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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh, hey! Did I see what I thought I saw?

Today I took the day off, sort of anyway, and a friend and I went to Florence.  For my out of state friends and family, Florence is a little town west of here and sort of on the edge of the mountains.  It is a 25 minute drive up there and since my son and his partner live there, it is a trip I make fairly regularly.  Nancy and I found the farmers market in the park and picked up some green stuff.  Then we walked up Main Street and toured several antique shops.  She picked up some plates she was looking for to finish her kitchen.  Florence has more antiques per square foot then anywhere in the world I think.
Also has some things that are just eye catching!
And fun to look at!

The Rose Bud Cafe proved to be a very good choice for breakfast.
A farewell look up the street.
Since I had to be back in Pueblo before 2:00 we loaded Amanda in the car so we could drop her off at her house.  And then I beheld a sight that was not something I was used to seeing!  What appeared to be a man walking his dogs proved to be much more than that.  It was a man walking his dogs alright, but only 2 of them were dogs!  One of the dogs was a cat!   

And a very well behaved cat it was.  I stopped my little Focus right there in the middle of the street, because I am here to tell you, I thought I had gotten some bad weed!  Cats are just way to independent to be led around on a string.  This is the exception.
So say hello to J Roberts and his dogs Taylor and Lucy.  And this, my friends, is 
Mr. Kitty!
So I bid a fond adieu to Mr. J. Roberts and his little family of Florence, Colorado.  You made my day.  Thank you so much and hope to see you the next trip!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The dining room table.

This is my dining room table.  This is not how it usually looks.  It is usually piled high with mail, groceries, something I placed there that needs to go some where else, a chain saw that needs sharpened, etc.  Early in life I learned that the table was the hub of the home, the one place the family gathered every day.  We ate all our meals there.  We did our home work there.  Some times we just sat there and talked, or listened.  The one in Nickerson had a kerosene (might have been coal oil) lamp in the center.  (A lamp went in the center of the table as opposed to a lantern which hung on a nail by the back door and was used to light our way to the outhouse. )  We could set there and do our homework and watch momma iron.

This was taken back in July of 2013 (  read that blog here ) when I had a cook out for the British Motorcycle club that Sherman had helped start  in 1986.  It was the one year anniversary of his passing and he has now been gone two years.  Miss you, Sherman!  But I digress.

This is a lunch I threw together for Sister Nancy, Sister Barbara, Faye Gallegos, Maxine Hale, and Nancy Williams, just because they are friends with a lot in common.  Read that blog here.  And a good time was had by all.  Take a look under the table and tell me what you see.  Oh, Elvira!

See her!  Isn't she cute?

If this table could talk!  In my mind I see Kenny reading the paper.  He always sat with his back to the door. I remember when we first moved to this house back in 1982.  We were not married at the time and we had a Formica table and a puppy named Chili Dog.  Chili ate the rung off one of the chairs which made things pretty tacky.  A year after we moved in we eloped.  It was -15 degrees and two days before Christmas.  When we arrived home after the ceremony which was held in a senior citizen high rise in Canon with 2 witnesses we did not know, we found a bottle of cheap wine on the table.  Thanks, Gene Baugh!

Back on track here.  The first purchase we made when money was available was this table.  We wanted an oak table with claw feet so that is what we bought.  We bought chairs that were oak and finished them to match the table.  If this table could talk!  It is definitely the center of my world.  It saw the kids all raised and gone and it saw grand kids and great grand kids come to visit and one get adopted!  He holds the past, the present, and the future, just like the one back home when I was a kid.  In my mind this table is my life in a nutshell.  

It is always a shock to me when I go into some one's home and they do not have a table.  I remember the first time I went into one of my kids homes and there was not a table. 
 "Where do you eat?"  
"We set on the couch." 
And it goes without saying, "We watch television and have no idea what we ate."  

I often wonder how one carries on a meaningful conversation while the television is blaring and one is balancing a plate on their knees.  I think all of my kids now have tables and chairs.  They also have the mate that came with the table!  

I do not remember if the table of my childhood had matching chairs.  I don't think so.  I do know we were not allowed to tip the chair back.  That was just a no-no from forever.  Grandma had a claw foot oak table.  Some times I just set and think back how simple life was in those days.  We always had "Sunday Dinner".  It was a chisled in stone thing.  We would have pot roast or fried chicken.  Sometimes Jake shot a bunny and that was special.  The rest of the week we pretty well foraged, but Sunday Dinner and the claw footed oak table were things we could put money on as lasting forever.

I do not know where my childhood table ended its term of service, nor do I have any idea where mine will go when I no longer have use for it.  I am hoping that one of the kids will want it because it brings back the memories that mine brings back.  And I hope wherever it goes, that it keeps the cigarette burn on it that my Kenny left for me.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Finishing up my grade school years.

I remember little about my grade school years and whether that is by choice or chance, I know not.  Every year we had a class picture made and every year I was on the end of the front row because we were grouped according to height and I was pretty much the runt of the litter, so to speak.  I remember we had to walk to a seperate building for music class.  Miss Barkiss was the teacher and she later married David Houston, who was the son of the Principal at Nickerson Grade School. I do know I could not hit a note if my life depended on it.  I still remember her making me stand in front of the class and how hard I tried to hit middle "c" what ever the hell that was.  I don't think I have hit it yet, though I do love to caterwaul the country music I grew up listening to on the radio.  When it was time for the annual music program, Miss Barkiss gave me the job of announcer since I could not sing, but my voice carried and she needed some one whose voice carried.  I loved that.  I could stay behind the curtain with my microphone and no one could see me.
Most of the school work I considered stupid and did not bother doing it.  Poor mother!  I remember  a few of the kids I went to school with, but really don't care what became of them, although I do wish them well.  Nancy Cuthberson who's dad was in constuction and they had 2 Great Pyrennes dogs that I was terrified would step over the fence and eat me.  Martha Knobloch was a pianist and we were taken to her recital which was held at her home and we had to dress up and we were most uncomfortable, but for years after I would point at her house and tell whoever I was with that I had been inside that home and it was beautiful!  Barbara Hawk was the daughter of the dentist and my best friend.  Mother cleaned house for Mrs. Hawk and sewed for them.  I remember once I was over there and Mr Hawk made us an ice cream with a cherry on top and mine fell off and I cried like a baby, so he gave me another one.  There was Joan Moore, Beth McGonigle, Linda Schlatter, Gary Battey, Earl Kelly, David Sjoborg who's older brother was at college and died in a car wreck.  Irene Rienke, Evelyn Piper, Loren McQueen, Kenny Fenton, Ronnie Beck, and names that completely elude me.
In 8th grade 2 new boys arrived on the scene.  Billy Newman and Steve Dorrell were from the big city of Hutchinson.  The were cousins.  I had no idea what cool was, but one look at Steve and I knew the definition of cool, super cool, and coolest thing in the world.
Remember Fonzie?   The Fonz?  Steve exuded cool and never let on that he even knew us little girls were batting our heads against a stone wall.  He wore blue jeans with the belt loops cut off so they rode down his hips just a tiny bit.  He wore a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up exactly one and a half turns.  And the collar up in the back, but laying flat in the front.  His black hair was combed into a duck tail and every hair was held in place with axle grease.  Billy was just there, but when Steve walked in the room he arrived and when he left, he sucked the air out of the room.  He was skinny, giving him the lean and hungry look  He was my first honest to goodness crush, and bless his heart, he had eyes only for himself.
I do not remember graduating from grade school.  I don't think it was a big deal back then.  I just remember reading on my report card that Louella Bartholomew was promoted to grade 9.  That was it. Grade school was behind me.  Off to the big High School on the other end of Main Street.  But, alas, before that could happen my life took a bit of a turn and I was sent to Plevna, Kansas to take care of grandma Haas and Great Grandma Hatfield, thus seperating me from classmates I had gone to school with for 8 years.
Stay tuned.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The church on the corner.

When I was in the 5th grade, Miss Swenson the teacher, decided I had a brillant future as a poet.  She asked mother's permission to submit some of my work to Jack and Jill magazine.  I could write reams back in those days, unless some one wanted me to, and then I was blank.  As I recall I did manage to give her something and she mailed it off to the magazine, but I never heard any more about it.  Childish dreams dashed in the forgotten world of adults.  Probably her fault I am screwed up today!
Seventh grade proved to be very traumatic for us kids.  Mother was diagnosed with cancer and was put in the hospital and operated on immediately.  By this time Josephine was already married and so we were sort of left in the lurch with no one to take care of us except dad.  Now what that man knew about taking care of kids was exactly nothing.  He assumed on some level that since Mother was not there, we  would not need to eat.  Neighbors took pity on us and we did not starve.  You can not tell by looking at me today that I ever missed a meal!
When Mother came home, she was "bedfast" which meant the little bed in the front room was where she spent her days.  That way she could look out.  As I recall there was not a whole lot to see out there, but she was in a prime place to see it if it were to be seen.  She had received lots of cards while in the hospital so she spent time reading those, over and over again.
The ladies at the First Christian Church on the corner of Main Street and across the street from the school came to call and decided that since school would be starting soon, they needed to sew us girls new dresses for school.  We were measured and measured again to make sure the first measurements were correct.  Then the day came that they met for the "sewing bee".  I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.  I was going to have a new dress!  This would be a fancy dress made just for me and it would not have the words "Gooch's Best" any where on it.  At least I hoped not.  Dad was beside himself because those old biddies were sticking thier noses in our business.  They thought he could not take care of his family.  The fact that they were right was entirely beside the point.  I was going to have a new dress.
The day came when they brought the dresses and we tried them on so they could see how they looked and if they fit properly.  To my amazement I recieved 2 dresses.  I could hardly contain myself.  I could hardly wait for the first day of school.  It did finally come.  To this day I can not remember what color my dresses were or what they looked like.  Seems like one of them had stripes and one had flowers, but you could not prove it by me.  Mother cautioned us not to be "putting on airs" because we had new clothes.  I don't think I did, but nonetheless, my day was shattered when a boy in my class said, "Oh, ain't you something in your new clothes?  My mama said the church ladies made them because your momma is dying and can't take care of you.  Says you are poor as church mice."  Well, that pretty much did it for the happiest day of my life.  Needless to say, Mama wasn't dying, but it made for a long day.
Got into a lot of trouble that year.  Got sent to the office for saying Loren McQueen had cooties.  What ever cooties were.  I only said it because some body else told me that.  Seems like that was also the year Mrs. Wells had her baby in the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I sure wished we had an indoor bathroom, but that would not come for many years.  Oh, and I am here to tell you, an outside privy certainly leaves a lot to be desired.  I am amazed to this day that my digestive tract ever worked, between worrying about falling through the hole and living in mortal terror that a black widow spider would bite me on my tender tush!  And then there was that trip out in the middle of the night and having to worry about mountain lions and gypsy's and God only knew what else.  How did I manage to survive in that world?
Seventh grade ended with a bang.  The last day of school was always a picnic.  The band played and the kids ran around and it was so much fun.  Well, sort of.  That was the year the band was playing and a bird flew over and did a number on Gay Withrow's hat as she played whatever insturment she played.  Sure sucked to be her!
But the best thing about the whole year was that since the ladies made us clothes, mother felt obligated to attend church.  Thus began my early religious training.  I wanted to know all about this man named Jesus.  I was crushed that this man had died on the cross.  If I had only known him my life would have been perfect, but now he was dead and I would never know him.  I did finally get it straight, he had died for me, so I could have life everlasting.  That is something I never forgot.
I joined youth group.  I always memorized more verses than anyone else.  I loved that church and I loved the minister, Rush Barnett and his lovely wife, Genevive.  I wanted to be a missionary and go to Africa.  He talked to me about it and the plans were made.  Many hours were spent in there home and it was there that I was happiest.  And then the inevitable happened.  Rush J Barnett was transferred to another church.  I don't remember who took his place, but it was a man who did not much like kids and I was a kid.  We still went to that church, but the youth group ceased to be.  When we quit going, no one really seemed to care.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Back to the good old days where I am safe!

I like it back here when I was still at home and mom and dad were the adults.  Mostly mom.  Dad hung out in the pool hall every day.  This was a place where the old men stopped in to play dominoes and shoot the breeze.  I think they might have sold beer there because us kids were not allowed to go in the place unless it was an emergency and there better be blood involved and it better be squirting. And there must have been a pool table or why else would it be called a "pool hall"?
He was paid a stipend by the man who owned it and he was also allowed to drink coffee or something.  Dad had given up drinking by the time we left the Ailmore place.  Something about alcohol poisoning, some body's husband and God only knew what else.  Oh, he still had the occasional "hot toddy"  which was made with corn liquor, sugar and hot water, but that was only for his cold which he had a lot of colds back then.
On one side of the "pool hall" was the city jail.  It was a small concrete structure about 10' x 10'.  I understand there was a cot in there and bars to keep the miscreant on that side of the room.  I am not sure anyone was every put in there, but I heard stories.  If you spit on the sidewalk, you would go to jail.  If you said a cuss word where a lady could hear you, you went to jail.  (Now I do not know just what yard stick was used to decide who was a lady and who wasn't, but I heard plenty of cuss words and no one was ever arrested on my behalf!)  If you were falling down drunk and making lots of noise, off to the hoosegow with you!  Mostly I just remember the "peace officer"  sitting on a chair in front of the jail some times.  Not very often and I do not remember his name, but he was skinny.
A side story here and then back to Main Street.  Up the street from us lived Jake Smith, who was a retired peace officer.  He showed us the badge and it said "Jake Smith, peace officer."  He also showed us a gun.  It was a pistol and had a very long barrel.  I could not sleep for many nights after that because it was very scary to think that a gun with real bullets was on the same street where I lived.  Jake Smith liked to sit in his front yard on a wooden chair which was leaned back against a tree.  He fell asleep most afternoons and Jake and one of his buddies took a rope and tied him to the tree while he was asleep.  He could be heard cussing away when he woke up to his dilemma!  He never figured out just who was responsible, but he had a pretty good idea.  Back to Main Street.
On the other side of the pool hall was Coringtons Dry Good.  Might have been Woringtons, I am no longer sure.  One wall was bolts of fabrics and things needed to sew.  There were dishes, pots and pans, linens, clothes, coats, tea towels, shoes, tools, nails,and on and on. Mrs. Corington ran the store and she was a buxom lady who never had a hair out of place.  She used to watch us with her arms folded across her chest and I always had the feeling that if I touched anything she would rap my knuckles with a steel rod that she had hidden some place on her person.  I remember how proud I was when I finally had $4.00 to buy a pair of boots that were in the window for years.  They had fur around the top.  These were real boots and not  galoshes.  Galoshes were black and had buckles.  These just slid on my feet over my shoes.
The library was on the corner.  There were many shelves of books and that was heaven for me.  Reading was my escape back then.  I remember how proud I was when I found a book titled Bartholomew Cubbins and the 100 Hats.  Or something along that line.  There were books with pictures albiet black and white mostly, but still pictures!  National Geographic had naked women in it sometimes, but we were not allowed to check those out.  As I recall, that is where I first found Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House on the Prairie series.  I read all the books she wrote and worshipped her, well right up until the series came on tv and for some reason I could not stand the innocent little wretch who played Laura in the series.  Forgot her name.
My Antonia by Willa Cather was another, but that was a tad bit racy for my young mind and I am not sure the librarian even let me check that out.  Back in those days the librarian was always an old maid and she stayed in the back with a curtain for a door.  Not sure she lived there, but if she did I am sure she lived alone.  They were also called "spinsters".  I did not want to be a spinster, I was sure of that!
On the corner going towards the school was the grocery store and drug store.  Drug store had a soda fountain and if we had a few extra cents we could get a cherry coke or a vanilla phosphate, whatever that was.  Ingalls candy store and school supplies as on the same side of the street, but a block up. They had a candy counter and a counter where you could get a cold drink or ice cream.  The cold drink was always in a bottle and ice cream was in a bowl.  Mother always took me there after a trip to the doctor.  I was very puny when I was a little girl.  Tonsils were my problem.
Well, I have to go to the Springs today, so I need to get around.  Much as I hate to leave Main Street, I must.  Rest assured I will be back!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

We also serve who only sit and wait. A tribute to my children.

Anyone remember this picture?  I sure do.  That was 40+ years ago when I was a single mother raising 5 kids.  No problem.  A piece of cake.  Go to work, come home, take care of the kids, cook clean, homework, fishing on the weekends and maybe church on Sunday.  I was young and the world was before me.  I never dreamed for one moment that 40 years later I would be second guessing the job I did shaping these little minds and preparing them for the world ahead.  If I had thought of that angle I would have ran down the road screaming.  But I did not.  I simply went about the every day tedium of life and that was that.
I do not have a picture of my ex-husband, the father of this brood, but suffice it to say he was a drop dead gorgeous Adonis, smart, witty, generous to a fault, but alas, we both had our faults and so a divorce was inevitable.  While I was tending to life in Hutchinson, Kansas, he set up his empire in Western Kansas.  We shared the kids as we chose to without benefit of the courts system.  Sometimes they were with me, sometimes with him.   The point being, they reached adulthood and began making their own decisions.  Far be it from me to say I approved of some of those decisions or even that I understood where they were coming from when they announced them to me, but nonetheless, they were in charge of their lives.  The older girls were living with their father when I moved to Colorado, but I do drone on, don't I.  That is all water under the bridge.
 Earl Seeger passed  at 52 years of age.  That was very young.  The girls were all married by that time and had kids of their own.  Sam was off in the world slaying dragons.  And so our lives drifted until very recently.  Last May 10, Dona Maries's  son Joe was scheduled to graduate the next day, Mother's Day.  He went to see a friend, rolled his car and has been in a coma since. 
And now I have occasion to know exactly what my kids have become from their life lessons.  Dona has been at his side since the accident.  She has never wavered as she set by his bedside waiting for him to wake up.  Patty and her girls are with her most of the time.  Debbie and her husband visit regularly.  There are no negative thoughts.  God will take care of us through this, whatever this may be.  Sam, ever my rock, has explained that this will be a very long process and has made a budget and is on top what must happen through the process.  Sue and I set home and wait for updates.  We all know what we are capable of doing and we do it the best we can.
But the most amazing part is the love that binds this family together has never been more clear or stronger.  Life tends to let us drift apart, but upsets pull us back together.  Is that how it should be?  I do not know.  I always dreamed of a touchy feely relationship, but this seems much better.  We are all there for each other and we each know it.  I strongly suspect that it has always been that way.  Mother always said "You can choose your friends, but you are stuck with your family."  I sometimes wonder if she was being sarcastic when she said that!   
So here is Dona Marie with Joey and the therapist.  Joey had been sitting in the chair for several hours and decided he wanted to stand up.  The therapist told him he could not do that, but Joey with the Seeger/Bartholomew blood in his veins was clear about what would happen.  And it did.  Not once, not twice, but several times.  Then they put him into bed and he went fast asleep.  Dona, the middle child, who neither leads nor follows, is a bulwark for her son.  After 3 1/2 weeks in a coma, he is now making rapid strides forward.  I just got off the phone with Patty and Joey is very agitated and wants out of the bed.  The best news is that he is angry.  If he is angry, that is an honest emotion.  That is good news. 
And here is the family you saw at the beginning of this blog. I have added one more child since the first  picture was taken.  Bret is  22 years old and he seems to have the same good heart that the other 5 have.  So, to make a long story short, I am thinking that when I am old and grasping at that slender little silver thread called life, that is a pretty good bunch to have on my side and I am very happy to call them my children.  And I mean each and every one of them in their own unique way. I love each one with my whole heart and I love each one in a special way.  And I think they love me.  Or at least I hope so!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Danny was a horse and baby mice hid in the vacuum cleaner.and a death in the family.

Our floors in the house were wood covered with linoleum so I never did figure out why we had a vacuum cleaner or where it came from.  I do recall that Mother kept it in the corner of her bedroom.  One day and God only knows why, she decided to pull it out and look inside the bag.  Ah!  Mother's  have a way of knowing things that mere mortals do not!  Inside the bag was 7 tiny, pink, hairless mice! She was aghast!  We gathered around and thought they were very cute and they would make lovely pets since we had no dog and Dad never let us have a cat.  This, however, was fuel for the argument that we needed a cat.  If we had a cat the mice would not be ensconced in the vacuum cleaner bag.
(Brief aside here.  We did eventually get a cat, which could not just content her/himself with mice and would eat Mother's Canary while home alone with me!)
But in the meantime we were faced with the 7 tiny mice and no cat.  Mother put them in a can and told us to go out to the front side walk and put the mice down and mash them with a brick.  Now, I hear your intakes of breathe that a mother would direct her young children to do this, but you must remember the times we grew up in.  Mice carried all kinds of diseases and something had to be done with them.  We were given the option of filling a bucket of water and drowning them.  Well, you know what good little kids we were and always did as our parents said.  This time we deviated from our chore by going instead to one of the empty buildings and made a nice nest for our new pets.  When mother asked if we had killed them, we of course lied.  Sadly when we went back to check on the mice several days later the nest was empty.  I think those things grow really fast and they moved on before we changed our minds.
Josphine was the older sister.  She had been born to my Mother and her first husband so was actually my half sister.  I found this all out later in life because it was never discussed at home.  Mom and dad had 6 kids and that was how it was.  We knew Dad had been married before and had 5 kids with his first wife.  Two of the kids, Daisy and Willie (?) had died of sand pneumonia when they were very young.  His wife had also died and he had placed the three boys in an orphanage.  Richard and Earl were adopted, but Gene was not.  What this has to do with anything completely escapes me at the moment!
When we lived on the Stroh place Dad had brought that Shetland pony home for us kids and after he kicked Jake in the head we were all afraid of him.  But Josephine was not.  She would throw a saddle on him and ride away.  She was probably 13 at the time.
Dad got a chance to pick up a brown saddle horse for next to nothing, so he brought Danny home for Josephine.  No one could ride that horse but Josephine.  Well, not that I wanted to any way.  See, my dad was in the  Army during World War I and served in the Calvary part.  He had a big hole in the bicep of his right arm.  He was bitten by a horse and if you think I wanted to be bit by a horse you are nuttier than a fruit cake!  As long as the horses stayed on the other side of the fence, I was good.  Josephine got married when she was 15 and moved with her husband to a house in the country.  She took Danny with her since that was her horse.  I do not think she rode much because she right away had a baby.  I do not know what ever happened to Danny.  I am sure when she and Charles moved into town that he went to one of the neighboring farms.  I did go stay with them sometimes and it seemed that Danny was always getting out of his fence and going visiting so some one always had to go catch him and bring him back.  They may have just quit bringing him back.
Josephine and Charles had a little girl they named Mary.  When I stayed there it was my job to take care of her.  Charles was a "rough neck" which meant he worked in the oil fields. Seems the reason they moved back into town was that Josephine was expecting another baby.  Back in those days things like having of the babies was not discussed.  I knew she was fatter than I thought she should be but did not know the reason.  They moved into a house about 5 blocks from the Strong Street house.  It was located on a corner just past the Baptist Church.  The parsonage for the Baptist Church was on the other side of the church.  I must have been about 15 at the time and so unwise to the ways of the world and where babies came from that I might have been called "stupid".   I remembered Dorothy being born while we were on the Stroh place and how I hated her because Mother had to stay in bed for 10 whole days and take care of the screaming baby.
Anyway, one day I was sent to Josephine's because Charles had to go to work and Josephine did not feel very good and I would need to take care of Mary while Josephine stayed in bed.  To make a long story short, she was in labor at 6 months!  She went to the bathroom a lot and kept crying and I just wanted to go home!  When she announced "The baby is coming!  Do something!  Hurry!"  I did the only thing I knew what to do and that was run to the parsonage and blurt out to the minister what was happening.  He called the grocery store and told his wife, who was a nurse, to get home quick.  It was very clear that he was not going to stay with Josephine and I would have to go back because Mary was there.  I lived 16 lifetimes standing by the front door with Mary waiting for the ministers wife.  When she pulled up outside I grabbed Mary and ran to my house where there was no crying, screaming sister.  
As soon as I blurted out to my mother what was happening she headed to Josephine's.
To make a long story short, the baby was born dead.  For years I lived with the guilt of what I should have done, but in the end there was nothing anyone could have done.  We had the funeral in the front room of thier home.  The funeral home guy brought the baby over in his car with the tiny coffin placed on the back seat.  Baby Boy Burch lay swaddled in a blue blanket with a tiny hand holding the blanket in place.  He looked like he was just sleeping.  That was so sad.
That story always upsets me so that is the end of the writing for today.