Monday, August 03, 2015

Dawn's day

Today is Dawn's birthday, born as our first in 1973.  I quickly posted pictures of her on FB to commemorate the day and figured I would add an entry here since I had done a bit on Cara's birthday in January when she came home for Uncle Johnny's funeral.


Robert was finishing up his degree in Provo (I had completed my degree the year before) and we moved to Parma, Ohio.  My daddy Center had died in September 1972 and Robert got a job at USSteel and my mom needed some support so it all worked out well for everyone.

It was fun being pregnant altho back then you never knew if you were having a boy or girl.  My mom had secured a tiny little house on Grantwood Avenue, just east of State Road.  Our wall telephone cord could reach to all 4 corners of the house!  We had a bright, large kitchen, a front room.  The bedroom had an 'attached' room at the one end which would be Dawn's room.  The utility room housed our very tiny bathroom, food storage shelves and hot water heater/furnace.  Mom had bought a crib and baby dresser for the little room and had painted the room aqua ( I think) before we moved back home to Ohio!  We had a changing table with baskets to hold things from Auntie Carol Etzel.  Robert found me a rocking chair.  It only had one arm (yes, I would say we were scraping the bottom of the barrel) but it worked just fine.

I went picking strawberries a the Historic Johnson Farm in Hiram, OH, when I was very pregnant and everyone worried or laughed that I might deliver in the fields and then would have to name whatever baby came, Strawberry Patch Hatch.  Nope, not that day but I was very sore from bending and picking.  VERY sore.  But not that day.   Not that month. Nor the next month.  Yes, I was that overdue.

Finally on August 2, I visited the doctor and he said delivery was very near.  Well, it had better be!  I was so far over my due date (and did the same with 3 of the rest of my 4 kids).  I had just gotten home, and felt the first signs of labor.  Knowing that once it all started I would not be able to eat anything, I drove the '67 Buick LaSabre to McDonalds.  I kept the car running since it often had trouble starting and there were no drive-through windows in that day.  Grabbed a burger and fries and headed home.  Robert came home from work and we waited awhile.  Finally we went to the hospital with my mom. Robert went off somewhere...didn't know at the time but it turned out he went Home Teaching AND to the auto parts store. Thanks a lot!

But finally we had our baby daughter!   She was named Dawn Mercedes...Dawn after  Robert's best friend's wife (Robert had been their best man) and Mercedes because Robert had promised me that one day he would buy me one since I had driven one at BYU when I typed for the underground newspaper (rag) called Zion's Opinion.  Dawn Mercedes. I stayed in the hospital for nearly a week which was standard back then.  Since Robert couldn't get off work to bring me home (don't ask me why not) my Aunt Carol picked us up in her big ol' truck. She had a cinder block for me step on to get up into the truck.

My mom would come by each morning on her way to work and then stopped by each evening.  (She and Aunt Ven Gaul (really her 1st cousin)  went to Hawaii almost as soon as we came home.)  I had the very classic British baby buggy that was used for my sister (now that I think about it, my mom was a great saver).   I would put Dawn in it and we'd stroll to the store, to the laundry and to my mom's house.  It was delightful.  Dawn HATED cloth diapers and screamed the moment they'd get the least bit damp so we finally gave in and used paper diapers which were a fairly new item in the day.

We were very excited to take Dawn to church for her name and blessing.  Robert's first cousin, Craig White, happened to be serving as a misisonary in our ward at the time and assisted in the blessing. Robert was overcome with emotions and altho the blessing was short it was long on love for his daughter and has always been so.

In 1973 we were still having Sunday School and Priesthood in the morning and then returned in the late afternoon (6:00) for Sacrament Meeting.  To this day I remember dressing Dawn in my grandfather's christening gown.  I had knitted the Baby Mary Janes booties but had forgotten or had been too tired to remember that I needed to make a bonnet out of a white lady's hankerchief.  I hurriedly sewed it together the night before and in the morning, when I put it on her, I had to laugh. I had forgotten to gather the lace around the hanky and it  was so flat.  I laughed and Dawn laughed.  It was a great moment.


I am still in the process of sorting through pictures and scanning them...and boy do I have the photos!  Bag and Boxes and Albums filled with them.  So I will be adding more pictures as I get to them.

But here's a picture of Dawn's first visit to Santa.  Because my dear, beloved Scottish Terrier, Bonnie Lassie, had gotten very old and needed to be put to sleep, my Uncle Al came to do the deed.  I just couldn't stay around the house so I took Richard, Al and Carol's son, and Dawn and we went to May Co. at Parmatown to visit Santa. Dawn didn't cry at all.  Not sure what she told him she wanted for Christmas but I remember quite a few boxes that year.

Dawn keeps in daily contact with me.  By phone or Skype we have been known to craft together, cry together.  Work things out together. Yell at each other together...well, ok not exactly yell but speak loudly.   Her kids are good at keeping in touch altho mostly it's Evan.   Just this morning as I had been chatting with Dawn for her birthday, Connor helped me sort out how to make my handout for Visiting Teaching using MS Word.

Dawn's encouraged and pushed her kids to excel in what they wanted/needed.  They are as smart as she is.  And just as independent.  This is a good thing but doesn't always fit comfortably.

I'm a lucky mom in so many ways.  Happy Birthday, Baby Dawn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Elder Cody Roger Kennedy

This morning early,

Elder Kennedy(even Leo gets a farewell hug even tho Leo hates having his picture taken.)

left from Evansville Airport, flying to SLC.  His Uncle Buddy

picked him up, transferred him to his Uncle Mike and family who dropped him curbside at the MTC in Provo for a 6 week stay before flying to the Marshall Islands for his 2 year mission.

So many of his
and his bishop showed up to bid him farewell.  That was so generous of Cara and Jacob.  When Jordan left, I didn't want to share that moment with anyone.  It was my last as the mom who mattered the most to my that moment.  Robert kept telling me our time with him was over and Robert was right.  I'm glad I had that private trip to the airport and in that day we could go a bit further into the airport.  But then, I am selfish!  I think it was easier for me to send off Cody than it was for my mom when Jordan left.  We didn't live 8 houses away from Cody.  My mom watched Jordan grow up on a day to day basis.  So am I glad for that difference?  I don't least not right now. Right now I am just 'lonely' for no good reason.

The report from Cara was that she was fine, having cried in the days leading up to this moment, UNTIL she'd look at Ella who was really shedding  tears.  NOTICE HOW CLOSE ELLA STANDS NEXT TO HER BROTHER in the pictures above. (this could be your Where's Waldo/Ella moment)!  Cody did some standard dance moves of his as walked away from the group so they all knew he was happy to be starting his mission, probably even chomping at the bit to do so.  Oh, and he wore his suit even tho his mission does not require a suit.  I think he wanted to at least look like the standard missionary leaving home.  I think it was a perfect choice.

We have 2 boys from our ward called. Ethan has left **
 and Hyrum goes next week. **

 With Cody gone this week that makes 3 Elders I will be writing.  I have always loved writing to missionaries but there haven't been many that I've known lately.  This will be wonderful.

I don't know if I am supposed to feel shocked that I have a grandson old enough to serve a mission but I don't.  I think it's because I always have a 17-year-old Susan still in my heart and head.  I'm not older...I just have a grandson who is.

**A little historical note.  When I was growing up and the boys left for their missions, they had these small folders, some trifolds, to hand out.  On the front was their pictures.  Inside listed their missions and addresses, both home and mission.  They were wonderful keepsakes.  Then the church discontinued this but I was so happy to see that the 2 from our ward handed out similar cards.  If I had scanned the details for either of them, you would have seen where they were going, addresses, countries they were called to serve.  I choose to not add this private information.  The cute last line under Ethan's says:  "Letters/Cards once a week are encouraged." With the fact that all missionaries today get an email address through, it makes writing to them much easier.  But I forsee gift boxes of some kind now and again.  It is just SO nice to have these cards, to put a reminder in my online calendar to write each week.  No, I don't expect an answer...but I know how important it is for them to receive news from home or uplifting stories.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

An Eagle and an Elder in one weekend

We installed Niko at Paws and headed to Evansville and the Kennedys on Friday, July 17.  This turned into a huge weekend, a celebration of family and love and success and faithfulness.

Here is a picture of Autumn reading to me as we await the BSA Court of Honor. She has become such an amazing reader these days!

The trip down was easy but it was VERY hot when we got out of the car in Kennedy's driveway.  My feet, hanging down for nearly 8 hours, were very swollen and I ended up sitting on the side of their pool and soaked my feet altho the pool felt more like a warm and delicious bathtub but it felt wonderful.

Saturday dawned bright and busy.  The Christensens had arrived on Thursday and Jacob's sister, Beth, had arrived with her  sweet and adorable 4 kids and mom, Kathy.  We headed to their ward and in a very personal and personal Eagle Court of Honor we witnessed Samuel, at 14, receive his Eagle Award for Scouting.

First Peter received merit badges he had earned at Scout Camp so it really was a great family court.

 Soon it was THE moment and Sam was escorted to the front by his parents.  This is such a great moment, 2nd for Cara and Jacob with 2 more to follow!
 Sam's scoutmaster presents the award to Sam.


 Then Sam pins on the parent pins to his mom and dad.
 And naturally we had to get a picture with this wonderful Eagle...and he's such an amazingly kind young man!

Cara served Striped Delight for the attendees.

We had such fun at Kennedy's. There was fun pool time with a synchronized swimming contest between the family, who were paired up.  Ella and I got to be the judges and Ella, kind as she is, decided every pair deserved to receive some award.  But basically I think the stars were Cara and Jocelyn who put on a pure Esther Williams show, including a side dive off the side in unison. Very cute!

And Cara spent so much time on all the food we ate the whole weekend.  There was even quiches for Sunday Breakfast!

Sunday we hustled to church and were met there by Jacob's brother Nate and his wife Lindsey and their 4 kids.....all to witness Cody's farewell talk before leaving on his mission.  Also in the congregation were friends from school as well as his sweetie Holly and her parents.  Cody sounded like a man ready to embark on a very adult mission to the Marshall Islands.  He leaves Evansville on Wednesday July 29 and will spend 6 weeks at the MTC in Provo, hopefully learning at least the basis of the language.  We had given him the carryall for use during this time to hold his scriptures and pens and water bottle and whatever.

We had a talent show Sunday night with the cousins and they put on more like a gong show than a talent show but it was hysterical!  Sadly, we took our leave on Monday morning but happily and with rejoicing know that this family is holding to the rod.

This is a Mission Countdown Calendar I found online.  It's not exactly like the one I saw but close enough.  I decided to make one for Cara and Jacob and kids to count down til Cody returns.  I remember the first few weeks being so lonely.  I had a digital countdown calendar that hung on the frig....X# Days til my Missionary Returns it said.  This calendar will have to be more interactive as each day they will need to find the appropriate block.  So in making one, I decided to make 2 more...for the Stencils and the Eddingtons who are also sending out their firstborn.  I joked that all 3 boys are serving missions that will run through leap they need to add a day.  But no mission is ever exactly 2 years in length.

Before we left for Evansville we got word that our friend Greg Vandersommen had died...he's been suffering for about 2 years from esophageal cancer.  It's sad but at least he's out of the pain.  Later that day I got word that June Rauscher's dear and protective Uncle Joe died.  Just as we were beginning the Eagle Court I checked to be sure my phone was turned off and found I had a message that my friend Patricia Mihalak had died (she had had a heart attack and 3 strokes on July 4).  And Sunday after church I got a text that a man in our ward, Michael Young, had suddenly died of a heart attack.  So within about 5 days, I had 4 friends die. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A different sort of Famiiy Tree

Today we scheduled to go to Patsy's to take her to her doctor's appointment BUT she has wanted to get all her pictures down and in one place.  I asked Jan Warren if she had any of those photo pencils still lying around I could buy but of course she just gave me one.  THEN yesterday when checking to be sure all was as planned she was worrying about defrosting her non-frostfree freezer.  I told her not to lift one finger, that I would do it, expecting it to be like my mom's freezer, or our old one.  We gathered together towels and tarps and my hair blow dryer.

We arrived and the ice was virtually nonexistent.  That's the type of clean freak my godmother is and has always been.  But we took everything out and removed the layer of frost and replaced it all. She was so happy.  Pictures came next and then the doctor and then out for lunch at Kristy's on E 200th. Back for more pictures.  And I just had to snap copies of Patsy and Johnny's wedding pictures and few other ones.  What a lovely bride she was!
This is a picture of Patsy's Grandfather, John Evans...father to her mom, Florida and my grandmother, Gladys.

  This is a picture of a Patsy's dad, Robert Lundy, a very young Bob...taken in England. Bob was a man filled with love and joy and  my mom loved him.  But Florrie had an ongoing affair with Gus Piotrowski and Bob ended up succeeding in taking his own life after several attempts.

   Here is a picture of Florrie and Gus who she ended up marrying.  He was rather successful in many areas but was a rather sourpus.  But he was very good to Patsy's son Jeffrey.

   Here is Patsy's graduation photo.  Pretty, isn't she?

   Here's Johnny's dad,

  And here's Johnny, bare-naked!  and
even as an infant, you can tell it is Johnny.  And boy!  Was he long?!

   And here he is as a Staff Sargeant in the Army during World War II.

  Here is Patsy applying her makeup (which she said she always loved, as did my mom) at her mother's dresser.  But the fun part of this picture is the story she added. She pointed to her stockings and told me to look at them.  "Wow!  Look at those stockings," she said.  And then laughed. Turns out she bought these hot stockings from a man she worked with. She is still chuckling and finally she explained that by hot she meant "HOT" as in STOLEN.  She didn't know it at the time.  But she loved the taupe color and he had quite a supply of them so she bought 6 pairs!  Later she found out they were stolen and was just so happy that she had at least paid for them.  But she repeated she so loved the taupe color.

  Here's she is pinning on a corsage to her mom, Florrie.  This is in Florrie's home.  Florrie, Gus and Patsy lived on the bottom floor, my grandparents and Aunt Carol lived on the 2nd floor, and my parents and I lived on the 3rd floor. When my father died in June 1949, mom and I moved back down to the 2nd floor which left the 3rd floor vacant.

  Here is the bride, holding onto Gus' arm, Johnny is to her right. The wedding took place in The Old Stone Church on Public Square in Cleveland which is still standing.  But look closely at the first pew...see the lady with a baby...that's my mom and me!

As I looked at this picture I wondered what my mom must have been feeling, having just been widowed 3 month previously and sitting there, holding me, and watching her cousin getting married. This must have been so difficult!

  Here's the big smooch!  I teased Patsy that it looked like Johnny was kissing her mouth off!

   The couple's family..Johnny's dad next to him.  Florrie and Gus next to Patsy.

   Back at the home, Johnny and Patsy cut the lovely wedding cake.

  Here is the happy couple in the car after the ceremony.

  Patsy shows off her wedding ring set to her sister, Ven. In the middle is my aunt, Patsy's cousin, Carol.
  Johnny carries Patsy over the threshold of her parents home...10821 Orville Avenue, Cleveland.   And why?  Because now that the 3rd floor was vacant, this is where they started their married life!  Just as my parents did!

  They stayed just long enough to pick up their suitcase and head to their honeymoon at Niagra Falls but returned to their home for a few years.

Since there were no color film in 1949 for commercial use Patsy would always tell us what color the dresses were.  Her dress was a dark blue, Ven's was grey, and Carol's was a rust color with brown gloves.  But the photographer did 'colorization' on some other photos.  And truly, they look lovely done this way.

Patsy poses pretty!

 Here is the wedding party.  Standing behind Carol is Johnny's brother Frank.
 Here is the happy couple standing in front of the fireplace in her parents' home.

 This was such a delightful way to spend the day.  I have always loved looking at pictures, any pictures.  I don't even need to know the owners.  I just love looking at pictures, the subjects as well as the background or things in the pictures.  I love the poses. The looks.  I do like the ones that are posed the same as I like the ones that are caught unawares.  Among the pictures in her albums were these:

  My mom, a young Gladys. Oh how I miss her.

  Me..Strange to look at myself.  Patsy thinks this picture was taken in the hospital.  Not sure about that but who knows.

 And me quite a bit later!

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