stories about me


GRADUAL GRANDMA

This morning I was strongly remembering through the years I’ve spent of buying other people’s stuff from their yard sales.  I started going to yard sales after my first child was born, stopping at each house, putting on the baby “front” pack, placing the baby inside it, and going off to see what bargains we could find.

It being a university town, it was a bonanza!

I think half of what we own here came from thrift stores and yard sales–and it’s not in disrepair, either!

During the child years, it was easy to rise very early and to get onto the road.  We had a “family bed” for a long time, so I never needed an alarm clock.  I quickly dressed, put on my special Garage Sale hat (to hide my messy hair), and started driving.

I was serious.  I was often one of the first arrivals.

(But I was never mean, I never pushed, I never grabbed–just so you know)

Since my boys are teens now, and I don’t have that special alarm OR that need to buy toys and child clothing, it’s been a while since I’ve even bothered to go out.  Today I wasn’t one of the first ones to arrive, and I often found myself musing about the homeowners, the house, and the yard instead of looking at what I was SUPPOSED to be doing:  choosing stuff before others got to it!

I bought a lot of things.  It was very hard not to buy more.  BUT:  none of it was for me.

Here are some camping supplies for my younger son.

I have a friend who works at a reform school.  The students aren’t allowed to remove books from the library, and so they’re eager to devour any books she brings to her classroom.

One gentleman had everything at his place for FREE.  Well, surely someone I know can use this battery-operated clock.

I found a Victorio Food Strainer for $4!!!  These things are absolutely fantastic.  Since I already have one, I called a friend.  But she already has one, so she called her mom.  I am soooo glad I found someone for whom I could buy this bargain.

And a tractor for 10 cents.  Yes, it’s true, only 10 cents.  Surely I will find an opportunity and a boy for whom I can just whip out this gem as a gift, right?

If you want me to look out for one for yourself, let me know.

DRILLING FOR BLACK GOLD

Today my son taught me how to use a drill.  It gave me the thrill of riding on a roller coaster and I laughed aloud with maniacal glee!  The power of it, punching holes with a roar!

We “made” two compost bins out of plastic trash cans by drilling holes into them.  For years I’ve tried to make compost by having two bins created by skids, but all I’ve been doing is feeding the trees.  The trees send roots over and up through the compost, making it a tightly woven pile of tiny roots, much like an overgrown potted plant.

Lately I’ve been noticing posts of other folks, who use the easy plastic trash can approach, so we’re on our way to a new (and hopefully more aesthetic) method.

BEFORE

AFTER

It was terrible fun.

The writer over at One Thing directed me to this place where you can design yourself into a superhero; of course I had to give it a try.  I didn’t get to choose my name, but here I am!  I SO much wish I had this confidence and suavity:

I Was There & Back Again passed this meme on to me; I thought I would do it with photos!  Feel free to join in yourself.

Something old…these Valentines and cards I found in my baby book.  They’re so cute and antique; surely I’m not THAT old!

Something new….18 years ago today, someone new came into my life-my youngest son.

Something challenging….the month of April, filled with speech tournaments, a historical ball, etc. etc. etc.!

Something fun….our cat Wheezy, who is interested in many things.

Something you dread….the piles of stuff I have sitting around the house, waiting to be dealt with.

Something you look forward to….reading this book and its sequel with my youngest, who mentioned we should do it again.  If you like E. Nesbit (The Railway Children, The Treasure Seekers, etc) or Edward Eager (Seven Day Magic, Half Magic, etc.) you will like these too.  The children in both Eager’s books and Ormondroyd’s book mention their love of Nesbit!

THE WAY WE MET

I’m joining in on Flashback Fridays over at My Tiny Kingdom, which today desires a tale of “LOVE, LOOK AT THE 2 OF US.”

It’s always fun to hear how a married couple met, and I need to remind myself not to worry about my own sons and how they might meet their future wives, because of course:  God has us in His kind and loving hands.

Even if my boys ARE commuters and don’t have roommates.

My husband Chip and I met in college and then parted ways, never to meet again.  But we did.

It all began with a house fire.And ended with a snowstorm.

When I was in college, my roommate Martha spent a summer in France on a missionary trip.  When she came back, she told me: “There was a guy on our team who would be just perfect for you!”  I believed her, because well, Martha was Martha.  But this young man went to a different college than ours, so I knew there was no opportunity to meet him.

Meanwhile, my future husband had been very impressed with Martha-and with the other students from our college.  He felt that they were getting a better education than himself, that they were well-versed in apologetics, and that they didn’t just blindly followed their faith because they had been raised that way, but that they LIVED the faith in their hearts.  He began to question his own choice of college.

While Chip was in France, a terrible thing happened-his family’s home caught on fire and partially burned down.  He decided to stay out a semester from college and help rebuild.  And when it was time to go back…he switched to Cedarville College, where Martha and I were.

Martha was excited.  “That guy has transferred here! I HAVE to introduce you, I think you were meant for each other!”  I believed her.

But Martha being Martha, she just never got around to it.  She kept forgetting and was so busy.

So I took matters into my own hands.

One day, when I passed Chip on the sidewalk, I looked him in the eye and said, “HI, CHIP!”   This, coming from a girl who was too afraid to get up in the cafeteria to get a second glass of drink during a meal!   He was startled and intrigued.

My group of friends always took turns choosing where we were going to sit in the cafeteria, and so one day when it was my turn, I chose a place right beside Chip and his friends, and took the opportunity to introduce my own self.

A few days later, when it was my turn to choose where to sit in chapel, I picked a place (you guessed it!) in front of Chip and his friends.  When chapel was over, I turned around, and– “Why, hello again!”

The next day, Chip and his roommate were talking about the college production of The Music Man, and how he should ask a girl to go with him.  “I don’t KNOW any girls to ask,” Chip lamented.   “Why, yes, you do,” his roommate said, “What about that girl you were talking to in chapel?”

So, when Chip called to ask me for this date, he was afraid I wouldn’t even know who he was.  But of course, I did:  I had been waiting for him.

So we shared our lives in college up until it was almost graduation day, the way a lot of college students do-talking and talking and talking of ideas, philosophies, religion, and ways of the world.  We were such best friends.

But then unhappiness came.  Chip wanted us to “just be friends” instead of the deeper and continuing relationship I wanted us to have.  And the “just be friends” quickly turned into avoidance altogether.

At the time, although I was so hurt, I was still calm in the face of knowing that if God had a plan for us, He would perfect it.  But as the years went by, my emotional ties for Chip were broken, and he became a part of my past memories.

I went to grad school and then got a job as a school librarian.  He went to grad school and worked in a group home for United Cerebral Palsy.

Then came the snowstorm, which cancelled my school for the day.  Taking the opportunity to really clean house, I came across the only correspondence Chip and I had exchanged after we graduated from college. At the very bottom of his letter, he had written a line easily missed:  “Please write again.”

Although it was almost two years later, I did.  We began exchanging letters, but they were so mundane.  In the summer, when I received a letter from him that contained such lines as “My golf is taking an upswing for the better” and “The peas in the garden are growing” I burst out to a friend, “I don’t know WHY we’re doing this!”and she replied, “Well then, write and tell him so.”

In the falltime, I did just that.  His response was to immediately telephone and say that he could get a ride my way (from Pennsylvania to Indiana), and could he come to visit in a couple of days?

He visited me in October, I spent Thanksgiving at his parents’ home, he came to Indiana once in January, once in February, and in March we became engaged on Easter morning.  We wrote letters to each other every single day, and tried to keep telephone calls down to every two or three.

People said, “WHO are you getting married to?!  I didn’t even know you were dating anyone!”

Martha was my matron of honor.

On our honeymoon, at Gettysburg National Park

I’ve been thinking about My Tiny Kingdom’s Flashback Friday’s theme of

LOVE, LOOK AT THE TWO OF US

and how that could really apply to just about anything.  For example, a person could post about a good ol’ friend one had way back in 1977–

I (nicknamed Spike) traveled down to St. Antonio, Texas with my friend (nicknamed Chester) and her husband, to visit her in-laws.  This photo was taken after a little foray across the border into Mexico.


But then I remembered some photos of my parents that I really treasure, and decided to show these instead.

This is a picture of my dad and I taken thirty-two years ago, in front of the fireplace in the house that my parents built.  Many of the rocks in the fireplace have special meaning (for example, there’s a rock from the place where he grew up, and there are also rocks especially selected by the neighbors just for this occasion).  The hurricane lamp and clock belonged to my great-grandparents.  The attire Dad is wearing was everyday stuff for him, but mine was kind of special.  Note the bell-bottoms on my bibs!


Then there’s Mom and I.   Here are our feet, on the day in Gulf Shores, Alabama, when we splurged and bought ourselves something new on the market, before they were so “all the rage.”  I remember that when we wore these to a fast-food restaurant, some ladies made disparaging remarks behind our backs.  They’re both probably wearing bright orange ones right this minute!

And here we are four years ago at Loch Lomond, Scotland, on a day that rained and rained and rained.


FITTIN’ IN, BUT NOT FITTIN’ NOW

When I was growing up in my very small high school, most girls were in the Pep Club, which was the group that sat together at basketball games to yell out the cheers along with the cheerleaders.  We practiced after school, and even took a couple of prizes at basketball tournaments.

“S-U-C-C-E-S-S! That’s the way we spell SUCCESS!”

Because the school colors were black and gold, we had these…things…to wear sometimes, to make our group look like one solid color.  They just covered the top half of us, our shoulders-with our heads sticking out.  Some wore black, some wore gold, in patterns.

The seniors sat in the lowest row, the juniors in the next higher row, and so on up.

But when we weren’t wearing these shoulder covers, some senior girls wore something else to the basketball games:  their senior jumper.  Made out of corduroy, we employed someone (or did it ourselves) to personalize it for us with the names of the clubs we belonged to, etc.

I am so old I can’t remember if I wore mine with a black turtleneck sweater or a gold one.  Imagine!

Here is the front of it, where you can see that I worked in the library, helped with the concession stand for basketball, and was in a singing group called “Singing 16.”  The names of all our seniors are throughout the jumper, and names of best friends are in the hearts.


The back shows musicals, plays, and more clubs, along with another singing group called “Sweet 16” (16 girls).  My life verse is Galatians 2:20, I took pigs to the 4-H fair for six years, and the pink toilet paper…well, I’ll have to tell that story another time!


I don’t know if this was a tradition throughout our nation or not; I’ve never heard anyone else mention having something like this-except my mom.  When I was a child, I loved getting into her drawer and looking at her senior skirt from 1952.  I could look at all the clubs she was in, and feel its softness. Because THEY wore theirs almost every day during their senior year of high school!

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