Almost the Last minute.

Yesterday we celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary.  In honor of that occasion, a few stories from the past came to mind that I probably should share.  Here is the first one.

It was late July 1971.    I would graduate with my B.S. in Education in a couple of weeks.    I had landed my first teaching job and would start teaching August 28.  Roger had been farming the home farm for several years and had a part time job at a local factory.  Our wedding would take place on August 14.    Things looked good except for one minor detail… we did not have a place to live.

I’m pretty sure Roger thought we would move in with his parents at the farm.  They had purchased a house in town and we were to move into the farmhouse after we married.  But his parents did not get possession of their new home until October 1.

In fact, my mother-in-law-to-be said to me,  “You could move in with us.  It will just be for six weeks. But I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”  Her words were not as ominous as the look she gave me after speaking them.

She and I immediately went searching for an apartment.  Something close by, that would give us a short term lease.  Luckily, we found an upstairs apartment on W. Franklin Street which was available and the landlords were willing to let us sign a lease until October 1.  It had a kitchen, bath, living room and bedroom.  Perfect for a short term arrangement.  We didn’t have any furniture yet anyway.

A week before the wedding we went shopping at Rexins Furniture and Appliance store, bought a Harvest Gold side-by-side refrigerator and matching stove, and a lime green recliner.  (What was I thinking!!  Roger was color blind so he had no clue.)    Roger’s oldest brother and his wife sold us their hand-me-down couch and chair for twenty bucks.  I had refinished an old bed and dresser which my parents started out with in 1945.  An old wooden table and two chairs were hauled out of Roger’s parents basement to use in the kitchen and we were set.    Oh, of course we had a TV set.  The old Admiral TV I had hauled back and forth to college with me for a couple of years.  It was bulky and big and black-and-white and it took up the entire front seat of the 1963 Chevy Bel Air my parents had given me.

Somehow things fell into place.  We got married on a hot, August day,  took a two day honeymoon, and moved into the apartment. I graduated with my degree, and the first day of school found me ready to teach.  I honestly don’t know how we pulled it off.  But we did.

I should have been a little more aware of how things happened during that crazy summer.

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source: unknown

“The Last Minute” became a recurring theme throughout my life.  Wait until I tell you about moving out of the apartment and into the farmhouse….

 

 

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Unlocked Doors

Our doors were seldom locked.  There were no nearby neighbors just rolling fields of wheat, corn, soybeans, or pasture.   Until I was in high school, we had no security lights anywhere on the farm.  The was a light on a pole in the barnyard that could be turned off and on when needed.  There was a porch light at the front door and one at the back, but only used when someone knocked on the door or visitors came after dark.  It was more for safety, being able to see the steps and the walkway to the car, not for security.

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My trust was destroyed last week, when we discovered someone had entered our home uninvited and left with things that were not their own.

I know that the state of the world is not as it was when I was growing up.  I understand the spam and scam emails I get,  I have friends and relatives who have sophisticated alarm systems.  I understand locking my car and being aware of my surroundings when I am out and about.  I thought I was keeping up with the ways of the world.

I was wrong.  I wasn’t cautious enough.   I need to step up my game when it comes to security.

There is a new lock on the door to my kitchen/office.  Plans for motion activated lights are in the works as well as a new back door with dead bolt and more security lights around the farm.  The world is not like it was in the fifties and never will be again.

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You Say it’s your Birthday?

Reaching down (ew) into the back of the toilet…..That’s how I started my birthday today.  Even before I had a good cup of coffee.  But when you are ready to flush….and nothing happens… what are your options?

Luckily (?) the mechanism inside the back of the toilet can be replaced and I will be good to go.   Hmm.

It did make me stop and wonder though.  Is this hand-in-the-back-of-the-toilet an omen of the year to come?   Is this the year that everything goes down? Or maybe nothing goes down?   Or should I look at it in a more positive way;  when you start in the toilet, everything after that should be an improvement!

I will keep you posted!

tp birthday

 

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Summer memories

These past few hot days have reminded me of summer when I was young.  No air-conditioning anywhere; not in homes, not in businesses, not in hospitals.  My poor mother had both of her children in the middle of July…and spent over a week in the hospital with each of us.  I can’t imagine.

I grew up in old farm houses and all the bedrooms were upstairs.  We didn’t even have electric fans when I was small.  Windows were wide open all the time and we were trained to jump out of bed in the middle of the night if a thunderstorm or shower occurred, close all the windows, then lay there and wait for it to be over so you could open the window again…It was difficult to get a good nights sleep when the weather was hot.  No air moving, hot air in a stuffy upstairs bedroom was just not a great way to get any rest.

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Bike riding was a great activity for hot days… until you stopped.   We lived close to a river, so wading and “accidentally” falling into the water was a popular past time.  But those mosquitoes!

Taking a drive in the car was a good way to cool off, too.  Until you stopped!  All the car windows were cranked open and sometimes a trip to the local dairy queen made it all a little more bearable

On Sunday mornings I am sure you could hear me complain.  Church meant wearing your Sunday best which included a slip and a dress and stockings and dress shoes.  Sunday School wasn’t too bad because our classes were in the basement of the church and it was cool down there.  But when church started, we would trudge upstairs and sit shoulder to shoulder in uncomfortable pews and sweat the service away.  I couldn’t wait to get home and strip off those hot dressy clothes and put on my shorts and go barefoot!

When I got a little older the local swimming pool brought some relief.  I also remember making homemade ice cream with lots of ice and salt to make it freeze., and Kool Aid Popsicles frozen in little cups or in ice cube trays.

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We were probably a little tougher back then.  If you’ve never had air conditioning, your body gets used to the heat.

I remember getting whole house air conditioning  in 1990….our furnace died that year and we decided to add on the a/c unit.   I would hate to live without it now.

 

 

 

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Obsession

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Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo

She’d been obsessed by the Beatles since she first heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in 1963.  For Christmas that year,  a HiFi record player was her only request.  She spent hours playing their music.

Her life was defined by their songs. Sargeant Pepper and The White Album brought back vivid college memories.  She had cried when they disbanded.  And when John was murdered.  And when George died.

Her 64th birthday party featured everything Beatles including a giant Yellow Submarine.  And now here she was, 68 years old, still obsessed. Her WordPress blog stated “I Believe In Yesterday”.

 

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The Baseball Game

It was Spring, 1960.

The last day of fifth grade.

The last day of school.

There were two fifth grades in our small town elementary school. I don’t know how we got split into two grades back in those days, but for the most part we stayed with the same group of classmates all the way through elementary school.  There was always a bit of rivalry between the two classes whether it was a spelling bee or just playground games.
On the last day of school, there was a tradition of a baseball game between the two classes and we all looked forward to that game.  We also took it very seriously.

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We had practiced at recess time for weeks and we had picked our positions.   Someone in the class must have taken charge because I don’t remember much teacher participation.  We talked about sportsmanship in class but it seems like the teachers left all the details up to us.  Most of the students were excited about the game, and of course,  beating the other fifth grade meant owning the bragging rights of the victory.

Everyone played. I was a tomboy and my older brother  had taught me to pitch and catch and bat.  I’m sure I thought I knew more than I really did about the game.  Gary, and Jim, and Randy were all good players… they probably were our unofficial team captains.

Everyone brought their own equipment.  It was important to have the right bat… the one you were used to using. And it was important to have a baseball glove… which I didn’t.

I begged my brother to let me borrow his glove and since he had two, he let me have the old one. Never mind that he was left handed and I was not. It didn’t seem to make much difference to me, I had learned to play that way.
I don’t remember the details of the game… after all, it’s been almost sixty years. But I remember not striking out, getting to first base, and catching a popup fly ball. And I remember that our class won.  It was a great way to end the school year.

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my small town school

It’s a good thing we didn’t know what the future held. In just a few years we watched and cried as our beloved President was assassinated in Texas. Fast forward a few more years and we watched Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Kennedy’s younger brother Bobby being shot. We watched friends and classmates head off to college, to work, to start families, and to Vietnam.

The world was a chaotic mess during those years.  Lots of civil rights movement protests, protests against the Vietnam War,  Kent State Shootings.  It really was the best of times and the worst of times.  The world was suddenly full of difficulty and responsibility and complications we had never imagined.

I suppose that’s why the memory of the baseball game has stuck with me all these years. It was something to hang onto when the world seemed to be falling apart.

It seemed so important back then, such a simple thing as a baseball game, on the last day of school.

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Dad

Dark winter mornings filled with mud and snow.

Muggy summer sunrises sweating before the work was even begun.

A hard life of  labor, washing the teats of the cows before milking, mixing milk replacement for the calves, hauling water and bales of hay and straw by hand until the tips of his fingers split open and bled from the cold and the wet. Never outwardly complaining, taping his fingers and his boots and working through it.

It was a hard life and he wore it well.  The old rubber boots were just part of the story.  There was so much more.

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photo credits: Courtney Wright

Friday Fictioneers  hosted each week by Rochelle-Wisoff-Fields.

 Read more stories at this link…

https://www.inlinkz.com/cs.php?id=779073

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