Category Archives: pen pals

Growing Older, Maxine Style

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Maxine, who is drawn and imagined by a man named John Wagner,

is one of my ‘go to’ posts and I admit to including some other jokes

and stories to help me fill in the blanks in my own creativity! Mom

and her good pen pal friend, Pooky, from California think she is a

hoot! I have other Senior Citizen articles my Mom stores up in her

apartment, sometimes one is so funny, she cannot resist sending

tucked into her own personally written correspondence. This is

NOT a Maxine list but reminds me of her ‘style!’

 

Growing Old is the Best Reason for Living!

1.  NO one is really wishing to spend hours on the road,

so you do not have to worry about being kidnapped.

 

2.  In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released 1st.

 

3.  NO one expects you to run. . .

Anywhere.

 

4.  People call at 9 p.m. and apologize, they ask. . .

“Did I wake you?”

 

5.  People no longer view you as a “hypochondriac.”

 

6.  There is nothing left to learn ‘the hard way.’

 

7. Things you buy now,

you won’t wear out!

 

8. You can eat Supper at 4 p.m. and catch those

Early Bird specials.

 

9. You get into heated arguments. . .

about pension plans.

 

10. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

 

11. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who

walks into the room.

 

12. You sing along with elevator and mall music.

 

13.  Your eyes won’t get much worse.

 

14. Your investment in health insurance is finally

beginning to pay off.

 

15. Your joints are accurate ‘meteorologists’ than the

National Weather Service.

 

16. Your secrets are safe with your friends. . .

because they can’t remember them (either!)

 

17. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to

a manageable level.

 

*18. You cannot remember the end of any of your

favorite movies or television (repeated episodes) shows.

This really helps when the ‘surprise ending’ comes along!

 

*19. Everything seems to be a glass half full, taking each

day as a special ‘new’ adventure!

 

*20.  You make good, solid friends in grocery store lines.

You even make plans to see each other next week same

time, same location! (Or you know all the library computer

lab fellow users.)

 

*Funny thing, my Mom could not find the last page of this

serial jokes list, so I made up some fun ones that hopefully

reflect my own “Glass half full, positive outlook on life!”

Robin E. Oldrieve Cochran, (1/9/15).

 

Which one of these 20 reasons to enjoy growing old, are ones

that made you laugh or reflect your feelings about aging?

 

Hope this brought a little light and smiles to your day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween’s “A’coming!”

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My two precious granddaughters, who I labeled the “M & M’ girls were over last night.

We built a slide out of my youngest daughter’s discarded yoga mat and pillows. We

played with my oldest daughter’s Barbies, recently donated to join my collection. She

is the one who has two boys… We played ‘make-up’ and ‘dress-up’ along with reading

all of my Fall books. They still like the story about the two mice who are on two sides of

a pumpkin, tending it and growing it into the, “The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.” They also

liked the simple cardboard preschool books about pumpkins and trick or treater’s. The

last reminder of a great book for this season is, “The Nutty Nut Chase ” book.

We watched the  original “101 Dalmatians” with the scene animations being so lovely,

designed to entrance and bewitch the viewers with fall leaves and engrossing, dangerous

winter scenes. My Marley exclaimed about the chubby puppy who I think is named “Rowdy,”

“That puppy needs a diet!” I noticed that the man of the household is smoking a pipe, which

would not ‘do’ in today’s children’s cartoon movies. (I have to say in the ‘old days’ I would not

have even thought twice about weight problems of puppies nor smoking pipes in my dad’s or

granddad’s mouths.) This came up with my Santa Claus which is porcelain and old-fashioned

“‘Twas the Night before Christmas” books, all still having pipes with smoke circling the head

of Santa Claus l, by ever observant children.

When we were finally settling in to sleep it was around eleven o’clock. I was ‘pooped,’ but wished

to ask what they would be for Halloween. They are BOTH going as “Elsa’s” character from the

movie they so love, called, “Frozen.” Would they go as ‘twins?’ No, they would not since they

are the same person both being, “Elsa.” I so love that no one says, that silly word, “Duh!”

anymore.

I mentioned that I will be up at my Mom’s for the holiday. They asked, almost in unison,

“Why can’t you I be here with us?”

I remind them each time this subject matter comes up, “I hope you will be with me when I get

old and come visit me when it is my birthday.”

Wouldn’t you know 6 year old Marley woke up and asked me to get out the art supplies. Even

before they ate the pancakes I had made them!

I required the two little girls to go “Clean up first.” I began singing the “Clean up” song which

caused  Makyah, age  3, to groan and moan. I ignored her, getting paper, scissors, markers,

crayons, lots of stickers out (I had quite a supply when I left preschool special ed. Paid for, as

I used to always do, with my own money for extra seasonal supplies and books.) While Marley

laid on the ground, Miss Drama Queen, Marley got right down to business, used to

this responsibility in her kindergarten classroom.

They put pumpkins, scarecrows and turkeys on 5 x 7 index cards saying,

“Nana, please write, ‘Happy Birthday, Great Grammie O’.”

Marley needed help to copy some of the letters, but is able to write her and Kyah’s names.

Kyah added lots of “x’s” and “o’s” to hers while Marley could write out “I love you lots!”

They stapled them into a little book for my Mom to get on November first, her #86.

We headed back to their house at noon, since Mommy was going to make them lunch.

I gave them hugs and said, “See you Tuesday for your brother, Landen’s birthday and

thanks for the lovely cards for my Mom who will adore them!

Both my daughter and daughter-in-law will send Mom and me photos via cell phones of

the six grandkids. My son doesn’t text me often except to send me a ‘thinking of you’ or a

‘I love you because…’

 

Here is an (hopefully) amusing joke! You know my source, who is very reliable in her

twice weekly letters to me, inserting news articles about Cleveland, Ohio and other senior

and health related subjects!

 

COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN:

“You know you are too old to Trick or Treat when. . .”

 

#10. You keep knocking on your own front door.

 

#9. You remove your false teeth/wig/hair piece to change your appearance.

 

#8. You ask for soft high fiber candy only.

 

#7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, and you lose your balance and fall over.

 

#6. People admire your great Boris Karloff mask and you aren’t wearing a mask.

(You may insert Abe Vigoda or other aged people who have character in their wrinkles…)

 

#5. When the door opens and others yell words, but you forget to say, “Trick or Treat.”

 

#4. By the end of the night, you have a bag of restraining orders.

 

#3. You have to carefully choose a costume that doesn’t dislodge your hairpiece.

Or one that covers up your body challenges…

**No slutty nurse costumes for you anymore! (women)

**No more Superman costumes; more likely the Pillsbury Dough boy would work. (men)

(ha ha ha)

 

#2. You are the only Power Ranger or Sleeping Beauty princess with a walker or a cane,

in the neighborhood.

 

And, as David Lettermen would say,

“The Number One Reason Seniors SHOULD NOT Go Trick or Treating Anymore. . .

 

(Are you ready for this one?. . . It directly applies to me and my own elderly problems…!!)

 

#1. You keep having to walk home to use the bathroom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonderful Domino Effect

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I have always felt that the song, “What a Wonderful World,” was

one of my all time favorites. It IS a wonderful world! I love that

Louis Armstrong song! There are moments that it can bring me to

tears, others where it can give me bubbles of joy and wonderment!

I also, enjoyed the old black and white Christmas movie, “It’s A

Wonderful Life.” The character that Jimmy Stewart plays is named

George Bailey. The movie shows us a fantastic, but simple, story of

how one man’s life impacts others around him. It is so moving.

The small town in this movie, plays its part in telling the tale,

too. But, most importantly, the people in the town gather round and

‘circle their wagons,’ to help George to really know his life has

meaning to it. The townspeople all take turns, sharing and expressing

their reasons why he is needed to be part of their lives. How his

life impacted theirs, too. They want him to believe they all feel

that he is why they got to be where they are today, through his

actions.

It is valuable for you to remember, wherever you go, that there

are people surrounding you, caring about you, and who are cheering

you on, in so many unspoken ways.

Please, never feel you wish to end your life! I always get teary-

eyed, when I think of some of you, who deal with chronic pain,

going blind or blindness, cancer, Lyme’s Disease, OC/DC, other

afflictions and anxieties. There are everyday problems, challenges

and disabilities too numerous to explain or describe. If it were

possible to gather you all together, giving you a warm embrace,

I would do this!

Today.

Right now!

Let’s hug!

I thought, long and hard, about my recent award nomination where I

was once more recognized for my blogging. I wondered how I could make

this post different and how it could be received.

How could I express this in a unique way and still give meaning to the

wonder that I get when someone gives me something like this!

I thought about what my blogging community has added to my life,

in so many directions, leading my thoughts into other dimensions

and how could I express this best?

This is my important original thought I wish to pass on to you

all.

“Dominoes

We all are like dominoes, leaning on each other.

We can form a great wall of protection.

We can overlap our black bodies and white spots.

We can match the two’s with the two’s

And the blank’s with the blank’s.

We can find our similarities and join them.

We can create paths across borders.

We can make ourselves form straight lines.

We can create gradual curves, gently angling

In waves of comraderie and companionship.

(Dominoes cannot hook arms, but they can seem

like they are ‘working together’ in unison.)

We can pile on top of each other!

Neatly or hap-hazardly.

We can ’embrace’ each other,

caring and supporting one another.

On other more wilder, carefree days,

We can overlap, standing up tall,

All come tumbling down,

Giggling and laughing with each other!

Dominoes is such a lovely game we play together.”

Written 4/30/14 by Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran.

This leads me to the same conclusion that the character, George

Bailey discovers.

That once we all become part of a community, the world becomes

a way of being our ‘small town.’

We are like neighbors, where we come to know, understand and

make the world a ‘smaller place.’

My friend, Amanda, has hysterically funny ways of looking at

life, especially as a mother of three children and wife of the

man she loves. A recent post where she compares herself to the

‘perfect mum’ and the ‘perfect wife.’ I know you will love her

forever for expressing her doubts and her lively photos of what

we could look like or do, if we were all so perfect! She is also

a photographer and philosopher. You will enjoy her blog at:

http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

You will find the beautiful newer friends to my blogging

community in my list of nominees! If you wish to seek out

the rules and other important parts of the Award Post that

Amanda composed and included ‘moi!’ then please look at her

blog!

I wish to pass the Wonderful Team Members Readership Award

to the following people. I assure you that their blogs are

clever, witty, fun and beautiful. I am probably going to take

a ‘shortcut’ and wish that all my readers please check them

out and hope you find new great places to visit!

1. Marylin, Poetry, beauty and light found here:

http://kintal.wordpress.com

2. Colleen, you get me thinking and you have interesting ways

of expressing yourself in your posts. You are new to me, which

makes me want to get to know you better!

http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com

3. April, I feel close to you. I worry about your health challenges

and also, appreciate your seeing beauty in spite of yourself!

http:/momof3isnuts.wordpress.com

4. Mama Bear Musings has given me ideas of oils, healing and meditation

reminders. Her DIY recipe for cellulite reducing, wow! Here she is in

her giving blog, that shares with us so much we need to hear about!

http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com

5. Redbird’s Roost:

http://birdchirp.wordpress.com

6. Faith and thoughts shared here:

http://jisbell22.wordpress.com

7. Family and fun are important to Dorreen:

http://motherhendiaries.wordpress.com

8. Kim is a new grandmother, along with a spiritual warrior:

http://kimgosselinblog.com

9. She has been having a hard time lately, so this may cheer

her up!

http://penguinqueen1988.wordpress.com

10. There are lovely photos and poetry here:

http://forgottenmeadows.wordpress.com

11. He has a sense of humor. The post on chocolate pie, ‘had’ me!

http://christiangrandfather.wordpress.com

12. Paul has fantastic artwork in his photography:

http://photopaulm.com

13. Thoughts and fun can be found here:

http://pamela984.wordpress.com

14. Hi to the different places you take my mind:

http://whatsintheboxblog.wordpress.com

I am so glad that all of you are on my Wonderful Team!

I appreciate your reading and commenting on my posts. I have a lot

of hope that we will someday get to meet and have a stadium of people

who will all cheer in unison for blogging and our friendships!

Go, Team, Go!

Time is of the Essence!

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“Perfect Timing”

by Robin Cochran

Plane arrivals and departures,

cannot always be counted on.

The precious view from a distance

of a loved one’s approach, forgives

the inaccuracy in timing.

Dance recitals, a couple who share

their dance moves in a seamless

and singular motion.

Comedy sketches, where the comic

can deliver the powerful ‘punch

line’ with impeccable timing.

“Care packages”, sent with love,

just when you are about to get

homesick. (Away at camp or school.)

Mail arrival, when the letter and

written correspondence cheers you

up and out of a blue mood.

Money enclosures, arriving just in

time, to keep your checking account

out of the ‘red!’

Meeting someone new, either at work or

out in public, almost an ‘other worldly’

connection.

Theatre stage actors, delivering their

lines with power and strength, grasping

the audience in their timing.

New loves, when everything falls into

place, from the very first moment.

(“Across a crowded room…”)

Florist deliveries, full of pleasure and

wonderful scented arrangements that bring

apologies, in their arrival.

Musical partners or groups, who match the

beats and harmonize, while performing.

Unexpected phone calls, from distant and

long lost friends, filling in the gaps.

While moving out of or into a house,

people showing up, just when you needed

them.

Every time a hug is received…

Chores, completed within a certain rhythm

and gleefully unexpected moments.

Two cars, meeting at the same destination

arriving at the same time.

Send in the troops, the necessary back up

force while energy and strength is flagging.

Arrival of a new baby, whenever, however

unexpected it may be.

Jobs, where being there at the right place

and the right time.

The two acrobats, one ready to release from

the bar, the other ready to catch.

Home run ‘hits,’ football ‘goals,’ and other

sporting great moves!

Meals, while juggling varied dishes,

completion results in all at the same time.

Encouraging signs given, when least expected.

Some may call them, the Hand of God, Karma,

Kismet, Zen or Serendipity.

When has something in your own life, seemed

to be perfectly timed?

Thank You Notes

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Just in case my mother forgot to write her thank you notes

for Christmas, 2013’s gifts, I sat down this morning to get

this task finished. It had been on the ‘back burner’ of my

brain, since New Year’s Day. My Mom had always stressed the

importance of writing thank you’s. Even as a child, we would

get our lined paper out of our notebooks, write out our thank

you’s to aunts, uncles and our grandparents. There were years

that we were old enough to use those pretty cards that did not

have any lines and we were then using pen, not pencil, to impart

our personal hand written messages of gratitude. I have several

saved of my Grandpa Mattson’s, some from friends, pen pals,

children and grandchildren’s, along with my parents’ notes all

sent to me, in a little chest purchased from Pier One Imports.

It has a nice little brass latch connecting the hinged lit to

its darkly stained, woven basket chest. I have preserved years

of memories in postcards, letters, cards and little notes that

were ‘dashed off’ on church bulletins or restaurant paper placemats.

Some are loving, others apologetic, and most were saved becoming

special; due to the “who” that sent them. Looking at them, easily

recognizing each family member’s characteristic scrawl or neatly

penned handwriting, brings back memories of the times they were

written. Two of my aunts sent me postcards at camp each year,

summers which also challenged my Dad to take the time, missing

me to write, too. Mom has always been the most faithful, twice

a week correspondent, through college, my moving away and living

in Bowling Green (as a young newlywed), to Lancaster (as a young

mother) and then, finally, during the long years of being single,

here in Delaware. She chose cards sometimes but mainly used floral
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print stationery. My Mom, after all was “Rosie,” so that was often

the theme of gifts. It was very difficult to weed and sort, trying

to choose ones that meant the most, to save!

I started each of the five thank you’s this morning with a bold

and calligraphy written message of “Happy New Year, 2014!” Then,

I followed with the personal words, “Dear ——.”

Here are three of the gifts that were shared with my mother

this past Christmas for which I am so grateful for, too.

The first notes I wrote were showing Thankfulness for

Friendships:

To the couple out in Colorado, who have been friends with my

Mom since she was teaching in Westlake, Ohio in 1970. This

44 year friendship included a man who was the drama coach and

theatre director at Westlake. David Lanning, his wife, their son

and daughter mean a lot to my Mom, for their continued caring

and informative communication. Her old co-worker, David, is the

one who writes about his family’s current happenings.

I like to point this out, have been married to two men who

kept up writing and have two brothers who continue to write

personal letters. I have enjoyed re-reading about my brother,

Randy’s travels and receiving notes on Mother’s Day, Valentine’s

Day and birthday cards from my brother, Rich. I never realized

how rare this was until I entered that match.com six months’

period. Most men were not even interested in emailing and at

our lunch table, when Melvin is around, he says that he is the

only one in his family who still writes ‘snail mail.’

The other friendship was a neighbor, Jeannie J., who lived

across the street from my parents when they retired in 1980.

The couple who lived there had met, (very encouraging to

me), at a Burger King, both divorced and wishing for a new

companion. Jeannie shared with me, wedding photographs last

summer, along with their love story. When they were in line

for fast food, they chatted, as they parted and he shook

her hand, a shock and a shiver went up her arm. Their life

style changed dramatically over the years, motorcycling and

travel was their passion. Unfortunately, Jeannie has lost

her Dennis, her parents and his parents and her son, she is

only five years older than I am, such a kind and sweet,

attractive woman. I thought her special Christmas card to

Mom, with a personal message, merited a thank you from me

to her.

Her message to me had been: “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”

(Since she would never have dreamed of being a ‘biker chick’

in her forties! But that is what she had become once married

to her Dennis.)

The next gift was from my Mom’s cousin, Elaine. My note to her

was thanking her for the Gift of Life. Mom loved her gift of

the gorgeous pot with the bulbs of paperwhites tucked under the

peat moss dirt. I told Elaine about our holidays. I also told

her how Mom had been excited after Christmas to take down her

decorations. She could not wait to put the new planter on a

doily on her shelf outside her apartment door. Many of the

residents like to decorate these as small examples or showcases

for their style and creativity. Her simple, bright green shoots

of the paperwhites were popping out by New Year’s Eve.

Mom had mentioned to me, in one of her recent notes, that she

has been getting compliments on her simple decoration. Some

have felt the message was for a ‘Hope for Spring.’ Elaine is in

her late eighties and I thought her gift such a great idea!

For love, family and remembrance, I thanked my younger cousin,

Holly and her family for the delicious gift of Fannie Mae

chocolates. When Mom opened it, she wanted to share it with us,

but my youngest daughter and I declined, telling her to savor

them, hide them and eat them later, after the holidays. The

beautifully wrapped circular box, ribboned festively with its

golden bow was a perfect gift ‘match’ for my chocolate-loving Mom!

I am always grateful for my brothers’, son’s and daughters’

cooking, baking and sustenance. I had already written my thank

you cards to them. I texted back and forth to my sister in law,

with gratitude for her carefully chosen gifts from South Africa.

I had put off sending these grateful missives long enough! I just

needed to get this ‘chore’ completed. Once finished though, I was

so happy. It is strange how prolonging what you perceive as agony,

often once completed, feels like it was meaningful and you wonder

‘why?’ it took you so long to do it!

I had worried, with my Mom’s memory slipping away, that she would

not follow through on her end. I also think that it never hurts to

double up on thanking someone. It’s always a good idea, to make

sure that the ones who matter the most, know you are filled with

love and gratitude!

Handwritten Love Letters

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Collections of notes and love letters carry such important

messages. Sometimes connecting the world with the past,

sometimes bringing hope and love across the miles and

through dangerous times. Bill Shapiro went around the world

to collect his findings of such varied subjects, but mostly

he wanted Love Letters. (Check out his book, “Other People’s

Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See, October,

2007.)

Bill Shapiro’s book can be studied to help you write a moving

and poignant love letter. His collection of letters range from

the very serious subject matter, includes the humorous to the

sublime.

Bill gathered notes and cards, too, that were sent from the

youngest age of kindergarten to the oldest age of beyond

ninety was a fantastic project for him to undertake. I would

have enjoyed this project and cherished the memories of the

faces on the people sharing them and who I would have met along

my journey.

I think that finding letters in an attic is such a wonderful

way to connect to your family’s heritage and see into the

way their thoughts and feelings were during the period the

messages were sent. The subjects of history, war, Depression

and the Holocaust have given us fascinating missives.

My Dad’s love letters, sent from Cleveland to Middletown,

Ohio were beseeching and searching for the way to capture my

Mom’s heart. They ‘cinched the deal’ while my Mom dated a

few men after college, living at home with her parents and

teaching high school. Their love life was always passionate,

filled with the continued promise that it would last forever.

The packet of shoestring tied cards with each personally

filled out, by my Dad to my Mom, found after his death has

been on my mind, especially as their 59th anniversary is

fast approaching.

You see, four years before my Dad’s death he suffered a

life-changing stroke. It was debilitating in a devastating

way. He was not able to read nor write for months. Once he

‘passed’ the occupational and physical therapists’ time

limit, my mother had helped to find the interesting twist of

fate that had switched his right and left sides of his brain.

He was walking in the winter, through the Sandusky, Ohio mall,

where he kept bumping into people. My mother quietly and gently

would move him back by her side.

When he would reach for his silverware or cup of coffee, she

would note, he would be reaching in the opposite direction

from where he wanted. He would look at my mother, with a

somewhat confused and childlike look on his face. She said it

reminded her of a wounded puppy.

She started by telling him to place his left hand on the table

and remember that was his left side. When he would physically

do this, it helped. It placed him more in the realm of awareness

and also, this became quite helpful for him to read again.

One of my parent’s favorite activity, as they drank their coffee

on retirement days, they would combine their brains and complete

the crossword puzzle in two newspapers daily. What he knew in

science and technology balanced her knowledge of the world,

history and of course, her favorite subject, English and

languages.

My mom found the squares in the crossword puzzle to be rather

helpful for Dad’s orientation and re-introduction to writing

left to right. Why do I think this is significant to love letters?

The way he was childlike had concerned my mother’s mind and their

budget. Her ‘last straw’ was when he chose to buy six ‘expensive’

Vermilion, Ohio beach towels from one of the souvenir stores in

their retirement village of choice. The total came to $120!! my

Mom yelled! My Mom took his credit card away, even though the

thought of his six grandchildren, my three plus Rich and Susan’s

three, were not worth the extraordinary cost! She returned the

towels to wait until a local store (now closed) called Alco’s

had their beach towels on sale, at the end of summer clearance.

So, my Dad was sadly commissioned an ‘allowance’ of only twenty

dollars a week.

Four wonderful years passed. He had been given a new lease on

life, his heart had stopped in the hospital while recuperating

from the stroke. He had gone, he believed ‘to Heaven and back.’

Pulled back to life, by the resuscitation process with those

handheld electric shock pumps on his chest.

Of course, if you have read this before, it never hurts to hear

these encouraging words that my Dad exclaimed, once ‘back from

his spaceship trip to Heaven:’

“If I can make it to Heaven, anyone can!”

My Dad found out he had cancer in late Summer, 2000. He was

told it may be a year or less, he took the chemo and the other

treatments. He was ‘chipper’ but nauseous. He continued to find

wonders in each day, since that stroke had made him a big kid

again. Mom and he had some special and romantic moments, despite

his knowing he was not going to live long.

The fact that he bought, over the short period of September, 2000

when he found out he had cancer and not long to live, until the

beginning of January, a total of 42 cards is outstanding! He used

his budget to buy a few each time that my parents were out, my

Mom swears she never even noticed him wandering around the stores

towards the card department. She also said when she was buying

candy at the local Hallmark Shoppe, she did not notice him looking

and searching for ‘just the right one.’ None of us knew until my

Dad had died on January 27, 2001, that my Mom’s treasure trove of

cards and messages was still waiting for her to find.

It took my Mom past February to even think of going into Dad’s

clothing drawers. She found a few things in the laundry and

was not even wishing to wash them. They had my Dad’s scent on

them. She wore one of his sweatshirts for a month of nights

to bed. She finally got herself ‘geared up’ for the heavy task

of cleaning out the drawers.

Three stacks were made on the bed she no longer slept in. The

day that my Dad passed, she chose to start sleeping on the sofa

with the back of it, like his own back, pressed up against her.

One stack of clothes was for my brothers to search through,

one was for the grandkids, my own three children choosing to

pick a t-shirt and a tie, with my son and oldest daughter

wanting a leather belt each. The third stack of clothing went

to the Vermilion Goodwill Store.

When she opened the socks drawer, she was digging through

it, transferring the great number of tube socks directly

across the room, into her own sock drawer. She, to this

day, wears men’s socks that are leftover from Dad or buys

new ones to remind her of him.

At the bottom of the drawer a pile of cards over 12″ tall,

about 8″ wide, was tied with a brown shoe string. It had

a note at the top. It said (the gist of it):

“Rosalie, I hope that you will find comfort in these cards

that I searched for you to open. Please read only on the

dates that are given on them, so they will last quite

awhile. I hope to make it to our 46th anniversary, but if

not, that will be your first card to open. Now, you know

I love you and will be with you always. Don’t be sad when

the last card is opened. Maybe you can have a party and

celebrate then, on our 50th Golden Anniversary.

Love you, pardner! Bob.”

My Mom called each of us to share the news. We had had a

meal on their 46th anniversary with Mom, my oldest daughter,

both brothers, myself, my sister in law and my ex-husband.

We had eaten at one of their favorite restaurants by the

Sandusky Mall. She had not yet found the hidden cards.

When Valentine’s Day came she had not yet discovered the pile.

But by the rowdy holiday of St. Patrick’s Day and the rest of

the years leading up to 2005, she had several to open on important

dates, along with some silly ones thrown in to fill in gaps in time.

There were six non-holiday ones, that tickled his ‘fancy,’ and had

some nonsensical reference to a memory that they shared. All major

holidays we celebrated, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New

Year’s. Each had some quick thoughts jotted down after the printed

message. My Dad utilized some of his clever and sarcastic wit. Her

birthday ones and the anniversary ones seemed to my eyes to respect

their serious nature and therefore were very elaborate and ornate.

These were the ‘special’ ones, that if you were there, you would

note a tear shed by Mom. The Halloween ones had silly things like

witches and one time, as if she were a child, one had a ghost that

opened up into three dimensional and whispered, “Boo!”

We had that celebratory party, in a fancy hotel restaurant

halfway to my aunt and uncle’s house in Chardon, Ohio. It was

a lovely feast, where each had put their thirty dollars in to

pay the total bill and include a grand tip for the servers.

It included cousins and three female grandchildren, one great

grandchild, Skyler, (age 4 months), we three siblings, two

spouses, my Aunt Amy and Uncle Orrin and Mom, in all her glory,

at the head of the table.

Gifts were humorous or simple, no expense was stressed when we

planned this celebratory occasion.

Mom ‘kept the card’ but I practically memorized Dad’s message

written here are the words on my Parent’s 50th Anniversary card,

which was absolutely gorgeous,

written five years prior:

“Dear Rosalie,

You were my help mate, my editor, my best friend, my anchor,

my co-pilot, and the mother of my children. You were the love

of my life.

And to Robin, Randy and Rich, our 3 R’s (reading, writing and

‘rithmetic!)

And to Carrie, Jamie, Felicia, Katherine, Jonathan and Libby~~

And to All the Possibilities!

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

(he included 9 ?’s)

I LOVE YOU!

I wish to have you understand what an impact this has been

on my years since. It is hard not to compare the love between

my parents, one raised in the ghetto, working nights at age 11.

My Mom says, “He was such a punk!” While the other half of the

pair (dynamic duo!), my Mom, was raised well. To the long list

of men who have been my suitors (husbands, friends and boyfriends)

I have been disappointed. They “did not hold a candle” to him!

My optimism mixes with some dashes of cynicism, then I get

a little nudge or message in a dream from my Dad:

“Don’t give up the search!

Protect your heart.

He is waiting for you to find him!”

Lovingly sent.

My Daughter’s Crush

Standard

One summer, 1995, when my oldest daughter was on summer

vacation she met a young man who became quite a huge crush

for her!

She was going to enter her sophomore year in high school.

Her aunt, my sister in law had asked if she would like to come

north to visit her cousins up in Westlake (suburb of Cleveland,

Ohio). Their guest for a whole month(!!) was a handsome high

school male who looked like a French version of Tom Cruise.

Dark, curly hair, a muscular and angular teenager with, of course,

an awesome accent!

My daughter had made fun of the song, entitled Lady Marmalade

sung by LaBelle with the racy lyrics,”Voulez vous coucher avec moi,

ce soir?” (Do you want to sleep with me tonight?)

So, on our drive up I mentioned some simple French phrases that

I had learned in my one year of college French. I have mentioned

somewhere along the posts that I had about 8 years of Spanish,

so I was blessed with a college French professor who was from the

south and grew up with what is termed, “Creole French.”

(Perfect blend of French with a Spanish flair, I got an “A!”)

So important to know: “Merci” or “Merci beau coup.”

(Thank you and Thank you very much.)

In my French restaurant trips, I would like to say I used this phrase,

“Ou est le bain?” (Where’s the bathroom?)

Anyway, I gave her a few other choice phrases for her to not even use!

(I mean, so much more fun to HAVE HIM TEACH YOU FRENCH!)

I did emphasize with her to not ask him to teach her how to French

Kiss!

Needless to say, the two girl cousins and my daughter spent

every waking moment gushing all over Henri’s (pronounced

“OHN-REE”) suggestions for what he considered “All American

Pastimes.” He wanted to go bowling, go to a lake and water ski,

he wanted to try Frisbee golfing and miniature golfing. There

were a lot of movies that he wanted to see, once home from outings,

Henri wanted to see television. Lots of t.v. shows were on his

interests’ list, including soap operas.

Another thing Henri wished to do, was to go to the Cleveland Indians’

baseball games. He also wanted to go see where the Cleveland Browns

played and where their boot camp was. He also enjoyed Cedar Point

Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. He had fun visiting my Mom

and Dad in Vermilion, Ohio where they all went into Lake Erie. Maybe

he would have liked the Upper Lakes, Michigan with Upper Peninsula

but the BEST thing about Henri was his enthusiasm and his curiosity.

This was before cell phones were really around, so there were no little

interruptions while he spoke of his home town, his home country and

his favorite things to do there, while three young, impressionable girls

listened raptly!

Once my oldest daughter was picked up by me, I had a hard time finding

out too much because all she could concentrate on was: “Henri gave me

his home address, how much is postage? what should I ask him or tell

him? Can I flirt with him now that I don’t have my 2 cousins seeing me

do that?”

The international pen pals had lively “conversations” through snail

mail and carried on through their first year of college. No one crossed

the Atlantic Ocean to see the other person. The best thing, as a mother’s

observation, was that they could tell each other their deepest, darkest

secrets, fears and problems of growing up teenagers. There was so much

gained from this “First Crush” of my daughter that my “First Crush”

never shared!

The measure of this experience? Priceless!