Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Night A Long Time Ago

Hot sweat rolls down beneath the big rubber mask,
Filling our bags with the most candy is the hand at task.
There’s a lady next to Mudd’s House, I’ve been told,
Instead of candy she’s giving out quarters - good as gold!
Everyone! Beware of Honey at 930 Hoyt Street,
She’ll scare your socks off before you even ask for a treat!
Then down a couple of blocks to the convent to scare the nuns,
Hoping they can’t figure out who we are is half the fun.
Then it’s time to go home and trade and sort the candy,
Our drawers in the 2nd living room would keep it handy.
Halloween in the 50’s in Saginaw, Michigan, I know…
Was the most fun anywhere and such a long, long time ago.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Family of Six in a Duplex!

Moving day was near and I looked forward to it with trepidation. Our daughter and her family had been living with us in our duplex for just over a year. I remember her call to us to ask if they could move in; we were worried about how all six of us could fit in such a small space without killing each other. Well we did it – and when moving day arrived it was difficult to see them go.

Pat and I were very happy with our empty nest. We never quite understood our friends having such a difficult time letting their children go. It seemed natural and wonderful not to worry every night where the kids were, what time they were getting home, who they were with – all those terrifying parental worries that go with teenagers and young adults.

This time though, when Joanna and Robin went they took our grandchildren with them. This was difficult because they were not at an age where we would feel relief at not worrying about them – they were at the age where we played outside with them, we read stories to them, we played Lincoln Logs and Barbie with them, we watched them dance and do gymnastics and helped them with their homework. This was going to be hard.

I knew they needed their own place and I knew we needed our own space but in my heart I also knew they need us in their lives. Things would never be the same because we learned so much over that year. They learned that we have unconditional love for them, that there is always a lap to sit on and a story to be told. We learned that you could never have enough kisses and hugs and tickles and laughter. We had such fun that year being an integral part of their lives. Who would have thought that one year could make such a difference in our lives? We were so blessed to have had that opportunity to share our home with them.

That year we learned there was nothing better than having the pitter patter of little feet running in the room and jumping into your arms for a few minutes of cuddling on Saturday morning. Of whispering to them that we wanted to kidnap them for the day for a special excursion that would take us all day long and that we would have to spend hours and hours in the car playing and reading and singing.

Here we are – several years later and yesterday was Papa’s birthday – everyone came home for Lasagna and Meatballs and Garlic Bread – YUM – but the most fun was watching Robbie and Sheala taunt their Dad shooting him with rubber bands – his eyebrows going up every time they hit the mark. Watching them patiently, collecting the rubber bands to have a large stockpile – and then BAM – as the kids covered their bodies with pillows and blankets he pelted them with the ammunition. Then – they all were on the floor kicking and wrestling and Joanna and Pat and Caroline and I were laughing so hard we could barely breath – it was a wonderful reminder of those days we all lived in the duplex together. Fun – Fun – Fun. I love family get togethers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Best Friend

This is the eulogy I gave at my best friend's funeral. I have been thinking about her a lot lately. We had such good times together. I miss her so much. The picture above is of us walking on the East Shore of THE Great Lake - Superior of course.


When we were young, Janet and I would be running down the sidewalk and of course she was always ahead of me. She wouldn’t even look back she would just stick that hand out so I could grab on and sure enough we would fly down that sidewalk on Emerson Street faster than I ever could on my own.

For years we worked as Red Cross volunteers. Collecting toothbrushes and soap for friendship boxes, working in the office with Mrs. Fordney, going to the bus station to see the young men off who were drafted for the Vietnam War, some of them not wanting to go at all. We learned the importance of completing projects, showing compassion to others and volunteering our time.

All of us tried to live up to Janet’s expectations. Whether it was running down Devil’s Slide, keeping up with her on a bike ride or cooking something that would bring a smile to her face. We would stay up half the night studying for Mr. Agresta’s history exams. She would be so proud of me when I could answer any question from the chapters we were studying and then we would get into class and I would look at those stupid fill in the blank tests and couldn’t remember who Romulus and Remus actually were. We would walk out of that exam and she would say “We studied all the right pages… you must have done great this time!” One look at me and she wouldn’t say a word but she would roll her eyes and we would laugh.

In the past, when Janet became ill some people thought she wouldn’t get better, but they just didn’t know her. Janet and Rod and Patrick didn’t “fight” the cancer. They lived through it. There wasn’t complaining or whining instead the medications, the trips to the hospital, the chemo, losing her hair, just became part of their days. Her family, students and friends learned to expect Janet to recover.

Just a few weeks ago, Janet knew she was making her last trip to Grand Marais. It was her determination and stubborn pride that got her there and back home safely. Her family let me come into their home during a very private time in their lives and shared that last week with me. It was an honor to be able to care for her.

Imagine watching a gorgeous sunset on Lake Superior after a long walk on East Shore where the waves are pounding the beach. Agates scattered here and there… just enough so you can find them when you really look but not so many that it is an easy pick. Sand Dunes, the lighthouse and birch tree forests and when you turn around… Mountains… Yes, Mountains as in Rocky Mountains… Mountains capped with fresh white snow with waterfalls cascading from the top. Rock formations with wildflowers blowing in the clean crisp Montana air.

Heaven……… Janet’s Heaven… Imagine if God has waited patiently for Janet to get to Heaven all these years so a small corner of Heaven could be transformed… How pleased God must be to have Janet in Heaven.

I told her that last week she was going first and when my time comes I asked her to hold her hand out to me so I can join her because I can’t imagine a more glorious place to be than Janet’s Heaven.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Magic in the Air

Sometimes as a grandmother I feel magic in the air. It embraces me like a gentle breeze coming off the lake in the middle of a hot hazy day. It doesn’t happen often but when it does I want the day to go on forever.

One crisp fall morning in 2002 we embarked on a trip to Hartwick Pines with our grandchildren. It was a long two-hour van ride filled with songs and stories, math story problems and spelling words. After hours of sitting in the car, a long walk in the woods seemed like a perfect idea. The kids weren’t so sure but we talked them into going for a short walk which ended up being a couple hours.

Once we got on the trails they perked up and were very excited. We found treasures along the way, a beautiful maple leaf, a stick, stones, and pinecones, all had to be held by Nana or Papa, except for the stick of course, that was too good to hand off.

Pretty soon even the stick was surrendered and they started skipping, laughing, jumping, doing cartwheels, running and racing. They found huge trees and made Papa put his arms around them to see if he could touch his fingers. They were surprised when he couldn’t and they were even more surprised when he told them how old the trees were.

We stopped at the historic buildings, a store, and the lumbermen’s dining and sleeping areas. Then we came to the little church nestled in the woods. We went in and the kids wanted to sing a song. With the sun streaming in the cross window, we sang the song of thanksgiving that Aunt Cindy taught us.

“Oh the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed, the Lord is good to me. Amen…. Amen… Amen, Amen, Amen… Ahhhhmen.”

Then we went out and took pictures. The kids wanted to pose on the benches and fences, and then they wanted Nana and Papa to pose so they could take pictures. Those pictures captured the fun and relaxation of the day.

When we got back to the van I spread the blanket on the ground and the kids got out their sketchpads and crayons and pencils. They drew pictures of the trees and the bridge and they talked to the birds with whistles and hoots. After a bit Papa got out the ball and they played catch in the long driveway of the parking lot. Then Robbie found a salamander and that made for the most perfect day. We had to talk him into letting it go before we left – Nana is not Aunt Cindy – NO lizards in the car!

On the way home they played quietly in the back seat, exhausted from the fun and fresh air. Forever I will remember this day; it was what being a grandparent is all about. A day filled with sunshine and love and nature. A day I expected to see wood nymphs and fairies peeking from behind the great pines; a day filled with grandchildren and magic.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


One of the best workshops I attended had me look at one part of my life and figure out how I got there. What amazed me the most was that the decisions I had made years ago, ones that I never even thought were important decisions, were in fact ones that lead to life-changing results.

The example I looked at in the class was how we ended up moving back to my hometown of Saginaw because of my secretarial work using computers. I had to weave my way back in time to my volunteer work experiences with a non-profit organization and my decision to purchase a computer in the early 1980’s. Never did I imagine when I bought that computer how it would change not only my career but also where our family would live when I started working outside of our home. Then looking forward I realized that each decision built on that first one, would impact what schools my children attended, the friends they made and even whom they would meet and marry.

After that workshop I started to look at my decisions more closely. I don’t worry about where each decision will take me but I do carefully think things through before deciding. One of my friends that I used to work with always told me, “What goes around, comes around!” and I have learned that is true in my life. I not only have to consider my life when making decisions but also the lives of others in my family, my neighborhood, at work and in the world.

This decision about looking for a new church is a selfish one – I just want to be a person in the pew for a while – get nourished without commitment. No arts and environment committee, no choir, no teaching children First Eucharist and Confirmation classes. Just soak in the liturgy and the Word of God. I love participating in the liturgy again – this really is a gift from God. Something I thought was gone.

Every once in awhile decisions must be made to regroup and heal. That's where I'm at right now. But, I do know that this decision could change everything in the future. I'm willing to take that chance. ME

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lessons Learned

We have decided not to join a church right now. We are going to attend one for awhile and then see if we want to change. It is too difficult to formally leave St. Mary's so we just won't attend there for now.

When my Mom was dying we had her best friends surrounding her bed the day before she died. She couldn't talk but when they said something interesting she would lift her eyebrows and we would all laugh. It was an amazing day. Her daughter, granddaughter and newborn great granddaughter and Mom's best friends all together to celebrate her life and her death with her.

One of the stories was about when I was in high school (1968), Monsignor wouldn't allow us to have guitars at church. So I went to Mt. Carmel where they welcomed us. Mom sent a letter to Monsignor that said every time we were at Mt. Carmel she was going to put her envelope there that week. OOOOHHH did he get mad! He was not only her pastor but her boss, too - she was the secretary at the parish school.

What I found very interesting was that she never told me this story - I found it out from her friends on that amazing afternoon. Mom didn't do things for show - she did them from her heart. So - I am going to do the same thing - just put my tithing where I attend that week.

Since we have made this decision we feel at peace with it. Getting to the decision to move on was very difficult. But we feel we are doing the right thing.

The pact we made with our friends - well - we all decided we were in a different place in our lives when we made that pact. We are all going to do what is best for each couple. Some are staying - some are going - but one thing we all know - we love each other and we are family - we will always love each other and always be family.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blustery Day

It was such a Winnie the Pooh day yesterday - it was so windy. We went to our grandson's last football game in the morning. Everyone was freezing - even though it wasn't too cold we were sitting in the shade on the bleachers all layered up - with sweaters, jackets and blankets drinking hot chocolate and we were still cold.

Every 5 minutes my grandson would tackle someone and the announcer would say his name - it was so much fun - Robin played his hardest and he kept hitting and hitting and hitting - now he isn't the biggest kid on the block - but he sure was the toughest yesterday. He even ran the ball 30 yards - then he was tackled. His dad had to work so every time his son did something terrific his mom would call his dad and give him a short - "He did it again!" Even though they lost the game - it was so much fun.

Then we stopped at the Antique warehouse - got a small check for last week - and saw that I sold a cake plate and server. Then we saw an oak dining table - just a 42" square - and talked the price down some and decided to get it for our kitchen. Now I have to look for chairs - we'll use the old ones until I find a good deal at an estate sale or something. I told the workers I knew I would spend more than I make; they all laughed and said they all work so they can spend more money!

We called Joanna and asked her if Rob could come over and help move the table downstairs and bring in the new one - so they said they could be over about 4:00 so Pat cut the grass and I did a little raking - (after talking to my sister for a long time) then we went to thrift shops and estate sales - didn't see much of anything - bought a couple spoons at the estate sale but that was it.

Rob and Joanna and Sheala and Robbie came over - they moved the tables - then we went out for dinner. We had a nice time. Caroline couldn't come with us because she was still working. The table we sat at had cards to ask questions to pass the time - we all were laughing. I ordered a glass of wine - it was very bad - so I told the waitress. She went to the bartender and came back and said if I wanted another it would have to be from the same bottle! I asked her if the bartender was new!!??!! She said the other bottles were warm - I told her to have the bartender taste the old wine - open the new wine and give me a glass of ice. Save me!

Then Pat and I went to a few stores looking for baskets - found some - went to the hardware store to buy something for the bottom of the legs of the new table and then home. We kept falling asleep watching the baseball game - so we went to bed.

Today we are going with our friends to see a different church - eight of us made a pact about seven years ago that if someone wanted to change churches all of us would go or none would go. We are looking - this has been very difficult - but a much needed change. We are going over to one of the couples after church to talk - I love this group of people - we are family. We certainly need prayers about this - please keep us in your hearts today.

Well we survived one more "Hallmark Holiday" - we have never celebrated those holidays that the card shops came up with - when Pat was layed off from construction work a lot during the 80's, we would go into Hallmark on our anniversary - pick out the greatest cards - show them to each other - put them back on the rack and walk out! Thank you Hallmark for many years of great cards!

Gotta go wrap beads - ME

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday Morning

My sister and her family have blogs and they inspired me - so here I am - MESC - when I should be sleeping or at least working - I'm setting up my blog!

Here is a little about ME

I am married to Pat - the love of my life. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. I am sure I will be telling you many stories about them in this blog. I work at the Police Department and my new interest is creating original beadwork on flatware.

So - onward blog - this should be fun!