember Steve in his happiest times, as friends said, he was such a happy smiling kid, always.  Life would diminish that happiness, but these good memories of what we enjoyed bring a glow.    This first of his first Easter, one year old, dressed in a suit.  I can hear him from the Beyond now, "Mother!"  I don't remember that bunny which looks like it was wooden.  But I remember that Easter suit, which Mom sent money to buy.  Back in the olden days we always dressed to the nines for holidays, even toddlers.
I found few photos of Easter, many more of Christmas.

We and everyone we knew and many we met spent most Easters at the Kikers' farm in Newcastle. Sam and Helen Kiker were parents of my dear friend Ella and the extended family of all of us was huge.  Nearly 100 of us gathered there every year on Easter and other times; Helen would cook a huge ham and a turkey and we all brought many dishes and ice chest  filled with beverages  for the massive dinner.  It was a fun time and we all knew that; maybe we never thought back then that  those days would become memories.  This was the Newcastle farm we would eventually buy from Sam and Helen as they aged and were intent to selling off when we were intent to move from the suburb of Fair Oaks; none of their children were interested in buying and we were "adopted kids" as they called us, so they sold to us and we moved to the orchard/ranch/ acreage.

1971 Easter at Kikers Farm  Steve, Karen and kids
 This 1971 photo of just a few of the multitude of kids gathered at the farm,  posed for the Easter egg hunt that would be down the road in the pond field.  Steve is front  to the left holding his basket, next to him is Karen Malnick, (Ella and Phil's daughter.) She was younger but they lived down the street in Fair Oaks and she always looked to Steve as her big brother. Steve was easy going and would go along with entertaining the youngsters. I don't recall who the other children are except Leslie Kiker, the blonde on the ground on the right chewing on her basket handle. I didn't write the names, I suppose I thought I'd always know who they were and today  I do not.

Oh, all our dogs which we all brought to the farm had to be corralled so the kids could first search for eggs that the men hid and sprinkled  all over the  field, arranging easier egg areas for the youngest children to find and so on.  After the kids were done, the dogs were loosed and headed down to the field  always finding leavings.  You will notice all the cars in the huge drive and road.  Sam drove the kids to the pond  in the back of a cart hauled by the tractor.  Along the way they all sang, Sam's special song, "Alfalfa Hay" 
One last photo of an Easter many years later, 1990, and now many years ago.  It is one of my favorites with the glow of the sun shining through the trees looking down the hill off the back deck, Newcastle.
1990 Easter sun Newcastle, CA
As always click on the title to go to the Sepia site and see what others are sharing.  Alan's Big Bunny prompt at the host site is worth checking out...Happy Easter day

Friday, December 17, 2010

2 year mournful anniversay Sepia Saturday Week 54 (Click here for the Sepia site)

Today December 18 marks the second year of our son, Steve's passing, too soon.  I share some Christmas memories here (ghosts of Christmases past)  with the Sepia community, although these are not nearly of the vintage that I usually post.  It is a tough time for us, but  at least the raggedness of our grief has diminished, the slow healing of time,  acceptance and the remembering the good times.

Steve's first Christmas, 1964 with a Sears Santa
I used to be Mrs. Christmas with the excessive  decorating, the stockings, the presents, on and on.  I gift wrapped everythimg, even the smallest toy that went into the stockings.  Although I was certainly indulged as a child and at Christmas time especially, I never had a Christmas stocking.  I guess it just was not the practice in my Polish family.  I never thought I was deprived, but when I had Steve and we lived in CA and I always had a stocking for him.  Even as an adult, he enjoyed those  stockings.  One year, I thought I would skip the stockings and he let me know tha was not "acceptable." 

Steve always enjoyed Christmas, maybe too much.  Sometimes we'd barely get to bed after Jerry'd spent hours assembling something, when Steve would  awake, and run to check under the tree, the mantel for the stocking and  then wake us up shouting, " Mom, Dad, Hurry! Santa's been here, Santa's been here!"  We had friends whose daughter never woke up early on Christmas, in fact they had to awaken her, not so at our house!  Sometimes we made him go back to bed so we could get a  little sleep, never for long.  He would be in him room singing and shouting, "Mom, Dad can we get up yet!"

1965 Steve kissing Santa

1965 My Grandma Rose came to CA to help me out and
to care for her only great grand child.  Here they are right before Christmas.

I love this photo. My grandma said she could tell that Steve was my son, he was busy as I was. Of course she was older  then in 1965 than she was when she had the handful of me!

1966 Steve with me and Jamie, one of the McCallister boys
The McCallisters were  very good friends in CA

1967 Steve and Mikey McCallister...bare feet with a new
Christmas tie  and tinsel on the tree

1968 Steve with the Stocking, I can hear him saying, "Santa will fill this."

I cannot explain the bow in my hair nor what kind of get up I was wearing, those were the blonde days, I know that.  We still have that stocking.

1969  with another Dept. store Santa
1969 Christmas with the present from Grandpa Barney
in PA
That was the year I covered the tree with fiber cloud, what a mess it was
1969 Christmas Steve and Jerry 
1969 Steve and Me  What a hairdo!
We will stop with Steve at  five years old, except for and the very last from 1977 where he still got up early- this last photo was at 3:00AM!  Now he was past  the age of believing in Santa but he had never outgrown that early rising to see what presents were awaiting. 

1977  Early at  3 Christmas morn

This has been a  nice way to remember as we try to focus on the happy moments.  Thanks for indulging me.  As always click on the title to this post to get to the Sepia Site and see what others share this week.