What she said…

Yesterday marked the culmination of a job well done. My sister Rita has been systematically leveling the mountain that fell from the sky and landed in her path back in May, and she finally has it whittled down to a small foothill. There are the inevitable details, formalities, and legalities to wrap up, but what looked like an almost insurmountable task six months ago is coming to an end.

If you’re a regular reader you know that Rita’s lifetime friend Joy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Mets this past May, whereupon Rita became her full-time caregiver. When Joy died in August, Rita began the process of closing out the loose ends of her life for her. She found a realtor, sold the house without having to list it, and started sorting 27 years’ worth of living for a fortunately very organized Joy. She engaged an amazing Lawrence woman to help her sort, stage, and hold a 2-day estate sale on all four levels of the house and in the garage, which wrapped up yesterday. People couldn’t have been nicer or more polite, and only a couple approached the door maskless, which was gratifying after long absence from humanity. And bazinga! Other than a few items left to move, the houseful of treasures we’ve all been looking at for the past several months has been shared to the community. Joy, a truly giving soul, would be happy to know that, and to know that Rita carefully put aside all the things that might have significance to Joy’s remaining family, which a mutual friend will deliver to them soon.

So after the house closes, it’s just Rita and Preston, Joy’s sixth rescue dog, fifth English Springer Spaniel, who’s elderly, probably deaf, and a little crippled up, but sweet as pie. And Jade, Rita’s rescue cat from New Mexico, who’s decided to tolerate Preston. For now.

Time can be friend or foe, but enough of it and things happen, step by step. I’m straight solid proud of Rita for the calm, competent, determined way she’s handled everything from the minute it all started, once she flipped the required internal switch. I know she’s been taking care of situations forever, so I’m glad for a chance to see her in operation. Baby sister, my ass.

Image

Hope on a Sunday… page 122

Day 219 – 10/18/2020

The intrepid PickleBallers are in dire need of a safe place to play indoors, but SPL is open for limited fitness activities only. Our typical short fall is morphing into early winter for now and outdoor play is becoming no bueno. So Kim borrowed my headphones and went for a long walk while I was sleeping this morning, and now he’s playing electric guitar, I’m noodling as usual, and we’re both waiting for hunger to strike and then it’s omelet time. Our high temp today is expected to be 49º so the spa soak will be from HEA-vun!

Less rain this year so the leaves are not quite as vivid and they’re dropping fast. Fall is such a metaphor for what’s happening in the world, and a present reminder that hope carries us until spring… every time. Thinking of all that’s changed in eight months, that’s one thing that remains – hope – and I’m trying to wear it on my face these days. I started realizing a couple of years ago that I have little need for mirrors now – my hair’s a no-effort deal, I bother with zero makeup except on rare occasions, I’m well-acquainted with my face after all this time, so mirrors are slightly superfluous and I forget to look, which naturally follows when one is neither jarring nor arresting to look at.

But the thought that follows from that is this: how much have my countenance and underlying substance been altered by the hours, days, weeks, and months here in my ivory tower? When we finally see our “boys” again, will I catch an “Omigod, Mom!” glint in their eyes before they check themselves? Have I gradually and imperceptibly melted and re-compacted into a zombie-like being who absorbs the hits, one by one, and keeps slogging forward? Or is that just how it feels from inside my head?

Rita stopped by yesterday for some fun catching up – she looks amazing despite her stress and exhaustion, and she’s getting on the downhill slope of things. Spring holds out hope for ALL of us! Odd to be thinking in those terms, maybe, since summer barely ended, but in the words of a favorite author:

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” – Barbara Kingsolver

Live right in it… the hope. While the wind blows, the rain spatters, the snow falls and whips around us… live right in the hope. By spring we’ll know what sort of nation we are and what we personally will do with that. By spring maybe we’ll start getting a handle on the current pandemic before the next one hits. Maybe spring will bring some room for healing… repairing and rebuilding some of the vital relationships… putting things back together in this society we’ve made. I hope so.

Image

The circle… page 115

Day 210 – 10/08/2020

Yesterday’s task with Rita was sorting a six-drawer dresser packed to the gills with old and newer family photos – not ours, but people we knew so not all mystery. This is my seventh household to help deconstruct, the previous six for family members, and the impact is always the same – when life ends, it’s over. Every tiniest object that meant something special… all the carefully laundered and folded favorites… the Post-Its, the bills that keep finding the mailbox, the personal rubble left behind in jacket pockets… nobody’s coming back to see to any of that. It’s over.

So if we’re very lucky, someone who knew us, loved us, cared what became of us, shows up to make things right and tie up the dangling participles.

We were halfway to the bottom of Drawer #4, talking about how good it was to hear from Susan the day before, when we both reached for the same photo… High School Homecoming Queen Susan! The basement chill zinged up to 11 and we celebrated a sweet Twilight Zone moment – just like that, the three of us were in the same room again. Life is weird and spooky and crazy and I like it a lot. It’s good to be reminded regularly that humans aren’t one-dimensional and neither is the world we live in. Susan moved away almost two years ago and we miss the socks off of her… yesterday’s serendipity was a gift.

And just like that, life goes on. In Susan’s sweet face I see our nieces and great-nieces and the little great-great-niece we “met” last week… and Reese and Wagner genes going back as far as we want to explore. Life goes on… the circle keeps turning.

I nabbed Rita’s senior pic out of the same drawer and since I’m the equal-opportunity do-it-my-way Big Sister, I have to put it here for posterity, doubly proving that DNA-by-association has always been on my side. My sisters are my best friends… always were, really… and age doesn’t change any of that, thank the universe. 💙

So Diary… am I good or what? It’s actually Throwback Thursday, a masterstroke of timing, which bodes well for wrapping up the week on a high note. I see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 little jobs I could get done this morning and hardly move from my desk – ask me tomorrow how that went down. I’m still in Coffee & Think mode at almost 10am, so we’ll see…

Image

Moving right along… page 114

Day 209 – 10/07/2020

Okay, Diary… the day I let depression and ennui keep me holed up in the cave instead of zipping over and taking it out on Rita is the day it’s time to wake up. I’ve been in a fog since about Friday… could be fibro-fog, could be a med change catching up with me, could be IMPOTUS and The Endless Flying Circus of 2020, could be all of the above. Whatever, I had Kim wake me up by 7:00 this morning to give me ample time to regain a modicum of functionality.

After a lifetime as a farmer’s daughter, farmer’s wife, and farmer, 8am is sleeping-in for me and if I go past that I might as well burrow in and stay for another 24 hours. Yesterday was simply a wash and I’m tired of feeling anesthetized and numb, so on this sunny Wednesday morning I’ve given myself a serious Come to Jesus talk and Self is starting to get with the program here…

I’ve changed out all my desktop and application graphics over coffee, always a kick in the right direction. Next I’ll have my little bowl of cottage cheese & sunflower seeds and reintroduce my bones to the shower. I choose to stand as a human today – I’m sure I still remember how.

After a few weeks of fall weather this afternoon’s high is supposed to be 90º… a temporary blip.

Image

Tuesday’s child is full of… page 113

Day 208 – 10/06/2020

Exciting day here… a specialty company is cleaning all the dryer vents in the building. They open to the outside and involve some lengthy ductwork but fortunately not too many turns, so not as bad as they could be. The techs found a 5″ piece of PVC in ours, along with the expected rubble – could be why I sometimes have to run a load twice before it dries. Alas, they’re finished in our place, so the thrill is already wearing off.

I’ll fix that this afternoon by hanging with Rita, whose plate is growing lighter by the day. Years of experiences during my lifetime and hers convince me that humans tend to give up too soon… just before we break through to the diamonds. We’ll never know what we missed, we just sense there was something we could have had but looked away. With things utterly surreal in the country this morning, knowing there are constructive, helpful things to stay engaged in is taking me a long way. (For posterity, Diary, IMPOTUS left Walter Reed Hospital last night under his own recognizance and returned to the White House shedding virus cells in the millions. His staff is dropping with it hour by hour, and the ones remaining are worried for their safety.)

Everything’s so off the rails at this point, imma hop a hot-air balloon and watch from a bit of a remove. It’s all gonna end up SOMEwhere, sometime… and we’ll live to tell about it or not. Fatalism is my BFF.

Okay, so lunch when Kim gets home… it’s Taco Tuesday! And then some afternoon therapy with Sistah-Woman. Slopin’ on down, into and through another week… it’s good that time never stands still.

Image

One day or two at a time… page 110

Day 204 – 10/02/2020

It’s so beautiful outside I can barely stand it – the air smells fresh, the sky looks real, the leaves are leaving, as they are wont to do. I’ve sat here at my computer all morning drinking coffee… reading… writing… absorbing. The world we semi-count on for equilibrium shifts beneath us every day and we’re off on another magic-carpet ride, hoping to avoid free-fall. This morning it’s POTUS, FLOTUS, assorted leaders and staff testing positive for COVID. Just another day in paradise.

Rita sent a Play Date invite, so after Kim brings lunch home from Cielito I’ll get my lazy butt outta here and go keep her company while she works. It’s harrrrd to get moving sometimes – it requires a nudge and the right incentive.

Day 105 – 10/03/2020

I went there, did that, and it made my day, as I knew it would. I’m not much help, but at least she isn’t working in a big space all by herself for ALL the hours with only sweet Dementia-Dog for company. Maybe the fresh air was too rich, maybe the stairs kicked my butt… whatever, I came home at 4:00 and died in my recliner for a couple of hours. Honest labor is rough on a person.

We got news and pics of a brand-new great-great-niece while we were hanging out yesterday. Her mama is our great-niece… her Oma is our niece… and her great-grandma, GiGi, is our SIL, younger than both of us by a ways. Life comes at ya’ fast and it does go on. Sweet. 💕

And now it’s Saturday, sunny, in the 50s. Kim made a batch of banana mini-loaves before I woke up and now he’s over in NoLaw, presumably having found at least a foursome for PickleBall. I’ve had a cup & a half of coffee… read a few things… looked at some posts. Feels like the world’s still turning so let’s do this, weekend. How about you surprise us in good ways by Monday… ?

🧡💛💚🤎💚💛🧡

See how you are, life? We ask, we get sometimes, and you’ve already brought more sunshine. Breakfast somehow tasted better this morning than any previous Saturday in memory, and now Kim’s out soaking up the Ds, sharing his tunes with the immediate neighborhood. I still have coffee, and I saw football on TV when I walked through the big room. I can hear it at a low buzz… so soothing… so reminiscent of a life we still knew just last fall. The less I know of world news between now and Monday morning, the happier I’ll be.

And now a couple of young guys are on our corner shooting cool skateboard footage. Mellow-Man on the balcony captured this mid-air shot and my brain adds the sounds and fall aromas…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 10/03/2020

Image

Day 200 of the hostage situation… page 107

Day 200 – 09/28/2020

This does feel a lot like being held hostage by Insanity, but no, I consciously CHOSE the hermit life… or has it chosen me?

So… diary/psyche, it’ll be your job to remind me that today I actually let a mOnDaY state of mind deter me from exerting even the minuscule amount of effort required to go hang out with Rita. It took more energy to write that sentence than it would have to simply put on a bra and some shoes and drive across town. Tomorrow. Tomorrow’s another day, or so we’ve been led to expect, and tomorrow’s ALWAYS a good day for doing things. It’s even possible my brain won’t be on autopilot two days in a row.

It’s a beautiful fall day, in the 60s, air smells fresh, sounds outside feel like home, and there’s no reason not to be out there gettin’ me some a’ that, except inertia got me like… 🤷🏼‍♀️

Oh well, sufficient unto each day something something…

I’m wishing me better luck with adulting on Tuesday.

Image

An Autumn Saturday… page 105

Day 198 – 09/26/2020

Welp, Diary, it’s just you and me today – Kim’s playing PickleBall and then he’ll be in Car Show Heaven for a few hours… after he makes the Saturday breakfast, of course, and not because his wife’s a needy wench, it’s part of the weekend.

I was surprised by my pretty toes this morning after looking at raggedy pigs for months on end. Staying viably human seems really important right now for not losing sight of me and not inviting an *Undesirable* label via my icky and useless elderliness. Takes a little effort, but it never hurts to look your best, wherever you’re going.

… wearing great lipstick and nail polish. 💋
Toemail…

Sometimes, like right now, I wonder about the ways other people are interfacing with the compounded challenges we wake up to every day. Has the inescapable reality of current events caused people to dig deeper for understanding, or are the majority still managing to avoid the inescapable, as humans are wont to do. It’s only curiosity, but it would be encouraging to know that most people are looking soberly at the world this morning.

It will all be… what it will all be, and there’s a payload of peace in accepting that. My head and heart have had me in fight mode since 2015 and now they’re tired. Not giving up, not giving in, just resting in the knowledge that I’ve been faithful to say what I know and the weight of the world doesn’t rest on my shoulders. We’re at the nexus… the things that happen now will come at warp speed and they’re entirely out of our hands save for one crucial item, our VOTE. Meanwhile, attitude is everything.

“Morning will come, it has no choice.”

― Marty Rubin

Something that brought its own kind of joy yesterday… and needs to be kept for whatever posterity follows… my Uncle Vic, who turned 91 this year and has spent a lot of his life delving into and recording our family genealogy, found his dad’s, my grandpa’s, military registration card online. Grandpa joined the Army at 17 and fought at the front in the European Theater before coming home to start a dynasty, so the call-up is surprising and amusing.

Grandpa was a 43-year-old self-employed electrician with an industrial-strength family by the time this showed up. My cousin Michael, Uncle Vic’s eldest, says: It’s a draft notice, even though 1) he’d already served, 2) he had 8 kids in school, and 3) he had a son in the Navy! Grandma said, “Nice try, but you’re staying home.”

My grandpa, WWI, 17 years old
My grandparents, their nine children, and first grandchild, around the time Grandpa got his midlife draft notice.

Reese DNA is marinated in service to country and all six of my uncles served in the military, three of them in Korea at the same time.

My Uncle Vic in Korea, about age 21. The other two brothers were 17 and 19.
Uncle Vic in January 2020, 90 years old, beating a grandson at cards. You don’ wanna mess wit da’ lions. Note the Reeses mug.

That was then… this is now. They survived the unthinkable, all of them… why should we not hope for the same grace?

Let us not look forward

Nor back. Be cradled, as in

A swaying boat on the sea.

Friedrich Hölderlin

Image

Not my circus, but what about all these monkeys?… page 104

Day 197 – 09/25/2020

Plans, they change. Hanging with Rita didn’t happen yesterday, but today worked out and even better. She scheduled pedi’s for this morning, and Kim met us for lunch in Cielito’s courtyard, which was all kinds o’ fun and therapeutic as always.

Some people read my mail, Rita reads my blog – same thing – so she knows how tied in knots I am. We don’t talk much about current events lately, what’s the point, but even if there wasn’t a gut-spilling blog for her to absorb, she’d know. When we couldn’t spend time together yesterday she texted me a shot of encouragement to disallow him-who-shall-not-be-named from taking up room in my head and stealing the joy out of my heart. And to remember that it’s my life and I can willfully choose to cut out the chatter. And that we already know how dire it is, so we have to live every day like it’s our final one – because it just could be. I think my work here is done: the last has become first, the baby sister has the words the big sister needs, and the world will obviously keep on turning.

She’s right. 💋

Image

Just keep moving… page 103

Day 196 – 09/24/2020

Over seven decades of living I’ve collected a laundry list of heavy-duty experiences, but the realities of the pandemic and our crisis of government have combined to generate a climate I’ve never tried to exist in before and I wish the head part of me could be unconscious until late January with no harm done to life or limb. Karma knows I’m not asking for trouble, but I’ve never wanted this desperately to shut my thoughts off, no matter how awful things in my immediate world have looked at times. The possibilities presented by the constitutional crisis we’re being sucked into are so extreme my mind won’t shut up about them and I’ve run out of useful distractions again.

After yesterday’s sound-bites to the effect that “there won’t be a transfer of power,” I said this on my FB page:

“We’d be hatching an escape plan right about now, but no country will take us, due to Covid. Gonna be ‘interesting.’ Sounds like drama but pretty sure America is HERE —-> X.

“We have friends in Canada but they’d be unable to help, with the borders closed. It’s intriguing to see that all the responses to this post have so far been from women – these are the first things we think of when our loved ones are threatened. And isn’t it instructional and humbling to experience what most of the world has lived with forever – that frisson of fear, the knowledge that we.are.not.safe.”

Gonna grab some cheese to have with that whine.

Okay, all better now.

I rescued a little treasure this week and she’s taken up residence on my desk as a daily caution against backsliding, although she and I both know the risk is minimal. Maggie makes me smile for all the reasons.

I’ll go hang out with Rita today and the rest of the world will come ’round right for a while. Odds are we’ll laugh ’til we cry, and maybe let the tears be therapeutic before we wipe them away; we’ll accomplish enough to keep her energized and encouraged; and one more day of WTF-is-coming-at-us will have been dealt with in productive ways.

And all the women said, AMEN.

Image

There Are Heroes

My baby sister is my hero. The one our grandpa called Dutch… the child who could fall out anywhere, get puppet-walked to bed and go right on sleeping without missing a beat… grew up to be one hell of a nurse and an even better human being. She doesn’t have an RN behind her name, it’s more of an IC (I Care), but she’s a caregiver beyond measure and you’d be grateful to see her there if you needed help.

She spent three months this summer as angel of mercy to her lifetime best friend (since they were five), taking her to all the doctors’ appointments intended to address her out-of-control back pain before it was finally discovered that she was suffering not from a bad disk, but a spine full of tumors. Fifteen days later Hospice started visiting twice a week while Rita hung in as caregiver as it quickly became a full-time job, pouring love into her friend’s life while she changed sheets and finessed every detail.

I was privileged to be there with Rita as Joy took her last breath. Such love… sixty-plus years of it… heartbreaking and humbling to witness. It’s a story that’s happening about every 80 seconds in America right now with a virus moving among us, life and death played out, often with no loved ones close by… and every individual story matters. We’re so blessed if someone’s there to hold our hand and say our name and smooth Carmex on our lips as we make our exit. And if it’s from the comfort of our own bedroom with our devoted dog on the bed with us, even sweeter.

I’m so proud of my sister and her friend – there was no word of complaint that either of them had been dealt a bad hand, no going back on promises made, no shirking of the job in front of them… Joy’s to die, Rita’s to be there. It’s possible that humans are the worst thing ever to happen to planet Earth, but there are shining stars out there who pull everything together and cause it all to make perfect sense for a while. You see that circle of love and you know it’s what we live for and that it’s all worth it. In a year when everything hurts and it feels like genuine brotherly love has fled the universe, a hellish experience showed once again that if we’re supremely lucky, love and caring show up where we need them – with skin on.

Being there. It’s what you do when you love somebody.

Quintessential Joy
Rita & Joy
Rita, Joy & Caroline – the Three Musketeers – from Five to Life
Joy Anna

Image

A bunny tale…

Easter was three months ago but we all pretty much missed it so this lightly-edited return to 2013 seems okay… and yeah, still feeling sentimental. A piece I wrote seven years ago…

Yesterday for the first time in memory, Easter Sunday buried me under a huge pile of nostalgia.  You’d think Thanksgiving and Christmas would have considered that their sacred duty, but no, it was innocent pastel little Easter that blindsided me.

I’m the eldest of three sisters.  Our brother is gone, our parents, too, all of our grandparents have passed away, a lot of aunts and uncles, a few cousins, and without warning yesterday a tsunami of loneliness sent me rolling end over end.  My sisters, although close in spirit, don’t live nearby, my son and Kim’s are long hours away in different directions, so it’s just me and Pa, which is ordinarily more than fine.  The KIMN8R himself is now an “orphan by default” — grandparents, parents, step-parents, sister all went off and left him via death.  His niece and nephew, cousins and aunties live far away.  So.  We manage, and we have a very good time at it.  Yesterday was just one of those days.

The growing-up years.  Depending upon the whims of the calendar, Easter morning sometimes dawned sunny and mild, but more often cloudy, gray, and chilly.  Regardless, we four munchkins threw jackets and hats or goofy little headscarves over our jammies at the crack of sunrise and ran across the driveway to our grandparents’ big yard where Grandma was waiting with our Easter baskets.  The hedges and trees and other hidey-holes yielded up an abundance of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, candy eggs and assorted Easter-y gifts until our baskets were full. Then back home for a breakfast of waffles and bacon, followed by a mad scramble to get into our new dresses – made by our mom – white anklets, and patent-leather shoes. Our little brother was stuffed under protest into a pair of pants and a jacket, and the tie that always gave him a church headache.  As for the three of us girls, we could be found complaining bitterly about the way Mother did our hair — it looked dumb, too curly, too straight, too not right.  Caught up in the joys of motherhood, she continued the grooming ritual on the drive to church, straightening or smacking anything within arm’s reach and using Mom Spit to clean the ears of whomever was fortunate enough to grab the middle position, front seat.  When she managed to get dressed is a mystery for the ages, but at least our dad knew enough not to sit in the car and honk the horn the way one of our uncles did every Sunday.  I have to wonder if he would have lived to see another glorious Easter morn.

Once there we sat in a row, with Grandma in charge of keeping order through the judicious application of Juicy Fruit gum, pencils and church bulletins.  Our parents were in the choir shooting us the stink-eye if we whispered or giggled too much, while we pinched each other under cover of the pew in front of us.  Grandma gave it her best shot, in her Sunday dress and hat and one time wearing a pair of earrings lovingly shaped out of flour-salt-and-water paste and gifted to her that morning.  Grandpa went to church with us about once a year, at Christmas time.  He always said he wasn’t cut out for church because “When I work, I work hard. When I sit, I fall asleep. And when I go to church, I sit, so… ”

Our parents would leave the choir loft and sit with us for the sermon, during which time Daddy invariably found it imperative to clip his nails. That little task accomplished, his next aim was to free a piece of hard candy from its crackly cellophane wrapper.  His painstaking efforts to keep the whole process quiet only resulted in its taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. … one tiny explosion at a time.  If I’d been the pastor I’d have marched down from the pulpit and thumped him on the head, but I couldn’t think about it or the giggles would do me in.

Church blessedly over, we all piled back into the station wagon, our brother sighing loudly and claiming a window seat so he could stick his head out and breathe again.  He’d already ripped his tie off on the way to the car.

We’d come back home to the aroma of the Sunday dinner Mother had somehow put in the oven that morning — another mystery of time and space — shuck out of our good clothes, and start sorting our Easter basket haul.  Pretty sure we managed to stuff a goodly pre-lunch portion of it in our faces.

The afternoon usually consisted of endless egg hunts of the boiled-and-dyed variety, culminating in the cracked and battered dregs getting thrown at whichever sister, brother or cousin veered into our line of sight.  It was all fun and games until somebody put an eye out, of course.

I’ve been contemplating what sort of cosmic convergence might have set off yesterday’s blue mood, but nothing momentous stands out.  Just a little too much, maybe.  A little too much perfect day, a little too much sunshine, too much quiet, too much capacity for remembering, too much of not seeing people I love for too long.

The earth is back on its axis now and life goes on …

1951 – the year I fully realized I was no longer an only child. My sister Susan was about 3 months old that Easter.

Image

And a Monday… page 63

Day 123 – 07/13/2020

My Wagner/Stauth/Dierking/Fuhrmann DNA is pretty straight, as in straight off the boat. I have a copy of the ship’s manifest for my Great-grandma Caroline Fuhrmann Dierking’s voyage with her parents and eleven siblings from Germany to the United States on the S.S. Silesia, and I heard all the stories, still fresh, from my grandma, Caroline’s daughter.

My Reese heritage is more mysterious to me, but only because I didn’t grow up next door to it and I spent far less day-to-day time with that part of my family. My Uncle Vic’s extensive family genealogy, lovingly and painstakingly assembled over the years, is priceless. Without him I would likely never know that my grandpa, his dad’s, lines were from England, Wales, and the Netherlands, or that grandma’s were from Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and Germany. See? Mystery…

My Great-grandmothers, each holding a grandchild, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Bette if memory serves.

Great-grandma Somerville on the left was a wife, mother of three sons and three daughters – one of whom became my grandma, Jennie Reese – and she was a midwife and ran a boarding house. Unfortunately, she was gone before I arrived, but I remember visiting Grandma Cummings, my grandpa’s mother, in various tiny houses that always smelled of mothballs and peppermint. She gave me my first real acquaintance with what “jolly” meant, but I know her life wasn’t easy.

Great-grandma C and Me – 1948
My grandpa, Victor E. Reese – enlisted in the U.S. Army underage, was at the front during WWI at 18 – came home to marry my grandmother and start a dynasty.
Jennie Marie Somerville at age 15 shortly before Victor Reese met and married her. They raised a family of six boys and three girls and were married for 56 years.

4-Generations – Great-grandpa Somerville, Grandma Reese, my mother Virginia, and new-baby me. Apologies to my sisters – it’s just all about me today.
Vic and Jennie Reese with their six sons, three daughters, and their first grandchild. Grandma received the title before she was 35.
All nine Reese siblings with their mama.
Not even half of the cousins. One of the last big reunions we had.
The Queen Bee at 95, livin’ the good life at home. I was privileged enough to be with her as she left…

Image

A Sunday…. page 62

Day 122 – 07/12/2020

When nostalgia hits (see yesterday), my mental viewfinder fills up with images of family and the farm where I grew up, or at least came of age. If you liked my Memorial Day post, these photos are for you. (Link follows)

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2020/05/23/remembering/

The people in the image above are my Grandma and Grandpa Wagner, my dad and his dog Sarge, in 1933 when my dad was 11 years old. The garden in the story was north of the house but you can see my grandma’s pretty fish pond in the background, filled in before my memory because of the dust off the cattle pens and the hazard to toddler grandchildren. Grandma had plans that didn’t always suit farm living, but she never gave up.

My grandparents, my dad, about 6 yrs old, and his brother Ed, eleven years older. They had a good relationship as adults.
The Dierking sisters – Nora, Ruth, and Clara (my grandma)
My Great-aunt Ruth in flush times
The dugout/livestock barn/root cellar where the three girls grew up, shown during a visit by family in the late 50s or early 60s, long after it had been abandoned. It was outside a little town about an hour SW of where I live now.
Caroline Dierking on the right, mother of the girls – and my great-grandmother – with her sister Emma.
In Sheboygan, Wisconsin with my Great-aunt Emma and a little relative on her right whose name was Colleen.
My cousin Katie, Uncle Ed’s daughter, and I after playing dress-up in Grandma’s big upstairs closet. I was about 5 and worried that my dress would end me as I negotiated the steep stairs.
The Wagner munchkins, Rita, Judy, Susan, and our brother Danny in Grandma & Grandpa’s shelter belt north of the garden. Says 1957 so I was ten years old. And our mom was obviously curler-happy that day.

Tomorrow… barring anything unforeseen… my mom’s people. 💙

Image

Still isolating… page 53

Day 96 – 06/16/2020

In the past 3 months I’ve been inside public places a handful of times – the barbershop, the ER, my doctor’s office, and a car-service waiting room – and as a downright upright citizen I like our county’s good record on COVID-19 so far – we made page 1 of the New York Times yesterday:

This morning Rita and I met at South Park and enjoyed a walk, by order of the primary care physician we share in common. She’s wise enough to use our sister connection as medicine for whatever might ail us, and it works. The park’s about midway between our houses and it’s beautiful – populated by old-growth trees and eye-soothing flower gardens, smooth sidewalks criss-crossing the length and breadth of the space, and benches for the occasional sit-down. Rita’s a hiker, I’m not, so we strolled this morning, loosening up muscles grown accustomed to a semi-catatonic state, and talking, which is the good juju.

City workers spray disinfectant on all of the picnic tables, benches, and playground equipment in Lawrence’s 50+ parks and green spaces on a rotating basis – those spaces get well-used. Things we once gave little thought to are now part of living together as humans, much of it long overdue.

In the middle of all the insanity around us that’s beyond our control, this little city in a forest has been an oasis of calm. We hope that holds.

Peace to you, wherever you are today. 💙

A blustery spring morning on a deserted Mass Street

Photo credits: Kim Smith

Image

Previous Older Entries

Winnowing the Chaff

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click the upper right corner for current blogs or scroll down to preview each.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

A Creative Space

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Honest. Satirical. Observations.

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

Dating & Relationships

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: