Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And it was a very Merry Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 25, 2008

By PJDHuerta

Last Sunday M decided the project of the day was to write books. All three of us got busy under the direction of M. When we were finished, little m designated her book for Mom and Dad; M decided hers was for Uncle Rob and Aunt Christy; M decreed that mine was to be for Papa because that way "Every family would have one." After we finished, we found bags, labeled them and placed them under the Christmas tree. The recipients read the stories on Christmas Eve as we began the festivities. The only one I have access to today is mine. So here is "Grandma and the Princesses."

Grandma and the Princesses

Once upon a time there lived a lady who had two boys. In time her little boys grew to be men and married. After a time, her son had a little girl.

"Oh great," thought the lady, "We have a princess!"

The little princess was such a delight to all. She gurgled and smiled and kicked her feet. Soon she grew older and learned to talk.

"Gwa'ma," said the Little Princess. "I go with you."

And Grandma was delighted.

One fine day a second princess appeared. Like the first princess, this one charmed everyone, but mostly from the safety of Mommy's arms. But soon she, too, liked to visit at Grandma's house.

And Grandma was delighted.

Sometimes they played with the doll house. Other times they had a tea party. The Little Princesses loved to dress up. The first Princess preferred the mermaid dress. She danced and danced just like princesses always do.

Grandma was delighted.

The littlest princess loved to wear the fairy costume, usually without the wings. The wings annoyed her. She danced and danced in her little yellow fairy costume.

And Grandma was delighted.

As the little princesses grew older, games became more sophisticated. They played tic tac toe, checkers and chess. Outside they rode bicycles, played hopscotch and exploded pop into a fountain with Mentos.

And Grandma was delighted.

But once in awhile, the princesses would fight.

"It's my turn!"

"No. it's my turn!"

"Get out of my way."

"No! You get out!"

And one little princesses pushed the other little princesses. And they both began to cry.

And Grandma was very sad.

But most of the time the princesses played nicely. They learned to use the magic words: "Please" and "Thank you."

And Grandma was delighted.

On cold snowy days, Grandma and the princesses made books. Both princesses were very smart. Sometimes they read books or played number games with Papa.

And Grandma was delighted.

Grandma watched as the little princesses grew and grew. "Someday my little princesses will be grown up and maybe have princesses of their own," thought Grandma.

And she was delighted.

In the meantime Grandma played with the princesses and taught them as much as she could about being grown up princesses who will serve the King of Kings.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


From the warmth inside

On the deck

Getting into the cold cold car
America's favorite design for a shopping center.

Somebody slid into the ditch.

At least they have help -- and food available!!

The snow banks were had to see around.

Really huge piles of snow!!!

It took 7 hours to stop at Walgreen for batteries (Little M's toy needs batteries); Get some more lipgloss for T at Justice for girls; pick up an eye shadow for me at Ulta; and stop at two grocery stores for food for tomorrow. Honest. I didn't try on a single thing or go anywhere else. At 11 when I left the house visibility was about 1,000 feet. Then by 2, it was about 500 feet. By 3, visibility was down to maybe 100 feet, wind was blasting and snow fell all day. At 4:30 it was dark and visibility was maybe 30-40 feet. Whew! But I'm almost ready for Christmas!! Hope your day went well.

Oh yeah. Don't tell Santa. I sneaked a preview of the camera I'm getting for Christmas. I like the pictures!!!! I'd better go get it back in the box under the tree!!! Don't tell!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas season always affects my moods, part good, part bad. The bad is that it was December 29th when our house burned; my mother died 13 days later with complications from her injuries. And I think this year receiving those letters made me miss her even more. 1961 was the last Christmas that we had together, yet I miss her as much this year as I ever have.

It isn't that I'm moping around exactly. But some things in my routine change. For one, I can't tolerate the TV programs that I usually watch: those courtroom, crime scene mysteries, murder investigation things. Instead, I drown in Hallmark movies, Christmas specials, etc. Fortunately, my husband is okay with my season of chick flicks. He joins me for an hour or so each evening. He says it doesn't matter what we're watching, he just enjoys being with me. (Awwww! I know. He's sweet like that.)

And I have days that I'm absolutely useless. I can't get anything done, am not really sure where the day goes. Today was NOT one of those days. Today I cleaned and organized with a frenzy. I looked around the house last week and was reminded of Aunt Lois in her later years. There were piles of things everywhere....okay, not everywhere, but way too much clutter lying around. Main areas were clean, but too many corners piled with stuff to be sorted, organized and put away. I tackled it. And...I'm almost done with my bedroom, the living room, and the TV room. Now sometime this vacation, I have to spiffy up my office. Hoping for no more useless days.

I do enjoy the snow and cold, the decorations, the food, aah, the food in spite of that tinge of sadness that seems to sit on my shoulders starting in late November. And I love the music and ambiance of the season.

Speaking of which, our Christmas program was awesome!! We're a small group, but it was very good. The youth did a wonderful job of choreography to the opening number. It was really great.

And I believe Santa is bringing me a camera for Christmas. I may just open the package early to get a few pictures now that my decorations are done and the house is clean. I've been trying to use an old Canon E-1, the kind of camera that uses real film, and I have to focus the frame myself AND wind after every shot. But...I've had a problem with trying to take one too many pictures and the film pulls out of the cartridge. Duh! So we'll see if I can find a closet dark enough to take the film out of the camera to get it to be developed. Too bad I don't know anyone with a dark room.

So with three days til Christmas, that's two days until our celebration. We get together on Christmas Eve. That way the kids can spend Christmas day with their spouses' families. But I'm nearly ready. Just a few more presents to wrap, some batteries to buy for Little M's toy, some press-on nails for M's make-up collection, and I think that's it. Hope there's nothing else. There are groceries to buy tomorrow and I'm going to go get my nails done and a pedicure! And that's my next two days!!!

Gotta run. It's Hallmark time!

Friday, December 19, 2008

And on a personal note, this week wasn't quite so taxing as last week. That Friday was a full moon! So I managed to find a place to cry a bit just from the emotional overload and made it through. Today was a serendipity for me We got off a day early for Christmas vacation. I'll probably moan about the extra day in June, but for now I needed the relief.

We managed to deliver all of the gift certificates and presents the staff had bought for students. Everyone was very generous. The social worker's office looks like a used clothing store with all of the donated coats. But we hand out coats every day, standing in the halls to spot kids with only sweatshirts for a coat. Some of them are dressed that way by choice (silly kids), but some happily accept the offer of a coat. Middle school kids don't like gloves, hats and scarves, but we've given out some of those too. Who knows where they end up!

I made the granddaughters' Christmas camera has gone defunct. It won't power up even though the battery is charged. I think it died. I've had it about 3 1/2 years and have used it lots. I've taken more than 6,000 pictures with it. I hate it when something so comfortable dies. I really don't like getting used to new equipment. The older I get the slower my learning curve goes!! I have promises of pictures from my DIL for the dance recital of the little one. So one of these days I shall just post pictures. But for now no snow pictures. Even though we have about a foot and it's still falling!!! It's beautiful out, wet and cold, but beautiful!

Part III

Harviell, Mo. R.1, Box 31
May 1, 1940

Dear little Daughter:

I sure was glad to hear from you today. I had been wondering why you didn't write if you didn't get to come over. We knew Vera was at the Cafe but we didn't know she drove her car. If we had known the car was gone we would have come over after you last week. Why didn't you write and tell us? We have the car here at home so let us know we can come after you most any time. Ben is at Alicia. He writes like he will be home Monday. We may be over after you the first of next week if you can come.

Ben will be at home for awhile this time. It has been so wet Samuel has only got to plow 1 1/2 days. If it ever gets dry enough they will be awful busy here trying to get crop planted. We never got any potatoes planted or early roasting ears. Our potatoes we got planted are up good. We have 24 little chicks. Paul has 2 hens setting for you. O yes, we sold our Cricket cow to Mr. Sanders and bo't a good Jersey with a young calf last week. The calf will be 4 weeks old Sat. How is your cow and calf doing?

Ben came home from Winona last Monday and went to Alicia on Wed.

We haven't got to go to town yet to get you a birthday present.

Who was the man that was baptized?

Vianna is all o.k. growing and sweet as can be. Yes Morgan's are holding meeting at Harmony.

There wasn't a very big crowd at the birthday dinner but we had a nice time. We wished you were there. Zelma is at home now. She went up home with Otis and Agnes and stayed almost 2 weeks. Lee hasn't got the trimming for her dress yet.

We were over at Edna's yesterday. She is pretty good was wanting to see you. Luther and Alice are going away tomorrow so Grandma will be home with Edna.

Daddy won't be home til Mon. I think he will stay home for quite awhile then. So perhaps he can come to preach later if she wants him. I hope we get to go to the fellowship meeting Monday night. We had a wind and hail storm and almost a cloudburst here Tuesday evening between 5 and 6 o'clock. The hail beat so hard against the windows we tho't it was going to break them.

Lee is writing [too]. I don't know if you can read all this or not.
Lee says we really are writing a newspaper.

We washed today. Our wringer sure is a big help to us.

Old Kate has 4 awful pretty pups.

Lots and lots of love to you. Hope to see you soon.


Tell Ambrose "Hello" and to come over too.

Ben wrote he has an awful cold and cough and don't feel well at all.

Another letter to Lois who lives in Doniphan. Today it's a 30-minute drive from Harviell to Doniphan. It must have taken nearly 2 hours in Grandpa's model A. "Town" is Poplar Bluff. About 15-20 minutes from Harviell now.

"Ben" is the author's husband (my Grandfather) -- once she refers to him as Dad. He's out of town helping churches in Alicia and Winona. He was the circuit rider -- in a Model A. Vera is Ben's sister who had been living near Lois in Doniphan (hence, the access to the car). I don't know where the "Cafe" is. Zelma is another sister of Ben's. I believe both of them were preachers, too. Vianna is the author's only grandchild at the time, the daughter of Paul. Edna is Edna Langley. Luther and Alice are her parents. I'm not sure where her husband Dick Langley is...possible in the army? Edna has a baby Shirley Langley (who later was Miss Missouri) born close to this time. The Langleys were close friends of the family; Lois and Edna were good friends.

Lee mailed a 12-page letter in the same envelope. This one from my grandmother is 6 pages. The woman in the photo is not my grandmother. I just found a wringer picture to demonstrate what she's talking about. My mother had an electric version of it in the late 50's. I once caught my hand in it. Ouch! The electric one had an emergency release, so no broken bones.

Neither of them mention WWII. I think Grandma is too concerned about Lois' well-being. It seems to me that by now she knows things are not right. -the postscript to Ambrose (Her errant son-in-law), the repeated offers to come and get Lois. As much as things change, they remain the same.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sorry I've been silent!!
Lest I lose all my bloggy friends, I must post something!! Starting with last Friday…that would be December 12, that was a full moon and a crazy day. Students with problems too big for them, who sought the refuge of my office included:

1. Siblings whose father had lost his job and was planning to move to Mexico over the weekend. Naturally the 8th grade girl was devastated at the prospect of leaving her friends.

2. Two boys ready to throw punches. I happened to be there in time to prevent it.

3. A boy who believed that his mother might “go to heaven” over the weekend.


4. A boy whose mother is on dialysis and continues to work a 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. job every day came to my office because he couldn’t concentrate in class. The family had talked to Dad the night before. Dad is being held by immigration until mom can come up with a $10,000 bond. Only Dad is undocumented. Mom is a legal resident; the three children were all born here. Mom is selling everything she can to try to raise the money to get Dad out of custody AND pay the lawyer to see if anything can be done about keeping him here to support her and the kids. (From my experience with INS, it won’t happen.) Among other things, she’s raffling the TV and selling the car. But has to take off one hour early three days a week in order to go for dialysis. Wonder why that little boy can’t concentrate in school!

5. Talk to children from four other families who has a parent under deportation order.

6. Give out coats to several girls who come saying they don’t have a coat.
7. Mediate an argument between two warring friends, girls who are “talking about” each other.

8. Encourage a couple of teachers with difficult students.

9. Go with social worker to find mom who may be “going to heaven.” The good news: she is not at death’s door. She is on an oxygen mask and medication for asthma/bronchitis and is quite ill. But not “unto death.” Thank God!

And that was Friday, the 12th!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Voices from the Past
Part II

On the back of the last page of Lee's letter to her sister was one from Mom:

Dear Little Daughter Lois:
I thot maybe you would drop us a card and let us know how you were this week. I hope you are much better. I didn't go to the rally because it was so bad. Why didn't you folks go to the rally? Lee is acting a dunce and teasing me till I can't hardly write. Dad said there was two Doniphan men at the hunter's meet yesterday. Ben went to town Monday and got a car license and went and saw Edna. They say she is getting along just fine. We are all just about as usual. You all come over when you can.

Lots of love to you.


It seems to me that Mom may have a inkling that all is not well. Lois is recently married. Later it will be learned that Ambrose was abusive. She came home several years later with her little boy. But he wasn't born for a couple of years.
The Rally was an important social and religious event. It gave families a chance to get together during this time for several churches to congregate and celebrate with a special service. Mom would know that something is wrong if Lois, who is a piano player and singer, doesn't attend the Rally.
Then there's the matter of communication. Weekly letters were a ritual if families were separated. I clearly remember Mom sending letters to her MIL and to her sister in later years when both were married, but living in different places. At this point, Mom just wants to hear that all is well with her oldest daughter.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Voices from the Past

Picture, circa 1939
12 year old Lee is on the left; her 20 year old sister, Lois on the right
Lois married and left home sometime in 1938
Harviell, Mo.
Feb 22, 1939

Dear Lois,
How are you? I hope you are better. I am just fine. Samuel's hips are still sore, but he says he is better. (I'm guessing he had fallen?)

Monday night Dad, Samuel and I went down to get Dorthy to go to the young people's Rally, but she had the flu and couldn't go. We took Sister Lena's Bible to her. She sure seemed glad to get it. Sister Dorthy came almost coming home with us.

Zelma didn't come home Sunday. She was at the young people's Rally. Bonnie, Robert and Lela's baby is in the hospital at Doniphan. That was the reason Zelma couldn't come home. She sure is homesick. She hasn't seen Alma, Paul or Viana since Christmas.

Samuel and Daddy have gone to that fox hunters' meet. They left about 6:30 this morning. Mother is ironing so I decided to write to you. (Grandpa was an avid fox hunter as was my Uncle Samuel)

We got a letter from Bro Dewey yesterday. He said the girls had just went back to school after missing six weeks. Sister Bertie has been sick. He is working at the quarry again.

Oh! I forget to say awhile ago that Bro and Sister Glasgow, their little girl, five young girls & one young man were at the Rally. The six young people had an exercise about the cross then they sung a song. There was a duet from Corning, two girls. Brother Glasgow's little girl sang a song. It was short but it was good. She came up to the front and stood and twisted her handkerchief while she sang. The next Rally will be at Corning.

Brothers Marvin and Claud sang. "Let Us Dig a Little Deeper" that you were talking about.

Brother Russel's goat has two kids. Sister Russel said they were fine kids. Brother Russel said he might get another goat and not keep a cow that they all liked the milk.

Paul and Alma got them another cow yesterday. She is red. She will freshen in April but she is still giving some milk. She give three quarts last night and this morning together. Paul thinks he can milk her till their heifer freshens.

Aunt Olvia has a cousin visiting her. He told Uncle Jim after church that the girls threw paper wads at him, winked at him and one ask him for the next dance. (Dancing is a totally prohibited activity in this church group.)

Well I guess I've wrote everything I know so I'll have to quit.

Your Loving Sister,

*Characters: Lee is my mother. Samuel is Lee & Lois' oldest brother; He's single and living at home. Paul is another brother, Alma, his wife; Viana is Paul & Alma's infant daughter. Dorthy is Alma's sister; the two families are long-time friends. I think Zelma may be Dorthy and Alma's younger sister. Sister Lena is a lady preacher in the area, who had previously preached a revival at the church Ben (Lee's dad, my grandpa) pastors. She became Ben's second wife in 1942 after his wife died.

At this point, young Lee (my mother) has finished 8th grade. She was unable to go on to High School because of the distances, so she's at home helping her mother with the housework, missing her older sister.

*For the record. I scanned the letters in to upload as pictures, but kept getting an error message on the upload. I'll keep trying.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's a whirlwind

Dec 5th – Breakfast at 7:30 with other teachers
Dec 6th – Class then B.D. party – three papers due for class
December 8th – Seminar all day (that means plans for sub)
December 9th – Teach Highpoint class
December 10th – Evening class – paper due
December 11th – Get together with Fresh Start Teachers after school
December 12th – Christmas party at Principal’s house after school,

then Music Practice
December 13th – Class, (Paper due) then outing to Chicago
December 16th – Concert at girls school; Music rehearsal if I get back in time
December 17th – Evening class – paper due
December 19th - Grandparent day at girls’ school; Music Rehearsal

Somewhere in there, I still have Christmas shopping to do, the decorating to finish and find time to prepare food and eat, sleep and go to work everyday. Sunday's routine is set, of course, Music practice at the crack of dawn (just kidding) then service, then dinner and usually I keep the girls for the afternoon.

Did I mention blog -- get letters scanned and find accompanying pictures??

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