Category Archives: Bay Village

Double Dip Treat

Standard

Now that I have your attention, this post today will not be about ice cream!

Instead, two invaluable subjects of being ‘taxied around’ by parents and the

gift of trust will be my focus. I think these subjects can be approached from

so many different angles. Memories from long ago times (distant past) when

either your mother, big sister, older brother, father or grandparent would come

and pick you up from one location. Sometimes transporting you home or to

another completely different destination. In this case, you were the one being

the grateful ‘recipient’ of transportation. Trust is a ‘two way street’ between

children and parents.  As in all relationships, communication and honesty

are needed to make this trust build and endure.

You may wish to reminisce about more recent experiences; when you were the

parent, uncle, aunt, older sibling or grandparent giving rides. You were the one

who imparted a special quality of trust to your younger family members or loved

ones. You could be ‘counted on.’  In this case you were the one ‘doling’ out the

good actions, being the ‘giver’ of rides and trust.

This story today is brought to you from the depths of nostalgia. Going back to the

seventies, some may consider them too new to be ‘the good old days.’ Others may

wonder how they can relate to a time, they weren’t even born! There may be some

kind of recognition to the whole scenario, though.

When I was a pre-teen or teenager, there were many times we were allowed to be

on ‘our own’ in some location or other. There ‘had to be’  friends of our own age,

whether goofing off or doing a school related activity. In all cases, we could

‘guarantee’ that one of our parents would show up with the station wagon. This

meant our friends were also ‘guaranteed’ rides to their own home bases.

 

You see,  “double dip treat” is to combine two elements:  Taxi Service and Trust.

 

Of course, you may choose to fill us in on your ‘ice cream requests,’ since

I did kind of ‘trick’ you into thinking this would be all about ice cream!

 

“TAXI SERVICE”

When we were in junior high and high school, my brothers and I kept a

big supply of dimes in our pockets or in our backpacks. We simply would

insert one slim, silver dime into the ‘pay phone’ located at our school,

at the mall, at the movies or other public locations. Then, having been

told this by a bright fellow wayfarer one time, we would say these quick

and pertinent words into the phone, hang up and wait for one of our

parents to show up:

“Hi-Pick Up- Bye!”

Usually we would get our precious dime back! It was a matter of fooling

the timer on the public pay phone. It essentially was the same amount

of time as the expression, “Sorry, wrong number.” You could also do this

in the days of phone booths and public pay phones and get your money

back.

While sitting on a curb, standing leaning against the wall of the building

and talking to others who may have asked us if they could ‘hitch’ a ride

home, we would patiently wait. We never felt rushed or impatient. Nor

did we doubt that the message was received and initiated our ride home

process, successfully.

 

Sometimes, if it were band practice, we may see the school lights turn off,

but no fears arose that someone would come and stalk us, maim us, rape

or kill us. Isn’t it such a wonderful memory, having no fears that first of

all, someone would show up and second of all, there were no imminent

dangers in this darkness?

 

Other times, we may see older teens arriving to view the later movie or to

hang out at the mall, after our ‘curfew’ was approaching. In those cases, once

again, I don’t remember being teased, hassled or bullied. We would wave at

our friends’ older sister or brother. We may even try to act ‘cool,’ by standing

by them. Hoping after all, that hanging for a few brief moments, the older

sibling wouldn’t say, “Beat it!” or “Get lost!”

We would keep our eyes peeled for the arrival of our ride. When our parent

would appear, sometimes in a long line of cars, we would head towards a

designated spot. If it were the end of the movie or band practice, we would

‘know’ instantly to head towards this one end of the parking lot, where it

was our family’s reunion location. This also worked after football games and

basketball games, where it was dark. There were only a few lights by this one

end of the lot, where we would get out the ‘Exit’ area quickly. We would stand

under the light, which worked out well for the ride giver and us, too.

Signals are part of families and it is sometimes these moments that make

or break the communication. Bonds are built on our believing in each other,

keeping the rhythm of the routine going in an ‘even keel’ symbiosis. Members

of a team, fraternity or club all have their familiar codes, habits and signals.

 

If there were any kind of mix-up, if it were our Dad coming to get us, we were in

for a lecture. There was something less concerned about the exact and precise

following the rules, in my Mom’s approach. I am always thankful that she was

a high school teacher, knowing the vagrancies and ‘bad habits’ of teens really

helped us out. I have a good guy friend, Barney, whose Mom was a middle

school teacher and his Dad was a high school coach, physical education and

health teacher. This story that I mention how much better my Mom was, did

not at all tie-in with his parents’ approach to parenting. They were even more

strict than other parents of Barney’s friends. He said that his brothers and his

sisters were like who he felt were also ‘unlucky’ children of preachers, pastors

and ministers. He can not believe the difference in how I was raised compared

to his strict upbringing.

 

An example of a fun way to adhere to being part of a ‘tribe,’ is when we

would go to Cedar Point or other places where we would ‘split up.’ Our

designated gathering location at Cedar Point was the Ice Cream Shoppe.

At a park or museum, the time was chosen and set for departure. The

entrance in those public places was the obvious choice of meeting each

other.

If we still had money left, we would go in the ice cream place and purchase

some form of ice cream. It could be a regular cone, waffle cone, shake, malt,

or float.

See! You get to hear those ‘double dip’ treat words after all!

I would get a two scoop cone with butter chip and butter pecan. If out of one of

those, switching flavors, I would choose chocolate marshmallow and chocolate

nut ice cream flavors.

Usually, if you were out of money, either of our parents would ‘fork over’ or

‘fork out,’ depending on your slang interpretation, for that last treat. We

would then leave by the entrance that took us out away from the main exit,

where most people rushed to the ’causeway.’ We were taking the side and

parallel route, using Red Bank Road I think. This road had neighborhood

houses, still leading you off the “Point.”

My Mom would order a pineapple sauce over vanilla ice cream with a

big swirl of whipped cream while my Dad would get a ‘Black Cow’ or a

Root Beer Float, depending on whether he wanted to have coke with

chocolate ice cream or root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you were more than half an hour late, there would be no ice cream,

whether you had money left or not. It was after ten o’clock and we had

to get out to the car and leave!

 

“TRUST”

In our family, we never had to wait more than half an hour for arrival

of parents for any given activity. They may miss the first part of the

movie, if we were all attending together. But we would save them seats.

This worked, into our adulthood years. By then, commercials were part

of the beginning time allotment, which meant if we were meeting them

they were usually late.

All the years of growing up, I never had to worry about how they would

greet us after activities or occasions. If there were extra people to take

home, neither my Dad nor my Mom ever questioned whose ‘turn’ it was,

nor did they inquire, “What are YOUR parents doing tonight?” There was

no ‘snarky’ comments or guilt placed upon some of our friends whose

‘turns’ never were reciprocated.

When we asked to stay out later, we needed to be able to ‘present our case,’

as if it were a court of law. We also started this, as toddlers and elementary

students, with my parents telling us, we needed to learn this skill

Having an opinion is not being able to express it with the points you need

to negotiate and navigate among teachers, principals, coaches and bosses.

We were taught to ‘bargain’ by trading a chore or responsibility or give up

something else, to be able to insure we were getting the other’s needs met.

Along with sometimes extending our curfew times or given extra ‘credit’

for those times we washed the car, mowed the lawn, raked the leaves or

weeded the garden, we were able to receive a better bike, tennis racket or

instrument.  My parents taught me this skill, which I instilled in my own

children. In the case of being ready to purchase a bicycle for $45, for an

example, but with the ‘guarantee’ of future chores or saved ‘credits,’ my

brother was able to get one for $70. I was the main provider of household

cleaning services. I was rather an ‘odd’ child, loving to use Lemon Pledge on

an old towel and dust.  Spraying the blue Windex, on mirrors and windows,

then wiping until there was a sparkle with no residue, were two of my

favorite ‘specialties.’ (Don’t hold your breath when you come of visit, since

I won’t be promising this habit as a grown and independent (read: Busy!)

woman.

You may wonder at this, but I enjoyed taking each crystal off the chandelier

and washing them in a dish of vinegar and water. Then drying them, laying

them out in a pattern on the dining room table. My Mom really counted

this to be a lot of ‘credits’ towards choices of my having privileges or on

combining this with my own hard-earned money from ‘real’ jobs like

babysitting or waiting tables.

My parents believed us, when we said we had not been out “parking” late

read: “necking” or “making out.) If we told them we had not drunk or

smoked pot at the parties we attended, they believed us. They preferred

we rode our bikes or walked home, if we were in college and told them we

had had 3.2 beer or a wine cooler, while out. Or they would still, even as

we got older, would volunteer to drive together, leaving one to drive our

car home, one to drive our besotted self home.

I must add here, truthfully, I did not have a car to my name until after I

was 22. I saw that the insurance, gas and responsibility was beyond my

own savings. We were allowed to share one car, once we reached driving

age. I chose, again, to let my 18 months younger brother be the driver,

while continuing to get rides from him or others my age.

My parents were ‘night owls’ so there was never a chance to be later than

15 minutes past curfew, which we did not press the issue often. There may

have been times, when they asked us to lean over and give them each a kiss

and they may have smelled something more than our mint. I was never in

trouble for this, but there was one of my brothers who may have taken this

chance.  More than once!

A good example of trust is when I had my first kiss, it was rather later than

most… at a co-ed camping experience with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

taking canvas tents down off wooden platforms, keeping the ties and metal

poles along with rolling up the canvas, all in a certain process. There were two

camps, two different weekends each fall. Camp Juliette Low and Camp Hilaka.

I came back from our work efforts and had to tell my Mom this, “I don’t have to

worry about reaching, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed!”

It was later in my high school years, that I came home and told my Mom that

I was ‘uncomfortable’ with the way my boyfriend was ‘pressuring me.’ My Mom

was one who asked for specifics, to listen and analyze whether it was of serious

concern or not. She not only listened to what we were doing, but how we felt.

I am so grateful for this genuine quality trait. I kept this trust with my two girls,

who each were able to tell me when they reached an age they felt was ‘good’ or

mature enough to lose their virginity. We talked about people who made promises

to their church or parents. I mentioned how I admired that my Mom and Dad

waited to do this together, after they got married. Marriage would be an ideal

situation to consummate a relationship but it is not always the way it goes.

My son and I had a wonderful 16th year together, I was 32 and we had some

bonding times, once a week. We did different things, bowling, billiards, hiking

and putt. It was easier for us to talk about serious subjects, while sitting in

a car heading in the same direction.

Either my son was driving or I, looking off into the horizon, and sometimes

literally, into the sunset together. We covered a lot of the same topics, in a

more son-directed way. I found this to be more meaningful and also, easier to

do. He had a father and a step-dad who he could confide in, but I was able to

plug in some of the same ‘sound bytes,’ like Respect, Trust, and “Always have

condoms available!”

Each agreed with me, they should try to wait longer than some they knew. To

benefit from maturity and ability to handle the emotional part of this process.

Trust may have not been shared with your parents, you may have relied on your

friends, relatives or another adult. I hope it was still part of your childhood and

teen years, too.

Are you ready to share an example of ‘taxi service’ or ‘trust?’

If not, how about telling us about your favorite kind of ice cream or a family practice

that helped you feel like you worked as a team?

 

 

 

 

 

Abundant Gifts

Standard

This title suits the enormous pile of gifts that

I received, along with the tremendous feelings of

love and admiration for my family’s varied gifts.

We are definitely blessed with a wonderful family

and hope that you had many moments where tears

were close to springing forth, for either your

‘laughing till the tears came’ or because you feel

this also, about your family being so meaningful.

You want to be like Norman Rockwell, but sometimes

your family is like the one in “Christmas Vacation.”

Much of the joy flowing at my brother, Rich, and

sister in law, Susan’s house was due to the one and

only grandchild present when Mom, youngest daughter,

Felicia, and I arrived late on Christmas Eve.

We had seen said California Theo valiantly portraying

a solemn shepherd at the Bay Village located, St. Barnabas’

Episcopal Church.

Theo, his grandparents, Rich and Susan, along with his Cali.

parents, Dorothy and Jon stood up in front, by joining the

adults singing in the choir. Theo and Grandpa Rich had

practiced with the children’s choir for the Nativity portion

of the program,during the week Theo had been there.

Why was Theo valiant? Because his mother and he had had

a horrible bout with either food poisoning or a strong

and fast flu, along with half of Jon’s side of the

family. They were queasy and pale, but stalwart along

with some joy and jubilation once they got through the

sweet children’s “early Christmas Eve service.”

Theo tooted on a long and unusually decorated South

African horn, while we ate and savored turkey, homemade

corn bread stuffing with mushrooms, cranberries and nuts

along with grilled asparagus and other side dishes. We

are much more ‘mindful’ now of our health since Randy’s

quadruple bi-pass surgery and Felicia’s health and

wellness accreditation added to her marketing and

communication degree from UD. She is trying ‘gluten-

free’ due to her aggravated RA which started as a

pre-teen as JRA.

Now, there is never a reason to ‘brag’ about actual

gifts, but I am so pleased with the variety and scope

of the gifts, I hope you will just skip down to the

comments area and add your own favorite gifts you

received. I will be including some my family received

to add some ‘unselfishness’ to my listing gifts!

My friends at work and I exchanged gifts at work on

Monday, along with bringing a snack to share, too. I

am always amazed that I would never have met these

hard working and more manual labor workers than I may

have met through teaching. They are definitely the

light that keeps me going when I am exhausted while

lifting repetitively 30-50 pound hampers!

My friends from the Philippines shared food, of course.

I had given Kridia a Mary Poppins Madame Alexander older

doll right in her precious box. I was happy with Felda’s

gift of saying that not only had they watched the old

“Mary Poppins” movie, they had enjoyed the older version

of “Sound of Music,” but Kridia “votes” for the newer one

with Carrie Underwood. They are planning on taking her to

see, or maybe due to little restless ‘Zachie Poo,’ may

wait to see “Saving Mr. Banks.” That movie is the one

based on the “real” Mary Poppins and “real” Banks Family.

I am anxious to get a chance to see that one, too!

Tammy brought a red, green and white swirled cake with

vanilla cream frosting with coconut and it was in the

triangular shape of a tree! It had red and green M & M’s

on it, too.

Melvin caught me in the parking lot, giving me a German

wine that had spices and tasted like a hard mulled cider,

but was 10 % alcoholic content. I drank this with my family

up in Cleveland, warmed and yummy. He said when he had

heard me talking about my immigrant grandparents, he had

thought of me, then while at the Rickenbacker Air Force

Base commissary, had purchased it to give to me. I cannot

pronounce nor write the name of the wine, but you may

look up holiday German wines and find it! Melvin was once

stationed there, so he says that carolers travel around

the small towns, shops have tables outside their doors,

enticing shoppers by some of their wares and little cups

of this heated wine. I kept the bottle, but did am not so

great at reading the ornate lettering on it, so am not

totally sure of the name of that wine!

Susan had put the South African gifts unwrapped under the

tree, we opened them, since Felicia and I would be leaving

on Christmas day to travel almost 2 and 1/2 hours back to

my son’s ‘party’ and family gathering with the 6 grandies.

I took Trista the giraffe printed purse that was a cloth

tapestry material with a sling kind of strap. It will be

a great “Mommy” purse. I took Jamie a polar bear mug and

its little goodies from Mom, along with hot Cheetos. He

used to get tins of sardines, herrings and tuna fish from

my Dad, my Mom tried to continue this tradition for

several years, but had decided to downsize her gifts, more

out of having to haul them from the bus to her apartment,

than a budgeting issue. My daughter got a snowman mug with

dark chocolates from Mom, I received a card with $10 and

a big hug, along with her little saved cookies from the

dining room to take home. She also ‘re-gifted’ for Jamie

and Trista, a big box of Fannie Mae chocolates. Felicia

and I had both given her boxes of dark chocolates, and

Randy had gone to the Cleveland Malley’s chocolate shoppe,

where he had given us all yummy and great quality candy.

Susan gave my oldest daughter a Cape Town calendar. (These

gifts for son, oldest daughter and daughter in law were

taken to them. Son and family had gone up for Thanksgiving,

daughter more than once had brought the two boys up, too.)

I received, in the mail, a wonderful book that I have been

reading and studying about writing. It is called, “On

Writing Well,” by William Zinsser. It is a 30th Anniversary

Edition, given by my friend, Gary, who is the man I kept of

the match.com group of men, who writes for the sports section

of the Columbus Dispatch. I was thrilled with the UPS package

on a few days before Christmas. I have read and recommend the

forefather of this book, “Elements of Style,” written by E.B.

White with his English Professor friend and colleague, William

Strunk. Strunk and White’s book was one I read in college about

writing.

Bill had taken me to eat, twice in December, although both times

I offer and he accepts money for a hefty tip or the whole meal,

in the case of the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays. His gift is always

a big dose of philosophy, analyzing our lives so far, cheerful

talks about his Heather and my current ‘love,’ at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed and reveled in the Christmas concert and

meal with that special friend. I loved the fact we walked from

my apartment, across one of the three bridges and up the steep

and slippery hill and steps to Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan Campus.

Although there was a constant attempt to keep the salted sidewalks

from getting slippery, the walk was a little treacherous, as I

wore a nice pair of heels! I wore an attractive “ensemble” and my

old, herringbone woolen long coat and gray cashmere (previous year’s

gift from youngest daughter) scarf. This was what I had worn when

I met up with my ex-husband on First Friday of Delaware with a green

cashmere sweater, that gift from a friend, and jeans, that night.

There was Chaos! upon arrival at my son’s but the children were

overall very well behaved. There is always a long table set up with

the munchies that I adore, pineapple slices, veggie tray with ranch

dressing, a relish tray with my sweet gherkin pickles, along with

my bringing two balls of the chipped beef cream cheese ‘logs’ with

100% whole wheat crackers and Triscuits. My youngest daughter

ignored the beef part of the logs and ate it anyway, since the

cream cheese and chives interior is basically healthy and gluten-

free. She ate all the veggies, the pineapple and watched herself

by eating a bite of the famous 3 cheese mac n’ cheese, Trista

makes for all family gatherings.

I was able to get photographs of most of the children with

their opening the gifts (I gave school and play clothes)

while my brother’s gifts of toys were a welcome relief!

Too bad he could not have seen the hour long play with the

two girl cousins (Jade and Makyah) with the wooden painted

and unusually shaped beads and strings. Randy gave some

awesome gifts of coffees to my girls and also, Mod Podge

in two big jars, to my oldest artistic daughter. He got

a great Crock Pot for the main meal planners, Jamie and

Trista, along with some candies to share at the party.

You see, at Jamie and Trista’s house, they have two

rooms, the play room and the kitchen set up with food!

The revelry and comraderie, includes Trista’s father,

Jerry.

He seemed, understandably, lost and saddened by his

wife, Chris’ passing, her son and his wife, Jerry’s

son and wife, friend, Alan, Theresa and Hailey, Zena,

Emily and Jason, along with my three children and six

grands.

There is always an atmosphere of joviality with the

men sometimes imbiding some ales or beers, the women

having a glass of wine, too. The children ‘munch and

run,’ or grab and take on the go snacks but they are

required to stay with food in the kitchen or playroom

areas. The little girls, Kyah and Jade, were using

water in their tea cups and using the play tea pot

in the living room, before being scolded and sent

back to the playroom. The boys were having fun with

their tablets or DSL’s? is that what they are called?

Nana never looks at those games nor tries to play

them, unlike Wii games of bowling or other fun things

on the big screen television in the family room. I

was once a Donkey Kong “Queen” amongst my son’s

group of Nintendo friends. That is the last time I

attempted that sort of game!

Children everywhere, the tree lights glowing and the

atmosphere was warm and toasty, filled with the

abundance of love flowing all around us. Such a gift

that is beyond words…

A final quotation that pertains to “abundance” by

Thomas Kinkade:

“Perceptions of beauty vary. We should delight in the

diversity of taste, just as we rejoice in the

abundance of experiences that life has to offer.”

Although, I attempted, really tried to shorten this!

Back to School “Blues”

Standard

I have been a little “blue” about back to school time. I was

a teacher, always wanted to be a teacher, so when the stores

start to show their school supplies signs and their new clothing

lines, I am filled with longing…

On the other hand, my best friend, walking buddy, Jenny faces

her second fall with not going back to school and is whooping

it up whenever I see her! She is retired after a fine, outstanding

career of 35 years service in the field of elementary school

teaching reading to those who needed extra work in that area.

There are lots of reasons to be sad about my grandchildren

going back to school one week from today! I will always feel

like there were more summer adventures we were supposed

to take part in! I also, wishing from the bottom of my heart,

think it would be so cool one day to be able to surprise all

of them with some fantastic trip.

My grandson, Skyler, is going into third grade. He has new

shoes and a new backpack. He is very excited because he

saw the class roster posted on the front door of the school.

He will have some great old friends, a couple of Boy Scouts

(“Webelo’s) and he is friendly and outgoing, so no problems

meeting unfamiliar faces either. Micah, age four, will be heading

off with a new backpack to preschool. This will do wonders for

him, since he is not as excited as his big brother to learn from

his Mom or Dad about letters. He can sound out things and

has played that car game, recognizing the letters. Last time

I posted about them, I mentioned he is learning about letter

blends and rhyming words. His backpack cracked me up!! It

has skulls and zombies, not your typical little kid’s backpack.

He is fascinated by them, tells me strings of stories how this

superhero battled zombies, last time at the pool, it was Batman

getting those zombies put finally into their graves!

I was at the dentist’s office, love my dentist, but he only dropped

by to look and say, “No cavities,” while Jamie, my dental assistant

did all the work of cleaning, scraping and water-zinging my teeth.

She was talking about her tenth high school reunion, I had to wave

my arms, she stopped to listen,

“Next year, 2014 will be my 40th reunion!”

Jamie is so sweet, “No way!”

Now she and I are really close, we have shared her major break up

about three years ago. Then, we celebrated her finding a new man

and he is super. They have been together for 2 years, last summer

they went on a “family vacation” with his family to Michigan. I had

been there only a couple summers before, so we had fun talking

then about that. This summer was their first vacation alone, to

Atlantic City. Then, we had to figure out why Justin doesn’t want

to take her to his reunion, after 2 years together, I agreed with

her, put her foot down, since she knows one woman she can hang

with while he wants to hang with the sports group, a lot of male

bonding going on. She worries, like I worry. We do this fine thing

of understanding each other.

Of course, I edited my recent trial and error with a nice man who

wasn’t “right” for me. I did not go into depth. I feel that works out

best. Jamie and her own mother don’t talk too much about this

sort of thing, so don’t want to overdo it with her. I liked that she

shared her conundrum and she also hugged me, as I was leaving.

We will see each other after Thanksgiving, so will have updates on

Jamie and her Justin.

Meanwhile, I feel the need to share three of my several wonderful

little “essays” that friends wrote in my senior yearbook. We called

our yearbook since our colors were blue and white, “The Bluebook.”

I showed these recently to my best friend, Jenny, and she could not

believe they sound like the “me” that is still around.  Please indulge

me by reading these handwritten, seniors who wrote them and

see what you think. (And, hopefully, you won’t feel I am bragging

because they are so very kind words indeed!)

Amy Davies one very good friend wrote:

“Robins are bright and joyous,

they foretell the coming of fresh green friendships.

They bring with them new colors,

bright flowers and sunshine.

Robins are friendly birds and courageous.

They bravely face the world unafraid

knowing that nobody could hurt a bird

as trusting and so loving.

Luck in ’74 and forever,

Amy”   ( Wish you could see the bird she drew, too.)

On the same page, my boyfriend, a “brainiac” who I loved

at the time, Dave Beach wrote:

“I hope that this year and all of the wonderful experiences

associated with it have enriched your life as much as they

have mine.

But no one year should ever be thought of as an end in itself

rather it should be thought of as a stepping-stone to the

greater things which are continually over the horizon.

Even though a horizon can never be reached one must

always move forwards toward it, as I know you will with

your beautiful glow before you and a trailing rainbow behind.

Dave.”

Karen Webster, a special and unique person, wrote:

“Robin,

Very rare are the times that one meets nice people who are sincere

in their niceness. Hardly ever a bad word unless it is deserved, you

hardly ever are obnoxious, unless the situation warrants it.

Do not worry about following the social norms, most of them aren’t

worth the pressure people put on them.

Be happy within yourself, its the most important thing in life.

Take care and best wishes for a successful future at Bowling

Green and forever.

Please be happy.

Love,

Karen W.”

Such wise words for me from Karen, they stick out more than all

the compliments the others said of me. I have always worried,

that is a fault but a characteristic, too.

I know now where I found those words, “take care” that I usually add

to many of my comments or replies on my blog.

Hope this gets you pulling out your yearbooks! I had several others

that I loved and relished rereading their words, including two of my

favorite teachers!

 

Memorial Day memories

Standard

The drive up took me past my old school that I taught for nine years (little

preschoolers in an integrated setting with 8 children who had been determined

to have developmental delays with 4 children considered “peers” who were

typically developing.) I gazed back in the rear view mirrow at the long glass

enclosed atrium, with a longing that still can bring a tear to my eyes.

I headed north up 42 till I saw Mt. Gilead and then, turned to go up back and

take 61 to Lake Erie. I made good time and was pleased to spend almost 5 hours

with Mom and both brothers. We watched a gruesome movie, since my mother

usually vetoes comedies and romances. (“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.”

Yup! You read that right!)

The next day, I usually go ‘fetch’ Mom’s breakfast from the buffet in her senior

living apartments’ dining room. I have some friends to say hi to, Bonnie who

went to Ohio Wesleyan University and likes to hear how Delaware, Ohio is. Her

husband, Ralph, who is a rare male among the garden of female flowers who

live in the Westlake Village. I also said “hi” to Pearl, Elinore, and Jeannie (who

likes to be called “Jeannie Beannie” and her daughter who was visiting, “Judy

Bootie”). I waved at Joe who is a very nice quiet man who once shared he was

an engineer in his working days, we talked before about my father and his common

interests. I used to say to him, “My Dad would have loved to have met you.” But

we mostly wave across the dining room.

I chose to bring a tray with my oatmeal with brown sugar, butter, raisins and cream

on it, two coffees, two bananas, tomato juice and two cream rolls. Mom is a big sweet

tooth lover so she will have a banana, sweet roll, and coffee. I will hope the fiber in the

oatmeal with all its ‘fixings’ will take away the calories of the cream roll. I will eat the

banana about an hour later. I just love an almost green banana! Mom loves hers closer

to brown.

We went to Bay Village to the bank on Saturday, tooled around the side streets, and did

venture over to Huntington Playhouse and the woodsy hills leading to the Huntington

Beach. I pulled over to Vento’s Trattoria and got out, Mom had chosen to ask me to run

in and get us some strong espresso coffee, mine with a shot of vanilla flavoring plus two

cupcakes. We did not choose to get a fancier dessert that would require a fork since we

were planning to just sit in the car, watch the traffic go by, see the travellers mixed in

with the locals at the beach. The heron at the end of one of the piers got my Mom’s

attention, as did the shelter that has a lighthouse look to it.  We chose to be lazy and

hoped the caffeine would kick in for our last stop, Giant Eagle at the Crocker Park Town

Center.

Shopping with Mom is the usual, I may have mentioned that the list is very limited. Mom

can order meals off a menu in her dining room, she can ask for extra Coke or milk to take

back for her snack along with her Otis Spunkmeier cookies she likes to eat at bedtime. She

gets a pack of two cookies and puts one away for guests every day. While watching the movie,

Rich had two oatmeal raisin cookies and I had two macademia nut with white chocolate

cookies. We also had our little juice size cups of Sangria. Rich and Randy had their beer, this

time Fatheads’ summer brews. Randy does a lot of their artwork in the North Olmsted Fatheads

along with the one in Pennsylvania. He paints their logos on the brick walls and yet, does not

make it look like a mess. I would not be able to make a flat logo on such a rough wall! But that

is his skill.

The second evening, we four went to Friendly’s to have senior discount menu meals, where 3 of

the 4 chose to have a Happy Endings sundae also. Mom and I had their delicious clams with

vegetables and fries. She had cole slaw and traded once she saw my broccoli looked “easy to

chew” and so I had cole slaw for my veggie. Yes, loaded with mayo and vinegar! Yummy combo!

I was “righteous” by trying to order the broccoli and eat it, but glad to be eating what I really

wanted, thanks to Mom’s trade. We talked about art and movies, we talked about the Indians

and also the fishing. I had heard that there was cyanide dumped in Rocky River. One of my

brothers told me that happened a year ago! I cannot believe it, but we watched another violent

movie, very good but not as great as the Swedish version, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

My brother had gotten it at the Westlake Library (Porter Library) and both he and I had read

the book, Mom and Randy had not. We all felt it was well acted and could have been confusing

but we all stayed awake to find out the ending. Both Friday and Saturday nights we were up

past midnight and my Mom insisted on taking Nicki, her little dog out afterwards.

A beautiful full moon was shining in the sky. My Mom hummed a few bars of “Shine on Harvest

Moon up in the sky.” (Although the May moon is not a harvest moon, it rose up  orange on the

horizon and was an awesome sight!)

On the third day, I travelled alone out to the cottage in Vermilion. I chose to stop at Jean J.’s

house and say “hello” and was so pleased to get a short little romantic tale to add to this

otherwise “Just the facts, mam” post.

Jean was one of my mother’s favorite neighbors, over most of the time that Mom and Dad lived

there. Jean is about my age, had met her last husband in Burger King by his reaching his hand

out to shake it, she had always told me, “I felt electricity vibrate across our fingers!” It broke

my heart (and Mom’s, too) that her Dennis had died helping with trimming trees, got a heart

attack on a ladder and fell. He died instantly about three years ago.

I like to think that I helped Jean to decide to get online to try a dating site. She introduced me

to a man she had met online who still lives in Texas! He is a cattle ranch owner and has been

visiting once a month since she started to talk to him in October. He was average in appearance

but Roger has a very nice voice, a southern drawl that seems more like Georgia, but I did not

inquire if he had always been a native Texan. I just can tell you this, Jeannie’s eyes sparkled

and once inside her home across the street from Mom’s I saw the wedding portrait and little

photos of Dennis were gone. That is a good sign, yes, Jean had found a hopeful new beginning!

I weeded a little, I walked the beach but it had been stormy out in the Lake Erie, so there were

very few nice rocks, only a few pieces of beach glass and a piece of driftwood I placed in the

front rock garden.

I gazed out at the lake and thought about my Dad on Sunday. On Memorial Day, my son had

a big trampoline, guests that he and his wife know along with my oldest daughter and her 2

boys. I enjoyed hot dog, hamburger, pasta salad, mac and cheese and a cherry coke. My baking

daughter had brought yummy cherry cupcakes with buttercream frosting (no offense, better

than the ones at Vento’s but made with love, helps improve the taste!)

Hope you had a safe and happy Memorial Day and thanks for visiting with me on my trip to

Lake Erie!

Fun in the Sun!

Standard

Memorial Day is meaningful for remembering those who have given

their lives for our country. For parades and gravesites decorated with

wreathes of red, white and blue. For waving flags and remembering

to take them down at dusk. For the trumpet which sounds, “Day is done,

gone the sun…” that etches a memory for me of my Dad. His sensitive eyes

would fill up when he heard the mournful first notes.

Along with the serious side of Memorial Day, there are the wondrous

buffets of picnics, fishing and playing games with family. I am always

thankful for the sight of my Dad rounding the corner of their little

retirement cottage on the cliff of Vermilion on Lake Erie. He would

have a life preserver over his shoulder, a handful of those styrofoam

multi-colored “noodles” my kids loved, along side of him would be

the croquet set up or a badminton net all for my three children who

didn’t realize every grandpa was not so playful and fun loving.

I am excited about staying up in Cleveland to see my mother in her

senior apartment. Last year, it was the “Attack of the Flies” story that

made my blog. This year, who knows what mischief, malaprops said,

or other adventures Mom and I will get into? We usually sit in our p.j’s

and have wine, we enjoy Hallmark or the Clue channels! Always there

are memories and a midnight walk with her little dog, Nicki.

I will be traveling with her to the grocery store, we go to the bank and

often she wants to drive past our home in Bay Village. We may go over

to Huntington Beach and stop in for an Italian meal at Vento’s which

I mentioned last summer. It is a restaurant that Patricia Heaton and her

sister own. Patty is known for “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle”

comedy shows’ fame.

She was a resident of Bay Village and would have been grade wise between

my youngest brother and my other brother who is only 18 months younger

than I am.

Her brother, Michael Heaton, was in my graduating class of 1974. He

writes in the Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer. His column’s title

and his famous persona is “The Minister of Culture.”

I wrote last year around Christmas that he wrote a true story that was made

into a Hallmark movie (Dec. 21, 2012.) This touching movie is about a

heart transplant that transforms several peoples’ lives. It is called “The Christmas

Heart.”

Vento’s has a black board listing the specials along with the choices available

On the patio are tables with umbrellas where the view is a beautiful setting

where the Huntington Playhouse currently have live theatre productions. The

Huntington Arts used to hold outdoor watercolor classes, for example.

Vento’s serves light fare along with a delicious variety of the Italian pasta

dishes you would love to eat. The desserts are also varied and includes

cheesecake and a fresh fruit salad. I am not sure what else would be served

since it has been a year.

My mother likes to look around this neighborhood that was the one

I lived in from my 7th grade until my senior year of high school. From

BGSU, I would come home from college on breaks, got married and then,

my parents retired. They spent the rest of their time together traveling

around in their RV. They went from Maine to Florida and then from Ohio

across the West to California to a NACA reunion (what NASA was called

when it first began.) Then they would follow their travels by stopping to see

their grandchildren, my kids, in Delaware, Ohio. At last starting summer

in their Vermilion home with their Memorial Day weekend extravaganza!

We won’t go to Vermilion with Mom because that is where she remembers

Dad the most and she cries and wants to stay there. It is not a safe place

anymore for her. Last Spring, we made a family decision that is difficult.

I want to take her there but I remember it is for the best not to.

Thus, I will venture there while Mom is sleeping in on either Saturday

or Sunday mornings. I will visit her neighbors, let the air into the house

and wander around the cottage. I will walk the beach looking for the blue

glass and special little rocks that we always loved to bring back and drop in

the rock garden.

I may weed a little and hope that it won’t take too long. Our man who mows

will have weed whacked and hopefully, there will be potential buyers this

Spring and Summer! Neighbors may wave and cross the street to talk.

They usually ask about my mother who was there on her own for 11 years

with a lot of neighborly love and friendship going both directions.

My brothers will have a barbecue with Susan and I doing a minimum

of preparation and sitting with my mother on their sun porch. They are

fortunate to have a place across the street from where they placed Mom.

My sister in law and younger brother have a beautiful “century home” that

is a pretty yellow with black shutters. Adorning my  brother’s large yard is

a Randall Oldrieve (other brother) sculpture that brings cars to a halt or

slowing down at least to see!

I will bask in the sun at some point in time, be it on a walk at the beach,

sitting on a large rock or on the pier at Showse Beach in Vermilion. I may

choose one of the benches at Huntington Beach in Bay.

My favorite place to perch is on the steps my Dad built down the cliff. This

was a place that no matter how high the water was, we could count on them

to be able to survey the lake. I can look out and almost see Canada on a clear day!

The sun setting or the sun rising are gorgeous to view there. From this perch, the

clear, ‘no city lights’ deep, dark night sky is heavenly!

This Memorial Day I will think of my father who really loved retiring from

what was a challenging career. He worked hard at NASA as a rocket scientist

or an engineer in the lab working with the mechanical arms testing the metal

that would produce a part on the space shuttle.

What we remember is sitting in a simple rowboat looking at the stars and casting

out a fishing line.

Those times were filled with the great expanse of water and sky filled with stars

and we didn’t have to talk to know we were loved.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!  Feel free to share your favorite memories, too!

Listening to Carols

Standard

We were at my son’s house with (I am not kidding!) 11 kids

under 12 running around, listening to Christmas Carols. We

adults each mentioned our favorites. They are revealing in their

variety and how they fit almost perfectly each person.

I would like to say the one that will inspire me to make a new

resolution: “The Little Drummer Boy” (I especially  like Nat

King Cole singing it.)

Why this song? Because we all have gifts or talents to give.

We all have things that are inside of us that sometimes we

do share, sometimes we hide and sometimes we still need to

discover them.

I think the point of the song is Christian but the way I like it

best to be read in this post is: Whoever or whatever you love,

believe in or seek for serenity let them know by your sharing

your special gifts.

I would like to make this a universal resolution. It might bring

peace, it may bring joy, it would bring Hope surely, it would!

I will meditate or contemplate every day in 2013 how I can be

more giving, more thoughtful, more outside of myself and it

will be amazing how this will take my worries and anxieties

away.

Lastly, I think we all believe that we are good inside, but we

don’t always believe what we can do will make a difference.

My mother was wonderful as a teacher, later a substitute and

a tutor. She was a good neighbor and she is still one of the

sweetest women I have met. But one thing she never envisioned

herself doing was taking her 2 dogs to a nursing home.

She walked into one the year my Dad passed away, 2001, and went

to the front desk, she asked to talk to a social worker. She said, “I

brought my 2 dogs, Cassie and Nicki, with their shots records and

my neighbor’s letter of recommendation. Can I go to visit someone

who misses their dogs? ”

This seems like a very simple idea, but in its most humble way it

was her final gift to her little town she lived in. She doesn’t have

Cassie and Nicki is her companion and her solace in her senior

living apartment. You can come up with a simple way of giving

or paying it forward. I will work on mine this coming year, much

better and more often than before.It would make me so happy if

you would want to share your idea, maybe it will become a way

to inspire others to try something out of their comfort zone…

This reminds me of  a wonderful movie that my mother and I watched

this Christmas holiday. The script was written by a fellow graduate of

my high school in Bay Village, Ohio. His name is Michael Heaton,

he writes a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Minister of

Culture.” It was first shown on December 2, 2012.

This heartwarming story, titled “The Christmas Heart,” was about

a life that is redeemed by giving. This is the ultimate gift to share.

It is a meaningful reminder of how we all need to be organ donors,

live the best life we can, and care for our neighbors. The writer, Michael

Heaton, had an interesting side note in an article telling about how the

movie was made. The airplane carrying the heart was going to have to

go through a big snow storm. This is an “inside story” and they took

the chance it would snow out where they filmed. No, they had to use

potato flakes! The characters in the Hallmark movie, include famous

actresses Teri Polo and Tess Harper. A teenager’s life is in danger if he

doesn’t receive a heart. Meanwhile a man whose life has gone astray and

made some mistakes, dies. His mother has to decide to give his heart to the

young man who needs it. It has a very exciting paced ending so if you get a

chance to, please watch this! The movie was produced with Michael’s

sister, Patricia Heaton’s help. A family movie with Bay Village roots.

May this coming year be the one you reach farther and touch more.

Happy 2013!!