Back To School and Waffles

12 08 2011

I was anxious to hear how Anna’s two boys were adjusting to public school.  They have been part of a Christian private school for all their early education.  John is in the 4th grade  and Alex is in the 2nd grade.

They are adjusting quite well.  Partly, because Anna enrolled them both in a summer day camp which allowed the boys to get  used to meeting new children.

I’m out of a job though.  I’ve picked up the boys all of their years of private schooling.  I have felt a void this week because it is a routine that had been such a part of me.  I’m on the emergency list though–If Anna needs help in any way.

Anna ate lunch with us today and we had old fashioned waffles.  I’ve made homemade waffles for 37 years now.  It was an inexpensive meal to serve at least once a week when our children were growing up.  Made with plenty of eggs and milk–the waffles provided some good protein and carbs for our growing children.

I don’t make waffles very often any more but it was good to make them today.  It was fun to catch up with the boys week.

Ruth put her stepson in school this week, too.  She and William came by on Monday to get an old chest of drawers that we had bought used in 1979.  She just called to tell me that she spent the day refinishing it.  She found the date that it was made–August the 8th, l958.  And , I gave it to her on August the 8th.  Wow!  Ruth and I always get excited about stuff like that.  William likes school.  He is a student in the Trigg Co. school system.  He gets to ride up and down all the country roads on his school bus.  He especially likes the cafeteria and all the good food that is served each day.

So everyone has had some great experiences this week.  And, the waffles were yummy!

God bless each of you!


A Birthday, An Anniversary, A Stepson, Fudge and A Fish

14 07 2011

I made 4 lbs. of  fudge yesterday with Steven’s birthday in mind.  He is Ruth’s husband of almost 8 years.  He loves my fudge–which I give to him for his birthday and Christmas.  Steven also had another birthday present.  His son ,William ,flew in for a month from California.  William has never been to Kentucky.  Ruth has only met William once.  Last summer, Steven and Ruth went to California for the funeral of William’s great grandmother. 

It was fun to meet William today.  He is 11 years old and has blonde hair.  He is a slim little fellow and very quiet.  Our dogs immediately took to William.  We’re looking forward to spending more time with our step grandson.

Anna ,our oldest daughter, and her husband, Jeff, have been married 16 years.  They are in the Great Smoky Mountains as I write –for their wedding anniversary celebration.  We’re taking care of their fish.  I don’t know what kind of fish it is.  She told me that I should probably clean out the fish bowl today.  Poor little fish didn’t know what to think when I took an ice  cream scoup to get him out of the dirty water into a glass of clean water–while I cleaned his bowl out.  He, She , whoever, is very happy and content now.

I also made my bread today and gave Ruthie some for their dinner this evening. 

I saved a little fudge to take to our coffee hour after church this coming Sunday.  A friend who dropped by yesterday –also got a chunk to take home. 

To me– these small celebrations make life worthwhile.  God Bless each of you!

July the 4th, l961

11 07 2011

I can’t let July gain too many more days before I write of my 50th anniversary of arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky.  My mother is a native of Hopkinsville.  She married a soldier from Camp Campbell in l943.  My parents moved to Lansing, Michigan so that my father could attend college to study to be an engineer.  Mother taught school in Lansing until her first son was born.  Then she became a homemaker.

I was actually born in Detroit.  Early in l960– my father pushed my mother to update her teacher’s certificate.  We all sensed things between my parents were not good.  By June l960– my father left.  My mother had already made arrangements to take classes at Wayne State University that summer.  She already had a babysitter lined up for us.  I can’t imagine how she managed all of that.  We didn’t have a car.  Mother took the bus to her classes each day. 

She did gain employment for the l960-l961 school year.  My youngest brother wasn’t even old enough for kindergarten.  So mother hired a sitter for him and she was at the house for us as well–when we arrived home from school.  Later, I found out that one particular couple befriended my mother and loaned her the money to accomplish all of these feats.  This couple had been friends with my parents for a very long time. 

I have the actual letters of correspondence between my mother and grandmother about the pros and cons of moving back to Hopkinsville.  In the end, mother decided that she needed to be where her family was living. 

We were renting a house –so it made it a little easier to uproot.  We left by train on the afternoon of July the 3rd, l961. A train ride from Detroit to Hopkinsville was a great adventure to four children.  The stop in Chicago was especially fun.  Mother let us have soda fountain treats and she bought us plenty of comic books. 

Arriving in Hopkinsville, Ky about 8:00 a.m. on July the 4th–we were met at the train station by my mother’s brother and her sister.  Grandmother was waiting for us with open arms.  She had buckwheat pancakes already made up.  We were to live with Grandmother in her part of the house until school started.  Then we would move upstairs.  There was a young married couple who had planned to leave that apartment the end of August.

Grandmother had endured a mastectomy the summer of l960.  Now that I am 59 years old and a grandmother myself–I can’t imagine how she took us into her home.  That was a very generous deed!

Grandmother made sure our lives were full of structure.  She never allowed us to sleep in or be lazy.  We always had to help with chores around her home.  And church was a part of our education, too.  Not only did we attend church on Sunday mornings–we also attended all the youth activities on Sunday and Wednesday nights, too. 

Mother taught school at the old Westside School the first year.  After that first year, she taught at the old Virginia St. school.  That was just a few houses from our home.  Her last year of teaching was at the brand new Holiday Elementary School. 

Mother died of breast cancer in l985.  Grandmother died when I was 25 years old of heart problems. I left home when I was 19 to attend Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Al.  I met my husband there.  He was raised in Iowa.  We moved back to Hopkinsville in l985. Hopkinsville has been a great place to raise our four children.

The structure and love my grandmother gave me as I was growing up has stayed with me my entire life.  I’m not much of one for sleeping in.  I always see my dear grandmother’s face.  I feel her with me all the time.  I keep pushing on in life because of the building blocks of love and leadership that she provided for me.

My brothers have often spoken of the same sense of grandmother’s influence. The four of us have done well in life.  One brother is a college professor, another is a lawyer, another works for  the state in Denver, Co.  I have been a teacher/homemaker.  Together all of our children have grown up to have multi-varied talented careers.  My children love to hear about Grandmother B.  They cherish her memory even though they never knew her. 

I, too, have survived a mastecomy.  I am a 4th generation breast cancer survivor. 

Today the old train station is now the center of Art’s here in Hopkinsville.  I drive by the old station several times a week.  Always, the memories of arriving on that train in l961 flood my mind.

Thank you Grandmother B for taking such good care of us.

God bless each of you!

Memory Lane With My Grandsons

9 07 2011

What a morning Jim and I had going through all of our pictures and videos on  our computer.  We haven’t been the best at keeping up with organizing all of our cyber memories.  Thanks to our daughter, Vera, we have all of 2008 and 2009 photos  and videos  neatly organized.  The rest of our memories are not. 

First, we went through all of our pictures of the last year into our present moment in 2011.  As Jim showed them – I made note of the different categories .  This will make it easy now to place our photos in albums. 

Lastly, we reviewed all the albums that Vera had set up for us.  When this video showed up–I knew that I had to share it on today’s blog.  The boys have grown up so much.  No longer do they want me to read stories to them or spend time working with coloring .  Yes, those days are gone forever.  But I’m glad that I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with the boys in their young days. 

This video also makes me miss Vera.  She  spent 16 months with us.( She lives in Pittsburgh, Pa. now)  She was a great help with the boys.  I’m also grateful that she was still living with us when Jim had his second Aortic episode in October of 2008.  This clip was made 5 months before his second trip to Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Now the boys have a precious brother who everyone calls “P”.  P is getting a head start with this social media age.  I doubt that we will have the same experience that I had with his brothers.  P will be 2 in September.

Hope you enjoy the Youtube.  God bless each of you! And, a great big thanks to Jim to making this video a Youtube. 

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/26/09

19 07 2009

It is 8:10 a.m. Saturday morning–I’m catching up on my writing.  Yesterday the boys came at 8:00 a.m.  Jim sat out on the porch with them so I could finish getting my makeup on and make our bed.

I halfway thought of planning an outing for them but kept thinking the youth who worked on our steps would come by and to say goodbye. 

At any rate, the boys kept me busy race walking around the block as they rode their bikes.  Then they decided that all the furniture on the front porch should go to the side porch.  Next, they rearranged all of my plants.

During lunch John was mad that I didn’t have any more chicken nuggets.  He was also mad that I would not get him another soft drink. ( 1 is the limit for the day)  Sandy had brought over plenty of bottled water for them to drink.  The boys just were not interested in that.

Alex was quite content during lunch eating left over spaghetti.  I also let him roast a hot dog over the gas burner.  I offered John these foods too but he didn’t want them.  Finally he ate some packaged crackers that his mom had brought over for them to eat. 

Finally, the trauma for John ended when I acted scared that the boys had lost their arms.  They had pulled their arms in on their shirts so that it looked like they had no arms.  They laughed and laughed and we played that game for about 10 minutes.

After lunch Alex went to the store with me.  He was so precious while we were shopping as he sang to himself.  He loves to sit in the shopping cart and just sing very softly.  I enjoyed every minute of his singing.

While we were gone, John moved things around in our family room.  I must say he is a good organizer and has a keen eye for what looks good.  I complimented him several times.

Alex remembered the big dirt pile from where the youth had dug deep for our porch stairs.   He wanted to take a few of his cars and go play in the dirt. Sandy came shortly after he was engaged with the dirtpile.  She sat on the new steps and talked with us while the boys played. 

The Methodist youth from Wisconsin were going to have a block party to celebrate their week of work.  We were invited.  John wanted to stay with us and attend the party.  Alex was not interested. 

I was a little nervous about going to the block party.  However, it turned out wonderful.  Jan and  Brenda ( the adult helpers) and the youth who worked on our steps came and talked with us.  They all gave John big hugs.  The praise band was beginning to warm up.  They wanted John to go and sing with them.  Suddenly, John got scared and wanted to go home.

Jim and I were not going to turn down a BBQ dinner with the works.  So Jan sat with John while we got our food.  I placed enough food on my plate to share with John. John did calm down but he wouldn’t eat.  After we finished our dinner we said goodbye to all of our new friends and took John home.

It was only 7:30 p.m. but Jim was exhausted.  He has told me everyday for the last three days that he thinks his health is getting worse.

I read some and then went to bed.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/24/2004

12 07 2009

Well, we waited and waited for the bus to drop the youth off today.  They never came.  The boys were with us today and they were very disappointed.  However, they worked me hard with having me race walk to keep up with their bike riding.

Around 10:00 a.m., I started making m list of how we were going to do our banking.  I like to get cash for my groceries for the month.  So I made a list of how many ones, five, tens, etc I wanted.  Jim’s check was in the bank.  This is his second Social Security check. 

We packed up the car to go to the bank and then later go to Maria’s home in Cerulean, Ky.  We had planned to eat lunch with her.  She served us a pizza for lunch.  Then she suggested that we visit her Mennonite friends, Jake and Rebecca.   I had not been to see them since last summer.

Jake greeted us.  It was unusual to have him home but the heat index had forced him in the house to rest.  Rebecca had taken lunch to her grown son who has his own home.  Later, she came back and we all got caught up on the happenings in everyone’s lives.

Jake took us to see all of their animals.  There were two new colts to see.  He offered to put John and Alex on a horse but they were scared.  There was piglet running around the farm.  Someone had dropped it off the same way folks often drop off dogs.  They decided to keep it and let it roam the farm and get fat.  He told us they would butcher it in the fall.  That made me sad.

As we were getting ready to leave, Jake offered to take the boys down the road in his little horse driven cart.  They boys were excited to have that experience.  We thougt he was going to be at the end of the road by the Methodist Church but when we got there –they were no where to be seen.

We drove back to Maria’s home and they were not there.  Finally, as we got out on the main road again, Jake and the boys were coming down the road.  They pulled in at the Methodist church.  Jake let the boys take turns holding the reins and driving the cart around the church parking lot. 

Our final stop was in Gracy, Ky where we stopped to get another .50 ice cream cone. 

When we got back to our home, we saw that the concrete for the steps had been poured.  We would have loved to see the concrete truck pouring the concrete.  We found out the youth had been at another home during the morning.

Later, that evening two of the adult workers came to take the wooden form off of the dried concrete.  Jim went out to talk with them.  I was already in my night clothes and didn’t get a chance to greet them.  What a day it has been.

Nichole’s Summer Journal, 6/22/09

5 07 2009

Ninety Methodist youth from Wisconsin began their volunteer labors in the older neighborhoods this morning.  We were chosen to have our concrete stairs on our side porch replaced.  We waited in anticipation for them to arrive.

Finally, a huge bus dropped off six youth and two adults.  The planning commision had ordered all of the materials.  It was a bustle of activity.  The mayor even came by to greet everyone. 

John and Alex (grandsons) didn’t wasnt to miss a beat of the activity.  I sat on the porch and read while the boys took in everything.  Finally, at lunch we let the workers have their lunch on our porch in private.  They also had some devotional time.

Off and on during the day– the boys would cycle to the C’s and we would chat a bit.  Mrs. C has a daily story of her worries over Mr. C constantly repairing his “old truck”.

In the midst of the day, Jim went to help serve lunch at the Salvation Army.  He brought home 12 loaves of bread and 5 dozen eggs.  We gave the eggs to the group to give to their cook.

The bus picked up everyone around 3:15 p.m.  Then the bus made the rounds to pick up all of the other youth and adults around town who were working on other houses.

Today, the youth tore out the old stairs, dug out the dirt in preparation for the new steps and laid gravel down.  There was enough gravel left over to replenish our driveway.

It has been a very busy day.