Tag Archives: memories

OUR BEST-REGULATED FAMILY

A British theme, 1939, now a popular American motto.

A British theme, 1939, now a popular American motto.

“Accidents will occur in the best-regulated families.” ~Charles Dickens

These come in the mail, to offer writing courses. Mine would have to read, 'Growing up Marylin Shepherd in  Fort Scott, KS'

These come in the mail, to offer writing courses. Mine would have to read, ‘Growing up Marylin Shepherd in Fort Scott, KS’

Dear Mom,

You like to stay in your own apartment, cuddled under an afghan as you rest in your recliner. But years ago, taking off for a drive with your family was one of your favorite things to do.  It’s back-to-school time for your great-grandchildren now, which reminds me of one of our adventures. It was August, 1960…

Daddy had a meeting in Kansas City, and he offered to drop us off downtown so we could shop and then go out for lunch. Immediately you said yes, dressed us up a bit so we’d look nice, and we piled into the car. It was three weeks before my 11th birthday and David was months from being 13.  He needed new shirts and jeans for school the next week. I needed shoes, and for my upcoming birthday I desperately wanted only one thing, umm…a bra.

All my girl friends had bras. They were called beginner bras, training bras—as if young girls’ obsessions needed training—and you weren’t thrilled with the idea. But we found a huge assortment of them in the department store clothing section. They came in one cup size—flat—and the only measurement was “around” so it wouldn’t fit too tight.

All the little dressing rooms were full—my brother was taking his sweet time in one of them, trying on lots of different jeans—and soon the serving hours for lunch would end at our favorite eating place, the big Forum Cafeteria.  So you partially hid me between displays of pajamas and robes, pulled a beginner bra out of its box, and right there in front of God and everybody, you tested the fit…OVER my blouse.  There I stood, wearing a white bra over a red blouse.  David chose that moment, of course, to finally open the curtain of the dressing cubicle. He took one look, screwed up his face in a laugh, and closed the curtain. The sales lady giggled the entire time she asked if we needed assistance.

I marched ahead of you and David, clutching my package of two birthday bras, refusing to talk to either of you as we hurried the few blocks to the Forum Cafeteria. It was a bright and shiny wonderful place with a long glass-covered display of so many food choices that we could hardly decide. I let you tuck my package inside your big purse. We loaded our trays with silverware and napkins and pushed our way along the chrome tray bars.

David was in the lead. His tray was filled with plates and bowls of food when he reached the drink section. As the server handed his iced tea over the counter, he grabbed too late or she let go too soon. The tea tipped and drenched not only his food, but it also splattered on him. (Note here: At that point I hadn’t heard of Karma, but whenever I think of Karma now, I remember the miserable look on my brother’s face.)

He was given a fresh tray, all new bowls and plates, and we made our way to our table. It was at the bottom of the wide stairs leading to the upstairs dining area, our favorite place where we could look out the window at the hustle and bustle of Kansas City. It was also where we made a buffer for a businessman who was hurrying down the stairs to get back to work. He slipped or tripped or maybe missed a step, floundered, threw up his arms…and landed on our table. Seriously. Smack dab in the middle, tipping over all the glasses, flinging the food. I remember the mashed potatoes on his face.

In typical gracious form, Mom, you jumped up to help him, grabbing napkins, asking if he was all right. He was so embarrassed, stammering apologies, and I remember you giving him a tissue from your purse, smiling and telling him it was quite all right, that everyone had accidents, and some day this would be his favorite story to share. As the staff hurried over to clean up and escort the man to the rest room, I noticed your open purse, the inside drenched in ice tea…and the goo of cobbler bits clinging to my birthday bra package.

Daddy picked us up in front of a book store an hour later.  As he pulled into the downtown traffic, he smiled and said, “I had an excellent meeting. How was your day?”

You, Mom, were the first to giggle, and soon the three of us were laughing and trying to talk all at once, telling about our excellent day.

The cover of a blank photo album, Kansas Originals.

The cover of a blank photo album, Kansas Originals.

“Gravity is a contributing factor in nearly 73% of all accidents involving falling objects.” ~ Dave Barry

“Everyone has accidents. Later, they become favorite stories to share.”  ~ Mary Shepherd

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for

THE THINGS WE LOSE

(All photos by Marylin Warner)

(All photos by Marylin Warner)

lost tennis ball

red glove

Dear Mom,

I remember when you and dad were building the dealership. Money was tight, and sometimes, at the end of a long work day, our family would then deliver a car to the new owners in another town. If the delivery were more than sixty miles away, it would be late at night, so David and I might have been in our pajamas and robes, ready for bed. David would ride with Dad in the car to be delivered, and I would be with you in the car that we all rode in together for the return trip home.  The guys often listened to the radio. You and I often played a story-telling game, where one of us made up several titles, and the other chose one title and made up a little story to go with it.

We also played word games.  My favorite was this: we  decided on a topic, and then we took turns giving examples.  For instance, one topic was “Things that are scary,” and some of our examples were when the lights go out in a storm, when you go into the kitchen at night and a mouse runs in front of you, when you’re playing hide and seek and no one comes after you, etc. I remember that the funny thing about the scary topic was that by the time we were finished, we were making crazy noises and laughing.

You might not remember those rides and our games, Mom, but I do.  If we were playing the word game now, the topic might be “Things we lose.”  Tangible examples could be lose your gloves, sunglasses, keys, homework, etc.  Emotional, intangible examples could be lose your temper or your patience or sense of humor, lose hope or faith or trust or love, or on a more current, personal level…lose your memory.

Here are some quotes on loss that I also think apply to dementia and Alzheimer’s:

“Not all who wander are lost.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

“Always look at what you have left. Don’t look at what you have lost.” ~Robtert Schuller

“Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.”  ~Clarence Darrow

…and by Daniel Boone:  “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”

My favorite, most poignant quote on loss and love (which I’ve used before on the blog) is by G.K. Chesterton: “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.”  Dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the only risks in life; all of us live one day at a time, and as you and Dad used to say, we should be grateful for each day and  live it to the fullest.

You were our example, Mom, and we all love you.   Marylin

__________________

Metal detector quickly found these in children's park: metal toy truck, coins and bolts, and a shell casing.

Metal detector quickly found these in children’s park: metal toy truck, coins and bolts, and a shell casing.

Using metal detector to find lost things.

Using metal detector to find lost things.

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for

Congratulations, Mary Shepherd!

This blog is about awards, so we begin with Mary Elizabeth Hoover Shepherd, 94, holding a special, private collection of her poetry, articles, essays and stories, including her illustrated story, “Stubby The Missouri Mule.”

Dear Mom,

During the last month, our blog has received three new awards. This time, you will be “accepting” the awards, and I will answer the questions as I know you would (without the dementia), and we will thank those who nominated our blog, and then we’ll recommend others.

With genuine thanks to those who follow us, enjoy our story and have nominated this blog, I know you will understand why we’re answering just a few of the many questions and are nominating just one new blog for each award.  Here we go:

The Super Sweet Award  from our friend Mack of the diary of me at http://thediaryofmeblog.wordpress.com/    Question: do you have a sweet nickname? Mary Ibeth (short and sweet nickname for Elizabeth, which was a mouthful for children).  Question: which do you like better, cookies or cake? Actually, my mother used to love pies more. Now, though, she loves cookies, especially soft snickerdoodle cookies, though anything sweet and served with a smile or shared with a visitor is very nice, too.

One Lovely Blog Award from Pat Wood at http://patwoodblogging.com/ who offers great photography and  insights and adventures on writing (a sample of her novel,CLEAN DEATH,can be read on her blog),   and  the Liebster Blog Award from Eva Rider at http://evarider.com/ whose theme is to Live your fantasy (she’s a fantasy and contemporary/mainstream writer)   Question: what event didn’t you expect that made your life what it is today? Mom would say she didn’t expect to lose her husband and best friend to a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, and then also to lose many of her own short term memories and knowledge to dementia, but Life doesn’t do what we expect.  Question: how do you want to be remembered?  Mom would like to be remembered for her strong quiet faith, and for the people she helped and the good changes she made in schools, the church and children’s lives,  for her warm hospitality and the delicious meals she fixed, and especially, for the love she shared with her family and friends.

When I visit Mom each month, I tell her about new blogs I’ve discovered, and sometimes I’ll read her special posts that I think she’ll enjoy. We will share some of our new favorites now, and recommend that you all visit their blogs soon:

http://claudiapagebookie.blogspot.com/  for One Lovely Blog Award.  Claudia’s Page covers writing, tea events, antiques and collectibles, interesting Kansas places, and delightful pictures to enjoy again and again!

http://poeticparfait.com/ Christy Birmingham’s “Poetic Parfait” for The Super Sweet Award. Christy lives in Victoria, British Columbia and writes personally and professionally. She compares poetry to a wonderful dessert you just can’t pass up, and her photography is wonderful!

http://lanternpost2012.wordpress.com/ for the Liebster Award.  Daniela is the Lantern’s Keeper at Lantern Post; she has amazing photography poetry, prose, quotes, book and movie reviews, and reflections. To visit her blog is to take an amazing journey.

________________________________________________________________________

Mary: the same beauty, two ages

The cover of the book Marylin put together for her mother ~ selected poems,
articles, essays, stories, and the illustrated story, “Stubby The Missouri Mule”

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Filed under memories for great-grandchildren, The Super Sweet Blogger Award