Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 4

A continuation of list started yesterday

13.    She's a complete technophobe.
                            I don't think she did ever learn how to set the VCR
14.    She makes me feel needed.
                                                Each of us was important and she let us know why and what talents we could offer that maybe someone else could not.
15.    She showed me a great example of a successful marriage.
                        I had believed that all families were like my family - that the mom and dad loved one another and that the children enjoyed being a part of the family.  I didn't realize that there were many who had squabbles or came from broken homes.  When I think about it,  I guess even mom came from a broken home.  Her parents used to squabble.  She said there really hadn't been harmony in the home until after her dad left, and that it was all somehow shaken up again when her mom remarried.
                        Mom had set several goals for herself - one was that there would never be a divorce.  She also would do her best not to have to raise her family in an apartment. Mom and dad were a great example of a great marriage and great family life.  I have often told people that I must be from a "fairytale" family as people don't believe we could love and respect one another the way that we have. 
16.    She was a good wife.
17     She loves to travel, and we love traveling together.
                        Corey relates the experience of the two of them riding the hovercraft - which is hilarious.  I am actually the only one of mom's children who hasn't been to Europe.  
                        When mom had dementia, she believed she had traveled to places that she really hadn't.  I brought a map and put it in her room.  We put silver stars on places where she had been to physically and colored stars marked all the places she had only been to in her mind.  For the most part she had  "just driven there for the day" .  Greenland had been among those places
18     She took us on many family trips
19     She taught me not to judge people.
                        Mom always saw people for who they were on the inside.  She didn't take notice of a person's race, religion or scars.  She worked with a guy who had a disfigured face and she managed to overlook it.  When he showed up at work one day to share the exciting news that he'd be getting a facial operation she asked him why.  He was puzzled that she'd ask, but she really had learned to look beyond the deformed features that most people saw.
20.    She lets me live with her still.
                        I suppose many parents are anxious to see their children leave the "nest" - mom was not.  We could have all lived with her forever as far as she was concerned.  For 39 years I believed I would.  It's not that she didn't want to see us spread are wings and grow.  She was encouraging about that, but still melancholy with seeing us leave - especially when it started feeling permanent.
21.    She helped me gain an appreciation for current events and the news.
22.    She often agrees with me politically and has some liberal views.
                        I thought one of us had posted to our blog about the painful experience we had with taking mom to vote for what would be her last time.  She was very confused, and Corey had asked her who she wanted to vote for, and wrote down the names on a paper and asked for someone to guide her through figuring the punch card would be even more of a challenge.  (We don't have that in Oregon; the entire state votes by mail.  See here) It would have been easier if we had been able to do it that way that particular year.            
23.    She let me have a cat when I was young.
                                    I don't recall Patrick or Kayla ever showing an interest in an animal as with did Corey and I.  I think I actually had gone through more cats than did Corey. Mom had also had at least one cat when she was growing up.  She said her pregnant cat had babies in her closet on top of a slip that had been left in there.  The cat was quite protective of her babies and would snarl at mom, I guess.  Mom was not so fond of cats after that incident.  And yet she allowed over a dozen into our house over the years.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 3

               At the time we had mom's party I had not yet started my blog nor do I think I had started reading Corey's.  Perhaps I did and I just don't remember.  He hasn't posted for a while, and so I haven't looked at his blog page much the last year and a half.  I did open his blog page yesterday to see if he had mentioned the event or what he said about it - but I couldn't find anything - not at the time the event took place anyway.  He had his own personal trial he was dealing with.  I don't know if he ever got around to reminiscing the events that took place that summer my mom turned 70. 
               He gave mom a copy of the list he had created, but not the stories he had shared at the party as he paid her tribute and entertained those who came; thus I will share his list and my own examples as I can remember them.

70 Things I Love About My Mother

1.      She's always supported my career and seen just about every show I've done.
2.      She encouraged me to serve a mission.
3.      She loves me just for who I am.
4.      She loves to play games.

                                As I hadn't started my blog until the last year my mom lived in my childhood house, I hadn't recorded much pre-dementia.  Playing games with my family was just a part of life - I thought all families did it. 
                               Mom and dad had taught Patrick and me how to play a card game called 500 which I mention here.  We would play board games.  I remember one time when the power had gone out, we played a game called SKUNK; we played by Candle light.  Even after daddy's health deteriorated, we'd continue playing games.  There was one called Encore which is a singing game.  Dad had had a series of strokes and it had become difficult for him to get the words out of his mouth, but you could see him light up, and he would think of a song, and it didn't matter which team's turn it was or how long he took - we allowed him to provide an answer and would give it to whatever team's turn  it was to play.
                               Mom didn't seem so competitive as a team player, but boy, she was competitive when it was player against player.  Corey and I were her rivals.  She would play all games with all people, but there were specifics that I talked about in this post.

5.      She's a worry-wart.
6.      We love to go to lunch together.

                                            Mom enjoyed food and loved having the company of her children. More times than not it would be just her and only one child.  I remember her telling me about going to the mall when Patrick was working at one of those gift cheese stores.  She would stop by and ask him to go to lunch and one day asked if that embarrassed him as he was having lunch with his mom.  He told her that some of his co-workers were actually jealous about it.  All of us would always have good discussions with mom when we would go out to eat.

7.      She supported my educational pursuits.

                               Mom helped each of us with our education, but we all seemed to notice it the most with Kayla who really struggled in school.  Her mind was much slower than any of mom's other children or Kayla's peers.  She required extra attention for focusing and it did not help matters that the phone was always ringing off the hook as her friends would constantly call or come over.  Thus mom removed Kayla from the neighborhood environment for a couple of hours each week, possibly every day . .  I can't remember. 

                During the summer mom would take Kayla to a local drive-in for breakfast and they would hang-out for the required time that mom had set up to help Kayla understand whatever subject that Kayla was expected to understand.  She was so diligent in making sure that Kayla received a proper education.  I have always admired that

 8.      She helped me get my first job.

                            As I had mentioned in this post: except for dad, all of my family had worked at Snelgrove's Ice Cream Store - not at the same time, mind you.  Patrick and I had both started earning wages at age 13 or 14 with paper routes, but for Kayla and Corey, Snelgroves was a first job. 

 9.      She instilled good work ethic in me.
10.    She instilled in me an appreciation of theatre and movies.
11.    She instilled in me an appreciation for reading.

                                                Both my mom and Corey were avid readers.  They could have three or four books read before I had even completed one.  I do enjoy reading.  It just takes me a lot longer.
                                             Mom was reading books again while in assisted living.  She could never tell you what she was reading, but we do know she did read.

 12.    She read stories when I was young.
                                             She also read to/with the grandkids

Monday, September 11, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 2

                Roland brought some corn into the house the other day.  He had picked it from our garden. 

I took pictures of the produce and went out to the garden to take pictures of each bed and started a post on the progress (or lack thereof) of our garden.  I stopped my thought flow around 2:30 as Jenna gets home from school between 2:30 and 2:45 and wanted to be in the front room to greet her when she returned.

            She asked if I could drive her to the youth center which she hasn't gone to for over a year.  I knew  I would have to fill out paperwork as the center requires that the information be updated each year.  It appears that the paperwork packet increases in size each year.  This year felt like a small book.

            Roland and I were in the middle of slicing apples for applesauce and apple pie.  I chose to take the paperwork home rather than to take the time filling it out at the center - besides I had the entire weekend.  For the most part Roland was okay by himself, but would call me in to assist for a few minutes here and there and so I sat on the couch and started to fill out the forms.

            Though the packet seemed thick enough to write on without something underneath, the surface was too flat and I needed for the forms to be at an angle so that it would be more comfortable to my arm, thus I grabbed a binder that seemed closest to my reach.  Now, I don't create these posts in memory of my mom's death - the binder I had grabbed turned out to be the scrapbook we had given to mom for her 70th birthday. 

            My brother, Corey, does not believe in coincidences. Perhaps my subconsciously grabbing mom's photo album was meant to serve a better purpose than a temporary desk for the paperwork I had.  Certainly these posts now are much more compelling than the topic of our unbalanced garden.  Perhaps this will trigger memories for others - if not my mom, perhaps your own.

            Of course I have gone through the album as it was already in my lap, and have read kind words and have smiled knowing how much my mom was/is loved.  My aunt had enclosed a few pictures from the past.  She said that when she met my mom, she reminded her of  Jacqueline Kennedy.  Until then I had not known that anyone had ever made any kind of comparison between her and "Jackie".

            Some of the same values that she instilled into her children were also expressed by former co-workers.  Roland drew some illustrations with captions "It seems like the older you get, the younger adults and professional become.  Children seem smarter . . . technology goes by you . . . But best of all, you have seen it all"  Her traits were addressed:

compassion, humble, enjoyable visits,  great example, service, devotion, blessing, giving, memories . . .  Each letter indicated that each had been so grateful to know my mom. I am grateful to have this great treasure in my possession.  The last page contains a card from my mom's brother and his wife.  He passed away the year that we put mom into assisted living.  His wife also had some sort of dementia and was put into an assisted living also.  She passed away just this year.  Of those who had come to the party or had sent letters, there are at least eight who  have joined mom on the other side.  I am grateful to have known them all and to read how much they loved my mom.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 1

            I enjoy looking at the memories that facebook reminds me for each day.  The thing I enjoy most is reading comments from friends who have since passed away - like yesterday morning for instance, I was reading thoughts to wish my husband and I "Happy Wedding Anniversary" for almost each year I'd been on facebook.  The last comment I read was from my mom.  I think that's cool.

            Mom was not an avid facebook user.  She seemed to allow herself to get flustered with modern technology.  The year I started my facebook account was also the first year her children all wondered if there was some instability happening with mom's mind.  I don't know if that was the first year she'd been tested for Alzheimer's.  I do know she was tested at least twice, but the results didn't show Alzheimer's - but she was in the early stages of dementia.  Many people assume they are the same thing as Alzheimer's is a form of dementia.  I personally don't understand the difference, but here's how it was explained to me:  Dementia is like a wheel and Alzheimer's is just one spoke on the wheel -  

thus everybody that has Alzheimer's has dementia, but not everyone with dementia has  Alzheimer's.  I have never heard any other names to refer to dementia except for Alzheimer's.

            Corey is more well read on the subject than any of the rest of us are - plus he has friends who had been schooled in the subject.  There are seven stages one goes through when he or she has dementia.  My mom passed away during stage five - which provided us with fun memories.  I have always been grateful that none of us had to see her at stage seven.  

            My mom turned 70 the summer of 2009.  Sunny had suggested doing a tribute themed party for her.  We would invite everybody in the ward, everybody she had ever worked with, everybody that we could remember she had known.  I made up some fliers - I don't even know how many.  I had mailed about half, emailed a few and hand delivered quite the rest.

            A neighbor had called me to ask if watch her girl who had been in pre-school with Jenna.  I told her that I had to run some errands, but if she was okay with it, I could take Amber with me.  That actually turned out to be an awesome blessing for me, as I didn't even have to stop the motor on the car.  I would hand the fliers to the girls, tell them which houses to leave them at, and made a game of it.  I think I must have picked a day that my mom was not home as we were able to hit all the houses in her neighborhood without having met her.

            When I was down to my last six invites, I asked one of the neighbors if the girls could play in her yard until I came back.  As it turned out, the neighbor was doing some gardening and the girls volunteered to assist.  The neighbor was disgusted by the amount of snails that she'd come across while gardening. Jenna and Amber would eagerly pick them up and play with them.  They each had three snails on the table when I returned.  They were watching them "race". 

They wanted to keep the snails but I told them that snails were not allowed to ride in the car.  The neighbor put them in the garbage can after we left.

            We encouraged those who couldn't attend mom's party to send a letter which might include any memories they had of mom.  Sunny provided paper and pens for those who wished to write a letter during the party.  We held it at Patrick and Sunny's house.  Their children had made a giant banner and hung it over their garage. The birthday party was great!  Mom was certainly surprised.

            Corey had a special tribute to share and read a list of 70 things he loves about mom.  He read the list of simple words or phrases, but would pause to relate an experience of why a certain thing had made it to the list.  It was an awesome program.  Wonderful memories.  Enjoyable night.

            All of her children took pictures, and Bill asked us to send in what we had and he would put ALL of our pictures on one disk. We started a scrapbook  for my mom to put the cards and letters and I added the pictures.  I had created 15 pages on the computer, but had added handmade pages with photographs and incorporated them with the letters - more than 65 pages total.

            I don't know how often she looked at it.  We brought it to her after we had moved her to assisted living.  I pasted this to the top of it: 

            I thought if she looked at it every day, she wouldn't feel so alone (not that she was, but before she met Harold, she often felt that she'd been forgotten) but she kept it in a drawer - which defeated the purpose.

            I'd forgotten that she had passed away the day after my 12th wedding anniversary date to Roland - or that she was buried the day before dad's birthday (which he didn't seem much for celebrating on earth - probably not in heaven;  though I'm certain that their reunion was a great birthday gift)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Remicing a Picnic April 2016

            I forgot to mention the office chair we had picked up at the yard sale, as the one I have been using seems to be falling apart.  I pushed it across the street with no problems, but got stuck with the loose gravel in our hillbilly driveway and stopped before I got to the paved cement walk that leads to the house.

            I was reminded of when we had first moved in - there were items that had been moved into the house, but the washer, dryer, and dining set were still outside.  Roland had gone to McDonald's and we pulled the chairs around our dining table and had a picnic in our front yard


            Took these pics of the sunset last night:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Car Wash Memories

        We went to get the car washed yesterday.  Though not an automatic carwash, it brought up memories - though not in chronological order.

Memory 1:        When Kimball learned to talk, he'd talk with such excitement that he'd often stumble over his words and came across as stuttering;  he would also put himself in third person.  Kimball LOVED vehicles, dump trucks, cranes, cherry pickers, tractors . . . you name it.  He really did know the names and what they did.  My mom thought he would be fascinated by the car wash as well.  He wasn't.  He was actually very freaked out.

        "I'm sorry, Kimball," (once in the automatic car wash has started, the driver needs for it to finish before exiting) "but I really thought you might like the carwash."

        "Kimball doesn't li-li-like the carwash.  Kimball wa-wa-wants to go."

        Grandma pointed out the light that was red and told Kimball that once it turned green we could go.  Kimball was so focused on that red light  that I think he forgot how scary he thought the carwash was.  As soon as the light turned green he cried, "Go, Grandma, Go!" 

Memory 2:        I don't know how old I was when this next memory took place.  I'm not even sure if I was in the car with mom or if I had just heard her relate it often enough that it felt as though I had been there.

        There is a sign with the directions on what one is supposed to do in the automatic car wash.  I think ROLL UP WNDOWS was number one, which she did.  But as she got closer to actually going through, she had to roll the window down to insert the coins.  She forgot to roll the window up and had just come from the hair salon.  Her next errand was picking up a prescription or groceries or something.  She pointed to her hair and told the cashier that this is what hair looks like before and after going through a carwash with the window down.  She said it gave the cashier a laugh.  But I remember her ragging on about it each time we'd go through that it specifically said to Roll Window before inserting your coin.

Memory #3      There was a carwash (not automatic) across the street from the ice cream parlor where I used to work.  I remember a group of teenage kids approaching the store after hours.  Instead of spending money on ice cream, they decided to go across the street and have a water fight using the car wash hoses.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shop, Summer, Mail

        Sometime between the birth of brother Corey and the arrival of my sister Kayla, my parents decided to finish the basement.  I moved from my upstairs bedroom to the coolness of the basement.  They also had a phone put in at the end of the hall next to the laundry room.

        I don't know how old I was, but suspect it was after I had graduated high school when I heard the phone ring.  Mom had already answered the upstairs phone by the time I got to it.  Out of curiosity, I went upstairs to inquire about the phone call.  Mom said that it was her visiting teaching partner and she'd be leaving pretty soon.

        She had just started watching the movie "The Shop Around the Corner" with Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart and asked me to continue watching it for her so that I could tell her what she had missed.  We had a VCR, I think I offered to record it.  Or perhaps the recorder wasn't working.  I don't remember why we didn't record it.  I allowed myself to get roped into watching. 
        "The Shop Around the Corner"  is an old movie from 1940.  It surprised me that mom had not seen it already it, as she certainly had watched a lot of old movies and I had suspected everything with Jimmy Stewart but either couldn't remember or had missed this one.
        The characters' names were Klara and Alfred.  They both worked at the curio shop (at least I think they did) and didn't seem pleasant toward one another - mostly her to him. During the course of the movie we learn that each of them has a penpal they are currently writing but it is done secretly so not as to reveal each other's identity.  Eventually Alfred learns that he and Klara are penpals to each other, but she doesn't learn the truth until toward the end of the movie.
        The entire time I was watching it, the plot just seemed so familiar to me.  I know that I had never seen "The Shop Around the Corner"  before, but I was able to predict what events would happen.  How is it that I knew?  I finally figured it out  just before my mom returned.
        She had been watching "In the Good Old Summertime" just a few weeks prior and had been telling me that Judy Garland's character had been receiving anonymous letters from Van Johnson's character, and she'd been writing to him - and he knew, but she didn't.  I really hadn't been interested nor do I recall ever seeing it the entire way through.  But apparently I had watched enough to see the similarities.   

        So when she returned home to ask me about it, I turned to her and said, "This is In the Good Old Summertime without music."

        I don't know why she didn't want to believe me.  So I started pointing to different characters and described what their role was.
       "Okay, that girl, there (I did not know Margaret Sullivan by name) she and Jimmy Stewart have been corresponding using false names.  And he knows it, but she doesn't know it."
        She asked me two or three questions which I don't recall, and I answered accordingly.  Finally, she came up with a question that only applies to one movie, but not the other.

        "What about the violin (or other stringed instrument; I forget)"
        "What violin?"
        I can't even remember what explanation she gave of why it was important to the story.
        "There is no violin.  But there is a curio box"
        "Oh, this is not the same movie at all."
          According to, "In this musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner, feuding co-workers in a small music shop do not realize they are secret romantic pen pals." We did not have (or know about) IMDB back then and so I was unable to prove my point.

       Several years later, "You've Got Mail" was featured in Theatres.  Instead of Penpals, Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) would email one another.  Rather than exist as co-workers, they were actually business rivals.  I love that movie.  I loved Meg Ryan's character.  Of the three, it is my favorite. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Things We Learn

          In these two posts (here and here) I mentioned how much Jenna loves learning about her family members. Until we had played Chatter Matters, she hadn't known that Roland used to play the trombone - or anything about his childhood really.  Usually it's just her and I, but she did manage to rope Roland into playing with us between conference.  After she won the game, we continued to go through the "family room" and "my room" cards so that Jenna could know Roland a little better. It reminded me of when my sibs and I would force the Ungame questions upon my dad.

          My parents actually did three listed on the card - hiking was more of a seasonal activity  or annual thing - and it was usually a part of either a daytip or full vacation so the specific places we hiked were Yellowstone National Park or Timpanogos Cave in American Fork, Utah.

           I don't know that shopping was ever restricted to just the weekend.  Movies also occurred on days other than the weekend.  I chose number one for myself as they took us to church which falls on the weekend.  By process of elimination, Jenna and I guessed that Roland's family would go shopping choosing from just those four.  Church was definitely out and they didn't seem like they'd be much for hiking. His parents (well his dad in particular) liked to have drinking parties - but that wasn't on the card.

          I remember going to the drive-in theatres when I was younger.  Mom and Dad had taken Patrick and I to one drive-in theatre called the Woodland.  The walls that surrounded the theatre were decorated in colored bubbles - like on a loaf of Wonder bread - but with more colors. 

There was a playground area for children to play before the movie started or even during intermission (because there was usually a double feature or sometimes movies that actually had an intermission; but we may have been asleep by then. 

          I also remember going to different movie theatres with my family both as a child and an adult;  Roland says the one and only time he'd ever gone to the movies with his parents is when he was an adult and had paid for all three of them to see "Kelly's Heroes"


Not all multiple choice, but once again Jenna and I had both predicted that Roland would answer "Watching TV".  I don't remember actually ever sitting down to watch TV as a family - unless it was something like "The Wonderful World of Disney" 

Mostly we played games or talked.  I don't know any families who read together.  Unless it's the scriptures - which I don't imagine would amount for "more" time spent.

          I don't know that Roland's family watched TV together either.  It was long before cable, and the TV offered only three stations.  There were no remotes and so the kids had to act as the remote and turn the station to whatever dad wanted to watch. 
       We learned that his father had only a fourth grade education and would often get drunk and come home and line up his children and say, "Your mother and I don't owe you a living".  I think my mom's dad may have been that way.  She said she was scared of him and when he would get drunk he would smack her mom around.  She was determined to give her children a  family environment different from the one in which she had been raised. 
         Roland's family didn't believe in families like mine - nor did I have any clue that families like his existed.  As I grew up, I realized that my family was not the norm. when we had all worked for Snelgrove's, for example, (each of us having worked there except for my dad) we would take the change out of our pockets and Kayla's would remain on the kitchen table for a few days.  None of the rest of us would take it as we knew it did not belong to us.  The money would have been gone in a heartbeat with many other families. The older I get, the more unrealistic my family seems.  That's too bad. 

          I don't know about Roland's side, and I don't believe he knows either.  But he counts Uncle Ted as family, and so with this question we all answer Uncle Ted - who celebrated his 100th birthday in February (I don't know why I didn't post about it to my blog; I did to facebook)

          My parents met at a Church dance.  I was surprised to learn that Roland's parents had met at a dance also.  He said his dad had been going with another girl at the time but had told his mom that someday he was going to marry her.  I think she just laughed it off - probably rolled her eyes as I did when Roland proposed to me.

          It had surprised us all when Roland said his favorite movie was/is "Oh, God, you Devil"  He received it for Christmas one year because he had said it was his favorite.  I have only seen him watch it one time.
          It's great how some memories will trigger others.  I think these questions are great conversation starters and I am happy that Jenna prefers this interaction over spending time on electronic devices.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Don't Wish to Be Normal or Average

                I always thought I was unique about seeing faces in patterns or saying a certain vegetable or color that is not the same one that everybody else thinks of.  Jenna has watched a lot of "Brain Games" and as I have watched it with her, I have discovered that I fall into the norm.  What?!  I don't want to be normal.  I want to embrace my differentness.  What differentness?

                Last night Roland and I were watching 20/20 (found here and here) in which Diane Sawyer interviewed a number of people and took us into a piece of their lives and I cried about the struggles of the average American working hard for so little - holding multiple jobs just to stay afloat.  And that is what most of us are doing - just staying afloat.

                My parents weren't the wealthiest of couples, but my dad was GREAT at math and budgeting. With the help of clipping coupons and knowing where to find the great bargains, mom and dad made it work.  They gave us everything with what little they had.  Every year my family would go on a vacation together.  Every year.  The one year that we couldn't afford to go on vacation, we spent each day doing family outings.  (see here and here)

                I had wanted to do that with my family whenever I had one.  I didn't know I would be so dirt poor that just going to the movies would break us.  I know there are many who are better off than we are (financially anyway) but apparently we're still doing better than average.  And that's scary.  What kind of a nation are we living in that people are donating their plasma to make ends meet or try to provide their child with a birthday gift or sleeping in their cars during the day so that they can taxi other workers home at day's end?

                Why is a firefighter doubling as a paramedic not getting paid a decent salary?  Firefighters put their lives on the line for us and they're only getting minimum wage?  What kind of crock is that? Why are so many educators working second and third jobs?  Why are so many people spending so many hours apart from those they are trying to support?

                This morning we were watching a documentary on the roots of Joseph Smith - how his father had been cheated out of a sale made, how the family moved from place to place and continued to struggle.  Evidently, we stand in good company.

                We have always had a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear.  Currently, Roland does not have to travel to work which saves for gas money and wear and tear on the car.  He hasn't had to spend 2-6 hours on the road to get to McDonald's just to make ends meet.  We have been blessed.  

                I still would like to take our entire family on vacation.  I'd like for all of us to go to Disneyland in October.  That is when mom and dad were married, and that is where they spent their honeymoon.  It would be hurtful to go at the expense of somebody else - struggling just to put food on the table.  It makes me sad.  It would be truly amazing if Trump could single-handedly turn us around.  Six more days.  Kayla's birthday.  What a thrill getting a new president inaugurated every four birthdays.  LOL