Category Archives: brother

“Greased Lightning”

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My Dad liked to think he could fix cars. He was great with carpentry and other

‘fix it’ jobs. In what we considered his ‘domain,’ the garage, there was a long,

wooden table with a clamp on it, some shelves that held some clear baby food jars

with all sorts of odds and ends in them, neatly sorted and able to see what you

needed, at a moment’s notice.  As far as car repairs went, other than oil and tire

changes. . .

Dad wasn’t the best mechanic!

I thought about all those fathers out there again, while mailing my Uncle Orrin’s

and two brothers’ Father’s Day cards out today. I wish to thank all the fathers in

the world,  for their sharing the responsibility of raising children. Your efforts will

surely ‘pay big dividends’ in your relationship with the kids. Whatever you ‘put into

this special parenthood,’ I believe, will come back to you. There are rare occasions

that this doesn’t happen, for those times, I am remorseful and hoping this doesn’t

ever happen to you.

I believe all those men who have helped women out, as neighbors, teachers, friends

and relatives all need to get a round of applause! I appreciate the men who were not

birth fathers, ones who became good stepdads. By throwing balls, playing games

and allowing their bodies to be human ‘jungle gyms!’ (My artistic brother, Randy,

did this best! He liked to really horse around and ‘rough house!’)

My other brother, Rich, was the calm one who read books, sat down to play games

and really listened to my children’s early attempts at reading and telling stories.

What a great balance these two men, (while I was alone, raising my kids), made!

Susan and Rich are the biggest movie goers (and also, theatre goers) I know! They

were great at also taking my kids to these also. What a treat!

They were known for kidnapping, coming down from Cleveland unexpectedly,

for a hike or a canoe trip at Alum Creek or Delaware State Park. If they called me,

I could meet them ‘halfway up the road,’ so they could take them to Mohican State

Park. Marrying Susan was an awesome addition to our family, because she was a

‘package deal,’ coming with three ‘built-in’ cousins for my children!

My brother, Randy, was known to come by our house and pick the three kids and me

up! Off we would go, to the zoo, to camping places or to a nice out of the way natural

setting. (My parents belonged to a camping organization called, Good Sam Club,

so they were often where we would head together to meet to camp and have a nice

meal, campfire and even, miniature golfing.)

If my Dad were around, we would have water play, with all kinds of noodles, boats,

rafts and other paraphernalia. His and my Mom’s cottage, up on Lake Erie, was a

respite for me, weary from babysitting 5 plus my 3, for all those years! It was more

than another set of hands, it was living by “Grandparents’ Rules!” So nice to know

someone was taking over, allowing chaos to ensue, without any consequences or

my having to lecture or punish, since mainly “Anything Goes” or went, as the case

may be!

This has nothing to do with Father’s Day, but I must divulge a secret!

My parents ‘made’ us eat brussel sprouts, spinach, lima beans and other green

vegetables. We had to stay at the table, until a majority of our food was gone.

Somehow, these rules were thrown out the window, once the grandchildren

came along! In their station wagon or their Transvan, there were chips, pretzels,

Cheetos, Good and Plenty candies, peanuts in the shell, and any other snacks

that were not meltable. If you were to open their freezer, while we were kids,

there was always Neopolitan ice cream or ice cream sandwiches. Sometimes,

we would have simply popsicles. My Dad would take a sharp knife and cut slices

of the pink, brown and white  to put in a bowl for us.

Once I produced grandchildren, times had changed! There were all varieties of

ice cream, one of my favorites suddenly was around: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Dough. My Mom’s favorite became “Moosetracks,” while my Dad’s favorite

was Butter Pecan or Pralines and Cream. They had caramel and chocolate

syrup now! They were like an ice cream parlor, in all its deliciousness!

Rewards of being a parent of said grandchildren, meant that you also could

avoid vegetables and other important daily food requirements, skip breakfast

and eat donuts or ice cream…

This is pretty much a rambling post, but I will get back to the poem that may

fit the subject.

To All the Dads, Fathers, Uncles, Step Dads or Other Meaningful People

Who Have Provided Good Role Models for Children.

I have been inspired by my silly Advance Auto position as a Bins Order Filler, to

write a Father’s Day poem.

This is mainly using car terminology, the fun that can be had while traveling

around in cars or fixing them, too. Multiple applications of car parts inserted

into a wordplay-sort- of- poetry way.

“Zooming into Father’s Day”

by reocochran

June 12, 2014

“Start your engines.

Ignite your energy.

Spark your hearts.

Plug in your sparks.

Ready. . .

Set,

Go!

Children are shouting,

Moms are smiling,

Families are celebrating~

Dads around the world.

Driving in the country,

Winding curves,

Come to a complete stop,

Parking at a special place.

Unpacking food and coolers,

Picnic baskets, charcoal and

Everything needed to party.

Use some elbow grease,

Pitching in with side dishes.

Hamburgers and hot dogs,

Another one will roll off

The Assembly Line.

Desserts are eaten,

Children scattered to

Swings,

Slides,

Merry go rounds,

and

Parents relax.

 

Smells like gas.

Is it the baby or the car?

 

Don’t muffle the noise,

Turn the radios up!

Spray paint is for  car details,

No graffiti on park benches.

Flags waving,

If only in our minds.

Racing to the finish,

We won’t stop till…

We are ‘tire’d.”

 

Three more days to go until the Big Day for Dad comes!

 

“Grease” was written by Jim Jacobs and  Warren Casey.

“Grease” musical was first performed at the Kingston Mines Theatre

in Chicago, Illinois in 1971. It became popular as a stageplay and later,

as a movie, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.

“Greased Lightning” was a song, that began while the teens, Danny and

Sandy,  are at a drive-in movie.

 

What was your father talented at?

What is a favorite memory of your Dad?

Is there someone else who played an important part in your childhood,

who you would rather comment about?

 

 

10 Ways to Stay Young

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I received Mom’s card, that she bought in the downstairs area of her senior living

apartments, at the end of last week. This is called the ‘library’ where you can choose

to borrow, return or give books and pick out greeting cards. There is an ‘honor code,’

where you go to the nearby Front desk to pay for the cards or check out the books.

This card, and its message, really made my day this week!

It was one of those simple ones that talk about friendship. She vacillates between

saying that I am her ‘best friend’ and missing her faithful little dog, Nicki, (her ‘other

best friend.’)

These notes, I realize I have mentioned, hold important feelings that she shares

with me, her only daughter. I am touched with her added embellishments, sincerely

expressed ideas and loving memories of our special ‘girlfriend’ visits and shopping

trips.

She writes to many people, her words are less descriptive and their clarity may not

always be there. Time has taken some of her training in spelling, grammar and English

usage away. But the essence of love shines through to all of her recipients of letters.

Her good friend, Joyce, who will always be known as “Pooky” to those who love her,

wrote her a long typed (on the computer and printed out) letter. In this, she was

supporting my Mom’s asking to be able to have her dog back. Nicki is residing with

my brother and sister in law, with multiple dogs, on a ‘better, healthier’ diet and

regime. Their main concern was that Mom had fallen, so they felt with her new

walker, therapy visits and trying to manage Nicki with the walker may do more

‘harm than good.’  “Pooky” lives in California and I have written her notes to

keep her abreast of my Mom’s current health status, along with over the years,

many holiday cards. She is a good and true, lifelong friend of my Mom’s.

“Pooky” sent a clever list which has some fun, but often expressed, ideas about

growing older, includes positive life lessons and ways to stay young.

On the top of the first page, my Mom had handwritten these sweet words:

“You know all of these, my Robin, but it never hurts to be reminded of them. . .

To my best friend in the world!”

“How to Stay Young

Friend to Friend Advice”

1.  Try everything twice.

On one woman’s grave, the epitaph reads:

“Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!”

2.  Keep only cheerful friends.

The Grouches pull you down.

Keep this in mind, if you are one of those Grouches!

3.  Keep learning.

Don’t stop!

Whatever it is that stimulates your brain cells and keeps

your mind active.

4.  Enjoy the simple things in life.

The little ‘details’ can make you happy.

5.  Laugh often.

Belly laughs, long and loud.

Laugh until you gasp for breath or tears run down your face.

If someone produces this level of joy, spend lots and lots of

time with them.

Be silly!

6.  Sad things and tears happen.

Unfortunately.

Endure, grieve and move on.

The only person who is with us, our entire life, is ourselves.

Live while you are alive.

7.  Surround yourself with whatever you love:

Family, pets, keepsakes, music, art, crafts, plants. . .

Make your home a retreat or refuge.

8.  Cherish your health.

If it is good- preserve it.

If it is unstable- improve it.

If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

You are still here.

9.  Don’t take guilt trips.

Take instead trips down memory lane, to the mall or to a new place.

If you can afford to, travel far and wide. If your health does not permit

this, wander through countries in books or on the Internet.

10.  Tell the people you love that you love them every time you see them.

Every opportunity, try to show your gratitude towards them.

(Author Unknown, some embellishments are my own added to the list.)

So here goes, I am following the ‘rules’ laid out in the life list! I wish to tell you

again, that I appreciate your being part of my life. I think that our community

of fellow bloggers satisfies many things on the examples mentioned. So, in

honor for #s 3, 4, 7 and 10, I am thankful for your enhancing and enriching

my life!

You fill in the gaps in my life, helping me to utilize my brain daily.

We talk, through our posts and replies, about things and share our worlds.

Your thoughts and feelings bring us closer together. Sometimes more than

my friends I spend time with. Maybe it is the safety of being separated by

time and space. Maybe it is due to being sojourners in a world of our own

making.

Fellow bloggers you brings my inner thoughts and respond positively, for that:

I thank you!

Maybe it is the way we bounce off each other, spurring each other to reach out

and connect on a different level than most daily interactions.

To those poets out there, thanks for treating me to your beautiful (sometimes

angry, distressed but always meaningful) words. You have inspired me to try

my hand at writing poetry. It is a different way of writing than I am used to!

To the artists out there, whether using paint, pen and ink, photography or

other creative and artistic ways you lead your life, I appreciate your sharing

this with me. The ‘details’ of life that you give to me, through your art and

music, are limitless!

To the ones who incorporate animals, healing solutions, share your faith and

other ways to connect and feel whole; your posts make me feel good and lead me

to peace in my heart and soul.

Those nature lovers and healthy lifestyle believers, you make me want to be

more interactive in environmental issues and eat more healthier. The cooking

blogs and vegan choices are certainly ones that I copy down suggestions and

feel that I have become more aware of what I am ingesting!

Then those who have traveled or are out there, living in different countries,

letting us know what is happening, Thank you!

It makes the world come together and become a ‘smaller’ place, uniting us in our

common interests:

Wow! The inspiration in the gifts you all share, continue to amaze and challenge

me to be a better ‘me!’

 

 

 

 

 

“June is Bustin’ Out All Over!”

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Thanks for this song, Rodgers and Hammerstein! The musical, “Carousel,”

featured this lively and unforgettable song from back in 1956! This month,

we celebrate Father’s Day and a lot of other exciting dates.

We will be turning a Season, in the month of June, along with the calendar

month.

Lots of exciting events begin this month like our Delaware Farmer’s Market,

downtown on Wed. evenings and Sat. mornings. The swimming pools have

opened, as of Memorial Day! The special 40 acre, new African Safari opened,

at the Columbus Zoo! Along, with its side by side amusement and swimming

area, called Zoombezi Bay.

All across the country, people are ‘gearing up’ for taking time off, using

their vacation time. Hopefully, you will have a great Summer!

You may have someone in your family or among your friends, who has a

Graduation or a Wedding event! Enjoy your month of June!

June, 2014

Birthstone: Pearl

Flower: Rose

June 5- World Environment Day

June 6- D-Day

It will be 70 years since our invasion of Normandy,

France, on 6/6/44.

We honor Veterans and Servicemen in the military.

June 12-

The U.S. Open begins and continues until June 15th.

Remember Nelson Mandela.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, serving from

1964 until 1990.

June 13- Full Strawberry Moon

June 14- Flag Day

In 1777, the United States adopted our flag of red, white and blue.

June 15- Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day!

This goes out to all those men who have been uncles, fathers,

sons, caring mentors, brothers and grandfathers! There have been

teachers, social workers, neighbors and others who have played an

important role in children’s and teens’ lives, making a huge impact

and demonstrating good male role models. Thank you very much!

My Dad liked to look up cocktail mixes in his “Old Mr. Boston” book.

I was reading in the Preface an interesting description, published

in 1935, about the character of one who is an “Old Mr. Boston.”

It (with a few ‘tweaks’) could have described a Father or my Dad:

1. Official bartender.

2. Sympathetic best friend.

3. Jolly fellow.

Prankster, joker and sometimes tickler!

4. Rare individual.

5. Distinct personality.

6. Sterling values and qualities.

7. Genuine good nature.

8. Accepting of difficult tasks or chores.

9. Fixer of broken toys, bikes, or other odds and ends.

10. Errand runner.

11. His domain includes lawns and garage.

Sometimes gardens, too.

12. Giver of advice or suggestions.

13. Rule maker or ‘ruler of the roost!’

14. Someone to rely on in emergencies.

15. Chauffeur and changer of tires.

16. Champion of your causes.

17. Protector of the family.

18. Kindness, along with harshness.

19. Family vacation planner.

20. Barbecue ‘king.’

Hope this list is as ‘good’ as my Mother’s Day list and I welcome any

and all additions! Hope this one gave you some smiles and also, got

you to think of others who have played valuable roles in forming how

you have become.

June 17- Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Bunker Hill Day.

June 19- Texas Emancipation Day

June 20- West Virginia Day

June 21-

The First Day of Summer!

In Canada, National Aborigine Day.

June 24- Discovery Day, Canada and Newfoundland.

In Quebec, “Fete Nationale.”

June 27- New Moon.

June 28- Ramadan starts at Sundown.

June 29- Ramadan.

Peace, hope and safe travels

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I had just got off the phone from talking to my good and oldest

friend, Patrice, (that I still stay in touch with), who was preparing

for her annual trip to Charlevoix, Michigan. We both say sometimes

we should just call it, “Camelot.” Bill and I traveled up there once, to

see her sister’s renovated Castle Farms. The town is beautiful, with

Lake Charlevoix and the special houses that look like mushrooms are

there, too. The Castle is so breathtakingly Princess-like I complained

when we had to leave!

We did venture North ward to the Upper Peninsula, the locks, great

waterfalls, the towering evergreens, and Lake Michigan, too. I did

stop complaining, I think I was just missing my Patrice, who is

a source of comfort and joy. We saw all kinds of other fantastic

sights!

Pat had packed up her bags, shipped her papers and medications

up to Charlevoix, had completed a few different doctors’ visits,

and was relaxing. Pat’s sister, Linda, would be coming to take

them to the airport and she patiently listened to my nervous

energy and anxiousness about my Mom. She gave me comfort that

she had put my Mom on their church’s Prayer Chain, earlier in

the week.

We sang a little bit of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to cheer us both up.

She’s ready to leave soon. My car is packed, ready to go. Stopping

to call her before I go post this story about Mom and plans made.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, this has become Pat’s yearly routine.

She has only once come back to Long Beach to find roof damage, no

serious side effects that could be compared to the year the hurricane

disaster hit the gulf coast.

since she hates and fears the potential

She has always, ever since I met her freshman year in college,

imparted heavenly peaceful feelings to me. She is my ‘Zen.’

Patrice was my first and only “Maid of Honor.” We’ve shared

a lot and has known my Mom since 1978. Both her parents died,

while she went to live down there, taking care of her Mom first,

then her Dad. Living in their retirement home, now.

She gave me a lot of reassurances and reminders of how ‘spunky’

and ‘strong-willed’ my mother is. I am prepared to see her in a few

short hours.

Mom had been a little strange, had hurt her leg, twisting it a

little as she got out of the “Whistle Stop” restaurant booth.

My brother and I had decided to see what the place that had taken

over the old Cahoon Winery would look like, what their food would

be like and found the atmosphere and the prime rib dinners very

satisfying. Mom did not recognize it, due to its internal changes

but the outside, she had exclaimed,

“Dad painted this in acrylics, didn’t he?”

It was one of the many paintings my Dad had decorated the house

with, before my brother started to paint ‘real art.’

My brothers had said the twist that had produced pain and a

slight limp, would be ‘just fine,’ only a muscle strain and

not even a bruise on Easter, when I was with her in the

bathroom, looking at Mom’s leg.

I had sent cards, reminding her to use a heating pad. I had

added another suggestion to alternate with a bag of frozen peas,

and ‘Make sure you elevate it!’

When I had to leave on Easter, she had reassured me that she would

be okay and I hugged and kissed her. I always am torn between seeing

my grandchildren and children, and the possibility that Mom may be

not as well the next time I go up there.

As I was leaving, she told me she was not used to putting her feet up

to relax on her sofa. There is a nice, soft ottoman that is part of

her living room set.

Then, recently, I was filled with some trepidation, when my brother

called during a work day. He had left a message saying he had called

an ambulance, met my Mom at the hospital.

She ended up staying the three days, that allows to have her Medicaid

‘kick in,’ along with having a battery of tests. Not many medications,

not really any results.

They did not understand why she was ‘lethargic’ and rather

‘non-responsive’ but once the I.V’s kicked in, she had ‘rallied,’

was renewed and ‘herself’ again.

I should be grateful for small mercies, knowing that she could have

had something more seriously wrong. There is a knot by her knee,

that is healing. She will have ten days of therapy, visiting in

her senior living apartment.

I talked to Mom for an hour this week, she shared with me a sort of

funny explanation. She knew my brother was coming to get her for

dinner, she had fallen asleep taking a nap. She was wearing a t-shirt

and underwear. When the knock at the door came, she had called out,

“Who’s there?”

My brother had answered, so she thought the quickest way to get to the

door was to ‘crawl.’ This is her explanation of what she did.

Yup, Mom crawled to the door to greet my brother, on her knees.

That ‘set off alarms, in my mind,’ too!

My brother said,

“It’s locked, Mom!”

She replied,

“I’m on my way, just a minute!”

She stretched and unlocked the door, remaining on all fours.

He looked at her, then looked at her dog, Nicki, who was sitting

beside her.

I am sure this was quite a shock to his system!

Nicki usually is nervous when people come in, ‘whimpering.’ Even

familiar people and family members. Mom moved to a chair, climbing

on it to sit down.

Anyway, with much reassurances that she was fine, he called

downstairs and found that my very polite mother had received

three days in a row, calls from the front desk, asking if

she was ‘all right.’

Each time, my Mom had said “I’m fine, thank you,” hanging up.

They did not ask why she didn’t go to the dining room nor did

they offer to send her up a dinner. This will be discussed in

the later part of June, when my brother can be there, along

with staff and the social worker. The ‘protocol’ was told to

us, that if someone did not come to the dining room, (without

cancelling their dinner, as sometimes people do to eat out with

their family) they would send someone up to check on them.

This is why my brother my Mom had appeared lethargic, almost

comatose and delusional! She probably had eaten a tablespoon of

peanut butter and endless cups of coffee. She is not one to

convince easily to use the microwaveable meals and other food

items that we put in her refrigerator.

By the way, Mom’s little dog is staying with her ‘sister’ who

is a half dachshund and half beagle, nine years younger, her big

brother, Hamlet, who is a golden retriever and her huge sister,

Fiona, who is a Newfoundland, at my brother and sister in law’s

house, across the street.

My brother and sister in law, are heading this weekend to Bethany

Beach, Maryland. They will be taking the big dogs, Hamlet and Fiona,

leaving the little ones, Nicki (my Mom’s shih tzu) and her other

one, she had to give up to move into the senior apt., Bella for

my brother to watch, take care of and feed. I look forward to his

coming over after he works, plays volleyball or tennis, along with

his other activities. I picked up a few movies, older ones for Mom

and I to watch and action ones where the three of us will watch.

I am filled with less trepidation, just sadness, because I am

not sure how Mom will “be” over the weekend. I had sent a couple

of “Get Well” cards this week. Unless she made it to the mail box

she knows from my big letters on her white board on the kitchen

wall and her calendar over the sink, “Robin will be here for

Memorial Day weekend, on May 23- May 26.”

I saved the rather amusing “Mom’s version of what happened before

she got taken in the ambulance” for you to possibly chuckle at!

In her recounting of the crazy, cuckoo, some would say, “Did you

lose some of your marbles?” moments, I gathered that she was not,

in the least, embarrassed about her state of undress, when greeting

my brother.

By showing a fine sense of humor, she had told me, ‘right off

the bat:’

“Hello, Robin! I am fine, I was in the hospital and got a few

meals along with tests. I hate to tell you this, but I would

not have passed the ‘dining room dress code’ the other day,

when your brother came to get me to take me out to dinner! I

had no pants on!”

Last summer, the signs to enter the dining room had first said,

“No shorts allowed in the Dining Room.”

I had inquired of the seating hostess, “Why did this happen? Surely,

no one would wear ‘short shorts’ in the dining room.”

I had ‘capri shorts’ on which ‘passed inspection’ for dining that

summer evening.

She had leaned over and whispered to me,

“A few gentlemen came to the dining room wearing boxer shorts!”

She had added in a rather horrified tone,

“And one’s overlapped fly, didn’t exactly overlap!”

Later last summer, 2013, apparently someone had come in their

bathrobe to dinner!

A new sign had been posted upon my next monthly visit:

“Proper Attire Required in the Dining Room.

NO shorts.

No pajamas, robes, boxer shorts or otherwise

bed clothes allowed.

Men and women must wear pants.”

I laughed (back then) when it had become such a wild and long

list, almost like the silly Jean Kerr’s “Please Don’t Eat the

Daisies” book where she had forgotten to tell the children in

the New York apartment that request.

I had stopped worrying about my Mom’s mental state when she made

that joke about proper dining room apparel. But, when she said

she wanted to ‘do all the things we usually do, like go to the

grocery store and eat out, at least twice!’ I had become rather

concerned. Hopefully, she and her walker will be just fine and

we will have a grand old time up in Cleveland, ‘tooling around

like we usually do!’

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day!

Hope there are lots of good times with family or friends.

A few moments of meditation and memories for loved ones, too.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

May it be safe and peaceful.

Zany Letters from Mom

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Sometimes you may think I am taking advantage of my Mom!

I mean, I recite some of her ‘malapropisms’ and share

some of her misspellings, all in the name of fun. She

would be the first one to tell you that she is glad I

write a blog. She has even sent me a new aspect of her

mother’s life, that I had forgotten about. I write about

some of her silly antics, but you do know I love, love

her, right?

Mom’s last two letters were a little different, holding

new thoughts and also, a ‘rant.’

I will share some of the background information about

what is happening, to help place the comments and

complaint into context.

Mom is 86 years old sometimes forgetful as the day goes

on, depends sometimes, like a child, upon her “selective

memory,” too.

My mother lost 3 cell phones since January. My youngest

brother has been beside himself, getting new ones, then

having to program different family member’s numbers

into them. He won’t pay the ‘transfer charge.’ After all,

he is in charge of Mom’s finances and wants to make sure

she has the best situation, for the least amount of money.

Here is Mom’s viewpoint, via a letter. She includes on

the heading, ‘Sunday noon.’ (This would be March 2, 2014.)

“Just want you to know I’m thinking of you and all!

God bless you all!

The sad news is Rich installed here a phone. That, I

suppose, will cost us to make calls! I’m sorry.”

She adds, that he told her to ‘be more careful’ with her

purse and money. Then, (second mention of phone…)

“It’ll cost us, I guess, to make calls, though (so far)

we’ve not made any.”

In this letter that is two pages long, she mentions the

phone one more time, but no new phone number offered.

My brother sent me an email with the new phone number.

A funny spelling and comment comes next:

“I’ve had a drisselly nose all week. On the first day

of last week, it was very cold, Nicki put one paw up

off the frozen sidewalk. It was as if she was saying,

‘this is too cold for both my paws.’ Maybe it was

feeling sore?”

It took me a short while to figure this next misspelled

word and notice she is a little ‘loony tunes’ because

she thinks something she misplaced got taken:

“I’ve not been filanshilly ahead this week. I need to

replace a brush that cleaning lady took. I saw her!

It was the darling yellow baby brush, that I use to

brush my Nicki’s cote.”

Later, after talking about her tablemates, she brings

up the ‘stolen’ brush again with another long and

misspelled word!

“I think I told you the cleaning lady (girl) stole

my yellow dog brush, so I’ll have to replace it when

I get some money. I saw her do it, Robin, she thought

she was acting surupticially.”

She ends the letter, again sounding sad:

“Hope you’re doing okay. Don’t waiste money by

calling, now that Rich has switched me to a regular

phone.

Love you!

Love to all,

Mom and Nicki.

P.S. Hope you’re having a happy social life. You

deserve the best. I enclosed something for your blog,

dear.”

An enclosed pretty sheet of stationery had a short note

written on it. This is what my Mom wrote about my Grandma

Mattson:

“My mother used to have psychic dreams. She’d tell my

father, and he would say,

‘Don’t tell anyone. They’ll think you’re crazy.’

The weirdest tale from her dreams was our school friend

was sick. She told me, in her dream, that the family

moved the girl’s bed downstairs to the living room and

that she died shortly after that.

The next day, our naybor and friend called (we had a phone

line together) weeping that her daughter, a girl my age,

had died.

So it happened like she’d seen it in her dreams. She had

profesized it, Robin!”

My favorite misspelling in a letter awhile back, that I

had written about in a post, was she called me “speshul.”

I hope that you have some interesting family letters

with ‘speshul’ intrigue and unusual characteristics.

If you care to let us in on something about a member

of your family or distant relative, it will make this

letter-sharing post more interactive.

My Mom forgot that there was one time when my Dad gave

one of my brothers a spanking. My Grandmother had talked

my Grandfather into calling “long distance,” almost at

the time it was happening. My youngest brother and I

heard the phone ring. We were staying out of the way,

keeping a wide swath from the trouble downstairs.

As an adult and parent, I remember what my brother had

done to get himself in trouble. I may have given my own

son a spanking for the same thing, if he had ever been

caught.

I had picked up the upstairs’ phone extension. My Grandpa

had asked to speak to my Mom. His usual jovial toned

voice was not there; he sounded serious.

I ran downstairs to get my Mom and she went in the

kitchen to answer the phone. I stayed on the line to be

nosy and listen in.

My Grandfather said,

“Mother has a word of advice to your husband, Bob.

‘Tell Robert to not be so hard on Randy!’

Eerie that she knew down in Florida, had that sixth sense

that my brother was in trouble!

March Comes In Like the Spirit…

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In many places, March is notoriously windy and arriving:

‘In like a lion… out like a lamb.’

Though most people don’t like the breezy weather,

there is often such a great transition from cold

and damp to the beautiful first breaths of Spring,

that contrast makes us better appreciate the warmth…

Heidi Mann says, “Something about the air’s movement–

a gentle breeze or ferocious gale blowing through

trees, against the house, in my hair– breeds excitement

in me, anticipation that something new is astir.”

She goes on to cite a part of the New Testament (in

the Bible) where Nicodemus is having a discussion with

Jesus, where He says,

‘The wind blows where it chooses and you hear the sound

of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where

it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the

Spirit.’

(John 3:8, NRSV).”

Heidi Mann continues by saying that,

“Like Nicodemus, we fail to comprehend the Spirit of

God. Jesus reminds us that though we can’t see the

Spirit, we feel His love, see His actions of justice

and hear His sounds.

These include kind words, bold preaching, weeping for

another, shared laughter and songs of praise.”

It was an interesting way of using the old expression

that we associate for March.

It seems like the wind may be a good reminder to listen

to the sounds around us and become more engaged in our

relationships.

Building connections can be without a God, Spirit or

prayer,

but should always come from our hearts.

No matter what you believe help March to be the month

where your deeper thoughts and feelings arise…

and Take Wind!

A Special Memorial for Ben

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Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.