Friday, October 25, 2013

Where does the time go?

I can't believe it has been so long since i blogged.  Actually, I don't have that much to write about and I doubt very seriously if anyone will ever read this.  I guess the best thing that has happened to me in recent history is the beautiful wedding of Jenny and Dave.  That was September 1st, 2013 in Carmel, Ca.  It was the most beautiful weekend I have ever spent.  Jenny and Dave are so in love and it just warms my heart to see how happy they are.

After the wedding, they left for a 2 week honeymoon in wine country just eating and the best restaurants and staying at the most romantic hotels. And I went to their apartment and spent the entire 2 weeks there.  What fun!! I have never lived alone and I hope I never have to but these 2 weeks were fun and I pretended I was Holly Golightly living it up.  Actually, I hardly left the house and Jeff came over every day.  The time flew by.  I want to do it again.

Jeff is teaching 10th and 11th grade History at North Hollywood High School. John got back into playing golf just about every single day and I still cuddle every night with Cindy and Stella.  It is all good.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My sister was a wild child!!!! and a daughter of Jesus when she died.

Jenny asked a question about Bonnie, so I'm gonna take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about things you might not know. Bonnie was quite mature for her age. She started sneaking out of the house at a very young age and would meet boys that she had met at church and school. My dad would beat the shit out of her when and if he ever found out about it. He definitely did not approve of a 13 year old having a boyfriend. So, at age 14...Bonnie decided she didn't want any more beatings and so she ran off and got married.

The way I heard the story is that she took a small suitcase full of clothes and hid it in the church. Her plan was to sneak out of the house that night and go marry Bill Blankenship. I have a photo f that church. Mlou told me this story last time we were in Alabama and I took a photo of the church. Bonnie was such a rebel and dad was so strict...it was a match made in hell. I don't think Bonnie wanted to get married so much as she just wanted her freedom. Once she was married I guess my folks thought she would settle down. However, not long after she married is when we moved to Charleston and Bonnie was just as close to mama as we all were and she wanted to be close to her. She learned very quickly that daddy was not gonna let her go back to her wild ways. I told this story in the last blog.

My oldest sister was Louise. She was born 18 years before I was. My mother wasn't married and got pregnant in high school. Can you imagine the stigma of an unwed mother in 1924??
But she had that baby and Louise was about 2 or 3 years old when mom and dad got married.

My grandfather (Nanny's dad) The one we call Papa Stidger (he is the one in the photo that looks like Jeff)....Well, he was very attached to Louise when mama got married and didn't want mama to take Louise with her. Mama told me that daddy didn't treat Louise well and had no patience with her (as he was with all of us)...But Papa Stidger wanted her to stay with him and mama let her. Louise was 12 years old when she came to live with mama and daddy and the reason she did was because Papa Stidger died. I think mama always regretted not taking Louise with her because their relationship was always strained. Louise was jealous of the other kids and never really felt as "loved" as the rest of us did. Her birth father never acknowledged her...even though they were in the same town. However, his parents always gave money to Papa Stidger to raise Louise...but they never wanted to see her.

That is another sad story. Louise's birth father's name was Short Thomas. The Thomas' were a wealthy family compared to us. Mama said she was at a dance and she and Short went out behind the church and made a pallet on the riverbank and Louise was conceived. Once he found out she was pregnant, his parents sent him off to Texas to finish school. They had no intention of letting him have anything to do with the baby. I remember when Short Thomas died. Of course I never knew him, but I remember I was 13 years old when mama told me the story of Louise. I never knew she wasn't my full sister until then. Short had just died and mama cried.

Mama was so ashamed of having a baby out of wedlock...I don't know if she would ever have told me about Louise if I hadn't found Louise's high school diploma and it said LOUISE STIDGER...How could she be a Stidger, when I was a Lawrence. I asked mama about it and she told me the whole story.

Monday, May 23, 2011

There are worse things than dying!!!

When I was a young girl I feared death. Now that I am older and wiser, I know that dying isn't gonna be so bad. There are far worse things than dying. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. I pray I never know that pain.

I've lost some loved ones along the way. In fact, I've lost a lot of loved ones...my mom, my sisters, my brother and my dad. I have one sister left and she is 9 years older than me. I was (of course) closest to my mom and her death hurt the most of all. When I was younger I used to really fear the day when my mom would die. she was 38 when I was born and back in those days, that was an old mother. Nowadays, they are having babies at age 50 and older. But I always felt like I had an older mother, so I thought about losing her and it would scare me to death. It scared me so much that I had nightmares about her dying long before she actually did. I would wake up in the middle of the night after a dream of her dying and I would be so relieved when I realized it was a dream. After she died I would have the same dream and when I would wake up, sometimes it would take a minute or two for me to realize if she was really dead or not. She died 26 years ago and today I found an old audio tape that I had made of me and her just talking. It was so sweet to hear her voice and it brought back so many fond memories. I was very lucky to have such a wonderful mother. I cannot say the same about my dad!!!

Jeff and Jenny have both asked me to blog more. To tell them more about my past and relatives that they barely knew. I remember wanting my mom to tell me stories about her life before I came along. They were always interesting stories. I have passed many of those stories on to Jeff and Jenny and they want to hear them over and over.

I was born in Alabama and when I was 2 years old, my dad got out of the Army. Before enlisting he had been a share cropper. We were poor and he wanted a better life for us. They had just opened up the shipyard in Charleston, SC and he learned that they were training men to be machinists and other jobs, so he went to Charleston and was there for a year learning his trade. He lived in a boarding house there and my mom used to tell me about riding the bus from Alabama to Charleston to visit him before we finally moved there when I was 3 years old.
At that time, my sister, Mary Lou was 12, my brother Jack was 9 and my sister Bonnie was about 15. My oldest sister, Louise was around 21 and she was married and stayed in Alabama with her husband. Bonnie had been married about a year. Can you believe that...married at age 14!! So, when we moved away, she moved with us. Now, I'm telling this story the way I remember my mother telling it to me. I don't actually have any recollection of this. What she told me was that Bonnie moved with us and she was quite a "wild child" and wanted her freedom but my dad was very strict and didn't allow her to date or anything like that. So, she contacted he husband back in Alabama and told him that if he would come to Charleston, they could live together again. He was 25 when they married and she was 14. So, he moved to Charleston. As the story goes, she really didn't want to live with him so much as she wanted to get out of the house where daddy was so strict. Once she got moved out and settled in an apartment, and got a job...she told her husband to hit the road. His name was Bill Blankenship and he drove a taxi and that is all I know about him. Bonnie got a job at the cigar factory there in Charleston and worked there for years and then she became a long distance telephone operator and she worked that job for many many years. It was while she was working at the cigar factory that she met Jimmy Lambracas. He came from a very strict Greek family and although he and Bonnie remained sweethearts for many, many years he would never marry her because she was not Greek!! Jimmy owned a bar and Bonnie used to take me there a lot when I was a kid and I always loved going there because Jimmy would give me a coke and a candy bar every time I would go. At this time, Bonnie was renting a room downtown with a lady by the name of Miss Streeter. I remember spending the night with Bonnie at Miss Streeter's and I wet the bed. It seemed like a real catastrophe back then when it happened. One day when I was at Bonnies place it was a very windy day and we were walking down the street and we found a little baby kitten...it was all by itself and so I took it home with me and we named it Wendy!!! I don't remember anything else about that kitty.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Oscars!!

I just got home from the Oscars!! What a blast...I had a room at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel, which is right in the Hollywood and Highland Center where the Kodak Theater is. Don't get the idea that this gave me any closer look at the actual Oscars, but it did give me the privilege
of seeing everything backstage the night before. I will put some of those photos on my Facebook soon. I have to unload my camera...
I got there on Thursday, the 24th. Barbara went with me. She is like a 2nd daughter to me and a best friend too. Also, she is like a girlfriend with Jenny. It was great traveling with her. We went out to dinner with Jeff and Jenny every night and on the day of the Oscars, the security was impossible to believe!! Nobody could get into the hotel unless they knew someone (like me!) They had told us the day before that there would be no cars in or out on the day of the awards because all of the limos that bring the stars will be parking in the Renaissance parking garage. So, we parked ourselves at the bar, which was right at the front door so we could see people coming and going. I learned a lot about who goes to the Oscars each year too. Most of the people that were hanging out at the Renaissance bar were "seat fillers"...what a good job. They actually PAY people from all over the USA to come and fill those seats. Some of the people I talked to said that they hade been applying for YEARS and finally got the call. I guess it is sort of like being picked to be on Survivor or The Amazing Race or Big Brother. All I know for sure is that I am putting my name on that list for next year and hope I get the call to join in.
Barbara had given Jenny a Margarita Machine for Christmas and so Jenny brought it to my room and we had margaritas every night!!!
I knew how busy the kids were with their own lives and so it warmed my heart that they both took so much time to be with us. I am one lucky gal.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It is sounding very OFFICIAL...

John says June 2011 will be his last month to work. He says this is it for sure!! I am sure we will adjust to that just fine. However, it is going to take some getting used to. Jenny will be working on her Master's and Jeff working on his Phd and me and John just vegging out here at home.

John did say he would do some traveling with me. He will visit the kids with me when I go and I might be able to talk him into some other trip if I had anywhere to go. I really don't care to travel and "see the world". If I have a trip planned, I want it to be to see my kids.

By this summer we will know where the kids will be for the next few years and I guess my traveling will be looking for a new place out west for us to live. Someplace easier to visit the kids. Moving is sort of a pain in the butt though. But I think I'd enjoy looking for another house.

We will see what the future holds.

IT HAPPENED....John's last day of work was May 31, 2011.  He is home all day long every day. I actually like it. By the time all the retirement checks started rolling in and I realized that our retirement is just over $150,000 a year....I have decided that it's good.  John is happy and he is not stressed....I want to find some business to keep me busy.  I volunteer at the 'white house in the office of presidential correspondendence.  It is interesting but driving in a bitch and finding a parking place is another bitch. I am losing the flavor!!''

Monday, January 3, 2011

Retirement...

How can it be that I am old enough to retire...long past it too. Where did the time go? I see other people who are 66 years old and I cannot believe that I too...am just that old. I felt pretty darn old when I started drawing my Social Security. That was when I was 63 and then half of that went away when I started having to pay for Medicare last year!!

But now I am facing real retirement. I suppose I have been retired since I took maternity leave 31 years ago to have Jeff. I never went back to work after that. From that moment on, I was a stay at home mom. When Jeff was 2 and a half, I got pregnant with Jenny. At that point, I sorta knew that my "out of the house" working days were over. I never wanted to go back to work and have actually been very happy staying home with them, and after they were out of the house, I still never felt the need or desire to go back to work. I would have waves of wishing I was working and even looked for a job a couple of times, when I would possibly get close to actually HAVING a job, I would change my mind. I liked staying home too much.

I am 5 years and 5 months older than John. I never "felt" older than him and it has never been any sort of issue with us. He just turned 61 and is seriously talking about retiring. He is tired of working and wants to see what all the fun is staying home. Quite frankly, I'm not ready for him to retire!! It isn't like he has hobbies or things that he wants to do at home. But somehow, it worries me. Financially, we are in great shape. He has a lovely military retirement, plus he will be getting some government retirement and eventually SS. Money isn't the issue at all.

When the kids were little, I know that they consumed my every thought. I devoted myself to them and their activities. In the back of my mind, I worried about what life would be like with me and John when they were both out of the house. Well, since they have both been out now for over 5 years, I can tell you that worry was needless. We sort of drifted right into a natural "groove" for ourselves and it has actually been a really nice time with just the 2 of us. But he was going to work 5 days a week and even did a bit of traveling from time to time. I have always been Ms Independence and for whatever reason, it has all worked very well for us.

However, now I am facing the reality that he may be home all the time, every day. We always "get along" so I why should that worry me? I don't really think he will be as happy as he thinks he will day after day. I think he NEEDS something outside of the home to keep his mind active and occupied. In years past, his work has always been so important to him. As the years have gone by, I suppose he has "lost the flavor". I suppose time will tell in this situation. I think he has another few good years of working in him and I know he still has a lot to offer his employer. Maybe it is the fear of the unknown that has me worried. I guess the conclusion of this story is yet to come.

Am I being selfish? I'm not just thinking of me, I am thinking of him and his well being also. I guess I'm just venting now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We should give Thanks!!!

I am thankful for many things. I have found as I have grown older that I am also growing wiser. It is a rotten shame that couldn't have had this wisdom when I was younger. They say that youth is wasted on the young!!! Well, I don't know if that is true or not...

It is a hard realization that as we get older, we are less important to our children. I'm not saying that they love us any less...but we are actually less a part of their lives. That's the way it was with me when I was younger and my own mom was still alive and I know that is the way it is with my children. In reality, I wouldn't have it any other way. However, when I'm the one sitting home wondering what my children are up to...it could be very easy to feel left out or to be less thankful. It is wonderful that they have full lives and just "check in" with me. I have friends who complain about not hearing from their children. I am so lucky that I don't have that complaint!!

I look back at my life and I wonder if I would change anything if I had a chance. I know that I would. However, I don't think I would change anything that would take me to anywhere except where I am right now. So, what would I change? probably nothing. But I made a lot of mistakes getting here. I suppose a lot of those mistakes made me who I am today. They say experience teaches a good school...but a fool will learn in no other. I guess I'm that fool.