Posts Tagged ‘house’
Most of us today think very little about the place we were born, except the city and state, of course. That is because most of us are born in hospitals, these days, and while we may know about those, they carry little value, except the name itself. It isn’t a place we go to see out of curiosity, or a place that we generally have a picture of, because it just isn’t that big a part of our life history. I found this picture recently, and for me, it will now always carry a great value and significance in my life history. No, it isn’t the place where I was born. My own birth took place at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, in Superior, Wisconsin. That is all I know of the place, and it has never been something that carried any great importance to me to see. No, this is the house where my dad was born…a home birth.
Home births didn’t used to be such a novelty, in fact the very opposite was true. Women saw no need to rush off to the hospital to give birth to their children during the time when my dad was born. And yet, it is that relative novelty that exists today concerning home births, that made me look twice at the information my Uncle Bill had attached to this picture. While my dad was not the only one of my grandparents children to be born at home, he was the only one to be born in this house.
After I read that this house was where my dad was born, I just felt an immediate connection to it. I could picture my dad…the baby, crying for the first time and then being handed to his mother so he could eat his first meal. I could picture him learning to sit, stand, and walk in this house. I could picture his siblings, Laura and William taking turns holding the new baby, and Laura helping her mother to care for her new baby brother. Aunt Laura had been such a great held with my Uncle Bill’s care when he was little, and how much she liked that job, as told by Uncle Bill, so I can imagine that she cared for my dad in much the same way.
I don’t know how long they lived in this house for sure, but I do know that it carried many precious memories of happy times. It is a house that my Uncle Bill spoke of often, and there are a number of pictures taken at this house too. Stories of their times playing with the Zenith Coaster wagon that is pictured in front of the house, also graced the pages of the family history, as very important pictures for Uncle Bill, He and my dad had many great times in that old wagon, and as an added blessing, their sister, Laura was there to pull them around in it, so they didn’t have to do a thing but sit back and enjoy the ride. I think I can see exactly why the house meant so much to the family.
As I was helping my sister-in-law, Brenda and my daughter, Corrie with some projects around Brenda’s house today, we started talking about Christmas Eve, which is always held at Brenda’s house. The talk was really about planning for the upcoming holiday, but my thoughts drifted back to Christmas Eve celebrations, as well as other holiday celebrations, of years gone by. This is a year of firsts for our family. Since my father-in-law’s passing on May 5th, we are facing the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and every other holiday without his presence. My mother-in-law is still with us, but with Alzheimer’s Disease, she cannot live alone, so she is in a nursing home. She is quite happy there, but since she hasn’t walked since March, bringing her over to celebrate with us is just not feasible. She doesn’t know what day it is anyway, so she doesn’t miss the holidays. The sad thing about our situation is that with her in the nursing home, and my father-in-law in Heaven, we are almost going through that year of firsts with both of them at the same time.
As I took the trash out when we were finished with our project, I looked at Brenda’s patio, which had often been the place for family barbeques in the summertime, the sad and lonely feeling that had been there throughout our conversation, persisted. Anyone who has lost a parent understands quite well just how hard that year of firsts is. The traditions that had been a part of life for so long that they were taken for granted, must now be completely re-worked to reflect the changed family unit, and no matter what you do, there is always and will always be a hole in them…that empty place that belongs to that loved one who is now gone. Yes, you move on and make new traditions, be they never really feel quite right, somehow. You keep thinking that maybe next year it will feel normal, or at least not feel like something is missing, but it just doesn’t. The subsequent years of holidays are joyous, just like before, but with a little hint of loneliness, that never goes away.
As a look at the old pictures of holidays from years gone by, I can’t help but shed a tear, because those days are gone forever. I think one of the hardest things about the circle of life is the changing face of tradition. I love tradition…families gathering to celebrate holidays in the way that their families did, and the way their children’s families probably will. Unfortunately, change is inevitable, and traditions will change…as loved ones pass, children marry, and babies arrive, but some changes feel good, while others feel forced…and laden with a hint of loneliness.
Bob’s Uncle Eddie is the fourth child of his Grandma Hein. He is Bob’s dad’s younger brother. Eddie is the kind of person you can always count on to help you if you need it. When my father-in-law was building his house, Eddie even took a vacation to come and help him work on it. Most people really don’t like working vacations, although many of us have taken them. I suppose that like many of us who have taken working vacations, Eddie wanted to help, and so was willing to sacrifice his own down time to make life easier for someone else. Really though, that is just how Eddie is. He has always been a hard worker, and has always been willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need…not just family. And Eddie is very handy too. He has done quite a bit of building on his own property, so he knows the ropes, and is a really good man to have on the job…especially since most of the help my father-in-law had was his kids, his son-in-law, Lynn, and his daughter-in-law…me. None of us had ever done much building, so we were kind of like the little kid trying to be a great assistant, and mostly getting in the way. Well, maybe not as bad as all that, but not the kind of real help my father-in-law really needed either.
Now, don’t get the idea that Eddie is all work and no play, because you would be wrong. Eddie has a great laugh, and he uses it often. He loves to joke around, and loves to tease his nieces and nephews. Bob was one who got to get in on that teasing whenever he was in Forsyth, Montana, where Eddie lives. Bob especially got teased as a teenager, because like most teenagers, he liked to have his hair long. Well, of course, his parents hated that, and his Uncle Eddie tried to be helpful, by offering to shave Bob’s head. He wouldn’t have really done it, and Bob knew that. They were just playing, but it’s hard not to cringe just a little…even if you knew they wouldn’t do it. I guess it’s a good thing for Bob, that his uncle liked him. Today is Eddie’s birthday. Happy birthday Eddie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every year on October 31st, kids all over the country take to the streets, knocking on doors to collect a bounty of candy…whether they need it or not. My kids and grandkids are all beyond the trick or treat stage now, but that doesn’t stop some of them from dressing up for work and parties they have been invited to. My nieces and nephews have a great time each year, and the costumes are as varied as the imaginations of the people wearing them. My niece Jenny and her husband Steve always have a party on Halloween, so that all the family can gather and enjoy each other’s company. Jenny and Steve have come up with a variety of costumes over the years…from Indians to cowboy and dance hall girl. And then there’s my niece, Kellie, who uses the workplace to create a costume…I guess writing insurance for Progressive has it’s perks…I should have thought of that, since my daughter Amy and I write for Progressive too. My granddaughter, Shai has told me that she is planning to dress up for work tonight too, at Outback Steakhouse. I think she should go as a Bloomin’ Onion, but I don’t expect her to take my advice.
When I was a kid, Halloween was pretty much a kids game, and while Dad always took us trick or treating, the night belonged to us. My parents never dressed up, nor did any other adults I knew. We didn’t bother with a little Jack-O-Lantern basket for our candy, because that didn’t hold enough…just take a pillow case. It was sure to be full by the time you got home. Dad was always a good sport, taking us out as long as we could stand it, which was quite a while if the night wasn’t too cold. We didn’t go to places like the mall…we didn’t have one anyway…or other businesses, because there was very little worry about tainted candy. It was just a very different time. These days people must be much more careful, and maybe that is why there are more parties, and less trick or treating.
Halloween will always be a kids game, I suppose, but these days it’s not just for kids, and the people I am around that dress up are not kids…or maybe they are. They say some people never grow up, and it could be that the ones that dress up just have a little bit of a kid still living on the inside of them. Here’s to childhood, and never growing old!! Happy Halloween everyone!!
Today’s 8″ to 10″ of snow and still falling, takes me back to the severe storms we got when I was a kid. I remember one in particular in about 1972 or 1973, where the snow was taller than my little niece, Chantel, who was about 1 or 2 at the time. I don’t know for sure where that picture is, but I can picture it in my head. As I recall, it was almost taller than my dad, who was squatted down next to her in the picture.
Of course, like today there was no school and no unnecessary travel in the area, and about the only people moving were those with snowmobiles. The main difference then is that we had power at our house, which I do not have today. Thankfully I have one of those Olde Brooklyn Lanterns, or I would be sitting here in relative darkness, since it is still pretty early in the morning. I’ve read that many businesses are closing due to the weather and due to the “no unnecessary travel” warning, because of trees down and power outages, caused by power lines down.
Occasionally, I hear the cracking of branches in the trees. Because so many still have most of their leaves, they are very vulnerable. That makes me sad, especially since one of the trees we have been nurturing from the day it sprouted…a volunteer from one of our neighbor’s trees…is among those trees that have lost branches. My daughter, Amy’s trees have also lost branches. So far my daughter, Corrie’s trees are ok. The streets look like a war zone, and of course, we have made national news with our freak storm. It is so early in the year for so much snow to hit here… but not impossible as you can see.
What makes this feel so bad, however, is the loss of so many trees. The skyline has changed in many ways. When I look across the street from my house, many of the trees are much shorter. It is hard to tell at this moment if they are just bent or if they are broken, but I know that many are broken. It is simply heartbreaking. So many years put into growing those trees, and now they are gone, and there is no guarantee that they will come back. With God’s help we will persevere and we will nurture those trees that make it, back to health. Freak storms are a part of life, I just hate the look of the war zone that they leave behind them.
Lately, I’ve been noticing the changes in our weather that are all too familiar this time of year. It’s a feeling of fall. Even though I don’t dislike fall the way I used to, I still feel a little twinge of regret that summer is over. Still, as much as I used to love summer, these days it just feels too hot sometimes. I have started liking the cooler weather of spring and fall…winter, well I think I’ll always hate winter, except in pictures, or from inside the house.
Liking or not liking the coming fall and winter aside, I nevertheless recall some of the trips Bob and I took in the fall. Our girls were small them, so school was not a problem. We really liked those fall vacations, because there were less people traveling then…less people on the road, and less people at the places we wanted to go. The changing leaves were pretty, even though we don’t get the brilliant colors that occur in other areas of the country.
The year Corrie was born, however, we took a trip to Wisconsin to visit my Uncle Bill’s family. I will never forget the beauty of the Wisconsin fall. My only regret is that the cameras back them could not capture the beauty of it all like the ones we have now. Nevertheless, there was a definite red color. I thought back to some of the pictures my parents took of the area during their years of living in Wisconsin. The pictures are in black and white, of course. The only way to see the beauty of the multi colored fall trees, is to have been there and to carry the memory of the colors. That way you could look at the pictures and add the color with your imagination. That is the way it is with all the black and white pictures of that era…sadly.
Now that our children are grown, the possibility of fall vacations again presents itself. I know I would love to go to areas of the country that have the trees that turn a firey red, and some yellow mixed in. With today’s cameras, the pictures of fall back east would be stunning. I think I might have to plan just such a trip in the near future.
Have you ever noticed that whenever company comes over for a visit, or there is some special occasion, like a birthday party; kids just seem to come out of the woodwork. These are the same kids, who don’t want to be stuck in the house on a normal day, but this one is special. There are people in the house that they don’t get to see very often or they are just curious about what is going on, and who is getting what. Before you know it, there are half a dozen kids under foot, and in every picture you might be taking. Oh, they don’t mean to be in the way, or to be a big problem…they’re just curious. Of course, that doesn’t matter to the adults, who sometimes feel annoyance, even though they try to understand.
Having been one of those kids, I can understand how it feels to be the kid, who just wants to be in on the action. When I was a kid and company came over, it seemed like we were supposed to go play, but we wanted to be in the house with the adults. Oh, it wasn’t always that way. Often, we were allowed to sit and talk to the adults…until we finally got bored with the conversation, which always seemed to be less and less fun as the evening went on. In fact, when I think about it, maybe my parents had figured out a way get us kids to go outside and play. I mean, really, does any kid want to listen to the adults talk for very long? No, it’s boring…so we would simply find other things to occupy our time.
Christmas and birthdays are a different matter, however. Once the gift giving starts, you are simply not getting those kids out of the middle of the picture zone. The excitement is too high. They don’t even notice that they are in every shot, and sometimes in front of the shot the photographer was trying to take. All the adults can do at a moment like this is to try real hard to remember what it was like to be a kid. Remember that kids, aren’t trying to be in the way. They aren’t trying to be annoying. They aren’t trying to invade your space. They’re just curious.
When we were moving things out of my in-laws’ house, so it could be sold, I noticed how lonely the house felt. A house needs people in it, creating memories, so that it can really have…life, so to speak. When its occupants are gone, taking with them all the memories that they made there, it just feels sad, somehow. Most times when that happens, the other people who spent time in the house never get to see it when new memories are being formed and the house is filled with people again. That is not to be the case with my in-laws house, however, because our nephew, JD is buying the house.
It will be a bachelor pad, at least for now, but that’s ok. The memories that still live within the walls will continue to echo for JD and for any of us who visit him. There were many good times had there, and because some of the things that belonged to my in-laws will remain in the home, we will often be reminded of their time in the home. I think especially for JD, the memories will remain strong, as he spends time in his new home, with the memories of his grandparents.
JD used to love to go over there and share talks and laughs with his grandpa. In fact, JD has never known a time when his grandparents lived anywhere else, since he was less than a year old when they moved there. All of his childhood memories of visits to his grandparents are centered there. I’m sure that JD will have many moments when he feels like his grandparents are right there with him. I know I would, but it will be a warm cozy feeling, like being wrapped in a warm blanket of memories.
It seems fitting that now, as JD is turning 25, and the house needs someone to live in it, that the two of them should come together. Both of them will be starting a new life…a new journey. Today is JD’s birthday. We are glad you are buying the house. Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For the last eleven years now, my brother-in-law, Mike has been a part of our family. When they married, Caryl moved to Rawlins, which was where he lived. They continue to live there…for now, but when they retire, they want to move to Casper again. Caryl was born and raised here, but has hardly lived here since her first marriage, so it is going to be quite a change to have her and Mike living here. We are all happy about that future plan.
Since they purchased their ranch on Poison Spider Road, Mike and Caryl have been working to tear down the sheep birthing barns and put up new fence around the property. Their plan is to rent the house out for the next 8 years, until they are ready to retire. In the mean time, they are planning to have their dream house built for them in about 5 years. The barn had an area in the back the they will turn into an apartment for them to stay in while they are working on the ranch. It is not going to be a fast process, since they can only work on the ranch on days off and vacations, but they have plenty of time, since that retirment is 8 to 10 years down the road.
Mike has done lots of construction projects for my parents, as well as carpentry, so any finishing touches he does on their own home will not be much of a stretch for him. He is very good at planning out a project and designing everything. I know their home will be great when it is all done. I’m sure their retirement ranch will be a place of refuge for them for many years to come.
Today is Mike’s birthday, and while he is celebrating in in Japan this year, and I’m really jealous, I do hope it’s great. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!