Monday, October 13, 2014

Memories on Clark's Summit

The Kitchen

Growing up I loved our kitchen. I especially loved our table. The table was where everything happened. Pie dough was rolled, Christmas cookies made, homemade bread and rolls made. When my Grandmother came to stay she would make homemade Gnocchi’s or Ravioli’s. Mom would make her Stuff Cabbage; I played with my doll house, did my homework, sat and read my book. Dad would read the paper while having his after dinner coffee. I can still picture it in my mind just like it was yesterday. There was one window in the kitchen, under the window was a roll cart to hold the toaster, deep fryer, mixer and blender. In the summer my dad would put a double fan in it, one side took the hot air out while the other brought the cold air in. I don't think that fan did anything it was suppose to as I never felt cold air at all! The porcelain sink was on the left of the window. The sink had a homemade skirt around it to hide the plumbing, and a place to keep the dish soap and cleansers. The one thing I don’t remember is what kind of flooring we had.

 The kitchen was the largest room in our house. Back in the day we did not have beautiful wood kitchen cabinets, we had one large built in cupboard that was over on the far left wall of the kitchen. White wood framed glass panels. I remember that glass always sparkling. Mom lined the shelves with shelf paper that folded over to look like a little awning hanging. The paper was changed for holidays, and spring cleaning. When that time came around, everything had to be removed, along with what was now considered the old shelf paper. Mom would wash the inside and after it dried she would line the shelves with the new paper, putting everything back in.  It was an all day job.

Besides the dishes, cups, glasses, etc. kept inside, there on the bottom shelf, on the right hand side, sat a round small white glass bowl filled with pennies, dimes, quarters,  and nickels. Pennies' were just as important as the other coins back then. I never remember that bowl being empty. That was the bowl that everyone went to if they wanted to buy something small.  Mom would tell me to take money from the bowl to go buy a bottle of Pepsi, when I asked if I could buy a comic book, I was told to take the money from the bowl. My dad told me to take money from it to buy the daily paper. The bowl was always full every time I went to it!

 We didn't have walk in closets back then - we didn't have a lot of clothes either!  It was nothing if we wore the same dress or skirt twice in one week. I am not sure of this, but I think we hung our coats on hooks on the wall where the landing led to the  cellar steps.   We had a coal furnace back then that my dad took care of- that part was located towards the back, I never had to do this, but I remember my dad shoveling the coal off the cellar floor into the furnace and then using the poker to stir up the fire. Oh, the mess of black coal!   In the front part of the cellar was the wringer washer and tubs. Later on after I graduated from Beauty School, my dad fixed up a working area for me so I could work on people’s hair.

I really miss having table and chairs in our kitchen today. When we first built our home, we had an eat in kitchen, my sons all sat around and did as I did when I was a child. We had dinner at the table and prayed before meals every night - I loved it. I did as my mother did too, made my pie dough, bread, rolls and dinners. I also sat there and do counted cross stitch, rewrite recipes or write letters to friends.

When the boys grew older, Ron wanted to redo our kitchen and make it into a Gallery kitchen so I would have more storing space. That’s when we lost the heart of our home – now it is the dining room where everyone gathers but it is just not the same - - -


Friday, August 29, 2014

Me and My Shadow

I have known Dee all of her life. I could start this assignment from when she was a baby, but I am going to fast forward to the last couple of years.
   Dee is a very compassionate woman, she truly feels your pain, and is a good listener. If you need her, she will do anything she can to help you. Dee is a loyal and dependent person. Another good quality of hers is, if you tell her something in confidence, she will not repeat it.
   She loves her job of working in the library, because she is a people person. She enjoys helping the patrons and doing the adult programs. She does have a fault and that is that she worries if the programs will go well and be a success.
 The more people around her, the happier she is. She also likes the quietness, but she would go crazy if it was quiet all of the time. It would be a depressing week if she did not see or talk to anyone. Lately she is having depressed days.
  Why, well this is her third time she has had cancer, and the third operation to remove it. This time is the worse because the breast cancer traveled to her lung on the same side as the cancer of the breast was.      The second time. in 2013 and this time, 2014 - no one calls, or visits.   Her brother was down the day after she got home from the hospital which was over a week ago, he came down to bring her mother in law down or else she would not of seen him either. Her mother in law brought the family dinner and home made pies, she is a thoughtful lady and very active for being 94 years old.
    It is heartbreaking to her that her own children don't call to check on her daily. Yes daily- what does it take to make a phone call - it takes time, and far be it that they have time for Dee to make that call. She bets that she does not even cross their mind during the day, they are too busy with their own. She is thankful and blessed that she has a good husband who calls her a couple of times a day. 
    Dee remembers that she always called her parents and her husband called his, that is what you did back then, you called to see how they were and if they needed anything. The guys call their dad whenever they need to know something or is they need something, they never need to ask Dee anything. She feels all that she was good for was giving birth and being a good mom during the early infant and toddler years.
     She is aware of her faults, she knows that she is not good at crafts, and she moves slowly because of her illness, hernia and weight. She is very self conscious of all. Dee is a very sensitive person and tries to let things roll off her back, but then people have told her that she is too outspoken. She says things in such a way that the person takes it wrong, and Dee is not even aware of hurting someone's feelings.
     She has always been a thin person, very much into exercising, personal trainer and all. Towards 2004 she started to let herself go, and in 2006 she had her first bout with breast cancer and stopped exercising all together, that is when the weight started to pile on. Dee longs to be thin but is over whelmed with her fight against breast cancer.
      I think what Dee has done best in her life is being a young mother taking care of her young children, baking for her family and making sure they were well and happy. 
      Today - She would do anything for her husband, children and her grand-children. They are her life - the reason for her existence - even though she knows they could very well get along with out her and would not miss her as much as she would like, and she know she would become just a distant memory.


As I sit here this morning my mind is turning in one hundred different directions. On the 17th of this month of October it will be 7 years since my first diagnoses of Breast Cancer, November 20, of the same year, 2006,  I had a lumpectomy and they found it was the Triple Negative kind.
The one type every one dreads. But what did I know back then, I was a newbie and I was going to conquer this and be a true survivor, be an advocate and do everything else that was possible to bring awareness to the women who had no history of breast cancer in their family that they knew of .
So that's what I did, Get your mammogram I posted on face-book. I sent e-mails out because it did save my life. Yes, this is definitely true. If it were not for that mammogram I would of never known that I had breast cancer.
Not one of my oncologist told me that the type of breast cancer I had was a very aggressive type and usually came back in the early years after being treated. . It had been almost 7 years of being clean, and the doctors told me I was out of the woods. I had my mammogram in August and had my visit with my chemo oncologist in December. Everything was good, finally I was starting to let my guard down.
That was a huge mistake because in January of 2013 I found  lump in the same area as the first and yes it was cancer. I had to have a mastectomy - I had it on Feb 27 of 2013 and went through Chemo again, I had more problems with that this time since I was on a blood thinner and caused bleeding in the bladder. The doc lowered the dose so I could get through all 6 treatments, which I did in August of 2013, that same month the kids had a fantastic surprise 50th Anniversary party on us with all our friends and relatives there - what a great time it was - God has truly blessed us.


Christmas 2013

  As I go into the brightly cheerful stores and when I drive by the houses so nicely decorated, I can't help but wonder how the people really are that I passed in the stores and who live in those homes.
  The young families with children running around have to be the happiest, or maybe it's the son or daughter who came home from the service to their family, it could be the family who found out that their loved ones medical tests came back all clear. Or how about the couple whose adoption papers were approved and they will have a new son or daughter to celebrate the holidays with.
    I can think of all kind of happy situations that might be happening, but then I can also think of so much sadness people must be going through at this "happy" time of year. There is the man who lost his wife a few months back, his heart is hurting and he is missing her terribly, then there is the woman who just recently lost her husband and is trying very bravely to carry on with the same traditions this holiday season for her children, even though her heart is broken. The dad who lost his job and wondering how he will feed his family for Christmas plus keep his children happy and healthy. The family who loves their son who is paralyzed from the chest down and wants to die, but they want him to want to live. People who are awaiting tests results and are afraid of what they will find out,
     So much goes on in this world of ours, but all of us are totally wrapped up in our own little world. I should not say all of us, as there are so many wonderful volunteers and organizations out there that are doing their best to make it a warm, fulfilled holiday season for the homeless, the unemployed, the people who are disabled and many more. 
     I feel sorry for people who are still carrying grudges from years ago, unable to forgive, and how could I forget the people who are alone for Christmas. Either they don't have family left, are newly divorced with out family around, or are orphaned. Maybe they are in a nursing home with no one to visit at any time not just during the holiday season.
     The fact is, this is life, the whole journey of life. Man's inhumanity to man. The third world country's are truly not thinking about the Christmas traditions right now. A lot of them are just trying to survive from being shot at, or everything including human life washed away from terrible floods. 
   Actually this can apply to right here, in our world also and does.
     Let us be thankful for what we have, and somehow be able to help people less fortunate. I know that Springdale Library has a Santa Helpers tree for a couple of family's less fortunate then some of us. If you want to pick a snowman, stop in and do so.
     Wishing you all good health, peace of mind and quiet of day.
     Let us remember the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of our Lord, Jesus.

The Ideal Road

The ideal road would be smooth, with no surprises of pot holes, unseen dips or broken twigs that manage to get up under the vehicle. Alas, that doesn't exist in the real world, unless we developed our own.
   It would be amazing if our life would be as smooth as that perfect road. The perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect dog - I think you reading this get the drift.
   In my perfect world everyone would be free of all serious illness and Cancer would be curable.
Families would love and respect each other. take time to keep in touch & children would be well mannered.
    But unfortunately there are no perfect roads, every one has a flaw just like there is not a perfect life.

Those Were The Days

 As I age I find myself thinking of my childhood and teen years. Just little things, but little things mean a lot as the song of old goes.
    When I was a young mother, going through the infant stage, toddlers, childhood, & as a teen mom, I barely thought of my childhood memories, we were too busy making our own. We were enjoying raising our family. I did write a page here and there of what was happening in our lives, but they were few and far between. I can say that those were truly the best days of our lives.
     The boys were involved in so many activities, cub scouts, baseball, basketball, &  football at all different ages and games were at all different times and  different fields. I sometimes would have to go to two baseball games in one evening. Half the game
to see Ron J, and the other to see Brian play, because Ron was coaching the others.
   I remember one time Ron called and asked me to go to the baseball field and line it. I had no clue what he was talking about but he thought I did. He said "the liner and chalk is in the dug out in the back, all you have to do is put the chalk in the liner and make a straight line".  Oh lordy I thought as I drove to the field. what am I getting myself into. 
   I parked and walked to the dug out and start pulling out the equipment I thought I would need, I had just started to understand what to do when the assistant coach came and took over. I was so relieved to see him and have him do it. He made it look like a piece of cake! I know that I would of really screwed up if I had to do it.
     I hated when Jeff &  Ron played football, I thought it was too physical but they loved it, so what is a mother to do when their dad is all for it also? I put my game face on and went. I was always happy when the season was over. I found it hard living in a household of men. They are seemed to gel together in every sport and I was out in left field somewhere just trying to catch what was going on.
     Baseball was a sport all the boys excelled in. Doug's nickname was Scoops, because he always could scoop up the ball. Doug and Jeff were good at pitching and hitting also and got many home runs. Ron was a left handed pitcher and a good one, Brian did not pitch but hit a lot, He always managed to hurt his ankle and was never able to play in the all star game. Every year he was picked and every year he hurt his ankle and could not play. I bet he felt bad inside though he never complained.
    I liked to watch them play, but I watched for fly balls more then I watched the game. A lot of those balls came our way, one guy had his jaw broken. After that happened I could not relax, so after many, many times of going to the games, I finally wised up and sat on the other side of the field by myself. I didn't care that I was by myself, all I cared about was the fact that I knew no ball could reach that far and I could enjoy watching. Of course my boys and husband thought I was crazy but that didn't change my mind and my anxiety level went to zero.
    One of our favorite times as parents was when the boys and Ron & I would all gather in the living room and watch Happy Days and Lavern & Shirley. We would make popcorn and drinks and do a lot of laughing at the funny antics on the shows. That was truly family time together and we all enjoyed it. Afterwards it was bath time and bed. We had a good feeling of peace in side of us when the boys were in bed safe at night - all was right with the world, our world.
   But now in the twilight of my life (which I hate to write, but why pretend, is what it is) I find myself remembering so much.
           For instance If I had an upset stomach the remedy in our home was to drink a half of glass of Brioche. My dad would put a couple of teaspoons of the little snow crystals (that's what they looked like) in a glass, then add water, I would watch it start too fizz and had to drink it fizzing. It's still on the market as I still see it in the little Italian stores. I have a bottle, not to use because it is way to old, but just to "remember." I keep telling myself to replenish the old bottle so I can use the new one.
           I was left alone to babysit my brother a lot. It never came to pass, but I always worried how I would get upstairs to his crib in case of fire or burglars. I hated to babysit, I was always so scared and jumped at every noise I heard. At that time the radio and tv went off the air at 11 o'clock p.m. and the house was too dang quiet except for all these strange noises I would hear. I think my parents should have hired a babysitter for both of us.
           I remember having the measles around the time ofmy birthday, the party was already planned and it was too late to cancel.  So she had it at the neighbors house while I stayed on the couch at home. She would come over at times and show me what the kids gave me for presents, but I felt sad to miss out on my own party. I know one gift was a pretty colorful umbrella she twirled it around so I could see the pretty colors. I don't remember the other gifts just that one.

Being Honest

Being Honest,
                                              Life is unfair to so many people. Why are some chosen to be the unlucky ones, the unhealthy ones, the homeless ones, the abused ones, the unloved ones? What did they do other than being born (which they had no say so in) to deserve this kind of life?
                                            For the life of me I cannot figure it out. I have heard of cases where one of the less fortunate met someone, or someone found them and turned their life around and made it all right in their world. But really, how many times does that happen?
                                        Life is unfair because right now as I write this
  there is someone going through a garbage can looking for scraps, someone is sleeping under a bridge with no pillow under their head or blanket to cover them.  Thankfully the weather is nice so the little ones with out shoes can still survive. So many children are so hungry right now and they can't even find a crumb of bread, or they have access to free food, but the parents are ashamed to sign the permission slip to let the kids eat. Who suffers for that? Not the parents, the little kids do, because their parents are too ashamed or too proud to accept help. So sad, so very sad. There is a little kid right now home alone without food, who does not know where his/her parents or parent could be.
.                                         A person is being abused right now- because why? Someone wants to show power? someone has so much anger and hatred in their heart they are taking it out on the one closest to them whether it be child or adult. Or a little baby's cry woke up someone and made them angry enough to shake that little innocent baby to death? Some parent is taking a hit right now in front of their child, drinking booze from a bottle, slurring their words, and their child looks on.
                                          Life is unfair
 why do some children have to suffer from serious illness, they have no control over their lives and have to depend on others, They are in pain and don't know why. they break my heart.  What do they think when they see other kids their own age laughing and playing? Hopefully the nurses and doctors make them smile and laugh during the day.
                                           Life is unfair
Adults - oh, we think we are so indestructible, we are so wrapped up in everyday life that most of us take our good health for granted. We are too busy or too much in a hurry to make a phone call or my goodness, even a short visit to cheer someone. When hearing of someone else's misfortune, whether it be illness or job loss, we sympathize and then it promptly leaves our head. Why? because it has not affected any one in their family circle. And even if it does affect someone in the family circle we are too busy to do for them also.
                                  Life is unfair
 one day everyone will realize this in some way or another, even when the flowers are in bloom and the trees are gorgeous in color, the birds may be singing, the sun may be shining and even though we are thankful for this day   - - - - - - Life is unfair to many

Dee's shared items


This time of year makes me think of all of those things I have to be thankful for - - - -
my husband
my children
my grandchildren
my health
my freedom
always thankful for friends made