Marge and Glenn

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letter June 16 194306142017

letter June 16 194306142017_0001

June 16, 1943.  Duluth, Minnesota.  He was almost twenty-two.  She was twenty.  World War II raged in other parts of the world, but for one day, the war was forgotten for this couple.   Glenn was stationed in Duluth after enlisting in the Coast Guard.  Marge had hopped on a train in Carey, Ohio, to meet Glenn and marry him.  They spent one night together and then Marge headed back to Ohio, back to a job so she could save for their future, and back to her parents to explain where she had been.  Marge’s little sister, Burdeen, covered for her while she was gone.

It was a bold move for a small-town farm girl from the Midwest.  Was this her first trip out of state?  Quite possibly.  And it was a doozy.  She was a spunky girl, but running off to get married so far away was pretty amazing.  Eventually, Marge returned to Duluth, found a job as a waitress, and began her life as Glenn’s wife until 1945 when they discovered their family was expanding.  Again she left for Ohio to await the birth of their first child.

And then… the war was over, Glenn came home to Ohio.  They worked hard and raised two children, my brother and me.  They were married sixty-two years when Marge passed away in 2005.

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June 16, 1943

dale-rogerson4 ff june 16

photo prompt by Dale Rogerson

 

“I’ll bet no one has ever called Duluth Minnesota paradise,” said Marge, “but that’s what it feels like tonight.”

Glenn looked at his new bride and smiled.  “It sure is paradise.”

They walked hand in hand along the water, watching the moon and clouds and each other.
“I hate it that you have to go back home already tomorrow,” said Glenn.

“Well, my parents don’t know I am here and I have to get back to work so we can save for our future together.   It will only be for a little while.”

They kissed and walked toward the hotel.

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My parents were married June 16, 1943, so when I saw the date on Rochelle’s  https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/   blog for this week’s post, I knew my topic in an instant.  Working backwards, this week I had to make the photo prompt fit my idea!

 

Find out a little more about this story at this link   https://retiredruth.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/marge-and-glenn/

 

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A Sweet Surprise

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Dilapidated.

The price was right.  It was all she could afford. Seriously it was a dump, but at least she would be off the streets.  The foundation was sturdy. There wasn’ t any mold. The doors and windows were secure except for the crazy little back porch full of plants.

There was enough back yard for a small garden.  She hoped the realtor would accept her offer.  Who else would want it?

A huge smile slowly stretched across her face as she opened the drawers in the desk that housed the plants.

She wouldn’t have to worry about fixing this place up!

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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting .  You can find her here:  https://rochellewisoff.com/

Thanks to Sarah Potter for the photo prompt.

 

 

 

 

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This Old House

Our farmhouse was built in 1909.  It was purchased by my husband’s family in 1951.  My husband and his three brothers grew up here and shortly after we were married in 1971 we moved in.   I grew up in old farmhouses so there was little adapting for me.  I was used to drafty windows, creaky floors, narrow stairways, and upstairs bedrooms with no heat.

My in-laws did basic, but important updates during the twenty years they lived here.   They concreted the basement, put in new windows, new doors (interior and exterior), updated the bathroom, updated the kitchen in 1964, added hardwood floors, and put in a furnace.

But as the years passed and our family grew, more updates were needed.  In 1979 we built a family room with fireplace and a downstairs master bedroom and added a bathroom and walk in closet.  When my son started his own construction business about 15 years ago, we hired him to replace the windows and put on vinyl siding and new entry doors.  Little by little we kept the house looking as fresh as we could afford.    A few years ago we gutted the kitchen and again, my son helped me by  creating a new kitchen.

The four upstairs bedrooms were a blessing when the kids were growing up.  There was plenty of space and while we didn’t remodel upstairs, we painted and wallpapered and carpeted as they grew and needed their own space.

All those bedrooms and all that space turned me into a borderline hoarder.  It is definitely a disadvantage to have lots of space because I tend to fill it up with the stuff I don’t need anymore.  So instead of getting rid of things, I move them upstairs…. out of sight… out of mind.

I have been attempting to declutter for many years (even before decluttering was the trendy thing to do)  but I never made much headway.  I would get rid of loads of stuff, have garage sales, give stuff away and would have some space.  But it quickly filled up with more stuff.

I’m at it again.  Last summer I painted one bedroom and purchased twin beds for a guest room.  Another bedroom had a double bed and will soon be liveable again as I clean and rearrange furniture.  A third bedroom actually does have a heating/a/c duct.  It was always the nursery for that reason.  Now I have moved all our photographs, photo albums, memorabilia, and business file cabinets in that room as well as a desk to help me sort through all of the photos I have.  I inherited many of the family pictures from both sides of our family (because I have the space)  but I am preparing to sort and give away to the next generation.    The fourth bedroom is the junk room.  Christmas decorations, seasonal decorations, toys that the grandkids sometimes play with, glassware that was packed away during the kitchen remodel in 2013 and never unpacked, an old stereo system, a keyboard, canning supplies, and boxes of sheet music given to me by my piano teacher in 1968.  I do have some emotional issues here.

While painting the latest guest room I remembered why old houses are such a challenge.  I painted three walls a light gray and one wall a darker shade of gray.  The walls are plaster, cracked from over a hundred years of freezing and thawing and kids jumping up and down.  Some of the cracks have been patched over and over and are never going to look new unless we replace with new drywall.  I don’t have the energy for that anymore and the dust from the cleanup… its horrendous.  So I patched and painted and touched up.  There are no square corners in the room, so painting one wall a different color was pretty tricky.  Its not perfect but its fresh and new and it will  do.

Since I began this post (several months ago)  our youngest adult child has moved home. More rearranging has been completed to accommodate their belongings.   I guess what keeps this old house alive is transition.   From one generation to the next, children moving in and out, grandchildren spending overnights; it all continues and makes this old house a home.

Crates Farm 1950's cropped

This is our farm in the 1950’s.  None of the buildings in the picture or the old big barn remain.

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Ginger

 

We were the back hall gang, taking pride in the fact that we didn’t really fit in with the rest of the school.    We had pens printed with our motto…. Back Hall Rules, Rest of School Drools…… We Have it All, in the Back Hall.  We did have it all.  More than we wanted some days.  Working with high school age at-risk students.  We probably should have said, “We have SEEN it all in the back hall.”

And there right in the middle of it all was Ginger.  She was technically a teacher’s aide to hundreds of at-risk students.  But she was a teacher in her own right.  Even though she lacked the credentials, she was a teacher.  She had unending patience.  Sitting with a student to assist them with homework, or listening to a struggling high school student try to improve their reading skills, Ginger was encouraging in her own special way.  She sometimes appeared a bit gruff but it was because she wanted what was best for the students and she knew they didn’t always get what they needed.  They responded to her gruffness because they knew she cared about what was happening to them.

Ginger was constantly telling me… “Oh I could never do your job.”  But  then she would turn around and do exactly what I would have done in the same situation.  Cooking, cleaning, recycling, sweeping, assisting students with their school work, always on the clean up committee, Ginger shared whatever she had with whomever needed it.

Together with everyone in our department we would cry and worry over our own children and grandchildren and wonder if they were all going to survive the world and find their way.  We were more than coworkers… we were family for the time we were together.

At the end of a particularly difficult day I would return to my classroom and everything would be shipshape. A short note from Ginger on my desk saying ” I tried to clean up.. hope its ok.”  It was more than ok.  It was above and beyond what others would have done.

I guess those three words best describe Ginger… above and beyond.  Never afraid to speak her mind when she felt it would help the situation, never ever saying, “That’s not my job.”  Never letting us down and never leaving a job unfinished.

Ginger, your earthly self is gone.  Your family may fall apart briefly but they will regroup,  because of the influence you left behind.  Your beautiful children and grandchildren, your husband, your friends;  they will  not forget what you have done for them and will not forget your giving spirit.    Fly high, Ginger….. into the above and beyond.

sunset

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The Wallet (Part Three)

With all the contents of the wallet spread out on my dining room table, I leaned back in my chair and studied it all.  It was amazing what I had learned about Ruth by just examining the contents of her wallet.  I knew what she looked like.  I read some of her thoughts and ideas.  She apparently had lots of friends.   She was a junior (there was a receipt for paying her Junior Class dues)  and she was  interested in nursing because of the poem she carried around with her.  She liked perfume and maybe the color red.  I’m assuming a lot, but Ruth was a typical teenage girl from the 1950’s.

sr pics

The biggest mystery was how did the wallet stay hidden surrounded by hundreds of people everyday?  Where had it been that no one had noticed it in over sixty years? My husband, the excavator,  said that on the day they discovered the wallet, they had been demolishing part of the building that included the furnace ducts.   Maybe someone was teasing Ruth, grabbed her wallet and threw it down an air duct?  Would the mystery ever be solved?

During the time that the demolition was taking place, I was busy getting ready for my granddaughter’s graduation party.  Sprucing up the yard, cleaning the garage, making posters, and signs and other decorations.  She was graduating from the new school building which had replaced the one we had just demolished.  On the day of her graduation party, there were many people attending that had gone to school in the old building.  So I began to tell the story of the wallet.  And that’s when the story took another turn.

My son’s father in law, Dan,  graduated from that high school just a few years after Ruth.  He was interested.  I took him in the house and showed him the contents of the wallet.  He could put a name to almost every picture I had rescued.  He didn’t remember Ruth, but he thought her brother still lived in the area.  He said he would make some calls and find out if Ruth was still around.

A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from Ruth’s brother, who lived nearby and had heard the story of the wallet from Dan.  He asked if he could come out and look at the wallet.  He and his wife came right out and they were amazed at the condition of everything.  And yes!  His sister, Ruth, was still alive and living in another state.  She had found that perfect husband and had had a long and happy marriage and family,  but her husband had passed away a few years ago.  She moved into a retirement community and got involved with the activities there. Then she met someone and is now married again and happy.  And she had spent her career as a nurse!

I packaged up the contents of the wallet and handed it to him.  He grinned and said he though he would put everything in a box and mail it to her to surprise her.  He had not said anything to her about it and wanted to see what her reaction would be.  I asked him to let me know how it all turned out.

A few weeks passed and I forgot about the wallet until I received a phone call from Ruth’s brother.  He laughed and said it probably wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for.

When Ruth received the package she called him and said, “Why did you send me all that junk in the mail?”  She had no recollection of the wallet or any of the circumstances of its loss.  We were both disappointed as was everyone who followed the story.

Ruth had moved away from this area shortly after graduation and nursing school so I guess its not surprising that the loss of a wallet 62 years ago was not fresh in her mind.  Though I was disappointed in hearing “the rest of the story”, it was comforting to know that her dreams came true.  That’s all most of us want, right?

to a young nurse

 

 

 

 

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The Wallet (Part Two)

Many of you know that I am the excavator’s wife.  It seems simpler to tell the rest of the story from my point of view.

The first thing I noticed as I emptied the damp wallet was an identification card dated September 1, 1954.  I was really excited about this find.  It was a piece of local history somehow buried for over sixty years!  My mind was flooded with questions.  Where had it been hidden for so long?  Why had no one found it until the building was demolished?  What can I find out about the owner and is she still alive?  Will she remember this wallet and how it went missing?  My excitement grew with each new piece  discovered.

I discovered that the owner of the wallet was named Ruth. That’s my name!  This young Ruth from 1954  had been a student at the school.  She was seventeen years old, was 4′ 11″ tall, weighed 112 pounds and had brown hair and hazel eyes!  All that information, including the date, was found on Ruth’s FHA (Future Homemakers of America) membership card.  We called it Home Economics when I was in school and the majority of girls signed up for Home Ec  learning how to sew and cook and manage a household.  My mind drifted a bit thinking how silly that must seem to young women today.  But it was the 50’s and that’s the way it was.  Many girls’ hopes and dreams revolved around home and family.   Women’s Lib was still a few years away.

Next I checked the coin compartment of the wallet.  Maybe some coins?  Lunch money?  Nothing but a red button with a tiny piece of red thread attached and a promise from Perry.

red button

 

I carefully attempted to remove several classmates photos which were carefully tucked in the plastic sleeves for pictures.  Because they were damp, some of the edges tore apart as they stuck to the plastic.  I continued to remove everything I could.  I was afraid if they dried inside the plastic they would be even more damaged. Several of the pictures had messages on the back; bringing  back memories of trading senior pictures with my classmates and trying to come up with something witty to write on the back.

I found a basketball schedule for the schools varsity team, a poem titled “To a Young Nurse”  and a absolutely wonderful handwritten list titled “What I want in a husband”. The list was well worn, folded so as to fit in the wallet, and looked like it was composed over a period of time.  I pictured her in study hall with a friend or at a slumber party, giggling and trying to come up with what she and her friends desired in a husband.

Must love to dance

appreciates music

Should not tell shady stories

Enjoys talking but doesn’t overtalk

not too mushy

considerate of my feelings and family

frank, truthful, intelligent

dependable and has a good job

responsible with money

fairly good-looking with a fairly recent model of car

has a nice place in society

must love children

Loves nature and sports

And then I discovered an old sample perfume card.  It was the size of a business card and the perfume was called “Desert Flower”.  I was amazed that I could still smell the fragrance! It must have been some potent perfume to have lasted over sixty years!

desert flower                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Stay tuned for Part Three…

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