A Great Grandmother with dogs who is fighting breast cancer. This blog is to keep friends and family up on the latest happenings in my life.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

In the arms of an angel, fly away from here. I know you are in good hands now. I love and miss you! Rest in Peace.

Mom passed away on January 8th, 2013.   She put up quite a fight against breast cancer.
We so appreciate the pouring out of family and friends and their unending support of Lory and I and our families.
We were so blessed all of our lives to have such a great, courageous Mother.  From childhood to adulthood she was always supportive and encouraging.  It gives us all something to strive for.
There aren't adequate words that can express what a great person she was.  Her friends and family all were blessed having her in their lives.
We also want to thank Hospice for their support in the final weeks.  Her favorite charities are Kiva.org and the Salvation Army.
This blog will stay active and I encourage anyone to leave any comments and memories.
We found a long story about Betty Woodyard that our mother wrote.  I will post that in memory of both our Mother and Betty.


My Sister, Betty

I was in the first grade when my sister, Betty, was born in 1947.  I didn’t know my Mother was expecting.  Kids didn’t know those things back then.   I was told there would be a new baby the day before she was born. 
This was the first time my Mother would go to the hospital to have a baby.  My older brother and I were born at home.  The little house we were born in is still there.  We check whenever we are in the area.
Betty didn’t come home with my Mother.  She had a weak heart, we were told.  She was several months old before the word Mongoloid was used.  That’s the old term for Downs Syndrome.
When she did come home I was fascinated by her.  Her tiny hand would grasp my finger and I couldn’t leave until she let go.  She had lots of dark hair and lay in the bassinet like a tiny doll. 
As she grew I’m sure my parents worried about her a lot, I know she was hard to feed and didn’t nurse well.  Mom had to give up nursing her.  Betty’s lips would get blue sometimes.
One formula had to be cooked and Mom spent a lot of time with a pliers holding a needle heated on the stove adjusting the holes in the rubber nipples.
She didn’t do the things that most babies did, like sit up or crawl at the normal age.
Ten months after her birth my other sister, Linda, was born.  DAD!  He walked around like a rooster, “said he couldn’t hang his pants on the bedpost anymore”.
Linda was a robust, bald, healthy baby.  So when Mom was having trouble taking care of Betty, I got to take care of Linda.  What fun.
I can remember the two of them laying on the couch, head to head while I held their bottles so Mom could get supper on the table. 
It was years later that I realized my parents felt guilty about Betty being handicapped.
Two babies learned to wiggle around on a blanket on the floor, two babies learned to sit up.  Betty’s way was to bring her loose jointed legs around from back to front. 
Today they have all kinds of therapy for these children but she did things her own way.
Sometimes Mom would take all of us to town to do shopping and pay bills.  She would spread a blanket on the grass at the University campus which was like a park and leave me to watch the girls.  Since Betty had lots of hair and Linda had none people assumed that Betty was a girl and Linda was a boy – in a pink ruffled dress at that. 
Mom holding Linda and Betty.
That’s me holding Betty and Charles holding Linda.  My mouth is closed because I had bad teeth.
About 1950 something called the Asiatic flu came around.  I had it first and almost didn’t make it.  The doctor came to the house back then.  I had an out of body experience and watched from a corner of the ceiling as people came and went in my room.  A new antibiotic was given to me and I recovered.
Then, of course, my Mother and sisters got it.  They went to the hospital.  Betty was taken to Columbus, OH to a children’s hospital, Mom and Linda stayed at the local one.  My brother stayed with our grandparents and I stayed with Mom’s sister, Alice’s, family.  Somehow Dad and my brother never got it.
When everyone was back home, Betty had a bed sore on her heel, a big deep purple bruise.  If she was standing in her crib crying and someone went into the room she would drop down in fear and be quiet.  Poor baby.  Mom found she couldn’t wear white (like a nurse) as it scared Betty.
Eventually Betty got over her sore heel and her fear.  Lots of unconditional love and acceptance were all that was required.
Every year at our school we were asked if we knew of any children who would be six years old and be ready for first grade next year.  We were told it was the law.
In the sixth grade I took this to heart, knowing Betty was the right age but not able to go.  I talked to my Mother about it.  I was afraid the LAW would come and make Betty go to school.
This may have had a part in my parents starting to think about getting Betty some training, along with other handicapped children.  My Mother asked our doctor if he knew of other children.  He said he could tell them about her request but he couldn’t give her their names.
It turned out there were plenty of children who could benefit.  One was the child of a university professor.  Somehow that made it more acceptable to have a handicapped child.  Even professors had them.
This was the beginning of a long process of getting public help for these children.  My parents went to meetings. 
Sometimes a newspaper reporter was invited to the meetings.  There was even a picture on the front page of the paper showing kids playing on the floor.  I was one of the kids in that picture. 
The State Mental hospital gave them a room to use and they raised the money to hire a teacher.  The children were car pooled to it. 
One year the group had a booth at the county fair with some of the children and families in it.  We had a machine that had cards with a picture on it, when you put the card in the machine it said the name of what was in the picture.
I got permission to take Betty and a friend of hers for a ride on the merry-go-round.  I was a skinny little thing and they were chunky.  I just hoped we all kept going in the same direction.  It was a huge success, once I got them on the horses.
Eventually a tax was approved to support the school and it is still in operation.
Once Mom and I were picking Betty up and the teacher came out laughing.  She said “I know what you take when things get tough.  We were learning how to open lids and Betty said “Nervine””.  That is an old type of tranquilizer which is no longer for sale.
Betty could say more in two words than most people say in a whole sentence.  “Shop it” was one of her favorites.  She had a terrific sense of humor.  She would lift some of your hair and say “fleas”.  Also the one I liked best was “smarty ache” for smart aleck.
We kept chickens and Betty loved them.  Once we found pennies scattered in the chicken yard.  There was one chicken that she could catch and carry around or just sit in a lawn chair and pet it. We decided the chicken was handicapped also.
She learned to print her name and we found it in a lot of places.  Of course, the B often had four to six bumps instead of just two.  Betty had a flare for the dramatic.
Our church started a Sunday School class for handicapped children.
All us kids grew up and left home, married and had children.  When we came back to visit our children learned to love “Aunt Betty”. 
Some of the incidents I remember from those years might not seem funny to other people.  Betty had no prejudice against bugs or flies. 
Our whole family took up camping and we met at Niagara Falls which was about the same distance for all our families.
One evening Dad was swatting flies that had gotten into their camper.  The next morning Mom heard Betty as she woke up saying “Hi, did Dad hit you?”. 
Another time when we went to visit a petting zoo Betty had fallen in love with the miniature goat.  She kept saying “shop it” and Mom told her there was no way to get it home.  Mom should have just said NO.  That evening Betty told Mom “get a rope”.  Mom didn’t understand but after a little thought I explained that a rope would be a way to get that goat home.
Dad passed away in 1982.  My parents and Betty had retired to Florida by then.  So it was just Mom and Betty.  They visited by flying north each summer and staying for a few weeks with each of us kids.
Betty liked to say Chicago since that was close to where our brother lived. 
For years my Mother and I had written letters back and forth every week.  I wish I had them now.  They didn’t say much except the happenings of the past week but that would be precious stuff now.
Phone calls replaced the letters and us kids began to notice Mom repeating herself and not sounding alert.  The decision was made to move her back north to be near me. 
We found a small house for them and the move was made.   We set about getting Betty into the local workshop for handicapped people.  Betty didn’t like it and refused to get on the bus. 
Things got more difficult.  Betty didn’t sleep well and would get up and empty the refrigerator onto the table and floor in the middle of the night  (a hasp and padlock solved that).  She would refuse to go to bed at all and Mom would sleep on the floor by the couch where Betty dozed.  She would spin the thermostat as she went by (a lockable cover solved that).
Us kids came to the conclusion that Betty needed to be in a place where she could have twenty four hour care.  Our Mother needed a rest.  We set about finding a place.

  We grabbed the first place that was found.  It was a converted motel.  Half the people there were elderly and half were disabled.  A bus took many of the disabled to a workshop every day.  If Betty refused to get on the bus, two burly men came and carried her on. 
Betty caused quite a stir when she took many of the employees’ time cards and put them into the time stamper machine.  It makes a nice kerchunk when it stamps the cards.  I thought it was pretty funny myself.  They had a whole staff of people to watch her.  The staff was very upset about it.
Then other peoples clothes kept appearing in Betty’s closet.  I told them her clothes were all marked with her name so they should make her look at the tags and put back the ones that weren’t hers.
They were skeptical about her knowing what her name looked like.  I told them to check any page in their visitor book, Betty’s name was on every page.
When an Elvis impersonator came to entertain she was the only one who would get up and dance with him.  When a church came to hold services Betty was the only one who stood up front with the choir to sing.  (Glad I missed that one.)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Two More Falls and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

I m now confined a wheel chair, they brought me a hospital bed and a potty chair to go by my bed. 

My kids are providing daily care. They are the best kids in the world..Lory  came over today and fixed a way to get over the bumps in doorways wth my wheel chair. That makes all the house avaiible to me except the back door, the laundry and the mud room. 

So my dogs are on the market.  Hate to part with them but if I can’t let them out and in it can be a problem….


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I”ve Fallen….

I  took a tumble Sunday evening. I was using my cane but it help much.  I finally got to push my button and “I’ve fallen and I can’t get backup”. Nothing was broken but they did x-ray’s any way. That plus a cat scan of my head. 

It turned out to be a small cut on my eyebrow, a few scrapes on my hands.  Their write up says “Fall”.  Of course all this took forever.

This and signing up for county help is quite a wake up call.

The oncologist said I didn’t have to see her anymore. So I think I will just see my general practioner from now on.

I don’t have the energy to finish this.  Will try to write more just now, might send a picture of my black eye….


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Meals on Wheels

I have given in to my daughters and my doctors.  I have signed up for the county help for seniors.  I got my first “meals on wheels” Friday.  It was delicious.  Of course in made me two lunches.  It’s good I only asked for them three days a week.

This county is a nice big square with a square bump on the top west. I live in that bump.  The meals will be warm, not hot, when they get here, about 10:30 in the morning. 

It’s hard to accept help and I had to fill out papers about as snoopy as getting on welfare. 

I have a sinus infection.  You know how you hold your nose and force air into your ears to clear them?  Well, last week something went pop and air was coming out of my ear.  The doctor says it will heal once we get the infection cleared up. The anti-biotic doesn’t seem to be working.

I am getting a grab bar installed in my bathtub tomorrow.  It’s nice to have a plumber in the family.  My son-in-law’s brother. My s-i-l stopped by today to check measurements and ended up playing with Rascal.  She likes to get a toy and have you chase you for it. I don’t have the energy for that. Tim does.  When they got done her tongue was hanging out.  She needs that every day. 

The school shooting was so sad. We need more help for people with mental problems.  There used to be institutions for  people like that.

There was one near where I grew up. They ran a beautiful farm and a lot of the patients happily worked on it. Then the State decided to close it.  If no family could be found, those poor people were turned out on the street.

Okay, enough of gloomy stuff.  Sleep well.





Monday, December 10, 2012

How I Met Your Father

Sorry for the use of the title of the TV show.

First you need to hear my circumstances.  I graduated from high school a year early.  Mainly because I could and I wasn’t having much fun. My Sunday School teacher also taught at the school and her daughters were my main friends.

My parents sent me to business school in Columbus, OH for a nine month course in how to be a secretary.  I lived in a boarding house along with twenty-nine other girls. I shared a room, got one-eighth of a refrigerator shelf, shared a bathroom (I don’t remember with how many girls). 

At that time there was an Air Force base nearby, I think it was called Lockbourne.  Some of the girls had been there longer and were always looking for a blind date for some guy.  I went on some dates with different guys.  Several of them talked about “Brownie”. 

They talked about borrowing money from Brownie.  So I asked to meet Brownie.

His circumstances were that he was far from his home in Vermont and already not so happy with military service. 

The business school was having a halloween party and one of my girlfriends was going with her Air Force boyfriend.  They arranged for Brownie to be my blind date to the halloween party.

We danced well together, we both grew up on farms.  He was from Vermont and had three sisters.  I had a brother and two sisters. 

He was in the process of having his lower teeth replaced by dentures, I already had a full set of dentures.  Later we joked that all our children were born toothless due to this.

At one point he asked to get out and the driver stopped and let him out and drove on.  He eventually turned around and went back and got him.

What I didn’t know was that Rod had a girl back home and they were engaged to be engaged.

That took a while to resolve.  I told him to make up his mind and let me know when he had decided.  In the meantime he had wrangled an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at my house.

This was a time in the past when a young man in uniform could hitchhike safely and quickly.  I rode the bus home, about a three hour trip.  He went with me when I got on the bus and met me when the bus arrived.

I had explained to him that my family didn’t do anything special for Thanksgiving, but he said it would be better than cafeteria food.

So he met my family.  The way potatoes were served at our table, they were peeled, boiled and put in a bowl on the table. Each person took one, mashed it with their fork and added what they liked, mostly butter and salt.  My sweet little sister quickly counted the potatoes and people and concluded that there was one for each person and one extra.

We dated week-ends and sometimes Rod even borrowed a car. We spent time in Isaly’s ice cream shop with one coke and two straws. He bought a miniature chess set and taught me how to play.

He finally wrote the letter to his girl back home breaking up with her.  She was friends with his Mother which didn’t help my case at all.  It eventually resolved itself.

I received my engagement ring on April 1st and we were married on May 18, 1958.   You kids came along in 1963, 1966, and 1968.

That was a really really long time ago. Maybe this is already…








Saturday, December 8, 2012

Changing Times

What have I been doing?  Taking naps.  Taking pills.  Feeding dogs and letting them in and out.  Taking naps.  Eating.  Paying bills. Watching some Great Dane service puppies grow up - http://explore.org/#!/live-cams/player/great-dane-service-puppies-indoor-puppy-room.  They are getting big and are already eating solid food.

We have had a lot of rain, we need all we can get since we are in the middle of a draught area. Of course if it’s a thunder storm the dogs have a problem.

My hair is growing slowly. My beautician daughter tells me it grows a quarter inch a month.  The aggravating cow lick is still there. I’m still wearing hats as it is cold.

I was never much of a person for hats. Back in 1957 when I went to business school we were instructed to wear hats and gloves. We were told if we had to pick something up off the floor we should crouch done, not bend over. Always wear hose and sensible shoes.

We did two hours of typing every day, Friday was two hours of timed tests.  This was all done on manual typewriters. Hands got strong.  In the ‘80s I interviewed with Manpower on an electric typewriter. It wasn’t so bad. I got the job.

I made all my kids take typing.  I think they call it keyboarding now.

Times change and we have to change with them.