Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

My Story of Dad

I posted this story last year in honor of my Dad on Father’s Day. I liked it enough that I am posting it again this year. 

Happy Father’s Day to all those who celebrate it today!

 

 

My Dad was a man of mixed impressions. He could be quick to anger and yet he loved animals of all kinds. He was soft-spoken yet when he did speak it was with authority and conviction. He was a meticulous man, very neat in his appearance and surroundings. Everything had a place and it better be in it kind of man.

He wasn’t particularly mechanical. He wasn’t the kind of man to tinker with cars. His passion was gardening. I think my dad could grow anything. I remember the time he and I had a contest with each other. Who could grow a certain kind of plant the best. We gave each other a month. I had a room upstairs and was growing plants, he had a room downstairs where he grew his. He won of course. The man just had a special touch with growing things. It was a fun contest though with lots of laughs and good times.

My Dad, Russ.
My Dad, Russ.

 

My dad died of prostate cancer years ago. He died on Father’s day weekend that year. He held on for as long as he could because he always took care of my mom. He was afraid of leaving her alone. In the three months he was in a hospice dying slowly day by day my mom never missed a day visiting him. Through all sorts of weather, my mom would be there as soon as visiting hours started till they kicked her out at night. Every day my dad would tell her things that she needed to do around the house. He would tell her what bills she needed to pay. Who to talk to about insurance when he passed. He tried to ready her for when she would be on her own.

That’s the kind of man he was. When he died, I was 1500 miles away and not on speaking terms with my mother. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out my father had passed till sometime in September of that year. It broke my heart in more ways than one.

My dad was the kind of man you could count on. He was reliable, thrifty, and smart. I don’t think he ever saw himself as smart. But he was. He was always reading something. Granted, most of those books were westerns.  His favorite author was Lois L’Amour. But he had a small library on organic gardening also. He was organic before it was ‘cool’. He was always trying new natural ways to keep pests out. He didn’t like chemicals in his garden.

My dad and I had a lot in common. Or I should say I took after my dad in many ways. I too love to read. I always feel more comfortable inside a book than socializing. That was Dad too. I’m on the quiet side, until I get to know you. My friends may be laughing about this one, but it’s true! I also unfortunately have a quick temper like my dad. I flare up, burn out and never hold grudges. Like Dad. I have my eyes and hair from my dad too. He was 100% German. I got his coloring and not my Native American mothers.

I used to love having discussions with Dad. We could talk about anything. From discussions about God or no God. Discussions on having sex before marriage (for the record, he was all for it… ha-ha). Nothing was taboo. I loved that about him. I miss that about him.

Him and I could be in the car together going someplace and not say a single word. It was okay. We didn’t have to say anything. It was a comfortable silence. Him and I communicated when we needed to and were all right with that.

I know I disappointed my Dad too many times in my life. But, I also think he knew I tried the best I could. I don’t think he was disappointed in me as a person, just some of my personal choices. Like my ex. Oh boy, my dad did NOT like my ex! He never said anything to me though. It was all in HOW the quiet in him was, his body language. It was different when he was disapproving, then when he was just his usual self. I remember when I finally decided to divorce the ex. I went home for a while with my parents. To sort my thinking out. To get away from the ex. My dad never said anything but this,

“You have to do what is right for you, even if others don’t understand.”

I never told my dad about the abuse I suffered from my ex. I never told my family much of it at all. He would have been so hurt by it and I wouldn’t do that to dad. I loved him too much. My dad was a firm believer in that a real man never hits a womanno matter what! He lived by that rule. I remember when my sister, then I, turned 13. My dad told us that we were young ladies now and that ladies didn’t get hit. After that we never so much as got a swat on the butt if we were bad. Believe me, his disappointment was enough punishment! That and his yelling. hahaha

Today is the day for Dads. If my dad was still alive, I would have called him this morning. And if I was lucky he would have talked to me on the phone, at least long enough to tell him “Happy Father’s Day!” My dad hated talking on the phone. Today would have been a good day for both of us.

I love you Dad.

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, writing

Happy Birthday to my Dad

I wasn’t going to do a post today. I’ve been a bit blue and thought the hell with it. I just wanted to have a small all day pity party for myself. But, that’s not usually me. The few times I get down, I usually don’t let myself stay there. Too dangerous to slowly slip into that black hole. Been there, I didn’t like it. Not going there again.

Most people who read my blog know a few things. One, I don’t usually post depressing stuff, especially if it’s personal. Two, I don’t post a whole lot of personal stuff to begin with. Why am I down today? I’ll tell you.

Today is my Dad’s birthday (same day as Elvis, I know). He was born in 1929, so would have been 85 today, if he lived. He died a little over 10 years ago from prostate cancer. He fought a good battle and kept it at bay for a few years, then it just spread too far too fast. He died without me being able to say good-bye, or that I loved him.

And I did love him. He wasn’t perfect. Who is? He had a fast temper and took it out on us kids growing up. He did the best he could, I think. I never held the spankings or slaps or even the occasional kick against him. It didn’t kill us kids, but it sure made us respect him and sometimes even fear him. Which isn’t always such a bad thing. We had manners and we used them. My Dad was never afraid to take us kids with when they went somewhere because we knew not to act up or make a scene. We learned to respect people and people’s things.

Other times, though he was the most loving of fathers. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell dirty jokes when he had a beer or two. He was always trying to embarrass me with them. Didn’t usually work though. I would just laugh and then ask him questions about parts of the joke. Just to show him he didn’t embarrass me, even if sometimes he did. It was a game we played.

My Dad, Russ.
My Dad, Russ.

My dad loved to play card games. Mostly cribbage. He was an excellent cribbage player and taught me how to play. I even beat him a few times. I have 3 siblings and all of us were terrified of my dad when we were young. Mostly because he wasn’t around much, he worked nights, so when he was up we were in school. When we got home, he was all ready gone to work.

He was the disciplinarian in the family, not that my mother didn’t discipline us, my father was the ultimate threat to us though and it worked every time. If any of my siblings wanted to know something from my dad, or wanted their allowance, they would have me go ask him. They said he never said ‘no’ to me. Looking back, they must be right, because I don’t ever remember him saying ‘no’ to me. The others, yes, me never. I never thought about it till my younger brother confronted me after dad died and told me I had been dad’s favorite.

My dad was referee between my mother and me. My mom and me have a long history of not getting along. Dad would step in when mom got too out of hand with me. I always appreciated that.

After he died, I learned that Dad always bragged to people about me. You see I paint, I love to paint pictures of animals, scenery, old barns, things like that. I’m completely self-taught and used to send Dad the odd little painting. I never knew how he liked them, as he wasn’t a very demonstrative man. Then I learn he bragged to all his friends that I was an artist and would show them my small gifts. Sometimes though I wish he would have told his daughter the same things.

Dad was a quiet man who loved to read westerns or books on gardening. He loved to garden and could grow just about anything. He loved animals and I share that trait with him. I also am the only one in the family that shared his love of reading and books. I suppose I am a lot like my dad and that couldn’t make me prouder.

I miss him. I miss talking to him, I miss his jokes, I miss his mannerisms. His off-color jokes, his wicked laugh and the twinkle in his blue eyes. I miss his quietness, his debates with me on whether there was a God or not (he was an atheist, I’m just me). I miss our card games on a winter afternoon. I miss seeing him use his hands when he talked (he was German). I even miss the arguments we had a few times. No one ever won, and we both would say we were sorry. I miss asking his advice on things (as long as it wasn’t mechanical we were good).

My dad loved ice cream, rare steaks, beer and dirty jokes. He enjoyed baking and cooking and was very good at it. He also loved my mom more than anyone in the world.

And I loved my dad.

Have a wonderful birthday Daddy, where ever you are.

Your daughter.

 

Posted in Daily Prompt, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

Daily Prompt ~ Gimme

I hope everyone’s Christmas was a good one. If you don’t celebrate Christmas  I hope you also got through these last few days well. Mine was on the quiet side, so I enjoyed it. I like quiet. There is way too little of it.

I did make Christmas dinner . Turkey, dressing, all that goes with it. Lot’s of leftovers though, as there was only three of us to eat it. But, I love turkey sandwiches, so no hardship there. 🙂

So I’ve been sitting here wondering what to write today as I took yesterday off. Must have too many turkey fumes yet as I couldn’t think of a thing. Then I read the daily prompt and thought why not? I’ll give it a whirl.

The Daily Prompt was …..Gimme……Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?

Ah, yes.  There was.  So, let me set the scene. I have 3 siblings, a younger brother, one older sister and one older brother. I was kind of the middle child. My mother and I never got along much in those days. Hell, who am I kidding. We never get along much any days. We just got over another little hump this Christmas, but that’s for another story.

Anyway, I was fifteen, not really a child, but not yet ‘grown-up’ either. All three of my siblings had their own bikes. For years I had been asking for my own bike also. Otherwise, I hardly got to ride one, my siblings were not big on sharing, and mom always took their side, so hence I very rarely got to ride one. I always felt cheated. How come I was the only one without a bike??

I would ask for one on birthdays and Christmas. Every year I was disappointed yet again. The year I was fifteen, I told my Mom (again) I wanted a bike, that’s ALL I wanted. They didn’t have to get me anything else. Just a bike!

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I felt sure that year that I would get my own bike! I was so excited at Christmas time. I knew there was going to be a bike for me this time. I remember waking up Christmas Eve morning with this feeling of excitement deep in my belly. I made sure I was good all day. I helped Mom whenever she asked for it.  I mean, I did everything right that year! Or tried to.

In my family it was always tradition once us kids got bigger to open our presents Christmas Eve night. I don’t know why we did that, but we did. So of course we were all excited after supper and waited impatiently for Mom to say “Start opening them!” Now there was no bike under the tree, nothing really big wrapped hiding in a corner. I was all right with that, after all we had a basement, an attic too, maybe it was hidden there and Dad would get it soon.

Well, my Mom told us we could unwrap our gifts!  We all started passing around the gifts and opening them. Yes, I had a small pile of gifts to unwrap, but I kept looking for Dad to get the bike out of the basement! I kept watching and waiting, but to no avail. No bike again that Christmas. I was more disappointed than I had ever been. I felt sure that I was going to get one that year! I was positive! But, nope. Nothing, nada, zip.

I remembered I went to bed that night and silently cried myself to sleep. I don’t think I will ever forget that Christmas. Unfortunately I was usually disappointed at Christmas, especially my teenage years, as those were the worst years for getting along with Mom. But that one, well that one stuck with me the most.

Now, there is a shining light at the end of this story. My birthday is in September. My younger brother and I are 2 years and 2 days apart. My birthday is Sept. 12 his is the 14th. Now all the years we were growing up my brother and I had to ‘share’ a birthday. Usually it was on the 13th or his actual birthday the 14th. We shared a cake. We shared small family parties (if we had one), we shared birthdays. Which both of us thought sucked and wasn’t fair. But Mom, well she is who she is.

Except on my sixteenth birthday. Now that birthday was special. Because of what my Dad did. Bless his soul.  My Mom actually refused to have anything to do with this one occasion, but again, that’s for another story.

That September, my Dad asked me after breakfast if I wanted to take a drive with him. It was on a Saturday, I remember that. My Dad usually did his errands on a Saturday, but his norm was to do them alone. It was a rare treat to go with Dad, he hardly ever asked one of  us kids. Anyway, he asked me and of course I said yes. We drove for a while and he pulled into the Schwinn Bike shop. I was confused. I couldn’t understand why we were there. We walked in and started looking at all these shiny new Schwinn bikes! Oh wow! They were beautiful!

He casually asked me which one I liked. I think my jaw hit the ground. He asked me again. I pointed to a shiny red and white one. I liked that one! My dad talked to the owner of the store and told him it was my birthday and he wanted to buy that red and white girls Schwinn bike for me! Oh, how I wanted to cry right there and then. But didn’t dare as I was afraid it would have embarrassed Dad.

It was a 3 speed and it was expensive! Schwinn’s back then were expensive, and my dad just bought me one. I was walking on cloud nine! I had that bike for many years. My Dad was always my hero! I miss you Daddy!

 

(I guess I can’t say I never received this gift. Because I did, just not for Christmas)

just like the one I got!
just like the one I got!
Posted in nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

Another Favorite Christmas Memory

This is another stroll down memory lane. My most favorite Christmas memory can be found here.  Today’s memory is when I was about 6 or 7, maybe a bit younger. I hadn’t quite grown into my tomboy years, that would come a bit later and stay with me through out my life. 🙂

trees

When I was young we were not very well off. We kids didn’t fully realize that. We were young, we enjoyed what we had, it might not have been a lot, but it was ours. There were 2 boys and 2 girls, plus my Mom and Dad. It was hard feeding, clothing, and affording everything else that goes with kids. That year must have been tougher than others,  because I remember my Mom sitting us down and explaining that we weren’t going to get much for Christmas that year.

She told us  Santa had met with hard times. That there were a lot of  kids in the world, and he was trying to give each and every one of them a gift. He didn’t want to miss a one! So instead of the usual amount of gifts this year, we were each going to get one toy, and a winter coat. That was it.

I remember that her announcement was met with complete silence at first. The four of us looked at each other, my little brother started crying. My older brother got mad and stormed off, my sister and I just  sat there quietly. Then we both looked at my mom and said, “It’s ok, we can share.”

My older sister and I were always pretty close back then. So it wasn’t surprising that we came out with the same thing at the same time. It really was ok with both of us, and later on with my 2 brothers. We decided every kid should have a Christmas present, and if Santa needed our help, well then we would help him! We all knew who the real Santa was of course, well except my little brother,  and we tried to  understand that Mom and Dad didn’t have a lot of money. We wanted to help in any way we could.

So even though we were all a little bit disappointed that Christmas, we made a pact that we wouldn’t show it in front of Mom and Dad. We had never had a lot to begin with, we wore hand me down clothes most of the time, even got hand me down toys from others in the family that were a bit better off then us. It was how we were raised, no big deal. (Can’t really miss what you never had).

We were also getting a new winter coat!  Mostly our winter coats were hand me downs from cousins, so that wasn’t so bad either. We would manage. We also didn’t want our parents feeling bad.

So Christmas Eve we all went to bed excited as we did every year.  We woke up early  and  ran out to the living room. The tree was lit  and looked beautiful and there was a pile of gifts under the tree. As promised we each got a new winter coat, but we also got new gloves! Then we each got our  one new toy! I don’t really remember what my siblings received that year, but I sure remember what I got!

I remember seeing this huge box sitting in a corner, it was bigger then  me! It also had my name on it in big black letters! It had a bright red bow on top and it was mine! I was so excited and couldn’t imagine what it could be.

very close to what I remember
very close to what I remember

My dad laid it on the floor for me and with a big smile told me to open it. I started tearing off the paper and bow slowly, I wanted that moment to last! I finally got all the paper off and  I remember seeing this girl on the front of the box. No wait! It wasn’t a girl! It was a doll!!! I opened the box and there inside was a blonde headed doll that was as big as me!!!

She was beautiful! Her blonde hair shone in the Christmas lights and it looked just like mine! She had big blue eyes and a wonderful dress on and a straw hat! When she stood up she was as tall as I was.

I was never  one of those little girls who played a lot with dolls, but this one was different. It was like having a best friend. I used to dance with her, I would put her little  feet on mine and we would dance around the house together! It was great fun!  I told her all my secrets and dreams. I had so much fun with that doll for many years.

I didn’t just get a doll that Christmas, I got a best friend. A friend who never told my secrets. A best friend that I could do no wrong in her eyes. It was a great Christmas that year.

 

 

Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

My First Brush With Death

Death. Not a very uplifting or cheerful topic, is it? I find myself looking back on my life lately. I’ve been doing it a lot. Must be a sign of getting older. This morning I was in the throes of remembering my first brush with death. I have no idea why I would be thinking  about that. It’s not a good memory. But, it is a memory that will always be with me.

It might not even be my first brush with death. It is the first one that I know of. It takes me back many years. It started with my first job. I was 18 and  just two weeks out of high school. My mom and I, as usual, were not getting along. She gave me an ultimatum. Get a job as soon as possible or get kicked out of the house. Yeah, a bit harsh. That’s just the way she was. To me anyway. But I digress.

She told me to put in a job application where she worked, she would put in a word to a manager friend. Her thought being if I worked at the same place she did I would have a ride to work. I also think, but this is my personal thought, she could keep an eye on me also. Heaven knows why she thought she had to. I had to have been the most boring kid around. I wasn’t a party girl, and I didn’t date. I read. A lot. But, again I digress. Sorry about that.

Anyway, that next day my sister took me to put in my job application. I talked to my mom’s manager friend and got hired that same day. I would start work the following Monday. That was at a J.C Penney warehouse. Not the most thrilling job, but at the time it paid good money. And that is where my story really begins.

That first Monday I was introduced to all the people I would be working with. There was a girl there that was a few years older than me, her name was Lynn. In  the coming weeks we became fast, best friends. She lived with her parents also. Both of us were eager to be on our own away from parents. Finally, adults!

After about six months we both decided to find an apartment that we could share. She had a car so transportation was no problem. We worked together, got along great and saw no problem  sharing living quarters. We found a nice  2 bedroom apartment soon after and moved in. It was great! We both felt we had freedom at last! We got hand me down furniture from family. Managed to buy a few things to make the apartment “ours”, and called it home.

We lived there for a year. Moved because of a  man bothering us. (That’s a whole new post). Found a better apartment with security, and moved there. We lived there for quite a while, if I remember right we were going on our fourth year there. That’s when things started to go wrong. Got bizarre.

Lynn and I were best friends. We did everything together. We even  went on camping vacations together, taking her niece and nephew. It was some of the best years of my life. It’s hard to find a friend like that. One who understands you and you understand  her. We were sisters more than friends. She spent a lot of time with her family, and I would go  along. She had two really great older sisters. We’d play card or board games for hours. It was a lot of fun.

Then like I said, things got bizarre. Lynn came into my bedroom one night. It was really early morning, like 2 or 3 am I remember. She woke me up and said something had scared her. I got up and we went into the living room. I sat her on the couch and asked her what scared her? She said she saw an “evil, Ronald McDonald” in her room and he was telling her to do bad things. She was really shaken.

I took her back to her room, turned on the lights and checked the windows. We lived on the second floor. Hard to get in those windows and they were locked tight. We looked under her bed and in every nook and cranny in that small room.  I wanted to show her it was just a bad dream and that it wasn’t real. That’s how scared she was. She had been ill the preceding week, with some sort of bladder infection or something. I remember the doctor  had her on some sort of pills. Antibiotics I would think. Anyway, I managed to calm her down and got her back into bed. She went back to sleep and I went back to my room, a bit worried but shook it off.

Things seemed to be back to normal. Then a few days later I was watching TV. Relaxing after work. Lynn was in the kitchen. She came in the living room looking distressed. I asked her if she was okay. She wanted to turn off the tv because it was bothering her. I didn’t have it very loud, so I wondered how it was bothering her. She said it sounded like it was blaring and it wasn’t making any sense and it bothered her. Could she turn it off? I said sure, by now seeing how much it WAS bothering her.

She sat down on the couch and asked me if she could tell me something. I told her she could tell me anything, that’s what friends were for. She said last night she saw the “evil” clown again. It was in her bedroom and saying terrible things to her. I remember feeling my heart speed up, I knew this wasn’t normal. And I didn’t think it was because of the pills the doctor gave her. I was getting scared for her! She said the closer it got to bed time the more scared she was becoming. She didn’t want to sleep in her room that night. She couldn’t!

We decided to call her parents and ask if we could stay with them that night. Maybe, we reasoned if she slept in her own bedroom at her parents home she wouldn’t be frightened. For me, my thought was if something was really wrong with Lynn, I would have her parents there to help. I was getting scared for Lynn. I never thought I should be afraid OF Lynn. Not till later that night. Then I became terrified. Terrified I was going to die.

We made the 45 minute drive to her parents home without incident. Lynn was beginning to  relax and so was I. When we got there Lynn went to her girlhood bedroom and I tried to explain to her parents what was going on. They became as worried as I was. Her father decided to call her doctor in the morning and ask if there was a possibility that her pills were causing these hallucinations some how.

Lynn decided to sleep on the couch in the living room. I would sleep in her bedroom. Her reasoning was, if she couldn’t sleep she could watch tv without bothering anyone. We didn’t see any harm in that, as I had to be up in the morning for work. So we all went to bed as it was getting late. Her parents always closed their bedroom door, I left mine open.

I must have fallen asleep fairly fast. I know I was emotionally exhausted. I felt safe and I felt like Lynn was safe. The doctor would be called in the morning and Lynn would be all right.

I don’t remember what woke me up. Some slight sound I think. Yes, it was a rustling sound. I do remember that I woke wide awake. But didn’t move. It was like my subconscious knew I shouldn’t make a move. I slowly turned my head towards the bedroom door and saw Lynn crawling on all fours in the doorway. She had some pieces of my clothing in her hands, almost like she was scrubbing the floor with them! I watched her as she crawled out the door and slowly went down the hallway towards the living room.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I blinked my eyes open and closed thinking I  must have imagined what I saw! I lay  there wondering what I should do, if I could do anything? I must have laid there for a while with my mind going in a thousand directions. Unsure what I could do. I heard another noise. I laid completely motionless, with my eyes half closed, my heart beating fast.

The bed faced the open doorway, so I could see through half closed lids that Lynn had crawled on all fours  back to the bedroom. She didn’t have any clothes with her, and I remember wondering briefly what she had done with them. What I saw next took all thoughts except ones of survival  out of my head immediately. Lynn rose up at the foot of the bed and in her hand was a knife! It looked like the biggest knife there was from the kitchen! All I could see was a black silhouette of her standing with that knife clenched in her hand because the light from the hallway was behind her.

My breath stopped. I was afraid to make the slightest move. Looking back I believe that was the only thing that saved my life that night. I didn’t move.

We stayed like that, Lynn and I, for what seemed like hours, but was only  for seconds in reality. To  this day I don’t know what made me do what I did next. I really truly don’t. I said her name very softly. Lynn? Hardly loud enough to make a ripple in the blackness. Lynn? I questioned. I saw her shadow relax. I felt her relax. She didn’t drop the knife, but she relaxed. I began to breathe again.

She walked to side of the bed, I can remember my heart pounding so loud I thought it would either explode or jump out of my chest. Instinctively I knew to stay still, stay calm. If I stayed calm she would stay calm. She laid down beside me on the bed. That big  butcher knife between us. She told me in this eerily  still voice that she was so tired. That the clown wouldn’t  leave her alone. That the clown told her that she should kill me. She didn’t want to kill me, but he kept demanding that she should.  She was tired of fighting him.

I had to get help some how. I gave up the idea of yelling. I knew she would kill me and maybe her parents if I yelled. I don’t know how I knew this, I just did. Then I thought if I slowly got up, talking to her softly and slowly got out of bed then got to a phone somehow. I could call 911 and get her some much needed help. I decided I had to try. I started to sit up  so I could get out of bed. All the time telling her quietly that I could help her. If she would let me up I could help get rid of the clown.

I was almost sitting up when she grabbed me by the throat and forced me to lay down again. Lynn was a big girl. I was 5 foot tall and about 130 pounds. She was 5’10 and about 180 pounds. She was big boned and very strong. Normally she was the kindest person I knew. Sick as she was, she wasn’t Lynn. She was something else. Something that wasn’t nice. She held me by the throat and whispered fiercely in my ear. “Don’t get up and leave. I will have to hurt you if you try that again!”  She held my throat so tight I couldn’t talk. So I just nodded my head that I understood. Thankfully she let go. I stayed where I was.

We both laid there for hours. Never talking. Except for a murmur from  Lynn now and then. Like she was whispering  to someone I couldn’t see. Finally I could hear her parents moving around in their room. I didn’t know whether I should be relieved or worried. I heard their bedroom door open then close. Then I heard her dad shout her name. I heard him swearing then call for Lynn again.

Looking back, the only reason I can figure out why Lynn changed back to herself at that time is from so many years being conditioned  to  answer her father in a respectful way. She heard her dad calling for her and she got out of bed, without the knife and went to her dad. I picked up that knife and hid it in the closet! Then I got dressed and went looking for Lynn and her father. When I got the living room I was amazed! During the night Lynn somehow got every ones clothing and shoes and made a gigantic pile in the middle of the living room!

Her father was talking to her and telling her he was going to call her doctor and get her in to see him as soon as possible. For the time being she looked more her normal self. Just very confused and scared. Believe me, I knew how she felt!

I had to get to work, I couldn’t miss even though I wanted to stay and help someway. But I talked to her parents and they  convinced me to go to work and come back there after wards. They would take Lynn to see her doctor. I didn’t tell him about what happened to me that night. Not at that time I didn’t. I hadn’t even had time to sort it all out myself. I was tired and I was scared for Lynn.  I decided to tell them later when I got off work. I was (naively) thinking  that things would be okay then. After Lynn got her medicine straightened out,  things would be back to normal.

I was wrong.

(I will continue this story  tomorrow. It’s a true story and it has further telling to be done) The conclusion can be found here https://jlroeder.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/my-first-brush-with-death-conclusion/

Posted in nonfiction, Stories of my life, Uncategorized, writing

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone — Gladys Berthe Stern

I read this quote the other day while I was researching something for my WIP. “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” 
— Gladys Berthe Stern

It stuck in my mind and I couldn’t seem to get it out. Then this morning I sat down with my  usual cup of coffee and started to really think about what this quote meant to me and why it wouldn’t go away. I finally got it. I needed to thank all the people in my life, past and present who helped make me into the woman I am today. I’m a strong, independent, stubborn, creative, word loving woman. I’m fearless in trying something new, whether it be a new hobby, job, food, or place of living.  I didn’t get this way on my own. Several people helped me, and today I would like to take this opportunity and thank them publicly for their contributions to the shaping of my life.

My deceased father: He gave me my love of books. He was a man who always had a book in his hands, and taught me to love them also. He liked a good conversation or debate. He taught me to be frugal with my money, how to love unconditionally, and how to garden. Gardening was his passion. Thank you Daddy, for being the best dad you could be.

My Mother: We didn’t get along all my years growing up in your house. We fought, argued, and generally disliked each other. But, deep down we loved each other. Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself. To never back down when I believed in something strongly. Thank you for showing me how not to be a victim. How to be independent and strong. We are great friends now, and that I treasure. It was hard-won. Thank you also for showing me that holding grudges is wrong on so many levels. I saw what holding grudges did to you and your family. I will NOT make that same mistake. I love you Mom, you are the strongest person I know. I deeply respect that.

Miss Minney: I never did know her full name. She asked me to call her Miss Minney when I first met her at the age of five. That’s all I ever knew her as. Miss Minney was the old woman who lived 2 doors down from us. She had white hair, always wore a dress, and loved to hug. I need to thank Miss Minney for teaching me how to sweep a floor the right way! How to dust, and generally keep house. She took me under her wing when I was just a tow-headed little girl. I would help her clean her house, run errands for her and listen to her talk about her own little girl who had died years before in a drowning accident. Her only child. Even at such a young age I could feel the sadness and love she had for her little girl. Thank you Miss Minney, for showing a little girl that no matter what age we are we have something to teach and to learn.

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto o...
New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; added by those for whom prayer or miracles were granted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My older brother: My brother is a bit of a bully. Loud and obnoxious. Him and I have always maintained a love/hate relationship. It continues to this day. He taught me to stand up to bullies. That they are a cowardly breed on the whole. They talk rough and try to intimidate a person because they are bigger and stronger. But if you stand up to them they will always back down. It may not always shut them up, but it makes life a little easier when you show them you aren’t afraid of them and their hot air. Thank you big brother for helping me to grow into someone who will not tolerate a bully. Just because I am small and a woman I don’t have to put up with it.

My best friend from childhood: Gloria was a great person. Deeply troubled she turned to drugs and alcohol to escape a life she thought was destroying her. Instead she went down a road to destroy herself. We drifted apart when my parents forbid me to see her again. I never did get the full story of why. But, I miss her to this day. I know she went into prostitution to pay for her drugs when she was still a teenager. I saw her once when we were both about 19, I almost didn’t recognize her she had changed so much. I believe she knew who I was, but she turned and walked away without a word. Thank you Gloria, for showing me that drugs were not a way out of difficult situations. I could very easily have taken the same road, but thankfully did not.

My very best friend in adulthood: Terri is a wonderful and loving woman. She is another strong person. We used to talk for hours and hours every single day. She raised 3 boys on her own. Took care of her mother when she was dying of cancer. And buried her father six months after her mother died. She was the glue that held her family together. She is a tiny little woman with the biggest personality. I lost touch with Terri when I moved to Canada from Texas. I’m still trying to connect with her. Her phone number doesn’t work anymore and when I wrote I got her letter back. Some day I will find my best friend again. Thank you Terri for showing me that being single is not a bad thing. To never give up on myself. And just thanks for being there when I needed someone so much.

gratitude. =)
gratitude. =) (Photo credit: camerakarrie)

To my ex-husband: Yeah, you read that right. My EX-HUSBAND. He taught me several valuable life lessons. He taught me how not to take something at face value. To always question it.  If something looks to good to be true, you should examine it throughly and ask a lot of questions. He taught me to believe in my instincts and not drown them out when they are screaming at me that something is not right. He taught me that violence against women is not right in any form. That just because someone says something is true does NOT make it so. He taught me that once a cheater always a cheater. Thank you ex for being who and what you are. A large example of what not to have in a husband.

I will always be grateful to everyone who helped make me who I am. I’m sure there are others I need to thank. Maybe that’s another posting in the making. Till then, remember to thank the people in your life.

Posted in nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

You’re Just Average and That’s All You’ll Ever Be

Years ago when I was a teenager, my father and I had a conversation. It didn’t happen too often because on the whole my Dad was a quiet man. But, that one conversation stuck in my mind all these years, because of that one statement. Nine short words that would resonate throughout the rest of my  life.

“You’re just average and that’s all you’ll ever be.” my Dad stated to me.

Now, he wasn’t trying to be mean. He wasn’t using it in a derogatory sense. For him it was a simple statement of his belief. My father always stated he was an atheist. He grew up in a strict Protestant household. My grandfather was one that he was not going to spare the rod or spoil the child. From what I can gather my grandfather used his religion as a reason for corporal punishment. It left a mark on my father, and so when asked, he said he was an Atheist. Whether that was strictly true, I don’t know. But, my father did have his own beliefs.

I don’t really remember how the conversation got started. My father and I had deep talks once in while. No subject was off-limits. I know we talked about people and what made some so much more talented, smart, ambitious, etc. My dad believed it was “predestined” on how or what we became in life.

He told me that he was just average, as was my mother, and my grandparents. That I came from a family of “average” people. So there fore I was just average and that’s all I’ll ever be. I would never become famous, I had no outstanding talents and neither did my siblings. But according to him that was not necessarily a bad thing. It was what it was.

Now I disagreed with him. Still do in fact! And I hope I  proved him wrong. That conversation  always played a major factor in my life and what I did. I set out to prove to my father that I was not average! That just because one came from a family that had no rich, famous, highly ambitious people in it did not make me average!

I always read a lot. Inherited that from my dad. I will read anything and everything. If it has words on it, I will read it. I’ve always loved to write. I used to keep a journal during my school years and beyond. I wrote in it every single day. Now I have my blogs. And, I’m working on a novel.

I have always admired people who could draw or paint. What a great way to express yourself! So one day I set out to teach myself to paint. I started with oils and then moved to acrylics and have been painting for 20 years. I like to think I’m pretty good at it! I do lots of crafts, crocheting, knitting, and sewing. I have to find a way to be creative!

Looking back, I taught myself all these things because deep down I wanted to show my dad I was not “average”! I needed to show myself this also. I believe I succeeded. Am I rich? No. Am I famous? No. Am I talented? Your damn straight I am! And there is still time to become the other two. I have my Dad to thank for that, and I do.

My father died about 8 years ago of cancer. A few years ago I went to visit my mom and siblings and found out that my Dad WAS very proud of me. I learned that he used to brag about his talented daughter to his friends. My brothers and sister even said I was his favorite, shocked the hell out of me I can tell you!

But, after I learned all this, I had a little conversation with my deceased dad. I thanked him for that long ago conversation. I said, “Daddy, I love you. And thank you for showing me how  NOT be just average”.

Wolf
My painting of a wolf