Popular Posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Entry 139: 1978 or 1979 Our Swimming Pool

How exciting.  I don’t know if I was more excited or the kids to be getting a pool.  The kids were all good swimmers.  We had a pool put in our back yard.  I remember it took about six weeks but the company only worked on it twelve days.  I kept count on a calendar.  I guess each step had cement that needed to cure or something. 
During this time we kept Mickie in the house or locked in a yard away from the pool. When the guys were working on the pool Mickie would bark and lunge at the fence separating the yards.
 Larry had put an electric wire across the top of the fence to keep Mickie in.  He was able to climb and get out before the electric wire.  One of the construction workers asked Larry why the electric wire was on the top of the fence.  Larry never missed an opportunity to pull someone’s leg so he told him we had a ferocious dog that could get out and attack them if it weren’t fore the wire.
The next time the workers came Mickie was in our new bedroom.  It was on the second story with a balcony overlooking the backyard.  Mickie barked and barked at the workers.  We could see from the kitchen window they kept one eye on their work and one eye on our bedroom window.  Mickie’s reputation as “A killer dog” continued to grow and spread through the workers.  

When the fellow from the county came to do his final inspection it was obvious the pool company had warned him about our ferocious dog!  He pulled his pick up close to the pole where the papers were he needed to sign.  He got out of his pickup, walked in a sideways gate to the pole, took the tablet off the hook, signed the paper, and got back into his pickup.  He had his eyes constantly on the gate to the fence with the electric wire across the top.  Mickie was showing off his usual bark routine.  That fellow had his door shut and was on his way down our driveway within minutes.  I don’t think he ever even glanced at the pool or any of its components.  Larry and I had watched this from the kitchen window.  We both had tears in our eyes from laughter.
As soon as the pool was full years of fun swimming began.  Heidi and Robin wore out dozens of socks the skin off their toes because of the roughness of the new plaster in the pool.  Their little toes stung and left spots of blood all over the cement around the pool. 
It was really sad.  As long as they stayed in the pool they were so busy and having so much fun they didn’t feel their toes but as soon as they’d get out of the water their toes would begin to sting.  As soon as they started to sting the girls would jump back in…..this went on for weeks.  Adams toes got sore too but he was too short to touch the bottom so he didn’t do a lot of pushing off the bottom and sides like the girls.

They would wear the socks until the bottoms were gone, then they’d wear them upside down.  They’d wear their own socks, they’d wear each other’s sock, they even wore my old socks.  Any comfort was welcome and any sock would do.  I guess their toes finally toughed up.  We must have gone thru a hundred pairs of socks the first couple years we had the pool.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Entry 138: 1978-1979 Mickie Joins Our Family

          While I was standing in line at the bank one morning I heard the teller talking about her dog.  She had a German Shepherd needing a home.  He was two years old.  He had attended but failed a Police Dog Training Course.  If I remember correctly he had failed the course because he would not listen well to commands bringing him off an attack.
          When my turn came at the teller’s window I asked about her dog.  He sounded like a good match for our family.  I told Larry about the dog as soon as we got home and that afternoon we went to meet him.   When we knocked on the door we heard a big dog begin to bark inside.  When the couple opened the door and introduced us to Mickie he stopped barking and began to be friendly to us.  We stayed just a few minutes.  We loved him from our first sight of him.  He was full grown, probably about sixty to seventy pounds, and beautifully marked.  The three of us got in the pickup and started for home.  Mickie never barked at us again.  It was as if the ride home turned him into our dog and he knew it.
          The following Wednesday night Larry took Heidi and Robin to the Awana program at church while Adam and I stayed home.  At that time we were putting a pool in our back yard and the back portion of our fence had been removed.  Mickie came to us housebroken and a wonderful companion.  Even though Adam was only three years old they were already buddies.  Adam was playing with some toys on the floor while I enjoyed a TV program.  Mickie was lying on the floor next to Adam. 
          Suddenly Mickie began to growl a slow quiet growl.  He’d never growled before and we’d only had him for a few days so I picked Adam up and put him next to me not sure what Mickie was going to do.  Mickie got up and quickly trotted thru the kitchen to the back door.  I followed.  Mickie stood up against the door.  Standing on his back legs like he was he was nearly as tall as me.  He started barking louder at that point.
 As I gently put my hand on his collar guiding him back to the floor he went crazy.  He started lunging at the door, barking very loud, and growling at the same time.  He was trying to see out of the kitchen window.  It was then I heard voices outside. 
There were two male voices speaking.  The first one said, “Oh crap, someone is home and there is a dog.”  The second voice said, “Let’s get out of here.”  I could hear them stumbling over lawn furniture and fence planks.  They kept yelling at one another as they ran.  I was tempted to open the door and let Mickie chase them but didn’t.  I was afraid since he’d only been with us for a few days he might get disoriented and we’d lose him.
Mickie had saved me, Adam, and our home.  We had Mickie for many years but he had earned his keep in just his first few days with us.
  Soon we were used to the sound of the tags on his collar jingling as he made his many trips up and down the stairs during the nights keeping watch over his house and his family.  We rested in our beds assured he was indeed watching over us.  He had a routine.  About four times a night he would go down the stairs checking all the doors then return upstairs to check each one of the kids.  He usually slept at the top of the stairs so he could hear both upstairs and downstairs sounds.  
Mickie loved to play in the sprinklers in the orchards.  We’d take him out walking where the sprinklers were running.  He would attack them.  He would bark and put his mouth on the sprinkler until his belly was so full he needed to stop to vomit out the water.  Then…back he’d go for more play.  He would continue this as long as we’d let him.  We stayed a little too long one time.  When we got back to the yard he laid still for the rest of the day.  I think he was near passing out!
Mickie helped hide Easter eggs and later helped find them by robbing Easter baskets in the middle of the night.  He slept with all the kids at different times.
When the pool was finished and the kids were a little older Mickie would run around and around the pool while they swam.  He would bark and bite at the kids.  He would not take his eyes off of them.  It didn’t take us long to figure out he was trying to get them out of the pool.  Once they got out he knew they were safe and he’d quit barking.  As soon as they starting getting back in and splashing he’d start his ritual again.  Sometimes he was so insistent we had to leave him in the house or the side yard just so he’d be quiet.
Mickie hated thunder.  We don’t get many thunderstorms but once in a great while we do.  It didn’t matter if we were outside or in the house Mickie would bark and jump straight up as if to attack the sky when he’d hear it thunder.
Mickie would ride in Larry’s pick up or follow it through the fields as he worked.  One day Larry could not find Mickie.  We called and called for him.  Larry was sure he’d seen him a couple hours earlier on Lombardy Road so he got in the pick up and went looking for him.  He found Mickie stuck in the canal.  At that time the sides of the canal had been paved with cement.  The canal was just about half full. 

On hot days we’d often stop at the canal letting Mickie jump in for a dip to cool off.  He’d get in to swim for a minute, get out, and shake water all over us before jumping into the pickup again.  This time he’d jumped in the canal but the water was down too far for him to get a grasp of the top. He could stand up but he could not get out.
  He had been struggling time and again to get out but his own wet weight had kept pulling him back into the water.  Three of his feet were bleeding where the nails were gone and the pads had begun wearing away.  We could see blood smeared on the side of the canal where Mickie had struggled.  Larry lifted Mickie into the pick up and brought him home where we all rushed to his aid.  He was the perfect dog for us.  We all loved him.  Years later when we lost Mickie of old age it affected each member of our family.

I love that when I wrote this story I spelled Mickie as Mickey.  Adam sent me a message correcting me.  I’m so glad to know that my kids remember a lot of these stories too.  He sent me a picture of Mickie’s ID tags which he has kept all these years to prove the spelling.  What a great surprise to see those old tags!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Entry 137: 1979 Snapping Beans

         I remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen.  Even though she lived in town she still longed to have a garden.  They had a very small yard but the back had a wire fence.  One time grandpa planted green beans next to the fence so they could climb it.  
My friend Katie and my cousin Ellen and I were playing at grandma’s house one warm summer afternoon.  Grandma asked us to sit around the big table on her back porch.  On the table were two huge bowls.  One bowl was full of long green beans.  The other bowl was empty.
Grandma said it was time for us to “snap the crop.”  She taught us to measure the green beans against our thumbs and snap them into pieces.  If I close my eyes I can still see her holding Katie’s hands, then Ellen’s, and then mine.  How gently she snapped those beans as if they were precious.  I remember her saying, “You snap them across the vein or they will just bend.  If you do it just right you will hear the bean snap!”  Grandma was smart like that.  I suppose all grandmas are.  
We girls were pretty smart too.  We’d been outside playing earlier and seen the short droopy little bean plants climbing on the fence.  The beans we were snapping were huge.  There was no way they’d grown in the backyard.
Grandma had gone into the other room with grandpa for a few minutes.  Ellen went to the kitchen for some water.  She motioned for us to follow.  She pointed to the counter top.  There sat a big brown grocery bag from the “Better Way” market containing still more green beans.
The mystery of how those huge beans could grow on such puny plants was solved.  They hadn’t!  We didn’t let on we knew the secret.  We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing, having fun, and snapping those beans!
I was at the grocery store earlier this particular morning.  While going down the vegetable isle Adam spotted the green beans!  I tried to encourage the kids to try new things so when he wanted to get some I did.  
         When we got home I put the three kids and a big bowl of green beans in the back yard.  They had fun.  I told them to snap them across the vein or they’d just bend.  I told them if they did it right they would hear a “snap!”  

I went inside.  Through the kitchen I could hear the kids laughing.  Once in a while one of them would yell out, “I heard that.  That one snapped.  Did you hear it?”
  I remember my eyes smarting as I listened to them.  It didn’t seem so long ago I had been sitting on that old porch doing the same thing with my grandma.  Now I was doing it with my kids.  I felt as if grandma was right there beside me.  Heidi, Robin, and Adam did a great job.  They were proud of their success.   
Those green beans may not have totally disappeared  from their plates at the dinner table that night but I know everyone at least tasted them while they told their dad how they’d help prepare them.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Entry 136: 1979 Easter Bunny Silhouettes

        We were living in the original part of our home on Harding Rd.  It had two bedrooms.  Larry and I had one of the bedrooms with Adam while Heidi and Robin shared the other.  The night before Easter after the girls were sleeping we hid candy eggs and goodies in the living room and kitchen.  The girls shared a double bed.  On the foot end of their bed we placed two Easter Bunnies.  They were each about 18 inches tall. 
          We went to bed eager to hear delighted giggles and laughter in the morning but instead heard ear piercing screams.  One of the girls had awakened to see the silhouettes of the rabbits and not realizing what they were woke her sister screaming.  Of course then they both were screaming.  We had two little shaking, scared, tearful daughters.  They were huddled up on the head end of the bed as far from those bunnies as they could get. 
When Larry turned on the light the screaming slowly stopped and eventually turned into smiles and laughter.  A few minutes later they each had a bunny tucked safely under one arm while holding their baskets with the other hand searching high and low for Easter treats. 
Larry had the kids come to him one at a time.  He put their head under his arm in a headlock, and pretending to be rough, pulled and tugged at one an ear until a Cadbury egg would magically appear.  The kids would scream with delight and line up time after time to get another egg.
Heidi and Robin had a feast on jelly beans and Cadbury eggs.  When Robin got to the middle of her Cadbury egg she showed it to Adam.  Adam wasn’t interested.  I think it looked too much like real egg yoke to him.  He did give in after a little prompting, tasted the candy egg, and was hooked!  

The girls decided to take their bunnies to church.  Adam hid his for some reason but it had found its way to his bed when I tucked him in that evening.

We had a wonderful day.  That evening while we were relaxing I noticed the drawer next to Larry’s chair was ajar.  I don’t know what to say except that silly Easter Rabbit had hidden about six of those delicious Cadbury eggs in Larry’s drawer right where he could reach from his favorite seat.  I thought it was funny though that only two of the six had candy in them.  The other four were just empty wrappers…silly rabbit!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Entry 135: 1979 The Christmas Mouse

         Unfortunately part of living in the country, in the middle of an almond orchard, means an occasional mouse makes his way into the house.  One of our kids’ favorite books at Christmas time was the “Christmas Mouse.”
It became tradition in our family to set off all mouse traps on Christmas Eve.  I can still see all the kids little faces racked with fear as we’d tease, “This is the year we are going to catch the “Christmas Mouse” in a trap.”
           This statement was always met with the same resistance and tears.  “But mommy, you wouldn’t catch the Christmas Mouse, you would kill it!  We just can’t kill him mommy, we just can’t!”  
         Our kids knew where all the traps were and were delighted when evening came and Larry announced it was time to set off the traps.  We always made sure there was a trap for each child to set off.  Everyone felt they had personally saved the mouse!  

          The funny part of this story is the kids would hand me the cheese and never blink an eye the morning after Christmas when we reset the traps!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book entry 134: 1979 Surgery

          I checked into the hospital about three in the afternoon.  My surgery was scheduled for eight the following morning.  I was nervous.  I’d delivered babies but never had surgery before.  I didn’t know what to expect.
I remember lying on the operating table waiting for the doctor to enter the room to do my surgery.  Four nurses were with me.  We were all chatting as they prepared me and the table of instruments for the surgery. There were workmen on the roof of the hospital.  A new coat of tar was being added.
  Something the workers on the roof were doing was making a lot of noise.  It was so loud it was disturbing the nurses.  One of the nurses even commented to another the noise was distracting and questioned if maybe they didn’t know it was right over an operating room. 
I was looking at the ceiling and visiting with the nurses when I noticed a small crack in the ceiling.  As they continued complaining about the noise I thought I saw the crack grow!  I had been given a shot to relax me and for a moment thought I might be imagining it.  Then there was another loud sound and the crack turned from a straight line into a larger crooked line. 
I’ve always believed we have guardian angels.  I’ve seen proof of angels several times in my life; I’d even seen proof of angels a couple times in my kid’s lives.  And then the one time, while having our twins, I saw their angel.
 I chuckled to myself while I watched the crack continue to grow.  I remember thinking this would be a good chance for my guardian angle to help me since I was strapped down and could not move or defend myself.  I figured since I had seen an angel in the hospital before maybe I would see one again.  This time it would be mine!
One of the nurses noticed a concerned look on my face while looking at the ceiling.  Just as she followed my gaze to the ceiling a huge hole opened up and a chunk of ceiling about two foot square dropped down to the floor.  Three of the nurses jumped away from my bed.  The fourth nurse threw herself across my midriff to protect me as several of the smaller pieced hit me legs and tummy directly.  I had my hands tied at the time making me completely helpless so I was extremely thankful for the faithful nurse.
When the rush of dust cleared I looked to the ceiling to find a worker’s leg and work boot hanging down into the operating room.  I kept looking.  In a few seconds I could see the workers’ face looking at me with the same surprised look I had on my face.  He had on a hard hat, big thick gloves, and a look of shock!  The poor guy was going about his business when all of the sudden what he was working on caved in and there I was. 

The nurse started brushing the debris away from my arms and legs.  When I started to laugh she questioned me.  “Why in the world are you laughing?” she asked.  I laughed even harder and explained, “All my life I’ve wanted to see my guardian angel, I just wasn’t expecting him to show up in work boots and a hard hat!” 
The other nurses came back and helped clean me up.  I was taken into the adjoining operating room where the surgeon proceeded with the operation.
When I got back to my room and started regaining my sense, I told Larry the ceiling had collapsed on me before the surgery had started.  He reassured me it had not happened and I was imagining it.  I insisted.  When the nurse came in to check on me he questioned her and she verified my story!
Larry had been nervous about this surgery too.  When I looked around the room I saw a beautiful bouquet of red roses.  In all our years together and all the flowers he’s given me I only remember once it wasn’t roses.  Better yet; of all the roses he’s given me only one time they were not red.
Our pastor at the time was Pastor Reynolds.  He came in to visit that evening when my surgeon, Dr. Reynolds was checking on me.  I was still a little groggy from the medication of the surgery.  I remember saying, “Dr. Reynolds meet Pastor Reynolds and Pastor Reynolds this is Dr. Reynolds.  I’m sure glad you guys both have the same name or I couldn’t have introduced you!”
When Larry asked me if I was in pain I remember telling him I felt as if I’d been cut in half.  When the nurse came in to change the pad on my incision I could see I had been!  The incision extended from under my left breast to my right hip!  I was in the hospital for seven days.  
For the next five days I had Jell-O for meals three times a day and for snacks another three times a day.  I had Jell-O for thirty meals in a row.  On the morning of the sixth day when the nurse came in with another bowl of Jell-O I refused to eat it.  I told her I’d like toast or anything but Jell-O.  
I was given toast for my breakfast and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  I was so excited to have real food.  About an hour after my turkey feast I had the worst stomach ache, gas, in the history of the world!  I guess all that Jell-O was a good idea after all.
What a relief it was to get home after that week in the hospital.  The kids had loved the little gift hunt every day and Larry had kept them busy.  The whole house was clean when I walked through it to get to the bedroom.  The kids came in to see me one at a time.  They were not allowed on the bed.  
I remained in bed most of the time for another few days.  As my strength returned I was able to get up and stay up longer each day.  I am so glad gall bladder surgery has changed over the years.  Instead of a week in the hospital now it is an out-patient surgery.  
Heidi said, “I’m sure glad your home mommy.  Daddy made us work real hard.  I hope you like the house because we had to clean everything.  I put a trash can right there by your bed.  Be sure if you have any trash you put it in the can and not on the floor!”
I loved the story I had to tell of the workman coming through the ceiling.  I was sorry I didn’t get to see my guardian angel but when I looked at my kids I figured I had three little angels of a different sort living right in the house with me.  
I am a patient woman.  I will see my guardian angel soon enough!  When I think of all the trouble he has kept me out of and all the hard times he’s protected me; I think he just might be wearing a hard hat and boots!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Entry 133: 1979 Getting Ready for Surgery

            I was at Robin and Heidi’s school  program.  I began to have a tummy ache before the program started.  During the program my stomach continued to become more and more painful.  When the program was over instead of going with Robin and Heidi to the refreshment room I asked the girls to get their treats and come to the car.
          We went straight home.  As soon as the three kids were in bed I also went to bed.  During the night I asked Larry to take me to the hospital knowing something was definitely wrong inside me.  The doctor in the emergency room told me to go home and take an antacid. 
I waited for morning to come as the pain got progressively worse.  I was at my doctor’s office when it opened to get checked out.  As I lay on my back the doctor asked me to breathe in and out while he held his hand on my tummy.  He said I had an enlarged gall bladder.
 My next stop was at the surgeon’s office.  The surgeon ordered tests to be done to see my gall bladder in detail.  Following the directions perfectly I ate no oils or fried foods the day before the test.  The test consisted of drinking something, waiting a while, and having X-rays taken to see how the drink was traveling through my gall bladder. 
When none of the drink showed up in my gall bladder the technician very rudely told me I would need to retake the test in two days and the next time I should follow the directions!  When I assured the technician I had followed the directions he treated me as if I were a child scolding me to follow them correctly the next time or I’d be coming back for a third test.  I was furious when I left.
Two days later, after taking the girls to school and Adam to Aunt Wanda’s house, I was back for the test again.  Again, none of the drink entered my gall bladder.  This time a kinder more intelligent technician tested me.  He didn’t tell me the results but did say the test was conclusive and the results would be sent immediately to the surgeon. 
When I saw my surgeon, Dr. Reynolds, the following day he explained my gall bladder was 100% blocked.   That is the reason none of the drink ever got into it.  He was furious too when he learned I’d needed to do the test twice.  When Dr. Reynolds asked if my side hurt I assured him it did not and it had not from the first time I saw my doctor the day after the school program.  Dr. Reynolds said he was amazed I was not in pain and because I wasn’t he would schedule the surgery the following week instead of the following day to allow me time to prepare the kids and schedule their care while I was in the hospital.   
Larry and Wanda figured out a schedule for the kids.  I knew I would be five to seven days in the hospital.  I spent one afternoon in town buying twenty-one little gifts.  I bought one gift for each child for each day.  I remember buying Matchbook cars, sticker books, little dolls, new pajamas, and Tootsie Pop suckers as some of the gifts.  I had never been apart from my kids before.  I anticipated being away from my babies would be much worse than having the surgery.

    The morning I was to check in at the hospital I hid the  presents all over the house.  I gave Larry a list of clues for each day I’d be gone to help the kids find their gifts.  I had to think of seven places no one would look or use while I was gone.  I can’t remember all the places but three of them were my closet, the laundry bin in the bathroom, and the washing machine!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Entry 132: 1978 Monkeys

I learned how to make sock monkeys by ordering a bunch of red-heel socks online.  The socks came with instructions.  When they arrived, I did like always, I read the directions and taught myself how to make them.  Two very small socks were included as a gift with my purchase.  I made about twenty monkeys that year including one about 6 inches tall.  
I figured the little monkey would take less time to make but it ended up taking about twice as long.  The tiny legs, arms, and tail were nearly impossible to stuff.  Adam loved that little monkey even before it was finished.  He sat right next to me as I sewed on the last arm and leg.  When it was finished I handed it to Adam.  
Adam had been having trouble getting a couple of his teeth.  That monkey went straight into his mouth.  He started making a silly little sound like he was purring.  The little monkey was Adam’s best friend for a long time.
When I was writing this book Adam sent me this photo.  It made me happy he still had the little monkey.  He had put it in a safe place with a little doll I had given him when he was a baby.  In 1968 Larry had bought me the doll to show me the size of the baby I was pregnant with at the time.  A flood of memories came rushing into my heart when I saw this photo.  Memories are such a wonderful gift!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Entry 131: 1979 The Man in the Moon

       I always checked on my kids before going to bed myself.  One particular night when I entered Robin’s room she was opening her curtains and staring into the night sky.  When I asked what she was doing she told me she was opening the curtains so Jesus could watch her sleep. 
I asked what she meant.  She told me sometimes His window was open bigger than other times and she could see Him watching her.  I went to the window to see what she was talking about and she proudly pointed at the glowing full moon.  “See?” she said, “Tonight you can see His face.” 
I loved what she said so much I didn’t correct her.  I wasn’t sure if she was kidding or if she really thought the “man in the moon” was Jesus watching her.  A few nights before we had been sitting in the dark backyard talking about the stars and the “man in the moon.”  We also talked about how Jesus is always watching us and taking care of us.  Somehow she had put the two facts together as one. 
Several times after that when I’d notice her curtains open I would ask, “Is He watching tonight?”  She would answer with a nod or she would just giggle.  I love the innocence of children.  How comforting it must have been for her to think she could look out the window and see Him watching over her.  I could not; I would not take that thought from her.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Entry 130: 1979 The "Newspaper Sneak"

Adam was always busy.  His sisters kept him busy when they were home.  Larry and I kept him busy when the girls were gone.  
Adam learned to vacuum, bake cookies, and clean up after the dogs when he was very young.  The jobs I gave Adam weren’t much fun compared to what he got to do when he went out in the shop with Larry.
When he spent time with Larry he learned about tools and cars.  He learned how to unscrew bolts and clean grease off parts.  Being in the shop was a lot more fun that being in the house!
Occasionally when Larry would give Adam a little job to do Adam would say, “I can’t.”  Larry would gently reply by saying, “There is no such word as can’t.  You just need to try.”  Adam would stiffen up, and pull his jeans up at the waste, and try.  The harder he tried to prove his dad was wrong the more he proved he was right.  
Adam developed a very good trait.  He soon believed there was nothing he couldn’t do.  And… if he couldn’t do it alone he could do it with his dad’s help.
I remember one evening I called the family to dinner.  Everyone came but Adam.  Larry and I took a quick look in all the hiding places but couldn’t find him.  Larry saw something moving in the front yard from the dining room window.  It was Adam.
The evening paper had arrived and was lying out next to the road.  Adam knew he wasn’t supposed to be in the front yard alone and he knew he certainly was not to go close to the road.  Larry called me to the window where we watched to see what Adam was going to do.
Adam took several steps toward the paper then stopped with a jerk to look up and down the street.  He waited a couple of seconds before he took a few more steps and made another close inspection of the road.  It looked like he was sneaking up on the paper.  When he was just a few feet from the paper he darted to it, stooped to pick it up, turned back toward the house and ran full speed to the back gate.
We heard the back door open, we heard his little boots against the floor, then silence as he came the last few yards across the carpet.  Sheepishly and proudly he handed the wrapped newspaper to his dad.  
“Thank you,” Larry said.  “But you know you aren’t supposed to be in the front yard, you know you can’t do that.”  Adams face changed from a smile to a frown and back to a smile as he answered his dad, “There is no such word as can’t daddy.  I just tried and did it.”
Adam added collecting the paper every night to his little list of chores.  From that night forward he was able to use the front door.  We always knew when he was going and we always watched.  For months he continued sneaking up on the paper a few steps at a time while watching the road.  Little did he know while he watched the road we were watching him!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Entry 129: 1976 Lazy Days Fishing

Larry and I took the girls fishing up in the hills.  They weren’t impressed.  The only thing they caught was fox tails in their clothing.

They liked fishing in the backyard better!  They fished for hours one afternoon.  Heidi figured out the joke right away but had fun prompting Robin to sit and fish.  At one point Heidi talked Robin into holding her pole too.  Heidi has always been a very quiet person but she does like to play a joke every now and then.  It was fun watching the kids as their personalities developed.          

After they’d been fishing for more than an hour Robin got distracted by Cali, her cat.  Heidi took advantage of the opportunity and told Robin she had a bite on her fishing line.  Robin was so excited she dropped Cali, nearly landing her in the pool, and grabbed up her pole.  

When Heidi asked Robin if she could feel the fish pulling on the line Robin smiled and said she could.  She was so excited as she reeled in her line.  When the closed safety pin I had used for something to look like a hook came up empty Robin shrugged her shoulders and lowered it back into the water.    

           Robin continued fishing long after Heidi had stopped.  She was determined to catch something to show her daddy.  When it got too warm to sit still any longer Robin quit for the day. When dinner time came Robin helped me spread fish sticks on a cookie sheet.  She helped me fix peas and she buttered some pieces of bread.  She was smiling uncontrollably when she served her daddy his fish dinner. 
          When Larry asked Robin if she caught the fish sticks she replied, “Fish don’t come in sticks daddy, mommy got these in the freezer.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Entry 128: 1979 Get Your Towel and Your Sucker!

Our kids took swimming lessons from Sami Nelson for several summers.  I think at one point each of them thought she was surely going to cause them to drown but, in spite of that, they all turned out to be excellent swimmers.  They listened to her corrections and trusted her completely!  

The kids were always excited to receive praise from Sami.  I can still hear her saying, “Use big arms.  Use your big arms!” as she’d walk the rim of the pool following as they swam. 

 I remember her convincing them it is easier to float in deep water than in shallow water.  I can see the smiles on their faces when it actually worked!  
And then, of course, when the lesson was over the last words we’d hear from Sami for the day would be, “Good job, now when I call your name you can get out and get your towel and a sucker.” 

I loved to watch them squirm as they waited for their name to be called.  They would spin in the water and kick and wave their hands.  Somehow they seemed relieved and almost surprised when their name was called.  I laughed to myself as they’d run to me showing what magical color of sucker they got each day.  I could never get over the relief in their eyes as they were called from the water.  As I recall Sami never left anyone in the pool at the end of a lesson. After all, the next group was waiting to get in.  I guess my kids never figured that out.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Entry 127: 1978 Robin's Dream "Profession"

One of my favorite memories of Robin’s kindergarten year was told to me by her teacher, Mrs. Has Ellison.  Robin’s kindergarten year happened to be the year I learned from Mrs. Woodbridge how to hook a rug.  I was working on a small wall-hanging of a train for Adam’s room. 
I let the girls help a little once in a while but they just didn’t have the hang of it yet.  Robin especially liked trying to do it.  I’d hold her on my lap and help her guide the yarn through the hooking needle then back and forth in the pattern.  She loved to watch as the little train began to take shape.

One day in “circle time” all the kids were sharing what they wanted to be when they were grown ups like their mommies and daddies.  One little boy wanted to work on a dairy just like his daddy, one little girl wanted to be a nurse just like her mommy, and so on. 
Mrs. Has Ellison said she could tell by the way Robin was squirming on her mat she could hardly wait for her turn.  It was finally Robins turn.  She took great delight as she blurted out, “When I grow up I want to be the best hooker in Turlock.” 
When her teacher met me at the door to pick up Robin that day she had tears in her eyes from laughter.  She told me the story saying she’d been telling it all day.  I had to laugh too.  Robin had said it in all innocence and I’m sure that made it even funnier.  She was sharing with the class.  She was proud she was learning to do something like her mom and she was proud of me!
 I’m glad she didn’t add that her mom wasn’t very good at it, didn’t enjoy it much, and gave it up completely after one successful attempt! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Entry 126: 1978 Robin Starts Kindergarten

On Robin’s first day of kindergarten I braced myself for a repeat act of Heidi’s first day of school.  When we entered the classroom Mrs. Has Ellison greeted us at the door.  Robin looked around the room then at her teacher.  She said in a loud voice, “Hi, I’m Robin Reed!” 
Mrs. Has Ellison pinned a name tag on Robin and motioned to the play area of the class.  She told Robin to join the other children and class would be starting in a few minutes.  Instead of wanting me to stay with her Robin looked me straight in the eye and said, “OK mommy, you go now just don’t forget to come back for me.”  With that she ran to the other children and began chattering and playing.  What a relief.  She was happy and I had the whole morning ahead of me to spend alone with Adam.
Adam and I went to the old Brown’s shoe store to buy him a pair of cowboy boots.  Next we went to Hughson to my parent’s house to show off his new boots!  Adam was only three years old but he was sure ready to go pick Robin up at noon.  When we drove in to the school and he saw her he started clapping and calling to her. 
Robin had a busy day at school but she was ready to come home.  She and Adam barely separated from one another that whole afternoon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Entry 125: 1978 Which End is Up?

When Adam was two he had to fight for his position in the kid chain of the family.  Both girls were very generous to him, both watched out for his safety, and both teased him mercilessly.
Adam was very good with his building blocks.  He would build things in any room of the house.  If he’d see two blocks lying on the floor he couldn’t pass them without putting one on top the other.
Adam already had a love for the animals on our ranch.  He loved going with Larry at feeding time.  He loved putting his fingers in the calves’ mouths and letting them suck.
The only problem he ever had was with one of our kittens.  For some reason as soon as Adam would pick it up it would twist and turn and end up bottom side up.  Adam didn’t seem to care and the kitten seemed happy so after many attempts to upright the kitten we just let it go.
I felt bad a couple years later when Adam’s allergies got bad and he could no longer play with his little furry friend.