Terrific Tuesday, 2021

This has been a good Tuesday, as Tuesday’s go. Mom and I had haircuts today and went for lunch. She is not getting out too much, and after her neighbors tested and found out they were COVID-positive, she retreated even further. Yes, It’s January in Nebraska. It’s cold with icy walks at this time of year. She’s been a powerhouse in her thirty-three years of being a widow.

In the past seven to ten years, she’s had a couple strokes and slowed considerably, with vision loss, extreme hearing loss (unless we whisper behind her back!), and isolation from not joining her friends at the Zoo. Omaha’s Zoo is incredible, and for the past 34 years, Mom was a Docent, (it means teacher), and she did a LOT of things. She’s hand fed an elephant; she’s petted a tiger who was under for some dental work; she’s been on baby watch for the “name any animal here;” she’s bottle fed an orangutan AND a baby gorilla (but not at the same time); she’s scrubbed in and cared for the formerly protected black-footed ferrets and given a speech about them at AZAD, a national convention of Zoos. Go Mom! I’m sure the list extends beyond things I can recall now. It was funny when she had overnight duty at the zoo. My brothers and I received calls stating, “If you need me tonight, I’m at the zoo, I’m not out partying.” Um. Sure, Mom. Sure.

And now, this little old lady with all these experiences is pretty much homebound because of COVID and the weather. She loves her home, she’s lived there since 1949. That’s more than a lifetime. We have seen tremendous changes to our old rooms, but the good bones are still there in the house. I never park on “Dad’s side” of the driveway, even though he died a long time ago. There are some things you just didn’t do, and it’s funny you continue those habits long after you have to. We all remember which old-fashioned light fixtures use which switches, and she always asks, ” if there is enough light on the stairs, I don’t want you to fall.” She can’t help but look at everything through her weakening vision.

My Baby Brother Tim (he’s single, ladies!) and Mom, Christmas 2021

I need to take photos of Mom and me. I don’t have any to speak of. Tim is her favorite, and we can use that to our advantage. He can get her to agree to things, and it’s just easier on everyone. Thanks, Tim. You make it all easier! Brother Steve lives across the street from Mom and checks on her daily, several times if it’s a weekend, many times a day. You save a lot of trips for me from Gretna.

I have a feeling this year may find some changes to Mom’s living situation she may not like. Time marches on, if we want it to or not. It’s inevitable. For all of us. No one knows what tomorrow may bring, but we can do enough today to not only prepare, we can make the most of each day we have. See the sunrise, see the sunset. Enjoy high noon during the summer, hot as it is. Be someone who knows how to get the most of each day. I know it will be hard for me if I need to live in assisted living and I have to hear everyone’s loud tv’s and radios. Most folks in those facilities are very hard of hearing. They turn the volumes waaaayyyy up so THEY can hear. It won’t be good. Until then, I’ll just chuckle at it.

Tomorrow I’ll blog much earlier. I’ll be home until we go to the Post for a regular Hamburger Night. It’ll be good to be with our friends again. I’m looking forward to purchasing my new software tomorrow and start to layout some pages for my children’s book. This year will be wonderful!

Thank you for reading, I am grateful for your time. Let’s be kind, supportive, thoughtful, and wonderful humans. Wear masks, wash up, and let’s round the bend to the other side of this pandemic. It works if we work together. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday!

The day got away from me today! It was a day with Mom. She’s 91 and has limited vision and nearly no hearing left. True to a typical Mom, when I sat down across from her, she said, “Do you feel well enough to go today, you look so peaked?” I thought she couldn’t see much. Well, I assured her I was ready to take her to get a haircut, have lunch, and go to Target. I wouldn’t have driven twenty-five miles from Gretna if I didn’t feel like going.

There were two other ladies in our friend’s beauty shop in South Omaha while we were there. I noticed a gigantic Lincoln Continental parked out front and a smaller, older car. The two people there were having a comb out and a specialty color job. The comb out was an elderly lady, the other, a younger woman. After a while, the elderly lady got up to leave. The younger woman asked Mom how old she was. “I’m 91.” You ladies sure show it well, the other lady here was 93. She was the owner and driver of the gigantic Lincoln Continental. How outstanding! I hope she made it home safely.

The younger lady revealed she was “nearly 70” and I thought about how hard it is to tell women’s ages when they color their hair. The neck usually gives it away. I’m glad I quit coloring my hair over ten years ago. It’s just so much more natural at this age. I am very fortunate to still have very thick hair, fairly straight, and it’s nearly all the same length now. The cancer treatment (radiation only) didn’t bother my hair a bit, just all my hormones. That was the worst. You never recover from that. No one tells you about that “side effect.” Even eleven years later.

So, Mom likes Village Inn for lunch no matter what. We had no trouble at all finding a seat, There were only two other tables were occupied. So, it was pretty sparse. Mom loves Rueben Sandwiches and Chicken Noodle Soup. I could order an omelette and fruit, no other carbs. I sent the fruit home with Mom, along with 1/2 of her sandwich. The day wiped her out. I’m afraid that enormous home is too much for her – bathroom upstairs or in the basement and lots of room. She’s lived there since 1949, when she was twenty years old. They married in April 1948. They moved into the house in very early 1949; I believe. She hasn’t budged since. I doubt we’ll be able to pry her out of the house.

Since Shopko has closed, Mom has no place to shop. She doesn’t want to go to Wal-Mart, but I think she’d like it. She asked to go to Target, and I tried to get her to go sit down somewhere, but no, she didn’t want to. She would stay in place and I’d go look for stuff, come back and report to her. She’d determine if I’d go back and get the item or not. Clearly, she is declining faster than she’d like to admit. A slippery slope. A prayer here and there would be nice. Thank you.

The old neighborhood changes a bit from time to time. Last week, when I delivered her Mince Pie for Thanksgiving, I took a photo of the block a couple blocks from home where Grandma and Grandpa Jewell had their drugstore.

The corner building is the old Brown Derby. It was a bar the whole time we grew up. In high school, we would wait inside their building for our bus to high school. The driver knew we were inside, so he’d wait. Today, I think there are still apartments above, but I’m not sure. It has been a clothing store and now maybe a health food something; they advertise smoothies in the window. In the middle is a tire/rim store. It used to be the grocery store, Paskach’s. The orange building was the original brick when Grandpa Jewell owned “Jewell’s Sundries.”

He had a pharmacist, Cliff Chase, who was the father to a lady I met later in life. Dad was a huge fan of hers since she was a DJ on “Cathy Fife, and the Music of Your Life.” She played Big Band Music on the weekends, and Dad loved her. Later in life, I dated her partner on the Radio, and she visited Dad while he was dying of Cancer. He was so happy about that. I’m so glad they met.

My dad passed away December 7, 1988. It was a long time ago, yet it was only yesterday. He missed his grandchildren growing up and graduating from high school; he missed two of his children retiring; he missed growing old with his wife; he was only 64; she was only 59. They got cheated. That has always been the worst part. Cheated of enjoying retirement; and out of his first real vacation. He was to go with his Blackhawks Division, Patton’s Army, reunion trip through Europe, following the route they were on as they liberated Europe; Auschwitz; and other areas under Hitler. If only I could ask him about those things now, when I could write about them. But it was not to be. There are so many stories buried with our fathers. Try to hear them before you cannot anymore.

Have a beautiful rest of the evening. It will be a short time until the next post; just know, we have a short day tomorrow, there is so much to talk about! Be safe, Be courteous. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Terrific Tuesday

The Babe is the best! He has the day off from the Post today, and first thing, he said, “Let’s hang up your kimonos.” I was gifted the red one from an old neighbor of ours. They were from China, and owned a shop at Westroads in Omaha. He went on buying trips twice a year. One year, we helped her parents care for the kids since the Mom was also in China, working for Paypal on an installation in Shanghai. Being bilingual made her the perfect candidate for the job.

After the husband returned, he gave me a beautiful red kimono and a Jade looking vase, along with some bookmarks. It was really sweet of them. Isn’t it pretty?

Red Kimono from China. Applique wall hanging, left, I made about ten years ago.
Jade vase from China. Today BEING plaque from my niece, Wendy.
This just takes my breath away, it’s so beautiful.

The black kimono was something Dad gave Mom when he returned from Korea. I think he went through Japan, but I’m not sure. Back then, the boys came home by boat. I’ll bet that trip was the slowest in the history of boat trips. My grandma told the story of the taxi pulling up in front of the house, Dad threw his duffel bag out onto the grass, paid the cabbie, and jumped out, running up to the house. Grandma said Mom was inside, picked up my brother, who Dad hadn’t met yet, and Grandma told her, “You give that baby to ME! HE (pointing to Dad) wants to see YOU!” Grandma, bless her heart. Brother Tom was the first child they had that lived. The lost two baby boys before that. I”ll bet the whole thing was quite a scene.

The other part of Dad’s coming home story was all three of Mom’s sisters were still home with Grandpa and Grandma in 1951. My Aunt Carol, the youngest, was trying to learn how to play Jacks. Dad, in his uniform, sat down on the floor with her and taught her how to play. The sisters were so happy to have an adopted brother in Dad. He was good to all of them.

I admire this embroidery work. Considering the age of the garment, I’m sure it’s hand embroidered. Upon closer inspection, I can see the smaller gold threads tacking the larger threads in place. I wonder how long this took to create. I would guess they probably were good at the work and could work quickly on their stitches.

Thanks for listening me tell this story. All stories are important. I had some wonderful feedback from my cousin Paula. Paula told me she is learning a lot about my dad she never knew. Since we had a family with a night worker, the cousins didn’t know dad very well. One little one called him, “That man who lives with Aunt Rosie.” She didn’t realize he was her husband. Yes, we had an unusual lifestyle. Paula, Dad was a great man, as was your dad. I think they were cut from the same cloth. We were ten lucky kids to have the four parents we did, your family of six kids, ours of four kids. They were good old days.

With the accomplishments already today, I’m going to try and go full steam ahead. We have deliveries to make on behalf of the VFW, Auxiliary, American Legion, etc. for the Victory Apartments. We will go to Moving Veterans Forward, since it’s much closer to our home. Whichever place, we’re proud to represent the good people who were generous with fifteen sets of sheets, and coffee for their food pantry. The Babe will want to have Tacos at a place today, since it’s Taco Tuesday. You can always count on him for that.

When we get home later, there’s more website stuff to do for the VFW. And more scenes to write for the book. I’m making great headway, and am glad to be putting an order to my thoughts. It’s good to be disciplined, and I’m glad I’m learning so much from Sam, I can’t imagine having the book done and having to edit it down to bare bones. It’s saving a lot of time this way. You can stall out reading everyone’s opinions on how to do things, but at some point you need to just do the work. That’s where I am now. It’s a good place, and I have more confidence to go ahead.

My Tuffet Needs 4 Wooden Feet. I know just the guy to help me!

The Babe will attach hardware to the wood bottom of this oriental fabric covered tuffet, and attach the feet after they are painted shiny black. This will then reside in our entryway, and it’ll be the final finishing touch.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’re able to hang out again tomorrow. Wednesday already, time goes too quickly, doesn’t it? I’m going to get out into some nice weather, it’s only 61 degrees out, so it’s another cool fall day. My favorite.