This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Legacy of Love
“Your Word is a lamp for my feet, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 105)
“… let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
by Phyllis L. Morneau
For My Family and Friends / May 2011
by Richard N. Morneau
When I sing, I want the melody And the words I bring To be an offering That lifts up only You When I live, I want to give All I have to give Until there’s nothing left Of what You’ve given me Until it’s only You they see Jesus, it’s all about You I want to be transparent I want to be Your servant Let everything I do Bring glory unto You I want the world to see right through me See your grace and mercy Your love that’s never ending Every moment it is new I want it all to be about You I want to be transparent It’s not about me, my gifts or inabilities, thank God It’s not about what I can do, it’s all about You Your grace that more than sufficiently Meets every need, can accomplish anything For me it was free, but for You, Lord, it cost everything Jesus, it’s all about You I want to lift You up—to the highest place I want to lift You up—above everything I want to lift You up—Jesus
“Know, recognize, and understand therefore, that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy, with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
"In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, the bridge to our future." (Alex Haley)
“We are suspended like runners in a relay race, between our parents and our children. We learn from our parents, run beside them for a short distance, and then they are gone. We are then typically running the race alone for a period, and then we must pass the baton on to our children. We run beside them for a short while, and they run on alone, until their children are ready to receive the baton… and so goes history.” (Bobb Biehl)
I dedicate this book to: First, and most importantly, to Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior... thank You for coming into my heart so many years ago when I cried out; thank You for Your unconditional love, Your saving grace, and Your mercy which is new every morning; also, thank You for Your faithfulness, Your presence, and Your protection throughout my life. I love You with all my heart, and I pray that You will be glorified on every page of this book. My Mom & Dad... thank you for not only giving me life, but showing me how to live it. You've blessed me more than you'll ever know, with your unconditional love and support through all the years. I love you so much! To my husband, Rich... the love of my life. You are truly my Prince Charming. You first captured my heart with your sunny smile so many years ago. It always brightens my day! I am so thankful for your love, support, and encouragement. I love you more than ever!! To my children... Richie, Greg, Caroline, & Jesse. I am so blessed to be your Mom. If the mother is "the queen of her castle", then you are "the jewels in my crown". I am so thankful that each of you has "a heart for God". I am so proud of you and love each of you so much! To my daughters-in-law... Tina & Michelle. You are both so beautiful inside and out with a "heart for God" as well. Besides being my precious daughters-in-law, I consider each of you a wonderful friend. I am so blessed that you are part of our family. I love you so! To my grandchildren... I hope that you will read this one day and come to know your ancestors through the story of their lives – especially, their love for God, family, & country. I hope that knowledge will inspire you. But, more importantly, I pray that you will come to know God and His amazing love that is revealed through His own story. You have brought so much joy into my life, and I love you more than words could ever express! In Memory of all our dear family and friends who have passed on… We love you, miss you, and will never forget you. We look forward to one day being reunited with you in Heaven.
“There is something more than a little disconcerting about writing your autobiography. When people have occasionally asked me what I am working on, I have found it impossible to tell them without an inward blush. As if anybody cares or should care… But I do it anyway. I do it because it seems to me that no matter who you are, and no matter how eloquent or otherwise, if you tell your story with sufficient candor and concreteness, it will be an interesting story and, in some sense, a universal story… If God speaks to us at all, other than through such official channels as the Bible and the Church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us; so what I have done in this book… is to listen back over what has happened to me; as I hope my readers may be moved to listen back to what has happened to them; for the sound, above all else of His voice… (for) His word to us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling.” (Frederick Buechner)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 1 – ONCE UPON A TIME... MY GRANDPARENTS / EARLY 1900’s History and Culture Poem /Personal Stories Technology and Inventions ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 2 – MY MOM & DAD / LIFE IN THE 1920's, 1930's, & 1940's History and Culture Personal Stories Technology and Inventions ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 3 – MY CHILDHOOD / LIFE IN THE 1950's History and Culture Personal Stories Technology and Inventions ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 4 – MY TEEN YEARS / LIFE IN THE 1960's History and Culture Personal Stories Technology and Inventions ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 5 – MY HUSBAND / MARRIED LIFE IN EARLY 1970's History and Culture Personal Stories / Favorite Recipes ♥Praying from My Heart / Marriage Takes Three Chapter 6 – MY CHILDREN / LIFE IN THE 1970's, 1980's, & 1990's History and Culture To My Children Personal Stories Technology and Inventions ♥Praying from My Heart Chapter 7 – MY GRANDCHILDREN / LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY History and Culture Poems / To My Grandchildren ♥Praying from My Heart 11 15 28
29 37 47 51
53 63 77 81
83 88 112 114
115 121 139 141
143 145 163
165 174 179 244 248
249 252 257
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Cont’d)
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
Chapter 8 – ...AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER ♥Praying from Your Heart Chapter 9 – BECAUSE I’M FORGIVEN / A SONG OF LOVE Chapter 10 – MY HEART / GOD'S DWELLING PLACE ♥Praying from My Heart Be the Praise of My Heart / Singing from My Heart CONCLUSION
259 264 267 269 273 274 277
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” (Ephesians 1:18)
I’d like to begin this book by explaining why I titled it… "FROM MY HEART TO YOURS, A LEGACY OF LOVE" FROM MY HEART TO YOURS – from the ‘innermost part’ or ‘core’ of my being I seek to share with you, A LEGACY – ‘something’ that is handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor, OF LOVE – that ‘something’ is ‘love’ - first, the love our ancestors had for God, family, and country, which I hope will inspire you; second, and more importantly, the amazing, unconditional, and everlasting love that God has for you, which I hope will be revealed to you, that can truly change your heart and your life. I’d also like to explain why I decided to write this book… To be honest, when I first decided to write this book it was simply a desire to share the personal story of my grandparents and my parents, so my children and grandchildren could come to know them better. I found it interesting to learn recently that the word “story” means “to know”. Story is the language of the heart. I think that everyone loves a good story – whether it is from a book, a fairy tale, or a movie – through it we learn life’s most important lessons. We also learn we are not alone on life’s journey. It is not only entertaining but it also nourishes our hearts – our deepest desires and longings for love, intimacy, romance, beauty, and adventure are experienced in almost every story. I think that we hope to understand our own story better by reading stories of other people.
“Our stories tell us who we are, why we are here, and what we are to do. They give us our best answers to all of life’s big questions, and to most of the small ones as well.” (Daniel Taylor)
In writing my own story, I felt the Lord leading me to write from my heart, so you might know me in a deeper way. To open my heart to you – to be transparent – is not something that comes easily for me. I would prefer to protect and guard it, rather than make myself vulnerable by sharing my innermost feelings and longings. But, I do desire to share my story with you, that you might know me, as well. Since this is the Introduction, I think that I should introduce myself. My name is Phyllis Laurette Morneau. I am 58 years old and currently living in West Hartford, CT with my husband, Rich, and youngest son, Jesse, who is deaf. We moved here from Manchester, NH almost 8 years ago so Jesse could go to the American School for the Deaf. After working outside the home (mostly part-time) for approximately 30 years, I was blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom when we moved to CT. Actually, with more time available to me, I was able to write this book that you hold in your hands. My initials are P.L.M. – which could also be the initials to describe me when I was growing up. "Please Love Me" was the deepest longing of my heart and, actually, I think that it is the deepest longing that we all have – to know that we are loved. I was blessed with a very loving Mom & Dad, but even they couldn't meet my deepest need to feel loved always. I think that everything I did, to please them or others or even God, was so that they would love me. I felt loved whenever someone was proud of me for what a good job I did – whether in school or at home or at church – but felt really bad whenever I disappointed people and, especially, when I felt I disappointed God. I would try even harder to be really good in everything I did, so everyone would love me. Even though I had a very loving family, I still felt insecure about myself, and always felt that I needed to be the best I could possibly be, so everyone would love me. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old, with a wonderful husband and precious newborn son that I finally realized there was something missing in my life. Even though I was married to the love of my life and absolutely loved being a stay-at-home mom, I had a discontented feeling inside. I was confused and cried out to the Lord and opened my heart to Him. He was faithful to His Word and came into my heart and filled me with His unconditional love that met my deepest need to be loved and forgiven and set me free.
"What do you see when you look at me? Do you just see the girl I used to be?
Or do you see Jesus living inside of me? He came into my heart and has set me free, Now I can really live and give all glory to Thee."
Realizing the deep need of my heart to be loved and forgiven, I asked Jesus to come into my heart, take control, and cleanse me of all my sins with His precious blood.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20)
He filled me to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. Slowly but surely, He changed my heart as I surrendered it to Him. He took my insecure, peoplepleasing, self-centered heart and gave me a new heart that is filled with His Spirit and His unconditional and everlasting love.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you.” (Ezekial 36:26) “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
He set me free from the burden of striving to win His love and approval. Instead, I can rest in the knowledge that God loves me always. I now live my life in response to His love, and desire to really know Him, love Him, and give all glory to Him.
“All of life is a story.” (Madeleine L’Engle)
This is helpful to know. When it comes to figuring out this life you’re living, you’d do well to know the rest of the story. A few years ago my parents decided to research their genealogy, and had it printed out, and gave it to me and my sisters. It's really interesting to look at all of the names and dates of our ancestors on both sides of my family. (Actually, my Mom & Dad are 10th generation cousins from France.) My husband also researched his ancestors. So, we have the genealogy of our ancestors, as a keepsake for us and our children.
Recently, one of my husband’s cousins wrote a small book about herself and her family, as a keepsake for her children and grandchildren. I read it and thought it was a great idea, and a treasured gift from her to them. I thought that maybe I could do the same thing for my family. I wanted to go one step further than the genealogy facts and dates that I had, and make it personal with stories of different members of our family, so that my children and grandchildren might come to know them, and their love for God, family, and country. It's interesting to note that this book – written mainly for my children, grandchildren, and future generations – should be completed around Mother's Day 2011. It's been a "labor of love" that was first "conceived in my heart" last August, and will probably take close to 9 months from the time when it was just "a small seed or desire", until the time "for it to be accomplished", and finally be ready "to come forth from my heart to yours". Starting with my grandparents, more than 100 years ago, I will share personal information of what life was like for them, during the early 1900's, and how God influenced their life. Continuing with my parents, I will share some personal stories of their life growing up in the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's, and their walk with the Lord. There will also be some chapters about my journey – during childhood, the teen years, married life, parenthood, and the best time of my life – that of being a grandparent! Although I was excited about doing this book, I was also a little overwhelmed by it. The very fact that you are holding this book in your hands is a testament to the Lord's love and faithfulness. I knew that I would not be able to do this on my own, so I've had to depend on the Lord to lead and guide me each day. I give all praise and glory to Him! The first thing I did, before I began to write each day, was to seek the Lord and prayed that He would give me the words that He wanted me to share with you. Therefore, each chapter will begin with God's Word – a scripture that is appropriate for that section of the book. I also began each chapter with background information of the history and culture of that time period. Then, of course, I wrote some personal stories of our family during that time. Hopefully, you will be inspired as you get a glimpse into our family and their way of life. I also include some lyrics of favorite songs during that time period or songs that reflect the sentiments of our family.
With that in mind, I'd like to share the following song "In Christ Alone" with you. The lyrics reflect what I believe in my heart and have witnessed in my life in my relationship with God. It also states beautifully the reason for the hope that is in me... In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, What depths of peace, When fears are stilled, When strivings cease; My comforter, my all in all, Here in the love of Christ I stand. In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe; This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. 'Til on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For every sin on Him was laid, Here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth one glorious day, Up from the grave He arose again. And as He stands in victory, Sin's curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine, Bought with the precious blood of Christ. In Christ alone I place my trust, And find my glory in the power of the cross; In every victory let it be said of me:
My source of strength, My source of hope, Is Christ alone. No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; 'Til He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (2 Peter 3:15)
To be honest, the way I went about writing this story of my life and those of my loved ones, is the way I should actually go about living my life. At the beginning of each day, just talking to God in prayer; then, listening to God speak to me through His Word (the Bible); worshipping and singing songs to Him (He inhabits the praises of His people); depending on the Lord to lead and guide me throughout my day, and giving all glory to Him; and, at the end of the day, praying again to God to thank Him for all His blessings. Living our life in such a way would bless us, bless others, and glorify God. One fact about me that you might find interesting is that I've always loved fairy tales. Most begin with the words "Once upon a time..." and usually show a young insecure girl struggling with her life. Then, one day, her Prince Charming comes into her life, recues her, and sweeps her away. He fights for her and she is safe and secure with him. The story always ends with the words "...and they lived happily ever after". With that in mind, I titled the first chapter "Once upon a time... My Grandparents". Most fairy tales are not true but this one is. It is a true story of our family. The part of the insecure young girl was myself growing up. My Prince Charming is my dear husband who came into my life and swept
me off my feet. Although he is strong and fights for me in the daily battles of life, even he couldn't make me feel safe and secure and meet all my needs. Only when I turned to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and cried out to Him, did I finally find the unconditional love and peace that I was searching for. I can say with all confidence that my story will end "happily ever after" because of the blessed assurance I have from God and His Word.
"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6)
The personal story of my grandparents, my parents, and myself is actually part of a much larger “story” – that of God’s story. I also desire to share with you His story and His heart, that you might know Him as well. The “heart of God” is one that seeks for you to really know Him and His amazing love for you. God’s story is truly the greatest love story of all time. Just as my life story is a “true fairy tale”, we could think of God’s story in the same way. The "once upon a time" or “beginning of God's story” is actually before time even began because God is eternal. It begins in Heaven where God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the most perfect relationship there is) are being worshipped by the legions of angels around them. Angels, similar to us in this aspect, are free to love and worship God. One day, the beautiful angel named Lucifer, full of pride, refused to bow down to God and decided to exalt himself as equal with God. He also influenced other angels to his side. That rebellion resulted in a War in Heaven. Lucifer's name was changed to Satan and all the angels that followed him were now known as demons. Satan and his followers were cast out of Heaven and sent to earth. Instead of a beautiful angel, he was now in the form of a lowly snake. This all took place before mankind's "once upon a time" or "beginning on earth", when God decided to create man, in His image. God's reason for creating us was to share His abundant love and to have fellowship with us. We were made a little lower than the angels with the free will to choose to love Him in response and serve Him. The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, did love God and enjoyed fellowship with Him. But, one day, Satan deceived Eve by whispering to her that God really didn't have her best interest at heart, and didn't want her to eat from one of the trees in the Garden – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil – because she would become so knowledgeable that it would make her equal with God. I think
that pride is really at the root of all sin – seeking to exalt and please ourselves rather than living for God and wanting to please Him. She chose to listen to Satan and disobey God and influenced Adam to disobey, too. The fairy tales that I enjoyed as a child, all have some type of villain that is evil, and comes against the main character or heroine. It usually looks hopeless for a while, but then the hero comes and rescues that person. In our own “true fairy tales”, there are any number of villains coming against us. We only need to see the latest news headlines to realize there is evil out there in the world. Sometimes the evil comes from right inside our sinful hearts, where a spirit of pride seeks to exalt itself rather than God. Other times, the devil whispers his deceitful lies in our head. When he whispered his lies to Eve, she listened and believed him, rather than what God had said. Later on, when Jesus was here on earth, the devil came against Jesus, speaking lies to Him. Jesus responded with the truth of the Word of God, and the devil backed down. Actually, the Word of God or the Bible is also known as the “Sword of the Spirit”, and is one of our best weapons when the devil comes against us. The next time you feel that evil is coming against you, whether it’s from without or from within, remember this…
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:70)
Returning to God’s story… As a result of Adam and Eve disobeying God, sin entered the world, and their fellowship with God was broken. God is holy and His standard is perfect righteousness or right standing with God. As Satan was cast out of Heaven, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden, and could no longer eat from the Tree of Life. As a result, they would no longer live forever, and would eventually die. Their daily fellowship with God was broken, and their life on earth would now be a difficult struggle. It looked hopeless! But God… loved them so much that He had a plan that would restore mankind's fellowship and right standing with Him. He would pay the price for their disobedience Himself. He sent His own Son, Jesus, to earth to die in our place. All we need to do is believe it in our heart and accept it. It is so simple that many people think they need to make it more complicated. It is simple enough for a child to understand. Actually, the Bible does say that we need to come to God as a little child.
The entire Bible is really the story of God’s amazing love for us, even as miserable sinners. He pursues us, desires to rescue us from the evil one, and restore fellowship with Himself. We are free to respond and love Him in return, or reject Him and go our own way. One way leads to receiving God’s love and eternal life in Heaven. The other way leads to death and destruction and separation from Him eternally.
“The language of God is life itself, and I live with the unquenchable need to take my life in my hand, and try to read the divine alphabet written on it.” (Sue Monk Kidd)
When we look at nature – dazzling in its complexity and beautiful beyond description – it speaks of a Creator, a Master Artist’s hand.
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” (Martin Luther)
And when we look at man – physically, each of us is special and unique; spiritually, each of us has a heart with a free will to choose to accept God or reject Him – it also speaks of something glorious and divine, because we are created in God’s image. God is actually the Author and Storyteller of each of our lives.
“I had always felt life as a story, and if there is a story, there is a storyteller.” (G. K. Chesterton)
Looking back on my life from childhood, the teen years, and early married life... I can now see the Lord's hand at work. There were glimpses of God revealing His love, goodness, and beauty, but I was too busy to really notice. God was there all the time pursuing me because of His amazing love for me. He was standing at the door of my heart... waiting patiently for me to open it and let Him in.
“Made as we were in the image of God, we scarcely find it strange to take again our God as our all. God was our original habitat, and our hearts cannot but feel at home, when they enter again that ancient and beautiful abode.” (A. W. Tozer)
I finally did seek God when I was 20 years old and felt an emptiness in my heart that no one else could fill – not even my wonderful husband and
precious newborn son. I cried out to God and found Him as He promises in His Word.
"... seek the LORD your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)
At this point, some of you are probably thinking "I hope that she doesn't quote scriptures every other paragraph.” I don't plan to do that. But, to be honest, if I took all references to God out of my personal story, there would be very little left that is worth writing about. I am writing this “from my heart to yours” so want to share what’s deeply hidden in my heart. In the Bible, it says that “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.” If you took a few minutes right now to look inside your own heart, I think that you would find that you also long for something more, something that is divine. Above all powers, Above all kings; Above all nature, And all created things. Above all wisdom, And all the ways of man; You were here, Before the world began. Above all kingdoms, Above all thrones; Above all wonders, The world has ever known. Above all wealth, And treasures of the earth; There's no way to measure, What You're worth. Crucified, Laid behind a stone; You lived to die, Rejected and alone.
Like a rose, Trampled on the ground; You took the fall, And thought of me, Above all. I pray that the lyrics to the song “Above All” touched your heart as it proclaimed the awesome majesty and sacrificial love of Almighty God. Along with things eternal, our hearts also long for romance, drama, and laughter. I’ve experienced that as well in my life and will include it in my story. Actually, I’ve come to see the value of humor in my life. In the midst of some very trying circumstances in my life that had the power to make me “lose heart”, I not only prayed and surrendered them to God, but decided to focus on things that were uplifting and lighthearted. It is true that laughter not only benefits our heart’s well-being, but also benefits our physical wellbeing, too.
“A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick”. (Proverbs 17:22).
I know that this is a rather lengthy answer to the question of why I wrote this book. I admit that I can be a little intense and longwinded. My husband has a great sense of humor and often remarks "I can make a short story long"! One of the best gifts my husband has given me, in addition to his love, is the gift of laughter. When he first smiled at me so many years ago, he definitely brightened up my world. He captured my heart with his deep love for God, family, and country (he was serving in the War in Vietnam) as well as his light-hearted spirit.
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” (Victor Borge)
I think that my husband got his great sense of humor from his mother. She didn’t take herself too seriously and loved to have fun and laugh, even at her own expense. I think it was their influence that made me realize how valuable it is to laugh and have fun together. I really enjoy a funny story and sharing it with loved ones. So, if you need a good laugh, I have a funny story that I’d like to share with you…
It happened to me a few years ago when we first moved to CT so our youngest son, who is deaf, could attend the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford. My husband and I also took classes at the school to learn sign language in order to communicate with our son. Anyway, it all started innocently enough when I decided to go to West Hartford Center to do a few errands. One of the errands was to deposit a couple of checks in the bank. When I arrived at the bank, I noticed three police cruisers parked in front. I thought to myself “that’s not good”. You know that little voice you sometimes hear inside your head, telling you not to do something… well… I didn’t listen. Not only did I go in, but I walked over to the counter where three policemen were obviously questioning someone. As I proceeded to fill out my deposit slip, I noticed that the person they were questioning was very frustrated, because he was deaf and was trying to communicate in sign language. So, I casually mentioned that I knew a little bit of sign language. I really should have stressed that “I knew a little bit” but it didn’t take them long to realize it for themselves. The look of relief on the suspect’s face quickly changed to one of panic as he realized that this “strange lady” was the only thing standing, between him and getting arrested! I was able to understand most of what he was signing, but when he started “fingerspelling” names and places, I told him to write it down. Of course, the police officers could have told him to do that – maybe, that’s why they kept looking at each other and smiling! However, the suspect was not amused and kept signing “I need an interpreter” in frustration. Unfortunately, the interpreter that the police in West Hartford normally use was off that day. I told them to contact the American School for the Deaf and maybe they could provide one, but they couldn’t get through by phone, for some reason. So, it appeared that I was this guy’s only hope, poor soul! After about half an hour of signing questions from the police to the suspect, and trying to understand what he was signing in response, the police officers decided to let him go, but wanted me to sign to him that he should never step foot in that bank again or he would be arrested. I wasn’t sure what the sign was for “arrested” but I did my best. I’m not sure what I actually signed, but whatever it was, by the expression on the poor suspect’s face, it certainly put “the fear of God” in him. I don’t think that he’ll ever step foot in that bank again!
As for me, all the officers thanked me for my help and asked for my name, address, & phone number to fill out their report. They probably also added a note to not ever hire me as an interpreter! As I walked away, I realized that quite a crowd had gathered to watch all this – believe me, that little incident was exciting for the sleepy town of West Hartford!! I wish I could say that this was my one and only embarrassing funny story. To be honest, there are quite a few amusing stories that I will share with you throughout this book. Now… finally… to summarize the reason that I wrote this book… It was simply to share “A Legacy of Love” – through our family’s personal story of love, shown through their relationship with God, family, & country; set within the larger story of God and His love, shown through the relationship He seeks to have with each of us.
“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to Myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
As you read this book, I hope you will see glimpses of God’s everlasting and unfailing love, drawing you to Himself – that is the true “Legacy of Love” I seek to share with you.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
"Dear God, I pray that everyone reading this will have an open heart to receive whatever You have for them. For those who know You, I pray that they will be inspired and encouraged in their own walk with You. For those who don't really know You, I pray that You will reveal the amazing love that You have for them. I pray that they will have a desire to seek and know You for themselves. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen."
“O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past, stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children, we will tell the next generation, about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders. For He issued His laws to Jacob, He gave His instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors, to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them, even the children not yet born, and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting His glorious miracles, and obeying His commands. (Psalm 78:1-7)
Chapter 1 – ONCE UPON A TIME... MY GRANDPARENTS / 1900's
"Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth and it endures.” (Psalm 119:90)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE EARLY 1900’s The American family in 1900 was part of an increasingly complex world, a world quickly moving toward the unknown — this was the world into which my grandparents were born. Americans were optimistic in 1900. For most of them, life was better materially than it had ever been. This was a time of prosperity — a new materialism, available leisure time, and vacations for the emerging middle class appeared. America was now the world's most affluent country. Access to electricity, automobiles, and indoor plumbing was not widespread, but most people felt that such conveniences were just a matter of time. For every American, including the working class, there was "possibility." Anything was possible in America. This was the place of the self-made man, the American Dream, "rags to riches." With this prosperity and possibility, came jobs. Still largely a rural society, Americans increasingly moved to the city looking for work, armed with a belief in the possibilities and a strong work ethic. Alongside them, came nearly a half-million immigrants in 1900, also seeking a better life. America's Industrial Revolution produced much prosperity and leisure, but also much poverty and disillusionment. Tycoons such as J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie amassed fortunes greater than many European nobility. But in the same cities, factory workers and coal miners, often children, slaved for perhaps $1 to $2 each 12-16 hour day. With no safety net, many workers just couldn't make it — nearly a third of 1900's immigrants headed back home. Awareness of poor working conditions and unfair wages increased. Concern that trusts and monopolies were taking advantage of workers, led to the first large-scale organized labor strike in 1900, an event that impacts industry even today.
But technology didn't stop for anyone, even in 1900. Recent advances included phonographs, light bulbs, typewriters, machine guns, skyscrapers, telegraphs, diesel fuel, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, microphones, and aspirin. In 1900, a train could bring you the same distance in six days that a covered wagon brought you in six months. Cross-continental travel became easy for almost anyone. As Henry Ford produced the first Model T, automobiles were looked upon generally with both interest and disdain. Though autos traveled twice as fast as horses, only 8,000 cars and about 10 miles of paved roads existed in 1900 America. Adding to the technological fervor, that year's Paris Exposition showed off exciting new inventions like moving sidewalks, wireless telegraphy, powerful telescopes, and the first escalator. To cap it all off, 1900 ended with the first overseas telephone call. In the face of ever-expanding industry and invention, America found itself an emerging world power. Having never participated in a military operation outside of the Western Hemisphere, the country now found itself engaged in two. Both the Philippines conflict and the Boxer Rebellion in China produced much debate among Americans about the country's military actions. At home, "anti-imperialism" became one of the touchstone issues in America's first hard-fought, expensive Presidential campaign. After the candidates spent millions, the voting ultimately resulted in William McKinley's re-election as President, and Theodore Roosevelt's election as Vice President. Also, throughout 1900, the U.S. continued to struggle with issues of women's suffrage, and civil rights. America's leadership found themselves in precarious times. Several world political figures had been recently assassinated by anarchists, who believed that all Western heads of state should be eliminated. In 1900, assassins killed King Humbert I of Italy, made an attempt on the Prince of Wales and the Shah of Persia, and targeted President William McKinley. On September 6th of the next year, McKinley was shot at Buffalo, New York's Pan-American Exposition. He died a week later. But optimistic Americans, in 1900, were unaware of what the future held for their President. With an emerging middle class, time saving technologies, and more leisure time, they enjoyed a variety of past-times. Vaudeville and
theater were popular, as were outdoor band concerts across America. People played and sung the music of John Philip Sousa and Scott Joplin in concerts and at home — the popularity of sheet music and home pianos meant that many across the country were now singing the same songs. Phonographs and records also provided music for those who could afford it. Movies became wildly popular when available, although they were actually short, secondslong films called "views." The idea of "motion pictures" was dazzling to Americans in 1900. During the golden age of song (1890 - 1920) both individuals and society as a whole, showed more reverence, respect, and outward displays of affection for parents, especially our mothers, than we do today. This is evident even in our music. Few songs have been written over the last several decades that sing the praises of good ol' mom. So, for the most part, the songs we sing today about our mothers, are the very songs that were written nearly one hundred years ago. During the early years of the century, thousands of songs were written in praise of mothers, and people unashamedly gathered around the family piano to sing these beautiful ballads and waltzes. The song M-O-T-H-E-R was the most popular song in 1915. Clearly, this one song defines the "mother songs" genre. It is the song that most epitomizes the sentiments relating to mothers and grandmothers. Sung practically nonstop since it was written, it has also been identified as an "Irish" song through the great performances of some of the world's most prominent Irish tenors. Here are the lyrics to that popular song... M is for the million things she gave me. O means only that she's growing old. T is for the tears were shed to save me. H is for her heart of purest gold. E is for her eyes, with love light shining. R means right, and right she'll always be. Most American families in the 1900s were large by the standards of the late twentieth century, but their size was already diminishing. The birthrate in the United States in 1900 was 32.3 births per thousand people. A century earlier
it had been 55 births per thousand people. The average number of children per family was 3.56. Poorer families tended to have more children, since they often needed the income their offspring could provide. Life expectancy was low, and it varied significantly by class, race, and sex. The life expectancy for white women in 1900 was 48.7 years; for nonwhite women it was 33.5 years. For white men in that year the average life expectancy was 46.6 years, compared to 32.5 years for nonwhite men. Short life expectancy and high infant mortality meant that many families had to cope with the loss of a child or a parent. For the average working family, loss of income because of the injury or illness of a wage earner could prove catastrophic. Household chores such as cooking and cleaning, which fell on the shoulders of mothers and daughters in working-class families, and to hired domestic servants in the homes of the upper middle class and the well-to-do, became easier, though still laborious in the 1900s. Women cooked on unregulated stoves that burned coal or wood. They had to guess at cooking times and feed the fire while preparing meals. Cleaning was hard toil, and new products such as Sapolio, a scouring soap, were eagerly welcomed by consumers during this decade. Only the middle class and the wealthy were likely to have indoor-plumbing facilities. Laundry was by far the most arduous task, and it took all day to do. Most women did their washing in tubs that had to be hauled into the kitchen. Clothes were soaked, scrubbed, and rinsed several times according to the amount of dirt on them; then boiled, starched, wrung out, and hung to dry. The water for this had to be boiled and poured each time. There were some improvements in the process during this decade: Lux, in 1906, became the first laundry soap to be sold in flakes, not bars. Among other conveniences were iceboxes, which most urban dwellers had by the 1900s, largely because it had become possible during the 1890s to manufacture ice cheaply and reliably. Canning was improved, too, lowering the price of canned goods, and allowing the housewife to opt out of home canning. And the development of large food processing companies and the rapid spread of chain grocery stores such as A&P in the first two decades of the twentieth century, transformed marketing, by increasing the awareness of national brands and threatening the survival of local merchants. The spread of electricity, and with it of new electric appliances, helped to make some household jobs easier. David Kenney patented the electric
vacuum cleaner in 1907, and the Hoover vacuum cleaner was patented in 1908. Vacuuming promised to replace the arduous task of sweeping floors and beating rugs to remove dust and dirt. These new appliances remained out of the reach of most Americans during this decade, since they were expensive to purchase and operate. But electric appliances were marketed as basic requirements of the "modern" home, and in the 1910’s and 1920’s, the use of small and large appliances followed the spread of electricity across the country. The early 1900’s was the period in which workers began to have more leisure time than their predecessors. One reason for this was that industrial employers began to decrease working hours, and instituted a Saturday halfday holiday, which gave workers more free time for leisure activities. Vacations began to be regularly offered to workers, although they were usually unpaid ones. The monotony of specialized industrial work and the crowding of urban expansion, also created a desire in the worker to have leisure time away from his or her job and away from the bustle of the city. The Progressive movement was another factor which contributed to the increased value of leisure time for workers, as their health and well-being received more attention. Yet another factor was the installation of electric lighting in the city streets, which made nighttime leisure activities less dangerous for both sexes. People responded to this increased allowance of free time by attending a variety of leisure activities, both within and away from the city. New types of amusements that people of all classes and both sexes could attend, came into existence and quickly spread across the country. Within cities, people attended vaudeville shows, which would feature a multitude of acts. Shows often ran continuously so that theatergoers could come and go as they pleased. Vaudeville shows crossed economic and ethnic boundaries, as many different social groups would mix in the audience. Other popular shows of the time included circuses and Wild West shows, the most famous of the latter being, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's. Motion pictures also served as entertainment during leisure time for urban audiences. Initially the movies were novelties in kinetoscope viewers, until they became acts in their own right on the vaudeville stage. As motion
pictures became longer, they moved into storefront Nickelodeon theaters and then into even larger theaters. Outdoor activities remained popular as people attended celebratory parades and county fairs, the latter featuring agricultural products, machinery, competitions, and rides. Some people wished to go further afield on their vacations and leave the city. Many with limited budgets went to the countryside or the beaches. Towards the latter part of the nineteenth century, resorts opened in the outskirts of cities, such as the beach area of Asbury Park in New Jersey. Amusement parks opened in places like Coney Island, New York offering rides, fun houses, scenes from foreign life, and the latest technological breakthroughs, such as motion pictures. National parks were created by the federal government to preserve nature and many began to tour these areas on vacation. One such example was Yellowstone Park, where people camped or stayed at the hotels built there. World's fairs and expositions held in different U.S. cities, offered Americans a chance to "tour the world" in one place. The fairs celebrated progress, and featured exhibits of science and technology, foreign villages, shows, rides and vendors. The first major one was the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, which was followed by fairs in Chicago (1893), Atlanta (1895), Nashville (1897), Omaha (1898), Buffalo (1901), and St. Louis (1904). The popularity of sports grew, as people began to see the importance of exercise to health. While initially only the wealthy could partake of most sporting events, the opening of publicly available gymnasiums, courts, and fields allowed the working and middle classes to participate also. In 1914 World War I began, but President Wilson proclaimed U.S. neutrality in keeping with American tradition. He was also aware of the great divisions over the war: although perhaps a bare majority of Americans favored Britain, nearly as many were hostile to the Allies because of ethnic loyalties or suspicions of Britain, the world's most powerful empire and financial center, or hostility toward czarist Russia with its autocracy and pogroms. Pressed into the war in April 1917 by Germany's gamble for quick victory through unrestricted submarine warfare, Wilson initially believed that American belligerency would largely be economic and psychological and
that the central powers could be forced to the peace table, without U.S. troops becoming involved on European battlefields. Pressure from London and Paris and the realization that his voice in any peace conference would be small without an American military presence in Europe, changed his mind. Only once before, during the American Revolution, had the United States fought as part of a military alliance. The General Staff in the War Department, however, quickly concluded that the only way that the United States could fight in Europe, was through a collective military enterprise with the British and French on the western front. Nonetheless, America's leadership was determined to maintain a distinct military and political position. Wilson immediately disassociated himself from the entente's controversial war objectives, by insisting that the United States was an “associate power,” with freedom to conduct independent goals. Although only involved in heavy fighting for 110 days, the AEF made vital contributions to Germany's defeat. With tens of thousands of “doughboys” crossing the Atlantic to reinforce the Allies, and with the AEF emerging as a superior fighting force, the exhausted and depleted Germans had no hope of avoiding total defeat if the war continued into 1919. Before Berlin's appeal in early October for a peace based on Wilson's Fourteen Points, the United States was on the verge of brilliantly coordinating its participation in the land war in Europe, with its political plans to reshape the postwar world. If the war had continued into the spring of 1919, Pershing's plan to deliver a knockout blow to the German Army, probably would have been achieved. Gen. Jan C. Smuts, the South African statesman who served in the British War Cabinet, warned the British government in October: if the war continued another year, the United States would become the “diplomatic dictator of the world.” In contrast to Pershing's wishes for total victory, Wilson hoped to avoid placing Germany at the mercy of the Allies. American participation had not been designed to further the British Empire, strengthen French security, or even maintain the European balance of power. Wilson stood not with the interests of the nation states, but with the rights of humankind. He thus attempted, with mixed results, to use separate negotiations with Berlin over an armistice to impose his Fourteen Points on the Allies as well as Germany.
As the Great War concluded with the armistice on November 11, 1918, American policy was directed toward the repudiation of power politics and the erection of a “permanent” peace. “Wilsonianism” promised an end to war primarily through democratic institutions, the end of secret diplomacy, the self determination for ethnic minorities, and most especially through a League of Nations. It has been argued that this visionary approach raised expectations that were impossible to meet. The war had destroyed the old balance of power in Europe, and the peace settlement made revisionist nations out of the two states that would soon dominate the Continent, Germany and the Soviet Union. The United States, the greatest economic beneficiary of the war, helped make the peace, but with its rejection of the Treaty of Versailles, refused responsibility for maintaining it. A war in which over 65 million troops had been mobilized by the belligerents, ended in a twenty year truce instead of “permanent peace.” The failure to achieve Wilson's unrealistic, though desirable, goal was hardly surprising. But another general war was not inevitable. World War II was caused by many factors, including the flawed peace settlement of 1919, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the psychological scars of World War I, which enfeebled the democracies. But the inability of the victorious powers, especially Great Britain and the United States, to work together to prevent the resurgence of German military power, was certainly one of the most important reasons for the resumption of war in 1939. POPULAR FASHION OF THE EARLY 1900’s The fashion at the turn of the century was formal and romantic. Men wore long slim trousers with a bit of fullness at the top. A cap with goggles and a linen duster made up the motoring outfit. Shoulders were broad and padded. The lightweight, cotton knit shirt became popular for beach and sports wear. Women wore the high, straight-front corset with long hips, making the waist as small as possible. Garters came in during this decade. The skirt grew shorter to accommodate stepping onto the new automobiles and trolley. The popular hobble skirt measured a yard around, necessitating a knee-high slit at the side to make walking possible. The high buttoned shoe lasted during this decade. Bobbed hair made its appearance by the end of this decade. Hats were large. People were very clothes conscious and clothes were 'costumy'. All in all, a great decade to shop! And, these styles led to those of the 1920s.
Grandparents are a family’s greatest treasure, The founders of a loving legacy; The greatest storytellers, the keepers of traditions, That linger on in cherished memory. Grandparents are the family’s strong foundation, Their very special love sets them apart; Through happiness and sorrow, through their special love and caring, Grandparents keep a family close at heart.”
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY GRANDPARENTS My Memere Labrie, my Dad’s mother, was born in 1882 in Canada. Her name was Victoria Melancon and, in 1893, when she was 11, she came to the United States and moved to Manchester, NH. She worked in the Amoskeag Mills. She met my Pepere Labrie, my Dad’s father, through relatives. In 1903, they got married. They would eventually have 13 children, 10 of whom lived. My Dad, born in 1925, was the 2nd youngest of the 13 children, and an identical twin. My Pepere Labrie, my Dad’s father, was born in 1886 in Canada. His name was Omer Labrie, and, in 1901, at the age of 15, came to the United States and moved to Manchester, NH. He worked in the Amoskeag Mills as a weaver. He met my Memere Labrie through relatives and, in 1903, they married. He paid $3,000 for a 3 tenement house on Hevey Street, on the west side of Manchester. That section of the city had a lot of people who were French, many of whom only spoke French. He only earned about $20 per week to support a family with 10 children. Because they were such a big family, they lived on all 3 floors of their tenement. My Dad slept in one of the bedrooms upstairs, and he remembers his father banging on the pipes on the floor below to wake him to get up for school.
“A grandparent is a gift from above, one to cherish, one to love.”
My Memere Labrie is actually the only one of my grandparents that I never met. She died of colon cancer at the age of 61, when my Dad was a Senior in high school. But I think that we would have enjoyed spending time together, because God and family were very important to her, as they are to me. She loved taking care of her family, as I do mine. She had a much larger family than I have – she had 13 children (3 died, so there were 10 children living) – compared to my family of 4 children. She also loved to cook, as I do. My Dad said she was a good cook. Without the modern conveniences that we take for granted and that make taking care of our home and family easier, I imagine my grandmother working from morning to night just meeting all the many needs of her family.
“A grandmother’s love is always in bloom.”
My Dad speaks very lovingly of his Mom, my Memere Labrie… she was very humble and very devoted to her family – they were her whole life. Although poor financially, she was rich in character and grace. Her relationship with God was very important and evident. She taught her children about Jesus and to say their prayers. Her greatest joy was to go to Church with her family and partake of Holy Communion together. On Christmas Eve, the whole family would go to Midnight Mass. For Christmas, she would make about 10 homemade pies for her large family. My Dad said that “apricot” was his favorite pie. They would get a new plastic table cloth each year at Christmas. They had a real Christmas tree and one of my Dad’s older brothers would take turns being Santa Claus. They were a large family so couldn’t afford many gifts. My Dad remembers getting a red ball one Christmas and a prayer book. He said they might have been poor in material things, but they were rich in the truly important things – love for God and family. My Memere Labrie was very loving towards her husband and her children. She did not speak much English, mainly French. She made my Dad’s school bag, which he carried over his shoulder. I’m sure that she must have made school bags for all her children – she would have needed to make 10 of them!
“A garden of love grows in a grandmother’s heart.”
My Dad remembers his mother walking to the corner store almost every day for groceries. Bread cost just pennies, milk about 10 to 15 cents, and hamburg was about 20 cents per pound and freshly ground. They would buy apples by the bushel. All fruit came from the local farmer and were sweet and juicy. All the corner stores were locally owned. The floors of the stores were oiled, and sawdust was spread on them, to be swept every night. My Dad remembers those days fondly, where the corner store was the place where you met all your friends. My Dad has a deep respect and love for his Mom. I’ve heard it said that you can test someone’s character by how they treat their mother. My Dad would
later display that same deep respect and love for my Mom, my sisters, and myself.
“Always and forever is a grandfather’s love.”
My Pepere Labrie was a hard working man – he worked in the textile mills all his life. He was devoted to his family – his wife and 10 children. He had 8 boys and 2 girls. He also loved his country, but because he had a family to care for, he was not able to serve in the military and got a deferral. He was a strong Christian, with good character and integrity. He instilled in his children the importance of God. My Dad remembers all of his family walking together to the Catholic Church in their neighborhood every Sunday. Their family filled a whole pew (long bench seat) in the Church. Also, my Dad remembers that their family would say the rosary (praying to God) every night during Lent.
“Grandparents and grandchildren are God’s gift to each other.”
My Pepere Labrie was a strong man physically, though not tall. He enjoyed playing ball with his children and he liked to play horseshoes. He also enjoyed playing cards. He did not have much education, but encouraged his youngest children to finish high school. Many children, at that time, would stop going to school at the age of 16, to go to work. My Memere Labrie had colon cancer, and died at the age of 61, when my Dad was a Senior in high school. That was a difficult time for my Dad. His mother had died and, in February of his Senior year of high school, he got inducted into the Army to serve in WWII. He was able to get a deferral until he graduated in June. While my Dad was serving overseas, his father, now a widower, remarried. I don’t remember his 2nd wife – I think she passed away when I was small. Later, my Pepere Labrie married a 3rd time. It’s interesting – her last name was Hebert, the same last name as my Mom, but no relation. I remember my Pepere Labrie’s 3rd wife – she was very kind and loving.
I remember my Pepere Labrie as being a soft-spoken, kind, and loving grandfather. He passed away when I was about 10 years old. I remember that the whole family would go to his house to visit on New Year’s Day. Always, before we would leave, we all knelt in front of him, and he would give his blessing. My Dad remembers that his father was by his side when he went into the service during WWII, and also when he got married. My Dad admired his father very much and always hoped to become as good a father as he was. I thank my Memere and Pepere Labrie for their devotion and love for God, each other, and their children. I honor them for their wonderful example to my Dad of a very loving family. He would later have his own family and has been a wonderful example to me of a very loving father, who is devoted to his family. Love for God, family, and country is continuing on… from one generation to the next.
“The history of our grandparents is remembered not with rose petals, but in the laughter and tears of their children, and their children’s children. It is into us that the lives of grandparents have gone. It is in us that their history becomes a future.”
My Memere Hebert, my Mom’s mother, was born in Canada in 1897. Her name was Rosilda McNeil, but everyone called her Rose (that’s my Mom’s favorite flower, by the way). She grew up on a farm in a small village in Canada called St. Paul de Chester. She was one of 11 children, with 2 sets of twins. Unfortunately, 7 children died at birth. Her father’s name was Pierre McNeil – he was of French and Scottish descent. I think that my Memere Hebert’s strong work ethic probably came from him. After her father died, she came to America from Canada, when she was 16, with her mother, Mathilde, and sister, Roseanna. They first lived in Lowell, MA, a big industrial city, and then moved to Manchester, NH, another large industrial city. She worked in the Amoskeag Mills as a spinner. It was hard work. She was frugal, as wages were low. She also bought savings bonds each week.
“Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love.”
My Pepere Hebert, my Mom’s father, was born in Manchester, NH in 1896. His name was Arthur Hebert and he was the 2nd child – he had an older sister, named Amelia, and a younger sister, named Helen. They moved to Canada when he was 3 years old, and lived in the small village of Weedon. After his father, Hyacinthe Hebert, died, he came back to the United States with his mother, Marie (Picard) Hebert, and his sisters. They moved back to Manchester NH, when he was 14. He worked at the Amoskeag Mills as a weaver, and it was there that he met my Memere Hebert, in 1917. My Pepere Hebert later went into the Army, and served during WWI. He was proud to have served his country during the war. After he returned from the war, my Memere and Pepere Hebert got married. Opposites do attract – the personalities of my Memere Hebert, and that of my Pepere Hebert, were very different. She was very talkative and loved to socialize. She enjoyed reminiscing about her old boyfriends, and about her life growing up on a farm in Canada. She also loved to visit relatives, go to the movies, and go shopping. She was petite, and proud of her appearance.
“A zest for life is one of the most important examples a grandparent can pass on to their grandchildren.”
He was very quiet – he actually didn’t speak much English, mainly French. He didn’t like to socialize or visit relatives. But he liked to read and he did like movies. I remember that he took us to a few Elvis Presley movies that played at the drive-in, when I was growing up. He liked the music, and the fact that Elvis Presley had served in the military. Actually, my Pepere Hebert was very proud of having served in the military during WWI.
“Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth, as vitamins.”
In 1922, they married, after he returned from the war. My Mom was born in 1923. She was their first baby; they had a boy about a year later, named Renaud, but he died when he was 2 days old of yellow jaundice; they had a girl about 5 years later, named Jeannine, but she also died soon after birth of yellow jaundice. It was caused by my Memere and Pepere Hebert having
different blood types (the same as Rich and I). There is no problem with the first-born baby. But, if the first-born baby’s blood has a positive Rh factor, and some of its blood enters the mother’s system, then she builds up antibodies to defend itself, and attacks the Rh positive red blood cells of future babies. Thank God, that today, there is medicine available to prevent that from happening. They lived in a brick apartment building near the mills, where they worked. The building was actually owned by Amoskeag Mills, and called “The Corporations”. My Memere Hebert and my Mom would walk to the store every day, because they didn’t have a refrigerator. The stores were Mom & Pop corner stores. Bread was 5 cents and milk was ten cents. They would go to a special store for coffee and butter. They did have an ice box – it had a place inside to put a block of ice and a tray in the bottom for the ice that melted. My Memere Hebert didn’t like cooking too much and made simple meals.
“Grandmas hold our tiny hands for a little while… but our hearts forever.”
My Memere Hebert, her mother, and my Mom would sometimes travel by train to visit relatives in Biddeford, Maine. My Pepere Hebert didn’t go, because he was very quiet, and didn’t like to visit. My Mom knew both her grandmothers. One of her grandmothers, or an aunt, would baby sit my Mom, when her mother worked in the mills. They went to St. George’s Catholic Church every Sunday for Mass. They also liked to go to the movies together. My Mom was very close to her mother. She said that her mother made her feel loved always - that is a great way to describe her!
“God’s most precious work of art is the warmth and love of a Grandmother’s heart.”
During the depression, my Memere Hebert also did housework and cooking in a private home, to earn enough money to buy my mother an eighth grade graduation dress.
My Pepere Hebert was very quiet and, although he didn’t express any affection, my Mom knew he loved her. He was always afraid that she would get hurt. As a result, my Mom always felt safe and protected when he was home. She said that he was a good man and she loved him. Their Christmas tree didn’t have lights, because there was no electricity. They put up ornaments and tinsel. My mom took a stocking (actually, one of her own stockings – not a special one that was decorated for Christmas) and hung it up on Christmas Eve, and in the morning, it was filled with apples and oranges. They didn’t have much money, but would usually give a doll to my Mom, as a gift. But one Christmas, my Pepere Hebert bought a sled for my Mom, and she treasured that gift from him.
“Grandparents make the world a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.”
Memere Hebert enjoyed her family and worked hard in the home, but she also liked to work outside the home and earn a paycheck. At a time when most married women were homemakers, my grandmother enjoyed working outside the home. It was probably a necessity, to supplement my grandfather's income, but I also think that she liked to be a little independent and make money. When my Mom was in her early teens, they had to move to a different apartment, to make way for a new bridge. I remember that apartment. It was on the third floor, so they had to climb two flights of stairs to get to their apartment. They had a washer but not a dryer, so had to hang all the clothes on the clothesline outside. It was attached to their porch on the 3rd floor. I remember they had a large pantry in their kitchen. They didn’t have a shower in their bathroom, but they did have a claw-foot bathtub. I also remember that they had a nice cabinet in their living room that was actually a record player and radio. Both my Memere and Pepere Hebert wanted my Mom to have a high school education, because they wanted a better life for her than they had, working so hard in the mills. My Mom was an only child, so I’m sure it must have been difficult for my grandparents, when she later married my Dad. However, they lived with my grandparents for 4 months, after they married. That must have helped them
a little bit, to adjust to having their only child married and starting to have her own life. My parents rented an apartment on Dow Street, where they would live for the next 8 months, before buying their 1st house on Jewett Street. When I was growing up, we often visited my grandparents. And they always came to our house to celebrate special occasions and holidays. My sister, Jeannine, and I often slept overnight at their house on the weekend. I remember having fun playing dress-up in my grandmother’s dresses and high heels. I also remember playing bingo with her, too.
“Grandma always made you feel that she had been waiting all day, to see, just you, and now the day was complete.”
I remember my Pepere Hebert always made himself a toast with his dinner. It smelled so good that I always wanted one, too! Eventually, they bought a car and took my sister, Jeannine, and myself to the city of Quebec, in Canada, when we were in grammar school. The only thing I remember about that trip, was what happened at the motel we stayed at, on the way to Canada. In the morning, Jeannine and I made our bed, as we always did every morning. I remember my Memere Hebert saying to us “You’re not supposed to make your bed when you stay at a motel – they do that for you”. As we unmade our bed, I remember thinking “I like staying at a motel!” Once my Memere Hebert finally retired from the mills in her early 70's, she worked part-time as a housekeeper at a local hospital. Years ago, she had babysat my sister, Jeannine, when my Mom worked outside the home, before I was born. Later, I think in her 80's, my grandmother babysat her great granddaughter, Michele, for a few years. She definitely had a lot of energy for her age.
“Grandmothers are voices of the past. Role models of the present. They open the doors to the future.”
When my Pepere Hebert retired, he received his Social Security. He also received $47/month from a V.A. Pension – he was very proud of that!
My Memere & Pepere Hebert celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with a big party at a function room at the Chateau Restaurant. (Rich and I were still dating at that time.) They also celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary with a small party and with just the immediate family. They were married for 61 years. Growing up, I remember that my Mom spoke to my Memere Hebert on the phone every day. I also spoke to her often on the phone, especially after I became a stay-at-home mom. I also visited her during the week, and spent the day with her. And we often had my grandparents come to our house to eat dinner. My Pepere Hebert really didn’t like to talk or to visit, but he seemed to enjoy himself when he came to our home. I think that he felt comfortable with Rich. They shared a mutual respect for each other, both having served in the military during wartime.
“The best lesson we could learn from a grandparent is to cherish every moment we have with them.”
They would eventually move to a group home, when they were no longer well enough to stay at their apartment. As their health further declined, they were transferred to a nursing home. My Mom was an only child, so she had the responsibility of finding a good nursing home. My Mom and Dad visited them often at the nursing home. We also visited as often as we could. My Pepere Hebert died at the age of 88, from pneumonia. The doctors also found that he had lung cancer – he was a heavy smoker for years. My Memere Hebert died at the age of 91, from hardening of the arteries. My Memere Hebert had a big influence on my life. She was the kind of grandmother any child would be blessed to have – she loved us and showed her love in everything she did. She loved to spend time with us and we knew it. Her legacy of love was one of the reasons that I wrote this book. I wanted my children, grandchildren, and future generations to know about her and her deep love for her family.
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, & INVENTIONS OF THE EARLY 1900’s Technology, science, and inventions progressed at an accelerated rate during the hundred years of the 20th century, more so than any other century. The beginning of the 20th century saw the infancy of airplanes, automobiles, and radio, when those inventions dazzled with their novelty and wonder. My grandparents could never imagine the 20th century would end with spaceships, computers, cell phones, and the wireless Internet all being technologies we take for granted. I'll conclude this section of the book on my grandparents with a few more interesting facts regarding the progress of technology, science, and inventions during their generation from 1900 to 1925. 1900 •The zeppelin invented by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. •Charles Seeberger redesigned Jesse Reno's escalator and invented the modern escalator. 1901 •King Camp Gillette invents the double-edged safety razor. •The first radio receiver, successfully received a radio transmission. •Hubert Booth invents a compact and modern vacuum cleaner. 1902 •Willis Carrier invents the air conditioner. •The lie detector or polygraph machine is invented by James Mackenzie. •The birth of the Teddy Bear. •George Claude invented neon light. 1903 •Edward Binney and Harold Smith co-invent crayons. •Bottle-making machinery invented by Michael J. Owens. •The Wright brothers invent the first gas motored and manned airplane. •Mary Anderson invents windshield wipers. •William Coolidge invents ductile tungsten used in light bulbs.
1904 •Teabags invented by Thomas Sullivan. •Benjamin Holt invents a tractor. •John A. Fleming invents a vacuum diode or Fleming valve. 1905 •Albert Einstein published the Theory of Relativity and made famous the equation, E = mc2. •Mary Anderson receives a patent for windshield wipers. 1906 •William Kellogg invents Cornflakes. •Lewis Nixon invents the first sonar like device. •Lee Deforest invents electronic amplifying tube (triode). 1907 •Leo Baekeland invents the first synthetic plastic called Bakelite. •Color photography invented by Auguste and Louis Lumiere. •The very first piloted helicopter was invented by Paul Cornu. 1908 •The gyrocompass invented by Elmer A. Sperry. •Cellophane invented by Jacques E. Brandenberger. •Model T first sold. •J W Geiger and W Müller invent the geiger counter. 1909 •Instant coffee invented by G. Washington. 1910 •Thomas Edison demonstrated the first talking motion picture. •Georges Claude displayed the first neon lamp to the public on December 11, 1910, in Paris. 1911 •Charles Franklin Kettering invents the first automobile electrical ignition system.
1912 •Motorized movie cameras invented, replaced hand-cranked cameras. •The first tank patented by Australian inventor De La Mole. •Clarence Crane created Life Savers candy in 1912. 1913 •The crossword puzzle invented by Arthur Wynne. •Gideon Sundback invented the modern zipper. 1914 •Garrett A. Morgan invents the Morgan gas mask. 1915 •Eugene Sullivan and William Taylor co-invented Pyrex in New York City. 1916 •Radio tuners invented, that received different stations. •Stainless steel invented by Henry Brearly. 1917 •Gideon Sundback patented the modern zipper (not the first zipper). 1918 •The superheterodyne radio circuit invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong. Today, every radio or television set uses this invention. •Charles Jung invented fortune cookies. 1919 •The pop-up toaster invented by Charles Strite. •Short-wave radio invented. •The flip-flop circuit invented. •The arc welder invented. 1920 •The tommy gun patented by John T. Thompson. •The Band-Aid (pronounced 'ban-'dade) invented by Earle Dickson.
1921 •Artificial life begins -- the first robot built. •John Larson invented the lie detector. 1922 •Insulin invented by Sir Frederick Grant Banting. •The first 3-D movie (spectacles with one red and one green lens) is released. 1923 •Garrett A. Morgan invents a traffic signal. •The television or iconoscope (cathode-ray tube) invented by Vladimir Kosma Zworykin. •John Harwood invented the self-winding watch. •Clarence Birdseye invents frozen food. 1924 •The dynamic loudspeaker invented by Rice and Kellogg. •Notebooks with spiral bindings invented. 1925 •The mechanical television a precursor to the modern television, invented by John Logie Baird.
It's great to learn about our ancestors and their lives. It's inspiring to read about their love for God, family, and country. I hope that it inspires us to follow in their footsteps on this path of life. We live in a time that is very different from that of my grandparents, but the really important things in life are still the same - love for God, family and country.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, Thank you for blessing me with the love of my grandparents. I pray that their life stories will inspire all of us to simplify our lives in this complex world of ours, and focus on what is truly important. Help us to remember that even though life changes, You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Help us to seek You first, and then everything else in our lives will follow in the right order. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
“Seek the Kingdom of God, above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you, everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
Chapter 2 – MY MOM & DAD / LIFE IN THE 1920's, 1930's, & 1940's
"Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth". (Ephesians 6:1-3)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE 1920’s, 1930’s, & 1940’s The 1920s are remembered now as an exciting time that historians call the "roaring twenties." The 1920s brought a feeling of freedom and independence to millions of Americans, especially young Americans. Young soldiers returned from World War I with new ideas. They had seen a different world in Europe. They had faced death, and learned to enjoy the pleasures that each day offered. Many of these young soldiers were not willing to quietly accept the old traditions of their families and villages, when they returned home. Instead, they wanted to try new ways of living. Many young Americans, both men and women, began to challenge some of the traditions of their parents and grandparents. For example, some young women began to experiment with new kinds of clothes. They no longer wore dresses that hid the shape of their bodies. Instead, they wore thinner dresses that uncovered part of their legs. Many young women began to smoke cigarettes, too. Cigarette production in the United States more than doubled in the ten years between 1918 and 1928. Many women also began to drink alcohol with men, in public, for the first time. And they listened together to a popular new kind of music: jazz. Young people danced the Fox Trot, the Charleston, and other new dances. They held one another tightly on the dance floor, instead of dancing far apart. It was a revolution in social values, at least among some Americans. People openly discussed subjects that their parents and grandparents had kept private. An important force behind these changes was the growing independence of American women. In 1920, the nation passed the 19th Amendment to the constitution, which gave women the right to vote.
Of equal importance, many women took jobs during the war, and continued working after the troops returned home. Also, new machines freed many of them from spending long hours of work in the home washing clothes, preparing food, and doing other jobs. Education was another important force behind the social changes of the 1920s. More and more Americans were getting a good education. The number of students attending high school doubled between 1920 and 1930. Many of the schools now offered new kinds of classes, to prepare students for useful jobs. Attendance at colleges and universities also increased greatly. And colleges offered more classes in such useful subjects as teacher training, engineering, and business administration. Two inventions also helped cause the social changes. They were the automobile and the radio. The automobile gave millions of Americans the freedom to travel easily to new places. And the radio brought new ideas and experiences into their own homes. Probably the most important force behind social change was the continuing economic growth of the 1920s. Many people had extra money to spend on things other than food, housing, and other basic needs. They could experiment with new products and different ways of living. Of course, not all Americans were wearing strange new "flapper" clothes or dancing until early in the morning. Millions of Americans in small towns or rural areas continued to live simple, quiet lives. People across the country bought newspapers to read of the latest golf victory by champion Bobby Jones. "Big Bill" Tilden became the most famous player in tennis. And millions of Americans listened to the boxing match in 1926 between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. In fact, five Americans reportedly became so excited while listening to the fight that they died of heart attacks. However, the greatest single sports hero of the period was the baseball player, Babe Ruth. Ruth was a large man who could hit a baseball farther than any other human being.
The most famous popular event of the 1920s was the brave action of pilot Charles Lindbergh when he flew an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. He was the first man in history to do this. Lindbergh flew his plane alone from New York to France in May, 1927. His flight set off wild celebrations across the United States. Newspapers carried story after story about Lindbergh's success. President Coolidge and a large crowd greeted the young pilot when he returned to Washington. And New York congratulated Lindbergh with one of the largest parades in its history. Americans liked Lindbergh because he was brave, quiet, and handsome. He seemed to represent everything that was best about their country. The stock market crash of 1929 marked the beginning of the worst economic crisis in American history. Millions of people lost their jobs. Thousands lost their homes. During the next several years, a large part of the richest nation on earth learned what it meant to be poor. Hard times found their way into every area, group, and job. Workers struggled as factories closed. Farmers, hit with falling prices and natural disasters, were forced to give up their farms. Businessmen lost their stores and sometimes their homes. It was a severe economic crisis -- a depression. The economic crisis began with the stock market crash in October, 1929. For the first year, the economy fell very slowly. But it dropped sharply in 1931 and 1932. And by the end of 1932, the economy collapsed almost completely. The gross national product is the total of all goods and services produced. During the three years following the stock market crash, the American gross national product dropped by almost half. The wealth of the average American dropped to a level lower than it had been twenty-five years earlier. All the gains of the 1920s were washed away. Unemployment rose sharply. The number of workers looking for a job jumped from three percent to more than twenty-five percent in just four years. One of every three or four workers was looking for a job in 1932.
Those employment numbers did not include farmers. The men and women who grew the nation's food suffered terribly during the Great Depression. Falling production. Rising unemployment. Men begging in the streets. But there was more to the Great Depression. At that time, the federal government did not guarantee the money that people put in banks. When people could not repay loans, banks began to close. The depression caused serious public health problems. Hospitals across the country were filled with sick people whose main illness was a lack of food. The health department in New York City found that one of every five of the city's children did not get enough food. The quality of housing also fell. Families were forced to crowd into small houses or apartments to share costs. Many people had no homes at all. They slept on public streets, buses, or trains. One official in Chicago reported in 1931 that several hundred women without homes were sleeping in city parks. In a number of cities, people without homes built their houses from whatever materials they could find. They used empty boxes or pieces of metal to build shelters in open areas. People called these areas of little temporary houses "Hoovervilles." They blamed President Hoover for their situation. So, too, did the men forced to sleep in public parks at night. They covered themselves with pieces of paper and they called the paper "Hoover blankets." People without money in their pants called their empty pockets "Hoover flags." People blamed President Hoover because they thought he was not doing enough to help them. Hoover did take several actions to try to improve the economy. But he resisted proposals for the federal government to provide aid in a major way. And he refused to let the government spend more money than it earned. Hoover told the nation: "Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive decision." On and on the Great Depression continued. Of course, some Americans were lucky. They kept their jobs. And they had enough money to enjoy the lower prices of most goods. Many people shared their earnings with friends in need.
Economics dominated politics in the 1930's. The decade began with shanty towns called Hoovervilles, named after a president who felt that relief should be left to the private sector, and ended with an alphabet soup of federal programs funded by the national government and an assortment of commissions set up to regulate Wall Street, the banking industry, and other business enterprises. The Social Security Act of 1935 set up a program to ensure an income for the elderly. The Wagner Act of 1935 gave workers the legal right to unionize. John L. Lewis founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and conditions for blue-collar workers improved. Joseph P. Kennedy, a Wall Street insider, was appointed Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commissions. By the beginning of the next decade the United States had gone from a laissez-faire economy that oversaw its own conduct to an economy regulated by the federal government. The debate over which is the best course of action still rages today. Radio reached its zenith of popularity in the 1930’s. By 1939 about 80 percent of the population owned radio sets. Americans loved to laugh at the antics of such comedians as Jack Benny, Fred Allen, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Amos and Andy, and Fibber McGee and Molly. The soap opera dominated the daytime airwaves. Our Gal Sunday began each episode with the question, "Can a girl from a little mining town in the west find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?” Many a woman's ear was glued to her radio every day in hopes of learning the answer. The heroics of the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet, the Shadow, and Jack Armstrong, all-American boy, thrilled listeners both young and old and sold countless boxes of cereal. News broadcasts by commentators like H. V. Kaltenborn and Edward R. Murrow kept the public aware of the increasing crisis in Europe. Franklin Roosevelt used the medium in his "Fireside Chats" to influence public opinion. One of the most dramatic moments in radio history occurred on May 6, 1937, when the German airship Hindenburg burst into flames as it was about to land in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The horror of the incident was conveyed live by the reporter Herb Morrison. His reaction to what was happening in front of him still enthralls today.
On October 30, 1938, a twenty-three-year-old Orson Welles broadcast on his Mercury Theater of the Air the H.G. Wells story “War of the Worlds”. Despite the disclaimer at the end of the program, the tale of a Martian invasion of Earth panicked a million listeners who mistook the play for a newscast. Such was the influence of radio in this its golden age. The New York's World Fair of 1939 - true to its theme of "The World of Tomorrow" - gave its estimated 25.8 million visitors a glimpse of the future. The fairgoers marveled at the flickering images of a TV set at the RCA Building and were amazed at the General Motors exhibit of a seven-lane cross-country highway system. Many of the innovations demonstrated did not become a part of every day life until after World War II, but there was a peek at the technology to come. Medical advances in the thirties included a new and safer way to do blood transfusions - an advance that was to save many a soldier's life in the upcoming war. In 1937 Chicago's Cook County Hospital opened the first blood bank that stored blood given by live donors. This, with improved anesthesia, made the chances of surviving major surgery on vital organs much greater. Hollywood turned out movie after movie to entertain its Depression audience and the 30's are often referred to as Hollywood's "Golden Age". Movie goers wanted mainly escapist fare that let them forget their everyday troubles for a few hours. They swooned over such matinee idols as Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, and Errol Flynn. They laughed at the likes of W. C. Fields, Bob Hope, and the Marx Brothers. America fell in love with the little curly headed moppet Shirley Temple and flocked to see her tap dance and sing to the song "The Good Ship Lollipop". Busby Berkeley's elaborate dance numbers delighted many a fan. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tapping, and ballroom dancing across the screen, enthralled the audience. Notable writers like William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald penned screenplays. Not all movies were fantasy and lightness. The picture version of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath brought to film the story of the Joab family and its migration from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the agricultural fields of California. One of the top money makers of all time was “Gone with the Wind”, debuting in Atlanta, Georgia in 1939. Walt Disney produced the first full-length animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937.
The forties are pretty well defined by World War II. US isolationism was shattered by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt guided the country on the homefront, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the troops in Europe. Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz led them in the Pacific. The successful use of an antibiotic, penicillin, by 1941 revolutionized medicine. Developed first to help the military personnel survive war wounds, it also helped increase survival rates for surgery. The first eye bank was established at New York Hospital in 1944. Unemployment almost disappeared, as most men were drafted and sent off to war. The government reclassified 55% of their jobs, allowing women and blacks to fill them. First, single women were actively recruited to the workforce. In 1943, with virtually all the single women employed, married women were allowed to work. Japanese immigrants and their descendants, suspected of loyalty to their homelands, were sent to internment camps. There were scrap drives for steel, tin, paper and rubber. These were a source of supplies and gave people a means of supporting the war effort. Automobile production ceased in 1942, and rationing of food supplies began in 1943. Victory gardens were re-instituted and supplied 40% of the vegetables consumed on the home front. In April, 1945, FDR died, and President Harry Truman celebrated V-E Day on May 8, 1945. Japan surrendered only after two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States emerged from World War II as a world superpower, challenged only by the USSR. While the USSR subjugated the defeated countries, the US implemented the Marshall Plan, helping war-torn countries to rebuild and rejoin the world economy. Disputes over ideology and control led to the Cold War. Communism was treated as a contagious disease, and anyone who had contact with it was under suspicion. Alger Hiss, a former hero of the New Deal, was indicted as a traitor and the House Un-American Activities Committee began its infamous hearings.
Returning GI's from World War II created the baby boom, which is still having repercussions on American society today. Although there were rumors, it was only after the war ended that Americans learned the extent of the Holocaust. Realization of the power of prejudice helped lead to Civil Rights reforms over the next three decades. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights, entitled returning soldiers to a college education. In 1949, three times as many college degrees were conferred as in 1940. College became available to the capable rather than the privileged few. Television made its debut at the 1939 World Fair, but the war interrupted further development. In 1947, commercial television with 13 stations became available to the public. Computers were developed during the early forties. The digital computer, named ENIAC, weighing 30 tons and standing two stories high, was completed in 1945. In the 1940’s, Big Bands dominated popular music. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman led some of the more famous bands. Eventually, many of the singers with the Big Bands struck out on their own. Bing Crosby's smooth voice made him one of the most popular singers, vying with Frank Sinatra. Dinah Shore, Kate Smith and Perry Como also led the hit parade. Radio was the lifeline for Americans in the 1940's, providing news, music and entertainment, much like television today. Programming included soap operas, quiz shows, children's hours, mystery stories, fine drama, and sports. Kate Smith and Arthur Godfrey were popular radio hosts. The government relied heavily on radio for propaganda. Like the movies, radio faded in popularity as television became prominent. Many of the most popular radio shows continued on in television, including Red Skelton, Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Truth or Consequences. Working mothers, combined with another new phenomenon, the refrigerator, led to the invention of frozen dinners. With the advent of television later in the decade, they became known as TV Dinners. Tupperware and aluminum foil eased the postwar housewives' burden, and diners, originally horse drawn carriages with a couple of barstools, became a stationary, respectable staple of the postwar culture. The Slinky was invented by a ship inspector in 1945.
Teenagers became a recognized force in the forties. With the men off to war, teenagers - boys and girls - found employment readily available, and so had money to spend. Seventeen magazine was established in 1944. Advertisement began to be aimed at teens. The forties were the heyday for movies. The Office of War declared movies an essential industry for morale and propaganda. Most plots had a fairly narrow and predictable set of morals, and if Germans or Japanese were included, they were one-dimensional villains. Examples are Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, Lifeboat, Notorious, Best Years of our Lives, Wake Island, Battle of Midway, Guadalcanal Diary, and Destination Tokyo. Citizen Kane, not fitting the template, was one of the masterpieces of the time. Leading actors were Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Jimmy Stewart, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner. Walt Disney's career began to take off, with animated cartoons such as Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942). During the war years, the studio produced cartoons for the government, such as Donald gets Drafted (1942), Out of the Frying Pan into the Firing Line (1942) and Der Fuehrer's Face (1943). At the end of the war, only 5,000 television sets, with five inch black & white screens, were in American homes. By 1951, 17 million had been sold. The Original Amateur Hour, a revival of a popular radio show, was the first top-rated show in 1948. Milton Berle's slapstick comedy, Texaco Star Theater, was credited with creating the demand for televisions. Its greatest rival was Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town. POPULAR FASHION OF THE 1920’s, 1930’s, & 1940’s Clothing for men became a bit more conservative in the 1920s. Trousers widened to as wide as 24 inches at the bottoms. Knickers grew in width and length and were called 'plus fours'. White linen was popular during the summer. And during the winter, an outstanding American coat was popular the racoon coat. These were very popular with the college men. For women, the flapper fashion was very distinctive – women ‘bobbed’ their hair, wore simple straight dresses with knee-length skirts, and they used brightly colored lipstick. Flappers became the ideal for women in the 1920’s – their attitude was youthful, chic, and above all, modern.
The 1920’s began the present hey-day for the manufacturing of cosmetics powder, lipstick, rouge, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, and colored nails. This period marked the spread of ready-to-wear fashion. More women were wage earners and did not want to spent time on fittings. America moved ahead of other countries’ mass production of contemporary style clothing for women. In the 1930’s, Paris fashions became too expensive for all but the very rich and American designers came into their own. Clothes had to last a long time so styles did not change every season. The simple print dress with a waist line and longer hem length replaced the flapper attire of the 1920's. The use of the zipper became wide spread for the first time because it was less expensive than the buttons and closures previously used. Another innovation of the 30's was different hem lengths for different times of the day - mid calf for day wear, long for the evening. Men's pants were wide and high waisted. Vest sweaters were an alternative to the traditional matching vest of the three piece suit. Hats were mandatory for the well dressed male. In the 1940’s, the Zoot Suit was the height of fashion among daring young men until the War Production Department restricted the amount of fabric that could be used in men's garments. The same restrictions led to the popularity of the women's convertible suit - a jacket, short skirt, and blouse. The jacket could be shed for more formal attire at night. Silk stockings were unavailable, so to give the illusion of stockings with their prominent seam, women would draw a line up the backs of their legs with an eyeliner. At work, as "Rosie the Riveter" took on a man's work, slacks became acceptable attire. When the war and its restrictions ended, Christian Dior introduced the New Look, feminine dresses with long, full skirts, and tight waists. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes were forsaken for high heels. Hair was curled high on the head in front, and worn to the shoulders in the back, and make-up was socially acceptable. POPULAR FADS OF THE 1920's, 1930's, & 1940's Stickball, Hood Ornaments, Moving to the suburbs, Swallowing Goldfish, Pea Shooters, Stamp Collecting, Betty Boop, Monopoly, Drive-in Theater, Mandatory Hats, Board Games, Radio Shows, Swing Dancing, Bright Red Lipstick, Dance Marathons, Flappers, Flagpole Sitting, Bobby soxer, Fadoras, Two-toned shoes, Jewelry Broaches, Dates at the Soda Fountain, Jitter bug, Bubble gum blowing contests, Bridge parties
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY MOM AND DAD
“The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to her children.”
My Mom was born on September 5, 1923 in Manchester, NH. Her name was Doris Theresa Hebert. She was the first-born child of Rose and Arthur Hebert. She had a younger brother, named Renaud, and a younger sister, named Jeannine, who both died at birth of yellow jaundice, due to the Rh factor. My Mom’s mother and father both worked in the Amoskeag Mills. She knew both her grandmothers. One of her grandmothers, or an aunt, would baby sit my Mom while her mother worked in the mills. My Mom was an only child. She would amuse herself by playing with paper dolls, and dancing to the shadows that the kerosene lamp made on the walls. Her favorite holiday was Christmas. The first Christmas tree she remembers didn’t have lights because they didn’t have electricity. They would put ornaments and tinsel on it. My Mom would hang up her stocking and, in the morning, it would be filled with apples and oranges. She would usually get a doll, too. But the best present she ever received on Christmas, was a sled from her father. She treasured that gift. My Mom said that Christmas was simpler back then, compared to today. She said that the important thing about Christmas was that it was Jesus’ birthday. She liked outdoor sports such as sledding, skating, and bike riding. Her father was always worried that she would get hurt. He was very quiet and not openly affectionate, but she knew that he loved her, because he was very protective of her. As a result, she felt safe and secure when he was around. She said that he was a good man and she loved him. My Mom’s mother loved to talk and reminisce about her childhood, growing up on a farm in Canada. My Mom was very close to her mother and enjoyed going shopping and to the movies with her. She would also walk to the corner store with her mother every day to get groceries.
My Mom would also visit relatives with her mother and grandmother. They would travel by train to Biddeford, Maine to visit her godparents. They would also go to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Every Sunday they would go to St. George Catholic Church for Mass. My Mom sang in the Church Choir. She remembers the Church had penny sales and school plays. Her most meaningful experience, as a young child, was when she made her first communion. She went to kindergarten at a public school, not too far from where she lived. They lived in a brick apartment building near the mills, where her parents worked. My Mom said she waited to start first grade, until she was 7 years old, so she could go with her best friend, who was younger. She went to school at St. George’s, and it was much further than the public school. They didn’t have buses, so she had to walk. The Sisters of the Holy Cross taught school. They were strict, but good teachers. She said that her first grade teachers were the most influential. She always liked school, and was a quiet student. She remembers that, in the first grade, a boy kissed her on the cheek at recess. She was embarrassed, when another boy told the nun (teacher) about it, when they returned to class. My Mom’s mother worked hard in the mills. She also worked, during the Depression, for a private family. She did cooking and cleaning, to earn enough money, to buy a dress for my Mom’s eighth grade graduation. She said that her mother made her feel loved. My Mom’s parents wanted my Mom to have a high school education, because they wanted a better life for her than they had, working so hard in the mills. She did graduate from St. George’s High School. Her first job was as an office worker at E. M. Chase.
“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
My Dad was born on April 26, 1925 in Manchester, NH. His name is Aime Maurice Labrie. He was the 2nd youngest of 13 (3 died at birth, so 10 living) of Omer and Victoria Labrie. He was also an identical twin and they were born at home. His mother had worked in the Amoskeag Mills before she had her family. His father worked at the Amoskeag Mills as a weaver. His father earned about $20 week to provide for his large family – his wife, 8 sons, and 2 daughters. He paid $3,000 for a 3 tenement apartment on Hevey Street, on the west side of Manchester. That section of the city had a lot of people who were French, many of whom only spoke French. Because they were such a big family, they lived on all 3 floors of their tenement. My Dad slept in one of the bedrooms upstairs, and he remembers his father banging on the pipes on the floor below, to wake him to get up for school. My Dad’s mother and father were strong Christians, with good character and integrity. They instilled in their children the importance of God. My Dad remembers all of his family walking together to the Catholic Church in their neighborhood every Sunday. Their family filled a whole pew (long bench seat) in the Church. Also, my Dad remembers that their family would say the rosary (praying to God) every night during Lent. He was baptized, when he was just a few days old. His oldest brother was his godfather. He was confirmed in the 6th grade, at the age of 12. On Christmas Eve, the whole family would go to Midnight Mass. His mother would make about 10 homemade pies for her large family. My Dad said that “apricot” was his favorite pie. They would get a new plastic table cloth each year at Christmas. They had a real Christmas tree, and one of my Dad’s older brothers would take turns being Santa Claus. They were a large family, so couldn’t afford many gifts. My Dad remembers getting a red ball one Christmas and a prayer book. He said they might have been poor in material things, but they were rich in the truly important things – love for God and family.
Both my Mom and Dad have a strong faith in the Lord - their personal relationship with God is very important to them. They were brought up in the Catholic Church, which gave them a good foundation for their faith. My Dad attended Hevey Grammar School, which was run by St. Marie Parish, where they went to Church. It was a French speaking parish. He lived only 3 streets away from the school. His teachers were Marist Brothers and the school was for boys only. The girls’ school was across the street and their teachers were nuns from the Congregational of Presentation of Mary. At school, they would start their day, by going to Mass at 8 am, as a group. My Dad and his twin brother were members of the Boys Choir as students. One of his brothers was an altar boy. Later, he would join the Adult Choir, and was part of a quartet that sang at funerals and special occasions. He was taught French in the morning and English in the afternoon. He has a class picture from each grade during grammar school. He went to school with 4 of his brothers, and enjoyed going to school. He remembers that his mother made his school bag for him, that he would carry over his shoulder. My Dad has a deep love and respect for his mother. He says that she was very humble and devoted to her family. Although poor financially, she was rich in character and grace. He often walked with her to the corner store to get groceries. She didn’t speak much English, mainly French. My Dad has a deep love and respect for his father, too. His father loved to play ball with his children. He also loved to play horseshoes. They had a big yard to play in. His older brother installed horizontal and parallel bars, to exercise on. They also lived close to the ball park, and had a lot of friends in their neighborhood. My Dad said that he had a happy childhood, growing up with his brothers and sisters. They were a close-knit family. He says that his Christian parents taught him at a young age about Jesus, and that stayed with him his whole life. His 2 older sisters helped to take care of the 3 youngest – my Dad, his twin brother, and his younger brother. My Dad admired his father and always wanted to be as good a father, when he had his own family.
His parents encouraged him to get a high school education. He went to West High School. When he was a Senior, his mother died of colon cancer, at the age of 61. That was a difficult time for my Dad. That same year, in 1943, he got inducted into the Army to serve in WWII. He was able to get a deferral until he graduated in June. He graduated on June 21st and got inducted into the Army on July 13, 1943. He served for 34 months during WWII. He was first sent to California. He served as a Private in the Army in the Anti Aircraft Artillery. He would become a Tech Sergeant in the Air Force, and worked in the Air Corps Supply. He got 5 promotions in 5 months - each letter home had a new rank. He was sent overseas to England and served in France, Germany, and Belgium. He was stationed in Belgium at Battle of the Bulge. He met a good Catholic family in Belgium, and continued to write to them for almost 50 years. His father remarried, while my Dad was overseas. During my Dad’s 1st furlough, he became friends with someone, who was stationed with him. That person would later help my Dad to get a job, working with his brother. He was discharged from the Air Force, at the age of 21. He first worked, for only 2 weeks, at a tire refinishing plant. He didn’t like it – it was dirty work and didn’t pay much. The friend, who was stationed with my Dad in the service, helped him to get a job, working with his brother at Houle’s Beauty Supply. My Dad would work there for 38 years, as office manager and comptroller.
“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.”
My Mom and Dad met in 1946, on a blind date. My Mom’s best friend was dating my Dad’s twin brother. They introduced them, and they went to a whist (card game) party. They liked each other, and went dancing on their 2nd date. They courted (dated) for 1 ½ years, before getting married. My Dad gave my Mom a diamond engagement ring on Valentine’s Day. They set the date of their Wedding for May 23, 1948.
“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
My Mom and Dad both say that their Wedding Day was the best day of their lives. Although the weather outside was dark and it was raining, it did not dampen the excitement and happiness they both felt in their hearts. Actually, my Mom was so excited that she hardly slept the night before! I’ve seen pictures and video of my Mom that day. She looked beautiful! She wore a tiara that held her long veil. Her wedding gown was made of satin that extended to a long train. My Dad looked very handsome, too, in his black tuxedo!! They got married at 8 am at St. George’s Church. My Mom’s best friend was her Maid of Honor, and my Dad’s twin brother was his Best Man. My Mom’s best friend and my Dad’s twin brother would get married the following month. My Dad’s niece was the flower girl. There were about 75 family and friends that came to the Wedding. Some came from Canada, Maine, and Massachusetts. They had a reception following the Wedding, at Eddie’s Lunch, on the west side of Manchester. My Dad gave my mother a crucifix, as a gift to her, and she gave him a table radio. Even though my Mom and Dad are both very quiet and a little shy, they both got up on stage to sing their favorite song “Near You”. They sang it in English and French. Here are the lyrics to that song that express beautifully their heart-felt love and commitment to each other… There's just one place for me, near you It's like heaven to be, near you Times when we're apart I can't face my heart Say you'll never stray More than just two lips away If my hours could be spent, near you I'd be more than content, near you Make my life worthwhile By telling me that I'll Spend the rest of my days near you
There is just one place for me I'm happy when I'm, near you It's wonderful as heaven a special kind of heaven but only when I'm, near you Times when we're apart I wonder how I can face my heart Say you'll never stray More than just two lips away If my waking hours could be spent while, near you I would be content, wonderfully content, just to be, near you Make my life worthwhile By telling me that I'll Spend the rest of my days All of those happy, happy days So near you That was the perfect song for my Mom and Dad, because they had a strong desire in their hearts, to live their lives, near to the one they loved. I can say, as their daughter, that is how they would live their lives as husband and wife – they always spent as much time together as possible. I knew that my Mom and Dad loved each other deeply, and were actually each other’s best friend. There is no better way for children to feel safe and secure than to know that their parents love each other so much. They have such a strong bond as husband and wife – they truly became one! Through the years, they were inseparable, and are still very much in love. In May 2011, they will have been married 63 years!
“Love puts the fun in together, the sad in apart, the hope in tomorrow, the joy in the heart.”
As they both remember their Wedding Day as the best day of their lives, they also remember their Honeymoon as the best trip of their lives. They remember that it finally stopped raining in the afternoon, when they left for their honeymoon. My Mom’s “going away outfit” was a pretty pink suit. They took the train to travel to New York City and Washington, D.C. Many family and friends waved goodbye to them as they left the train depot. They left at 3 pm, and arrived in New York City about 10 pm. They were excited to see the big city at night, and enjoyed walking around Times Square. They saw a play “Annie Get Your Gun” with Ethel Merman, a stage show with Xavier Cougart and his band, a radio show, and a quiz show. They also spent a day at the zoo. In Washington, D.C., they took a tour, and saw many historical places. They enjoyed Mt. Vernon, and the ride back on the Potomac. After a one week honeymoon, they were greeted by a few family members, when they returned to Manchester. They would live with my Mom’s parents, for about 4 months. Then, they rented an apartment on Dow Street for about 8 months, before buying their first house on Jewett Street. They paid $8,750 for their first home, which included a fireplace for $50 extra. My Dad was a veteran, so was able to get a GI Loan with 4% interest. It was a small bungalow house, complete with a white picket fence. It was in a nice neighborhood, in the east side of the city. They lived there for many years, and that was the home, where I grew up.
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, announces that she never did care for pie.”
My Mom gave birth to my older sister, Jeannine, in August 1949. My Mom continued to work full-time at Houle’s Beauty supplies, where my Dad worked, until she had me, 3 ½ years later. My Memere Hebert, my Mom’s mother, babysat my older sister, while my Mom worked. I was born in February 1953, and my younger sister, Sharon, was born in April 1958. My Mom stopped working after she had me, and didn’t work outside the home for about 10 years, until my sisters and I were in school. I remember that she worked part-time at Leavitts for a while, then at J. M. Fields, and also at Mammoth Mills.
“I love my father as the stars – he’s a bright shining example, and a happy twinkling of my heart.”
My Dad was surrounded by females – a wife and 3 daughters. Actually, even our dog was female. We only had one bathroom, so it’s amazing to me that he was able to grab the bathroom from us in the morning, and be ready for work on time! He was the office manager and comptroller at Houle’s Beauty Supplies for 38 years. He enjoyed his work as an accountant, and working with numbers. There were no computers back then – he used a pen, paper, adding machine, and typewriter to do his work. My father is very organized, meticulous, dependable, and responsible so his boss felt comfortable letting my Dad run the office. My Dad worked at first on the G. I. Bill for veterans. His objective wage was $75 a week, after finishing on the job training, and his business course from NH College, which was 3 nights a week for 3 years.
“The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force, it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child.”
I have wonderful memories of my childhood. Our family was very close and loving. My Mom and Dad loved each other, and they loved us, too. They enjoyed spending time with us. My Mom kept busy taking care of our home, but always took time to talk with us or help us when we needed her. I also remember my Dad helping me with homework at night, after working hard at his office all day. Every Sunday morning, we walked to the Catholic Church in our parish Our Lady of Perpetual Help (we called it O.L.P.H,). We also went to the grammar school there. The Sisters of Mercy taught most of the classes. Every Sunday afternoon, we did something fun together as a family. In the Spring and Fall, we would go for a car ride, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the countryside. We usually would stop somewhere to walk around, and also to get a special treat at a restaurant in the area. In the Winter, we would either go ice skating or sledding. In the Summer, we often went to Hampton Beach for a picnic, and to go swimming.
I remember that we stopped one time, on one of our car rides, and bought a dog. Another time, we bought a swimming pool. I think that my parents regretted buying both of those. Our dog wasn’t a good dog with young children. She often growled at us if we got too close to her food. And the swimming pool was a lot of work for my parents to take care of. It also was very big and used up about ½ of our back yard. I think they bought the pool when I was in the 8th grade. My family enjoyed the pool for about 5 years, until my parents decided to sell our home, and move to a new house in a nicer area of the city. It was the same year that I got married, so I never lived in their new house. We also went on a few family trips, when I was growing up. I remember going to Montreal, Canada with my family. We also sometimes went to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. When I graduated from high school, my parents took me and my sister, Sharon, to New York City, for a weekend. I remember enjoying a play on Broadway, and visiting the Empire State Building. It was exciting to visit such a big city. I also enjoyed eating at some nice restaurants, and staying at a nice hotel. We traveled to New York City by train, and returned home by plane and taxi. It was a wonderful graduation gift from my parents!
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us; when trouble thickens around us; still will she cling to us and endeavor to dissipate the clouds of darkness, by her kind precepts and counsels, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
My Mom has always loved to cook, and is a really good cook. My husband always looked forward to eating at our home, when we were dating. He said that her gravy is the best. My Mom always made a delicious home-made meal, every night of the week. She usually cooked on most of the holidays, too. On Christmas Eve, my Memere and Pepere Hebert would come to our house. They always bought us toys, and we would open our gifts with them. Sometimes we would go to Midnight Mass.
On Christmas Day, we would go to my Memere and Pepere Hebert’s house for dinner. She always simmered a capon (young chicken) on the stove. It always smelled so good when we walked into their apartment. On New Year’s Eve, my parents usually went out dancing with their friends at the Carousel Ballroom, and my Memere Hebert would baby-sit. On New Year’s Day, we would visit my Pepere Labrie. While we were there, we would usually see a lot of our aunts, uncles, and cousins. After I got married, my husband and I invited my parents and his mother to our house, for a lot of the holidays. But we always went to my parents’ house for Christmas dinner, and opened gifts with them and my sisters. Since my husband, youngest son, and I moved to CT almost 8 years ago, we stay home on Christmas. We usually go to NH a few weeks before Christmas, to visit, and exchange gifts with my parents and sisters. Then, we go out to eat at a nice restaurant. When my parents retired, they sold their house, and rented a duplex in Goffstown, on the outskirts of Manchester. They stayed there for about 6 years. Then, they decided to buy a mobile home, and lived there for 11 years. It was really nice, and they enjoyed living there. Since 2001, they’ve lived at Carisbrook Apartments. They have a very nice apartment. When they first moved there, they had an indoor swimming pool and whirl pool, available to them, which they really enjoyed. They usually go to an aerobics class, in the exercise room of their building, once or twice a week. They also walk at the Mall, a few times a week. When my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, they had a big party with many family and friends at a local restaurant, with dinner and dancing. They also celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary 3 years ago. My sisters and I had a surprise party for them at a local restaurant. It was just for our immediate family but we had fun. My parents have 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 7 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. My Dad is almost 86 years old, and is in good health for his age. My Mom is 87 ½, and is also in good health for her age. They are retired but keep busy.
My Mom and Dad belong to several Senior citizen groups that meet often. When they first retired, they worked at the Soup Kitchen for a few years. We’ve always been a close family and continue to be. Even though they live in Manchester, NH and I now live in West Hartford, CT with my husband and youngest son, we travel to NH every month to visit, and go out to eat together. Usually, my 2 sisters also join us.
“It’s so good to know that wherever you are, Mom and Dad are with you in spirit and in love.”
My parents also come to visit us in CT for 4 or 5 days, a couple of times a year. I always enjoy spending time with them. We usually go for a walk together, and then come back home to watch a movie together. I also enjoy cooking for them, and taking them out to eat at a few favorite restaurants. My Mom and Dad have had a profound influence on my life. I would describe my parents as quiet and humble, with a strong belief in God, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My Mom has a beauty and grace that flows from a joyful and peaceful heart. My Dad’s priorities of love for God, family, and country have been evident throughout his life. He has always been a man of strong character and integrity. They’ve been such a wonderful example to me of the deep love and commitment of a husband and wife, that made me feel so secure and safe as a child. They were also my role models when I later got married. Another song that they enjoyed when they were courting was “To Each His Own”. It expresses the heart-felt love that they have for each other… A rose must remain with the sun and the rain, Or its lovely promise won't come true; To each his own, to each his own, And my own is you. What good is a song if the words just don't belong? And a dream must be a dream for two; No good alone, to each his own, For me there's you.
Two lips must insist on two more to be kissed, Or they'll never know what love can do; To each his own, I've found my own, One and only you. If a flame is to grow there must be a glow, To open each door there's a key; I need you, I know, I can't let you go, Your touch means too much to me. Besides their deep love and commitment to one another, they were both very devoted to their family. My Mom worked hard to take care of us and our home. My dad worked hard to provide for us. My sisters and I were so blessed to have parents that gave so freely of their love, their energy, and their time. They always enjoyed spending time with us and still do. The love and support that they have given so freely to me and my sisters has been such a blessing – I will be forever thankful. The following song “You Lift Me Up” expresses what I feel in my heart about my parents and the difference that they’ve made in my life… When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary, When troubles come and my heart burdened be; Then, I am still and wait here in the silence, Until you come and sit awhile with me. You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders, You raise me up: To more than I can be. There is no life - no life without its hunger, Each restless heart beats so imperfectly; But when you come and I am filled with wonder, Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity. You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders, You raise me up: To more than I can be.
Mom and Dad… thank you, for not only giving me life, but showing me how to live it. I love you and honor you. I am so blessed by your legacy of love that I’ve known, and now share with everyone reading this book, and pass on to my children, my grandchildren, and to future generations.
“It’s only when you grow up and step back from your parents, or leave them for your own home, it’s only then that you can measure their greatness, or fully appreciate it.”
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, & INVENTIONS OF THE 1920’s, 1930’s, & 1940’s 1926 •Robert H. Goddard invents liquid-fueled rockets. 1927 •Eduard Haas III invents PEZ candy. •JWA Morrison invents the first quartz crystal watch. •Philo Taylor Farnsworth invents a complete electronic TV system. •Technicolor invented. •Erik Rotheim patents an aerosol can. •Warren Marrison developed the first quartz clock. •Philip Drinker invents the iron lung. 1928 •Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. •Bubble gum invented by Walter E. Diemer. •Jacob Schick patented the electric shaver. 1929 •American, Paul Galvin invents the car radio. •Yo-Yo re-invented as an American fad. 1930 •Scotch tape patented by 3M engineer, Richard G. Drew. •The frozen food process patented by Clarence Birdseye. •Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents neoprene. •The "differential analyzer", or analog computer invented by Vannevar Bush at MIT in Boston. •Frank Whittle and Dr Hans von Ohain both invent a jet engine. 1931 •Harold Edgerton invented stop-action photography. •Germans Max Knott and Ernst Ruska co-invent the electron microscope.
1932 •Polaroid photography invented by Edwin Herbert Land. •The zoom lens and the light meter invented. •Carl C. Magee invents the first parking meter. •Karl Jansky invents the radio telescope. 1933 •Frequency modulation (FM radio) invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong. •Stereo records invented. •Richard M. Hollingshead builds a prototype drive-in movie theater in his driveway. 1934 •Englishmen, Percy Shaw invents cat eyes or roads reflectors. •Charles Darrow claims he invented the game Monopoly. •Joseph Begun invents the first tape recorder for broadcasting - first magnetic recording. 1935 •Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents nylon (polymer 6.6.) •The first canned beer made. •Robert Watson-Watt patented radar. 1936 •Bell Labs invents the voice recognition machine. •Samuel Colt patents the Colt revolver. 1937 •Chester F. Carlson invents the photocopier. •The first jet engine is built. 1938 •The ballpoint pen invented by Ladislo Biro. •Strobe lighting invented. •LSD was synthesized on November 16, 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories. •Roy J. Plunkett invented tetrafluoroethylene polymers or Teflon. •Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee invented. •The first working turboprop engine.
1939 •Igor Sikorsky invents the first successful helicopter. •The electron microscope invented. 1940 •Dr William Reich invents the orgone accumulator. •Peter Goldmark invents modern color television system. •Karl Pabst invents the jeep. 1941 •Konrad Zuse's Z3, the first computer controlled by software. •Aerosol spray cans invented by American inventors, Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan. •Enrico Fermi invents the neutronic reactor. 1942 •John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry built the first electronic digital computer. •Mueller designs a turboprop engine. 1943 •Synthetic rubber invented. •Richard James invents the slinky. •James Wright invent silly putty. •Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau invent the aqualung. 1944 •The kidney dialysis machine invented by Willem Kolff. •Synthetic cortisone invented by Percy Lavon Julian. 1945 •Vannevar Bush proposes hypertext. •The atomic bomb invented. 1946 •The microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer.
1947 •British/Hungarian scientist, Dennis Gabor, developed the theory of holography. •Mobile phones first invented, although cell phones were not sold commercially until 1983. •Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley invent the transistor. •Earl Silas Tupper patented the Tupperware seal. 1948 •The Frisbee ® invented by Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni. •Velcro ® invented by George de Mestral. •Robert Hope-Jones invented the Wurlitzer jukebox. 1949 •Cake mix invented.
It's amazing to me to read about the creativity of man throughout history. However, it really shouldn't be that surprising, since man is made in the image of God, who is the Creator of the Universe.
"You made him a little lower than the angels; You gave him a crown of glory and honor, and made him ruler over all the works of Your hands." (Hebrews 2:7)
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, I want to thank you for my Mom & Dad. You brought them together from very different families. My Mom’s family was small – she was the only child so needed to amuse herself on her own. Also, her mother worked outside the home most of her life. In contrast, my Dad’s family was big – he had seven brothers and two sisters so always had someone to play with. Also, his mother didn't work outside the home, but definitely worked hard in the home caring for her large family. However, my Mom & Dad both grew up in homes that shared a love for God, family, and country. Eventually, my Mom & Dad did meet, fell in love, married, and produced three creations of their own - each of us is unique and one-of-a-kind. I thank you, Lord, for blessing me with my very loving Mom & Dad and my two wonderful sisters. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
“Her children arise and give her honor, her husband also gives her praise.” (Proverbs 31:28) “A righteous man that walks in his integrity, blessed are his children after him.” (Proverbs 20:17)
“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss, at the bottom of which, you will always find forgiveness.” (Honore de Balzac) “There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words, when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years, it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands, and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.” (John Gregory Brown) “Conspicuously absent from the Ten Commandments is any obligation of parent to child. We must suppose it unnecessary, to command by law, what He had ensured by love.” (Robert Brault)
Chapter 3 – MY CHILDHOOD / LIFE IN THE 1950's
"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose." (Jeremiah 1:5)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE 1950’s Perhaps one of the things which most characterize the 1950's was the strong element of conservatism and anti-communist feeling which ran throughout much of society. One of the best indicators of the conservative frame of mind was the addition of the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Religion was seen as an indicator of anti-communism. After the terrible suffering of World War II, Americans thought the world would be peaceful for awhile. By 1950, however, political tensions were high again. The United States and the Soviet Union, allies in war, had become enemies. The communists had taken control of one east European nation after another. And Soviet leader Josef Stalin made it clear that he wanted communists to rule the world. The Soviet Union had strengthened its armed forces after the war. The United States had taken many steps to disarm. Yet it still possessed the atomic bomb. America thought it, alone, had this terrible weapon. In 1949, a United States Air Force plane discovered strange conditions in the atmosphere. What was causing them? The answer came quickly: the Soviet Union had exploded an atomic bomb. The race was on. The two nations competed to build weapons of mass destruction. Would these weapons ever be used? The American publication, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, always showed a picture of a clock. By 1949, the time on the clock was three minutes before midnight. That meant the world was on the edge of nuclear destruction. The atomic scientists were afraid of what science had produced. They were even more afraid of what science could produce.
In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. The Korean conflict increased efforts in the United States to develop a weapon more deadly than an atomic bomb. That was the hydrogen bomb. The Soviets were developing such a weapon, too. Many Americans were afraid. Some built what they hoped would be safe rooms in or near their homes. They planned to hide in these bomb shelters during a nuclear attack. Other Americans, however, grew tired of being afraid. In 1952, the military hero of World War II, Dwight Eisenhower, was elected president. The economy improved. Americans looked to the future with hope. One sign of hope was the baby boom. This was the big increase in the number of babies born after the war. The number of young children in America jumped from twenty-four million to thirty-five million between 1950 and 1960. The bigger families needed houses. In 1950 alone, one million four hundred thousand houses were built in America. Most new houses were in the suburbs, the areas around cities. People moved to the suburbs because they thought the schools there were better. They also liked having more space for their children to play. Families worked together, played together and vacationed together at family themed entertainment areas like national parks and the new Disneyland. Gender roles were strongly held, girls played with Barbie dolls and Dale Evans gear, boys with Roy Rogers and Davy Crockett paraphernalia. Drivein movies became popular for families and teens. Cars were seen as an indicator of prosperity and cool-ness. Highways were built to take people quickly from one place to another, by-passing small towns and helping to create central marketing areas or shopping malls. Many Americans remember the 1950s as the fad years. A fad is something that is extremely popular for a very short time. One fad from the 1950s was the Hula Hoop. The Hula Hoop was a colorful plastic tube joined to form a big circle. To play with it, you moved your hips in a circular motion. This kept it spinning around your body. The motion was like one used by Polynesian people in their native dance, the hula.
Other fads in the 1950s involved clothes or hair. Some women, for example, cut and fixed their hair to look like the fur of a poodle dog. Actress Mary Martin made the poodle cut famous when she appeared in the Broadway play, "South Pacific." Also, Lucille Ball from the television show "I Love Lucy" and Barbara Billingsley from the television show "Leave It To Beaver" both had "poodle" hair cuts. In motion pictures, a famous actor of those days was James Dean. To many Americans, he was the living representation of the rebellious spirit of the young. In fact, one of his films was called, "Rebel Without a Cause". James Dean died in a car accident in 1955. He was twenty-four. The 1950s saw a rebellion in American literature. As part of society lived new lives in the suburbs, another part criticized this life. These were the writers and poets of the “beatnik” generation, including Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. They said life was empty in 1950s America. Jackson Pollock represented the rebellion in art. Pollock did not paint things the way they looked. Instead, he dropped paint onto his pictures in any way he pleased. He was asked again and again: "What do your paintings mean?" He answered: "Do not worry about what they mean. They are just there... like flowers." In music, the rebel was Elvis Presley. He was considered the king of rockand-roll. Elvis Presley was a twenty-one-year-old truck driver when he sang on television for the first time. He moved his body to the music in a way that many people thought was too sexual. Parents and religious leaders criticized him. Young people screamed for more. They could not get enough rock-and-roll. They played it on records. They heard it on the radio. And they listened to it on the television program "American Bandstand". This program became the most popular dance party in America. Every week, young men and women danced to the latest songs in front of the television cameras. Perhaps the most far reaching change in communications worldwide was the advancement in the area of television broadcasting. In the early fifties, the number of hours young people watched TV steadily increased, a trend which has not changed greatly since that time.
What was portrayed on television became accepted as normal. The ideal family, the ideal schools and neighborhoods, the world, were all seen in a way which had only partial basis in reality. People began to accept what was heard and seen on television because they were "eye witnesses" to events as never before. Programs such as “You Are There” brought historical events into the living rooms of many Americans. The affect on print news media and entertainment media was felt in lower attendance at movies and greater reliance on TV news sources for information. Shows called "sitcoms " (situation comedies) like “The Honeymooners”, “Leave It To Beaver”, “Father Knows Best”, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”, and “I Love Lucy” featured popular characters whose lives thousands of viewers watched and copied. Families enjoyed variety shows like Disneyland and The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings. Daytime programs like “Guiding Light”, a "soap opera", were popular and helped advertisers sell many products to the homemakers of America. News broadcasting changed from newsmen simply reading the news to shows which included videotaped pictures of events which had occurred anywhere in the world, and then to more and more live broadcasts of events happening at the time of viewing. This was made possible in 1951 with the development of coaxial cable and microwave relays coast to coast. When Edward R. Murrow began offering his weekly radio program called "Hear It Now" on TV as "See It Now", the world of news broadcasting was irrevocably changed. A movement for civil rights for black Americans was beginning to gather strength in the 1950s. Many legal battles were fought to end racial separation, especially in America's schools. By the 1960s, the civil rights movement would shake the nation. Dwight Eisenhower was president for most of the 1950s. He faced the problems of communism, the threat of nuclear war, and racial tensions. He had a calm way of speaking. And he always seemed to deal with problems in the same calm way. Some citizens felt he was like a father to the nation.
POPULAR FASHION OF THE 1950’s Fifties clothing was conservative. Men wore gray flannel suits and women wore dresses with pinched in waists and high heels. French fashion designers such as Dior, Chanel and Givenchy were popular and copied in America. Fashion successes were Bill Blass and his blue jeans, poodle skirts made of felt and decorated with sequins and poodle appliques, pony tails for girls, and flat tops and crew cuts for guys. Saddle shoes and blue suede loafers were popular. Teenagers were defined as a separate generation and were represented by James Dean who wore blue jeans in “Rebel Without a Cause” and created a fashion and attitude sensation. POPULAR FADS OF THE 1950's Colored streamers for bicycle handlebars, baseball cards in your bike's wheel spokes (to make a fwap-fwap sound), TV Dinners, Drive-in theaters, Letter Sweaters, Jukeboxes, Fins and chrome on cars, Abstract expressionism, Diners, Teenyboppers, Blue suede loafers, Bunny Hop, Sock Hops, Gumby, Flat tops, Tupperware, The Boomerang, Carhop (waiter/waitress on rollerskates), Silly Putty, Bazooka Joe, Sideburns, Bubble Gum Cigars, Hokey Pokey, Saddle Shoes, Beehive hair, Fast food, Watching for flying saucers, Scrabble, Frisbees, Hula Hoop, Blue jeans, Blackjack Chewing Gum, Poodle cut hairdo, Poodle skirt, Paint-by-number, Coonskin Caps, Davy Crockett, Neon signs, The Red Scare / Commies, Cinch belts, Telephone Booth Stuffing, TV tray, Crew Cuts, Slinky
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD I was born on February 15, 1953. My first name, Phyllis, was the name of one of the singers, in a popular sister trio, at that time - the McGuire Sisters. My parents liked the name, and thought she was pretty. My middle name, Laurette, is the name of one of my aunts, who is my godmother. As I look back, to what life was like when I grew up in the 50's, it's amazing to me how things have changed since then! We lived in a fairly small home called a "bungalow", from the time I was born until I left home to get married, at 19 years old. My Dad worked as an office manager at the same company for 38 years. My Mom worked outside the home when she first got married, and continued working after her 1st baby was born. My Mom's mother, Memere Hebert, babysat my older sister, Jeannine, while my Mom worked. But my Mom stopped working and stayed home, after I was born. Actually, most mothers were stay-at-home homemakers during the 50's. I was a "middle child" - my older sister, Jeannine, is 3 1/2 years older than me, and my younger sister, Sharon, is 5 years younger than me. I have the same tendencies that most middle children have - the desire to please and also to be the peace maker. I also like to have order in my life, and like nothing better than when everything goes smoothly, as planned. Actually, if I could have planned my childhood, it would have been pretty much the way it actually was. Life for me, growing up in the 50's, was ideal and as perfect as life could be! I am so blessed to have so many wonderful memories of my home and family!! As I mentioned, my Mom was a "stay-at-home homemaker". She would later work part-time, when we were in school. But, whenever we were home, she was always there for us. She was always very calm and in good spirits. She definitely set a loving and peaceful tone in our home. I can't remember any time that I saw her stressed about all the work she needed to do to keep her home running smoothly. I remember that she kept busy with cooking and cleaning, but was never too busy to talk with us about anything. But, she definitely kept busy taking care of the home! On Monday, my Mom would wash our clothes - I remember that we had a wringer washer when I was small. We didn't have a clothes dryer, so all the clothes needed to be put on the clothes line outside, to dry. Later in the day,
when they were dry, they needed to be taken off the line, and put into a clothes basket. I remember that the clothes had such a nice clean smell from the fresh air. Back then, most things were made of cotton, not permanentpress, so everything needed to be ironed - that was the usual task on Tuesday. When I was older, I remember coming home from school and helping to iron sheets, towels, and handkerchiefs. On Wednesday, my Mom would do the dusting and vacuuming. When I was old enough, I would dust my room on Saturdays. I think that cleaning the kitchen and bathroom was probably done on Thursday. On Friday, my Mom would make the grocery list, and later, the whole family would go to the grocery store, or "make the store", was how we described it. I remember going to "Howdies" for hamburgers, before we shopped for food for the next week. It cost 15 cents for a cheeseburger and 12 cents for french fries, back then. It was a local fast food place similar to McDonalds, but there were no tables to eat inside. We would eat our food in the car. I thought that was fun! In our little bungalow, the kitchen was the center of the house, where we ate together, not only at night (we referred to it as "supper"), but also ate breakfast, and lunch together, too. It was also where we set up the ironing board, to iron the laundry. There was no huge master bedroom, with a master bath attached. My parent's bedroom was adequate, but definitely not big. There were two other small bedrooms. Each bedroom had a small closet. In fact, we needed to have a "wardrobe" (a cabinet in which to hang clothes) in each room, so we would have enough storage for our clothes. We only had one bathroom - my poor Dad had to share one small bathroom with four females (Mom, my two sisters, and me). It's amazing that he was able to grab the bathroom, get ready, and be at work on time each day! Dad worked for 38 years at the same company. He was the office manager of a local beauty supply store. They provided beauty and hair care products to beauty salons in the Northeast. He worked every day from 8:30 to 5:30. He came home for lunch each day. He would have Wednesday afternoon off, but have to work Saturday morning. We went to the Catholic Church for Mass every Sunday. My Dad never had a day to just "sleep in". He got up to go to work 6 days a week, and got up on Sunday to go to Church. He only had 2 weeks vacation each year. I worked for my Dad in the office after school, when I was a Junior and Senior in high school. I knew him as a very kind and loving Dad at home and, as my boss at work, he was also very kind and loving.
The 1st memory I have of my childhood is when I was 5 years old, and I remember seeing my Mom holding my newborn sister, Sharon, at the window in the hospital. Back then, young children weren't allowed to visit at the hospital. Also, back then, woman stayed in the hospital for at least a week, sometimes longer, when they had a baby. I remember when my sister, Sharon, came home from the hospital, and they placed her on the bed, so we could get a good look at her. I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She was actually a really sweet baby, too. When she was older, I remember playing with our dolls together. She had a favorite doll which she called "little Lulu". She carried that little doll with her everywhere. I remember many times helping her find "little Lulu" when she got lost. We also played with paper dolls, too. They were actually made of cardboard, but the clothes that you attached to the dolls was made of paper. We also had fun outside in the yard, jumping rope or playing hopscotch. My sister, Sharon, is 5 years younger than me, so I mainly remember playing with her in the neighborhood. We rode our bikes up and down our street. My older sister, Jeannine, is 3 1/2 years older than me and also very pretty. She always seemed to be in charge, and liked to tell me what to do. Fortunately, I'm more of a follower, so we got along pretty well. Although there were a few times that I did resent her telling me what to do, so then we would fight about it. I was a very sensitive child, and could easily get tears in my eyes, just at the thought of my parents being upset with me. As a result, my parents usually took pity on me, and seldom punished me for anything. But my older sister was more stubborn and didn't give in as easily, so sometimes she got punished, even though I was probably as much to blame. We had the normal sibling rivalry and quarrels that are part of any family. But most of the time, we had fun together! When we were older, we often went on long bike rides. We would leave the house, and just ride our bikes until our legs got so tired, we needed to stop and rest. Of course, we hadn't thought about bringing anything with us to drink or eat. So, after we rested for a while, we got up and headed back home. By the time we got home, we were "dying of thirst" and "really hungry". We would often drink a bottle of Coke, and eat a couple of candy bars, when we got home. Back then, no one worried about getting kidnapped. We were gone for quite a while, with no one knowing where we were, and we didn't have a cell phone in case of emergency.
Our neighborhood was great - most of the homes had families with young children, like us. We always had plenty of friends to play with right in our neighborhood. We often played together in the schoolyard of Hallsville Elementary School, which was right across the street from our house. We either rode our bikes around the school, jumped rope, or played different games such as "hide & seek", "red light /green light", or "red rover / red rover". No one locked their doors during the day, so I never needed to carry a key with me. Actually, in the summer time, the door was left open, so a cool breeze could blow through the unlocked screen door. Often we went to Prout's Park, which was just a few blocks away. They had a swing set, monkey bars, and a baseball diamond. I loved to swing as high as I could, close my eyes, and imagine myself flying through the air. If there were enough of us, we might play "kickball". During the summer, we would go to the park to play, and also to do some crafts. I remember one summer that some volunteer community workers taught us how to make potholders. We were so proud of our hand-made potholders that we presented to Mom. I remember that she actually used them for many years. That was the first and last time that I completed any type of craft. I have tried embroidery, crocheting, knitting, making a dress, ceramics, etc. but have always lost interest, before finishing anything. I don't know if it would be defined as a craft, but I did enjoy organizing pictures into photo albums. It felt good to look at favorite photos of happy times together as a family, and paste them into an album, as a treasured keepsake. Since my sister, Jeannine, was 3 1/2 years older than me, she went off to school each day, for a few years, before I was old enough to go. I loved staying home with Mom. I remember watching Captain Kangaroo on TV. It was a television show geared to preschoolers. Another show, Romper Room, had a teacher named Miss Jean, and was set in a kindergarten classroom. I really liked that show, and wanted so much to go to school, too. Unfortunately, for some reason, when I was 5 years was old, there was no kindergarten class offered at the local public school. Since there was no class available when I was 5 years old, I had to wait until I was 6 years old, to start school. When I was ready to start first grade, I was not able to attend the Catholic school in my parish, where my sister was a student, because there was no room. Actually, I was happy to go to the public school, because it was right
across the street from our house. I remember a few times at recess, my Mom would come and give me a sweater, if it was getting cold. It was reassuring to me, to know she was so close by. But, I really enjoyed going to school. As I mentioned, I'm a middle child so, like most middle children, I had a strong desire to please people. I also loved learning, so was always a really good student. That combination resulted in me usually being the "teacher's pet". I was also one of the shortest in my class, so always sat in the 1st row. I was at the public school, from 1st grade to 3rd grade. I loved school so much, that I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. Because I was Catholic and went to public school, I needed to attend catechism classes in the summer for a few weeks. It didn't seem fair that I had to get up and go to school, while my older sister could stay home and sleep. But, I actually liked it, once I was there. Every summer, I changed my future plans to become a teacher, and decided that I would be a Nun, when I grew up. The summer before I was to start 4th grade, I mentioned to the Nun teaching me, that I wished I could go to Catholic school, like my sister. She was so nice and said that she would see what she could do. I'm not sure if it was because of her or not, but when my parents tried again to enroll me in the Catholic school, as they had done each year, this time they were told there was room. It was a little bit of an adjustment to change schools and friends, but it was good to go to the same school as my older sister. I was in 4th grade and she was in 8th grade. Before we left for school in the morning, Mom would fix our breakfast. Often she would make old-fashioned oatmeal cereal. A hot bowl of oatmeal was set out for us, and we would add milk and sugar to it. I remember the milk man, delivering our milk in glass bottles. He would come early in the morning, and place our fresh bottles of milk in a metal bucket outside. We returned the empty bottles by placing them in the bucket, along with our payment for them. We would add milk and sugar to whatever cereal we ate – oatmeal, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, or Special K. There definitely weren't as many choices for cereal, as there are now. We often ate half a grapefruit with our cereal, and we would add sugar to that, too. No one spoke about nutrition back then, so everyone used sugar, salt, and butter liberally. It might not have been that good for you, but it sure tasted good!
While I was in elementary (or grammar) school (grades 1 to 8), we were able to go home for lunch. I always looked forward to that break in my school day. It was wonderful to go home and eat lunch together. Mom often had hot soup ready for us, if the weather was cold. Other times, we would have sandwiches – deli, tuna fish, or fluffernutters (peanut butter with marshmallow fluff). Dad would also come home from work for lunch. For dinner (or supper) Mom would always make a delicious home-made meal. We usually had dessert, too. Actually, my two sisters and I were kind of “picky eaters”, so my parents often got us to finish all our food, with the reward of dessert afterwards. I don't remember taking multi-vitamins growing up (maybe they didn't have any back then), but I do remember having to swallow a tablespoon of cod liver oil, each night before going to bed. I mentioned that we went to the grocery store every Friday night to buy our food. The biggest grocery stores back then, were probably 1/3rd the size of the ones that we have today. It was usually family-owned. We also had corner convenience stores in our neighborhood. One was named Roger's (owned by someone named Roger) and the other was named Lucky's (owned by someone known as Lucky). As I said, life in general was simpler back then. When we were old enough, my sisters and I would go to the corner store, if Mom needed something during the week, or sometimes just to buy a candy bar or a popsicle. Family was very important to me, and I really enjoyed watching family situation comedies on TV. "Leave It to Beaver" was one of my favorite shows. It seemed like the perfect family. The father went off to work each day at an office, while the mother stayed home and took care of the house. She was always perfectly groomed - she even wore a pearl necklace and high heels while cooking and cleaning her home. Their two boys usually managed to get into some type of trouble each week. The father was very wise and would help them solve their predicament, while teaching them a valuable lesson about life, too. I also liked "Father Knows Best". Most of the situation comedies showed a strong father figure, who was very wise, and a mother, who was very loving and supportive. It really depicted an ideal family life, which was similar to my own in many ways. One thing, that I have always enjoyed doing in my spare time, is reading. When I was growing up, the "bookmobile" (actually a bus with shelves and
books where the seats should be) would come to our neighborhood, every two weeks in the summer. I had such a love of reading and learning that I looked forward to it, even more than the ice cream truck that would come to the neighborhood, too. (I know... that's a little strange!) I spent many summers reading books - either the Nancy Drew detective series or biographies of famous people. I loved the adventures in the Nancy Drew books, and the real life stories from the biographies. As I read, I was transported to different places and situations. It was exciting and inspirational. When the weather was nice, my Mom often encouraged us to go outside and play. I would have preferred to just stay inside and read or watch TV. But Mom knew we needed to get some fresh air and exercise, so she sent us outside. I loved school so much that I often wanted to "play school", and pretend that I was the teacher, and all my friends were my students. Actually no one else wanted to "play school" - they had enough of it for real and didn't want to pretend during their free time. One summer, everyone was excited about the idea of having a Talent Show in the neighborhood. We spent all summer practicing for it. I've always loved to dance, so that would be my talent. I remember spending many days that summer, practicing a dance that I had made up. To be honest, I don't think that we ever actually did the Talent Show for real, but it was fun just practicing for it. I did take ballet for a few years at the Gloria Messier Studio. I was a little short for my age, so I think my Mom thought it might help me grow. Actually, both my sisters took dance classes too, for a few years. A snack popular back then was Jiffy Pop popcorn. You heated the kernels by moving the package continually over a burner on the stove, until the kernels popped. You had to hold it with an oven mitt, because the handle on the package would get hot. I remember it took quite a few minutes to start popping. You had to listen carefully to the popping - cooking it too long and you risked getting burned popcorn on the bottom of the container; not long enough and you would get uncooked kernels on the bottom. It was fun; as the kernels popped, the aluminum container expanded up and out. It smelled and tasted wonderful! As I ate my delicious popcorn, I absolutely loved to watch movies, especially fairy tales. Cinderella was my favorite fairy tale, when I was a
child. All fairy tales have the same basic story - that of a young insecure girl finding her Prince Charming, who pursues her, romances her, rescues her, and then, they go on to live… happily ever after. It sounded perfect. If I could have planned out my life, that is how I would have planned it. But, as much as we would like to make plans, so much of it is out of our control. Actually, much of my life did go as planned. My Prince Charming did come into my life, and romanced me, and swept me off my feet. Soon after we married, we started a family, and were blessed with 4 precious children. We now also have 2 cherished daughters-in-law, and 7 grandchildren, who are an absolute joy. But, to be honest, there would also be times, when I would think to myself “Well, that’s not what I had planned” or “That’s not how I thought it would be”. One of my husband’s favorite fairy tales is The Lord of The Rings trilogy. One simple line from that movie states what I sometimes felt in my heart, when I questioned what was happening…
“Frodo, I wonder what kind of tale we’ve fallen into?” (Samwise Gamgee)
The skies above were not always sunny and clear - some days there were huge threatening clouds right overhead. And there were many days when, because the torrential downpours were so intense, it was very difficult to look ahead, and see any sunny days in our future, with a hint of a "happily ever after". (You'll have to keep reading the following chapters of my life to understand what I'm referring to.) But, as a young child, while watching a fairy tale, I could be transported into another world, and imagine myself totally different. Most of the time, the fair maiden could sing beautifully. That would be wonderful! She also could dance effortlessly!! In My Fair Lady, another fairy tale I enjoyed as a child, the heroine changes from a very insecure girl, to become a beautiful woman, who can sing and dance with the hero of the story. I remember the following song so well, and in my dreams, being that young lady - so happy, beautiful, and carefree... Bed! Bed! I couldn't go to bed! My head's too light to try to set it down! Sleep! Sleep! I couldn't sleep tonight! Not for all the jewels in the crown!
I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night, And still have begged for more. I could have spread my wings, And done a thousand things, I've never done before. I'll never know what made it so exciting, Why all at once my heart took flight! I only know when he, Began to dance with me, I could have danced, danced, danced all night! That song spoke to the desire of every young girl's heart - to be pursued, romanced, and swept off your feet by someone, who truly loves you. There was a longing that some day, someone would come along, desire to really know me, and want to share their life with me. Looking back on my childhood, some of my best memories are of times spent with Memere Hebert (my Mom’s mother). She had a gas stove and was probably afraid to use the oven, so cooked everything on top of the stove. She would fry hamburg until it was cooked, and then used the grease to make a gravy to pour over it. It was delicious! She always had Cheese Puffs and Hershey Kisses for a treat, when we visited. When we were old enough, my older sister and I would take the bus on Saturday afternoon, and go downtown to the local movie theatre. There was usually a matinee with a movie that we wanted to see. We always ended up walking to Memere Hebert's from there. Sometimes we stopped at the library on the way there. She was always happy to see us. And, she always asked us if we wanted to stay overnight. She encouraged us to call home and ask if we could stay for supper and also stay overnight. Often, my parents would agree. We had fun trying on her dresses, hats, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. We pretended we were rich ladies as we walked around her house. Her only complaint was "we needed to quiet down a little so the people downstairs wouldn't complain". I'm sure they realized we were there, because we would
march around the house with high heels, and sing and dance. She had so much patience with us. She also let us help with dinner. I'm sure it took her much longer to cook, with our help! Memere Hebert liked to watch wrestling on TV. Her favorite wrestler was called “Golden Boy”. Because she enjoyed watching it, we often watched it with her, when we visited. She let us sleep in her bed and she slept on the couch. Then we went to Church with her on Sunday morning. I remember her introducing us to her friends at Church, with so much pride. I thought that we must be very special to have a grandmother, who loved us so much. I thank God for what a blessing my grandmother was in my life! Pepere Hebert (my Mom’s father) usually kept to himself when we visited. He smiled when he saw us, but that was about it. He didn't speak much English, and probably didn't know what to say to his granddaughters. But, I do remember that he liked Elvis Presley. He brought us to the drive-in a few times to see an Elvis Presley movie. Of course, I really liked Elvis, too. That was probably the early 60's, and perfect timing to have my first celebrity crush. I got all Elvis’ albums and enjoyed listening to him singing imagining that he was singing the songs to me! On Christmas Eve, I remember standing at the front living room window, waiting for Memere & Pepere Hebert. Because they were very loving and generous, I couldn't wait to see what they had bought for us! Usually, it was dolls - for me and my two sisters. I remember my Dad often sighing "more dolls"!! Poor Dad, with three daughters spaced quite a bit apart, there would be many years of dolls, dolls, dolls!!! Memere & Pepere Hebert would come on Christmas Eve. We would eat dinner, open gifts, and sometimes go to Midnight Mass. I always loved going to Midnight Mass. It was close enough to walk, and it seemed kind of exciting, being out and about so late at night. The beautiful stars in the sky and the serene atmosphere of the Church, decorated with candles and poinsettias, made it seem so peaceful and holy. When we listened to the Choir, with their angelic voices, singing about the newborn King, I thought, “This is how it feels to be in God's presence”! I felt His love and His peace. I didn't know then, as a child, that you didn't need to go to Church to be in God’s presence - that He inhabits our praises - so anytime and anywhere we
worship Him, He is there. I also didn't know that I could ask Him to come into my heart and have Him with me always. I knew that I was not worthy in myself. In fact, before Communion every Sunday, we prayed, "I know that I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word, and I will be healed". I did pray that prayer each time from my heart, and felt that I was forgiven at that moment of any and all sins, so I could partake of the Lord's Supper. But, it didn't take long for me to mess up again (as we all do), and I would need to go to Confession, and ask the Priest for forgiveness. I would also have to say some prayers as penance for my sins. I was raised in the Catholic Church and, to be honest, I really wasn’t sure if I would go to Heaven, if something happened to me. I believed that God loved me, because He had sent His Son to earth to die for my sins, but I also thought that I needed to do my part. I felt that I needed to be as good as I could be, so God would love me. Whenever I messed up, I felt that I had disappointed God, and I should try to be really good to make up for it, until I could go to Confession, and say some prayers for penance. If something should happen to me before I could go to Confession, I would probably have to go to Purgatory, to suffer a little before being allowed into Heaven.
“You will seek Me, and you will find Me, when you search for Me, with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
It wasn’t until I was 20 years old, and searching for something more in my life, that I finally sought God, with all my heart. I cried out to Him and found Him as He promises in His Word. I surrendered my life to Him and asked Him to come into my heart and take control. As I read His Word to me (the Bible), I learned that He had paid the full price for my salvation – there was nothing more that I needed to do. I sincerely repented of my sins, and asked Jesus to cleanse me by His Precious Blood. When He suffered and died on the Cross, He paid the full price for my salvation. Jesus said, “It is finished”, because there is nothing I can do to add to it.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
After having believed for so many years that I needed to somehow earn or merit salvation, this seemed almost too good to be true! I actually felt the burden of guilt and condemnation that I had carried for so many years, lift off of me. I was set free! As I read more about God in the Bible, I realized that it was actually a great love story. God pursues us because of His great love for us, even as miserable sinners. He is seeking to draw us to Himself and restore the fellowship that has been broken by sin. He is a holy God and His standard is perfect right standing with Him. But He loved us so much, that He paid the price for our betrayal in order to restore us to Himself. We are free to accept this free grace and receive life or reject it and be separated from God forever. I received Jesus as my Savior when I sincerely repented of my sins, and asked Him to cleanse me by His Precious Blood. I received Jesus as Lord, when I asked Him to come into my heart and take control of my life. He filled me with His Holy Spirit, and would now be on the throne of my heart, leading and guiding me. He gave me a new life – one that seeks to really know Him, please Him, and glorify Him.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Who you have sent.” (John 17:3)
To go back to my childhood story… On Christmas day, we would go to Memere & Pepere Hebert's house for Christmas dinner. She would steam a "capon" – a young chicken – on top of the stove for hours. It was so tender and delicious. It smelled so good when we walked into their apartment. I always looked forward to going there on Christmas Day, even though we had to stop playing with our new Christmas presents. I remember, for many years, they had an artificial silver Christmas tree with blue glass balls for ornaments. It had a separate tri-color wheel at the base that turned, and cast a different color on the tree as it turned – red, blue, and green. Actually, that was very popular, back then. Most of the time that I was growing up, we would buy a "real" Christmas tree on sale at a lot close by. We always bought it just a few weeks before Christmas. It was fun to decorate - I loved to throw tinsel on the branches to look like icicles. I also loved the fresh balsam smell of the tree.
I also enjoyed the candy we served any company that came to visit at that time of year. It was called ribbon candy. It was basically hard sugar candy, formed into ribbons. It tasted so good and got stuck in our teeth. Between the excitement of the season, and the sugar high from the candy, we were probably quite a handful! My Mom & Dad would often go out with friends or relatives to celebrate New Year's Eve. Memere Hebert would come to our house to babysit. We would often put on a show for her. She would sit on a kitchen chair, and we would take turns either singing or dancing along with one of our favorite records. Back then, we had a record player that played either individual small records with a song on the front and one on the back. Or we played an album, which had quite a few songs on the front and on the flipside. Because I enjoyed movies of fairy tales and musicals, most of my records in grammar school were from those favorite movies. My poor grandmother would sit there on that uncomfortable chair and applaud us, as we each took our turn in the show. We each felt that we were the star of the show. She was so patient and loving with us. I remember one time, however, that her patience was really put to the test! My sister, Sharon, was younger and was already asleep in bed, when my sister, Jeannine, and I asked if we could stay up, and watch a new show called “The Twilight Zone” (not to be confused with the movie that is popular right now). We had heard that it was kind of scary, so wanted to see for ourselves. My grandmother thought that it would be okay for us to stay up a little later and watch it. Well, it scared me so much, that I still remember the basic story, even though it's been many, many years since then. It was a fictional story of a young woman, who was disfigured badly in a severe accident. I don't remember what happened before the accident, but I remember what happened after! The story climaxed with the doctor slowly taking off the bandages from the plastic surgery that she had undergone. As the eerie music played in the background, and as the bandages covering the face were slowly removed, it suddenly revealed a close up of a grotesque face that looked much worse than before the surgery, accompanied by a loud scream. I'm not sure if the scream was from that woman, or from myself and my sister, Jeannine, because we were absolutely terrified!
We were so scared that we ran from the room, and ran into the safety of our beds. My poor grandmother didn't know what to do. She tried to tell us that it wasn't true - it was just a TV show. But, when we closed our eyes, all we could see was the face of that ugly woman. My grandmother said not to think of her, but to think of something nice, like Shirley Temple. She was a famous child star at that time, who was so cute. She sang and danced and was in many films. Anyway, that helped a little, so my grandmother said it was time to get ready for bed now. I think she hoped to have us asleep, by the time Mom & Dad got home. It wouldn't be good if they got home, and found us still awake and scared by a show we probably shouldn't have watched! So, first, I got ready for bed. I refused to close the door to the bathroom, in case that lady happened to be hiding in there. Memere Hebert had to stand guard close by the door and keep talking, so I would know that she was right there. Actually, I think my sister, Jeannine, had Memere do the same for her, too. I think that was the only time I ever watched that show! On New Year's Day, we went to visit Mononcle Joseph and Matante Eva (my Mom's aunt and uncle). They didn't have any children, although I think that they did have a son years ago, but he had died when he was small. Anyway, Mononcle Joseph was really just a kid at heart. He would ask us what we wanted to drink. We referred to soda as tonic when I was growing up. I think a lot of people in New England still call it that, instead of soda or pop. We put in our request, and he would always give us a small shot glass of soda. Of course, we drank it in one gulp, so then we would ask for more. He would go back to the kitchen and refill our little glass, and bring it back to us. Again, we drank it quickly and asked for more. He would laugh and do it again and again. He had so much patience, to take the time to do something fun like that with us. We didn't feel like we were bothering him he enjoyed playing with us. He also liked to chase us around the apartment. We would play hide & seek with him. All of our aunts & uncles were very kind to us, but he is the only one I remember, who actually played with us. It turned what could have been a very boring visit, into a fun one! Also, on New Year's Day, we would visit my Pepere Labrie (my Dad's father). My Dad grew up in a large family, compared to my Mom, who was an only child. When we visited my Pepere Labrie, there were always a lot of people there - many aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was nice to see everyone! We would visit during the year at various times, but everyone would visit
Pepere Labrie on New Year's Day. He was always very gentle, calm, and loving, in the midst of everybody invading his home. The Memere Labrie that I knew, his 3rd wife (his 2 previous wives passed away), was also very gentle, calm, and loving. Towards the end of the visit, we knelt down in front of Pepere Labrie and he would give his blessing over everyone for the New Year. It reflected the deep respect we had for him and the deep love he had for his large family. Like a lot of girls, when I was about 6 years old, I joined the Brownies. It was actually part of the Girl Scouts, but for younger girls. I think that I went on Saturday mornings for a few years. When I was older, I joined the Girl Scouts and that was after school. Anyway, my one and only time that I was a model, was when I was a Brownie. We had just gotten our new updated uniforms, and the local paper wanted a girl from each age group, to model the new uniform. I was selected from my troop to model the Brownie uniform. I don't know why they picked me - I guess I was kind of cute. Most people said I was cute with pretty green eyes. The only other time I was in the paper was when I earned a badge when I was a Girl Scout, and had my picture taken with my Mom & Dad, as I received my badge. I remember being so shy, that I let my long hair fall in front of my face when they took the picture. I was painfully shy at that time - around 12 years old. As a Girl Scout, we had a few field trips. I think that we went to see the Ice Capades one time in Boston. Another time we got tickets to be on a local TV show called "The Uncle Gus Show". It was just a local TV show that had children in the audience, and they showed Popeye cartoons. They had a few fun games that involved the audience. I was so shy that I prayed that Uncle Gus wouldn't pick me to get up and play a game. And he didn't! Of course, I have so many wonderful memories of fun times with my Mom, Dad, and sisters. Growing up, Sunday meant Church in the morning, and family fun time in the afternoon. We always did something fun together, every Sunday afternoon. In the winter, we would either go sledding or skating. We had a big sled, called a toboggan. It was perfect for our family - all three of us (Jeannine, Sharon, and I) plus either Mom or Dad, could fit on it. We took turns, who would sit in front, and steer the toboggan. Either Mom or Dad would stay on the hill, and give us a big push to get us going. Depending on the snow conditions, we could go fairly fast down that hill. It was a lot of fun! Of
course, it wasn't as much fun to have to climb back up the hill afterwards!! You also had to watch out for other sleds and toboggans, coming down as you were walking back up!!! Other times, we went to Dorr's Pond to go ice skating. It was actually a huge pond that froze in the winter. It was fun to skate around the pond until we got so cold that our noses, fingers, and toes were frozen. Then, we would go to the big hut there and step inside where it was toasty warm. The huge fireplace in the middle of the hut kept it really warm inside. My sisters and I would stand as close to the fire as we could and slowly feel ourselves getting warmed up on the outside. Soon, our insides would feel warm as we drank our delicious hot chocolate that Mom & Dad bought for us. We went from totally cold and freezing to warm all over in just a few minutes. It felt so good! During the summer, we often went to Hampton Beach for a day trip. We would pack a lunch and stop halfway there for a picnic. Once we got to the Beach, we needed to find a place to park that was not too far away from the Beach. We had a lot to carry - blanket, chairs, bags with a change of clothes and towels. I still remember the sound of the waves from the ocean and the smell of the salt in the air. The sand was always so hot that you couldn't walk on it for long in your bare feet. We would lie down on the blanket in the sun for as long as we could before we got so hot that we had to go cool off in the water. Because my skin was so fair, my Mom & Dad always slathered me with a lot of suntan lotion so my skin wouldn't burn. But no matter how much they put on and reapplied after I went swimming, I always did get a bad sunburn! And, once the sunburn was finally gone, my freckles showed up!! How I hated those freckles – someone always called me "freckle face" at some point during the summer!!! In spite of that, I did have fun every time we went to the Beach. I enjoyed the freezing cold water that sometimes gave you leg cramps. I enjoyed swimming with the waves that carried me back to shore. I enjoyed watching the sea gulls as they swooped down, looking for food. I enjoyed the feeling of soft mushy seaweed when we stepped on it. I also enjoyed going to the park at the Beach, where we had fun on the swing and slides. And, finally, I always enjoyed visiting some of the shops on the boardwalk that sold homemade salt water taffy. I would watch them pull it apart and mix it together on the big machines until it was smooth and perfect. Then, we each picked out our favorite flavors. It tasted really good!
Another fond memory I have of time with family was when we went to the Drive-in together during the summer. All of us would get in the car and drive to one of the local drive-ins. It was a great way for the whole family to enjoy 2 movies for a reasonable price. There was always 2 movies - the 1st was usually for younger children because they would inevitably fall asleep before the 2nd one was shown. In between, there was intermission. My Dad would usually get us a special treat at the concession stand at that time. Some times, the weather was humid and we were bothered by mosquitoes but it was still a lot of fun. During Spring and Fall, we often would go for a ride some place. Usually we went to the next big city - either Nashua or Concord. They were both about 45 minutes away. We took the country road and enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery on the way there. We would listen to the radio that played the most popular songs of the day. Once we got to the downtown, we went for a walk along the main street. We often stopped at a local restaurant for a snack. I remember one time going to the Modern Restaurant in Nashua for a little afternoon treat. It was a really nice restaurant with white linen tablecloths and napkins – much nicer than the ones we usually would go to. Afterwards, we often we went to a park and played on the swings or just ran around. I remember going for a ride one time with my family to Haverhill, MA. We stopped and walked downtown and window shopped. We stopped to look inside the window of a pet store at all the cute puppies inside. My parents made the mistake of letting us go inside to look around. Of course, you know what happened - we fell in love with the cute puppy dogs. One was a male with dark fur and the other had lighter fur and was a female. I was the only one that liked the male - I think I sensed that he was a good dog with a calm temperament. But everyone else loved the excited female puppy and wanted to pick that one. I was outnumbered so we bought the female puppy. I thought she was cute but seemed a little too excited. We called her Princess. And she was definitely treated royally! Unfortunately, her excited and nervous temperament wasn't ideally suited to a home with 3 young children. She quickly let us know who was boss - it was Princess. She growled if anyone got close to her when she was eating. Actually, she growled if anyone came close to her when she was resting. I remember a few times that she growled and snapped at me when I was just
trying to comb her fur. A few times we managed to put a bow in her hair and we took a picture of her. I remember one summer day she finally got what she deserved. A bee was buzzing over her head and she snapped at the bee. Unfortunately, she caught it in her mouth and was quickly stung on her tongue. She let out a loud cry and then spat it out. I quickly stepped on it, but actually was a little happy that she finally had something snap back at her. She actually lived a long life - I think she died when she was about 16 years old. We also owned a canary for a few years. I remember my mother was the one, who made sure there was clean water and food for the bird. She also was the one, who kept its cage clean. At night, she would put a towel over the cage to keep it warm. We also owned a couple of turtles. My sister and I bought them at Woolworth's Store. We were the ones, who had the responsibility of taking care of them. I don't think they lived for very long. Another time, probably during the Spring, the whole family went for a ride in the car, and decided to stop at local place that was selling swimming pools. My parents decided to buy a pool for our back yard. It was a fairly big in-ground pool with a deck around it. We had a small backyard so it took up about ½ of the yard. We enjoyed it for many years and would often have family barbecues and pool parties. Spending time together as a family was usually a lot of fun, but there was one time that we went on a family outing, and I don't think my Mom or myself or my sisters were having too much fun! I remember our Dad taking us to a baseball game in Boston. I think that was the one and only time we ever went. It was the Chicago White Sox playing against the Boston Red Sox. My Dad was really excited about it. But Mom, my two sisters, and myself did not share his enthusiasm for the game, to put it mildly. I remember being bored after just a few minutes and asking if we could buy something to eat from the vendors that were constantly selling something. Actually, I had more fun just watching all the vendors that went by than watching the game itself. I don't know how much of the game my Dad was able to watch and enjoy. He probably spent more time trying to keep us happy than he did actually watching the game. I remember enjoying a great hot dog at the game. I also remember getting my first pennant, too. But, to be honest, I don't remember which team actually won the game. I couldn't have cared less! That was the first and last time that my Dad took us to a baseball game!!
But my Dad did take us to another event that I really enjoyed in Boston - we went to see the Ice Follies! I loved sitting way up high in the bleachers and watching all the beautiful ice skaters twirling on the ice. The beautiful costumes, together with the wonderful music, made it a really special time! I'm sure it cost quite a bit for the whole family to attend, but it was something really special that I remember to this day. Sometimes, it is worth it to splurge a little, and make a special memory, that you will always remember. We were a typical middle-class family. My Dad earned a fair wage but was the only one who earned an income for many years, while my Mom stayed home to take care of us. Once we were all in school, then she worked parttime. I'm sure money was a little tight at times, but I always felt we were rich in the things that mattered. There was always plenty of love and time spent with us. We didn't go out to eat at a restaurant often, but I do remember going to the local Chinese restaurant a few times. We usually ordered two different dishes, Chop Suey and Chow Mein, along with a big container of white rice. There was enough food for the whole family to enjoy. We also went to a few family restaurants in the area once in a while. I remember usually ordering either a Hot Hamburg Sandwich or a Hot Turkey Sandwich. I've always loved Autumn in New England. The foliage is always beautiful with the vast array of colors. Every Fall, we helped rake the leaves in our yard into a big pile. Then we had fun taking turns, jumping into the pile and covering ourselves with all the leaves. I also loved the smell of leaves being burned on the side of the road. Because of safety issues, you can no longer do that, but I still remember that smell of burning leaves every Autumn. As most girls do, I enjoyed shopping for clothes. Most of the time, I had hand-me-down clothes from my older sister. But, I always got a new dress for the first day of school. We usually shopped at Bon Ton's Children's Clothing Store in downtown Manchester. We went shopping on Saturday, or on Thursday night, the only night when all the downtown stores were open. No stores were open on Sunday back then. We also shopped for new shoes, for the first day of school, at Kinney Shoes at a local shopping plaza. In the Spring, we shopped for new Spring coats, hats, & purses for Easter Sunday. Every Easter, we got all dressed up to go to Church. Then, we often went to the Currier Art Gallery and took pictures of the family on the beautiful grounds of that place.
One day, when I was in the 7th grade, the teacher told us that we each needed to compose a song, and sing it in front of the class the following week. For someone that could not carry a tune, this was not going to be a good thing! My Dad has a really good voice, so I asked him to help me get ready. He was so patient - he helped me write a song, and also practice singing it to an easy tune. It could be sung to any melody - our own or someone else's. I don't remember which melody we chose, but it sounded different every time I sang it! I never knew what was going to come out, each time I opened my mouth!! Actually, to say I can't carry a tune, is an understatement! But, my Dad was so patient and kept encouraging me to try again. When the day finally came and it was my turn, I got out of my seat and walked to the front, and turned and faced my class. I stared straight ahead of me, over the heads of my classmates, and saw the kind eyes of my teacher, who encouraged me. I started singing the song I had practiced so much and, of course, it sounded totally different from before! When I was finished, everyone applauded, and I quickly made my way back to my seat. Later, at recess, a friend mentioned that she had never heard that melody before, and wondered if I had made it up myself. I sheepishly said that it was something that just came out of me! Speaking of songs, there was one song called “I Believe”, popular in the 1950’s, that touched my heart… I believe, for every drop of rain that falls, A flower grows; I believe, that somewhere in the darkest night, A candle glows. I believe, for everyone who goes astray, Someone will come, to show the way; I believe, I believe.
I believe, above the storm, the smallest prayer, Will still be heard; I believe, that Someone, in the great somewhere, Hears every word. Every time, I hear a new born baby, cry, Or touch a leaf, or see the sky; Then I know why, I believe. I've always had a very tender and sensitive heart. Even as a young child, I remember feeling things deeply, and pondering them in my heart. That song touched me and spoke to my heart, about the small miracles of life – probably one of my first glimpses of God’s love. I felt that it reflected something deeper – something glorious and divine. As I look back, I do feel that God was there, seeking to draw me to Him with His love. In the 8th grade, I remember feeling compassion for a new girl in our class. That is a difficult age to be the new student and try to make friends. None of my friends wanted to be friends with her, and I felt a little peer pressure that I shouldn't be friends with her, too. But, in my heart, I felt that she really needed a friend, so I reached out to her. I found out that she was an only child, her parents were divorced, and her mother worked long hours. She seemed a little sad and lonely. I'm glad to this day that I listened to my heart and was friendly to her. Actually, we became best friends that year. We graduated from 8th grade and she moved again. Most of my other so-called friends were going to a different high school than me. They were going to the all-girls Catholic high school. But, I would be going to the local public high school like my older sister had. It worked out well for me. It gave me the chance to make some new friends at the new school. I also got another opportunity to listen to my heart, and show compassion and caring to someone else, who seemed in need of a friend. Looking back at my life growing up in the 50's, despite the threat of communism and even the possibility of a nuclear attack, I was oblivious to any threat to me personally. My Dad watched the news after dinner each night but I didn't. I do remember in the 3rd and 4th grade, that we had to practice quickly stooping down under our desks, to protect us in case of a nuclear attack from the enemy. To me it was just a game and I wasn't at all worried about that possibility.
I remember when a presidential candidate, John Kennedy, came to our city to campaign. We went to hear him speak. I don't remember what he said, but I remember that he was very young and handsome. His wife, Jackie Kennedy, was very pretty and elegant. Actually, the media commented that they seemed to have an air of royalty about them, and even described their time in the White House as "The Camelot Years". Unfortunately, their life together did not end "happily ever after". I remember the day President Kennedy was assassinated... I was in 5th grade and my class was entertaining the 1st grade, by reciting poems we had written about Thanksgiving. We were all standing in the front of the class when I saw a teacher walk into the classroom, very upset. She told us that the President had been shot and was in critical condition. We were told we could go home early. When I got home, I saw my Mom watching the news, and she was upset. Then, my Dad came home early, too. Later, that day, Walter Cronkite, a popular news anchor, delivered the devastating news that our President had died. I remember feeling very sad and confused about why something like that would happen. I really hadn't known anyone who had died 'til that time. A few days later, as Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged shooter, was being escorted in prison, we saw him shot dead on live TV. It was very unnerving to see that. Within the next few years, other well-known people would be shot and killed too – Senator Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and John Lennon. I think it was the beginning for me of the realization that there was evil in the world. I didn’t understand why a loving God would allow bad things to happen. I was starting to question my view of life and of God. INTERESTING TRIVIA ABOUT LIFE IN THE 1950's All phones were black with a rotary dial and needed to be plugged in all the time. You would have to call an operator to have her dial a long distance call for you. Most people had phones with a 2-party or 4-party line, so sometimes when you picked up the phone to dial, you would hear a conversation already going on. Telephone numbers were five numbers and there was no area code. Coke and 7Up were in 7 ounce bottles with caps that you needed an opener to take off.
Record players used vinyl records that often got scratched and sounded awful. Stamps were only three cents during the 1950's. Most TVs showed 12 inch Black and White Screens with only 5 channels that signed off at midnight. All you could see was a test pattern. If you wanted to change the station, you had to get up and walk to the TV - there were no remote controls at that time. We had roller skates that you could attach to your shoes. All bikes were one speed that were heavy steel and outweighed the rider. A lot of adults smoked cigarettes, which cost 24 cents a pack. All cars were big, weighed a lot, and got about 10 miles to the gallon. However, gas cost 28 cents a gallon. Boys rode in cars with their girls sitting right next to them on the bench seat. I don't think any cars came with seat belts, or if they did, no one used them. Refrigerators had to be defrosted once a week because ice would build up. Almost no one had an air conditioned house, school, office or car. Most children walked to their neighborhood school. Girls could not wear pants in school or wear skirts above the knee. Boys could be suspended for having long hair. All men wore hats and tipped their hats when they saw a woman. Most men wore ties and jackets to work. Most girls either became nurses, teachers, secretaries or stay-at-home mothers. Movies always had double features, news, and cartoons. Nothing had tamper-proof tops. Older people spoke the languages of the country they or their parents came from, especially when kids were around.
Most families ate dinner together at 6pm every night. Then, at 6:30pm, there was a half hour world news show on TV. Local news was shown at 11pm. Those were the only times that you could watch news on TV. Doctors made house calls. There was only one radio, one telephone, and one bathroom in the house. People knew how to do long division manually on paper. Everyone practiced penmanship and knew how to print legibly too. Swanson frozen dinners were introduced and were called “TV dinners”. Ads proclaimed 5 transistor radios for $50. It took one or two minutes for radios and TVs to warm up before they worked. Coffee was made in percolators that sent the boiled water up a tube to a little metal basket with coffee in it. Washing machines had wringers (two wooden rollers that squeezed the water out of clothes). Fans had big heavy metal blades and very inadequate grilles to prevent cutting off fingers. Most kids had 2 pairs of shoes - one pair when you dressed up and one pair for play. Cameras were big black boxes that you had to put rolls of film in. Girls teased their hair and they used hair spray to keep it in place. It had a strong smell and felt sticky at first and then like cement after it dried. Lawn mowers did not have engines. You had to push them really hard because that force made the reel type blades go around. Most kids knew one way to fake being sick, so you could stay home from school – hold a thermometer near a light bulb to get it to read a high temperature.
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, & INVENTIONS OF THE 1950’S The 50s have always been described as a conservative period socially, however, advancements in technology were about to change all that. During the 50s, television became the dominant media. While television had been invented many years previous, the 50s saw nearly every family buying a television set, and nearly everyone watching television for longer and longer periods of time. Television broadcasts became our number one source of news, information, and entertainment during the 50s. Live news broadcasts were now possible coast to coast, and this has changed our world forever. 1950 •The first credit card (Diners) invented by Ralph Schneider. 1951 •Power steering invented by Francis W. Davis. •Charles Ginsburg invented the first video tape recorder (VTR). 1952 •Mr. Potato Head patented. •The first patent for bar code issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. •Edward Teller and team build the hydrogen bomb. 1953 •Radial tires invented. •The first musical synthesizer invented by RCA. •Transistor radio invented by Texas Instruments.
1954 •The first nonstick teflon pan produced. •The solar cell invented by Chaplin, Fuller and Pearson. •Ray Kroc started McDonalds. 1955 •Optic fiber invented. 1956 •The first computer hard disk used. •Bette Nesmith Graham invented "Mistake Out," later renamed Liquid Paper, to paint over mistakes made with a typewriter. 1957 •Fortran (computer language) invented. 1958 •The computer modem invented. •Gordon Gould invents the laser. •The Hula Hoop invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin. 1959 •The internal pacemaker invented by Wilson Greatbatch. •Barbie Doll invented. •Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce both invent the microchip.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, I thank you so much for blessing me with the love of my family. I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood. Thank you for my Mom & Dad, and their love for me always. Because of their unconditional love, I found it easy to believe and accept Your unconditional love for me, when I learned of it later on. Please help me to love others, as You love me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
“Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:21)
“The family – we were a strange little band of characters, trudging through life, sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing it in the same instant to heal it, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to find the common thread that bound us all together.” (Erma Bombeck)
“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” (George Santayana)
Chapter 4 – MY TEEN YEARS / LIFE IN THE 1960's
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." (Proverbs 4:23)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE 1960’s It began peacefully, but life in the 1960s took an about-face from the relative calm of the 1950s. The children of the Baby Boom came of age. When the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam hurled the nation into turmoil, a noisy minority of the boomers protested through demonstrations or nonconformist lifestyles, and changed the direction of society. Walter Cronkite called the 1960s “the most turbulent decade of the century.” The early 1960s were an extension of the conservative 1950s. Skirts were knee-length and rock ‘n roll was still young and somewhat innocent. The first debate for a presidential election was televised. It was between Senator John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Nixon seemed nervous, but Kennedy stood tall. The debate on TV changed many people's minds about Kennedy. Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon in the presidential election, and historians now point to the first televised debate, as Kennedy’s trump card. The nation had high hopes for its new president. Some referred to President Kennedy’s “reign” as the age of Camelot. Women styled their hair like the first lady, Jacquelyn Kennedy, in the faddish bouffant, a fussy classic 1960s style. Few people could fathom what the 1960s would bring, but certain events foreshadowed the turmoil. Americans were still afraid of a communist takeover, and it seemed that communism was creeping in everywhere. Communist Cuba was much too close for comfort. In 1960, NASA sent up ECHO, the first communications satellite to be seen with the naked eye. Also, an American "U2" spy plane was shot down over the USSR. But on the whole, Americans enjoyed a safe environment. Folks left their doors unlocked, and kids could roam their neighborhood without fear. Teens were into music, cars, and dancing. The 1960s introduced the muscle car
(thanks to the ’64 GTO), and drag racing continued to be popular, carrying over from the 1950s. The Twist, introduced by Chubby Checker in New York’s Peppermint Lounge, brought more movement into dance, and teens made it a fad. Other dance crazes followed, like the Mashed Potato, the Swim and the Watusi. In 1961, John F. Kennedy became President, and moved into the White House. He gave his famous speech - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". The 1960s were the heady days of the Space Race. America’s fear of communism led them to a fiercely competitive attitude toward Russia and the advances in space. In 1961, Kennedy challenged the country to land a man on the moon. "The Soviets have sent the first man into space, and the Americans need a man in space, too." The event came on May 5, 1961. Alan Shepard was sent to space in the "Freedom 7". On May 25, Kennedy stated that he wanted to have a man on the moon and back, before the decade was over. In 1962, John Glenn became the first man to orbit the earth - three times. It was a five hour flight. 1960s pop culture revealed a slight modification of traditional themes. Traditional family shows like "Ozzie and Harriet" were still immensely popular, but new programs were becoming more realistic. Even the homey, feel-good "Andy Griffith Show" featured a single dad in the lead. Quirky shows like "The Beverly Hillbillies" were just plain fun, and had no social agenda. These shows and many others promoted family values, kept the good guys winning, and could be viewed by adults and children alike. In 1962, they could view it in color on ABC, if the family could afford a color television. Movies in the 1960s were also relatively tame. Broadway hits were turned into movies, and from this we now have classics like "The Sound of Music", "My Fair Lady", “Funny Girl”, and "West Side Story". The civil rights movement had begun in the 1950s, and steadily gained momentum. Martin Luther King Jr. made the speech, "I have a Dream" on August 28, 1963. More than 200,000 peaceful demonstrators came to Washington DC to demand equal rights for Black and Whites. One famous statement of his speech was - "I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation, where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character". His message was to effect change through peaceful demonstrations; regrettably, others felt violence was the only way to achieve equal status for minorities. Also, in 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was never sent to trial. While being moved by police to a different jail, a man named Jack Ruby shot Oswald. The dream some Americans had for their country, under the leadership of President Kennedy, was shattered when he was assassinated. The event was so devastating, that most people of that generation remember exactly what they were doing and how they felt, when they heard the news. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in after Kennedy’s death. He is now remembered for two things: involving America in the Vietnam War, and his domestic war on poverty, which he called “The Great Society”. The Vietnam War was a major defining aspect of the 1960s, and divided the nation’s loyalties, especially among young people. Although the majority of Americans supported their leaders, the anti-war demonstrators were loud and grabbed a lot of media attention, so that it may seem today that every young person of the 1960s was on a picket line. In 1964, the first Civil Rights bill was passed to stop racial discrimination. Also, in 1964, The Beatles, a British rock and roll band became VERY popular. The "Fab Four" - John, Paul, George, and Ringo - were played on radio stations all over the world. The Beatles made television history, when they drew the largest television crowd in history, performing on the Ed Sullivan show. They performed concerts that were quickly sold out. All the frenzy over the group became known as "Beatlemania", which was only the beginning. In 1965, though it had been slowly building, it seemed to happen overnight. Drastic changes were everywhere – music, fashion, movies, and attitudes. This was helped along by the 1960s counterculture, the former beatniks, which writer Michael Fallon termed “hippies”. They were typified by free love, rock music, drugs and mystical religion. Love beads, ponchos, long hair, and the VW minibus (often in psychedelic colors) were some of the stereotypes of the hippie lifestyle. Other fashion and furniture fads we
associate with hippie culture are bell bottoms, peasant skirts, lava lamps, bean bags, door beads, and posters with a peace symbol. Also, in 1965, President Johnson ordered bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Americans began protesting the war. The world's first roofed stadium was built, the Houston Astrodome. Starting in 1967, details of the Vietnam War were splashed across newspaper front pages every single day for the next eight years. Vietnam was the first war to be televised, and it was distressing to watch. People had to cope somehow – and they did. Sports gave the nation needed relief from the turbulence, both home and abroad. Baseball continued to be the nation’s favorite, but football held its first Super Bowl (Green Bay over Kansas City), and gained in popularity. The first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christian Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1968, with two assassinations (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy), civil rights riots became rampant. It also appeared there was no hope for an end to the war in spite of peace talks in Paris. The nation elected Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey, and hoped for the best. 1969 was a major year in history; suffice it to say that while the chaos continued on college campuses, several good things happened to lift hopes. President Nixon outlined his plans for “Vietnamization”, in which U.S. troops would help South Vietnamese to fight on their own, and eventually pull out. He gave it three years, and in truth, he was not far off. On July 20, 1969, one of the biggest events of history happened - America was the first nation to put a man on the moon. Apollo 11 landed on the moon with astronauts aboard. Neil Armstrong's famous speech for that historical moment stated "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". One month later, a three-day rock and love fest called Woodstock, drew nearly half a million people to a 600 acre farm in New York, for the Woodstock Festival. Many top rock musicians were there. It lasted three days - a weekend of music, love and peace.
During the sixties, college campuses became centers of debate and scenes of protest, more than ever before. Great numbers of young adults, known as baby boomers, reaching military draft age (selective service) and not yet voting age (minimum voting age did not become 18 until 1971), caused a struggle which played out on many campuses, as the country became more involved in the Vietnam War. The generation gap became a growing phenomenon. Youth dominated the culture of the 1960's. The post World War II Baby Boom had created 70 million teenagers for the sixties, and these youth swayed the fashion, the fads, and the politics of the decade. California surfers took to skateboards as a way to stay fit out of season, and by 1963, the fad had spread across the country. Barbie dolls, introduced by Mattel in 1959, became a huge success in the sixties, so much so that rival toy manufacturer Hasbro came up with G. I. Joe, 12 inches tall and the first action figure for boys. Radio continued to be the primary means of listening to music. The major development was a change from primarily AM to FM. Radio was supplemented by American Bandstand, watched by teens from coast to coast. They not only learned the latest music, but how to dance to it. When Chubby Checker introduced the twist on the show in 1961, a new craze was born, and dancing became an individual activity. The Mashed Potato, the Swim, the Watusi, the Monkey, and the Jerk followed the Twist, mimicking their namesakes. Each new dance often lasted for just a song or two before the next one came along. Eventually the names and stylized mimicry ceased, and the dancers just moved however they wanted. For those who preferred watching the dancers, “go-go girls”, on stages or in bird cages, danced above the crowd. Historians are still trying to make sense out of the 1960s. All of the major events coming together created a cathartic response, and for unexplainable reasons, young people reacted in unexpected ways through riots, tearing up draft cards and becoming anti-establishment. The 1960s was a time of great change and an emerging sense of freedom. Skirts got shorter, hair got longer, and a man named Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Rebellion was the name of the game during the 1960s era, and young people responded with protests and demonstrations. Some say it was the end of our innocence.
Many Americans refused to tune in and drop out in the 1960s. They took no part in the social revolution. Instead, they continued leading normal lives of work, family, and home. POPULAR FASHION OF THE 1960’s The 1960's began with crew cuts on men and bouffant hairstyles on women. Men's casual shirts were often plaid and buttoned down the front, while knee-length dresses were required wear for women in most public places. By mid-decade, miniskirts or hot pants, often worn with go-go boots, were revealing legs, bodywear was revealing curves, and women's hair was either very short or long and lanky. Men's hair became longer and wider, with beards and moustaches. Men's wear had a renaissance. Bright colors, double-breasted sports jackets, polyester pants suits with Nehru jackets, and turtlenecks were in vogue. By the end of the decade, ties, when worn, were up to 5" wide, patterned even when worn with stripes. Women wore peasant skirts or granny dresses and chunky shoes. Unisex dressing was popular, featuring bell bottomed jeans, love beads, and embellished t-shirts. Clothing was as likely to be purchased at surplus stores as boutiques.
POPULAR FADS OF THE 1960's American Bandstand, Lava Lamps, Hair Ironing, Twister (game), Motown Sound, Surfing, Bellbottom Pants, Mood Rings, White gloves, Flower power, Platform Shoes, Nehru jackets, Men wearing love beads, GI Joe, Baby boomer, The Beatles, Granny glasses, Peasant skirts, Black Lights, Twist (dance), Miniskirts, Granny dresses, Superballs, Sit-in movement, The mod look, The Mickey Mouse Club, James Bond and spy movies, Hippies, Wide belts, Hip hugger pants, Drive-in theaters, Bouncy ball, Psychedelic, Balsa Wood Airplanes, The space program, Beach parties/beach movies, Boogaloo, Drive-in theater, Banana Seats on Bicycles, Fallout Shelters, Turtlenecks, Chunky shoes, Go-Go boots, Clunky wooden jewelry, Paisley (design), Smiley faces, Leisure suits, Tie-dye, Yo-yos, Peace sign, Love Beads, Barbie Dolls, Women wearing long straight hair, Twiggy - boyish figure & cropped hair, Pin-striped jumpsuits
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY TEEN YEARS It’s a little ironic that I became a teenager, typically a fairly rebellious time in one’s life, in 1966, during one of the most rebellious times in our nation’s history. Newspapers and television showed many people protesting against the war in Vietnam. They also demonstrated for civil rights and women’s rights. It seemed that everyone was questioning authority. As a young teenager, I also started questioning life as I had known it. When I was growing up in the 1950s, my life was very simple, secure, and safe. But in 1963, with the assassination of President Kennedy, my world was shaken up and I started to feel a little insecure that God would allow something like that to happen. Also, my Pepere Labrie had a heart attack and died around the same time. And it was also at this time that President Johnson ordered bombing raids on North Vietnam. In spite of the turbulent times of the 1960s, and the drastic changes that seemed to be taking place all around, my life was still relatively calm and peaceful in comparison. Although I was a little shaken by what I was witnessing in the world, I distracted myself with the normal activities of a young teenager. I remember watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan television show. I also watched American Bandstand every Saturday afternoon. They showed teenagers, like myself, dancing to the popular songs of that time. I enjoyed dancing and would dance along with them. A popular song in 1965 was “What the World Needs Now”. It was first performed on the TV show "Shindig", another variety show that many teenagers watched. The lyrics of the first stanza reflect the sentiment of many at that time… What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It's the only thing that there's just too little of; What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some, but for everyone. As many teenagers do, I also started questioning anyone in authority, even my parents. I had been a very obedient child growing up. But during my teen years, with raging hormones inside and witnessing a very rebellious spirit
outside in the world, I, too, became a little rebellious at times. It didn’t happen often, I’m happy to say. But, occasionally, I would get a little moody and sulk in my bedroom, when I didn’t get my way. My parents were probably a little confused by my behavior. But they were very understanding, loving, and supportive. Deep down I respected them and was confused by my attitude, as well. In June 1967, I graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help grammar school. Many of my friends would be going to the Catholic high school in the Fall, but I would be going to the public school – Manchester Memorial High School, where my older sister had recently graduated. Fortunately for me, two of my sister’s friends were a year younger than her, and would be Seniors, the year that I became a Freshman. I knew them a little bit and became friends with them, as they helped me adjust to high school life. I had always enjoyed grammar (elementary) school and soon enjoyed being in high school as well. I loved changing classes and having different teachers throughout the day. I actually had a crush on my math teacher during my freshman year. I remember one time that I stayed home from school, because I was sick, for a few days. When I went back to school, my math teacher kindly said that he was glad that I was feeling better and back in school. Of course, I assumed that he meant he had really missed me! I had hoped that he would be my teacher for math again the next year. He taught Math I and Math II, both very basic classes. Even though I didn’t really like math and was definitely not a math wiz, I got straight A’s because it was so easy. Unfortunately for me, my math teacher refused to let me sign up for Math II the next year, stating that I should really be taking Algebra. I was a little hurt that he didn’t want me to be in his class, so that was the end of my crush on him. During Freshman year, I noticed a girl eating lunch by herself each day in the cafeteria. I mentioned to my friends at my table that we should invite her to join us. They agreed and I went over to her and told her she was welcome to eat lunch with us. She smiled and came over to our table. She was extremely shy, but seemed relieved to no longer be alone. It really felt good to listen to my heart, reach out to someone else, and bless her in some small way.
On the weekend, I enjoyed going to football games with my friends. We also enjoyed listening to our favorite singing groups in our spare time. Sometimes I babysat for one of my cousins, and I would spend the money I earned, to buy records or albums of my favorite group – usually The Beatles or The Monkees. I also enjoyed going to the movies almost every weekend with my sisters. Other times we went roller skating at the local roller rink. During the summer, I enjoyed helping my Mom take care of her flower beds in our yard. I’ve always found it relaxing to dig in the dirt and plant flowers and care for them. Sometimes a few friends of mine from school would come over and we would sit outside and listen to my transistor radio, playing the popular songs of the day. In the Fall, I began my Sophomore year of high school. I wish that I could say I had many boyfriends while I was in high school, but the truth is “they were few and far between”. I actually had someone interested in me my Sophomore year, but didn’t even realize it. He finally got the courage to call me in May. He told me that he was in my typing class, and had been watching me from a distance all year. I didn’t know if I should be happy about that or worried. To be honest, I had no idea who he was. The next day, in typing class, I looked around to see who it was. I was definitely not attracted to him, but was flattered that he was attracted to me. He was a Senior and offered to give me a ride home. On the way home he asked me to go out to dinner with him on the weekend. It would be my first date and I should have been excited, but I really wasn’t. He was nice and polite, so I didn’t have the heart to turn him down, when he asked for a 2nd date the next weekend to the Memorial Day parade. I actually didn’t want it to be anything romantic, so said that maybe we could go with my family. I don’t think I paid much attention to him. He got the message that I just wasn’t interested, so didn’t ask me out again. That was fine with me. It was about this time, during the Spring of my Sophomore year, that I starting working after school. My very first job was at Woolworth’s, not far from my house. I worked there for a very short time before I quit. I remember that I first worked behind the candy counter. The candy was loose in separate containers and needed to be measured out. It was priced by the pound. Some kids came in and thought it would be funny, to request quite a few different kinds of candy, in different amounts, with each type of candy having a different price.
I’ve already mentioned that I am not a math wiz, so this was a little too complicated for me to figure out. I actually needed my supervisor to step in to help me. Of course, those kids thought it was very funny! The next time I went in to work, my supervisor said that I would be working in a different department. She wisely moved me from the candy counter to the home goods department. I enjoyed working there for a little while… until someone gave me a list of various measurements in order to cut some curtain rods to the correct size that they needed. As I said I’m not a math wiz, so just looking at the list of measurements with all the various numbers and fractions, I quickly became frustrated and called my supervisor for help. When I finished work, she mentioned that maybe that department wasn’t the best fit for me either! The next time I went to work. I was put in front as a cashier. Of course, back then, the cash register was not like the ones we have today. Now you can input how much money is given, and it calculates how much money you need to give back to the customer. I was expected to do this myself. I was able to do this, but it took me awhile. As a result, I always had a lot of customers waiting, and getting impatient. When I left work that night, I realized that my skills were not suited to customer service, and quit. I think I saw a little smile from my supervisor, as I said bye to her! It was at this point that my Dad offered me a job, working part-time at his office, after school and also during the summer. I thought that it would be a better fit, because I had been taking business classes (shorthand, typing, and accounting) and felt more confident doing that. My Dad worked hard and expected everybody there to work hard, too. Just because I was his daughter, I wasn’t going to be given any special favors. Actually, because I was his daughter, I worked very hard and wanted him to be proud of me. The atmosphere in the office was friendly and everybody got along well. I think that the boss sets the tone of the company, just as a mom and dad sets the tone of the home. I was blessed to have a very loving Mom & Dad at home and a very loving Boss at work. Often, when I got to the office about 3:15 in the afternoon after school, my Dad was heading out for a coffee break. He would tell me that I could come with him, and he would treat me to a snack at a cafe close by. I enjoyed spending that time with him. I would work from 3:30 to 5:30 after school. Then, I would get a ride home with my Dad.
Many times my Dad suggested that we stop at the Bakery, for a special dessert before we went home. I loved the enticing aromas of the various baked goods that enveloped me, as soon as I walked in the door. All the desserts – cream puffs, bismarks, eclairs – looked so delicious that it was hard to decide which one to pick to bring home and savor later on, after dinner. I also worked for my Dad during the summer. With the money I earned, I bought some new clothes. I remember splurging one paycheck on a new suede jacket. I was excited to return to school in the Fall, as a Junior, with all my new clothes. In the Fall of 1969, I started my Junior year of high school with my new clothes and a popular hairstyle. I had bangs hanging down on my forehead. I remember using Dippity Do gel to keep it in place. Believe me, no amount of wind could move one strand of hair, with that heavy gel on it! Some of my friends put scotch tape on their bangs at night before they went to bed. I don’t remember doing that, but I do remember using big rollers in my hair at night. Actually, they were so big that my head never touched the pillow - it’s amazing that I was able to sleep at all! In the morning I would comb it out it was about shoulder length. Sometimes I wore a headband or barrettes in my hair. Other times I put it in a ponytail in the back or to the side with a ribbon. On the weekends my sisters and I would experiment with fancy updos. We also spent time cutting our split ends – the result of “teasing” our hair. Looking at photo albums, with pictures of myself and others in the 50’s and 60’s, it is hilarious to see all the trendy hairstyles that were popular during those times. During the 1950’s, women wore their hair short and in easy-care styles with some simple curls. Since blow-dryers were not invented yet, it was common to see women out shopping with curlers and hair nets during the day, so they could look lovely at night. It was also popular to use pin curls, which was nothing more than winding strands around the finger and securing them with bobby pins until hair dried. Many men chose the flat top crew cut. Black horn rimmed glasses topped off the look for men. Short pixie hairstyles were popular for little girls. Girl’s longer bangs were often swept to the side with barrettes.
For a large portion of the 1960’s, big hair was in. The 1960 Bouffant hairstyle and the Beehive hairstyles were all the rage for women of all ages, and it seemed the higher the hair, the happier the woman. The 1960 Bouffant hairstyle was made popular in large part, thanks to Jackie Kennedy, the first lady. The hairstyle caught on, and swept through Hollywood, with women all over the world quickly catching on to this hairstyle fad. By 1964 or so, schoolgirls had taken the 1960 Bouffant and created their own, somewhat updated version, known as the Beehive. At night, before bed, girls would set their hair in very large rollers, using a gel solution to achieve the sky-high hair this look called for. Some girls with extremely curly hair would use old grapefruit cans, instead of rollers, to set their locks. When the hair was fully dry, it was teased and combed back to provide maximum height. The Bouffant hairstyle was held together with a new product on the market known as hair spray. By 1964, the number one hair product on the market was hair spray, and some beauticians even made their own blends with water and sugar. Hairpieces became a component, used to make women’s beehives even bigger. In 1969, when I began working after school at my father’s office, hairpieces and wigs were very popular. In fact, in addition to providing hair care products to local beauty salons, they expanded their services to include wigs and hairpieces. Actually, my Mom and my Memere Hebert both bought wigs and wore them at my older sister’s wedding in May 1970. During the late 1960s, younger women also experimented with leaving their hair long and loose, with bangs that were straight cut across their forehead. Girls of this era would get the curls and kinks out of their hair by ironing it straight, resulting in the long, sleek and lovely locks that we often associate with this era. Although this hair was typically worn shorter than it would be in the seventies, it would not be surprising to see a girl with hair halfway down her back or even below her waist. As the 1970's approached, big hair was out and easy styles like the flip were in. Simple hairstyles were far more favored, especially among teen girls and young women. There was actually a popular song called “Hair” which spoke of the obsession that most teens had with their hair. I think that it was also a way for teens to express themselves.
As a Junior in high school, I kept busy going to school and working for my Dad after school. I also babysat occasionally for one of my cousins. I enjoyed going to football games with my friends on the weekend. My older sister, Jeannine, had been dating a cousin of one of her friends. His name was Bob and he came from a fairly large family – he had three brothers and two sisters. They got engaged and planned to marry in May 1970. I thought that he was a nice guy. I didn’t have any brothers, so I was happy that he would be a part of our family. My sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor. Her fiancé’s brother would be the Best Man. Because I was shy, they thought it might be good if I met him before the wedding, and got to know him a little bit. We went on a few “dates”. He was nice and polite, but we were just friends. I think that we went to a high school football game one time and to the movies another time. My sister, Jeannine, got married in May 1970. It was a beautiful day and she looked beautiful! On one hand, I was very happy for her to get married and begin a new life with her husband. But, on the other hand, I felt sad that she had moved out, and I would no longer see her as much. Even though we each had our own friends, we still were pretty close, and I knew that I would miss her a lot. But life goes on, and soon afterwards, my younger sister, Sharon, moved into the bedroom that my sister, Jeannine, and I had shared. Sharon’s bedroom would now be used as a small “den”. My Dad probably used it the most, as a place to relax and read by himself, for a little while in the evening. During the summer we learned the wonderful news that my sister, Jeannine, was pregnant. I was really excited to become an Aunt! She was due the following February and I was hoping that the baby would be born on my birthday – February 15th. I kept busy that summer working at my Dad’s office. I also spent a lot of time reading. Other times my friends and I would go out to lunch, go shopping, or go to the movies.
It was in the Fall, as a Senior in high school, that one of my aunts called, and asked me to be a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. The wedding was set for January 23, 1971. I had no idea at that time how important that day would be in my life! The rehearsal dinner was the night before the wedding. The usher that would be my escort, picked me up at my house. He was a Senior in college and President of his fraternity. The reason I remember that, is because that is all he talked about. I don’t know if he was trying to impress me, but I quickly grew tired of him, just talking about himself and college life. He didn’t seem too interested in finding out about my life. The weather in New England in the middle of January is usually very cold with snow. The day of the wedding was no different – it was freezing and it snowed. As one of the bridesmaids, I wore a long-sleeve gown with a small fur cape. I remember feeling so cold any time we were outside for a few minutes! The reception was at the Chateau Restaurant. I was seated at the head table next to that usher I had met the night before. Again, he spoke at length about himself and college. I tried to act interested, but I was really kind of bored. I was happy when it was time for the “receiving line”. That’s when the bridal party stands in a line, and all the guests come by to congratulate the bride and groom, and greet the rest of the bridal party. The groom was my cousin, so I knew a lot of the guests – aunts, uncles, and cousins from my family. But, there was one guy that said hello to me, whom I didn’t know, but when he smiled at me, I wanted to know better! His smile was so genuine and sincere. He said that his name was Rich, and he was a friend of the groom, who was my cousin. He actually looked a little familiar to me, so I thought maybe I had met him years ago when we visited my cousin and his family. Anyway, we spoke just for a few minutes in the line, but I got the impression he was attracted to me. I knew that I was attracted to him! Unfortunately, it was now time for the bride and groom to dance, and for the bridal party to join in. I danced with the usher and I remember him saying to me that he’d like to take me out after the wedding. He didn’t even ask; he assumed I’d be thrilled to go on a date with him.
It was at this point that Rich cut in. I immediately felt myself relax in his arms. It felt so natural and easy to dance with him. He told me a little about his life and asked me about mine. I felt so comfortable with him – I don’t know how else to describe it – it felt like “home”. I didn’t want the song to end. I wanted to spend more time with him and find out more about him. He felt the same way so, when the song ended, we both stayed on the dance floor and kept talking. He captured my heart and I captivated his. He finally asked me if I wanted to go sit with him at his table. Of course, I said yes! After a few minutes, the other guy came over and asked me to dance. Without any hesitation, I said “No”. I surprised even myself at how quickly I responded! Rich smiled warmly and asked me to dance. He drew me close to him, and sang the song we were dancing to, in my ear. I discovered he had a great singing voice! I introduced him to my family and they liked him, too. Then, he said that he’d like me to meet his family. After the Wedding, he brought me home to get changed. Then, we went to his house to meet his family. I had no idea that I would not only meet his immediate family but some of his aunts, uncles, and cousins that happened to be visiting that night! I remember walking into the kitchen of his home, and seeing a lot of people – his Mom, his Dad, his sisters, and several other family members – smiling and winking at each other. I’m pretty sure that his Mom whispered to someone “I think she’s the one” and the other person nodded! I also noticed that everyone was so happy to be together. In spite of the fact that Rich’s father was fighting a serious battle with lung cancer, everyone seemed happy and was having fun. Also, Rich had spent quite a few months fighting in the war in Vietnam, and had just returned home temporarily, because his father was so ill. He would soon have to return to the battlefield to complete his tour of duty. In spite of those difficult circumstances, and maybe because of them, they appreciated their time together and made the most of it.
Difficult circumstances can either make you bitter or better. In Rich’s case, it made him better. He had a very close and loving family, but his childhood was more difficult than mine, because his mother was often sick. Many times she needed to be in the hospital, and even required several surgeries for intestinal problems. His father was an auto mechanic, and needed to work long hours to help pay the medical bills. Rich did what was required of him – either helping his Mom at home as much as possible, being a big and caring brother to his two younger sisters, or just being responsible for himself. As a result, Rich needed to grow up sooner than other boys. His character was formed in those early years, by the choices he made to do the right thing for his family, even though it wasn’t easy. He did have some hard times growing up. But he also had fun times, too! Rich’s family enjoyed playing card games together. His mother had a great sense of humor and so does Rich. He loved to tease her and his two younger sisters. Sometimes, they would visit relatives on the weekend. Rich’s family was originally from Lowell, MA but had moved to Manchester, NH when he was about 10 years old. Many of his relatives still lived in Massachusetts. Rich’s favorite memories growing up were visiting with his cousins. He always felt welcomed and loved by his aunts and uncles. Often they would visit his Uncle Al, Rich’s godfather, in Lowell, MA. He was a very generous and fun-loving Uncle. Rich has many good memories of times spent with him. Rich never knew his grandparents, but he had a very close bond with his Uncle Al. Actually, Rich’s middle name is Albert, named after his Uncle. To get back to the day that I met Rich… after meeting his family, we went to the movies. He held my hand and put his arm around me. I loved it! We were watching a great romance on screen, and I felt that a great romance was taking place in my own life!! After the movie, he took me home and said that he’d like to see me again, and would call me. He did call the next day but, unfortunately, I was tired and just didn’t feel like going out, and I told him that. He said that was fine — we could just stay at my house and watch TV for a little bit. He just wanted to see me again, but I told him that I’d rather wait until the next weekend to see each other. He said that was fine and would call back another time.
Actually, that was typical of me at that time, I’m sorry to say. I lived by my feelings and let them rule my actions. When I got off the phone, my mother asked who it was. I told her who it was and what I had said. She just shook her head and said that he probably was hurt and wouldn’t call back. I actually thought about calling him back, but changed my mind and really thought that he would call the next weekend. Of course, he didn’t call the following weekend. I thought that maybe he was busy with family or maybe he was getting ready to return to Vietnam. I thought that surely, if he wasn’t able to see me again before he left, that he would write to me as soon as he could. He didn’t, and I remember thinking “What is his problem”? But to be honest, I was the problem! I was almost 18 and very immature for my age. Rich was 3 ½ years older than me in age, but many years older in character. He had been tested by adversity during his childhood, with a Mom who was often sick, and a Dad that he didn’t see very much because he needed to work long hours to pay the costly medical bills. He knew that his Mom and Dad loved him, but couldn’t always be there for him, so he learned to rely on himself for whatever he needed to do. As a result, he was very mature and responsible, with a great deal of integrity. I really admired that. My childhood was very easy and carefree, compared to his. I did what was expected of me – I had a few chores to do at home, did well in school, and worked hard at my after school job – but didn’t do much more than that. I was a nice girl for the most part, but sometimes let my feelings dictate the mood I was in. My parents were very kind and loving and just let me be. Unfortunately, Rich didn’t understand that I was just in a mood the day he called, and thought I was rejecting him. It is said that opposites attract and that is so true! We were similar in the fact that God, family, and country were very important to us, and we both had a deep love and respect for them. But our personalities were very different. For example, Rich loved movies with John Wayne playing the lead. He admired his tough and no nonsense demeanor. I, on the other hand, loved movies with Barbra Streisand in the lead. I admired her beautiful skin, exotic makeup, and long finger nails. She also could sing beautifully! Well, just try picturing them together – it is a little funny!!
I think that God must have a great sense of humor, because he often brings two very different people together in holy matrimony, and stands back to watch as they “become one”. (More on that subject in the next chapter!) During the next couple of months, I finally realized that Rich was not going to contact me by phone or by letter. I thought about how I had treated him, and regretted it. I had really liked him and felt bad that I had hurt him by my self-centered attitude. I asked my Mom what I should do to make amends, and she wisely said it was up to me. So, I decided I would call my Aunt to get his phone number. I assumed he was still in Vietnam, so I would just call his house and get his address to write to him. I thought I’d include a picture of me from the Wedding, too, so he could remember how cute I was! It seemed like the perfect plan… until I called his house for the address, and his Mom said that he was back home, and I could talk to him right now! I hadn’t planned for that and didn’t know what to say. When I heard his voice, I blurted out “I thought you were going to call”! He chuckled and said something about not being sure that I wanted him to call. I said that I was just not feeling well when he had called, and had been hoping to hear from him. He said that he would like to see me again, so we went out that night. His father was actually very sick and in the hospital, so we went to visit him. He had only met me once before, a few months earlier after the Wedding, but felt that we were meant to be together. Actually, Rich and I both felt the same way. Rich had come home in January, because his Dad was very sick with lung cancer but, because he was home, he was able to attend my cousin’s Wedding and meet me. We felt that God had brought us together. I only met Rich’s Dad twice, but was impressed by his strong love and dedication to his family. Even in the hospital, he was genuinely concerned for Rich and my future together. He knew his time was short and gave us advice on different things. His Mom was very loving and supportive. She liked me and wanted me to call her “Ma”. I liked her too and felt very comfortable calling her that. Rich’s Dad passed away on April 16th, 1971. The wake was on his mother’s birthday, April 18th, and the funeral was on his sister’s birthday, April 20th. It was a very difficult time for all of them, and my heart went out to them.
I was a Senior in High School and took my SAT’s (Scholastic Aptitude Test) as all Seniors were required to do. I found the English part of the test very easy, but the Math part was a little more difficult for me. Actually, I got a very high score on the English part – in fact it was so high, that I was nominated for the National Honor Society. I had also been on the honor roll consistently throughout high school. Actually, my English teacher was a little upset with me that I was not planning to go on to College, but was planning to do secretarial or clerical work after graduating in a few more months. Rich had gotten an early discharge (actually, just a few months short) from the Air Force due to hardship – his Mom was a widow with two daughters still in high school – so he was needed at home. We often went to his house and just played cards with his family. Sometimes we went out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant, especially when his Uncle Al came to visit. His Uncle had a Cadillac convertible and it was fun to ride around in it. My Senior Prom was in May and, of course, I invited Rich to be my escort. I had fun shopping for a new gown – I chose one that was light yellow with a little bit of green that I hoped would bring out my green eyes. We would double-date with a friend of mine, who had recently started going out with Rich’s cousin. A few weeks earlier, his cousin had been visiting from Massachusetts, and Rich had asked if I had a friend, who would be willing to go on a blind date with him. I think we had gone on a double-date to the Drive-In. Any way, they got along well and started seeing each other. The night of the Senior Prom, Rich came to my house a little early to take some pictures before we left. He surprised me by giving me his Senior ring and asked me to go steady. I said yes and put it on my finger. It was a little too big, so I had to wrap a band-aid around part of it, so it would fit. It was a wonderful night – celebrating the end of my high school years, with the one I loved! A few weeks later I graduated from high school. My parents had a small party at our house and invited some of my aunts and uncles as well as Rich and his Mom. I think that it was the first time I had tasted alcohol. My parents said it was okay to have a little that one night in celebration of my graduation.
I don’t think that I drank very much, but it didn’t take very much for me to feel the effects of it. Unfortunately, it was at this time that my Mom came outside where a few of us were dancing to the radio, and said that she would like me to come inside, and introduce Rich to my aunts and uncles. I thought that was a great idea… until I actually had trouble remembering a few of their names! I was definitely feeling a little light-headed from the alcohol, but didn’t realize how it would affect me. I did fine at first remembering their names but, for some reason, couldn’t remember the names of one Aunt and Uncle and just said, “That’s another Aunt and another Uncle”. I was a little embarrassed, and quickly made my escape back outside! Rich was working at Raytheon as a stock clerk. I began working at NH Insurance doing clerical work. Neither of us had gone to college so we both had entry-level low-paying jobs. We both worked hard at our jobs during the day, and enjoyed spending as much time together as possible after work. Most week nights, we took turns and ate dinner at each other’s homes. My Mom always made a delicious home-cooked meal complete with dessert, as she always had when I was growing up. Because Rich’s Mom was often sick and not feeling well enough to cook, she often heated up some frozen dinners for us to eat. That was fine with me. I just enjoyed spending time with them. We always had a fun time together! On the weekends during that summer, we often went to visit Rich’s relatives in Massachusetts. I remember going to a family barbeque on the 4th of July. Actually, we recently looked at some home movies that were taken that day. I think that Rich’s Uncle Al had given them a movie camera, and Rich spent most of the day filming me. I was so shy that I had told him not to take any film of me, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him. Most of the film that you see, is me running away. I had long hair and hot pants on – that was the style back then for most young people. Anyway, I’m glad that I finally stopped running from him, and let him catch me! I had noticed that he had a poster of Farrah Fawcett – a very pretty and popular actress at that time - in his room and decided that I’d like Rich to have a poster of me, to put up instead. I asked my younger sister, Sharon, to take picture after picture of me with different hairstyles, different outfits, and different poses, so I could pick the best one, and have it made into a poster to give Rich for his birthday in September.
I also bought a few other gifts, as well as the poster – he was a little surprised, but loved it and put it up in his room. We went out to dinner at the Top of the Town restaurant to celebrate his birthday. It was a really nice restaurant that overlooked the city. As I looked at the beautiful view of the stars in the sky above and the lights of the city below, Rich said that he loved sharing this special moment with me. In fact, he made that night even more special, by saying that he wanted to share many more moments together in the future. It was then that he asked me to marry him, and I said yes! It was very romantic!! We decided that night to get married exactly a year later on his next birthday. We officially became engaged when he gave me an engagement ring at Christmas. From the time that he first asked me to marry him, until we married a year later, we were busy planning our Wedding. I asked my younger sister, Sharon, to be my maid of honor. I asked my sister, Jeannine, and Rich’s two sisters, Denise and Sue, to be my bridesmaids. Rich’s best friend would be his best man and two of his cousins as well as my cousin, who he was friends with, would be his ushers. I went shopping with my Mom for my bridal gown. The first gown I tried on fit me perfectly, and I knew that was the one. I tried on a few more to be sure, but decided that the first one was the one for me. We also went shopping with my bridesmaids and chose four autumn colors, with basically the same style as mine, for their gowns. Our Wedding would be in the Fall, so the foliage would also be lovely at that time. We spent most of that year planning our Wedding, and also our future together. We both loved children, and decided that we didn’t want to wait to have them, as many people did, and would hopefully start a family soon after getting married. Rich wanted 3 or 4 children; I wanted 4 or 5. We had fun planning our future together! Rich and I love tradition, so decided to go to the traditional honeymoon destination of many couples – Niagara Falls. Actually, one of our favorite restaurants on our honeymoon was The Skylon Restaurant. It was on the top floor of a high building, and was actually a rotating restaurant. The view was beautiful and reminded me of the night that Rich had proposed, one year earlier.
As I mentioned, before we got married, we enjoyed eating dinner at each other’s homes during the week. Rich never questioned the fact that I never cooked any of the meals. I would help clean up at my home and at his, but never cooked a meal for him. On the weekend we usually went out to eat at a nice restaurant. But one weekend, after eating at a nice restaurant, we went to my house to relax and watch TV. My parents had gone out with friends. Rich casually mentioned that he would like a nice hot cup of tea. My Mom would usually fix it for him, but she wasn’t home, and I had no idea how to do that! He actually thought I was kidding when I asked him how to make a cup of tea!! He kindly showed me what to do that night. My birthday was the following weekend, and I’m sure you can guess what I received as gifts – cookbooks!!! I had fun looking through them, and then trying out new recipes on the weekend. I also started collecting recipes I found in magazines or from friends or relatives. I came to love cooking and became a really good cook. I’m sure Rich was relieved to see that! I also remember one night that we were watching TV – I think that it was a Boston Bruins hockey game. Any way, Rich was engrossed in the game and I was trying to tell him something, but he wasn’t paying attention. So, I snapped my fingers to get his attention – instead of being upset that I was distracting him from watching the game, he said “I could snap my fingers any time, and he would come running.” I loved it! Well, some things have a way of changing over time… so a few months ago, which is almost 40 years after what happened in the above paragraph, my youngest son tried to get my attention, and snapped his fingers at me. My husband was sitting next to him and said “Don’t snap your fingers at your Mom – I’m the only one that gets to do that”. I started laughing and asked my husband what had happened to “I could snap my fingers any time and he would come running”? He thought it was funny, too! To be honest, I know that I can depend on him to be there for me whenever I need him, and he knows that he can depend on me, too. We don’t need to hear those romantic little sayings that are often expressed from the heart when you’re still courting – well, once in a while would be nice – we see it in action in our daily life.
It also reminds me of another favorite fairy tale that I’ve enjoyed in the last few years. It’s called Princess Bride. It has all the elements of a great story – love, romance, beauty, adventure, drama, comedy, and, of course, a happy ending. There is one line that the hero often says to the young maiden when she asks him to do something – he always replies “As you wish”. It’s his way of saying he loves her, and would do anything for her. I think it’s so romantic! Any way, to get back to my own romantic story… A few months before we were married, we had a surprise Jack and Jill in our honor. That was popular back then. Rich’s Mom and sisters planned it for us. It was basically a party – with food, drinks, and dancing. Tickets were sold to invited guests, and the money would be given to the young couple. We had a lot of fun and appreciated receiving some extra money. We were looking for an apartment, and knew we would need to put down a deposit when we found one. Rich was hoping to move into an apartment in August, and have time to get it ready for us, after we were married in September. I also had a surprise shower given to me by my Mom and sisters. It was wonderful to receive so many useful gifts from family and friends that would be needed in our home. We found an apartment soon after, and found a place for all those gifts. We also bought some furniture, and Rich moved in. I continued to live under my parent’s roof, but my heart was with Rich, and the anticipation of our future together as husband and wife. I imagined that our life together would be like that of my favorite fairy tales growing up – the hero and heroine are seen riding off into the future, with sunny skies above, to live “happily ever after”. On our Wedding Day, the fact that the door to our car unexpectedly opened on Rich’s side, as we rode off together, might have been fate giving Rich one last chance to escape the wild ride of early married life! Or maybe it was a little hint that there would be times in our life together, where something unexpected and surprising might happen, in spite of all our plans!!
INTERESTING TRIVIA ABOUT LIFE IN THE 1960’s Nickel and dime stores like Woolworth's were popular. They almost had anything you could want to buy plus they had a lunch counter which served sandwiches, malts, cherry cokes, pies and so much more. It was called a "nickel and dime store" because the cost was fairly cheap. Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. Roller skating rinks were popular. Newspapers were delivered by boys. Most boys had paper routes. Transistor radios were popular. Cameras had large flashbulbs. As a result, you often saw "spots" in front of your eyes for a few minutes after having your picture taken. Some popular sugary treats were Blackjack, Beeman's, and Clove chewing gum; bubble gum with comics inside the wrapper like Bazooka Joe; candy cigarettes; and paraffin soda bottles with sugar water inside. Coffee shops, restaurants, and malt shops had booth jukeboxes. S&H Green Stamps and the catalog to order merchandise with your stamps was popular in most households. Playing records on record players, and how they would skip if the record was scratched, or because the needle started wearing out. You then had to place a nickle on top of the arm, to keep the record from skipping. Ladies nylons came in two pieces. Long before panty hose. You needed a garter belt to hook them onto to keep them up. Some had a seam in the back of the nylon, that you constantly checked to be sure it was straight. Speedy Alka-Seltzer ads filled newspapers and magazines as well as on TV and radio. Skybars were my favorite candy bar in the 60's.
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, & INVENTIONS OF THE 1960’s The 60s have been described by historians as the ten years having the most significant changes in history. By the end of the 60s, humanity had entered the space age by putting a man on the moon. The 60s were influenced by the youth of the post-war baby boom – a generation with a fondness for change and far-out gadgets. 1960 •The halogen lamp invented. 1961 •Valium invented. •The nondairy creamer invented. 1962 •The audio cassette invented. •The fiber-tip pen invented by Yukio Horie. •Spacewar, the first computer video game invented. 1963 •The video disk invented. 1964 •Acrylic paint invented. •Permanent-press fabric invented. •BASIC (an early computer language) is invented by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz. 1965 •Astroturf invented. •Soft contact lenses invented. •NutraSweet invented. •The compact disk invented by James Russell. 1966 •Electronic Fuel injection for cars invented.
1967 •The first handheld calculator invented. 1968 •The computer mouse invented by Douglas Engelbart. •The first computer with integrated circuits made. •Robert Dennard invented RAM (random access memory). 1969 •The arpanet (first internet) invented. •The artificial heart invented. •The ATM invented. •The bar-code scanner is invented.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, Thank you so much for my Mom and Dad. Their deep love and commitment to each other has been a wonderful example of what true love should be. Thank you for bringing Rich into my life. It has been 40 years since we first met, and I love him more than ever. He is still my Prince Charming! Help me to show my love for him each day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139: 23 & 24)
“The young always have the same problem – how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this, By defying their parents, And copying one another.” (Quentin Crisp)
“Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager, ‘wondering about each other.” (Laurence J. Peter)
“Adolescence is perhaps nature’s way of preparing parents, to welcome the empty nest.” (Karen Savage and Patricia Adams)
Chapter 5 – MY HUSBAND / MARRIED LIFE IN EARLY 1970'S
"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as you do to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE EARLY 1970'S The women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s drew inspiration from the civil rights movement. It was made up mainly of members of the middle class, and actually was part of the spirit of rebellion, that affected large segments of middle-class youth in the 1960s. Reform legislation also prompted change. During debate on the 1964 Civil Rights bill, conservatives hoped to defeat the entire measure by proposing an amendment to outlaw discrimination on the basis of gender as well as race. First the amendment, then the bill itself passed, giving women a legal tool to secure their rights. Women themselves took measures to improve their lot. In 1966, 28 professional women, including Betty Friedan, established the National Organization for Women (NOW) "to take action to bring American women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now." By the next year, 1,000 women had joined; four years later membership reached 15,000. NOW and similar organizations helped make women increasingly aware of their opportunities, and strengthened their resolve to increase them. Feminism, or organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests, reached high tide in the early 1970s. Journalist Gloria Steinem and several other women founded a new magazine, Ms., which began publication in 1972. Some activists pressed for ratification of an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution. Passed by Congress in 1972, it declared, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Over the next several years, 35 of the necessary 38 states ratified it.
In the mid- to late 1970s, however, the women's movement stagnated. It failed to broaden its appeal beyond the middle class. Divisions arose between moderate and radical feminists. Conservative opponents mounted a campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, and it died in 1982 without gaining the approval of the 38 states needed for ratification.
SONG THAT BECAME THE ANTHEM OF THE WOMAN’S MOVEMENT
I am Woman, hear me roar, In numbers too big to ignore, And I know too much to go back an' pretend; 'Cause I've heard it all before, And I've been down there on the floor, No one's ever gonna keep me down again. You can bend but never break me, 'Cause it only serves to make me, More determined to achieve my final goal; And I come back even stronger, Not a novice any longer, 'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul. I am Woman, watch me grow, See me standing toe to toe, As I spread my lovin' arms across the land; But I'm still an embryo, With a long, long way to go, Until I make my brother understand. Oh, yes, I am wise, But it's wisdom born of pain; Yes, I've paid the price, But look how much I gained; If I have to, I can face anything. I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman.
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY HUSBAND & EARLY MARRIED LIFE It's interesting to note that it was during the height of the woman’s movement, in the early 1970's, that I chose to go against the sweeping tide of feminism with their goal of independence & career, and instead chose marriage & family. I was married on September 16, 1972, which was also Rich’s 23rd birthday. The song “I Am Woman” was the #1 single on the Billboard chart a few months later on December 9, 1972. It actually became the anthem for feminists, because it reflected their attitude. I remember the first time I saw Helen Reddy singing those lyrics – I felt there was a lot of anger mixed in with the passion that I heard in her voice. I agreed with the basic philosophy -- that woman should be treated fairly, with dignity and respect; they should have the same opportunities and rights as men; and that they should receive equal pay for equal work, as did men. But I didn’t agree with the anger and hatred toward men that so many of the feminists openly seemed to have in their heart. I got the impression they felt that men were the enemy and were the reason for all their problems. I remember a girl wearing a t-shirt on Casual Fridays at work that had the popular saying “A Woman Needs A Man Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle” written on it. I guess it meant that a woman doesn’t need a man! That was actually the attitude of many feminists. Not only did they feel they did not need a man, but also blamed men for a lot of their problems in life. And they seemed to look down on any woman, who chose a traditional goal of marriage and family, instead of a career. They wanted to liberate woman to be free to choose the same goals that they had, but were not as tolerant of woman who freely chose traditional goals of marriage and family. The word “Superwoman” became popular to describe a woman that wanted it all and could do it all. In contrast, the phrase “the little woman” was often used to describe a woman who chose marriage and family. As I said, I understood and agreed with the feminists’ desire to be treated fairly, and to have the same freedom and opportunities as men. But I didn’t agree with what seemed to be at the core of their heart – hatred for men and a desire to lift or exalt themselves up above everyone else. Most of the radical feminists did not want to be under anyone’s authority, including God. But God created men and women, in His image, to complete each other, not to be in competition. The heart of a man and the heart of a woman are very
different, but both reflect unique aspects of God’s Heart. A man’s heart desires 3 basic things – he longs for a battle to fight, longs for adventure, and longs for a beauty to rescue. A woman’s heart also desires 3 basic things – she longs to be romanced, longs to play a shared role in a great adventure, and longs to unveil beauty. The feminists didn’t seem to place much value in the unique desires and longings of a woman’s heart, and instead seemed to harden their own heart in their determined effort to become equal to men. God loves us and when we are in agreement with His plans for us, we become all that He created us to be. If we deny God and his unique plan for us, then we will have hearts that are constantly straining and striving in their mad pursuit of more. In contrast, if we trust God’s unique plan for us, we can actually have hearts that are at rest. Please understand that I’m not writing this with a “holier than thou” attitude. Even though I didn’t have the same prideful spirit as the feminists, who were relying on themselves alone for their career goals, I had a prideful spirit that was relying on myself alone for my marriage and family goals. There is nothing wrong with working outside the home and, in fact, I would need to work (mostly part-time) while raising our children to help pay the bills. It is the attitude of the heart that I’m speaking about - a spirit of pride that exalts itself or others, instead of God.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”(Psalm 46:10) “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Our hearts can be at rest when we know and trust in God’s amazing love for us, and His desire to work all things out for good in our lives. As a result, instead of having hearts that are harsh, hard, sharp, and pressing, we can have hearts that are quiet, trusting, and strong.
“In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10)
God doesn’t want us to be independent, relying on ourselves, or needy, relying on others. He wants us to rely on Him and His perfect plan for us.
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (Psalm 31: 10-12)
When God brings a man and woman together in holy matrimony, the following is supposed to take place according to the Bible…
"A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one." (Ephesians 5:31)
The above scripture sounds so wonderful and romantic, as you contemplate how it will be for you and your husband. You have this grand plan to leave everything of your former life behind, with all of your individual wants and needs, and now look ahead together to a brand new life, where each seeks the happiness of the other, and are so in tune with the other, that you actually become one. Actually, the Bible has some good advice regarding this…
“If a man is recently married he should not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” (Deuteronomy 24:5)
In this day and age, newlyweds are fortunate if they can set aside one or two weeks to spend together on a Honeymoon, without any other distractions. But soon they return home and usually both husband and wife work outside the home. That first year is wonderful in many ways as you come to know each other better. But it’s also probably the most difficult year, too, in many ways. For me, that first year of married life, I would learn that love is much more than a “feeling”. It is a choice, a commitment, and requires compromise at times. Communication is also required to resolves conflicts. Some days are filled with chaos, and other days with comedy, in the process of two different characters becoming one. There is also a sacrificial cost involved, as you put the other person’s needs before your own. Eventually, there will be cause for celebration, when you realize that you truly care for the other person more than you do for yourself, and have indeed become one. (Wow – I just realized that’s a lot of words that start with the letter “c” – interesting!)
“In order to make you understand, to give you my life, I must tell you a story.” (Virginia Wolf)
To be honest, most of the days of our early married life were really wonderful, with sunny skies above. My husband had captured my heart with his strength of character and joyful spirit, and I had captivated his with my beauty and compassionate spirit. When our hearts joined together, we fit perfectly. We also seemed to fit together perfectly, whenever we danced. Holding me in his arms and feeling the strength of his embrace, it was blissful as He led, and sang words of love in my ear. I've always enjoyed dancing with my husband, from the day we first met, and still do today, 40 years later. The following song we chose for our Wedding "Close To You" reflects what was in our hearts on that special day – everything in life is better, just because we share it with the one we love... Why do birds suddenly appear? Every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be, Close to you. Why do stars fall down from the sky? Every time you walk by? Just like me, they long to be, Close to you. On the day that you were born the angels got together, And decided to create a dream come true; So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair, And golden starlight in your eyes of blue. That is why, all the girls in town, Follow you, all around; Just like me, they long to be, Close to you. I have to admit that our Wedding and Honeymoon were perfect, just as we planned. Actually, even the weather on our Wedding Day was perfect -
sunny and in the low 70's. Our reception was held at the Chateau Restaurant, where we had first met at my cousin’s Wedding. I remember thinking to myself “What a perfect day, in every way! And a perfect beginning, to my perfect life, with my perfect husband!!” What can I say? I was young and in love, and didn't see the storm clouds forming in the distance. But, on our Wedding day, September 16, 1972, we saw only sunny skies above, as we pledged to love each other in good times and bad, for better or worse. We looked forward to our wonderful future together… living “happily ever after”. Our Honeymoon in Niagara Falls was wonderful and very romantic. Our room was on the top floor, and we had a balcony overlooking the water falls. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony together and looking at the beautiful view together. It was so relaxing to listen to the sound of the water gushing over the rocks, and sipping on a glass of champagne. I loved the time we spent together on our honeymoon. But, I was also looking forward to going home to our little apartment and starting our life together! I thought it was going to be so much fun to have a home of my own to take care of and someone to cook for, too. And it was fun... at first. But it doesn't take long for the initial excitement to wear off, and you realize that you're going to have to clean and cook for the rest of your life, whether you feel like it or not! I did enjoy cleaning and cooking on the weekend, when I had more time, but during the work week, after working all day, I was often tired, and wasn't that excited about coming home, and working in the home. When I was single and living at home, my Mom had dinner ready when I got home, and usually Dad helped with the dishes. Often, Rich did help with cooking or cleaning, but it seemed that there was always some thing that needed to be done.
“A faithful and loving wife is the jewel of a marriage.” (Lamar Cole)
I find it very interesting that God places such a high value on marriage. In fact, the Bible begins with a Wedding - Adam & Eve. God said that it was not good for man to be alone, and would provide a helper for him. In God's eyes, man and woman are an incredible gift to each other.
Their relationship is holy and sacred, and is a wonderful picture of the relationship that God (the Bridegroom) seeks to have with us (His Bride). He pursues us because of His great love for us, just as our lover pursues us, because of his love. In both relationships, there is also an intimacy we seek to have with the other, and become known and understood and valued for who we are. Just as we seek to share our life with our marriage partner, God seeks for us to share our life with Him. As we open our heart and willingly give it to the one we love, God patiently waits at the door of our heart until we finally open it up to Him and ask Him in, too. It really is amazing when you think of marriage in those terms – it's a wonderful example of the close relationship God wants to have with us. Actually, woman with their unique desires and longings, should first look to God to meet all their needs. Even though woman was designed by God to complete man, and man was designed by God to complete woman, only God can fully meet all our needs. Not all women or men choose to marry, but they can still be complete, when they look to God to meet all their needs.
“Once you’ve been loved by God, you are loved completely, and you do not need to grasp any more.” (Shirley Rice)
The Bible begins with the first Wedding – Adam & Eve; and the Bible ends with – the Marriage Supper. God definitely places a holy calling on it, unlike society that really doesn't put much value in it. During the first year of our marriage, although I believed that marriage was holy and sacred, I didn't realize that Jesus wanted to be a part of our daily married life – actually, be right in the center of it. We had gotten married in the Catholic Church in the sight of God, and continued to go to Church every Sunday, but He really wasn't a big part of our life the rest of the week, I'm sorry to say. I do remember praying to Him occasionally, to ask that He would bless all the plans that we had made for our life – blessing us financially, so we would be able to purchase a new home, and then blessing us with children as well. I wanted God to bless the plans that my husband and I had made for our life together, rather than seeking God for wisdom and direction. At that time, I assumed that the deep love that my husband and I had for each other, would be enough to carry us through any storms that might come along.
Unfortunately, not every day would be as nice as the day we got married – a perfect day with sunny skies and no clouds in sight. Some days would be filled with clouds and downpours of rain. Clouds and storms form when there is a lot of varying pressures in the atmosphere. That sounds a lot like what married life can be like, on many days – clouds of long days at work, clouds of cooking and cleaning at home, clouds of bills needing to be paid and laundry needing to be done. Add to that, the pressure from within – to be a perfect homemaker, but always feeling a little guilty that I wasn't – and pressure from without – letting other people's attitude about married life, influence mine. It's so easy to let the cares and pressures of daily life distort your view. To be honest, when you take two people, with different personalities and perspectives, and put them together... you have all the makings for a "perfect storm". Actually, I think that the Lord is probably amused at times, watching the process of two people “becoming one”. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, Rich and I shared the same priorities – love and respect for God, family, and country. But our personalities were different. He loved John Wayne movies, with his rugged no-nonsense approach to life. I, on the other hand, loved Barbra Streisand movies, with her exotic and elegant look. There was a TV show, popular at that time, called “Green Acres”. It depicted a rugged farmer marrying an elegant city woman – it resulted in conflict, chaos, and comedy in their daily life. We also had some days, where conflict and comedy, resulted in our daily life, too. As I mentioned previously, I never needed to cook when I lived with my parents. I would come home from work, and a delicious homemade meal was waiting for me. When we were dating, my husband and I took turns eating dinner at each other's home after work. He loved it when we ate at my home, because my mother is a great cook, and she would always serve a beautiful meal, complete with dessert. Because my husband's mother would often not feel well enough to cook, she would often serve frozen meals or something convenient from a can. I remember thinking that I hoped he would be happy and satisfied if I did that, too, especially after a long day of work! But, oh no, he was expecting a wonderful meal, like my mother always made!! I had quite a few cook books, and enjoyed trying out new recipes on the weekend, when I had more time and energy. I even started collecting recipes from different people, and made a few cookbooks of my own. But, during
the week, I hoped he would be satisfied with something quick and easy. I remember coming home one night after work, and feeling too tired to cook a nice meal. So, I decided to make Sloppy Joes. I knew it was a quick and easy meal – simply cook 1 lb. of ground beef, drain the grease, open a can of Manwich (tomato sauce with seasonings) and mix it with the ground beef. Then, I spooned it onto hamburger buns. It smelled good, but my husband wasn't too impressed! I figured it was a balanced meal - meat, tomato sauce as the vegetable, and hamburger buns for the starch. The next night, when my husband came home, and saw me reheating the leftover Sloppy Joes, he quickly explained that he didn't enjoy the same meal 2 nights in a row. I think we ordered Chinese food that night! Looking back... it is funny to see how much your life changes when you get married. When you're dating, you really want to impress each other, and so put your best face forward. You put their needs above your own, and are happy just because they're happy. Unfortunately, it is difficult to continue to do that consistently, day in and day out, throughout married life. There comes a day when you're tired, and you think to yourself, "This is not as much fun as I thought it would be" or "This wasn't exactly what I had planned". You disappoint your husband, by not being as interested in his day, as he thought you would be. And he disappoints you, by not taking the time at the end of the day, to understand how you're feeling. To be honest, that first year of marriage, I was still living by my feelings. If I woke up in a good mood, then it would be a good day for me and for my husband. But, if I woke up in bad mood, then you can be sure it wouldn't be a good day, for me or for him. Unfortunately, it would be about a year - a long year - before I finally surrendered my heart to God. It was only then that I had a teachable spirit, and was open to receiving His wisdom and direction for my life. But, at that time, I just let my feelings be in control of what kind of a day I would have. I also have the tendency to take myself too seriously. It's not a good combination. So, my husband would often tease me to lighten things up. Sometimes, it would help, and other times it would just make things worse. He never knew how I would react, and neither did I. Sometimes I would answer him back, or give him the silent treatment, or simply start crying. Other times, I would just run to the bathroom, to have some time alone, and feel sorry for myself that my husband really didn't understand me.
I thank God for my husband's love, patience, and humor. It's taken me a long time, but I don't take myself as seriously as I once did. I've come to realize there is much value in laughter. With that in mind, I'd like to share the following "wit and wisdom" for your amusement... When my husband joined the military, he first had to go to basic training. His training would later be put to the test, when he went to war in Vietnam. When he joined the ranks of married men, it would have benefited my husband, and saved him a lot of confusion, if he had gotten a little training on "understanding the hidden meanings of certain words that women say”. I remember many times my poor husband would walk away after talking with me, rolling his eyes and shaking his head, trying to understand what I really meant. Therefore, I will share the following nine words that women often use, but men do not understand their hidden meaning... 1.) FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to be quiet. 2.) FIVE MINUTES: If a woman is getting dressed, this means half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game, before going somewhere with her or helping out around the house. 3.) NOTHING: It doesn't mean nothing. This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with 'nothing' usually end in 'fine'. 4.) GO AHEAD: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It! 5.) LOUD SIGH: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement, often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot, and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here, and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of 'nothing'.) 6.) THAT'S OKAY: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. 'That's okay' means she wants to think long and hard, before deciding how and when you will suffer for your mistake.
7.) THANKS: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say “you're welcome”. 8.) THANKS A LOT: Is pure sarcasm. She is not thanking you at all. Do not say you're welcome. By the way, if you do say you're welcome, you'll here “whatever”, which is not good. 9.) DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, I GOT IT: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What's wrong?” For the woman's response refer to #3. Then you RUN! Actually, it didn’t take very long for my husband to understand me better, and how I was feeling. There is an amusing story that I’d like to share with you that will illustrate this. It happened when I was probably about 4 months pregnant, and finally no longer had the initial morning sickness that happened throughout the first trimester. I woke up one Saturday morning and felt fine – no queasiness at all. In fact, I was really hungry. I had slept in, while my husband went to work early in the morning to earn a little extra money in overtime, and woke up with a craving for Oreo cookies and milk. I found an unopened package of Oreo cookies in the kitchen cabinet and poured myself a large glass of milk. I sat down on the couch in our living room, and proceeded to eat and drink, until I satisfied my craving. I kept eating my cookies and drinking my milk… until my husband got home from work. By that time, I had eaten more than half the package of cookies, along with a few glasses of milk. My husband looked at me and kindly said “Oh, you had a little craving”. He knew me a little better by then and could see that I needed his understanding more than a lecture about the importance of good nutrition while pregnant. I actually was very careful most of the time, and ate only what was nutritious. My husband also said “I looked so cute sitting there that he wanted to take a picture”. However, I didn’t smile – I didn’t want to reveal all those black cookie crumbs that were stuck in my teeth! Again, at that time in history, the early 1970's, most young woman my age opted to stay single and begin their career. They wanted to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. But, I had chosen marriage and family.
To be honest, there were some days, where it was difficult to put my husband's needs, above my own. I never had to do that before I had gotten married. But marriage and family has a way of showing you the importance of dying to self, and putting other people's needs first. Dying to self is really hard, especially, for an immature young girl that never had to do it before. Sometimes I did it easily without a second thought, and other times I fought it with every fiber of my being. In those times, the battle was on! Even though there were times that I was disappointed for one reason or another, I never resorted to name calling or complaining about my husband to others. I really loved him and deep down was happy to share my life with him. And, though I know I disappointed him many times, he never belittled me or complained about me to anyone else. I think that the Lord put a guard over our mouth during that time. Although my husband did make the comment once – I think he must have been really frustrated – and said "I know that it's for better or for worse, but I think we've had enough of the worse, how about some better?" He said it and seemed to be kidding, but I understood the truth of it. It actually was exactly what needed to be said. I made a decision right then that our life was going to be better, and it would start with me.
“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” (Martin Luther)
There is a saying that the woman sets the mood of the home, and I think it is so true. I decided to lighten up about everything I thought I had to do perfectly, in order to be the perfect wife. Sometimes, “good enough” when it comes to housework and cooking, is good enough. It's just not worth stressing about certain things in life. Besides adjusting to now sharing my life with my husband, I soon needed to adjust to a new addition to our family. Even though we were both young when we married (I was 19 and Rich was 23), we both wanted to start a family right away. We had only been married for one month when I became pregnant. I was so excited about it! We both were!! We also agreed that it was important that I be a stay-at-home mother, so planned that I would stop working when I was about 8 months pregnant.
With the news that we would soon have a new baby in our life, my priorities changed quickly. Housework and cooking were definitely not as important to me as before, and instead I spent a lot of time, reading about the wonderful miracle growing inside me. I was careful to eat right, exercise more, and get enough sleep. Even though I had morning sickness for the first few months, I felt fine most of the time and had extra energy and enthusiasm, as I contemplated all that was happening. I was so amazed that a new life was growing inside. It really put everything in my life in perspective. It also helped to renew the love we had for each other, and had almost lost in the battle of daily life. With this new life that we were responsible for, and the direct result of our love for each other, our bond as husband and wife was strengthened, as we looked forward together to becoming a family. During that first year of married life, I continued collecting recipes and trying out new ones, so soon I became a pretty good cook. We decided to invite my parents and Rich’s mother and sisters for Thanksgiving. My husband asked me to make the meat stuffing like his mother made every year. It was really good but I made too much, so we had a lot of it left over after Thanksgiving. I decided to put the leftover stuffing in a pie and called it Meat Pie. It was really good, so it became a tradition to use the leftover stuffing each year, to make a meat pie. I’ve included the Meat Pie recipe and other family favorites, at the end of this chapter.
“Woman long to unveil beauty – in themselves and their surroundings.”
I’ve always loved to decorate my home for the different seasons or holidays. So, the day after Thanksgiving, I would start decorating for Christmas. Each year I would add more and more decorations and Christmas lights. I remember one year that we didn’t need any other lights in our home turned on, because we were able to see well enough with all the Christmas lights I had put up, in the house and outside, too! Tradition has always been important to me and to Rich. We also decided to start a new tradition for Christmas, too. We invited my parents and his mother and sisters to spend Christmas Eve with us. I made pork pies and calico beans for dinner. We sang Christmas carols together, and then each opened one gift. The gift is always a new pair of pajamas. Then we had a birthday cake for dessert and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. That first Christmas Eve together became a tradition that we still continue to this day.
Rich’s mother and sisters came over the next morning to open presents. Rich’s sisters surprised us by offering to cook breakfast. When they got older and left home, Rich continued that tradition and cooked Christmas Breakfast. He continues to do that and our two oldest sons also cook breakfast on Christmas morning for their families. In the afternoon, we would go to my parent’s house for Christmas dinner and to exchange gifts with my sisters. My Mom always made a delicious Turkey dinner. Her gravy is so good!
“There is no sight more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves.” (Thomas Wolfe)
For New Year’s Eve, we usually stayed home and got Chinese take-out food. Often, on New Year’s Day, I made a baked Ham and invited my parents and Rich’s mother and sisters to eat with us. For Easter, again I would make a baked Ham and invite my parents and Rich’s mother and sisters. I loved cooking and opening my home to others and being hospitable. Soon after Easter, our landlady decided to sell the apartment house to relatives, and told us that we would need to move out. We decided to look for a mobile home. We couldn’t afford to buy a house at that time. We looked at several mobile home parks and found one we liked. We moved in June, when I was 8 months pregnant. I loved our little mobile home and was excited about fixing it up, and getting it ready for our new baby that was due the next month. We had decided that I would quit my job the middle of June, and become a full-time homemaker and stay-at-home mom. My husband lived in apartments all his life, so he was even more excited than me to actually own his own home. He had never had a dog growing up because they are not allowed in apartments. However, they did own a few cats. Anyway, he wanted to get a dog now that we had a home, and I would be home during the day. I remembered my dog growing up, Princess, and her bad temper. I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to get a dog. But, Rich said that we would get a dog that had a good temperament. We went to the dog pound and found a black lab that was a really good dog. He kept me company during
the day while Rich was at work. Now, that we had a new home and a new dog, we waited with anticipation for our new baby to soon join us! I was due on July 17th but the day came and went, and still no baby. I remember going for long walks with my dog around the mobile home park, hoping that would help. Finally, one Saturday night, I woke up with contractions. I had already packed my bag for the hospital, so I was ready to leave right away. And, the hospital was not far from our home. We had no idea at that time, that we actually had plenty of time, before our baby would be born – 48 hours to be exact! Most of my labor was called “back labor” because the baby was in the wrong position. It hurt so much that Rich needed to press his hand against my back, to help alleviate some of the pain. The nurse also gave me a small sedative to help, too. Unfortunately, it worked too well – the contractions stopped and I fell asleep. Things were definitely moving very slowly! This continued all day Sunday and through Sunday night. Finally, Monday morning the doctor said that he wanted to do an X-ray, to check what was going on. He said that he might need to do a C-section. I was getting very frustrated! But the results of the X-ray showed that the baby was now in the right position, so it was just a matter of time before he was born. Actually, much more time would be needed! One of the nurses put a picture of a baby on the wall to encourage me. All day on Monday the contractions came and went. Finally, late Monday afternoon, my water broke. But it would be quite a few more hours before our beautiful son was born. Richard Noel Morneau was born around 3am on Tuesday morning – exactly 48 hours from the time I got my first contraction! He was almost 8 1/2 lbs. and absolutely perfect! It’s funny – my parents said that he looked like me, and Rich’s mother said that he looked like Rich!! Actually, he has some features of each of us, so they were right – he looked a little bit like me and a little bit like Rich. Back then, in 1973, woman stayed in the hospital for about 4 days after having a baby. It was good – it actually gave me time to recuperate, and time to enjoy my newborn son. I was 20 years old, with a wonderful husband and precious newborn son! I couldn’t wait to begin the next chapter of our life together!!
MY FAMILY’S FAVORITE RECIPES
“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” (Harriet van Horne)
Crepes 1 ½ cups Flour 1 Tblsp. Sugar ½ tsp. Baking Powder ½ tsp. Salt 1 cup Milk 2 Eggs ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract 2 Tblsp. Margarine Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Heat griddle to medium high heat. Ladle batter onto hot griddle and spread out so it is a thin layer. Cook 1 or 2 minutes then turn over and cook other side for 1 or 2 minutes. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup and/or with fruit. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Aunt Lil’s (Rich’s Godmother) Chicken Recipe 3 lbs. chicken legs ½ cup water or chicken broth ½ cup chopped onion 2 bay leaves butter or margarine salt and pepper Place chicken in roasting pan. Pour water or broth over chicken. Then put the chopped onion on the chicken legs. Place the bay leaves in the pan. Dot the chicken with butter or margarine. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Cover pan and cook for 1 hour in a 375 degree oven. Uncover and cook for ½ hour. Serve with Stove Top stuffing, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------159
Chicken Parmesan 1 cup Kraft grated Parmesan Cheese 1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix ½ tsp. garlic powder 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves 1 jar spaghetti sauce 1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese Mix ½ cup parmesan cheese (set aside ½ cup for later), dressing mix, and garlic powder. Moisten chicken with water, coat with cheese mixture, and place in shallow roasting pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes. Pour spaghetti sauce over chicken, and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Serve with pasta, salad, and garlic bread. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hearty Beef ‘N Cheese Crescent Pie 1 lb. ground beef 1/4 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms 1/4 cup chopped green pepper 8 oz. can tomato sauce 8 1/2 oz. can green beans (drained) 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 8 oz. can refrigerated quick crescent dinner rolls 1 egg (slightly beaten) 8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onion, mushrooms, and green pepper; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, and garlic powder; simmer while preparing crust. Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place triangles in ungreased 9 inch pie pan; press over bottom and up sides to form crust. Combine egg and 1 cup cheese; spread over crust. Spoon hot meat mixture into crust. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with a salad. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------160
Meat Pie Pastry for 2-crust Pie 1 ½ lb. ground beef ¼ tsp. onion powder ¼ tsp. garlic powder ¼ tsp. black pepper 8 oz. package Bell’s Stuffing Mix Mashed potatoes (6 servings) Fry ground beef in a large skillet until cooked. Drain. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well, cover and set aside. In a separate pan prepare stuffing mix according to directions on package. Also, prepare mashed potatoes (I usually use instant) for 6 servings. Mix prepared stuffing mix and prepared mashed potatoes with the cooked ground beef. Spoon into a prepared pie crust. Cover with the top crust and cut slits on top. Cover edge with aluminum foil. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake additional 10 minutes. Serve with cranberry sauce. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Calico Beans 5 or 6 cans (baked beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc.) ½ lb. ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper ½ lb. bacon 1 small package wieners ½ cup barbecue sauce ¼ tsp. Dijon mustard Spoon the canned beans into a 5 or 6 quart Crock pot. (I only drain beans that have too much liquid.) Fry ground beef; drain. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper to taste. Mix together and then place in crock pot with beans. Cook bacon; drain. Crumble and place in crock pot. Open package of wieners and place in crock pot. Add barbecue sauce and Dijon mustard. Mix all together and heat crock pot on high for 2 hours; then on low for 4 hours. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pork Pie Pastry for 2-crust Pie 2 lbs. ground pork ¼ lb. ground beef small onion, chopped 1/8 tsp. black pepper 1/8 tsp. cinnamon 1/8 tsp. ground cloves Fry ground pork and ground beef with small onion until cooked; drain. Add pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix together. Cover pan and simmer on low heat for 1 ½ hours. Spoon into a prepared pie crust. Cover with the top crust and cut slits on top. Cover edge with aluminum foil. Bake in 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake additional 10 minutes. Serve with Calico beans and cranberry sauce. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A Happy Marriage Recipe ♥ 3 cups Love 2 cups Warmth 1 cup Forgiveness 1 cup Friends 4 spoons Hope 2 spoons Tenderness 1 pint Faith 1 barrel Laughter ♥ Combine love & warmth Mix thoroughly with tenderness Add forgiveness Blend with friends & hope Sprinkle all remaining tenderness Stir in faith and laughter Bake with sunshine ☼ Serve daily in generous helpings ♥
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” (Mignon McLaughlin) “Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but by being the right mate.” (Barnett R. Brickner) “The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds – they mature slowly.” (Peter DeVries)
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
The following poem “Marriage Takes Three” is my prayer for my marriage and for your marriage, too…
I once thought marriage took, Just two to make a go; But now I am convinced, It takes the Lord also. And not one marriage fails, Where Christ is asked to enter; As lovers come together, With Jesus at the center. But marriage seldom thrives, And homes are incomplete; ‘Till He is welcomed there, To help avoid defeat. In homes where Christ is first, It's obvious to see; Those unions really work, For marriage still takes three.
Chapter 6 – MY CHILDREN / LIFE IN THE 1970's, 1980's, & 1990's
“… obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart… When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp, and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline, is the way to life. (Proverbs 6:20-23)
HISTORY & CULTURE OF THE 1970's, 1980's, AND 1990's The 1970s and 1980s were a period of change in American Society. Many observers would agree that great numbers of Americans in the 1980s were concerned with money. These people wanted the good life that they believed money could buy. In some ways, the 1980s were the opposite of the 1960s. The 1960s were years of protest and reform. Young Americans demonstrated against the Vietnam War. African Americans demonstrated for civil rights. Women demonstrated for equal treatment. For many, society's hero was the person who helped others. For many in the 1980s, society's hero was the person who helped himself. Success seemed to be measured only by how much money a person made. The period of change came during the 1970s. For a while, these years remained tied to the social experiments and struggles of the 1960s. Then they showed signs of what America would be like in the 1980s. There were a number of reasons for the change. One reason was that the United States ended its military involvement in Vietnam. Another was that the civil rights movement and women's movements reached many of their goals. A third reason was the economy.
During the 1970s, the United States suffered an economic recession. Interest rates and inflation were high. There was a shortage of imported oil. As the 1970s moved toward the 1980s, Americans became tired of social struggle. They became tired of losing money. They had been working together for common interests. Now, many wanted to spend more time on their own personal interests. This change appeared in many parts of American society. It affected popular culture, education, and politics. For example, one of the most popular television programs of that time was about serious social issues. It was called "All in the Family". Other television programs, however, were beginning to present an escape from serious issues. One of these programs was called "Happy Days". Music showed the change, too. In the 1960s, folk music was very popular. Many folk songs were about social problems. In the 1970s, groups played hard rock and punk music, instead. Self-help books were another sign that Americans were becoming more concerned about their own lives. These books described ways to make people happier with themselves. One of the most popular was called I'm Okay, You're Okay. It was published in 1969. It led the way for many similar books throughout the 1970s. The 1970s also saw a change in education. In the 1960s, many young people expressed little interest in continuing their education, after four years of study in college. They were busy working for social reforms. Many believed that more education only created unequal classes of people. By the middle 1970s, however, more young people decided it was acceptable to make a lot of money. Higher education was a way to get the skills to do this. Law schools and medical schools soon had long lists of students waiting to get in. Politically, the United States went through several changes during the 1970s. There were liberal Democratic administrations for most of the 1960s. Then a conservative Republican, Richard Nixon, was elected. During his second term, President Nixon was forced to resign because of the Watergate case.
Vice President Gerald Ford became president after Nixon's resignation. About two years later, he was defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter. The election showed that Americans were angry with the Republican Party, because of the Watergate case. But they soon became unhappy with President Carter, too. They blamed him for failing to improve the economy. He lost his campaign for re-election to conservative Republican Ronald Reagan. The 1980s were called the Reagan years, because he was president for eight of them. During his first term, the recession ended. Inflation was controlled. He reduced taxes. Americans felt hopeful that they could make money again. Observers created several expressions to describe some groups of people at that time. One expression was "the me generation". This described Americans who were only concerned about themselves. Another expression was "yuppie". It meant "young urban professional". Both these groups seemed as if they lived just to make and spend money, money, and more money. Entertainment in the 1980s showed the interest society placed on financial success. The characters in a number of television programs, for example, lived in costly homes, wore costly clothes, and drove costly automobiles. They were not at all like average Americans. They lived lives that required huge amounts of money. Two of these television programs became extremely popular in the United States and in other countries. They were called "Dallas" and "Dynasty". At the movie theater, a very popular film was called "Wall Street". It was about a young, wealthy, dishonest, powerful man who traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Power was a popular program idea in action films, too. The most successful action films were about a man called "Rambo". Rambo was impossibly heroic. Naturally, he always won. The films showed good winning over evil. But Rambo rejected established rules, and was extremely violent. Another form of entertainment became popular in the 1980s. It was the television talk show. People appeared on these shows, mostly to talk about themselves: their politics, their families, their sexual relations. They talked in public about things that were once considered private.
Much of the popular music of the time also showed this new openness. Heavy metal rock groups sang about sex and drugs. And then there was the new form of music called "rap". In this form, words are spoken, not sung, over a heavy beat. Many Americans found all these kinds of music to be too shocking, too violent, too lawless, and too damaging to the human spirit. People may have talked and sung openly about sex and drugs in the 1980s, but as the years went by, many became increasingly careful about their own activities. This was because sex and drugs became deadly. A new disease appeared at that time. It was called AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The disease spread in several ways. One was through sexual relations. Another was through sharing the needles used to take illegal drugs. A big change in American life during the 1980s came as a result of the computer. Computers were invented forty years earlier. They were large machines and were used only at universities, big companies, and in the military. By the 1980s, computers had become much smaller. Anyone could learn how to use them, even children. Millions of Americans soon had a 'personal' computer in their home. They could use it to read newspaper stories, buy things, do schoolwork, and play games. Such technological improvement, and a bright economy, filled Americans of the early and middle 1980s with hope. Many felt there were almost no limits on the good life they could lead. Many experts describe the 1990s as one of the best periods in United States history. During almost all that time, America was at peace. The frightening and costly military competition with the Soviet Union had ended. The threat of a nuclear attack seemed greatly reduced, if not gone. Military officials said America’s defenses were strong. The economy improved from poor to very good. Inflation was low. So was unemployment. Production was high. Scientists and engineers made major progress in medicine and technology. The Internet computer system created a new world of communications. America grew by almost thirty-three million people during the 1990s. This is the most the United States has ever grown during a ten-year period. Some
minority groups are growing faster than the white population. For the first time in seventy years, one in ten Americans was born in another country. During the past ten years, there was a huge increase in immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. More than two hundred eighty million people lived in the United States by the end of the twentieth century. This population was getting older, however, and needing more costly health care. And, America had other problems in the 1990s. Some people feared crime in the streets. People were shot and killed in offices and schools. Racial tensions remained high. In 1999, Congress impeached the president of the United States. President Clinton was accused of lying to courts about a sexual relationship with a young woman, who worked in the White House. Bill Clinton was found not guilty. Still, the trial and the events leading to it caused deep concern among some Americans. American families changed in the 1990s. More people ended their marriages. The rate of these divorces increased. So did the percentage of children living with only one parent. Children in such families were more likely to be poor or get into trouble. Many American children did not live with their parents at all. The number of children living with grandparents increased greatly. Test scores and national studies during the 1990s showed that many public school students were not learning as they should. The nation needed more and better teachers. During the 1990s, scientists worked to map the position of all the genes in the human body. Research on this human genome map progressed slowly at first. Then it speeded up. The goal was to help scientists study human health and disease. The discovery was expected to change the way some diseases are treated. Since 1980, doctors had made important progress in treating diseases like cancer, AIDS and Parkinson’s disease. But they still could not cure them. They hoped treatments developed from knowledge of human genes would help.
Computer technology also had progressed greatly in the 1980s. During the next ten years computers became even more important in American life. People depended on computers both at work and at home. They used the Internet to send electronic messages, get information, and buy all kinds of products. They completed and sent their income tax forms. They read newspapers and books. They even listened to music. Americans continued to attend classical music concerts and operas. However, many more people enjoyed popular music. One popular music form was called rap. Rap music is spoken quickly, rather than sung, to the music of recorded rhythms. Some rap songs suggest violent actions. Others contain sexual suggestions that many people found offensive. But rap music was very popular with many young people. So was a form of rock music called grunge. During the 1990s, Americans watched traditional television programs as well as new kinds of shows. Millions of people liked weekly dramas like "ER" that takes place in a busy hospital emergency room. A program called “Law and Order” tells about the work of police officers, lawyers, and judges. "NYPD Blue" shows the work of police officers in New York City. A show called “Seinfeld” also told about life in New York City. But this program was very funny. “Seinfeld” was the most popular television show of the decade. Another funny and popular show was the animated series called "The Simpsons." Cable television programs also grew in popularity. One of the most popular was MTV. It showed music videos and other programs for young people. At the movies, Americans saw popular films like “Titanic.” It told about the sinking of the famous passenger ship on its first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. Two young people are shown falling in love during this tragic event. Another popular film was “Jurassic Park.” It brought ancient, frightening dinosaurs to life. As usual, Americans enjoyed sports. Public interest in baseball decreased sharply, however, after a players’ strike in 1994. The strike cancelled the championship World Series games that year. In 1998, interest in baseball increased when two great players competed to hit the most home runs. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire helped restore the popularity of baseball.
In basketball, experts say Michael Jordan became the best player in history. He led the Chicago Bulls team to win many championships. As the 1990s ended, some experts worried about computers making the change to the year 2000. They feared that computer failures might cause serious problems for everyday life. But midnight of December 31st passed with only a few incidents of computer trouble. Millions of people celebrated the beginning of a new century and another one thousand years. Life in the 1990s had been good for many Americans. They hoped for even better days to come. POPULAR FASHIONS OF THE 1970’s The fashion influence of Sixties hippies was mainstreamed in the Seventies, as men sported shoulder length hair, and non-traditional clothing became the rage, including bellbottom pants, hip huggers, colorful patches, hot pants, platform shoes, earth shoes, clogs, T-shirts, and gypsy dresses. Knits and denims were the fabrics of choice. Leisure suits for men became common place, and women were fashionable in everything from ankle-length grandmother dresses to hot pants and micro-miniskirts. The movie Annie Hall (1977) even inspired a fashion trend with women sporting traditional men's clothing such as derby hats, tweed jackets, and neckties worn with baggy pants or skirts. POPULAR FADS OF THE 1970’s Muscle Cars (Trans Am / Camaro), Star Wars action figures, CB Radios and CB radio sayings ( like "breaker, breaker" and "That's a 10-4 good buddy"), Leisure Suits, Play-Doh, Platform Shoes, Spirograph, Big Wheels, The Hustle (dance), String Art, Polyester, Banana-seat bikes, Slip n' Slide, Mood rings, UFOs, Bean Bag chairs, Pong and Atari video games, Rockem Sockem Robots, Silly Putty, Disco Music, Lava Lamps, Amway Distributors, Strobe Lights, Etch-a-Sketch, Lite Brite, Magic 8-Ball, View-Master, Air Hockey, 8-Track Tape Player, peace bandanas, Hot Wheels, Yahtzee, Barbie, Nylon jogging suits, Bell bottom pants, Fondue pots, Shag Rugs, Matchbox Cars, Tang, Hardy Boys, Hot Pants, feathered hair/bangs, Radios in unusual shapes and forms, Holly Hobbie greeting cards & collectibles, 45 record singles, Operation game, Nerf, English Leather aftershave, Black lights, Model kits, Paisley Shirts, Easy Bake Oven, Twister, Crockpots, Toaster Ovens, Hi-Fi, Waterbeds
POPULAR FASHIONS OF THE 1980's The combination of Nancy Reagan's elegance and Princess Diana's love of fashion, stimulated a return to opulent clothing styles. Power dressing was in. Films continued to influence and inspire clothing. The “Flashdance” look had young and old in tank tops, tight-fitting pants or torn jeans, and legwarmers. Teens not wearing designer clothes opted for Michael Jackson's glove or Madonna's fishnet stockings, leather, and chains. Older women wore the “Out of Africa” look popularized by Meryl Streep. Image won over reality and tanning salons thrived. Sneakers were popular. Shoe companies, like Nike, claimed the cost of high technologies needed to create the shoes was responsible for the huge jump in price. POPULAR FADS OF THE 1980's Atari, Legwarmers worn over jeans, charm necklaces, Apple Computers, Rubik's Cube, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Slinky, Jelly Shoes, Simon (the game), Shasta soda, Neon (clothing, bracelets, signs, etc.), Scrunch Socks, Spandex, Schoolhouse Rock, Mullets and Rat tails (long strip of hair in back of neck), Video Arcades, Trapper Keepers, Smurfs, Chuck E. Cheese, Judy Blume books, Break Dancing, Denim Jackets, Muppet Babies, Having your collar up, Pac-Man, Feathered Hair, Jazzercise, Crush soda pop, Nintendo, Connect Four, Skateboarding, Sticker Collections and Albums, Slip 'n Slide, Trivial Pursuit, Tupperware Parties, Chia Pets, Sony Walkmans, Remote Control Cars, Polaroid cameras, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles POPULAR FASHIONS OF THE 1990’s For youth, the fashion of the decade began with Grunge on one hand and preppie on the other. Hip Hop style was popular. Boys' jeans have grown bigger and bigger, worn low on the hips, and girls are wearing bellbottoms and poor boy tops reminiscent of the 70's. Over $6 billion was spent by fast food places on uniforms. Dress down Fridays became commonplace and gradually developed into a more casual work dress code altogether, with 53% of companies allowing casual dress in 1998, up from 7 % in 1992. Khaki pants and polo shirts or denim shirts were the work-place norm. New fabrics such as microfiber and tencel competed with the ever-popular cotton and linen. Consumer spending on clothing dropped from 4.6% in 1990 to
1% in 1995. While interest in health and nutrition increased, obesity was at a record high. Fads included Tae-bo, in-line skates, beanie babies, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, WWJD, Yo-yos, tattoos and body piercing, and the ubiquitous video games. POPULAR FADS OF THE 1990's Pokemon, Koosh Balls, The Macarena, Trapper Keeper, V-Chips (for TVs), Polly Pocket Toys, Hip-Hop Fashion, Nike Air Jordans gym sneakers, inline skates, bookbags, Toy Story movie & Toys, beanie babies, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, Harry Potter books, Harry Potter movies, video games, fatfree food, bottled water, cellular phones and beepers
“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.” (Mildred B. Vermont)
“A parent’s love is whole, no matter how many times divided.” (Robert Brault)
“Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children.” (Chares R. Swindoll)
TO MY CHILDREN FROM YOUR MOM
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him”. (Psalm 127:3)
Each of you – Richie, Greg, Caroline, and Jesse – are a precious gift from the Lord to me. I am so blessed to be your mother and I love each of you so much! You are each very special and have unique talents from the Lord. Whether it is writing and singing (Richie), writing and painting (Greg), photography (Caroline), or dancing (Jesse)… you nurture and express what’s in your heart in some creative way. In spite of being deaf, Jesse is a great dancer and moves to the melody in his heart. I enjoy time alone – to create a special meal, to decorate my home, or to plant flowers in our garden. Dad enjoys working outside in the yard – weeding, pruning, and mowing – it helps him relax and recharge after a stressful day at work. It’s so important to have balance in your life – along with times of adversity that help you grow in character, you need times of recreation that help you relax and rest.
“Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” (Johann von Goethe)
To be honest, there have been times in my life that were so full of turmoil, even the best creative endeavor or hobby wasn’t enough to help me relax and rest. I had to surrender it all to God, trusting in His love and goodness. Only then could my heart rest and be at peace. I found that whenever I focused on the storms in my life – rather than God, Who alone has the power to calm every storm – I would often get overwhelmed and begin to “lose heart”. I believe that we have an enemy that is battling for our hearts. We need to protect what we allow to come into our hearts, because it is there, where we will be victorious or be defeated. There is a story that I’d like to share with you about someone that “lost heart”. It is actually from one of your favorite fairy tales growing up – The Wizard of Oz. It became a tradition to watch it together as a family when it was shown on television once a year. Actually, it is a beloved fairy tale that has spanned generations. Dad and I enjoyed watching it when we were
children, our children looked forward to watching it every year, and our grandchildren love it, too. Unfortunately, our 2 oldest children have one sad memory regarding it. They remember to this day, the one time during their childhood that they missed watching it, because they had fallen asleep and we decided to let them sleep, rather than wake them. We didn't realize how important it was to them, and how disappointed they would be if they missed it. I am so sorry, Richie & Greg! It does show that our children value tradition and time spent with them, very highly. Recently, I learned that the movie left out a crucial point that the author gave in his original fairy tale. The Tin Woodman had once been a real man, who had been in love with a beautiful maiden. It was his dream to marry her, once he could earn enough money to build them a cottage in the woods. The Wicked Witch hated his love, and she cast spells upon the man that caused him injury, so that one by one his limbs needed to be replaced with artificial ones, made of tin. At first it seemed an advantage, for his metal frame allowed him to work nearly as powerfully as a machine. With a heart of love and arms that never tired, he seemed sure to win. But the Wicked Witch soon thought of a new way to kill his love for the beautiful Munchkin Maiden – she made his axe slip again, and this time it cut right through his body, slicing it in two. Once more, the tinner came to his aid and made him a new body of tin, and attached it to all his artificial limbs, also made of tin. The Tin Woodman would still be able to move around and work, but he now had no heart with which to love. As a result of losing his heart, he lost his love for the Munchkin Maiden, and didn't care if he married her or not. Instead, he stood proudly in the Woods and admired how the sun shone brightly on his body. He kept an oil can in his cottage and used it often, so his joints would not rust. Unfortunately, there came a day when he had neglected to use his oil can, and it started raining... his joints soon rusted and he was left standing in the woods. During that time, he reflected on his life and soon realized that his greatest loss was not his body and limbs, but that he had lost his heart and therefore the ability to love. Of course, you know the rest of the story... Dorothy and her friends found him and he soon joined them in their journey to Oz, so he could get a new heart.
The story of the Tin Woodman is an interesting metaphor for our lives. I think that there comes a time in each of our lives, when after enduring blow after blow of adversity, we begin to "lose heart". We continue to go through the motions of living, but we're like a machine, hollow inside. To be honest, there were times in my life, when I was worn out and worn down by some very trying circumstances, and I felt so disappointed and discouraged, that I started to “lose heart”. When I looked around at my life, things looked hopeless. But when I chose to believe that God was in control, and His plans for my life and those of my loved ones was good, then I felt hope, joy, and peace come alive in my heart.
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” (Romans 15:13)
One of Dad’s favorite fairy tales is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It has everything that we enjoy in a great story - love, intimacy, romance, beauty, drama, adventure, battles for good over evil, and, finally, a happy ending. One of the characters called Samwise Gamgee has some profound words about his journey with his friend, Frodo, and what he has come to believe in his heart…
“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.”
Those words really spoke to my heart. I can relate to it, because there were times in my own life that it seemed there was so much darkness, that the sun would never shine again. It would have been so easy to just give up, but I persevered and kept trusting in the Lord, one day at a time. I didn’t “lose heart” or become bitter and “harden my heart”.
The battle that I fought was one of faith – to keep believing that God loved me and my family, had a good plan for our lives, and that everything would work out for good in the end. There were 2 scriptures that I believed and claimed for my family…
“…choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve… but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
I held onto those promises for my children, and continue to do so. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were in a battle. It was a battle for our hearts. The devil sought to wear us down and wear us out by difficult circumstances. To be honest, some of the things I was believing for, would take years and years before I would see it come to pass. There were times that I actually wasn’t sure that I would live to see it. But the Lord is faithful and has renewed and restored a loving relationship with each member of my family. I think that the greatest miracle is when the Lord heals, binds up, and restores broken hearts. As I mentioned earlier, the reason I wrote this book was to record the legacy of love that has been part of our family. I felt that information about our family, and their love for God, family, and country would be very inspiring. But I also felt the Lord put on my heart, that revelation of His unconditional love, would be the higher purpose for this book. To be honest, God's unconditional love is so amazing, because it has the power to change and heal our hearts. I’ve seen it happen in my life – that’s why I am so passionate about sharing it with everyone reading this book. God pursues us because of His great love, and desires that we respond to Him, by asking Him into our hearts. He fills us with Himself and all that He is. As we allow Him to do a work in us, we are changed from glory to glory, into His image. It is truly miraculous that the Lord can heal and change our broken, wounded hearts. As we experience His unconditional love for us, he wants us to let it overflow our hearts, and then pour it out onto others.
The following scripture describes beautifully, the unconditional love that the Lord has for each of us, and wants for us to share with everyone in our life...
"Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
As I prayed about what I should write about each of my children, the Lord led me to the above scripture. Originally, I planned to simply write some interesting stories about each of my children, and also the deep love I have for each of them. But, to be honest, the deep love I have for my children – a mother's self-sacrificing love – was not enough to meet their deepest need to know they are loved always, no matter what. They needed the unconditional love that only God could provide. It was only when I realized this, and asked the Lord to fill me with His amazing love, that I could really love as I was loved, and let it pour forth from me to my family.
“What children take from us, they give. We become people, who feel more deeply, question more deeply, and love more deeply.” (Sonia Taitz)
I never would have known the depth of God's love, if I hadn't needed it so desperately at times, for myself and for my family. Unfortunately, for many of us, it's only when we come to the end of ourselves that we finally cry out to God. But, He is always faithful to meet all our needs. His love has the power to change and heal hearts, and to restore relationships. I know, without a doubt, that His love never fails!
PERSONAL STORIES OF MY CHILDREN Richard Noel Morneau was born on July 24, 1973 in Manchester, NH. His first name, Richard, is his Dad’s name and his middle name, Noel, is his Dad’s father’s name. Rich was so proud to have a son! And, I was so happy to have a beautiful baby boy – I loved everything about him!! He was so cute and was a really good baby. And he seemed to have Rich’s sunny disposition. Actually he is a wonderful son – we are so proud of him! I can’t remember any time that he has given us any trouble, other than those 48 hours of labor!! He was a very happy and content baby. I think that he woke up once during the night to be fed and changed, and then went back to sleep with no problem. I didn’t know anyone that had breast-fed their baby, and I think at that time, most women were encouraged to bottle-feed their baby with formula, so that’s what I did. I felt confident that the formula we gave him was nutritious, and I also knew how much of it he was drinking. Often on the weekend, Rich would get up to feed Richie during the night. It helped me to be able to sleep through the night once in a while, and for Rich to have the opportunity to bond with Richie. When he was 6 weeks old, we were told it was fine to give him diluted rice cereal. He loved it and slept longer at nap time and at night.
“A man’s desire for a son is usually nothing but the wish to duplicate himself in order that such a remarkable pattern may not be lost to the world.” (Helen Rowland)
Rich loved hockey – when we were dating, we often watched a Boston Bruins hockey game on TV. Also, Rich played hockey on the Raytheon team for a while. So, he definitely was planning that Richie would one day play hockey, too. We even bought Richie a Boston Bruins bib and Boston Bruins outfit. Eventually, Richie would start playing hockey, when he was 6 years old. It was so cute – he had never been on skates before, so needed to lean on a metal folding chair as he skated on the ice. There were a few other children that needed to use chairs, too. But, it didn’t take him long to learn to skate, and soon he was a really fast skater. Actually, he would most often play the
position of “offense” for his team. I have so many wonderful memories of times spent watching Richie (and Greg) play hockey. Back to the time that he was still a newborn… It didn’t take long to settle into a comfortable routine. In the morning, after he ate, I would lay him on a large comforter on the rug in the living room. I would grab a few baby toys and we would play together for a little while. He was very alert for a newborn and smiled a lot. I remember that I took a lot of pictures of him – he looked so cute with his long eyelashes, cute little nose, and big smile! Afterwards, I would give him his bath. He loved to splash in the warm water. Then, I would often rock him for a while, and just enjoy spending time with him. He also loved to rock back and forth in his swing, which was set up in the living room, and many times would fall asleep in it. I would carefully carry him to his crib to take his morning nap. He usually slept for about 2 hours, which gave me time to do some housework. When he woke up, I changed and fed him. Then, if the weather was nice, I put him in his carriage and we would go for a long walk around the mobile home park. The combination of fresh air, warm sun, and the gentle motion of the carriage, resulted in him often falling asleep by the time we got home. I would put him in his crib and he usually slept for about 2 hours in the afternoon. I loved reading, so would often read a book or magazine during that time. When he woke up from his nap, I would change him and feed him. Then, I would put him in the playpen to play with some toys, while I cooked dinner. We had set up the playpen right near the kitchen, so I could see him from there. Rich would come home from work, and immediately pick up Richie to spend some time with him, before we ate. It was so cute to see him play with Richie. After we ate dinner, Rich would play with him again, so I could clean up the kitchen. Then, either Rich or I would feed and change him, before going to bed. It was a wonderful time in our lives, as we became a family! My heart felt overwhelmed with love – for my husband and my little boy! In those moments, I felt that my life was a wonderful love story, and I was playing the part of loving wife and mother!!
Unfortunately, God didn’t have much of a part in my life, at that time. We were Catholic and went to Church on Sunday for about an hour, but He didn’t play a big part in our life the rest of the week. I loved my husband and my son, and was very passionate about caring for them. But, in reality, I was a “Passionate Housewife, Desperate for God”. (That’s actually the title of a great book, by the way). As Catholics, we needed to have Richie baptized. We picked my sister, Jeannine, and her husband, Bob, as godparents. Richie looked so cute in his baptism outfit. We also had a little party afterwards at our mobile home to celebrate with some family and friends. We didn’t have a washer and dryer in our mobile home, so needed to go to my parent’s house once a week to do laundry. Rich was working at Raytheon during the day and started taking some business classes at a local college at night. One of those nights, I went to my parent’s house to do laundry. It worked out well – it got me out of the house, I spent some time with my parents, and also did my laundry. I often spoke on the phone with my Memere Hebert, who was in her 80’s, and no longer working outside the home or babysitting my niece, Michele. Some times, we invited my parents, my sister, Sharon, and Memere & Pepere Hebert to our home to eat dinner. I also spoke with Rich’s mother on the phone almost every day. She was lonely and would often call to talk. On the weekend, we would visit her or have her over to eat dinner. We also would bring her to Massachusetts with us to visit relatives on the weekend. Often we would visit her brother, Rich’s Uncle Al. Many times we would go out to eat together. Other times we visited relatives on Rich’s father’s side. In September, we celebrated our 1st Wedding Anniversary. Richie was almost 2 months old. My parents took us out for dinner at the Wa Toy, our favorite Chinese Restaurant. I remember sitting there and feeling happy and a little sad at the same time. I was happy that we had made it through our first year of married life and our love for each other had grown stronger. We also had a beautiful baby boy and, hopefully, more children in the future. There was so much to celebrate!
But I also had an uncomfortable feeling that there was something missing – I just didn’t know what it was. I didn’t like feeling this way, and tried to stuff it down deep in my heart and not deal with it. But when it came time to toast to our 1st year of married life and to all our future years, my eyes started watering and I found it difficult to hold back my tears. I just had a sense of sadness and emptiness in my heart. My Mom noticed, and said that I was probably a little lonely, now that I was no longer working outside the home. I thought maybe that was the problem, or maybe I had a little postpartum depression – I really didn’t know why I wasn’t absolutely content with my life. We had planned that I would be a full-time stay-at-home mom and that’s really what I wanted to do. But, in spite of my perfect little life, something was missing.
“You have made us for Yourself and our souls are restless until they find rest in You.” (Augustine)
There was a longing in my heart for something more. I was very confused why I felt this way. I was frustrated with myself – why couldn’t I be content with my life? From the outside, it looked perfect.
“Thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them.” (A. W. Tozer)
One afternoon while Rich was at work and Richie was taking his nap, I finally broke down and cried out to God. I felt that my heart was in turmoil. I told God that I didn’t know what was happening, but to please help me. I surrendered my life to God, and asked Him to take control. I was very emotional at that moment. I immediately heard these words in my heart… “Be still and know that I am God.” I had very seldom read the Bible, so didn’t realize it was actually a scripture. But the Word of God has power, and it immediately stilled the turmoil in my heart. I knew that something holy and sacred had taken place. I was so hungry and thirsty for God – I prayed from my heart about everything in my life, and then I starting reading the Bible (His Word to me). I opened the Bible to the first book of Psalms...
"Blessed is the one... whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither; whatever they do prospers."
I loved the Psalms – I could relate to a lot of what David wrote when he cried out to God. God met me where I was at and slowly but surely, started showing me the unconditional love He has for me. When I surrendered my life to Jesus and asked Him to take control, He came into my heart as my Lord. The desire and longing I had for something more was fully met in Him. He healed the deep ache in my heart with His love and peace. My heart could finally rest in Him. However, I really didn’t understand what it meant to have Him as my Savior. I was raised in the Catholic Church, so still felt that I needed to do my part, too. It would actually take a few years for me to really understand, that Jesus paid the full price for my sins – there is nothing I can do to add to it – just sincerely repent, believe, and accept it. In the Bible, I remember reading “You must be born again” and not knowing what it meant. I think that we can understand it in two ways… First, when we are born physically, we are given new life. When we are born again spiritually, we are also given new life when we surrender our life to Jesus, let Him take control, and be the Lord of our lives. Our life is made new because we are now living in, through, and for Jesus. Everything changes when He is in control of our lives. Second, when we are born physically, we don’t need to do anything during the process of birth. Our mothers do all the work – she is in labor, not us. I remember well the process of being in labor for 48 hours! When we are born again spiritually, we also don’t need to do anything in order to have Jesus become our Savior, other than to sincerely repent, believe, and accept His finished work on the Cross. He did all the work – it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, not by works. I think that it was probably in 1979, when we first heard the song “Bullfrogs and Butterflies” by Barrie McGuire. It was written for children, to help
explain what takes place when we are born again. It spoke about tadpoles changing into bullfrogs, and caterpillars changing into butterflies, to help describe the heart that also changes, when the Lord comes in, and we are changed from glory to glory. Richie was about 6 years old and Greg 4 years old, when they would sing that song with Rich. Here are the lyrics to that cute song… Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again; Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again. Ol' tadpole in a fishin' hole, He couldn't croak or jump to save his soul; But then one day, it's the funniest thing, Why he started growin', turnin' green; Yes, he jumped up on a lily pad, And he was croakin' out a song, gave it all he had… Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again; Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again. A little caterpillar on a blade of grass, She’s noticin' the days going by so fast; She's a lovely little lady, she's looking for a room, She's weavin' and spinnin' out a fine cocoon; Why it didn't take long 'til she saw the sky, Spread your wings you butterfly. She's singin'… Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again; Bullfrogs and butterflies, We've both been born again.
It’s interesting that, years later, when Richie started his Christian band, he named it “Living Water Sound”. My heart was dry and empty, until I asked Jesus into it, and He filled me to overflowing with Himself and His Word (the Living Water), and quenched the deep thirst and hunger that I had.
“The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water, flowing from within his heart.” (John 7:38)
I’m basically a very private person and ponder things in my heart for quite a while, before I feel comfortable sharing with other people. So, even though I had asked Jesus into my heart, and knew that something wonderful had taken place, I didn’t share it with anyone for quite a while. I prayed and continued to read the Bible whenever I had time. It was not something that I felt I should do, but rather something I really desired to do, and needed to do. Before I had felt lonely at times, but now I enjoyed having time alone to spend with God. I knew that my life had changed – it all started in my heart. I now enjoyed every day of my life, and how the Lord had blessed me. I appreciated my husband and beautiful baby boy. In fact, I was so happy that I really wanted to have more children… soon. My husband is more practical than me and said that we really needed to wait to have more children, until we could buy a house with more room. I agreed that we should wait. Life was good – I really enjoyed spending time with Richie. He was so cute and such a good baby. He didn’t like the pacifier, but would often suck his fingers, instead of his thumb. On Monday night, I would go to my parent’s house to do laundry while Rich went to his accounting class. Usually on the weekend we either visited family and friends, or had family and friends over to visit us. Sometimes Rich and I would go out, and either my sister, Sharon, or Rich’s sister, Denise, would babysit Richie. But most of the time, if we went out, we took him with us. I remember our first Christmas with Richie. He was only 5 months old, but loved to look at all the lights on our Christmas tree. Rich’s Uncle Al was in charge of window displays where he worked, and gave us a cute Styrofoam sled. We decorated it for Christmas and put Richie inside it. He had a Santa Claus outfit on, and looked so cute – we took quite a few pictures of him!
In the Spring of 1974, Rich got a job working as a firefighter for the Manchester Fire Department, and left his job at Raytheon. It was also at this time, that we decided to look for a house. We made the decision that I would go back to work for a short time, in order to make it easier to get a loan. I called NH Insurance to set up an interview, and told them that I had worked there for a few years, after high school. I gave the name of my previous boss there as a reference. He spoke highly of me, so I immediately got a job there full-time. Rich’s mother agreed to babysit Richie while I worked – we told her it would be for just a few months, until we found a house and could get a loan. We made a budget based on just Rich’s income, and looked for a home with that in mind. I worked for a short time – from May until November. In July 1974, Richie turned 1 year old. We celebrated with a big party at our mobile home. We invited a lot of family and friends. Richie hadn’t started walking yet, but at his party, with Rich filming him, he started walking! It’s great – we have movies of him taking his first steps that day!! We continued looking for a home, and finally found one that we liked in September. During that time, I also found out I was pregnant! We were very excited about our new home (actually, it was a house over 100 years old) and about our new baby, who was due in May!! I think we moved into our house in October. The house was very old but in a nice neighborhood in the east side of the city, where I grew up. The bedrooms upstairs needed to be completely renovated. I continued to work one more month, before quitting my job in November, to stay home. Soon after moving in, I was shocked when I came home from work one day, to see that Rich had taken off all the walls in the bedrooms! All I could see were the studs and outside walls!! I thought to myself “this house is going from bad to worse”!!! Rich reassured me that he knew what he was doing, and it would be nice when it was finished. I trusted him and tried to stay positive. I continued to pray and study the Bible. I also started watching Oral Roberts on TV. I enjoyed his positive message and inspiring words.
I think that it was probably around this time, that Rich lost a really good friend of his from childhood, who was also his best man at our Wedding. Rich had dealt with death quite a bit in the past few years – in Vietnam, his Dad, and now his best friend. He didn’t talk about it, but kept his feelings down deep in his heart. Rich did enjoy working on our house, and did all the renovating upstairs. The bedrooms did turn out really nice, as he had said, just in time for our new baby that was due the beginning of May. Rich decided to take 2 weeks off, when the baby was due. Well, his 2 week vacation, came and went, and still no baby! Back then, they didn’t induce you unless it was really necessary. I finally went into labor, 3 weeks after my due date!! I gave birth to our beautiful son, Gregory Aime, on May 27, 1975 after about 12 hours of labor. We named him Gregory, because we both liked the name, and his middle name, Aime, after my Dad. Because I had carried him differently than my first pregnancy, I had thought for sure that this time I would have a girl. I was so surprised when the doctor said that it was a boy, that I remember him saying “Yes, it’s a boy – see for yourself”. It actually lightened up the tension, because a few moments before, Greg had been born with the cord around his neck. The doctor swiftly removed it before I had a chance to panic. My first reaction when I saw Greg was – “Wow, he looks just like his Dad”! He had the same cute ‘Morneau mouth and smile’. Rich was very proud to have another boy to carry on the Morneau name! And I was so happy to have such a sweet baby boy – we bonded very quickly!! Greg was a really good baby. He would grow up to be a wonderful son that Rich and I are both so proud of! He never gave us any problem, other than being 3 weeks late!! I had a bad cold when I went into labor, and soon had to deal with a kidney infection, too. I would have to stay in the hospital a few more days because of it. Richie also had a bad cold and a kidney infection. Poor Rich divided his time between visits at the hospital, and visits at the doctor for Richie. Unfortunately, Greg developed a kidney infection, too,
and would need to stay in the hospital a few days longer. I was released one day before Greg, and I remember feeling so sad to leave the hospital without my baby. But, I was so thankful that Greg would be coming home soon. Years ago he would not have survived, because of the Rh factor. My blood has a negative Rh factor and Rich has a positive Rh factor. There is no problem for the first-born baby. But, if the first-born baby’s blood has a positive Rh factor, and some of its blood enters the woman’s system, then she builds up antibodies to defend itself, and attacks the Rh positive red blood cells of future babies. I received an injection (Rhogam) after Richie was born, that suppressed my ability to react to the Rh positive red blood cells. I received it again after Greg was born. Unfortunately, my Memere Hebert had the same problem with the Rh factor, but there was no medicine available back then. That is why my Mom is an only child. She was the first-born baby, so there was no problem. But she had a younger sister and brother, who both died at birth from severe anemia. Even though I really hated to leave the hospital without Greg, it did give me a chance to spend a little time with Richie. He had been really sick while I was in the hospital, and couldn’t come to visit me or his new brother. On the way home from the hospital, I stopped and bought a special toy for Richie. I was glad to see that he was feeling better, but his kidney infection had been so severe, he didn’t grow very much in the next several months. Finally, Greg was released from the hospital. I felt such a sigh of relief to bring him home! I thanked God that we were finally all together again – a happy and healthy family!!
“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!” (Albert Einstein)
I felt such joy and thankfulness in my heart for my little family! The Lord had blessed me with a wonderful husband and 2 precious children. I remember taking a lot of pictures during those years – first when Richie was a baby and then with Greg. I remember that Greg had beautiful eyes with dark eyelashes and the cutest grin!! Later on his blue eyes would change to green, like mine.
During my spare time, I made baby books for Richie and Greg, and filled them with information, pictures, and keepsakes. I continued taking pictures as they grew, and would make several photo albums for each of our children. I also made keepsake boxes, and filled them with their special artwork and treasured souvenirs.
“Son, you outgrew my lap but never my heart.”
I enjoyed holding Greg and rocking him until he fell asleep. I usually put him in the playpen, to take a nap during the day. It was set up in a playroom that was off the living room. Richie would usually sit on a comforter nearby, and quietly look at books or color, while Greg slept. Richie was only 22 months old when Greg was born, but already acted like a caring big brother. He was very gentle, loving, and protective of Greg. He also helped me, whenever I needed a diaper to change Greg. It didn’t take long to settle into a nice routine. When I set up a comforter on the living room floor, so Greg could play, Richie always laid down next to him to play, too. I never saw any type of jealous behavior now that I was busy taking care of Greg, too. We bought a swing set for our backyard that had a baby swing, a regular swing, and a slide. It was so cute to see Greg and Richie on their swings, having fun together!
“A child reminds us that playtime is an essential part of our daily routine.”
Sometimes we would take a walk to the park that was not too far away. I put Greg in the carriage, and Richie held onto the side of it, as we walked. Richie had fun running around or playing on the swings, but no matter how much fun he was having, he always stopped playing, without any problem, when it was time to go home. I remember thinking to myself, as we walked home “I have the best children in the world”. Rich is such a great father and I’m a great mother, too. We really should have more children in the future. Maybe we could even adopt some children and provide a wonderful home and family for them, too. It sounded wonderful as I planned in my head, how blessed and thankful any
child would be, to become part of our family. I can just imagine the Lord above, chuckling at my foolish pride. I had so much to learn about humbling myself, and surrendering every part of my life to the Lord. To be honest, Richie and Greg were so easy, that I really felt that I didn’t need to depend on the Lord very much, to take care of them, or to love them as they needed. Of course, I felt really blessed and thankful for my family, but didn’t feel that I needed the Lord’s help taking care of them. As a result, I felt a strong sense of pride in myself for being such a good mother! Unfortunately, when we depend on ourselves, instead of God, we exalt ourselves and take the glory that belongs to God!! We were still going to the Catholic Church, so needed to have Greg baptized. We chose Rich’s cousin, Louise, and her husband, Roland, to be Greg’s godparents. It was during the month of July and Richie would be turning 2 years old soon. We decided that the get-together after the baptism, would also be a birthday party for Richie. I remember that it was a beautiful day, so we made a barbeque in the backyard. In September, my sister, Jeannine, called and said that her babysitter would no longer be able to take care of her 2 children, while she worked. She asked me if I would be willing to take care of them during the day. My niece, Michele, was 4 ½ and my niece, Melissa, had just had her 1st birthday. With my own 2 children, I would have 4 children under the age of 5 to take care of! She said that she would drop them off at my home before going to work in the morning, and then pick them up after work in the afternoon. Because Richie and Greg were so easy to take care of, and I knew my nieces were also very good little girls, I thought it would work out and be a great way of spending more time with them. She offered to pay me and, because money was a little tight, I accepted. Rich was busy working as a firefighter for the Manchester Fire Department. His working schedule changed from week to week. He worked a few days in a row, then would have a day off, and then work a few nights. Some of his friends at work had side jobs on their days off. He had loved doing the repairs and renovation of the bedrooms upstairs, so started doing small home improvement jobs in his spare time, to make some extra money. He was
hoping to eventually renovate the upstairs bathroom, and then the kitchen, when we could afford it. Rich was busy working most days, either at the fire department, or on a side job, while I kept busy taking care of Richie, Greg, Michele, and Melissa. Because they were such good children, I was able to do it easily and really enjoyed it. I started babysitting Michele and Melissa in September 1975, and would babysit them for two years, until September 1977, when Michele started 1st grade. I have a lot of wonderful memories during that time. Many times after my sister dropped them off, I would make crepes for breakfast. For lunch, I would often make grilled cheese sandwiches and cream of tomato soup. Sometimes, we would make cookies together. When the weather was nice, they would play together in the backyard. Other times, we would all go for a walk to the park nearby. Greg was still a baby so he was in the carriage; Richie held onto the carriage on one side; Melissa held onto the other side of the carriage; and Michele walked in front. They were so good walking to the park – we talked or sang songs. They had fun playing at the park and running around. When it was time to go home, they stopped playing, without any problem. Of course, that just reinforced the growing pride I had as a mother, and now as an aunt. In the afternoon, when the kids took a nap or rested, I would do a little housework. During the Fall, we would rake all the leaves in the back yard together, and the kids would have fun jumping into the big pile. In the Winter, we often played outside in the snow. We had fun making snowmen, and I usually took a picture of them with the snowmen we had made together. Rich’s sister, Denise, had moved away earlier to be on her own. Now, his sister, Sue, was planning to leave home, and join the Army. It was definitely difficult for Rich’s mother, who would not have anyone living with her at home. But, Rich’s mother was very outgoing and had a lot of friends. She also started seeing someone, who would be part of her life for many years. I think that it was during the Spring of 1976 that we had an unwelcome guest in our home. We had decided to have a family fun day together, and planned to go to Benson’s Animal Farm. Unfortunately, Greg woke up with a small
fever, so I didn’t think it would be good for him to go out. Rich’s mother offered to babysit. It wasn’t very far away, so we told her we would be gone for just a few hours. We had a fun time together, but I was anxious to go back home to check on Greg. We had no idea about the unexpected surprise we had waiting for us, when we got home! As soon as we got home, we saw that Rich’s mother was very upset. I started to panic, thinking that Greg wasn’t well. She said that Greg was feeling better, but there was a bat in the house! Before we had a chance to tell her that it must be her imagination, the bat came flying into the kitchen. Rich told us to go upstairs, and stay there, until he got rid of it. We ran upstairs to my bedroom and closed the door. I could hear banging downstairs, and then heard Rich yelling something. I thought that he was yelling that it was okay to come downstairs. He was actually yelling to us not to come down, because the bat was still flying around. I had misunderstood him, so started walking down the stairs. I was carrying Greg in one arm and holding Richie’s hand with the other. Rich’s mother was following close behind me. I should also mention that the ceiling above the stairs was low, so there was not much room above our heads. Anyway, we started down the stairs, just as the bat started flying up the stairs. I still remember that bat flying straight at us. We screamed and ducked our heads – it’s amazing that we didn’t fall down the stairs! Rich told us to go outside and not come back in, until he came to get us. He had a broom in his hand, as his weapon, in the battle with the bat. After a few minutes, he came outside, and said that he had finally hit it, and it was dead. For my own peace of mind, I wanted to see for myself that the bat was dead. So, he showed it to us. It looked much smaller laying there than when it was flying. It looked like a small mouse with wings. My sister, Sharon, graduated from high school in June 1976. She decided to go to a local business college, get her associates degree, and become a legal secretary. Years later, Sharon took additional classes to become a paralegal. In spite of Rich working full-time as a firefighter and part-time doing home repairs, and myself earning a little bit of money babysitting for my nieces, we had just enough money to pay our bills. We decided that we really couldn’t afford to have any more children. But, because my nieces were so
cute and such good little girls, we thought that maybe we could adopt a little girl later on, if our finances improved. (I’m not sure which of one of us mentioned adoption first – it was probably me!) That summer, we decided to celebrate Greg’s 1st birthday and Richie’s 3rd birthday together, and make one big party. We really couldn’t afford to make two separate parties. I think we had the party in June, between the two birthdays. I remember that it was a very hot day. We made a barbecue, and set up a little kiddie pool in the driveway, for all the kids to cool off. It was a fun day! Greg started walking, soon after he turned one. I was visiting my parents on the weekend, while Rich was working at the Fire Department. All of a sudden, I saw Greg let go of the furniture, and walk towards Richie. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me to take pictures, or the movie camera to film it. And Rich wasn’t there, to see him take his first steps. But, I do remember how proud and excited Greg was, to finally walk! Richie was happy too, and gave him a big hug!! Often, when Rich had the weekend off, we would go to Massachusetts with his mother to visit relatives. We always went to visit his Uncle Al. He often took us out to eat at a nice restaurant. We couldn’t afford to go out to eat very much, so it was a special time for us and we really appreciated it. Christmas was coming and money was still tight. There seemed to be no money left, after the bills were paid, to put aside for repairs and renovations on our house. So, Rich decided to get a 3rd job at Servicemaster, cleaning offices at night during the week. The extra money would definitely be nice, but it meant that I wouldn’t see him very much and he wouldn’t see us. After the kids went to bed at night, I spent the time alone, praying and reading the Bible. Rich’s sister, Denise, had recently become a Christian, so sometimes we would talk on the phone or I would write to her. It felt good to fellowship with another Christian. Rich continued to work three jobs for quite a few months, but I could see that it was getting to be too much for him. Also, when he was home, he really couldn’t relax because he felt stressed by the many repairs that our old house needed. As a result, we decided in the Spring of 1977, that Rich would
quit his 3rd job, cleaning offices in the evening. I agreed to go back to work. My sister, Jeannine, had told me that they recently started an evening shift where she worked. I checked into it and was hired to work from 5pm to 10pm five nights a week. I think that the evenings that both Rich and I worked, my parents, my sister, Sharon, or Rich’s mother came to the house to babysit. I knew that Michele would be starting 1st grade in the Fall, so agreed to keep babysitting my nieces during the day, until then. We also decided to look for a new home. It was just too stressful, contemplating all the renovations still needed, on our old house. We quickly found a new house in a nice neighborhood. It was an unfinished cape. Rich knew that he could finish the upstairs himself. There was a kitchen, living room, a full-size bathroom, and two bedrooms on the main floor. It also had a small deck in the backyard. Eventually, Rich did finish the upstairs – he made a bedroom for us, a bedroom for Richie and Greg, and a ¾ size bathroom. The room we had used for our bedroom downstairs was right off the kitchen, so we made it into a dining room. Richie and Greg’s bedroom downstairs would become a den.
“A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart.” (Allan Beck)
Rich set up a little workshop down cellar for all his tools. We also fixed up a playroom down cellar for Richie and Greg. We put a rug down there and their toy box. I remember that Richie and Greg loved to play superheroes. Richie would be Batman and Greg would be Robin. I remember taking a picture of them playing – they each used a big towel for their cape, and a long carrot as their sword to fight the enemy. It was so cute to see them use their imagination to play. They were very creative, even at that young age – they were 4 and 2 years old. Our new home was in a nice neighborhood on the west side of Manchester, where Rich grew up. It had families with young children about the same age as Richie and Greg. It was an ideal neighborhood in which to grow up. We have so many wonderful memories of our time there. We would live there for the next 26 years, before moving to CT. Actually, Greg, and his wife,
Michelle, would eventually buy it from us, and live there for a few years, before they moved to TN. We settled into our new home and quickly became friends with many of our neighbors. Richie and Greg had fun playing with a few boys about the same age as them. They would play on the swing set in our back yard. When the weather was hot, they played in the sprinkler or in our small kiddie pool. They also enjoyed riding their ‘big wheel” bikes up and down the driveway. I remember the Summer of 1977 was very busy. We had just moved into our new home, so I was unpacking boxes and settling in. I also continued babysitting my nieces during the day, and I worked evenings from 5pm to 10pm five nights a week. Rich worked full-time on the Fire Department, and part-time doing home repair side jobs, on his days off. His sister, Sue, had left home and joined the Army in January 1976. She had met someone, who was also in the Army, when she was stationed in Germany and had gotten married there. She came home to visit during the summer, so we made a Bridal Shower for her. Rich’s sister, Denise, had visited Sue in Germany and met Sue’s husband.
“When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” (Joyce Brothers)
In the Fall of 1977, we again went to Benson’s Animal Farm to have a “family fun day” together. This time Greg was able to come along. We had a fun time together! And there were no unwelcome guests to surprise us, when we got home!! I enjoyed decorating our new house, and making it an inviting home and a haven, where we could relax and rest. I continued to read the Bible every day, and had a strong desire to find a Church for our family to attend. One day, Rich came home from the fire department, and mentioned that a friend of his attended a Bible study on Tuesday night, and really liked it. Rich said
that he thought we should go, too. I told him that I had been praying about that for a while, so was excited to go. It was held in a local school gym and was non-denominational. I had asked Jesus to come into my heart about five years before, but really hadn’t shared with other people, what had taken place in my heart. During the years since then, I had enjoyed spending time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Bible, and coming to know Him better. I had also been praying that Rich would desire to have a relationship with God, too. When we went to Bible Study and they spoke of the need that we all have, to ask Jesus into our heart to be our Lord and Savior, it confirmed to me what had happened, when the Lord drew me to Himself with His love and grace so many years before. I had responded in my heart by believing, but had never confessed it publicly, which is also important. When they invited people to come forward and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, Rich went forward and I did also, because I wanted to publicly confess before others, what had taken place in my heart. That Christmas held fresh meaning for Rich, as a new believer. I also felt renewed, because I felt more comfortable, sharing what the Lord was doing in my life, too. There was actually a big move of the Holy Spirit across New England, in the 1970’s and 1980’s when many people started seeking God. We began attending Bible studies on Tuesday night in a local Junior High School gymnasium. People heard about it, and each week more and more people came to study the Bible. Soon they began having services on Sunday morning, in the auditorium of the local High School, where I had graduated years before. In the years to come, it would grow to more than 1,000 members. They built a large Church building on the outskirts of town, and named it Faith Christian Center. It was non-denominational and geared mainly to new Christians. Eventually, they would open a school that Richie and Greg would attend, for a few years. I think it was during the Summer of 1978, when Richie was 5 and Greg was 3, that we got our first swimming pool. Rich’s cousin, Louise, gave it to us. It was three feet deep and Richie and Greg loved it! We also celebrated their birthdays again with one party! It was a hot day, so all the kids had fun swimming in the pool!!
The summer went quickly and soon Richie would be starting kindergarten in the Fall. I still remember the mixed emotions I had – happy for this new milestone in his life, but sad that I had to “let go” a little. I think that motherhood is the only job where you measure your success, by becoming less and less needed. The goal is to train them up in the way they should go, and eventually, they will not need you any longer to direct their steps. I think that it is a little harder for the Mom, than for the Dad.
“Children and mothers never truly part – bound in the beating of each other’s heart.” (Charlotte Gray)
The heart of a Mom is one that nurtures and cares and protects, and would like to keep them in the nest indefinitely. The heart of a Dad is also very loving and protective, but wants them to try their wings and fly out on their own, when they are ready. The heart of a mother seeks to give her children a good foundation, the roots of a deep and abiding love, which is actually my motivation for writing this book. The heart of a father seeks to give his children the ability and the desire to discover their place in the world – the wings to fly out on their own.
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” (Hodding Carter)
Richie was so excited about going to kindergarten in the Fall of 1978. I walked him to school with Greg. He gave me a hug when it was time to line up and go inside the building. He walked in without looking back at me. That was good because I definitely had tears in my eyes. It helped that it was just for a few hours. It was nice to spend time alone with Greg. Richie and Greg were so close that I always spent time with both of them. I think that I never really had time alone with Greg, until Richie started school. Greg always loved art. We would draw pictures or color in his coloring books. He also loved to have fun with playdoh, and create different things with it. And he had a sweet tooth, so we often made cookies together.
One weekend in the Fall, Rich’s Uncle Al drove from MA to NH to visit us. It was a beautiful day so he said that we should go to the White Mountains in northern NH to see the beautiful foliage. He offered to drive us in his Cadillac convertible. We picked up Rich’s mother to come with us, too. I remember Rich mentioning to his Uncle that there were probably some bears in the forest along the highway. No sooner had Uncle Al replied to Rich, stating that he didn’t think we would see any bears so close to the highway, when… A small bear came running out of the woods right into the path of our car. It hit the front fender of the big Cadillac we were riding in. Thank God no other cars were near us, and Uncle Al kept control of the car and just kept going. The bear had hit our car in front and it sent him tumbling back into the woods. We saw the bear get up and run off, so we knew he was okay. Richie and Greg were young – only 5 and 3 – but they still remember when that happened! Richie and Greg had fun every year at Halloween. Their costume was usually their favorite playtime character at that time. I remember one year that they both dressed as Spiderman. Another year one of them was a Storm Trooper and the other was R2D2 from Star Wars. Of course, I always took a lot of pictures! Usually we invited my parents and Rich’s mother for dinner on Thanksgiving. I enjoyed cooking for my loved ones. Usually, the following day I would get out all the Christmas decorations, and have fun making our home festive, inside and out. We always had fun attending a few Christmas parties during that time. The Fire Department usually had a nice Christmas Party for the children of the employees. NH Insurance, where I worked part-time, also held a Christmas Party, too. My sister, Jeannine, also worked there, so we would usually see her and Michele and Melissa, when we went to the party. As much as I loved to decorate my home for Christmas, Rich’s mother always outdid me in decorating. She would transform her apartment into a winter wonderland. She also loved music and always had music playing in the background, when we visited. She actually had a nice voice and loved singing. She often started us off singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.
Traditionally, on Christmas Eve, I would make Pork Pies and Calico Beans for dinner. My parents and Rich’s mother would join us for dinner. Then, each of our children would open one gift – it was always pajamas. Afterwards, we would sing Christmas carols together. We would end the evening singing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” and eat cake and ice cream. It’s a tradition that began when we first got married and we continue to this day.
“The greatest gift at Christmas is a family, all wrapped up in each other.” (Burton Hills)
We continued to attend Faith Christian Center on Sunday mornings and also Bible Study on Tuesday night. We felt very blessed by the Lord – we had a beautiful home and two wonderful children. Rich had been working for the Fire Department for a few years, and was making a little more money. He also still worked part-time on his days off, doing home repairs or renovations. I had been working for a few years part-time, and making a little more money, too. Life was good! Who could ask for anything more? Well… I did. I had the desire to adopt a little girl. I prayed about it and then asked Rich what he thought. He thought it was a good idea, too. So, during the Spring of 1979, I took the first step and called the Department of Children, Youth, and Families in NH. They said that they would put us on a waiting list, and would call us back, when it was our turn. We would actually wait four years, before they called us back. But, that was the first step, towards our ‘unexpected roller coaster adventure’, where many times, all we could do, was ‘hold on to the Lord for dear life’! But, in the meantime… our life was busy. In the Fall of 1979 Richie started 1st grade. He also started playing soccer. I think he joined the very first soccer team in Manchester. He wasn’t too tall, but he was fast – he definitely got his exercise, running around that field! Greg would also play soccer 2 years later, when he was 6 years old. By then, soccer had become very popular., and there were quite a few teams in Manchester. Both Richie and Greg would play soccer throughout grammar school.
When soccer season ended in the Fall, Rich signed up Richie for hockey, before he had ever put on a pair of skates! But it wouldn’t take him long to learn how to skate, and soon, he was a really fast little skater. I can still remember sitting in the stands, with Rich and Greg, watching Richie, and sipping on our hot chocolate. It’s a great memory! Greg was 4 years old at the time, so wasn’t old enough yet to play hockey. But, just a few years later, he would also play hockey. Richie liked to play ‘offense’ but Greg liked to play ‘defense’. He actually became a really good goalie. Both Richie and Greg would play hockey in grammar school and high school. Greg also eventually played on the Varsity team at Amherst College. In the Spring of 1980, when NH Insurance started a weekend shift. I thought it might work out great for us – I could work on the weekend plus the nights during the week that Rich was off. Rich only worked one weekend a month, so we would only need a babysitter for that weekend, instead of 2 nights each week. I think that I worked weekends and 2 nights a week for six months, until the Fall of 1980. It was okay at first, but then I didn’t like missing all the activities that happened on the weekend. In the Fall of 1980, Greg would start kindergarten. I was able to change my hours at work, because someone on the day shift wanted to cut down her hours, and job-share. She wanted to work just mornings, and I agreed to work afternoons, from noon to 5pm. One of my neighbors agreed to babysit after school each day, until I got home. Greg was excited to start kindergarten. I think it helped that his older brother was at the school, too. Both Greg and Richie liked school and did really well in school. Usually, on Friday nights we would order a pizza for dinner and watch a movie. Most of the time both Richie and Greg would sit on Rich’s lap to watch the movie.
“A boy is Truth, with dirt on his face, Beauty, with a cut on its finger, Wisdom, with bubble gum in its hair, And the Hope of the future, with a frog in its pocket.”
On Sunday morning we went to Faith Christian Center for services. Afterwards, we usually went out for breakfast. The whole family could eat for less than $20. At Church, Rich was drawn to the ministry of Missions. He would eventually go on several Mission trips to Haiti. Actually, Greg went with him on one of his trips. We also sponsored a little girl in Haiti for about 20 years. And Rich had the opportunity to meet her and her family on one of his trips. Speaking of trips… I remember taking a family trip to visit Rich’s sister, Sue, in Michigan. She was married and had lived there for a few years. Rich’s mother and sister, Denise, came with us. We had a small station wagon. Back then, no one used seat belts. So, we put a blanket in back, and Richie and Greg would either sit or lie down, and play games together. We enjoyed our time visiting Sue and her husband. They took us to Frankenmouth to visit a really cute Bavarian village there. We also visited the Ford museum. We decided to take a detour on our way home and visited Hershey, PA. I remember the wonderful smell of chocolate in the air. The kids loved the tour of the chocolate factory! We also went to Lancaster, PA, where many Amish people live, and ate dinner at a family-style restaurant. It was ‘all you can eat’. Everything was delicious, especially the Shoo-fly Pie! Oh my!! We ate so much that we actually felt sick, just thinking of food!!! Of course, that was the perfect opportunity for Rich to tease us, and start talking about breakfast the next morning, and how he was going to have some donuts, pancakes, etc. We almost gagged just thinking about it and vowed not to eat any breakfast the next day. With that in mind, we walked into a restaurant the next morning, and said that we would just have juice or coffee. That was the plan. But we made the mistake of looking at the menu, and when the waitress came to take our order, each one of us ordered a full breakfast! It was so funny!!
In the Fall of 1981 Richie would be in 3rd grade and Greg in 1st grade. I was still working part-time at NH Insurance from noon to 5pm, but had the opportunity to switch my hours to mother’s hours, when the lady I had jobshared with, decided to retire. I changed my hours to work from 9am to 2pm every day, while Richie and Greg were in school. Usually in the Fall, when the foliage was beautiful, we would enjoy going for a ride on a country road, and then stopping at Parker’s Maple Barn to eat. It was a family restaurant and they served the most delicious pancakes with pure maple syrup! Their pumpkin pancakes were the best!! We also went out to eat as a special treat, to celebrate birthdays. Many of the restaurants in the area offered a free meal for your birthday. I remember going to Mr. Steak, The Weathervane Restaurant, and The Marketplace Restaurant. We also went out to eat to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day every year. Rich’s sister, Denise, had left home years ago and had lived on her own in a few different places. She eventually moved to the state of Washington, and would meet her future husband there. She had been taking college courses to become a teacher, before she got married on July 4, 1983. Denise and her fiancé decided to come to NH to get married at our church, Faith Christian Center. Both families lived on the East coast. She asked me to be her Matron of Honor. Sue was 8 months pregnant at the time, and couldn’t travel from Michigan, to attend the Wedding. Sue and her husband would eventually have 4 children. Because Denise was living far away, she asked Rich and I to help plan the Wedding. She wanted Rich to walk her down the aisle. First, I went down the aisle as the Matron of Honor. Then, Richie and Greg, who were ushers, were supposed to unroll the white carpet for Denise and Rich to walk on. They were only 10 and 8 years old and had never been to a Wedding before. I had walked down the aisle and was standing in front, and turned to watch Rich walk Denise down the aisle. But what I actually watched, was so cute and funny – Richie and Greg were pulling the heavy roll of white paper down the aisle for them to walk on, but it was unfurling at an angle, so some people had to get out of their seats to help straighten it. They finally made it to the front, where I was standing, but there was still a good amount of paper
left on the roll. As a result, Denise had to step over it, in order to go up the steps to where she needed to stand. After the ceremony, Denise and her husband greeted the guests and opened their Wedding gifts, in the large foyer of the Church. We had asked one of Rich’s cousins, and his wife, to be in charge of the barbeque. We assumed that the Church had barbeque grills available, but realized at the last minute, that they did not. So, Rich’s cousin and his wife had to make their own grills, using metal trash cans filled with charcoal and covered in chicken wire. Having to put together make-shift grills took quite a bit of time, so they knew they wouldn’t have the food ready, immediately after the Wedding ceremony. So, Rich’s cousin came into the foyer and asked Rich to try to delay the people coming outside, for a little while. Timing is everything and, as he approached Rich to let him know that they needed more time to cook, Denise and her husband announced that everyone should now go outside to enjoy the barbeque. Immediately, everyone headed outside before Rich or his cousin could stop them! Rich’s cousin’s wife wasn’t too happy to see the crowd of people coming to eat, when the food wasn’t ready yet!! But everything turned out fine in the end, and despite it being a really hot day, we actually felt comfortable sitting under the trees, where everyone gathered. Denise and her husband would eventually have 8 children and she has home-schooled all of them. Rich had been working full-time as a firefighter for about 10 years. During that time, he often worked on his days off, doing home repairs and renovations, to make some extra money. He really enjoyed doing that and was good at it. Rich’s cousin, the one that had helped with the barbeque at Denise’s Wedding, was also a Christian, and had been working full-time doing home renovations and repairs, too. It was during this time that they began working together and got along well. In the Spring of 1984, Rich decided to quit his job at the Fire Department, and start his own business, with his cousin as his partner. They named their company Trinity Home Improvements. He had prayed about it for a while, and had discussed it with me and his Uncle Al. We had a good feeling in our hearts regarding it. (Actually, Jesus was a Carpenter before He began His ministry.)
It had been exactly 4 years since I called DCYF, to inquire about adoption. We hadn’t heard anything from them since then. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. But in the Spring of 1984, soon after Rich quit his secure job on the Fire Department, we received a phone call from DCYF that would dramatically change our lives forever!
“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” (Eva Burrows)
We were next in line on the waiting list and there was a little girl, who was 7 years old, and in need of a home. That sounded perfect! Immediately, I started planning how wonderful it would be to have a little girl – finally, a daughter. I loved my sons and enjoyed everything about bringing up boys. But, I was a little outnumbered – I was surrounded by males – even our dog was a male! It would be great to have another female in the house!! I was so excited, that I actually went shopping for toys and new clothes for our little girl, before we had even met her. I remember having fun shopping for some really cute “Polly Flinders” smocked dresses. I imagined her looking so sweet in her pretty dresses, and thought of that famous saying about little girls – “sugar and spice and everything nice”. A DCYF worker came to our home to have a meeting. She wanted to know more about us. She also showed us a picture of our little girl and told us about her, too. I thought that she was so cute! But I was getting a little frustrated with the social worker, because she seemed too negative. She stressed that a child, coming from a broken home, usually has a lot of issues that the family will need to deal with. I assured her that that we were a strong Christian family, so I felt confident our prayers and love for her, would overcome any difficulty that might come up. To be honest, I had so much confidence in myself as a good mother, with Rich as a good father, and with Richie and Greg as caring older brothers, that I really didn’t think we would need the Lord’s help very much. We were simply providing a home and family to a little girl in need. I mean… how hard could it be? I had no idea!
Remember in the last chapter, when I spoke about a man’s heart and a woman’s heart. A man’s heart desires 3 things – he longs for a battle to fight, longs for adventure, and longs for a beauty to rescue. Rich had experienced all 3 of those basic desires. A woman’s heart also desires 3 things – she longs to be romanced, longs to play a shared role in a great adventure, and longs to unveil beauty. I had experienced 2 of the basic desires – to be romanced and to unveil beauty. However, I hadn’t experienced a shared role in a great adventure… yet! I would soon embark on the most unexpected adventure of a lifetime!! I think it was in May when we first met Caroline. She was living in a foster home with an older couple. I soon learned that she had been there for 4 years and the foster mother had been praying for a Christian home for her during that time. It confirmed to me that the Lord had His hand on this, because I had first gotten the desire to adopt a little girl at exactly the same time that the foster mother began praying. It really seemed that it was meant to be and everything would work out great!
“A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.”
That is indeed what has happened – Caroline is not only my beautiful daughter but she is also a wonderful friend. We traveled together, with Jesse, to Texas in June 2010 to meet my newest grandson. We had a wonderful time together and hope to attend a Joyce Meyer conference together this July in New York. It is absolutely amazing, when I think of how much Caroline has changed – from the insecure little girl when we first met to the precious daughter and dear friend that she is now – it is truly a miracle, what the Lord has done in her life!
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
Caroline… we’ve experienced so many highs and lows in our relationship over the years. There were times that were so intense and stressful that I wasn’t sure that either of us was going to survive. But the Lord was faithful and protected us and did an amazing work in each of our hearts. I never would have come to really know Him and His amazing love, if I hadn’t needed Him and His love so desperately as your mother. It was that steadfast and unconditional love that ultimately softened and opened your heart, so you could receive it and let it heal all the hurts inside. I can tell you honestly
that those 23 years of praying and hoping and persevering were worth it in the end… because you are worth it! Back to the day that we first met… my first reaction when I met Caroline was that she was really cute but a little wild. She seemed happy to meet us but then quickly ran off. I thought it was understandable – I was excited, too. The foster mother also seemed to stress that it was going to be difficult for Caroline to adjust and accept us as her family. I thought she was being overly cautious. I was hoping that Caroline would become part of our family in June, have a small period of adjustment during July and August, and then be ready to start school in September. It seemed like the perfect plan! My plan!!
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
In my heart I also prayed that our family would have a close and loving relationship with each other, and that we would each have a close relationship with the Lord, desiring to love and serve Him. I believed that God would bless our family, so then we could be a blessing to others. God did grant me the desires of my heart. However it would not be according to my time table – a few months. It would actually take about 23 years, before I would see it all come to pass. To be honest, I have questioned the Lord at times, asking why it took so long and why it was so difficult. I finally have peace by what He has revealed to me – He had much more in mind for the whole family than I had anticipated. The Lord wanted to use us to provide a home for Caroline, and also use us to show His steadfast love for her, which was the only way to heal her broken heart. The Lord wanted to provide a daughter and sister for our family, and also do a work in each of our hearts, as well. I had a spirit of pride regarding my role as a mother. I felt confident that I had more than enough love to give to my daughter. I assumed that she would accept my love and that of our family, and then respond with love towards us.
“Having begun your new life spiritually with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection by dependence on the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
I had been saved by faith, but I really had been depending on myself, to live my life. That actually worked for a while, when my life went smoothly, as planned. However, life as I had known it, was now over! Caroline needed much more love and understanding than I was capable of in myself. Even though I did have a strong motherly love, I soon realized it would not be enough. It was then that I cried out to God, to help me to love her, as she needed. He, then, filled me with His unconditional love. In the Bible it speaks about the testing and trying of our faith, in order to bring something glorious out of us – complete confidence in His faithfulness. Through every testing and trial, He has proved Himself faithful, as I trusted in Him. I hoped and believed that, once she realized how much we loved her, and also that God loved her, then she would accept it, and everything would be fine. I truly believed that would happen and it did, but it didn’t happen as quickly or as easily as I hoped. It takes an incredible amount of faith to keep believing, and not know, if you’ll even live to see it.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith, produces patience and endurance.” (James 1:3)
I didn’t realize that we were in the midst of a battle – for our hearts. I believed that God was good and loving, and had our best interests at heart. He desired for us to draw close to Him, and come to really know Him and His love, as we trusted and depended on Him for everything. Unfortunately, we have an enemy who seeks to come against us. The devil knew that if he could get us to doubt God’s good plan for us, than we would soon feel overwhelmed and “lose heart”. To be honest, there were times that I felt so disappointed and discouraged, that it was difficult to keep believing that everything would work out for good in the end. But the Lord always provided someone at just the right moment, to encourage me with a kind word.
So, while the Lord was doing a work in our hearts, as we trusted and depended on Him, He also was doing a work in Caroline’s heart, by giving her a stable Christian family that wanted only to love her and take care of her. Unfortunately, she felt that she had been rejected – first, by her parents and then, by her foster parents, who were too old to adopt her. She didn’t trust our love for her and wasn’t going to give us a chance to reject her, too. So, she rejected us by not accepting our love, and not wanting to be part of our family. She was just trying to protect her heart from being hurt again.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” (Desmond Tutu)
Caroline actually reminded me of “Dorothy” from the Wizard of Oz. In that fairy tale, Dorothy is also not happy at home and longs for something more “over the rainbow”. She runs away and soon encounters good and evil. In the end, she realizes that she really misses home, and that’s really where she longs to be. She is told that she has always had the ability to return home – all she needs to do is click the heels of her shoes 3 times and repeat the words “there’s no place like home”. She finally realized that “home” is where she belongs, with those who really love her. I found it interesting to learn recently, that the name “Dorothy” means “gift from God”. Caroline also reminded me of the Prodigal Son – one of the parables (stories) that Jesus taught in the Bible. He also was not happy at home and wanted to leave. He did set out on his own and tried everything he thought would make him happy in the world. But it did not bring him happiness and he soon regretted that he had left home. He decided to return home and ask his father for forgiveness, hoping that his father would be merciful and loving. Not only was his father forgiving, but he welcomed his son home with open arms, and planned a big party in celebration. I think the message that Jesus wanted to convey, was not only that the world could not meet the son’s deep desires and longings, but when he came home he would be welcomed with love and forgiveness. It actually represents each of us, who are searching for something more. Jesus is the only One who can meet our deepest needs, and we will feel restless, until we find our “home” in Him. Like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus immediately
pours out His love and forgiveness, when we finally turn to Him and ask Him into our hearts. God looks at the heart and desires to heal it, if it has become broken; soften it, if it has become hardened; quench it, if it has become dry; open it, if it has been closed; and fill it with Himself and His love, if it is empty. It is an absolute miracle, when we allow the Lord to take control of our hearts and allow Him to meet all our needs. As difficult as those 23 years were, in the end, I know it was worth it. For myself, as I drew closer to the Lord and depended on Him, I came to know Him and His amazing love and faithfulness that I don’t think I would have ever known, had I not needed it so desperately. I think that my husband and Richie and Greg had a similar work in their hearts, too. It is a really a miracle when I see what the Lord has done in Caroline’s heart. She finally did have the desire to ‘come home’ about 3 years ago and become part of our family again. She finally realizes that we truly love her and she now loves us, too. The Lord has restored our relationship! And, best of all, Caroline also has a “heart for God” now, and is open to receiving all that He has for her. She trusts that He loves her and has a good plan for her life. She was baptized in water at her Church last year. I give God all the glory for what He has done in each of our hearts and our lives!
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
So… back to the Summer of 1980… when Caroline first came to live with us. I decided to take some time off from work to spend time with Caroline and help her to adjust to her new family. Caroline would have her own room – we turned our den into a bedroom for her. The first bed we bought for Caroline was a beautiful canopy bed. Later on, when she was older, we bought her a cute daybed. We also took her shopping for some new clothes and toys. It was definitely an adjustment for everyone but we had fun, too!
“A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer.”
I remember visiting some of our neighbors and introducing Caroline to them. She became friends with a few girls in our neighborhood. One time she had fun playing on a “slip ‘n slide” at one of our neighbor’s homes. We had an above ground pool in our back yard, so often during that first summer and many summers afterwards, neighborhood friends of Richie, Greg, and Caroline came to our house to go swimming. I also remember one summer that Richie and Greg had fun skateboarding. They even built a ¼ pike and ½ pike ramp to skateboard on. Caroline would usually ride her bike up and down the street, either by herself or with some friends. Other summers Richie and Greg were into weight lifting. They would go down cellar and spend a lot of time lifting weights. Caroline would go down cellar with some friends, and listen to music and dance. I remember filming her and two of her friends, dancing to a favorite song. It was really cute! Actually, Caroline did take dancing lessons after school for about a year. She wasn’t interested in playing soccer or hockey, like Richie and Greg. I remember that I enjoyed watching her at her dance class. It brought back memories of when I had taken dance classes in my childhood.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back, and realize they were the big things.” (Robert Brault)
Family time has always been very important to me. I really cherish the time when the whole family is together. I guess that’s why I enjoyed the holidays so much – it was the time when we took a break from our daily routine and spent time with each other. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love everything about it… the reason – to take time to give thanks to God the delicious food – preparing favorite dishes for my loved ones the family together – enjoying fellowship around the dinner table
Many times we would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning and Miracle on 34th Street in the afternoon. I also enjoyed decorating the house inside and out with different Christmas lights and decorations. But, I always seemed to get a little carried away, and spent most of the Thanksgiving weekend, decorating to my heart’s content. Actually, unveiling beauty is one of the desires of a woman’s heart – maybe that’s why I got so much satisfaction from it. I also enjoy decorating my home for the different seasons, so that it is warm, inviting, and welcoming – a haven for all. And I usually play uplifting Christian music to set the tone of the home. I remember one Christmas that the Cabbage Patch doll was so popular. Every little girl wanted one, so they were hard to find. But we found one and were excited to give it to Caroline at Christmas. I remember when Caroline opened her gift and saw that it was a Cabbage Patch doll – she was so happy! Sometimes during the Winter, we would try to make a skating rink in the back yard. Due to the fact that we had about 10 weeping willow trees along the edge of our property, we always had a lot of those branches falling and getting stuck in the ice, causing the kids to trip over them as they skated. Also, in the late Winter or early Spring, the temperatures would warm up a little bit. But, because we had a hill across the street from our house, our yard didn’t get too much sun. As a result, we would still have snow on the ground in our yard, but it was gone in some of our neighbors’ yards up the street. It was funny – our kids would be dressed in their snow suits and boots, playing in the snow, while their friends wore light jackets and were raking leaves! In the evening, we enjoyed watching TV together as a family. Some the kids’ favorite shows were Wonder Years, Knight Rider, and The Dukes of Hazzard. They were funny shows and we enjoyed watching them and laughing together!
"Home is the one place in all the world, where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness, which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness, and without any dread of ridicule." (Frederick W. Robertson)
Caroline sometimes helped out around the house. Usually on Saturday, she would clean her room. Sometimes, she helped me set the table for dinner. Once in a while, we would make cookies together. Richie and Greg cleaned their rooms on Saturday, too. They also had a paper route together in grammar school. When they first started working as “paper boys”, they delivered the paper after school. Eventually, they each got a paper route of their own, and they delivered the papers in the morning, before school. Later on, in high school, Richie worked after school at a local grocery store, and Greg worked after school at a local pharmacy. Caroline worked at McDonald’s for a little while. Later on, after she left home, she worked as a housekeeper at a motel. She has also worked at a few department stores, too.
“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.”
Richie and Greg always loved music. Richie played the trumpet and Greg played the saxophone in grammar school. Richie would later learn to play the guitar on his own and Greg learned to play the harmonica. They also loved to compose lyrics and music, and wrote many songs. I always enjoyed hearing them singing at home. In fact, it always lifted my spirits, if I was feeling a little low. Actually, Rich had learned to play the guitar on his own when he was growing up, and had a guitar, so would often sing some Christian songs with Richie and Greg. Rich was also part of a Christian singing group for a little while that sometimes sang at Full Gospel meetings. He was a member of Full Gospel for many years. I remember going to a Full Gospel convention for a weekend. Rich and I were baptized in water at the swimming pool there at the convention center. Faith Christian Center had a big impact on our family. We continued going there every Sunday for services. We also taught Junior Church (Sunday
School) as a family once a month. We taught the 3 and 4 years olds and had quite a few children in our class. The Tuesday night Bible Studies had given us a good foundation in our Christian faith. Sometimes Rich’s mother and my parents would go to the Bible Study, too. And, often, we would see my sister, Sharon, at the Bible Study. Actually, it was there that she met someone and they would be very dear friends for many, many years. In addition to the Tuesday night Bible Study, our Church also encouraged people to meet in small groups in different homes to study the Bible. We joined one of the groups and Rich often led worship before the Bible Study. Faith Christian Center helped us in our walk as new Christians - getting to know the Lord and His great love for us. I really enjoyed the ‘Praise and Worship’ part of the Sunday service. It is one of the best ways to bless the Lord, by praising Him in song and dance. He does inhabit the praises of His people. I love the following scripture that speaks of it…
"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth Worship the LORD with gladness Come before Him with joyful song Know that the LORD is God It is He who made us, and we are His We are His people, the sheep of His pasture Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise Give thanks to Him and praise His name For the LORD is good and His love endures forever His faithfulness continues through all generations." (Psalm 100)
Richie and Greg also went to the school at Faith Christian Center for a few years. They would eventually open their heart to the Lord and ask Him in. The Church definitely played an important part in our Spiritual growth. In the Spring of 1988, I was still working at NH Insurance part-time. They informed everyone working part-time that they were going to lay us off. My supervisor offered me full-time work, but I knew that I couldn’t increase my hours to full-time. I needed to be home for my children after school, especially Caroline. I was blessed to quickly find a part-time job at Northeast Planning, where I would work for the next 15 years, until we moved to CT. I have a lot of good memories of the time that I worked there.
Actually, my younger sister, Sharon, also worked there, so it was nice to be able to spend time with her each day. My older sister, Jeannine, worked close by, so occasionally we would get together for lunch. I also enjoyed working with a co-worker, who would become a very good friend to me. She had a great sense of humor and would often brighten my day. She knew that I was going through a difficult time at home, and would often find a way to make me laugh. There is an amusing story that happened around this time at work… I remember one time that my friend and I tried to change the toner cartridge from the new copy machine we had recently gotten. I don’t think that either of us had paid much attention when they first showed us how to change the toner. But we thought that surely the both of us could figure it out. However, in the process of inserting the new toner, it somehow opened up and we spilled some of it. A layer of fine black powder now covered the new copier. We decided to vacuum it up, but didn't realize a part was missing on the end of the vacuum. As a result, all the black powder we were vacuuming up on one end, was shooting out the other end… leaving a black coating on the ceiling, on the walls, and on ourselves. We just looked at each other and started laughing. Another co-worker happened to walk by, took one look at us, and said "I just have one question… which of you is Lucy and which one is Ethel?" In the Fall of 1989, Rich would be 40 years old and Caroline would be 13 years old – Rich’s mother and I decided to make a surprise party to celebrate both milestones. I invited all of Rich’s family and friends, including both his sisters, who were married and had families of their own. I had invited quite a few people to the party and asked that everyone bring a dish to share. Rich’s mother bought 2 birthday cakes – one for Rich and one for Caroline. I was very happy that we had a beautiful day for the party. There were a lot of children that came, so they were able to play outside. It was a wonderful day and is a precious memory – celebrating 2 special birthdays with our family and friends! I also remember all the pets we’ve had over the years. We had a few cats – Muffin, Twinkie, and Friskie. We also owned quite a few different dogs. First, we had a black lab that we named Blackie. Then, we had a little dog named Jenny that, despite our best efforts, would pee all over the house. We finally gave up and found another home for her. We then got a mongrel dog that was dropped off at the Fire Department, and Rich decided to bring
home. We named him Spots and he was a really good dog. That was followed by a cocker spaniel that we named Skippy. He would follow me all over the house. The dog that we have now is a schipperke – a good but very hyperactive breed. He has never been a dog that could just sit on your lap quietly. We actually bought him for Jesse but, because I am the one who feeds and takes care of him, he really became my dog. He is a very faithful dog and kept me company when Rich was serving in Iraq. It also helped that he was a very alert “watch dog”, too. However, he’s now about 12 years old and can no longer see or hear very well, but still thinks he’s our” watch dog” – he just can’t see who or what he’s barking at!
"The home is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the single most influential force in our earthly existence. No price tag can adequately reflect its value. No gauge can measure its ultimate influence for good or ill. It is at home, among family members, that we come to terms with circumstances. It is here life makes up its mind." (Chuck Swindoll)
Rich had left the Fire Department with a secure salary to start his own business with his cousin. They not only did home repairs and renovations, but they also built some beautiful homes. Unfortunately, in the late 1980’s, the housing market was in a downward trend, so it became very difficult to find buyers for homes being built. We actually had to take a home equity loan on our own home, for one of the last homes that Rich and his cousin built. Although it was a beautiful home, it took a long time to sell at that time. I was able to increase my hours at work and started working full-time. In 1990, Rich decided to re-enlist in the Air National Guard to earn an extra income every month. He worked one weekend a month for the National Guard. I wasn’t worried at all at that time about the possibility of Rich being deployed in a war. Later on, for various reasons, he switched from the Air National Guard and joined the Army Guard. Richie had attended Parker Varney School, Faith Christian Center, and Parkside Junior High during elementary school. He graduated from West High School in 1991. He was a good student and usually made the honor roll. He decided to go on to the University of New Hampshire and major in engineering. He decided that a 5 year program would best fit his needs. He soon adjusted to college life. It was less than an hour away from our home, so we tried to visit him at UNH about once a month. He studied hard for his
classes, but also found time to join a “crew” team, which kept him in good physical shape. Occasionally, he sang, sometimes with Greg, at a few coffee houses near campus. He eventually decided to join ROTC to help pay his college tuition. The first time he flew in an airplane was when he went off to basic training. I still remember the feeling I had when I watched him fly off into the great blue yonder. It is so hard for a mother to let her children go — whether it is when they are still young and first go to school, or whether they are older and go off to college or to basic training. Richie graduated in 1996 from UNH with high honors and a degree in engineering. The same day he graduated from College, he also became an officer in the Air Force, with plans to become a pilot. He was stationed for a time at a base in North Carolina and then at a base in Texas. We flew to Corpus Christi, Texas when Richie got his wings as an Air Force pilot. He became Captain, flying C-130’s, overseas during ”Enduring Freedom”. Currently he is an instructor pilot with the Air Force. Rich and I are so proud of all his accomplishments! We are even more proud of the type of person he is – a man of strong character and integrity!! Greg was also very ambitious and set many goals for himself. He made the decision to apply to several prep schools in New England to complete high school. He got accepted at Phillips Exeter Academy and would be a student there for 2 years. He then applied to prestigious Amherst College and was accepted. He majored in political science, and interned for Senator Smith one summer. Amherst College was about 2 ½ hours away from us, so we tried to visit him about every other month. Greg worked hard at his studies, but also found time to play lacrosse and varsity hockey. He would play the position of goalie, as he had during his childhood. He also worked part-time at a local child care center, to earn some money. He would graduate from Amherst College, with high honors, in 1998. We are so proud of Greg and all his accomplishments! He is also a man of strong character and integrity!! Caroline found it unsettling when Richie left home to go to college. Then, the following year Greg left home to go to prep school. She felt that she needed to make plans, too. However, she was only 16 years old and not
ready to be on her own. I mentioned previously that she always had this longing to go somewhere else, and finally be happy. That longing and restlessness intensified, from the time she was 16 years old until she did move out of our home, at 18 years old. We had mixed emotions about her moving out. We felt a sigh of relief that we no longer had to deal with the intense battle of wills that were part of our daily life. But I also felt that I had failed her as her mother. After being part of our family for 10 years, she still hadn’t accepted us or our love for her. In fact, she seemed to have an intense hatred for me, and was the main reason we agreed to let her move out.
“Our families are the safety net, that catch us when we fall. They are our sanctuary in a storm. They are the beacon, showing us the way home, when we’re lost.” (Linda Offenheiser)
I think that the 2 years, when Caroline was 16 years old until she was 18 years old and left home, were the most stressful time of all. I spent many hours crying out to God for wisdom and strength to help me. I remember one time that I was totally worn out from the daily battle and my heart felt dry and empty. I was so discouraged by the endless stress and strife that I was starting to feel hopeless. It was during the summer, so Richie and Greg were back at home on summer break from school. I was in my bedroom, crying out to the Lord, and then heard them, singing unto the Lord. I don’t remember what song it was, but I do remember that it quenched the dryness of my heart and refreshed me. It also stilled the turmoil in my heart and I felt at peace. I knew in my heart that the Lord was in control, and He would work it all out for good in the end. Within a few weeks, due to various circumstances, Caroline moved out on her own as she had wanted to do for so long. Rich and I hoped and prayed that it would be a good move for her. We also breathed a sigh of relief that we had made it through those 2 years of intense stress. Years later, Richie would name his Christian band “Living Water Sound”. I had never told him of that time, when he and Greg were singing, and the effect it had on me. My heart had felt so dry and empty… until I heard the Living Water (God’s Word) being sung, and the Holy Spirit filled me and quenched my thirsty heart, and gave me hope again.
The following lyrics from a song that Richie wrote “Come and See” describe what happened to me, and will happen to anyone, who comes… You are the Person that I seek You are the One I long to meet You are so holy, Lord and I am not What can I bring You You own everything All I can offer on this altar is me You say that’s all You’ve wanted all the time As Your love surrounds me, Peace fills my mind, when I come Come and see, yeah, can you feel it The Spirit rising up in you Come and drink from The Living Water Then let it flow, out of you Come everyone who’s hungry Come all of you who thirst This is His broken body Drink of the cup of new birth Got to find something to bring You But You own everything Where can I run to That You’re not there already To whom else can I go Only You have the words of life That can fill my soul That can quench my mind When I come
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
Caroline moved out of our house in the summer of 1994 and moved into a group home. I remember that we were invited soon afterwards to a family reunion on Rich’s mother’s side of the family. The first “Chateauneuf Reunion” was held that summer and has been a tradition that we’ve enjoyed every summer since then. It is held at the home of one of Rich’s cousins’. They have a beautiful home on the lake – a perfect setting for the large family barbecue party. It was great to get together with Rich’s family – many of whom we hadn’t seen for years. We had an “empty nest” now, so we could finally relax and enjoy ourselves, without worrying about what was going on at home. Of course, those “mudslide drinks” also helped us relax, too! We actually had an “empty nest” for about a year. During that time, we often got together with some of our neighbors on the weekend. They were about the same age as us, with children that were soon to leave home, too. Sometimes we went to Hampton Beach and walked around, ate dinner somewhere, and then watched the fireworks right on the beach. We also went up north and visited the Annalee museum, where I fell in love with the unique dolls made there, and started a collection of them. We also went to several Fairs in the area and enjoyed the delicious food and beautiful crafts displayed. We knew our neighbors very well. Most of them had lived in the neighborhood for several years, and our children had grown up together. We actually had a tradition of getting together every New Year’s Eve. There were about 6 couples and we took turns, having the party at each other’s home. We each brought a dish to share. We spent most of the evening eating and just enjoying each other’s company. We would also play a game – usually it was Trivial Pursuit. The men were on one team and the women were on the other team. The men usually won, I’m sorry to say! I think that it was around this time, in 1994, that my father was hospitalized for his colon. I was still working at Northeast Planning, where my sister, Sharon also worked. We decided to go to the hospital after work, to visit my Dad.
We parked in the parking lot and took the bus shuttle from there, to the hospital. I had open-toed high heels on and, as I was getting off the bus, I caught one of the heels on one of the steps. As a result, I went “flying” out of the bus, and fell down on the sidewalk in front of me! The bus driver and Sharon were concerned and asked if I was all right. I replied that I was fine – it was just my pride that was hurt! So, we entered the hospital and I tried to forget what had just happened. I told Sharon that we shouldn’t mention it to Mom and Dad – they would be concerned about me for no reason. I actually didn’t want them to know what a “klutz” I was. Although having known me all my life, they probably would not have been surprised! We found Mom and Dad in the hospital room. We gave them each a hug and asked how they were doing. We were making small talk, when all of a sudden my Mom noticed that there was a small puddle of blood, around my big toe. She asked me what happened. I had no choice but to tell her “I fell out of the shuttle bus”! Being the loving Mom that she is, she didn’t laugh, but she did take charge, and said that I needed to go to the emergency room to get checked. I said that I just needed to put a little pressure on it, so it would stop bleeding. I grabbed a bunch of tissues and wrapped it around my toe. Within a few seconds, the blood had seeped through the tissues. I had no choice but to go to the emergency room and explain my humiliating accident! While I was waiting in the emergency room, I decided to call Rich to let him know. He thought it was very funny and said, “Only I would be so clumsy as to fall out of a shuttle bus, and end up in the emergency room, instead of visiting my Dad”! Finally, a doctor came in to look at my toe. He said that the protruding toe nail (I need to remember to cut my toe nails more often!) had hit the ground when I fell, and almost popped off. It was still hanging on a little bit. He offered to yank it off, because it would probably fall off eventually. I quickly told him that I’d rather let it fall off eventually, instead of yanking it off! Yikes!!
I actually had to stay out of work for a few days until the nail fell off. Again I had to explain the humiliating tale of what had happened. I think I threw those high heels away!
“It is truly a gift to have a son like you, who grows more precious with the years!”
Our youngest son, Jesse, was born on October 6, 1995. I remember that we didn’t get too much sleep in those first few months. He would wake up a few times during the night, and it took him a while to fall back asleep. Rich was working full-time for the V.A. (Veterans Administration) – he started working there in 1992. And, I was working full-time at Northeast Planning, so Jesse went to a local daycare center, while we were at work. One good thing about becoming parents when you’re young – you have the chance to do it all again! I was 42 when Jesse was born and Rich was 46. Contemplating the difference in our ages, we realized that, in the future, we would be able to go to the movies and save money, by buying a children’s ticket and senior citizen tickets! Our once “empty nest” was soon filled with a crib, swing, playpen, high chair, walker, toys, etc. There would be no more weekend day trips with our neighbors, leisurely traveling around NH. Well, it was nice while it lasted!
“Boys are God’s way of telling you, that your house is too neat!”
Our life was definitely different now. It now revolved around Jesse. He was so cute! He loved his pacifier so much that it was a major problem if we misplaced it. We always made sure that we had several available at any time. He loved it if we blew bubbles into the air. He would have fun trying to catch them. I remember that he loved to sit on Rich and watch TV. He also loved to look at books. And he’s always loved soft stuffed toys – he actually has quite a collection of them! In the Spring we bought a baby swing for Jesse to enjoy in the back yard – he loved it. Sometimes I put Jesse in his stroller and went for a walk in our neighborhood. He was very alert and loved to look all around.
In the Summer Jesse had fun in our swimming pool – playing and splashing everyone, especially me! Actually, Jesse has always loved swimming and is a really good swimmer. Time went quickly and soon Jesse would be 1 year old. To celebrate Jesse’s 1st birthday, we had a big birthday party. I think that he was a little overwhelmed by all the family and friends that came. I remember opening gifts with him for a few hours. We had gotten a really cute birthday cake with bright colors on the icing. I cut Jesse a good size piece of cake and put it in front of him. I thought he was going to dig into it with both hands, but he wouldn’t touch it. Rich put a little in his mouth, so he could taste it. But he still refused to touch it! We didn’t know then that he had sensory issues and couldn’t tolerate touching something like that. I remember that Jesse loved the lights on our Christmas tree. He also loved anything that was bright and very visual. Of course, we didn’t realize at that time that he was deaf, and that’s why he focused so much on what he saw. A few months later, we began to question why Jesse wasn’t trying to imitate what we said to him. The daycare also was concerned, so we went to an audiologist to get his hearing tested. He was only about 16 months old and too young to have a hearing test done. She did say that it appeared there was fluid in his ears, so maybe that was the problem. He had tubes put in both his ears to drain the fluid. The fluid in his ears hadn’t been the reason for Jesse not being able to hear, but it was probably the reason Jesse hadn’t started walking yet. Finally, when he was 17 months old, he began walking. We were so proud of him!
“A small son can charm himself into, and out of, most things.” (Jenny de Vries)
We then went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital to have an ABR test done to check his hearing. They gave him a mild sedative, so he would sleep, and then they measured how his brain reacted to different sound waves. Unfortunately, the test revealed that he was profoundly deaf. It was due to his sensory nerves not developing.
They advised us to get in touch with Easter Seals, because they help special needs children. They told us that they had a daycare available that might be able to help Jesse. We quickly enrolled him there. They also said that they co-ordinate with the ‘Birth to Three’ program. They would provide someone that would come to our home each week for a few hours, to help us adjust to having a special needs child with sensory issues. There was also someone available to come to our home each week, to teach us sign language.
“Mothers of little boys work, from son up ‘til son down.”
I checked with my supervisor at work and asked if I could cut down my hours, and work just 4 days a week instead of 5 days. I explained that I needed to be home 1 day during the week, so Jesse could have home visits for his sensory issues and to learn sign language. From the time Jesse was 1 ½ years old until he was 3 years old, we had home visits once a week. Someone from Easter Seals came to our home and got down on the floor and played with him. Because of his sensory issues, she had special toys that would help him to deal with it. She also asked me to get a big plastic container and put some dry beans inside it. Jesse had fun playing with the beans. He didn’t want to touch them at first, but would use plastic spoons or cups to play with them. Eventually, he was able to tolerate touching them with his hands. Someone else came to our home each week to teach sign language to Jesse and myself. I would teach Rich at night, what we had learned earlier in the day. Usually those workers came separately in the morning. Once in a while they coordinated their schedule and came at the same time. They were a really great source of help and support for us. It was fun to learn sign language. Jesse learned it very quickly. I was learning, too, but it took me a little longer than him. There is actually a funny story that happened around this time that will illustrate how much sign language I had learned… I remember one time at work that a deaf person walked in. He was going to communicate with us by writing. However, I decided to put my knowledge of sign language to the test and proudly signed to him “I know a little bit of sign language”. He was very happy until he realized how little I actually knew!
Each time he asked me a question, I struggled to sign to him in response. In fact, I hesitated and repeated myself so much signing to him that a coworker who was watching all this, later commented “It looked like someone stuttering, in sign language”!
“A treasure to a little boy does not consist in money, gems, or jewelry. He will find far greater pleasure in the wonder of a rock, pebble, stick, or beetle.”
Jesse has always loved rocks. He would always look for some in our back yard and also any time that we went for a walk. He always picked up a few rocks and put them in his pockets. I’ve learned to check his pockets before I put his clothes in the wash, because there are always a few rocks in there! Jesse has always liked to play outside. He had fun on his swing, his slide, and his sand box in our back yard. I also remember that he loved to play ball outside, and he had a little car that he had fun riding in. He also loved watching TV. One of his favorite shows when he was small was Blue’s Clues. Because he is deaf, we’ve always put the closed captioning option on, when watching TV. Actually, there was one Blue’s Clues show, where they used sign language. That was great to see! Because Jesse loved Blue’s Clues, we bought him several toys from that show. We also bought him some books and computer games related to the show, too. Jesse enjoyed Blue’s Clues for quite a while. That was followed by Jimmy Neutron. He absolutely loved anything to do with that character. We even bought him a ‘Jimmy Neutron’ Halloween costume one year. He looked so cute! I remember Jesse’s first Halloween costume – he was dressed as a ‘Pumpkin’. Other costumes he’s had are a ‘Mickey Mouse’ black cat costume and a ‘Clown’ costume. One year he was a ‘Dalmatian Dog’ from the movie 101 Dalmatians. Another year he dressed as a ‘Race Car Driver’. He always looked so cute, so I always took a lot of pictures!
The ‘Jimmy Neutron’ costume was followed by a ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ costume. Jesse loved that show and I enjoyed watching it, too! It always made me laugh!! Jesse has always loved going to the movies - from the time when he was just a little boy until now, at 15 years old. I think we’ve seen all the children’s movies that have been shown, especially Disney movies. Two of his favorite movies were 101 Dalmatians and Toy Story. Later on, the Harry Potter movies were, and still are, his favorite. So, of course, he wanted to dress up as ‘Harry Potter’ for Halloween, too. He actually looks a lot like Harry Potter, especially when he puts on the glasses! In the Fall of 1997, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. My parents had planned a surprise party for us at the Chateau, where our Wedding reception was held. That was a really nice surprise! And in most of the pictures taken of us – Jesse is sitting right between us!! In the Spring of 1998, my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They had a big celebration in one of the function rooms at the Puritan Restaurant. There was a very nice dinner. Afterwards, there was dancing. Normally, Rich and I love to dance but this time it was a little hard, because Rich was on crutches. He had fallen down the stairs at our house, a few nights before. Jesse had woken up during the night and Rich got up. He was half asleep and took a wrong turn. We usually have a night light on near the stairway but, for some reason, it wasn’t on, so it was very dark. I am so thankful that he didn’t break his neck. He hurt his ankle really bad, so had to stay off his feet. In 1998 Greg graduated from Amherst College, and came back home to live with us, for about 1 year. During that time he worked for Walgreen’s during the day and a movie theatre at night. It was not a good job market at that time, so he had difficulty finding a good job, with a Liberal Arts degree. Most graduates go on to get a Master’s degree but, with student loans to pay off, he wasn’t in a position to do that. He would eventually move to Los Angeles, for 3 years, to seek better employment opportunities. During that summer, Caroline had a son, and one of Rich’s cousins took him in, and he became part of their family.
Also, that summer, we took Jesse to the beach. He did not like walking on the sand in his bare feet! It took a while, but he was finally able to tolerate it. In the Fall, Jesse would be 3 years old, and the ‘Birth to Three’ program, would end. He was able to continue to go to the Easter Seals daycare. He now went 5 days a week, instead of 4 days. They actually picked him up each morning. He looked so cute as he got on the bus! Rich was working for the V. A. and was able to work 2 days a week at home. I continued working just 4 days a week, and enjoyed having 1 day off all to myself. One night a week my sisters and my nieces came to my house for pizza. Actually, one of my nieces, Melissa, had a little girl about Jesse’s age and they would play together. My other niece, Michele, had taken sign language classes in college, so she sometimes taught me different signs. Rich, Jesse, and I also learned sign language at a local school, one night a week. In the Spring of 2001, we went to Disney World in Florida for vacation. Caroline came too and we flew to Florida together. Richie and Greg also joined us there. Jesse was 5 ½ years old and was so excited! I think his favorite moment was when he shook hands with Woody and Buzz from Toy Story!! In the Fall of 2001, Jesse started going to kindergarten at Green Acres School. It was across town, but was the only elementary school in the city that had interpreters for the Deaf. He would go there for 2 years – Kindergarten and Readiness. It was not a good situation – it was a big school with few deaf students, so he didn’t feel comfortable at all. The Fall of 2001 was also marked by the worst terrorist attack ever on U. S. soil. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day. It was absolutely terrible and shocking! Greg was still in Los Angeles and I thanked God that he hadn’t been traveling on one of those planes that day. Richie actually had been flying that day for the Air Force. But his plane, and all other planes, were soon grounded, once it was confirmed what was happening. Rich was still in the National Guard and I realized that, if we went to war, he could get deployed.
In June of 2002, Greg decided to leave Los Angeles, after having lived there for 3 years, and return home. He had worked at Kinko’s during that time. He came home and immediately started to look for a job. However, in the midst of job hunting, he found the time to call a beautiful young lady that he had met at a friend’s wedding, right before he moved to Los Angeles. We had been at the Wedding and she had sat at our table. I thought she was very nice and very pretty! She also had a little boy, Ryan, who was so cute!! He hadn’t forgotten her and was hoping she hadn’t forgotten him. He called her and they started seeing each other. Before long I knew they were serious about each other, because we saw Greg less and less. He proposed to Michelle on Thanksgiving, and she said yes! We were so happy that Michelle (and Ryan) were going to become part of our family!! In the Fall of 2002, Jesse would be 7 years old, and we decided to make him a kids party, inviting some family and friends. We bought a piñata from a party store. I had never bought one before, and assumed that it was already filled with candy and toys. We also bought some fun party games and prizes for the kids to enjoy. When it came time for the kids to take turns to hit the piñata and break it open, for some reason, no one could break it open. Actually, not even Greg hitting it with a baseball bat, could break it open! We finally took it down and cut it open. Imagine our disappointment when we saw that it was empty! And, imagine how disappointed the kid’s were!! Everyone remembers that birthday party with the empty piñata!!! Also, in the Fall of 2002, Jesse continued going to Green Acres School and was now in a Readiness class, instead of 1st grade. We knew that he didn’t feel comfortable at the school, because there were few deaf children there. His teacher also mentioned that she thought he was mildly autistic. We disagreed and felt that he just felt uncomfortable in such a big school, where most of the students were hearing. We decided to look for a School for the Deaf for Jesse. Unfortunately, we found out that there were no Schools for the Deaf in NH, so started looking for one in New England. The best one that we found was the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, CT. Rich was working at the V.A. and checked with his supervisor about getting a transfer to the V.A, in Hartford, CT.
He actually was able to get a transfer very easily and quickly. However, I didn’t want to move at that time, because I was concerned that Rich might get deployed to Iraq, and I would be alone with Jesse in a new city and state. So, we decided to wait until the following Spring, in 2003, to move to CT. Greg and Michelle were planning to be married on November 9, 2003. They bought our home from us in May 2003, because we were planning to move to CT, so Jesse could go to the American School for the Deaf. We found a beautiful home in West Hartford in a very nice neighborhood. I quit working at Northeast Planning in June 2003, after working there for 15 years. I would miss everyone, but I was looking forward to starting our new life in CT. I remember that I quit working on a Thursday, we traveled to CT to sign papers for our new home on Friday, and we moved to CT on Saturday. Richie and Greg helped us move to CT. I hadn’t taken any time off to pack for our move, and was trying to get it done on the weekend and at night after work. As a result, on Saturday morning, as Rich pulled up in the moving truck, I was still packing boxes. I hurriedly labeled those boxes “miscellaneous” and told them to load up the truck. Unfortunately, in the mad rush, we had actually packed up some of Greg and Michelle’s things, too. It was definitely a very hectic time! That weekend I remember Richie casually mentioning that he had met someone and was attracted to her. When I asked for more details, he just said to please keep the situation in our prayers. We agreed to pray about it. The rest of the summer was spent getting settled in. We met our neighbors and all of them were very nice. One family in back of us had 3 children and home-schooled. They were very friendly and helped us to adjust to our new surroundings. There was another family that we met that also had 3 children, and the oldest son would become good friends with Jesse. Jesse started 1st grade in the Fall and really liked it. I usually visited the school a few times a week to eat lunch with him. He seemed more relaxed and comfortable there. All the students were deaf and a lot of the teachers were deaf, too. I knew that we had made the right move for Jesse.
However, I noticed that Jesse wasn’t interacting as much as the other deaf students. I remembered what the teacher in NH had said, and started reading about autism. I soon realized that Jesse was mildly autistic, as well as profoundly deaf.
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” (Franklin Jones)
It’s definitely been a learning experience for Rich and myself, dealing with the fact that Jesse is deaf and autistic. With Jesse being deaf, we’ve had to learn sign language to communicate with him and always have closed captioning on when we watch TV. With Jesse being autistic, we’ve had a more difficult time learning to live with that. I think the hardest time is when there is a transition from one thing to another, especially if he is really enjoying what he is doing at the moment! Then it is always very difficult for him to stop and move on to something else. I’ve learned that I need to allow him enough time to do that. He usually needs a 5 minute warning, then a 1 minute warning, etc. I also use a “to do” list to help Jesse see what we are going to do that day. He actually likes to check things off as he does them. (Just like me!) In November Richie flew in from Texas to be best man at Greg and Michelle’s Wedding. It was held at The Hancock Inn. It was a beautiful place to have the Wedding. And the foliage, at that time of year, was at its peak. The only thing more beautiful than the surroundings was Michelle – she looked absolutely stunning! And Greg looked very handsome, too! They had reserved the Inn for the whole weekend for themselves and all the invited guests. Being that Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale, I got them a Cinderella coach centerpiece, decorated with flowers. It was a perfect day in every way, except for one thing… I had my camera with me to take pictures at the Wedding. Rich decided to go to our room to get our movie camera to film some of the Wedding, too. He walked into our room and saw that his cell phone was buzzing. He checked who was calling and saw that it was someone from the National Guard. He was being notified of his possible activation, to serve in the war in Iraq.
He did not tell anyone at the Wedding, and actually didn’t tell anyone until the following day, when we were back home in CT. I was shocked! And I didn’t want to believe it!! It helped that Richie would be staying with us for a few days before he flew back to Texas. We had also invited my parents and Rich’s mother to come back with us to CT after the Wedding. Rich’s mother had mentioned at the Wedding that she really missed us now that we were living in CT. I knew that my parents also missed us, so we invited all of them to come for a visit. I’m so glad that I did – Rich’s mother would have a major stroke just about 1 month later. Having Richie, my parents, and Rich’s mother with us helped to distract my mind from contemplating the news that Rich could possibly be away from home for more than a year and in harm’s way while fighting in Iraq. I surrendered the whole situation to the Lord and tried not to think about it as much as possible. Of course, someone would inevitably start talking about it and then ask me “What are you going to do”? I reassured them that the Lord was in control and we would all be fine. Once Richie, my parents, and Rich’s mother left, I had more time to think about it. I was hoping that we would get another phone call from the Guards, notifying us that it was a mistake, and Rich would not be deployed to Iraq… or anywhere else… ever. Unfortunately, he would get another phone call, but it was to confirm that he was indeed activated, and would be deployed a few days after Christmas. He would go to Fort Drum in upstate New York for two months (January and February) to train, before deploying to Iraq for one year. I remember questioning the wisdom of the Army, training soldiers at one of the coldest bases in the country, during the coldest time of the year, to then go fight a war in the extreme heat of a desert, halfway across the world. Clearly they didn’t know what they were doing, and my husband’s life was in their hands! First, I was mad at the Army; then I was mad at Rich, for letting himself be deployed. I remember thinking “if anything happens to you, I’ll never speak to you again”! (I admit it – I wasn’t thinking clearly.) Then, I was mad at myself for letting Rich re-enlist so many years ago during peacetime.
And, finally, I was mad at God, for allowing it to happen. In the midst of all the stress, I got really sick. I was a mess! I finally came to the end of myself, emotionally and physically, and surrendered it all to God, asking Him to forgive me for my unbelief. I asked Him for protection for Rich, and wisdom and strength for me to take care of Jesse on my own. I remembered that Rich had been gone from home in the past, for short periods of time. He had gone on several mission trips to Haiti, and I had been able to care for our home and family, while he was gone. He had also gone to Baltimore Maryland for a few months for training on his job, during a really difficult time we were having with Caroline, and I had survived. Remembering the Lord’s faithfulness in the past gave me hope and strength to face the future.
“At the point where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.” (Robert Brault)
As I mentioned, Rich’s mother had a major stroke about a month after Greg and Michelle’s Wedding. She had come to CT to visit us for a few days after the Wedding. That would be the last time that she would be able to travel to CT. We went back to NH at the end of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. We went out to eat at a nice restaurant with Michelle & Greg, my parents, and Rich’s mother. We had a good time together, in spite of the fact that Rich would be leaving for Fort Drum in one more month. At the beginning of December we got a phone call from Greg. Rich’s mother had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. We found out that it was a major stroke on the left side of her brain, which affects speech. She also couldn’t move anything on her right side. It was very upsetting for everyone, especially for Rich, who knew that he would have to leave for Iraq soon. Greg and Michelle came to our house in CT for Christmas. It was good to have them visit us, and to know they were just a few hours away in NH. My parents also said that they were available in any way they could help. One of my neighbors, who I didn’t know very well, called and said that she and her family would help us through it all. And, even though Richie was stationed in Texas, I knew that he was just a phone call away if I needed to talk.
My family and friends supported me during that difficult time and I will always be grateful. Above all, I thank God for being faithful and taking care of my husband, myself, and Jesse throughout that year. I actually was able to be supportive of another wife, whose husband was in Iraq, too. The Lord gave me strength not only for myself, but to help someone else, too. I continued to visit the school to eat lunch with Jesse, a couple of times during the week. I also took sign language classes available to parents, on Tuesday morning at the school. One of my neighbors’ often called and invited me to go shopping with her or just out for coffee. We became very good friends. I am so thankful to her and her family, who reached out to me and Jesse, during that difficult time. Every Saturday, Jesse and I would go out together - to West Hartford Center or to the Mall. West Hartford Center has some restaurants, shops, and a library. Many times we would go to Friendly’s Restaurant for lunch and then to the library. Other times we went to the Mall and ate at Burger King or the Rainforest Café. Jesse loves books, so we always stopped at the book store there. Every Sunday, we went to a Baptist Church that had a Deaf ministry. They had an interpreter, who signed during the service. We also went to Sunday school, before the service.
“The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
I spent a lot of time praying and reading the Bible. I limited how much time I would spend watching the news on TV or reading the newspaper. I also only rented movies that were funny and uplifting. I sent e-mails to Rich, telling him about our daily life. I also took a lot of pictures and would put them inside the care packages that I sent to him. I also visited my parents and Greg & Michelle in NH every other month. And my parents would visit us in CT every other month, too. Caroline was in Pennsylvania at this time but I didn’t hear from her very often. She was pregnant and would have another son in June. She rarely called so I didn’t tell her that Rich was in Iraq.
I think it was late Spring, when Greg called to tell me that Michelle was pregnant, and was due in November. Finally, there was some good news to send to Rich! We were going to be grandparents!! It was wonderful news and exactly the distraction I needed! I spent quite a bit of time on-line, looking for exactly the right gift to give to Michelle and Greg. That’s when I saw some Precious Moments figurines and fell in love with them. I had been collecting Annalee dolls when we lived in NH. But now I began searching for Precious Moments figurines to give as gifts for family and friends. It was a little expensive, but it was fun, and good therapy for me – in other words, it was worth it! And now some family members have quite a collection of Precious Moments figurines!! When Rich left for Iraq, Jesse was only 8 ½ years old. Jimmy Neutron was Jesse’s favorite TV show, computer game, etc. So, Rich bought Jesse a big Jimmy Neutron toy as a gift from him, before he left. Jesse treasured that gift and took it with him everywhere, including school. He also slept with it every night. One Friday afternoon he came home from school without his Jimmy Neutron toy – he had forgotten it at school! It was the weekend and the school was closed until Monday. This was not good! He was so upset, that we went to the Mall that night, hoping and praying that we could find another one just like it. The Lord answered my prayers – there was one left at FYE. It would be a good weekend after all! While Jesse took Jimmy Neutron with him everywhere he went, Rich did the same thing in Iraq. He actually brought a smaller version with him went he went to Iraq, so he could take pictures with him all over Iraq. It is the cutest thing and really shows how thoughtful Rich was concerning Jesse. In spite of the meltdown with Jimmy Neutron, Jesse did really well most of the time. One of my neighbors home-schooled her children, so I invited them to come over every Friday afternoon to play with Jesse, and watch a movie together. Another neighbor had a son a few years younger than Jesse and they became good friends. Even though Jesse was deaf and his friend didn’t know sign language, they were able to communicate and became good friends. Unfortunately, they moved away to California a few years ago.
I got a phone call from Caroline in June to let me know that she was in Pennsylvania and had given birth to another son. He would eventually be placed with a good Christian family. When Jesse and I traveled to NH every other month to visit my parents and Greg & Michelle, we always visited Rich’s mother, too. She was in the hospital for quite a few weeks, before being transferred to a nursing home. She wasn’t well enough to go back to her apartment. In addition to dealing with the effects of her stroke, they also found cancer in her kidneys. She had been in declining health since December 2003. By June 2004, I received a phone call from the nursing home, telling me that she was not well, and I should contact Rich to let him know. He was able to come home on emergency leave for 2 weeks. Richie also flew in from Texas to visit her and us. Rich was able to spend time with his mother before she passed away in July 2004. August was a tough month for me – Rich’s mother, who I was very close to, had passed away in July, and Rich was now back in Iraq, and not due to come back until the following February or March. I distracted myself by trying to find a really special birthday gift and anniversary gift to send to Rich. His birthday and our anniversary are in September. I saw an advertisement for custom-made ‘bobble heads’ and thought they would be unique gifts. They were made to order, using a picture that you provide. I decided to have Jesse send a ‘bobble head’ of himself, wearing his ASD Soccer Team t-shirt and shorts, to Rich for his birthday. I also had one made of myself, for our anniversary. He was very surprised to receive them, along with some other gifts. He also was feeling a little down, so they helped to cheer him up. In August, Richie called to let me know that he had been seeing someone – the same one that he had told us about the year before. He told me that they were going to Hawaii to celebrate her birthday in September. While in Hawaii, Richie proposed to Tina, and she said yes! I spoke with her on the phone – she sounded like a southern belle – I loved it! She said that they were planning to come to CT for Thanksgiving, so we could meet her. She also had a little boy named Ryan, who would be coming, too.
Also, in September, Michelle had a baby shower. We knew the baby was a boy and, of course, I got carried away buying gifts. I even bought a ‘Precious Moments Diaper Cake’. It was fun to buy gifts for our new grandson! I couldn’t wait to meet him in November!! In October, Jesse would be 9 years old. I made a birthday party for him and invited some of our neighbors. It was fun and I took a lot of pictures for Rich. Greg and Michelle celebrated their 1st Wedding Anniversary on November 8th and had their baby, Alec, on November 9th. I planned to go to NH the following weekend to meet my new grandson. There was actually a major snowstorm in CT that day. I checked to be sure that the Greyhound buses were still running and then we headed to NH. A snowstorm was not going to stop me from finally holding my grandson in my arms! He was so cute – I couldn’t take my eyes off him! He looked a little bit like Michelle and a little bit like Greg!! He also has Greg’s beautiful green eyes. In most of the pictures that were taken of me and Alec, I’m not looking at the camera – I’m looking at Alec. In November I met Tina and her little boy, Ryan. She was very pretty and he was very cute! He was also very polite!! I fell in love with both of them quickly. Richie and Tina were planning to be married in Texas on December 11, 2004. They would be traveling to Germany the following week, to renew their vows for her family, on December 18. Richie felt strongly that he should come to CT to spend Christmas with Jesse and me. Tina and Ryan would stay in Germany and spend Christmas with her family. I appreciated it – Rich was still in Iraq and wouldn’t be home until the end of February. Richie and Tina said that they wanted to renew their vows for our family after Rich got home from Iraq. They set the date for March 23, 2005, when they would come to CT. They asked me to help plan the Wedding and reception. It would be the 3rd time that Tina would put on her wedding gown - 1st at their Wedding in Texas, 2nd when they renewed their vows in Germany, and 3rd when they would renew their vows in CT.
In February 2005, Rich finally came home from Iraq! It was great to have him back home with us!! Greg and Michelle made a big party at their home to celebrate that special time. I breathed a sigh of relief that Rich was home safe and sound, and thanked God for protecting him. On March 23, 2005, Richie and Tina renewed their vows at a ceremony at the Baptist Church that we attended. The reception would be at The Marriott Hotel. Tina looked absolutely stunning! And Richie looked very handsome in his Military Uniform! Greg was Richie’s best man. Caroline was able to come to the Wedding. I hadn’t seen her or even spoken to her for a long time. But she had recently called from Florida, and wanted to come to the Wedding. It was good to see her! The whole family was finally together, after such a long time apart!! Richie and Tina had gotten married in December and were soon expecting a baby, due in September. We were very excited about having another grandchild. We also learned that they were expecting a girl! I had fun shopping for gifts for our new granddaughter!! Elisabeth was born on September 23, 2005. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms! We traveled to Texas at Thanksgiving to finally meet her. She actually looked a lot like Richie - she was so cute!! She also has his beautiful blue eyes. In November 2005, we went to NH to celebrate Alec’s 1st birthday. He was so cute! He had fun opening his gifts and he really enjoyed his birthday cake!! Greg had called a few days before we went to NH for Alec’s birthday, to let us know that they were planning to sell their house, and move to Tennessee. Between the high cost of living in NH and also the very long cold winters, they decided to move down South. We felt bad that they would be moving and would miss them, but understood the reasons for moving. They actually sold their house very quickly, so needed to go to Tennessee to look for a house. We agreed to babysit Alec while they were looking for a house. They went to Tennessee and were able to find and buy a house. It was on five acres in the country. Michelle had always loved horses and was planning to own one or two. They moved in February 2006, and we traveled to visit them at Easter. It was good to visit them, and they seemed happy!
Soon Michelle found out she was pregnant and was due in December 2006. In September 2006, they decided to sell their home, and find one closer to where Greg worked. Rich traveled to Tennessee to help them move. Not long after getting settled in, they had a beautiful little girl, named Anna. We couldn’t wait to see her in person and planned to visit them in the Spring of 2007. Actually, Richie and Tina also decided to visit Greg and Michelle at the same time — it was nice to have the family together! We met our newest granddaughter, Anna, and thought she was so pretty! She looks a lot like Michelle and has her beautiful blue eyes!!
“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.”(Barbara Bush)
The Morneau family was growing each year, and soon Tina told us she was pregnant and due in November. She would have a beautiful little girl, named Hannah, on November 19, 2007. We traveled to Texas in February to meet Hannah and finally hold her in our arms! I thought she was so pretty, looked a lot like Tina, and has her beautiful smile!! Jesse was doing well in school at the American School for the Deaf. One of his classes was “speech”. Unfortunately, he has so little hearing that it is really difficult for him to be able to speak words that you can understand. But, there is one word that he is able to say - “Mama”. That’s a word I love to hear, so I feel very blessed that Jesse can voice the word clearly! One thing that we have done since moving to CT in 2003, is to travel back to NH (about a 2 ½ hour car ride) every month, to visit my Mom & Dad. Usually my sisters also come to their house to visit, too. Then we all go out to eat at a nice restaurant. Jesse is very fussy when it comes to food and always eats French fries and chicken tenders, any time we go out to eat.
Since moving to CT, we usually stay home for Christmas and spend “Christmas in Connecticut”. (Also, the name of a Christmas movie we watch every year!) We continue the traditions that we started so long ago, when we first got married. But now, instead of visiting my parents and sisters on Christmas, we usually go to NH one or two weeks before Christmas, to exchange gifts and go out to eat. In 2007, Caroline gave birth to another boy and decided it would be her last child. Even though he has been adopted, she is able to have visits with him about every 3 months. In the Spring of 2008, my parents would celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary. My sisters and I made a surprise party for them at the Chateau Restaurant. We rented a small function room and invited close family and friends. They were surprised when they realized we were not just going out to eat together, but we were having a party in their honor. We had a wonderful time together, celebrating a very special occasion! In the last few years we’ve enjoyed traveling to Texas and Tennessee to visit our family. One time that we visited Richie and his family in Texas, we also went to San Antonio. It was during Christmas and we went to see the River Walk. We took a boat ride at night and enjoyed the beautiful lights along the river. Another time we visited Richie and his family in February. To return home, we flew from Texas to St. Louis, and then we were supposed to fly from there to Connecticut. But, because of a major snowstorm in New England, all the airports were closed up north. As a result, we were told that our flight was cancelled and there would be no available flights for 4 days! After the initial shock wore off, we decided to rent a car and drive to Tennessee, to visit Greg and his family and spend the next 4 days with them. We enjoyed that unexpected visit with Greg and his family. We usually travel to Tennessee once or twice a year to visit them. The last time we visited them, we also stayed overnight at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for one night. It was around Thanksgiving and it was already decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful! And the food we enjoyed at the restaurants was delicious, too!!
Unfortunately, because we live in CT, Richie and his family live in TX, and Greg and his family live in TN, we only see each other in person once or twice a year. But with the technology available today, we can see each other on-line. We each have a video camera on our computers, so we try to ‘skype’ a few times each month. Actually, I have a funny story to share, when we ‘skyped’ recently… We were trying to ‘skype’ with Greg and his family, but were having trouble hearing them. Of course, the first thing I did was check the volume on our computer to be sure it was turned on, and was at the highest setting. That didn't help, so they checked their computer, and made different adjustments on their end. We waited patiently until finally the sound came through, loud and clear! I told them “it was too loud and they needed to adjust their volume setting”. Everyone laughed, and I realized that I was the one that needed to turn down the volume on our computer!
“A daughter-in-law is someone who marries your son, and becomes your friend.”
Both my daughters-in-law are great cooks! Tina is of German descent and makes wonderful German dishes, which we enjoy. And Michelle makes the best pies – she makes the best lemon meringue pie, which is my favorite. My daughters-in-law are very special to me! I love them very much and feel that we get along so well, that even if they weren’t married to my sons, we would still be really good friends. They each have unique qualities, as individual as they are. But they also share a few interesting similarities… First, both Tina and Michelle, love horses. Tina’s family owned horses when she was growing up, and she actually competed in horse shows. Michelle has always loved horses and, since moving to TN, owns 2 horses. She enjoys riding them and caring for them. She is definitely an animal lover – she also has 2 cats and 2 dogs. Also, Michelle and Tina were both airline stewardesses after graduating from high school. And they both enjoy traveling.
Tina and Michelle each have a son, named Ryan. Michelle has a daughter, named Anna, and Tina has a daughter, named Hannah. They are both beautiful and very smart! Last, but not least… they both have great taste in men – my sons!!
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength.” (Francis De Sales)
Richie is a wonderful husband and a great dad! He is an instructor pilot in the Air Force. He also finds time to write songs, has recorded a CD, and often does concerts with his Christian band. He is currently working on a correspondence course to further his education. He is amazing!! Greg is also a wonderful husband and a great dad, too! He works for the State of TN as a computer analyst. He is also a gifted artist – he has painted many beautiful pieces of art. He also has found time to be an author, having written a children’s book recently. He also did the illustrations for it, too. He is also really amazing!!
“If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections held together, but separable – each segment distinct.” (Letty Cottin Pogrebin)
I am so happy to be able to say that I now have a very good relationship with Caroline! She also has a close relationship with the Lord. Whenever she comes to our house to visit, we always watch Joyce Meyer on television. We both enjoy her practical teaching of the Bible, and are planning to attend a Joyce Meyer conference together this summer. We traveled together last summer, with Jesse, to Texas to meet my newest grandson – Nathan. Richie and Tina’s baby was born on May 27, 2010. He is so cute and has the biggest smile! He is also very smart for his age and tries to imitate whatever you say!!
Caroline works part-time at a local clothing store in Vermont. She enjoys photography and scrap-booking in her spare time. Caroline has a very compassionate heart. The Lord has truly restored our mother/daughter relationship! And I give Him all the glory!! Jesse and I have a special bond! It was just the two of us for about a year when Rich was in Iraq. During the week, I visited him at school and ate lunch with him every Tuesday and Thursday. At night, we spent a lot of time watching movies together. Every Saturday we went out to lunch together and then shopping. We also went to Church together on Sunday. Jesse loves to learn about the weather, so he often watches the weather channel. Actually, every morning before going to school, he turns on the TV and watches the weather channel. When they show the local weather, he stands next to the TV, acts like a weatherman, and signs what the local weather will be for the day! It is so cute!!
“Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.”
Rich and Jesse also have a strong bond! They both enjoy Star Wars and often watch it together – I think they imagine themselves as Jedi knights!! They both enjoy swimming and spend a lot of time together, having fun in our pool. During the school year, Rich is the one who helps Jesse with his homework. (Remember, I’m not a math wiz!) As I conclude the personal stories of my children, I’d like to add one more humorous story that happened yesterday… My husband came home from work, looked around, and saw… — Our “watch dog”, that can no longer see or hear very well, was barking at him, but was turned away from him, far across the room; — Jesse, who is easily distracted, was too busy to give Rich a hug – he was on a video phone call with a friend, also printing something from his computer, and then running upstairs to find something to show his friend on the video phone;
— And myself, working on my laptop computer, busy writing more eloquent words for this book. (Just kidding!) But, I really didn’t like being interrupted, and then having to get up from my recliner, to greet Rich. Why can’t he see that I’m busy, writing about all the loving relationships of our family… and just leave me alone?! (I know that’s a little ironic – being so consumed with writing about love but not wanting to be bothered and take time to actually show it!) Anyway, as I said, he walked in, looked around at all the mayhem and said... “This place is a nut house!” I got up and said “Welcome to your home”! He said “And I’m ‘King’ of this nut house”! Then, he said “You know, not all nuts grow on trees”. My name ‘Phyllis’ means ‘green twig’, so I thought to myself… “How about on little ‘green twigs’? Do nuts grow on those?”
“I believe there is a direct correlation between love and laughter.” “I believe that laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter.” (Yakov Smirnoff)
I would like to conclude this chapter with the following scripture, which expresses so well, what I believe with all my heart… “I still dare to hope, When I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends, His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
In your own heart, and in your own life, I pray the Lord would… Strengthen your Faith – for it looks back and draws courage, remembering God’s past deeds on our behalf; Strengthen your Hope – for it looks ahead and keeps desire alive, so we do not lose heart; Strengthen your Love – for it looks at the present moment, and desires to open its heart to God and to others, inviting them in, and seeking their good and glory, before its own. God also promises that “love never fails”.
“Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5)
TECHNOLOGY AND INVENTIONS OF THE 1970’s, 1980’s, & 1990’s The 70s began the age of the practical computer made possible by the invention of the floppy disk and the microprocessor that occurred during the 70s. 1970 •The daisy-wheel printer invented. •The floppy disk invented by Alan Shugart. 1971 •The dot-matrix printer invented. •The food processor invented. •The liquid-crystal display (LCD) invented by James Fergason. •The microprocessor invented by Faggin, Hoff and Mazor. •VCR or videocassette invented. 1972 •The word processor invented. •Pong first video game invented by Nolan Bushnell. •Hacky Sack invented by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall. 1973 •Gene splicing invented. •The ethernet (local computer network) invented by Robert Metcalfe and Xerox. •Bic invents the disposable lighter. 1974 •The post-it notes invented by Arthur Fry. •Giorgio Fischer, a gynecologist from Rome, Italy, invents liposuction. 1975 •The laser printer invented. •The push-through tab on a drink can invented. 1976 •The ink-jet printer invented.
1977 •Magnetic resonance imaging invented by Raymond V. Damadian. 1978 •Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston invented the VisiCalc spreadsheet. •The artificial heart Jarvik-7 invented by Robert K. Jarvik. 1979 •Cell phones invented. •Cray supercomputer invented by Seymour Cray. •Walkman invented. •Scott Olson invents roller blades. Many of the most popular consumer products still around today were invented in the 80s, for example: cell phones and home computers. The 80s saw the rise of the multi-national corporations; while the growth rate during the 80s was 3.2% per year, the highest 9 year rate in American history, a complex combination of causes (economic, financial, legislative and regulatory) led to the extraordinary number of bank failures in the 80s. And a new definition of the expression "corporate greed" was found. 1980 •The hepatitis-B vaccine invented. 1981 •MS-DOS invented. •The first IBM-PC invented. •The scanning tunneling microscope invented by Gerd Karl Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer. 1982 •Human growth hormone genetically engineered. 1983 •The Apple Lisa invented. •Soft bifocal contact lens invented. •First Cabbage Patch Kids sold. •Programmer Jaron Lanier first coins the term "virtual reality".
1984 •The CD-ROM invented. •The Apple Macintosh invented. 1985 •Windows program invented by Microsoft. 1986 •A high-temperature super-conductor invented by J. Georg Bednorz and Karl A. Muller. •Synthetic skin invented by G. Gregory Gallico, III. •Fuji introduced the disposable camera. 1987 •The first 3-D video game invented. •Disposable contact lenses invented. 1988 •Digital cellular phones invented. •The RU-486 (abortion pill) invented. •Doppler radar invented by Christian Andreas Doppler. •Prozac invented at the Eli Lilly Company by inventor Ray Fuller. •The first patent for a genetically engineered animal is issued to Harvard University researchers Philip Leder and Timothy Stewart. •Ralph Alessio and Fredrik Olsen received a patent for the Indiglo nightlight. The bluish green light is used to illuminate the entire face of a watch. 1989 •High-definition television invented. The 90s saw the invention of the internet and the rise of Microsoft. The 90s saw the invention of genetic engineering, as well as cloning, and stem cell research. 1990 •The World Wide Web and Internet protocol (HTTP) and WWW language (HTML) created by Tim Berners-Lee. 1991 •The digital answering machine invented.
1992 •The smart pill invented. 1993 •The pentium processor invented. 1994 •HIV protease inhibitor invented. 1995 •The Java computer language invented. •DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) invented. 1996 •Web TV invented. 1997 •The gas-powered fuel cell invented. 1998 •Viagra invented. 1999 •Scientists measure the fastest wind speed ever recorded on earth, 509 km/h(318 mph). •Tekno Bubbles patented.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, I thank you so much for each of my children. They are such a blessing in my life and I love each of them so much. I am so thankful that they each have a heart for You. Please continue to reveal Your love for them. Please watch over them and protect them as You lead, guide, and direct their steps. I pray they will glorify You in all they do. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
"I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:7) "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth, to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." (2 Chronicles 16:9) “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
Chapter 7 – MY GRANDCHILDREN / LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
"The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children." (Psalm 103:17)
HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE 21ST CENTURY The Year 2000 Problem (better known as Y2K) was anticipated to be a problem for both digital (computer-related) and non-digital documentation and data storage situations which resulted from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two years. While no globally significant computer failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000, preparation for the Y2K problem had a significant effect on the computer industry. There were plenty of Y2K problems, and that none of the glitches caused major incidents is seen by some as vindication of the Y2K preparation. However, some questioned whether the absence of computer failures was the result of the preparation undertaken or whether the significance of the problem had been overstated. George W. Bush was elected the 43rd President of the United States in November 2000. He was sworn into office on January 20, 2001 after one of the most tightly contested presidential campaigns in U.S. history. The Democratic Party candidate was former Vice President Al Gore. The final totals underscored the tightness of the election: Bush won 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266, but Gore led him in the national popular vote 48.4 percent to 47.9 percent. The pivotal state was Florida; there, only a razorthin margin separated the candidates and thousands of ballots were disputed. After a series of state and federal court challenges over the laws and procedures governing recounts, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a narrow decision that effectively gave the election to Bush. The Republicans maintained control of both houses of Congress by a small margin. Bush expected to focus on domestic issues such as education, the economy, and Social Security. But his presidency changed irrevocably on September 11, 2001, when the United States suffered the most devastating foreign attack ever against its mainland. That morning, Middle Eastern terrorists simultaneously hijacked four passenger airplanes and used two of them as suicide vehicles to destroy the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A third crashed into the Pentagon building, the Defense Department
headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth, probably meant for the U.S. Capitol, crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside as passengers fought the hijackers. The death toll, most of it consisting of civilians at the World Trade Center, was approximately 3,000, exceeding that of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The world community confronted the threat posed by global terrorism with an unprecedented worldwide coalition. The North Atlantic Council invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, thereby classifying the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an attack on all member states, and pledged any necessary assistance. Both the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council passed by acclamation resolutions condemning the terrorist attacks on the United States. The United States attributed responsibility for 9/11 to Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization. A full-scale campaign was launched against Al Qaeda and its affiliates and support structures. A total of 136 countries offered a range of military assistance to the United States. As a result of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban was removed from power and the first elections in more than 40 years took place in Afghanistan. In September 2002, President Bush warned Iraq that unless it fully cooperated with United Nations weapons inspectors, the United States would lead a coalition to ensure disarmament and to eliminate the possibility for it to transfer weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to terrorist groups. In March 2003, the United States and a coalition of 30 countries launched “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” a war effort to disarm Iraq and change its regime. The Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein fell on April 9, 2003. Despite disagreement on military action in Iraq, there is broad international support for reconstruction and democracy-building initiatives in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The challenges of postwar reconstruction in both countries are serious. To coordinate the fight against domestic terrorist attack, the Bush administration introduced new laws under the USA Patriot Act, which broadened the search, seizure, and detention powers of the federal government. A new Department of Homeland Security, which consolidated 22 federal agencies, was also established.
By 2004, with the United States facing a violent insurgency in Iraq and considerable foreign opposition to the war there, the country appeared as sharply divided as it had been four years earlier. To challenge President Bush, the Democrats nominated Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts in that year's election. The organizational tempo of the campaign was as frenetic as its rhetorical pace. Both sides excelled at getting out their supporters; the total popular vote was approximately 20 percent higher than it had been in 2000. Bush won by 51 percent to 48 percent, with the remaining 1 percent going to Ralph Nader and a number of other independent candidates. President Bush was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005. His administration continued to face many challenges. Global terrorism remains a serious threat. There are important challenges to be faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the full impact of globalization is making itself felt in full force. The U.S. economy is becoming a fastmoving, innovative and novel economy -- and Americans are having to adjust to these changes. There are increasing numbers of older Americans who are facing the economic [income, job and pension] and health consequences of a 21st century economy. There is also a need to shift to new forms of energy and accompanying technologies. The long-term effects of events and trends occurring at the beginning of the 21st century have yet to be fully understood. In the past, the United States has thrived on such challenges. From its origins as a set of obscure colonies hugging the Atlantic coast, the United States has undergone a remarkable transformation into what political analyst Ben Wattenberg has called "the first universal nation," a population of almost 300 million people representing virtually every nationality and ethnic group on the globe. It is also a nation where the pace and extent of change – economic, technological, cultural, demographic, and social – is unceasing. The United States is often the harbinger of the modernization and change that inevitably sweep up other nations and societies in an increasingly interdependent, interconnected world.
Why God Made Little Boys
God made a world out of His dreams, Of magic mountains, oceans and streams; Prairies and plains and wooded land, Then paused and thought, I need someone to stand... On top of the mountains, to conquer the seas, Explore the plains and climb the trees; Someone to start out small and grow, Sturdy and strong like a tree and so... He created boys, full of spirit and fun, To explore and conquer, to romp and run. With dirty faces, and banged up chins, With courageous hearts and boyish grins; And when He had completed, The task He'd begun, He surely said, "That's a job well done". ________________________________________________________________________
Why God Made Little Girls
God made the world with its towering trees, Majestic mountains, and restless seas; Then paused and said, "It needs one more thing, Someone to laugh and dance and sing; To walk in the woods and gather flowers, To commune with nature in quiet hours." So God made little girls, With laughing eyes and bouncing curls; With joyful hearts and beautiful smiles, Enchanting ways and feminine wiles. And when He'd completed the task He'd begun, He was pleased and proud of the job He'd done; For the world when seen through a little girl's eyes, Greatly resembles paradise.
TO MY GRANDCHILDREN FROM YOUR MEM Please reMEMber this… I love you so much! You are so precious to me. Each of my grandchildren is unique and very special – I cherish each one of you. You are an absolute delight and have brought so much joy into my life!! Yet, all of you share some of the same wonderful qualities – you can be a little mischievous at times, sometimes a little bit silly with the cutest giggle, full of energy & enthusiasm, very creative, gentle & kind, caring & affectionate, with a loving & compassionate heart. My only regret is that we've lived so far away from each other, that we haven't had nearly as much time together as I would like. But, I have enjoyed and cherished all the precious times that we have been together. I love to hear your voice on the phone and see you face to face when we ‘skype’ on the computer. I treasure each one of you and thank God for having blessed me with such beautiful grandchildren! I know that each of you love to have your Mommy and Daddy read you a bed-time story, before you go to sleep at night. Well, your Mem would also like to tell you a story. It’s about you and God… YOU ARE SPECIAL You are very, very special, There is no one just like you! God made you just the way you are, When He specially thought of you. He wanted so many children, And not one to be the same; So that you could be a special you, With a very special name. So he put a special mark upon, Your feet and fingers, too; And of all the children everywhere, No one has that mark but you!
So, smile your very special smile, And give Daddy your special squeeze; Help Mommy with your special hands, And, say the special words, "Thank you" and "Please". Then to every SPECIAL little girl, And to every SPECIAL little boy; God has given you each a SPECIAL heart, To put His love in and to bring you joy. This book is a keepsake to you from me with the personal stories of your ancestors, beginning over 100 years ago. I decided not to include any personal stories of you, because that is something that I would like for you to do yourself. You are all in the process of ‘writing’ your own personal stories each day by the choices that you make. I challenge you to actually write down important times in your life, so that one day you could also write your personal story for future generations. Be sure to look for glimpses of God in your life revealing His love, His presence, and His protection. (If you need help, ask your Mommy & Daddy, or Mem & Pep, to help you.)
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known, through all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)
One of my favorite Sunday School songs, when I was a child, was "Jesus Loves Me”… Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong, They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so.
It's such a simple song but it states profoundly, what the entire Bible seeks to reveal to us — "that Jesus loves us". He wants us to come to Him, simply believing, as little children, that "Jesus loves us".
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God, like a child, shall not enter it.” (Mark 10: 13-17)
I pray that you will come to know Jesus and His great love for you. Talk to him often by praying, and listen to Him speak to you from His Word. He loves you so much, and wants to be first place in your heart and life. Ask Him to come in and fill your heart with His love. The Bible (God’s Word) is really the story of God’s love for me and you. Even the word “Jesus” has “U” in it… Before U were thought of or time had begun, God even stuck U in the name of His Son. And each time U pray you'll see it's true, You can't spell out JesUs and not include U. You're a pretty big part of His wonderful name, For U, He was born; that's why He came. And His great love for U is the reason He died, It even takes U to spell crUcified. Isn't it thrilling and splendidly grand, He rose from the dead, with U in His plan? The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew, And this word resUrrection is spelled with a U. When JesUs left earth at His upward ascension, He felt there was one thing He just had to mention... "Go into the world and tell them it's true, That I love them all, just like I love U."
So many great people are spelled with a U, Don't they have a right to know JesUs too? It all depends now on what U will do, He'd like them to know, but it all starts with U.
"What children need most are the essentials, that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, and lessons in life."
“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” (Brad Henry)
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
In the Bible, often the Patriarch of the family, someone like Pep, would have the authority to bless his children. As Matriarch of my family, better known as Mem to you, I pray this blessing from God’s Word for you and for all future generations:
"The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)
Chapter 8 – “... AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER”
“A veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:15-16)
Having looked back in time... more than 100 years ago… to the story of my grandparents in the early 1900s, I have a personal question to ask you: “Looking forward... 100 years from now… How does your story end? Happily ever after? In Heaven?” It is safe to say that anyone reading this book would no longer be here. Can you say with all confidence that you will be in heaven?
"The wisdom of God, devised a way for the love of God, to deliver sinners from the wrath of God, while not compromising the righteousness of God." (John Piper)
I once read that G.R.A.C.E. means God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It is unmerited favor from God to us. Even though it is free for us (we did nothing to deserve it), it cost God His only begotten Son. He came to earth to die in our place for our sins. I think that sometimes we read the previous statement and don’t really take the time to contemplate what it really means. Jesus not only died but suffered immensely for many hours prior to that. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Satan came against Him and spoke lies into His heart – telling Him that He really didn’t need to suffer and die for us. But He refused to believe Satan and prayed to the Father for the strength to do what needed to be done. He was in such anguish that the Bible says He sweated “great drops of blood”. Soon He would be arrested when one of His own disciples betrayed Him. Throughout that night He was whipped so viciously that His flesh was ripped open. He was pummeled in the face so badly that He was unrecognizable. And they also put a crown of thorns on His head that must have been excruciatingly painful. He also needed to carry His own cross to the place where they would crucify Him. He was so weak and in such pain that they had to have someone help Him. Then, they drove large nails through His wrists and through His feet. The people gathered there, laughed and ridiculed Him, as He bled and died for them. Before He died, Jesus said “It is finished”, meaning that He paid the penalty once for all time — no other sacrifice would ever be needed.
At the moment of His death, the veil in the temple was rent in two, symbolic that Jesus had fulfilled the law that commanded a blood sacrifice for sin. During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies — the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence — from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16). Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. The size and thickness of the veil makes the events occurring at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more momentous.
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:50-51)
What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.
When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:8-9 refers to the age that was passing away, as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13). In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says that the faithful enter into the sanctuary by the “blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh.” Here we see the image of Jesus’ flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us. The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful now have free access to God. The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness. (Hebrews 4:14-16) I pray that you have read this book and especially this chapter with an open heart and that the Lord has touched you and revealed His amazing love for you. The scripture at the beginning of this chapter speaks of another veil – one that covered our hearts so we could not see clearly the heart of God. But, when we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed and we see that His heart is overflowing with love – desiring to pursue us, draw us to Himself, rescue us from our sin, and have fellowship with us.
“Brokenness is realizing He is all we have. Hope is realizing He is all we need. Joy is realizing He is all we want.” (Larry Crabb)
Every story has a climax, where the hero sweeps in to rescue. This chapter is actually the climax of this book. This is when our true hero, Jesus, rescues us from the villain, Satan, by dying on the Cross for our sins. However, it is our choice to let Him rescue us.
“Jesus answered, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) “I have set before you life and death… choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
I ask you right now to take a few moments to be still and search inside your own heart to see what is deeply hidden inside. Then, whatever your need might be, surrender it all to the Lord. He is the only One, Who can meet all your needs — for forgiveness and love and joy and peace. If, for some reason, you have difficulty believing that God really loves you or maybe, that there is even a God at all... then, I pray that the Lord will reveal Himself to you right now. I ask that He remove the veil that is covering your heart, so you can see clearly the heart of God. It seeks to draw you to Himself because of His abundant and unconditional love for you. He desires to have a close relationship with you. As you read the lyrics to the following song, I pray that it will touch your heart, as it describes God’s great love for me and you... As little children we would dream of Christmas morn, And all the gifts and toys we knew we'd find; But we never realized a baby born one blessed night, Gave us the greatest gift of our lives. And we were the reason that He gave His life, We were the reason that He suffered and died; To a world that was lost He gave all He could give, To show us the reason to live.
As the years went by we learned more about gifts, And giving of ourselves and what that means; On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain, Because of love, because of love. And we are the reason that He gave His life, We are the reason that He suffered and died; To a world that was lost He gave all He could give, To show us the reason to live. I finally found the reason for living, It's in giving every part of my heart to Him; In all that I do, every word that I say, I'll be giving my all just for Him, For Him. And we are the reason that He gave His life, We are the reason that He suffered and died; To a world that was lost He gave all He could give, To show us the reason to live. He is my reason to live!"
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
♥PRAYING FROM YOUR HEART
If you have never had the opportunity to choose Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and desire to have a personal relationship with Him, then please pray the following from your heart: "Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving me always and proving your love for me by sending Your only Son, Jesus, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner and I sincerely repent of all my sins. I open the door of my heart and ask Jesus to come in and forgive me of all my sins and cleanse me by His precious Blood. I also ask that You take control of my life. I surrender all to You. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and Your love. I want You to be on the throne of my heart. I desire to only live for You and Your glory. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen." _____________________________________________________________
“The desire that really gives life is to know God. This desire is never satisfied, for it is one that grows with its fulfillment; and our relationship with God changes, and leads to a constant deepening of our desires.” (James Houston)
Through all of our lives - during the good times and the hard times - we can be sure that God is with us, if we have asked Him into our hearts. How amazing is that? That the God of the universe would seek to dwell in us and fill us to overflowing with His love! As Savior, He cleanses us of all our sins and, as Lord, takes control of all as we surrender everything to Him. His precious Holy Spirit comes in and fills us to overflowing with Himself and all that He is. With God on the throne of our heart, He will lead and guide us each day and the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — will come forth from our hearts. I pray that the following scripture will speak to your heart and inspire you to realize who you are in Christ. You are holy because God, Who is holy, lives in you. Your heart is God's dwelling place.
"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
You don't need to wait to go to Church on Sunday to spend time in God's presence. He is not only with you wherever you go, but He is in you. There is nothing to separate you from the love of God.
"I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
Chapter 9 – BECAUSE I’M FORGIVEN / A SONG OF LOVE
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3)
“There’s a reason why I bring This simple offering Pouring out my love to You And though my heart cannot express All this joy and gratefulness Still I sing this song of love And thanks and praise It’s because I’m forgiven It’s because I am free It’s because You’ve shown me mercy And You believe in me It’s because You are my Savior It’s because You are my Friend And Your love, it lifts me higher Than I’ve ever been Oh the wonder of Your ways Oh the measure of Your grace Greater than my heart can know So how could I not celebrate How could I not bless Your name Singing out a song of love And thanks and praise It’s because I’m forgiven It’s because I am free It’s because You’ve shown me mercy And You believe in me It’s because You are my Savior It’s because You are my Friend And Your love, it lifts me higher Than I’ve ever been
Chapter 10 – MY HEART / GOD'S DWELLING PLACE
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Samuel 16:7)
Why does God look at our heart? Because it reflects our true selves – the central core of our being. Actually, the world doesn’t value your heart but God does. Physically, our heart is vital to being alive. Spiritually, our heart is vital to being a Christian. To find Him – we must look with all our heart. To receive Him and His saving grace – we must believe with our heart and then ask Him into our heart. To fellowship with Him – we must pray from our heart. To hear Him – we must not only read His Word but listen with our heart. To truly love Him – we must love Him with all of our heart. To glorify Him – we must live our lives from the heart.
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs 27:19)
I'd like to take a few minutes to compare our hearts to a garden. In the Bible, Jesus told the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13: 3-8. He used symbolism many times to help teach truth. In this story, Jesus is the Sower or Farmer, the Seed is the Word of God, and the Soil is the Garden of our Hearts. The basic story is: "A farmer places seed in the ground so it will sprout and bear fruit. Some seeds fall on hard ground that the plow has not turned. Here, the seed cannot sink into the soil, and the birds easily find and devour it. Some seeds fall on stony places, where there is little or no soil for the roots to take in sufficient nourishment for the plant. Initially, they appear to grow quicker because, with less soil to grow through, it does not take them as long to reach the surface. When the sun grows hot, however, the sprouts wither away, the result of insufficient root systems.
The seeds that fall among thorns — in a part of the field where the thorns and shrubs had been sloppily cleared but not removed — are crowded, shaded, and choked by debris. The seeds that fall on fertile and rich soil produce a crop that varies in its yield. It is common to produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty grains for each one that is sown. Some strains of wheat will produce a crop twelve or fifteen hundred times the original amount of seed sown." It's interesting that, when a seed is planted in the ground, the heat and pressure from the dirt cracks open the seed, roots start growing deeper and deeper into the soil, and, finally, the plant begins to grow up towards the sun, eventually bearing fruit. As it is in nature, the same principle is true in our spiritual life... when we feel the heat and pressures bearing down on our hearts, it is often then when we are most open to the things of God. If we allow our hearts to grow roots deeply as we study the Word of God, then we will also begin to grow upward looking towards the "Son". As we continue to grow stronger in the Lord, we will begin to bear fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)
In other words, start with a fertile heart that is open to receive God’s Word. Daily soak in the water of His promises, His direction, and His teaching as you read and study the Bible and get rooted in His Word. Soak in the sunshine of God’s amazing love for you. Soon you will see the fruit of the Spirit blooming in your life. It's interesting that the first time God dwells with man was in a garden – the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, as a result of their disobedience and sin, God banished them from the Garden. They gave in to Satan when they were tempted. But in another garden – the Garden of Gethsemane – Jesus was victorious when he refused to be tempted by Satan to not go to the Cross to suffer and die in our place. When we accept His finished work of the Cross and ask Him into our heart to be our Lord and Savior, He comes in and our fellowship with Him is restored. We can dwell with Him again in the garden of our hearts!
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever.” (Psalm 86”11-12)
Being brought up in the Catholic Church, we learned to respect God and His name. We were taught the “Our Father” prayer that begins “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name”. Also, I remember that any time we said the name of “Jesus” we were supposed to bow our head as we spoke His name. It showed a humble and reverential attitude towards God and His name.
“Words have meaning and names have power.”
I learned recently that my name, Phyllis, is a Greek word meaning "green twig or bough; greenery; foliage". When I first heard that, I wasn't too impressed! I would prefer that my name mean something like "flower" or "butterfly". But "green twig"… not something to get excited about! My husband's name, Richard, means "powerful leader". Actually, that fits him perfectly – strong and brave at heart. Also, you associate the name with “Richard the Lion-hearted”. I would have been happy if my name meant tender-hearted or kind-hearted because I do have a compassionate heart. But, as I thought about it, I realized that "green twig" could actually mean that "I am alive in Him". In the Bible, Jesus is portrayed as the Vine and we are the branches. Our roots are in Him and as long as we are fed by Him (through His Word), we will be alive in Him and our branches or twigs will be alive and green, eventually producing fruit.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Recently, at a family gathering, we were discussing names and my husband proudly told everyone the meaning of his name. I then told everyone the meaning of my name – “green twig”. After the laughter subsided, my husband said that, when there are strong winds and storms, a green twig might bend but it will not break. Also, it provides life to any shoots that grow from it.
I should also mention that, at that family gathering, as we discussed this subject further, my Dad cautioned everyone “Don’t say too much… she’ll write another chapter”! Oh, he knows me so well!! So, although I’m just a little “green twig” on the Vine… I am “alive in Him” – abiding and receiving nourishment from Him I “bear much fruit” – the fruit of the Holy Spirit I “bend but will not break” – when the storms of life come against me I “provide life” – to all the shoots that grow from me – my children, grandchildren, and future generations The following song "The Garden of my Heart" speaks about a heart where Christ dwells within... There’s a sacred and hallowed retreat, Where my soul finds a fellowship sweet; Where the Lord of my life I may meet, In the garden of my heart. There is nothing can disturb or molest, There my spirit finds comfort and rest; And my soul is no longer distressed, In the garden of my heart. Shut away from earth’s strife and its din, And protected from soul staining sin; For my Savior is dwelling within, In the garden of my heart. There the dove of sweet peace always sings, And my faith ever trustingly clings; And the chime of sweet happiness rings, In the garden of my heart. In the cool of the day He walks with me, In the rose bordered way He talks with me; In love’s holy union, And sacred communion, In the garden of my heart.
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Dear God, Help me tend the garden of my heart well. Soften my heart so the seeds of truth from Your Word can be planted and will be able to grow. May Your Living Water rain down on me as I drink in all Your Promises from Your Word. Help me to soak in the sunshine of Your Love to warm my heart. Help me to spend time with You in the “Garden of My Heart”, where You dwell, that I might really know You and Your love for me. Help me to grow strong in You that my life would yield a harvest of fruit – the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)
“Be the Praise of My Heart”
Not just a song that I sing to You And not just some motions That I'm going through You know me well You see my life The good and the bad You see beyond the face that I wear And you see my soul Laid open and bear Here in this place This is my hope This is my prayer The praise of my heart The worship I bring The life that I live Is the song that I sing Let it be real Each note that I play Every moment of every day Be the praise of my heart Be the praise of my heart Be the praise of my heart
Not just with my lips And not from afar Let me draw close To the beauty You are Here in Your heart See in Your face That's my desire One thing I ask One thing I seek To dwell in Your house To sit at Your feet To look in Your eyes To gaze on the One That makes me complete The praise of my heart The worship I bring The life that I live Is the song that I sing Let it be real Each note that I play Every moment of every day Be the praise of my heart Be the praise of my heart Be the praise of my heart
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. (John 14:27)
It is interesting to me that the Lord's concluding words to us before He ascended to Heaven were a promise and blessing of peace. It must be something that is very important and something that we all need. Actually, I don't believe we can have true peace without the Lord and His presence in our lives.
“You, Lord, give true peace, to those who depend on You, because they trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
♥PRAYING FROM MY HEART
Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I pray for everyone reading this book that they might know the Peace that passes all understanding. In spite of difficult circumstances, we can be at peace if we trust and depend on You. Help each one of us to have an open heart to receive all that You have for us. I thank You and give You all the glory. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself, give you peace at all times, in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
I would like to acknowledge those who helped me in writing this book…
Richie… for allowing me to include the lyrics to your songs “Transparent” and “Come and See” – they have blessed me so much and I pray that they will bless everyone reading this book. Also, thank you for fixing my laptop computer – it was much more convenient to use than the desktop computer. I just need to step away from it, once in a while! I love you!! Greg… for taking the time to proof-read every page of this book – I’m sure that it took many hours to do that. Also, thank you for your graphic design expertise for the front and back cover of the book. You did a great job! I love you!! Caroline… for your encouragement, your support, and your love. Your phone calls always brighten my day! I love you!! Jesse… for your patience during those times that I was busy and a little distracted with writing the book. I’m sorry that you’re dinner was often a little late and your clothes were sometimes still in the dryer! “Mama” loves you!! My Husband… for listening to me talk constantly about the book. I realized it was getting to be a bit much when you told me that I needed to stop thinking so much… and go back to normal! Very funny!! But, this book did require a lot of my time and attention, so thank you for your patience and understanding when dinner was late or the house was a little messy. Also, thank you for my new recliner – the many hours sitting and writing were much more comfortable! And, finally, thank you for the new vacuum cleaner – sorry, that I haven’t had time to use it, yet! “Mama” loves you, too!! My Mom and Dad… for all the information you provided about your parents (my grandparents) and about your own life. Also, thank you for your encouragement and support through the many weeks and months of writing! This book was a way for me to honor you. I love you both!! Last, but not least, My God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… for not only giving me the desire to write this book but also the words you wanted me to share. I soon realized that my family’s personal story of love would be a small part of Your own story of love. Yours would be the true legacy of love that I felt compelled to share. I wrote from the depths of my heart as I was led by You. I pray that this book blesses everyone who reads it, and above all, that You are glorified on every page. ♥
From My Heart to Yours – God Loves You! That is the Legacy of Love – I pass on to you!
“… as for me, I will hope continually, And will praise You yet, more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness, And of Your salvation all day long; For I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD, I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:14-18)
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.