Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Soul Is Sad

One of the last of the folks that had an impact on my teen and early marriage years has passed today.  Dan Strong and his wife, Mason, were youth leaders during my last years in high school.  I moved on to being a 'grown-up' by becoming engaged on December 31, 1966.  Mason was one of the ladies at the church that sponsored the wedding shower for me.  Dan and Mr. Boyd were busy building the new church building for our church that year.  As it turned out due to delays, I would not be the first wedding in the new church. 

Dan Strong was a builder.  He was instrumental in moving the little farming town of Allen into a revival of sorts.  Hes company, Strong Built Homes, built many of the new homes in the developments that sprang in the 1960's and 1970's.  Of course he was not the only builder but he was definitely very productive.  With the growth of the little town the need for appliances and the other items needed for home building increased.  Dan and Mason opened a floor covering and decor store. 

Mean time in my life hubby and I were being sponsors of the same youth group at the new church building.  Married for 2 years, we had decided to begin trying for a child.  That proved to be more of a challenge than one would imagine.  After research, we were told having a child probably would not happen.  I had left my job at Collins Radio and was in need of a job.  Again our lives intersected with Dan and Mason.  They asked for me to come work part time at the carpet shop.

Over the course of the next two years I worked for but much more with Dan and Mason.  Always excited and energetic, Dan was a force unto himself.  He and Mason were more than employers, we became friends.  We visited their home and that of their friends, Ken and Sue.  Chili dinners and other such good times were common.  Dan and Mason began a new home and I was able to help with the decorating.  It was shortly after the completion I had to quit working for Dan and Mason.  Seems the adoption agency required the wife to be a stay at home woman. 

I know, really?  Yes, really, a church adoption agency required a woman to not work.  For the next year ++ I would baby sit for some spending money.  We were eventually in line for a placement of a child.  That is when the miracle happened.  Undergoing our exams for the adoption, I mentioned I was late with my period.  Well, a test was taken and just before Christmas a call confirmed I was going to have a baby.  We laughed and said we felt we had been expecting for about 2 years already.

Mason was, again, one of the ladies that hosted a shower, a baby gift shower, for us.  Life happened and we moved to Missouri.  Mom and Dad had their house remodeled in the late '80's.  Dan did the remodeling work.  It was the usual excellent quality.

Dan was a true craftsman.  He showed how to miter a joint once.  I never saw a joint more perfectly matched before or since.  Always a ready smile and a genuine handshake.  He loved mashed potatoes and dumplings, a kind of noodle.  Having grown up in Iowa he was not a fan of some of the southern cooking.  Dan was a good man.  May he rest in peace.   But he will probably be looking for some project to work on with his hands.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Not A Fan

"The Apprentice" is a show that I never watched an entire episode.  I am not much of a fan of reality shows probably because they are not reality at all.  "Survivor" was all the rage before I retired.  Again, I could not get interested in who beat whom.  And in that last sentence I had an ah-ha moment.  To watch someone win means someone has to lose.  I find that concept not very entertaining.

I have lost many more times than I ever won in my life.  I never made the highest grades nor ever won races.  If the Cowboys or the St. Louis Cardinals lose a game or the entire season, my life continues.  I do like those TCU Frogs but, really, "life goes on long after the thrill is gone" to quote a song.  Guess by most definitions that makes me a bonafide loser.

Yet I do not feel like a loser.  I feel like a winner.  I have a husband that allows me to love him and he returns the love.  The same can be said of our son, my sisters and so, so many friends.  By pure accident we seem to be okay in retirement.  Not rolling in the dough but far from the need to stand in the soup line.  Family and friends that allow me to love them.  Sisters that love me in spite of my grating personality.

Not a fan of name calling from a leader.  Whether the leader is a parent, teacher or president.  Not a fan of people thinking that calling a person a retard or fatty is some sort of right they have.  That is nothing more than being a mean spirited human. As a person of faith this type of attitude of name calling pretty well goes against the whole 'do to others as you would have them do to you'.

Having said all this, then it is time for me to consider for what I do cheer.  I cheer for my grandkids to play their best in a fair way.  To lose with grace, not in anger.  I cheer when a person overcomes an obstacle in their life.  I am a fan of young parents as they work with their children.  I cheer for the older person undertaking a new challenge.  I cheer when another endangered species is able to rebuild enough to no longer be endangered.  I cheer when I lose a pound. 

I keep hoping beyond hope that our President will not tweet some unhelpful comment after a tragedy.  But, no.  He has to tweet that possibly Scotland Yard is not doing a decent job.  Apparently he was never taught to say nothing if you cannot say something nice.  To follow that advice I will say Congrats on becoming grandpa again.  One more person depending on our president for leadership. 

As for that person in North Korea that seems to want to have a war, well, what's next?  Or the fact that Russia is still supporting them by purchasing coal?   Not the first time I have lived in a time of nuclear war threat.  Wonder how many will die during this current time?  I am sad we are going through this craziness once again.

I have no influence nor control over either of these leaders of nations.   So all I can do is pray for peace.  Holding onto the faith that promises,

 "For truly I say to you, if you have faith as of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. And nothing will be impossible for you." 

May your weekend be safe.
Janice


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mom's Letters and Cards

In January of 1942 my Mom, Dad, Uncle Clay and two sisters up and moved away from Texas to California.  Mom had two older brothers (Fred and Jim) with wives and families that lived in the LA area.  Dad had a sister, her husband and toddler son (Amelia, Claude and Phillip) that had farms in the Corcoran area.  These "California" families had painted California as the proverbial gold mine in wages.  The Great Depression still had a grip on rural Texas at that time.  Mom and Dad moved looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow.

With only cards and letters to stay in contact with families and friends back home, Mom wrote frequently.  Grandma Chandler held onto those cards and letters.  Recently in going through Mom's family things I uncover a stack of these writings.  I spent a day and a half reading the letters.  The voice in my head as my mind processed the words was Mom's.  Occasionally it was Daddy's voice as he sent a letter or two and scribbled a paragraph along the edges on a couple of the letters.




Mom's early writings were filled with emotions about missing her folks, friends and the Texas dirt.  As they settled into the new area they went on daytrips into the mountains with Aunt Sissy.  Mom's words were excited about the beauty of the mountains.  And the snow higher than her head!  There was the familiar teasing of Uncle Bud and Aunt Opal about their dating girls or boys Mom knew they did like.  Notes about purchases of linoleum rugs, an electric ice box even the cost of milk and bologna were scattered in the letters.  As weeks drifted on there was a change in Mom's tone.  Instead of a sense of adventure and excitement mixed with homesickness fear and anger was becoming a dominate tone.  I checked the dates on the envelopes and I was shocked.  Mom and Dad moved just 6 weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Mom had hardly mentioned the war at the beginning.  She spoke of the Jap lady that ran a grocery store.  She wrote of men back home she heard had been called up to serve.  A sub being sited in the Gulf of Mexico brought her comment that, "..looks like the war is closer to you all than us".  One of my sisters fell in the irrigation ditch but was grabbed quickly by Dad.  It was the usual chit chat of a young Mom isolated from the majority of friends and family.  Then Uncle Bud was called up for his exam.  She began writing how she hoped he failed the physical.  The day she received the letter saying Uncle Bud was going into the service she was devastated.  The letter she wrote the next day was filled with sadness, fear and fits of 'squalling', which is crying in Mom's language.

Uncle Clay was still living with Mom, Dad and my two sisters.  Mom became increasingly irritated with how Dad's brother in law, for whom both men worked as farmhands, was treating Daddy and Uncle Clay.  "Clay told Claude that he could go to h*** and take his job with him" was one line in a letter.  Daddy and Uncle Claude increasingly "had words".  Daddy had to work Sundays at times which was totally against his upbringing.  It seemed about the only thing toward the end of the letters that kept Mom going became a sort of anger.  Truth was when Mom felt emotions that she could not handle, she would get mad.  The stronger the emotion the more angry she would get.

When word came that several of Uncle Clay's friends were pulled The letters ended in August 1942.  I really do not know exactly when Mom and Dad moved back to Texas.  Their original plan was to stay a year.







This post was started back in June as I was working to finish a certain amount before a trip to be with sisters.  I have not gotten back to the letter and photo scanning project.  Possibly in the next few weeks.  My walking wings have been clipped for a bit due to irritated tendons in the knee.  Seems 71 year old with two replaced knees needs to try more that just walking to stay fit.  Guess it is a good reason to begin the scanning again.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.