title explained

Onward and upward! something that you say in order to encourage someone to forget an unpleasant experience or failure and to think about the future instead and move forward.

My e-mail: jjmiller6213@comcast.net

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mini Road Trips

I have gone somewhere every single day this week.


My nosy neighbor told me on Monday that "they" had talked about me and how I go days without getting in my car and going somewhere.  Unlike them--with two cars--who leave and come back several times a day.  Her husband 4 times a day, she, usually 3 times a day.

I didn't think I had anywhere to go today, but a check came in the mail and I wanted to get it cashed before I lost it somewhere in the piles of paper on my desk.  So to the bank I went.

Yesterday--was it yesterday?  No, Wednesday I went up to Lowe's and bought me a decent shower head.  I am so tired of the dinky one I have, so I searched on-line and then went to the store to pick it up.  This has 9 different types of spray.

I figured that all shower head attachments would have universal connecting sizes and if that was true, all I'd have to do it exchange just the heads.  It came with all the attachments and the stainless hose.  So, tonight I screwed the old one off and attached this and then spent time trying all the spray positions.

YOWZA!!  I know right now the one I am going to try first.  Water comes out of every hole on the thing.
Now I remember where I went yesterday.  I was printing out a genealogy book and the print started looking a little dim, so I ran into Cartridge World, in Brighton, and got my inkjets refilled.  I really need a new printer.  The one I have is quite old and thus the inkjets have increased in price.  Supply and demand, you know.

I had an ear of sweet corn and a cucumber for supper.  I had heard you can cook corn in the microwave with the husk on so I tried it.  Oh my.  Moist and sweet!!!

When I was at the Food Bank, last week on my birthday, I got a package of ground sirloin.  I had a chance to get a 2# pack, but took the smaller one.  I brought it home and made nice thick hamburg patties, wrapped them in wax paper and put them in a Ziploc bag and froze them.  It was so nice to be able to take one out and cook it in my George Foreman grill and have meat for supper!  Next month, I'm going to get the 2# pack--I ran out before my craving for grilled hamburgers was quenched.

I have a pretty big genealogy book all done--92 pages.  I won't be able to get it bound until next week, after the long Holiday time.  It was very interesting!

I have started on another one.  I gotta keep busy or I get so bored--even with my little trips up to and down to my two shopping towns.

The weather man keeps warning us of severe storms and lots of rain.  I guess that's for his area in Detroit because all we keep getting are sprinkles.  Barely enough to wet the street.  I watered all my annuals today, just in case.

Well--that's it for me.  I hope you all have a nice 4 day weekend.  I'll just be sitting here all alone, like any other day.  Which is okay with me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Almost done with this month--already.  Too bad, I've always liked June better than July.  July is when it normally gets hot around here--well for a few days in a row anyway.

I had to run down to Brighton today--had to get inkjet refills.  No adventures on the way into town, but on the way home, when I got back on the 4 lane road, 50mph speed limit--I was doing 53 and in my rear-view mirror, I could see a pick-up truck weaving in and out of traffic, like he was in a big hurry.

He couldn't seem to make any headway.  He finally settled in behind me, nearly kissing my bumper, then turned left into the 2/42 church.  I don't know if he a church-goer or not, because he sure drove like he was hell bent!

Then a mile ahead, as I got into the left turn lane to turn into my Park, there was a guy, in an electric wheel-chair trying to get across 4 lanes on our busy road.  4:30 in the afternoon, when traffic is heavy and there he is--trying to get to the other side of the road.  The oncoming traffic cleared a bit, I turned in and saw him scoot to the middle lane.  I have no idea if he made it, but I didn't hear any sirens later.
All my kids and grandchildren and great grand daughter are up at Mark and Karen's cottage.  Jennifer was in hospital over last weekend with meningitis, but she and her family managed the 12 hours trip to get up north.

Which makes me feel pitified once again.  On their way up north, they drive on the expressway that is about 4 miles from my home.  Wouldn't it have been nice if they had swung by, for a potty break, and so I could have seen my 4 youngest grand children, that I haven't seen in 18 months?  15 minutes is all I would require.  Time for a hug and a "Do any of you need a bottle of cold water?"  Bye.

That would make me happy for the next year!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday and Monday stuff.

I have an adventure every time I drive out of this park. Today I had to get some cat food and Pepsi and Milk and had a birthday GC for Meijer, so I headed into Brighton. 

I was in the right lane, going about 48 in a 50mph speed zone and out from the Community Bible Church comes an old guy in his car. I had to not only brake quickly, but had to stand on them for a minute because, after he got on the road, he continued on at 35mph--down a mile to turn off into the 2/42 church.

I figured God must be his co-pilot because I almost sent that old guy to the Beulah Land Hotel!!

Did my thing at Meijer and then stood in line 25 minutes at the check-out. Even with 452 thousand Self Check-out lanes, which were all being used, there are some old people like me that like to go through the regular check-out lane. 

The lady behind me and I conversed on how we keep saying we are never coming back to this store to shop, but..............she usually shops at Kroger, she was only at Meijer because her favorite ice cream was on sale. She told me that she just returned from driving up north for the weekend.  Her daughter didn't want her too, but she did.  The town she visited is about 250 miles from here.  The lady is 87!  

I was there, instead of the Howell Meijer because I had to go to the Meijer gas station and the Howell Meijer doesn't have one. That poor kid at the gas station, busy time of day and he's working all alone and had a line that went clear back to the coolers! 

Too bad they can't keep their employees at that store--guess it might be bad management? NEVER AGAIN!!!
It has been nice and cool here.  Daily temps in the mid 60's, nighttime temps in the 50's.  I admit, I turned on the furnace this morning to take the chill off.

I woke up to the sound of a riding lawn mower.  I thought it was my lawn mowing guy Don, but it was my nutzy-cuckoo neighbor who lives behind me.  I looked out and saw her going round and round, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts.

A couple of minutes later, my lawn mowing guy showed up.  He had on a sweatshirt!

I looked at the outside temperature.  It was 59 degrees!  She never has been the brightest bulb in the package!
I was feeling a bit pitified this morning.  Tears were very close to the surface--which is nutz because I never cry!

Karen hasn't called me since they got back home from their trip last Wednesday.  No birthday card from her either, which has got to be the first time in my life.

Yeah--she's busy.  Apparently there is not 15 minutes in her day to call her Mom.

My kids have a text group thingie on their phone.  When one of them wants to text, they hit one button, type in the text and it automatically goes to everyone in that group.  Kind of like a group e-mail.

I do not have a cell phone, so I am not in the group.  I miss out on all the news.  I have often asked if it is family news, could the "textor" just send me an e-mail.  "Oh sure, Mom."  Never happens.

When I hear one of them say, "I got your text and laughed 'til I cried," or something like that, I feel pretty left out.  

It gets pretty lonely here and feeling left out of the family doings, was the reason I felt pitified.  BUT--there is nothing I can do about it, I guess.

Perhaps I should start a campaign of my own.  Make a note on my calendar and call Karen one week and Pam the next and send Jennifer an e-mail the next and include my sister in there with a phone call or a visit every couple of weeks.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

This 'N That and Nothing in Partticular

Finally--no lightning, or thunder, just a nice full down-pour.  I think I hear my flowers singing.


 A birthday card from my only nephew. 
Adam Charles--I have always called him Adam Chuckie and he has hated that since he was 13. 
So I quit.  HAH

The color of my pedicure polish.  Never worn this color before.

This guy stopped by after the rain.

Now, don't be telling me it was Fred's spirit come to visit.  It was merely a hungry Cardinal coming in to my newly filled bird feeders.   Followed shortly by this Grosbeak.

I like the looks of the rest of my June calendar.  Not a thing to do for the next week.  Of course, there will be a food or Pepsi run, but no definite places to go or things to do.

Which will leave me lots of time for this

and this--------

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice started early for me--I wanted to enjoy as many of the long daylight hours I could!  The weather was perfect!  Sunny, 74 degrees, low humidity, with a slight breeze.

You see, the First Day of Summer, the longest day of the year, is the day I was born!  

It was also my cousins 6th birthday, which she has informed me, over these last 78 years, I completely ruined for her.

She was my Grandmother's niece and her namesake.  My Grandmother doted on her and then....my Grandmother had to miss her birthday because....Grandma was waiting for me.  When I was born, the nurse (my mother's sister), took me and handed me to my Grandma.  Grandma said, "My precious baby!" and that's how it was until she died.

Sure, my Grandma had a huge capacity to love and she loved my cousin, but I took up a lot of her time and well..............................as I have told my cousin over and over, "It's not my fault!  I was supposed to be born the end of May!"

My cousin and I on our birthday--I was 1, she was 7.

My sister Susan and daughter Pam drove down from Byron, about 4:00, and brought Subway sandwiches.  This is my favorite way to celebrate.  I would much rather eat in than go to a restaurant.  That way, we set up our TV tables and ate and talked and laughed loudly and hooted and laughed some more.  Can't do that in a restaurant.

I had cleaned my earrings the night before and with my hand tremors, I couldn't get them back in my ears.  So Susan did that for me, although she had to sit down because it made her knees weak.

Then Pammie helped me fix the toilet flush handle, which I had worked on for two days, but again, with the hand tremors could not get the wire I had to connect from the handle to the chain.

Then we went outside.  I asked Pammie if she would paint my toenails, because, with the hand tremors, it is impossible for me to do it and keep the polish only on the nails and not all over the toes.

Then we went back inside for cake and a wish.  What to wish for?  At my age, I wished for a few more years.  LOL

They left at about 8:00.  Pam had worked all day and had to get up at 4:00, this morning.

I found out at 8:30 that daughter Karen and her hubs had arrived back safely from their 3 week vacation in  Alaska.  It was a perfect day!
One of the neat things about Face Book?  When it is your birthday, a notice appears at the top of the page, so all most of your friends wish you a Happy Birthday.  I had over 100 wishes--where else can you get that?  HAH!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weather Break

Ah-hh!  The joy, the bliss, the pure sublimeness of cooler temps and having windows and doors open.  Last night it almost felt cold.
 Note: Sublimeness is not a valid word.

We have had rainstorms predicted all weekend and all today.  I see the dark clouds and hear the distant thunder, but about 3 miles before they get here, the separate--one storm going north-east (over Howell) and one going south-east (over Brighton).  We got sprinkles--twice today.  So--I went out and watered all my flowers.  Now the dark clouds are coming in again.

While I was watering, I found a sweet Cardinal feather under the bird feeders.  It will go in my  Anasazi Indian bowl with the rest of my collection.

I cut off my stray out growing branches off my Forsythia and Wegelia bushes and up the trunk of my Maple trees.  Stuffed them in a yard waste bag for pick-up tomorrow.

I really need to tear apart my little front garden this fall.  All the Iris need to be spread out, perhaps in their own bed and almost all of the Lilies need to be divided and replanted.  Sounds like a big job, but I know I can do it over a period of a week.  I say this now, who knows what September and October will bring.

Karen is posting photos on FB from Alaska.  They are there for three weeks.  Their second child, Susanna, who lives in Oregon, does a lot of advertising and marketing work for New Balance shoes and just happens to have a boyfriend who lives in Alaska, so she went with her parents for a couple of weeks.  They sure are seeing some splendor up there.

My hubs and the kids and I were going to drive up through British Columbia and up the ALCAN highway to visit Alaska--that was back in 1970.  We had the camper and the plans and then my Mother died and a year later Jennifer was born, so we never made it.

You might remember me posting that at grand daughter's wedding, he and I were talking about our missed Alaska trip and how we still would like to go there.  He can't drive and I certainly couldn't drive that far, but his wife drives--everywhere.  So I told him, we'd throw our stuff in the back of their van.  He could stretch out in the back seat and I'd sit up in front and chat with Diane while she drove us to Alaska.  HAH!

I had to run down to Brighton this morning and got into an insane construction fiasco.  It is 4 miles to the Meijer store.  It took me 30 minutes.  The back-up started just about 1.5 miles up the road.  When I got into town I could see what was happening.  They were moving the right lane over into the left.  A few yards ahead they were merging the left lane over into the center lane.  So now they had two lanes of very heavy traffic all in one lane in the center left turn lane.

All during this time, traffic was exiting from the Super Highway.  We were very orderly, letting one car in off the expressway in front of us, then the car behind me would let one in and so it proceeded.  Drivers in this area are nothing if not polite.  When I got about a block from the merging insanity, I turned right and scampered up a couple of streets and basically took a back alley way to Meijer.  I was not the only one.  HAH.  When I got out of there, I took the back way home--out into the country and down a road just west of me 1/2 mile and home. It took me 17 minutes to get home from Meijer.
Now I am finishing up laundry and working on the latest genealogy book.

OOOH--I hear thunder.  Maybe we'll get lucky this time?

Nope, it's going south east.  DRATS!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Broken down old woman.................................

I looked at the weather map radar this morning and there, to the west, was a beautiful big blob of green that looked like it would be right over me at about noon.  Sure enough, as I ran out to get the mail, I could feel the sprinkles.

....and that's all we got.  Not enough sprinkles to even make the street look wet. As sometimes happens, part of the storm split and went north-east and part of it went south of Brighton.  So, after lunch, I went out and watered all my annuals.  I'm not real good about watering.  I never water my perennial gardens as they have long, strong roots that will find deep water.  I do tend to forget the annuals on my porch and even with a nice rain, some of them are protected under the porch roof.

Well, now I see another bigger blob of green headed this way about about 10:00 tonight.So I am hoping.  It has been so hot-90- and dry here for the last few days, we need the rain and more normal cool weather.  It feels like July and it's only mid-June.
When I woke up this morning, I remembered.  It is my anniversary.  I was married at 7:00 pm, 60 years ago.  I remember it all so well.  

and our best friends
Arlene and her fiance' Dick.

We had a lot of good years------------

...but four years after this happy family scene, if was over.  Such is life.

I have such terrible looking hands--especially my right hand.

Age spots--arthritis bumps, red bruised spots.

They look like my great grandma's did when she was 90!!!  Now I am starting to have worse Carpal Tunnel Syndrome problems.  Both of my thumbs go numb and sometimes I get, not an ache, but such a pain in the back of my hands.  I can pull the skin up over my knuckles and it stays there.  I used to do that with my grandma's hands and think it was so funny.  I don't think it's so funny now!
One day, in mid-August,I was about 14, I was helping my Daddy and the hired men, fill the cement silo with chopped corn.  I was about 2/3 up in the tall structure.  It was a hot day and it was a steam room in that silo.  It was my job to hold the funnel by a rope and walk around and around, keeping the incoming corn level and tamping it down as I walked.

I started getting real dizzy and felt faint.  I decided I had to get out of that silo.  It was a long climb down those rungs to the ground.  I remember shaking my head to clear it and felt like I was just going to stumble and fall down.  All I could see was the house and I had to get to it and lay down.

I heard my Daddy yell, "Hey!  Get back up in there!"  I could feel him pelting me with little stones he had grabbed up from the gravel barn yard.  I couldn't turn and tell him what was wrong.  I had to keep walking.

My mother must have heard him yelling because she came to the back door and opened it up.  Closer and closer I got--my eyes only on my mother until I collapsed and fainted into her arms.

I came too the next morning.  I was naked between two nice cool sheets.  A fan blew cool air across the big metal dish pan, filled with ice.  My grandma was wiping my face with a cool, wet wash cloth.  She had been with me all night as I went in and out of hallucinations.

The country doc had been called and came out and claimed I had a heat stroke.  They had put me into the bath tub with tepid water and gradually added cooler and cooler water and then placed me in my bed.

I was in bed for 3 days.  The thermometer in my mouth every couple of hours to check my body temperature.

Ever since then, being outside in the heat and humidity make me sick.   Once, I was visiting a friend in Florida and decided to mow his lawn.  It was August.  I ended up collapsed on his living room floor with the A/C blowing directly on me.   I shoulda known better!

Now you know why I prefer fall and winter to summer.  I cannot bear the suffocating heat and humidity. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

What's it all about..............?

Flo asked:  7 guys, 9 gals from my graduating class of 36 people, have taken their final journey.

It turned from nice cool days and a night cold enough for the furnace to come on, to sweltering, humid and the first of the A/C running day and night. Thankfully, when it was checked last month, I was told the Freon pressure in the A/C was at maximum pressure, so I am counting on it not to die this summer.  I always wonder what might go wrong with this 20 year old equipment.

I called Pam Saturday morning and her phone was busy.  When I hung up, mine rang and it was her, calling me.  We commented on how "great minds think alike."  She filled me in on what Karen and her hubs are doing on their 3-week jaunt to Alaska.  Karen messages everybody or texts them, but because I don't have a cell phone, I am left out of the loop.  Can't you send an e-mail message from a smart phone?  I think so.

Pam said that (my son) Mark is doing well.  Out walking every day because the doc told him to get some weight off, which Mark replied, "How do you expect to get the weight off when you got me on steroids?"  His cancer is still at bay, so that's all I'm concerned about.

I asked when Karen is coming home and Pam said she thought June 25th.  Then all the siblings are going up to Karen's cottage on June 27th for their get together.

Hm-mm, I thought to myself.  My birthday falls on the 21st.  Apparently there will be no get together for their Mother this month.  If they are going up to the cottage, that means Jennifer will be in town.  I wonder if she will find time to stop over for a 20 minute chat?  

I was always so close to my kids, even after they got married and moved, I never dreamed that it would come to this.  Karen and Jen begged me to move "down here" instead of my hometown, when I had to move from Saginaw.  They wanted me near to help baby-sit and be able to attend all the grand kids functions--which I did and still do when grand daughter Maddie has a ballet performance.  Other than that, I might as well be dead!!

Plus, Jennifer moved and took the four youngest with her.  All four now in school and all their activities--that I could be going to and enjoying.

So--what to do?  It didn't help to tell them I was lonely for them and felt left out.  A temper tantrum also didn't help.  

I don't understand any of it.  Not a week went by that no matter what, I visited my Mother and my Grandma.  Even when I lived a 100 miles round trip away and my Dad was always critical, I still visited him once a month--no matter what.  So I don't understand why, when I have always been supportive of them and kind and loving and financially helpful, they forget who I am and where I live.
Oh well.  Maybe if I had more health issues, they would check-in more often?  But who wants that excuse?  I guess I should be glad they don't worry about me.  But I tell you the truth, and it sometimes scares me, I could lay her dead for a week plus before anyone would notice and that one that might notice, might be Dar.  HAH!!

Or you my blog buddies might wonder why I hadn't posted in a week, but what could you do?

What's it all about and why am I still here?

Friday, June 9, 2017


Lunch with the High School Gal Pals, plus a couple of the boys came also.  So good to see the one "brother" as he has been battling a infection in his femur from a hip replacement or knee replacement or something like that--done last fall!!  He almost died twice--had sepsis and still recovered.  Two years ago, his wife almost died. Nice to see that even at our old age, there is always hope for recovery.  This July 22, their five daughters, 18 grand children and 11 great grand children will all be together for their 60th wedding anniversary.  

I can personally tell you, 50 years ago, there wasn't one person in our social/married group would have given them a chance.  He was an alcoholic and abusive to her, but that all changed and here they are today, very much in love and in like.  Happy endings are always the best.  Eh?

Not all the gals there, Sandy out with bad feet problems.  June having cataract surgery today.  Liz probably got lost and Sally's daughter at the Big Important Cancer Hospital with a brain tumor and important tests done today and Ruth Ann's out of state sister, home for a visit.

Marlene, Nancy V. and Nancy J. Beth and me.  It was a nice close group so we could all chat.

I said, "60 years.  Can you believe it?"

To which Marlene replied.  "60 years what?"

"Since we graduated.  Tuesday was June 6th.  In 1957, it was on a Thursday and we graduated."

"Oh.  Did we graduate on a Thursday?"

"Yes. Baccalaureate was Sunday and the next Thursday evening was graduation."

"How do you remember all that stuff, Judy?"

"How can you not remember?  You were married just nine days later."

60 years for them too.  

Would have been 60 years for Gary and I on the 14th, but not so happy ending there.

Because of where we gathered, I didn't get out to The Farm.  We were East 20 miles and it wouldn't have been prudent for me to travel out there and then have to come back east, 10+ miles to come home.  Besides that, something was going on with my eyes today and I barely could drive as much as I did.  It was a pleasant day though.  The sun was out and it was in the low 70's.  A few of us got their famous Olive Burger.  I never saw so many Olives piled on top of a burger in my life--with tomato, lettuce and a slice of onion.  I was able to eat half and some good Onion rings.  The rest was my supper.

I no more and got home and sister Susan called me.  They were at Lowe's just up the road so they came for a visit.  That was pretty darn nice.  Saved me an extra drive on up to The Farm to visit next week.  She and Chuck and I sat out on the porch and chatted for a little while.  It was so nice.

I wish the gals would just have our lunch in Durand, like we usually do.  It is centrally located for most of them, a bit farther for me to drive, (not as far as today) and that way, Bethie can stop at the cemetery to water the flowers and on the way home, I can stop at The Farm and the other cemetery.  Without having either of us have to drive out of our way.  

I mean, the food is practically the same every where we go, so............................why not go to the easiest place to get to?  I noticed today that we parted without planning where next month's lunch would be.  Or maybe I missed that info because I was in the bathroom?

Anyway, it was a pleasant day all around.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I can remember about high school because..........

High School was wonderful.  I loved every second of it.  I lived 5 miles out in the country.  No kids my age around.  All my friends and all the fun was at my school.  I found out, early on, I think around 6th grade, one day I said something wry and a bit sarcastic and everyone in the room, including the teacher, laughed.  AHA!  I was on a roll for the rest of time.

Daddy wasn't in school to ridicule and criticize.  Nobody at school criticized.

I wasn't a nerd, just an average student.  I wasn't much of an athlete, but I was nice to everyone, I was the "kidder".  Really quite shy and  not too much self esteem, taller than anyone, including most of the boys, gangly, kind of awkward--I found being the happy-go-lucky kidder was my niche.  The kids laughed with me instead of at me.

AND...there was music!  Band and chorus, where I really excelled, the only classes I ever got A's in.  Back then, it was a big deal to be a band member--as big a deal as being one of the football, basketball, baseball stars.

That's probably why I remember those years so well.  I really feel they were the best years of my life!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Feeling nostalgic....and a bit sad.

Today is the anniversary of D-Day.  Storming the beaches at Normandy.  Taking control of the European front in WWII.

I realized when I woke up this morning, that today is another anniversary.  A more memorable one for me.....and a few of my classmates that are still here.

June 6, 1957 was on a Thursday and graduation day for us.

 60 years ago today.  60?  

It doesn’t seem possible. 36 in our graduating class, most of us started Kindergarten together.  Born as WWII was starting, we’d seen it all.  Ration books, savings bonds.  The Atom Bomb, the Hydrogen Bomb, the dang Commie threat.  None of us had any fear though, we lived in or around a town of 543 people.  Who would want to bother wasting a bomb on us?  Carefree lives. 

TV had been invented a few years earlier, some of us had one in our living room—17” screen, if you were rich enough to get one that large.  $100.00—my gosh!!  We had telephones in our home—used for really important or emergency calls mostly—9 people on the party line, each person having a special ring.  ME4-5551. 

Riding our bikes all over.  Hitch-hiking into town.  The “townies” playing outside way after dark.  No problem.

Sunday School and Church every Sunday, the Youth Group Sunday evening.  The Baptist Church up on the hill, our Methodist Church at the bottom, across from our school.  My Baptist friends saying you could always tell which was the better church.  The one up on the hill.  Their next question, "Are you saved?"  My sarcastic remark, "Saved from what?"   Yet, on field trips and band trips--those Baptists were the ones in the back seats of the bus, necking up a storm, while us sinful Methodists played Euchre, up in front.

In high school, band was most important to me—band and chorus.  More important than anything, other than English and History, and they weren't all that important. 

Those who took the Commerical courses, graduated with a higher GPA than those of us who took required College prep.  Algebra, Chemistry, Geometry, Physics, just about killed me.  We all had to take Civics class to graduate.  We had to memorize and say the Preamble to the Constitution, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union," ……………..we knew the workings of the government, we still do.  

Senior Trip to Washington, D.C. to see it in action.  Visited Arlington Cemetery.  Strong patriotic souls we were, still are.  I graduated 16th in my class.

Our first stop on our Senior Trip--Somerset, PA.
                         May of 1957--Sally, Arlene, Emma,                     Me, Bethie--Judy B. took the photo.

Me, Judy B. Sally, Arlene

The six of us--friends from the beginning.  3 of us gone, Beth, Sally and I still get to see each other at our classmates monthly luncheon.  
                                  Arlene, Beth, Emma
                             Judy B. Me, Sally

Many of us married those first few months after graduation.  By the time we were “legal” (21), we had a couple of kids and more to come.  The husband worked, the wife stayed home, kept the house clean, supper on the table and raised the kids.  That’s the way it was back then—the best years of my life.

Our kids going to the same school—their photos right there beside ours and our parents.  3-4 generations at the same school.  Life in small town-rural America.  The best of times.  We didn’t march in protest, we were too busy and much too conservative.

60 years!!  Many good and best friends gone.  We that linger are confused.  Not by age, but by the world we now live in.  How it has changed in the last half of those 60 years, even more so in the  last decade.

How lucky we were.  Kids nowadays don't understand how it was possible to not only know everyone in our class, but to know everyone in the entire high school and a lot in the grades below us.  City kids in big schools missed out on the feeling of "family".  We were like brothers and sisters, some of us knowing each other way before we started Kindergarten.  

That's what makes me so sad.  Many of my brother's and sister's are gone.  My very best "brother" , now with pancreatic cancer, is making ready for his final journey.  I know where he's going.  He knows where he's going.  We will see each other again.

That makes me wonder, why am I still here?  My lifestyle not any healthier than theirs.  My life not any worthier than theirs.  In fact, most did better with their lives than I have.  Why?

Well, none of us are afraid.  We have seen it all.  It is as it is, it will be as it will be.  We smile when we look back and remember our youth.  The 1950’s were the best.  We all have the pride in our Country we had back then.  We know it will never be as good as it was back then, but we all have faith that it might get better.  

Those of us, in the last decade of our lives.

Silly optimists that we are.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Look-Back ponderings of a woman approaching a birthday.......

If you live long enough, you will experience more hurt and pain than you ever could imagine.  Unless, of course, you are one of the lucky ones that married well, have enough money so you don't have to worry, never been abused, never lost it all.

I know of a few people like that.  Fortunate.  They wouldn't understand the other 50%'s story.  They couldn't fathom it.

I'm in the other 50%, or is it 60?  80%?

I was born into a wonderful family, at a perfect time.  The first girl baby in three generations!  Now, don't you think I was the best gift they ever got?  Yes--I was!  My great grandparents, who had two sons, lived just down the road a 1/8th mile away.  One son never married, the other--my grandparents, who had one son, lived 1/2 mile away.  I was loved by all.  My Mother thought I was just the cutest thing ever invented, my grandma, widowed at an early age, thought I was her gift from God.  My great grandma, thought I was a charming, well mannered child.  My great grandpa and grandpa, smiled every time they looked at my pretty blond ringlets and sunny disposition.  I was such a lucky girl.

Somewhere along the way, I came to realize that my Daddy, didn't think I was all that marvelous.  He had done his "duty" and had the child--the girl child that everyone in the family wanted.  He sure didn't want anymore, which became more and more apparent as the years went by and no new babies arrived.

I learned many years later, from an Aunt, that he was jealous of the time I took my mother's attention away from him.  He, an only child, raised by over-loving parents, called "The Little Prince", by his Aunts, adored by my mother, was shocked when their attention settled on his little daughter.

Not that he was abusive all the time, but I was whipped for reasons I didn't understand, and told I was a "fool" and "stupid".  That does something to a young child.  Still, I look back and think I had an idyllic childhood.

But.............I wonder.  I know how important it is for a girl to have a loving and supportive relationship with her Dad.  She is less likely to settle for a man who treats her less lovingly than her Dad.  Her Daddy is her example on how any man in her life should relate to her.

Of course, now as I approach seventy-eight years of completed life--this kind of pondering comes to my mind.

I found a sure fire way to get away from my Daddy's physical and emotional abuse.  I purposefully got pregnant--the first time we had sex, a month before I graduated.  I say purposefully, well, I knew what time it was in my cycle, and he had been begging for a year, so----------let's just see what happens.  I married the boy I had dated for three years in high school, just one week after I graduated.  As a joke, on my wedding day, my Daddy said, "Beat her thrice a day and you should have no problems."  Hah--too funny.

This solved all my problems.  I didn't have to go to college, which at the time scared me.  I didn't have to stay at home.  I had my own home, a husband that was handsome and hard working and honest and a baby on the way.  Life was perfect.

Until it wasn't.

I got nothing in the divorce, except a big house I couldn't afford.  He walked away with his $80,000 a year salary, his pension (that I had to sign off to keep the house that had been in my family for 60 years).

Then a second marriage, because he was so sweet to me, thought I hung the moon.  Because my youngest was going off to college, I couldn't afford the big house and I was lonely.  I thought I was his 2nd wife, I was his 4th and he is on #7 now.

His abuse started the day we were married.  Now--I was too open minded.  Too stupid.  I couldn't do anything right, except keep my job and support him, because two weeks after we married, he quit his.  He tried to kill me twice in those horrible three years.  He beat me regularly.  It was my fault!  If I just didn't do things to make him so mad!  Kind of like the way my Daddy felt about me.

So, another divorce.  Now I had really lost everything.  No home.  Only my job, that paid hardly anything, not even enough to pay rent on an apartment.  I moved in with an  old friend.  He was a wonderful man, he loved me, but, as he affirmed from time to time, he wasn't "in" love with me.  So, I settled.  I had always settled.  I was in love with him, had been years ago.  It was fine.

Then I lost my job, but found another one in the city I lived in, for half what I had been making.  I had to stay where I was--there was no where else I could go.

Twelve years of goodness.  At least I wasn't getting beat.  We traveled.  We had fun.  Then....an old girlfriend of his, divorced and came back to town and notified him she was back.  He decided he wanted to sell his house and move to Alabama.  I was told I would have to find a place to live.

Then, I lost my job there.  Thankfully, only six months away from the time I could collect Social Security.

He did help me.  He "lent" me the money to buy this place.  My lawyer daughter said he should have "given" me the money as a settlement, for twelve years of cooking, cleaning, doing his laundry, mowing his lawn, painting and wall papering the interior of his cottage, and sharing his bed.

It was 3 months later that I found out he didn't sell his house or move--he just wanted me out of the picture to pursue his old love, who treated him like he was nothing to her.  Oh well, we won't go there.  He and I remained good friends until he died.

A month after I moved in here I met a guy.  I had to have a "guy".  Someone who would help me, be kind to me.  Someone to share things with, laugh and have fun.  He never treated me badly, physically, but it was a strange life style he lived.  He had always worked 3rd shift, and after he retired, he didn't change his hours.  He'd go to bed around 4:00 am and get up at 2:00 pm.  From 2:00 until 11:00 he sat at his computer.  I spent weekends at his house, either sitting behind him crocheting, or cleaning his house, mowing his lawn.  The weekends he had his daughter, I'd spend them entertaining her, because she got up early and he slept until 2:00pm.  

I did everything I could for him--to make him happy--just like every man I had known.  If I could get them to love me and think I was worth-while, that would prove my Daddy was wrong about me.  All I ever did, was prove my Daddy right.  I wasn't worth-while or loveable to any of them.

Two years later, that relationship was over.  


Over the next few months, with talk therapy and a lot of pondering on my part, I started to feel confident, for the first time in my life.  I didn't need a man!  I was perfectly smart and capable of handling anything on my own.  I started also realizing then, something I had always known, but never really KNEW--that God had a part in keeping me going all those years.  I could look back and remember coincidences when something always came through to save me.  There was no real explanation for the "saving moments", other than God sending me help.

I really "got it" for the first time in my life.  I knew right from wrong and I knew that many times, instead of "listening" to my conscience, I had just gone ahead and did something that didn't quite feel right--just to take care of a fear or anxiety I had, at that moment.  A need for financial security.  A need to stop the loneliness.

Certainly God could have stopped me from all my mistakes, but He doesn't work that way.  He has given us free choice and will present us with tests.  I failed a lot of those tests, but God stayed right there, saving me and waiting for me to sit still and wait and ponder on what would be right.

I must have gotten it, because that is when He sent Fred into my life.  There is no human way Fred and I would have met--no way.  Oh you could say it was Fate, or the stars were aligned in just the right way, or it was Karma, but after a month of talking via e-mail and several long phone calls and then an 8 hour first date, although neither one of us said it, later on we both told of how we knew, at the end of that first date, that God had brought us together.

He had gone through many hurts.  Two divorces.  An affair.  Years of too much drinking.  Two of his children not wanting anything to do with him.  Dating too many women.  Then he lost it all, through a business failure.  He decided to give it all up and go back to his Christian up-bringing and started to become involved in his church and praying hard and long before any major decision.

We used to laugh--picturing God shaking His head as he watched us lead our separate lives and then the one day, when He saw us both, finally able to stand on our own, smiling and saying in His booming voice, "It's about time!  I think you finally got it.  I think you two are perfect for each other."

.....and we were.  

Fred poured out his love on me and I on him.  My Daddy thought he was the most wonderful guy he had ever met, and was finally proud of me.  There was a conversation Fred told me, my Daddy, in his joking(?) way said, "Well you gotta cuff her up every now and then, let her know who's boss."  Fred replied, very seriously, "Oh...I would never hurt Judy.  She is the kindest, most loving and wonderful woman I have ever known!  And smart?  Oh my gosh, she is the smartest person I have ever known, man or woman!"  Fred's mother said to him, "I think you finally found a good one."  

Life has been good ever since.  

I have forgiven and asked God to forgive the people that have hurt me along the way.  I mean true forgiveness--the kind where you forgive and forget!  I had to do it so that all those past memories and nightmares would quit torturing me.  The Devil loves to keep those kinds of things coming back into your mind, as if they had just happened and you have a panic attack or can't sleep for all the remembrance's.

Yeah, Fred died.  God didn't take his life.  Fred's choices in life style from 20-60 years old, took his life.  When he changed that life style, he was given another 10 years.  His kids came back into his life. and we got to really enjoy, seven of those last years.  I am so grateful, that I've never been sad......that we only had a short time together.  Thank God we had them because, those years changed us both, for the better.

I don't know why I'm still here.  I think maybe I have finally found my "gift" and maybe, in some way, the family histories I do for people, helps them in some way?  I am devoted now to making everyone I meet happier.  Clerks at the store.  Customer service reps on the phone.  Everyone I meet is greeted with my great big smile and a kind manner and good word.  

Another gift God gave me--at an early age, which probably made me more susceptible to "go along to get along", but the best gift I have.   I am slow to anger.  I give everyone as many chances as they need, until I just can't give anymore.  I've always been a smiley, happy person, no matter what.  

Now I don't worry and fret, I refuse to allow myself to get anxious.  I am no longer afraid of storms--which have been a torment all my life.  I'm not really afraid of anything.    

Just like 50% of people wouldn't know what it's like to suffer abuse, pain and lose it all.  50% won't understand how I can forgive AND forget.  50% will never have that happy reassurance that know, as I now know, that I know, for sure---God will take care of me.

No!  I am not a Pollyanna!  I know hard times will come.  Illness, physical pain.  Death.  Whatever will be, will be, and I'll be just fine, no matter what. I guess that's not to bad a way to live.  Eh? 

Still........I wonder.  I wonder how differently my life would have been if my Daddy had adored and loved me.  My young adult choices would have been soooo much different.