Thank You, my Seattle Friends

It seems like yesterday that your folks invited us to park our Motorhome in your driveway so we could visit with our Daughter, Dawnzella for a two-week visit.  She lives a stone’s throw from your house and is besties with your whole family.  She is known as Dawnzereli to you, and in my books, as Donzereli your dragon friend!  We were excited to meet you, Ruby and Nolan as you reminded us of our own two children, Dawnzella and Christopher.  It was almost being with them again when they were your age.

We had a blast playing with you.  When we opened our curtains on the side of the motorhome facing your house, it was your cue to come visiting.  Usually, within a couple of minutes, we would hear a polite knocking, and then the fun would begin.  And yes, we let you get away with pretend driving, running from front to back of the bus and jumping on the bed!  You couldn’t hurt Miranda, our motorhome is a tough cookie!  She only has 40,000 miles on her and is barely broke in.

When we said, okay kids, time for lunch, see you later! You politely said,  “See you later and exited, waving on your way home.  Thank you for the fun, two weeks!

We sent Christmas gifts to you every year until you started getting a little old for Barbie and G.I. Joe things, so one year I wrote a story, putting your whole family in space in a new world.   My, how time has flown, I finished book 6 and will be ordering your copy in a day or two.  Merry Christmas!  I wish we could do it all over again.

This year Ruby and Nolan meet a new friend, Briauna who was washed up on the beach and unconscious.  They, of course, tried to help her.  She was grateful and asked, “Do you want to come to my home for a visit?”  They said, “That would be fun, but, we can’t breathe underwater and your home is under the sea.”

She said, “No problem, I can give you the “gift” and you can breathe like me underwater and when you go back home you will be as you were!”

You’d jump ant the chance, wouldn’t you?   The question is: Is Briauna telling the truth?  In, “Ruby and Nolan’s Great Adventures in Space Book 6: Merpeople, you will learn the answer.

I am conservative because…

I grew up that way….

When I am brushing my teeth, I still only run the water enough to wet my brush and my dentures, then turn the water off.  It is a left-over habit from when we lived “back on the farm” before we had running water in the house.  I didn’t know how rich we were back then.

We grew everything from potatoes to strawberries.  And what we grew, we canned!  Back than, I hated the process of canning, but loved the canned goods.  I have not so fond memories of washing hundreds of glass jars.  This was when you put a big pot on the wood fired cook stove and heated the water to when it was nearly boiling, you carried it to the “Pantry” and set it on the end of the big slate sink.

My Mother was the strongest woman I have ever known.  She planted a one acre garden, with food.  She also had a section that she planted in flowers.  The woman had a Green Thumb, every thing she planted, grew.  Plants, birds, and animals loved her, birds would land on her hand.  She knew every species of plant, and could name every bird.  She worked in that garden, weeding, hoeing, and harvesting for hours a day standing with her back bent with her legs straight.  I would last for half an hour, with a lot of coaxing, maybe an hour before I was sitting down, out of breath.

The only things we bought at the local grocery store was, salt, sugar, and flour.  There was no bottled water in the store.  If you had tried to purchase it, the grocer would look at you like you were crazy.  It still seems a little crazy to me. Remember that pantry I talked about? Well we put a big metal milk can of water on the “side board” and dipped out what you needed for you chore of the day.  Those milk cans didn’t magically appear on the sideboard, we had to do one of two things:  1. Go out to the well, prime the pump, and actually use our arms and pump the handle up and down, to get the water to pour into our pail.  Oh, by the way, once out pail was full, we carried it into the house. 2. Place several of the milk cans in the back of the car, head down to the artesian well and if the minnow is still swimming around, dip water out and put it into the milk can, load it back into the car and drive it home, and start all over again when that was gone.

There was no such thing as a shower, or even a bathroom.  If you had to go, you went out the back door to the “Out House” and did you business.  On the farm we had what I used to call, a “Three-holer,” that was three holes, one tiny one for small kids, one big for the man of the family and one in-between for the woman.  It was smelly in the summer and freezing in the winter, what fun!

I remember my absolute thrill when my Dad brought home an army surplus folding canvas-like bath tub!  After heating the water on the stove, I would slide into a bubble bath, pure heaven! Of course, I only got to do this on Saturday night.

We washed clothes on Monday, always! Rain, or shine, winter or summer, we hauled the old Washing machine out plugged her in and did the heating of water again, filled it with boiling water, added plenty of bleach and soap, sorry, can’t remember the names of the soap.  You always started off with all the white things, they were stuffed in and you waited for the clothes to get clean enough to pull them, gingerly (remember the boiling water) out of the water,  and stick them into the ringer to crush a lot of the water out of them. Watch your fingers!  My Mom had a two tubs set up to rinse them in cold water and put them through the ringer, put them in the second rinse, back through the ringer and then put them in a basket to take them out to the cloths line to hang them with wood clothes pins.

I have not so fond memories of bringing them back into the house-frozen stiff, and not that dry to hang them up over the stove on yet again another cloths line, this time with out the pins. I have to admit they smelled wonderful. Damn, just talking about it makes me tired.

Oh!  By the way, you aren’t done with your wash day.  You kept adding clothes to that same water gradually adding them by the color of the clothes, once the sheets and towels were done, you added your other clothes until you got to the dark clothes, which were pitched in last.  The theory was that all the bleach was gone by the time they were washed.  That might have been why all the men’s jeans and work shirts got lighter until they were streaked.

When they started getting holes, they were patched and worn them some more.  Nothing was thrown away if it could be re-used.   Now that was recycling!  I still keep a box of folded rags for cleaning.

We had animals, too!  My Mothers motto was “Every part strengthens the part” and no part of any animal was wasted. But that is for another time.

If you like my stories of “Long ago” let me know, because, I am not quite older than dirt, but getting there, and love to re-live the “Good old days”.

I am an author and have 8 books on Amazon.com, they are available on digital and print on demand paperback.  Just type my name, Brenda Colbath in the search area and voila! you will see all of them.  They are only $.99 so you won’t go broke getting them for your Kindle.  If you have to hold the book in your hand and turn the pages, you can order them, they cost a little more.

BTW, Amazon let’s you read the firs two or three chapter FREE to see if you like the book.

 

 

 

Children’s Books or Adult Books?

Both are fun to write.  My first book that I wrote and published was a children’s book called “The Great Adventures of Ruby & Nolan in Space” and it was a written as a Christmas gift for two friends that were getting too old for Barbie and G.I. Joe toys.

The gist of it is that the whole family is offered an opportunity to travel to an uninhabited world in far off galaxy. The program was intended to not only settle the planet, but to discover valuable assets for Earth.

Ruby and Nolan were thrilled to have this great adventure as long as they could take their dog Pebbles and their Uncle Dawnzella, who the called Uncle Dawnzereli,  unfortunately she couldn’t go with them.

This is the story of how a family copes with a life changing decision, do they drift apart or become closer.

This is a fictional story that lets you peek inside the lives of this family of four that makes that decision. The family makes the journey together. However, this story is mainly about two pre-teens adventures in space.

The family is settled on the new world in their home, but kids will be kids.

Well, why don’t you just read a couple of chapters?

Chapter 1. The adventure begins.

“Come on Ruby, hurry up.”  Nolan cried.

Frowning, she quickly turned from the sink; the front of her wet apron covered with soap bubbles which were falling. “Keep your britches on, Nolan you know our chores have to be done before we can leave.”

Ruby was tall for her age, a little over 4 feet, with long wavy Brown hair that fell nearly to her waist, big Blue eyes.  Her slim figure showed that she was on her way to becoming a beautiful woman, way too soon for her parents, especially for her Daddy’s comfort.

 “Okay, okay, what do you want me to do to help?” He asked, sounding a little exasperated standing there trying not to look impatient, but, losing that battle. 

Nolan was not as tall as Ruby, but growing fast enough to overtake her in a year or less.  Standing with his hands on his hips; his blue eyes sparkling over an impish grin under a shock of curly light brown hair. 

“Why don’t you go and get our backpacks, swords, and sheaths?  I am nearly finished with the dishes and will pack a lunch for us, so we won’t have to come back until dinner time”. 

He hurried to get everything Ruby asked for, as she finished the Breakfast dishes and packed sandwiches, water, and treats.  Their parents Ty and Robin were away helping a neighbor, as they were the unofficial leaders of the New Seattle settlement. 

Chapter 2 is an introduction so I will just give you a little more.  

Chapter  3 Kids will be kids  

Ruby finished her chores and met Nolan out front with their lunch. Nolan handed her, her backpack, her scabbard, and sword, which she fastened at her back.  He had his sword belted at his waist.  Ruby’s sword is a little longer; also made of wood, and she keeps a sharp knife securely strapped to her ankle, hidden by her slacks and boots. 

Nolan had his sword at the ready and immediately tried to get through Ruby’s defenses. However her defensive moves are still a little faster than his, and she was able to disarm him in several minutes.

“You are getting better, every day Nolan, it won’t be long before we are evenly matched, then we can take on Dad and Mom, but right now, we’d better get going before the day is over,”  Ruby said a little out of breath. 

They started out around the hill, for the climb to the top, to check on the solar panels.  It would take them the better part an hour to do the climb.   Ty insisted that they are checked on every week, and most of the time Ruby and Nolan did the climb as part of their chores.  Off they went climbing up around large boulders and up the established trail to the top of the hill.  About half way up they paused and sat on a couple of boulders, sipping water, they talked about what they would do after this chore was done.

“I think that we should go check out our hide-out, to make sure some wild animals haven’t broken in and destroyed our stuff,” Nolan said.

“Okay, but I’d be surprised if it has been disturbed, and the large animals usually do not venture near our encampment.  The hunters have started to go further to hunt for meat.  “Let’s get started,” Ruby said pushing herself up and they started up the hill again. 

Chapter 4 Oh. Oh.  This is not good.  

When they crested the top of the hill, they stood stock still and stared at the wreckage in front of them.  They were shocked to see several of the Solar Panels bent nearly to the ground on the metal rods holding them, and at least two of them had big tears right through the Panels.

 Generally, when they did this climb, they would take the time to view the whole valley through their Binoculars.  It was kinda fun to see the changes their neighbors make to their homes.  Usually, they bring back news of a new barn or shed.  They always marveled at the amazing tableau before them, with cleared, planted land surrounded by huge trees that seemed to reach for the sky.  They didn’t as yet remember the names of all the trees, but they did know that they were perfect for climbing and had been campaigning for a tree house to be built in one near the River; one that they could fish from. 

“This is not good.” they both said in unison. 

“Geez, Dad will be angry, when he sees this” Nolan cried.

“I wonder if we can we straighten them again?” Ruby said as she started straining to push up the panel; even when Nolan helped, they only managed to get winded in the effort. 

“Okay, guess we will have to report it to Dad; good thing they all weren’t damaged.  We are still getting plenty of power with only two panels down”.  Nolan said.

“Let’s look around to see if we can find tracks of what did this damage,” Ruby said.

So they started walking kinda bent over looking for tracks, hoping that it wasn’t a large animal, and if it was, hoping it was not still in the area, especially with them armed with only wood swords.  Ruby didn’t think that her small knife would be very helpful.  After several minutes of looking, Nolan suddenly stood up and shouted: “Hey Ruby, come look at this.”  Ruby hurried over to see what he was hollering about, thinking that maybe he found a rabbit or deer tracks. 

As she looked at the tracks, she sucked in her breath in shock, “Nolan, those looks like claws.  This can’t be; we’ve never seen any birds large enough to make these.  We need to take pictures, and measurements, so we can prove to everyone that we didn’t imagine this.  Dad will want to know what did this damage.” Ruby said while fishing her camera out of her backpack, and snapping several quick pictures of the damage to the panels and the claw marks in the soft ground.  She also dug out her tape measure and carefully wrote down measurements on her notepad.

While she was doing this, Nolan continued to search the area; suddenly he excitedly dropped to his knees and started wiping mud off a large oval shaped rock wedged under a thick bush.  He cleared a small area about the size of a baseball, took off his glove, and was marveling at the colorful pattern on the smooth surface that actually felt and looked like glass.  As he was marveling at the colors and running his finger over them, he realized it was quite warm, and he felt a slight vibration. 

Want to read more of Ruby and Nolan’s adventures? Go to amazon.com and type in the title in the search area. The adventure continues in Book 2,3 and 4 and book 5 is on the way.  R and N cover Book 1

 

 

 

 

 

Treasured Memories

I was sitting here at my computer wasting time instead of working on my books.  A thought occurred to me, if it is work, why am I doing it. Then I remembered why if gives me pleasure.  My mind wandered back to another time that also gives me pleasure.

The times I bathed, powdered, and snuggled with my children, before putting them to bed for the night.  They got a warm bath with bubbles and toys. After bath-time they got powdered, and put in clean PJ’s, then covered with their warm bed-clothes. Then it was story time.  I loved reading and used different voices to make it fun for them, and read until their little eyes closed and sleep claimed them.  I don’t remember of making up stories, nor them asking for them.

When my Grandbaby came along, she was different, not better, just different. She loved to have me make up stories.  Everything else was the same, except the making up of stories. I can’t remember any of the ones I made up, and probably she doesn’t, but she might remember me telling them.

A couple of my fondest memories was of Aurianna setting on my lap as I winning simple solitaire and when the cards started falling over the screen in uneven lines sayin, “Make it do it again, Gramma.”

Another fond memory was of her saying, “Gramma, make the car talk again.”  I had a Chrysler that talked to me, saying things like, “A door is ajar.”

She is all grown up now, but writing is akin to telling her stories, of course some of the stories I tell now are for grown-ups, but I still love to tell children’s stories.

To see and read my stories you can go to Amazon.com and type my name Brenda Colbath in the search and they will all pop up.  You decide if you want to read children, young adult, or adult and they are all there.  There are 2 more on the way. I’ll let you know when they are available.

 

Dear Son

This letter has been a long time coming, but I think that it is at the right time.  Since I wrote the “Dear Daughter” letter so long ago, this one has been forming in the back of my mind and in my heart.

I see posts on Facebook that you are sometimes depressed and unhappy, and it breaks my heart.  You deserve to be happy!  You were a good child and you are a good man.   What you have become and done with your life makes us so very proud.

You were the happiest baby, and such an easy child to have around.  You were so content playing in your playpen with your toys and the only time you cried was when you were hungry.  You weren’t real happy when kids buried your cars.  You didn’t need to have a great abundance of toys or attention.  You were always able to entertain yourself.

I really tried to help you understand the genes that unfortunately that you got from me.   I know that you struggled with some of them, like anger management.  You did as good handling it, probably more than me most of the time.

We know now that there were a lot of things that you needed and wanted from us and probably we should have known what they were or tried harder to discover them.  The problem with being a parent, as you now know is that there is no manual to help you do the right thing at the right time.  Hindsight has shown us that we missed the mark, sometimes a little and sometimes by a country mile.  For that we are sorry, but as you know “you can’t go back” and there “aren’t any do-overs”, in life.

There are several things that you need to know.

We are so proud of the man you have become!   You have succeeded in the parenting game so much better than we ever did and we are awed with how wonderfully your daughter managed to grow into a wonderful kind, well rounded woman amidst the heartache of divorce at an age that sets the stage for adulthood.   You put everything that you wanted and needed aside to make sure that your daughter had everything that she needed to have the very best start in life.

She loves you so very much and wants you to be happy.  We also love you so very much and also want you to be happy.  You deserve it!  You have made so many people so happy, now it is your turn.

We know that you have overcome many things and your latest hardship was a big one.  You faced it with honor, humility, dignity, and did everything that was asked of you, no matter the cost to you personally.  At the same time you made your daughter your first priority.

We know that you know that we are here for you, and will always be, you just need to ask.

We Love You More

All the jobs I’ve loved and hated before

All the jobs I’ve loved and hated before

In my long young life I have worked at many places some were nice and some were not so nice.

My first job was picking potatoes.  I was only allowed to pick on Saturday and Sunday as Mom wanted one of her kids to graduate from High School.

The pay was peanuts: $.20 a barrel which holds about 3 bushels.  A “section” was about long enough to fill one bushel basket with potatoes.  By the way, the best way to pick the fastest was to stand and bend over at the waist and pick them up one by one using both hands.  I could pick about 20 or 30 barrel a day.  My mother could pick 100 barrels a day.  Amazing woman!   The funniest thing that happened was when one of the pickers put his arm around my Mother to get a little kiss.  He had obviously drunk his lunch or he never would have tried that with her!  She brought her fist up from her waist and laid him out, cold!  No one ever bothered her again.  We didn’t know we were poor.  I loved canned Franco-American Spaghetti cold from the can for lunch more than sandwiches.

We also picked beans and it was harder than potatoes and no more money and it takes a lot more beans to make a bushel than potatoes.

My first real paying job was waitressing!  I was so green and naive and the owner was a really nice guy, but had a cracked sense of humor.  He told me that the Crullers (long round donuts) were called “Male Donuts”.  I called them that until someone took pity on me and explained it to me.  I got a lot of tips because even though I was not a great waitress, I laughed at myself along with them.

Another job was at a new Shoe Store.  My boss told me all about this new shoe that was called “a pound a pair”.  I was fascinated with it and soaked up all the best-selling points.  One day a guy came in and I started telling him all about them, eve had a pair on his feet before he again took pity on me and introduced himself as the owner of the store.  My boss was laughing so hard she nearly wet her pants.  He was impressed though, unfortunately I didn’t get a raise.

I once worked as a waitress for Howard Johnson in South Carolina.  We were supposed to carry everything on a big tray, even if it was a pat of butter!  One day everyone was all in a twitter because the big guy himself was coming in for lunch.  Nobody wanted the honors of waiting on him.  I volunteered and everyone said empathically NO!  I was told to hide in the back room and not to come out under any circumstances!  That job didn’t last long as I was responsible for more broken dishes than the money I earned.  Oh well!  I hated the job and the uniforms!

Now the uniform of the next job was up my alley!  A t-shirt and a pair of little red shorts (I was a lot smaller then) and a pair of rolling skates!  I was a Car Hop if you didn’t guess that already! Girls my age (18) weren’t supposed to serve alcohol so when someone ordered Beer we served it in the plastic cups that milk-shakes were served in.  I got tons of tips and several invitations to go out on the guy’s boats for an ocean cruise.  Now, I am naïve, but not stupid!  Out on a boat on the ocean miles from land with a couple guys and no way to walk home?  I let them tip me real big, but no cruises.

Hey I dated one guy for a couple of weeks, and he seemed nice until two Men in Black Suits knocked on my door with guns under their jackets and nice gold badges in a wallet asked me a lot of questions about that guy.  I spilled my guts!  And the next week I packed up and left town.  My Mother didn’t raise no fools!  Well, I did have two brothers.

I moved to Hartford Conn and went to work for Hartford Fire Insurance as a Keypunch Operator.  What a fun job, setting all day punching holes in cards that the guys across the file cabinets used in the computers?  I put a question behind computers, as they were the very beginning of computers.  My boss used to tell me “A change is as good as a rest” when she pushed something new on me.  This great piece of advice was from a woman that drank her lunch every day.  I lived with two room-mates and that was so much fun.  One of them was such a ditz that the other girl and I helped and encouraged her to get married as fast we could.  The other girl was nice but evidently Mom took such good care of her that she was incompetent at anything that had to do with cleaning.  While I slaved every Saturday washing all my clothes by hand and hung them out to dry and ironed everything she seemed to always be neat and clean for work.  I made the mistake of borrowing one of her blouses and discovered that she never washed anything, when most of her clothes were dirty, she mailed them to her mother, who washed starched and ironed them and mailed them back.  She also failed to get up and get ready for work so many times and we had to pay a taxi that I started to leave her to pay it by herself.

I once got a job even thought my typing skill was minus 10 words a minute!  I got the job because I knew how to set a tab.

Working in the Shoe Shop was an experience that everyone should have! My job was to zig zag the backs of Ice Skates, Bowling Shoes, and Golf shoes on an industrial sewing machine.  I would do about 30 pairs at a time and cut them apart.  I was and am still very fast with my hands and I am ambidextrous.  I wanted a raise from 1 cent a pair to 2 or 3 cents a pair, so when the boss (not the sharpest tool in the shed) came by with his stop watch to time me (supposedly without me noticing) I did a lot of movements and not much work, until he left.  I never got the raise and as a matter of fact, I was escorted to the door and told that they didn’t need me anymore.  There were three very good reasons.  1. I talked up Unions.  2. One of the Supervisors called me out of the bathroom to tell me to get back to work!  I picked him up by the front of his shirt and put him up against the wall with his feet dangling and told him never to call me out of the bathroom again.  3. Another Supervisor thought that we should date and dogged me everywhere. I dodged him but when he got too friendly at work. I told him NEVER to put his hands on me!  Unfortunately for him he attempted it after I saw him put his arms around the girl next to me and fondle her boobs.  I attempted to give him a vasectomy without the anesthetic. If he was slower with his hand I might have accomplished the deed.

When I explained number 3 to the Unemployment Department I was granted full unemployment benefits.

This brings me up to the time I settled down; got married and raised a family! Stay tuned for the next chapter to follow about 20 years later.

Are General Physician’s becoming obsolete?

Now let’s think about this! When was the last time that you visited your GP and he/she actually examined you? Never! You are untouchable. You are invisible! Medicine is a corporate business; caring personalities do not enter into it, anymore. In and out in 15 minutes or less, (you can’t even get a good burger that fast) they have to churn out patients by the dozen so that the payments on the yachts are made on time.

Let’s go through a typical GP visit. You are not a new patient, they have your history before them, or at least they could if they cared to read it.

“Hi (looks down at your chart, because he/she doesn’t recognize you) John Doe, “Why did you come to see me, today?” Jeez, I had to tell everyone but my pastor, someone should have passed that on to you!

The cute little person in the adorable scrub outfit took all your vital statistics and asked you again “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”, and when you called for your appointment, several weeks ago, you were grilled by that Oh so nice voice on the phone “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”

Just try to get out of telling her/him specifically why you want an appointment! Not going to happen! I have tried several different tactics to keep my personal information to myself until I see the GREAT AND POWERFUL DOCTOR and to no avail. I finally tell them I need 15 minutes and it is none of your business why or what ails me, it is personal. Unless you have got your medical license you do not need to know.

I know I am a mean bitch, but, if I am only going to get 15 minutes anyway, what does it matter.

Also I am old! I remember the days when you could go see the Doctor in a few hours or at the longest the next day. I also remember when they could actually stitch up a minor wound in their office. If you were injured you went to his/her office and if it were major and needed hospitalization you were sent to the hospital. There were very few “Specialists”.  Sometimes your GP was also your surgeon!

Not so today! You tell them what is wrong and they immediately, well not that soon, send you to a “specialist” or the hospital. Hopefully it isn’t your arm or leg that is hurt, because the hospital will charge you the other two!!! BTW the Specialist usually is not so busy that they can see you within a week. Also they don’t really listen either!

Doctors really do not want you to look up anything on the internet to try to understand about your condition or what the ramifications of any medication that they propose to write a prescription for you to fill at your local pharmacy.  Don’t get me started on pharmaceutical Companies!

I recently became acquainted with Urgent Care! You can get in to see a doctor or a PA in usually the same day. They call you by name and seem to really care about you. Recently I received a call from the PA, a couple of days after my visit to inquire if I was feeling better. When was the last time you got a call from your doctor?

What we need now, is an online virtual doctor that you can talk to and they will listen just like their real life counterparts, and can refer you to a hospital or specialist with specifics on how to reach either one. Doctors will have to become good actors like the “Doctors” on TV selling their Snake Cures. It would save much time, money and aggravation for the patients, and in this fast paced environment it will fit most people’s lifestyle.   Imagine sitting in the comfort of your own home and chatting face to face with your smiling friendly “Doctor”! You probably won’t even notice the difference in the care and concern, it may even be better!

What do think about it? Let me know, I am interested really, please talk to my assistant first and I can give you at least 15 minutes and will almost immediately send you to the proper specialist!

Dreams are a wish your heart makes!

So why does an “over the hill” old fart think that she can write?  You ask or didn’t ask; here’s the answer!   Because I want to!  I need to write! 

When I was little, I dreamed of many things that I wanted to become; baseball player for the New York Yankees (I was 12 before I realized that girls couldn’t play baseball), that pretty much ended my dreaming, I only wanted to escape into books and become all the main characters. What adventures I had with no one telling me that I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.  I lived in those books!  So much so that when I stuck my nose in a book my ears turn off!  Literally!  Everything around me disappeared and I was the main character!   This got me into a lot of trouble when my Mother asked me to do something when I was reading, I only heard her when she slapped me up side of the head.    I also wanted to graduate from High School, because at that time, I thought that it was my ticket to success.   Well, another dream crushed, damn! 

When I was in the 6th grade we moved to a different town and consequently were bussed to a two-room school house, until I was in the last month of the 8th grade.   The teachers were, okay, but were not interested in, nor had the time to teach grammar.  In the last month of the 8th grade, the school district closed the school and shipped us off the school in “town”. 

The first day on English the teacher started talking about diagraming sentences and a whole lot of other things that I was totally in the dark about.   It never made any sense to me, and to this day it still is somewhat of a mystery.  Thanks to spell and grammar check I hope I can sound reasonably intelligent.

One of my English teachers required us to write one full page of anything we wanted to write, be it prose, a story, or even copy something from a book (with acknowledgement).  So I had a little fun with him; I wrote stories that ended in cliff hangers, and when he asked (in fun I am sure) what happens next, I would laugh and tell him he would have to wait till next week.  Near the end of the school year, he took me aside and told me that I should do something about my writing.  The sad thing is I can’t even remember his name. 

No matter!  I am now working on a couple books, but have put them aside to concentrate on a short story that I am doing as a Christmas Gift for some friends that have been very good to me.   It has their whole family as the main characters, on an adventure that takes place on a newly discovered planet in another galaxy.  Oh and there is a Dragon!

Another book is based on my 30 year Real Estate Career.  It is a murder mystery and some people will recognize themselves in it, but with different names.  Some will laugh, be proud, and some will be unhappy at my portrayal of them, even though it is accurate. 

 

 

 

The Ole Swimming Hole and Life on the farm

Life on the farm was hard work, we didn’t know we were poor, we just knew we ate well and had fun. We were kids, after all!  

We had our own beef, chicken, eggs, vegetables, milk, and home churned butter.  We sold some of the hay from our 15 acre field to neighbors, and some was a trade-off, for cutting and baling, and we kept some for our livestock. 

We had a favorite place to go swimming, and launch our row boat for fishing, from a neighbor’s field.  It had a very small shore line and not a real sandy beach, but the water was shallow for quite a distance from the shore.  The thing that always terrified me about the lakes in Maine was the Blood Suckers (leaches) that would occasionally attach to a person’s body.  I still shudder at the thought of having one attached to me.   They usually were about 6 or 8 inches in length and black on the back with a red/orange under belly. 

My Dad always spread a large bag of Rock Salt in the water around the swimming hole in early spring and he assured us that it would keep them away.  Whether this really did keep them away was taken of faith, and I don’t remember getting one on me. 

After a hot day of working on the farm, it was a wonderful cooling, relaxing thing to do.  My dad always had a big bar of soap and washed up, while we splashed and laughed, until we were forced to come out of the water by stern warnings, and the mosquitos were out in force.

My older brother was back from the Army and was trying to impress a girl in a cute bikini.  He decided to dive off the back end on the boat.  He planned a shallow dive, which would have been great, if he had checked how deep or shallow the water really was.  The dive was beautiful!  When he came up with a bloody chest, not so impressive.  Just small cuts, but, lots of blood.

My other brother did his thing, too!  He was told not to stand up in the boat while trying to free his line from a log or something in the shallow part of the lake, but true to form he did just what he wanted to do.   He yanked hard on the line and proceeded to yank himself out of the boat and ended up to his neck in water with this feet firmly planted deep in mud so deep it pulled his sneakers off.  Mom laughed so hard she nearly pee’d herself, but finally helped him back into the boat sans his sneakers and pole. 

Now just to let you know that I am no angel, I was challenged by my two brothers to swim the width of the lake, and so I took up the challenge.  The only thing I didn’t think through was that I was swimming alone across the lake, uh, not a good idea!  When my mother saw me out in the middle of the lake swimming alone, she told the boys to go get me.  She also told them to stay close to me in the boat and make me swim back across the lake, with them following.  She was a tough woman.  The lesson learned!! 

We kept a row boat tied to a tree at the shore, and anyone could use it that also knew about the Ole swimming hole.   When we fished for Bass or Pickerel (Pike) we liked to row so we could put the lure right up close to the shore by the lily pads and weeds.  

Some of my fondest memories are Mom and I fishing on the lake. 

In the winter, we were almost always snowed in for a week at a time.  We were prepared for it and it gave us a wonderland to ski, fish, and sled.  We always were happy when we got a week vacation from school.  We could slide down one hill then go up the opposite hill and slide down again. 

In the spring when the weather started warming up and the Milk trucks would make deep ruts in the road driving out in the car to get groceries was a challenge.  Also when the snow started to melt, and the ice in the lake also started to melt, the lake would rise a little, so that the lowest part of the road would be under water, just the place we needed to walk across to the bus stop. 

We occasionally put a small row boat tied at one end, and we would row across to the other end and walk up the hill to meet the bus, and row it back to the other side at night.

If Mom knew this she would have skun us alive, but one time we carried a plank down to the edge of the lake.  The ice was melted along the shore line, so we put the plank from the shore to the ice, walked the plank to the ice, and then carried it to the shore on the other side, put it again from the ice to the shore and walked the plank again.   Really stupid! But I said we were kids.

The funniest thing that happened was the time that my sister-in-law were playing around in my brothers Red Convertible, driving it around the hay fields while the men took the hay bales to the barn.  We decided that we wanted to find out what time it was, so we tried to drive close to the truck to see the time.  Well, to make a long story short, we scraped the whole side of the Red Convertible on the truck.  This was only funny to us, not my brother!!

We found a Surry with a Fringe on top, (honest)  in the Barn and we used to pull that thing down to the lake in back of the house with all our supplies to go fishing, which consisted our Prince Albert tobacco cans full of worms, poles, lunch which often consisted of jars of Tomatoes, or other vegetables. We knew better than to forget to bring the jars and the covers home.  We also found many Women’s Home Companion magazines in the attic.  I also found a Poor Richard’s Almanac, and a leather bound book of the survey across the United States.  These are all gone now, as the house burned to the ground.

My Mother found several old wood washing machines in the Barn, which she painted and filled them will Geraniums and set them on the lawn.  You could almost see the tears in the eyes of the Antique dealers when they drove by. 

Leaves floating down the stream of life

I met my Husband of nearly 54 years ago, on a sunny day on the main street of Dexter, Maine.  He was leaning on a parking meter waiting for his friend Joe, who was trying to convince me to go out with him; of course, Joe was trying to convince me to go out with him.   Joe and I worked in the Dexter Shoe Shop, not together, but on different floors.  I had been turning him down, but this day, I said yes.  He had been telling his friend Shirl about “this Redhead that he had been trying to date for a year”.

 It could have been because of the great looking guy with him, tall, just under 6 ft., blond wavy hair and the bluest eyes I had ever seen, or because it would be a double date!  So I put him through some paces, just for the fun of it.  I told him, yes, if he came down to the farm and met my parents, first.  I didn’t need their approval, I was 20 years old, but, it seemed like a fun thing to do. 

The great looking guy, Shirley (Shirl) was dating three other girls.  Damn.  So they showed up all dressed up for the Bar-L dance hall, which was just a big converted barn.  These two guys were like long lost brothers, even though they only knew each other for a few months.  We were dancing and they bumped into each other, they paused, looked daggers at each other, they took off their coats, and just passed then to each other and put them on.  This may sound blah, but the fact that Shirl is just shy of 6 ft. and Joe is just shy of 5” 6’ makes it hilarious.  They just turned around started dancing with their respective partners, while everyone surrounding just stood with their mouths open. 

We had a great time all that summer, going to dances, picnicking, swimming, and just enjoying being young.  Shirl and I teased Joe about his use to our language, which was a little unfair, as he did not speak a word of English, when we came across the border from Canada.  He learned to speak from watching TV, which was pretty impressive.  He actually used his brothers ID, and even bought a 57 Pontiac, which was very fast!!

Shirl had just buried his father, and was grieving in his own way, while trying to keep his Father’s Pulp business going. The saddest thing is that I never got to meet him as an adult.  You, see, I knew his Dad when I was a little girl.  Shirl says that he would have loved me.  I know I would have loved him, as I already did. 

My family lived in a big old duplex house on Middlesex Ave, which was behind the stores on Main Street, which was probably the cheapest rent that we could afford.  Shirl’s father, Don, delivered Ice to our Ice Box.  If you don’t know what that is, it is a sort of refrigerator.  It is a box that you put a big chunk of Ice in to keep you food cold.  BTW, not only did Don deliver the ice, his family cut big squares of it out of the Wassokeag Lake in the winter, and stored it in a huge warehouse encased in sawdust for summer delivery. 

Anyway, Don was wonderful to all the kids in the neighborhood, when he delivered ice; he would cut a piece off and give it to all of us kids, never from the floor of the Ice Truck, but from a block of ice he could sell.  One day I was showing him my kitty, all dressed up in doll clothes.  He tried to tell me that the cat didn’t like to be dressed up.  I told him no she loved it, and he told me she would run away if I didn’t stop.  I looked up into his eyes, BTW which were, one green and one blue, as he had lost an eye as a child and had a glass eye, and knew he was wrong.  One day, of course the kitty did run away.  My kitty also had one green eye and one blue eye. 

I trooped up to his house and knocked on the door, and asked if they found my kitty.  I was pretty sure that he had taken my cat.  Can you see my logic?

I tell people that Shirl’s daddy was an Ice man and he is a nice man too!

That summer we double dated with Shirl and one of his many dates.  One day when we met, Shirl had a Bee sting on his upper lip, poor kid it was all swelled up.  So as a joke, I kissed it to make it better.  Joe and Shirl’s dates were furious! 

Later in the day we stopped by a park with a small stream running through it.  While, we were just setting, Shirl’s date, of the day, got all excited and wanted to have each of us throw a Maple leaf in the stream and see what happens.  Well, Joe’s leaf and Shirl’s date’s leaves just floated over to opposite sides and caught on the bank.  Shirl’s and my leaf met in the middle of the stream and locked together and floated down the stream. 

I bought a horse that summer!  I had always wanted a horse when I was little, and it was not something that we could afford.  When I started working at the Shoe Shop, the second thing that I bought was a horse.  The first thing was to have a well drilled on the farm.  Shirl and Joe used a Pulp Truck to bring Chocolate Boy home to me.  A Pulp Truck!  That horse was scared to death!  Good thing that it was back in the “old days”.  Now they would never be allowed to do that.  When we got him home, Joe decided that he would ride Chocolate Boy.  So he proceeded to hop on his back, and Chocolate Boy proceeded to buck him right off again

.  Joe never got on him again. 

We double dated all summer and in the fall, Joe told Shirl that he had to go back to Canada, and for him to take care of me, and for the past nearly 53 years he has done that. 

Shirl was born Dec 26th, so he never really had a birthday party.  On his 60th birthday, I planned a party for him with about 35 people, and flew his daughter who was living in Washington State, down for Christmas and his birthday.  To say he was clueless and surprised is an understatement. I will blog about the party some other time, but couldn’t forget the cake that I commissioned from the local Grocery store.  I told the ladies at the counter the above story, and they exclaimed with tears in their eye, “just leave it to us, you will love it”.  And love it I did.  It was a half sheet, with a stream running through it with two maple leaves in the center.   It was the hit of the party, and brought tears to my eyes, too!  Just thinking about it, now, makes me a little misty.

 

Our Daughter lives in Seattle, WA and, our Son lives in Bentonville, AR with his Daughter.   So the fact that we are Full-Time RV’ers should not come as a great big shock.  On one of our trips to WA to visit our Daughter, our Son and family drove up to join us.  On the way to WA they made a few tourist stops and found a great pair of earrings, Maple leaves dipped in gold.  They are my favorites because of the memories attached to them, and I get many compliments on them.

You can never go back! Memories of my Mother

Her name was Alice and every day I look in the mirror and I see her looking back at me.  She was one of the strongest people that I have ever met.  I am proud to have known her. 

She was also funny, and smart.  If she had been allowed to continue going to school beyond grade school, she would probably have been a Doctor, or Attorney.  She beat me all the time playing Double Solitaire and Double Nine Dominos.  She could walk through a field of clover and reach down and pick up a 4 leaf clover without searching. She had to quit school to help take care of her 2 brothers and 4 sisters. 

I got some of her immunity to all childhood diseases, not so with by two older brothers; they looked like chipmunks or some horribly diseased people with mumps and scarlet fever. 

When she found herself alone in a small cabin in the middle of winter with 3 little kids, she managed to keep us warm, clothed, and fed by doing mens jobs.  She picked beans, peas, and potatoes.  If you know anything about picking potatoes, imagine this; she picked 100 barrels a day.  Each barrel holds, I think, 4 or 5 bushels, and she did this and still watched 3 kids.  The owners of the fields tried to tell her that they would pay her less than the men because she was a woman!  She challenged them!  She said “I will work for one day, and if I don’t beat every man you don’t have to pay me anything, if I beat them I get paid the same as them”.  She beat them all.  And from that day on she was paid the same as the men. 

When I was a teenager,   I could pick 20 barrels a day on my best day.

 I remember one day, she was walking back to the field, when one of the young men, who had obviously drank his lunch, came walking over to her saying “Hey, sweetheart, how about a kiss”? And as he swung his arm around her shoulders, she never lost her momentum, she coldcocked him, and he stumbled over three rows of potatoes and fell on his ass.  None of the guys approached her or us again. 

She loved to fish, fished every chance she could.  I think her favorite was Brook fishing, and I fished with her many time.  One time, when we stopped at a farmhouse, to ask the farmer, sitting on his porch for permission to cross his land to go brook fishing. He smiled and said sure and proceeded to hold the barbed wire fence up so Mom could go under. As she bent to crawl under he patted her on the ass, and I nearly fell over trying to keep from laughing out loud.  I also knew that my turn was next.  I was amazed that he didn’t get his head knocked off. 

The last times that we went brook fishing, I was about 6 months pregnant, and we got kinda got lost in the woods, I fell in the brook, and we had to walk about 5 miles back to the car.  We usually caught a few “pocket fish”, and lucky we never got stopped by a game warden.  When I laughed and told my Doctor about my adventure, he about choked.  I told him how much trouble could I get in, I was with my Mother!!!!

One day I told her that my teacher wanted to know how old she was, she was doing the washing and not in a good mood, so she said “tell her I am 104”.  So that is exactly what I did!  And no amount of talking from the teacher could convince me that she wasn’t.  If my Mother said she was 104, she was 104!!!

She met the love of her live when I was a very young child, and Lloyd was the best!  He took on the responsibility of three little kids and a wife without a hesitation.  He worked on the railroad laying, and repairing tracks.  It was hard physical work and he wasn’t a very tall man but he had a biggest set of shoulders and arms that Popeye would be envious of. 

They bought a 15 acre farm when I was in the 6th grade.  The man that sold it to them had sold it many times and had repossessed it over and over.  Well, they were the last ones to buy it, which I am sure disappointed him a lot.  We lived off that land!  Until that time, I was the smallest kid in class, during the next year I gained so much weight, I got stretch marks.  Mother had an acre garden, and we kept a cow, had chickens, and raised a steer for beef.  He hunted, and we always had Deer meat.  We also sold the Hay from the field.  We stored some of the Hay in the barn, and my job was to stomp the hay in the mow to pack it down to get more in the barn, because I was the only kid that did not have hay fever. 

The Farm house was over 100 years old and after I was married and had a daughter, the farm house burned down.  They put a Single wide Mobile home on the foundation and added a room.  A few year ago when I was in Maine visiting, I drove back by it, and was disappointed, that the owners had let the field grow up to trees.  

You can never go back!

My first conscious memory of being alive

My first conscious memory of being alive, is playing in the front yard, with a couple of bottles and a tub of water.   I remember dipping water from the tub to fill one bottle with another.  I either, remember the house looking like it was a daylight basement of was built up from the ground.  There was a crude set of rough wood stairs to the small landing by the front door, as I remember or was told. 

I remember falling off the landing and screaming my head off.  In those days no one went to the Doctor, unless you were bleeding a lot.  I do remember lying across my mother’s lap while she pulled the edges together with adhesive tape to stop the bleeding.   I never had it stitched up and it healed with a big scar (remember I was little)!

Keep this in mind as I jump ahead to 8 years of age.  I think I was in the first grade, and remember complaining of a tummy ache a lot, to get the usual remedy, baking soda and water.  I guess I must have done this a lot because after a while no one paid a lot of attention, and just gave me the remedy.  This night I didn’t stop crying and complaining.  After they realized that I was feverish, off to the Doctors office I went.  The doctor examined me and immediately wanted me sent to the hospital.  I was scared to death!! I put it off by insisting that they take me home to wash my feet (we ran around barefooted all summer).  My dad used to tease me by saying “You’ve got diritfication on your feet”.

In 1948 people that have ruptured appendix did not always live.  Mine did rupture and I lived.  Tough!  In those days you were supposed to stay flat on your back in the hospital for two weeks.  I am sure that I gave the nurses several headaches as I sent back to bed several times a day.  When I went home I had the place of honor on the couch by the stove in the living room, while my brothers had to sleep upstairs in the cold.  We had a huge dog named Rex and I hitched my sled up to him and he hauled me around for hours. 

When I finally went back to school I enjoyed showing my scars to anyone that would look.  I also told them that “When the Doctor was operating on me his knife slipped and went right straight through me and he had to sew me up on both sides”.  And to prove it I showed the scar on my belly and the one on my back.  Kids will be kids!

 

REX

We got Rex when he was a small pup and he became a member of our family, that is, to everyone except Mother!  She would not let him come in side even in the dead of winter.  There was none of that dog sleeping at the foot of our beds, or getting up on furniture or even playing inside.  I don’t know was breed of dog Rex was, only that he had Light Brown long wavy hair.  I remember one winter it was snowing and we lived in a drafty old house behind the stores in town.   We begged to have him inside, we were sure he would freeze.  She declared that he had fur and would not freeze.  No amount of tears or begging by all of us moved her even a little bit!  So out he stayed.

When Lloyd came home from working on the railroad, he saw all our sad faces and went to bat for us.  I remember him saying “Now, Allie, look at their faces, can’t we just have Rex in for a little while to warm up”.  Wow!  She relented and said yes, with a Big But!  She said “He stays behind the stove, if he comes out from there, he goes out”.   So we got him in for several nights while it was below freezing.  We were thrilled. I’ll tell you more about Lloyd later.

Rex was with us for many years, and he traveled all over town, when we were in school.  All the store merchants loved him and used to give him scraps, he would come home with a bone nearly every day, which was a good thing as he only got table scraps.  I remember so many wonderful things about him.  He was so big that his back would scrape on the under-side of the table on the very few times he was allowed in, probably when Mom wasn’t home.

He was just a big friendly dog that we never gave it a thought about him defending us in any way.   We kinda thought of him as “The Cowardly Lion like in the Wizard of Oz”.  No matter we loved him anyway and he tagged along with us to the lake to go swimming.  In those days Mom would make my older brothers take me along with them, even though I couldn’t swim much and they were not a lot older than me.  Guess she figured, (wrongly) that they would take care of me!  There were two places to go swimming, one was a beach and the other was “the old swimming hole” which was, were the boys wanted to go so they could dive in.

I remember this day very clearly!  The boys were diving in and having a great time, I was setting on the ledge and crying as I wanted to go to the beach so I could go in swimming.  They finally had enough of my crying and told me to jump in or they would throw me in, and they would save me if I couldn’t swim enough to get to the shallow place to climb out.  As I was getting up enough courage to go in, sure enough they pushed me in.  I could tread water and dog paddle a little.  I cried for help!  They said “Sink or swim”.  I was panicked, and drank a lot of water trying to say on top, when out of nowhere, in jumped Rex and swam over to me so I could grab onto his tail and he pulled me in to shore.

On the way to and from the lake, by the store that rented boats, there was a mean dog that used to chase us all the way by his property and scared the bejesus out of us.   Rex didn’t always go to the lake with us, but this day Rex was with us and when the dog came charging out barking and snarling, Rex’s hair stood up on his back and as he growled, he ran at the dog ready to do battle for us.  He put the dog right back in his yard cowering and he never came back out barking at us again.  I swear Rex smiled and puffed his chest out as he marched us home.

I remember another day when after he got hit by a car, he crawled home, and that the Vet said there was nothing he could do for him and even though I wasn’t allowed to be there for him, I watched from a hiding place as the Vet gave him a shot and Rex went to sleep for the last time.

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