Monday, April 28, 2014

The boys were a bit perturbed with their sister.  Can you tell?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Treasures, Targets, and Teas

A gal from church invited Bonnie and I to her weekend party....Treasures, Targets, and Teas.

It started last night with a Lia Sophia Jewelry party.  To be honest, these kind of parties I try to avoid.  The reality is they want you to spend lots of money and book parties.  Neither of which I want to do.  I did buy one piece of jewelry...a ring for Bonnie.  Anything over $20 is too much for me and the starting prices were $30, but I don't spend too much on her and decided it was worth it.

This morning the party continued with Targets and Teas.  We all met back up at Danielle's house again this time for a gun safety class and target practice.  Danielle introduced us to a 9 mm revolver and a rifle.  She then took us out to a remote area to practice shooting them.  Another gal in the group brought along her 9 mm as well and her rifle.

Bonnie and I had fun with it.  I liked the rifle with the scope best.  The others were still hard for me to aim and control.  I don't own a gun...yet, but I wouldn't be against having one.

After our target practice, everyone went back to Danielle's again for a Redneck Tea Party.  Unfortunately,  we had to skip out of that part.  I really needed to get back home to monitor things there while Todd went off to umpire a game.

What a fun way to spend the day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Working at the Property

 I went out to the property tonight to see how things were coming along.  We have our well, and Todd and the boys have been digging the trenches to lay the water lines.  We have one line that goes to the other side of the shed and one line that goes across the driveway and up the hill for our garden. 
 Todd has had both boys on the backhoe, teaching them how to use it to help dig the trenches.  Once the trenches were dug, the line laid, then the boys had to cover everything up with the shovels.  Our PE class has taken on a new look. Lol. 

Once the trenches were filled, Todd hooked the shed up to the backhoe and pulled it back into the woods.  He then brought up the water lines and power lines inside the shed to make it our new well house. 
As of today, almost all of the trenches are covered and we have two working spigots with clear, drinkable water.  We have several more projects lined up for us this summer.  We still have junk to take to the dump, metal for the scrapyard, a ramp to build leading up to the garden for the lawnmower and tractors, trees to cut down, and eventually prepping the building site for our new home, which leads me to the best news of all....I think we have found our builder and our new house plan.

Last week after talking to an architect, I began to think building a house was still going to be out of our budget then the Lord orchestrated it so that we ran into the Bangsunds.  They invited us over for coffee and when they heard we were wanting to build a house, proceeded to show us their home which had just been built for half the cost of what the architect quoted us.  Long story short, they told us to look up John Port in Wenatchee.  We Googled him that night and found the house we want to build.  It is well within our budget.  We have plans to view the house we want to build this Saturday.  It is looking more and more possible that we will be building our house next summer and be in it by next fall. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OK.. a few words...

We got Bonnie's schedule for the Distinguished Young Woman program and her duties here in town.  Already I am out of breath thinking of all the activities we have before us.  To kick it all off, the paper will be running a story on Bonnie telling everyone how she will be representing our town now that she has qualified through the At Large Program.  Our local DYW board wants a picture and since everyone is busy and money tight, Bonnie and I went to our local park and took some pictures.  I am waiting for approval but if they are approved I will send them to the editor of the newspaper to choose which one he wants to add to his story. These are the top three...

The red dress is her "back up" dress when the blue formal didn't arrive in time for the At Large Program.  When have made arrangements with a seamstress to have the blue formal hemmed on Monday so she can wear it later this month when she sings in Ellensburg.

Bonnie's schedule for next month is as follows:
May 3 - Apple Blossom Parade in Wenatchee
May  10 - Maifest Grand March in Leavenworth from noon to 3pm
May 10 - Ellensburg DYW Program as guest vocalist at 7 pm
May 11 - Maifest in Leavenworth - hand out flower seeds to guests
May 18- DYW Orientation at Gonzaga University in Spokane

In June she will be in the Founders Day Parade in Cashmere.  She is invited to be in any parade in the state of Washington if she wants to.  Of course, Bonnie wants to, but I don't know if we will be able to make many.

At the end of July she will head over to Pullman, WA to spend a week with all of the DYW participants and prepare for the state competition which is on August 2.  So much to do and prepare for.  It is exciting.

Wordless Tuesday

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Celebrating Mom's Birthday

 Happy Birthday Mom!  

Today is my mom's official 70th birthday, but we celebrated it last week in Indiana with all of our family and friends. 

 To make things easier on everyone, we invited all of our family to meet us at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Noblesville.  We had quite a turn out.  Two of mom's sisters, Itsy and Patty, and their husbands as well as, mom's brother, Charles came out.  Dad's sister, Gloria, and her husband joined us a well.  Then there were all of the nieces and nephews with their spouses and children. 
 Mom's high school friends, Carol Sue and Kathy came as well.  Kathy's family used to have a trailer out at Silver Lake right next to my dad's parent's trailer.  Kathy and her family and my dad with his family would spend their weekends up at Silver Lake swimming, boating, and fishing.  Mom would visit Kathy sometimes but dad never even noticed her.  It wasn't until he was out of high school and had stopped off at the Top Hat to get a bite to eat that he first noticed mom. 
 I love seeing my cousins.  Even though we would only see them a couple  of times a year, I love being with them.   Pictured here with mom is my cousin, Julie (on mom's right).  Julie is Mary's daughter.  On mom's left is my other cousin, Laura (aka Kay Kay).  Laura is Patty's daughter. 
Pictured here is mom's brother Charles in the green sweatshirt.  Standing up is mom's oldest sister, Itsy with her husband, Bob.

We had such a great time celebrating mom and visiting with family.  My brother did a great job of putting together a slide show of mom for us to see.  He even played a dvd of what life was like in 1944 when mom was born while we all were eating.  Time went way to fast.  We probably could have stayed there all evening visiting.  I love my family.  I love my Indiana roots.  I am so thankful for my mom.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Growing Up On Florida-Station Road

While in Indiana last week, I got to spend some time with my mother's family and hear the stories from what life was like growing up on the farm.
It has been a long time since I have seen my mom's childhood home, but I think I located it today on Google maps.  It is not a great picture but it gives you an idea. 

My mom is the youngest of five children born to Robert and Bonnie (Derstler) Meeks.  Her oldest sister, Elizabeth - lovingly called Itsy- is ten years older.  Three years later came Mary.  Three years after Mary came Charles.  Three years after Charles came Patty, and a year later came mom. Yep, you guessed it.  Mom was a surprise.  Actually, Patty told us this weekend that she was a surprise too.  Grandma Bonnie Meeks struggled with high blood pressure when pregnant and was told not to have any more after Charles, but according to their three year plan she had Patty.  A few months after Patty Grandma found out she was expecting again.  Not Good.  I understand the doctor had a severe talk with Grandpa Robert.  Needless to say, mom was the last child born to the Meeks household. 

Grandpa and Grandma Meeks were farmers.  They lived in a farmhouse on Florida Road in Alexandria (Mom and her siblings told me the name of the street was Florida Station Road but Google maps listed it as Florida Road).  that Great-Grandma Derstler had bought during the Depression.  Story is that Great-Grandma Derstler was a shrewd business woman.  During the Depression she saved up her egg money and bought up farm houses that had gone to auction.  She bought enough houses for  each of her children to live in and manage. 

When mom was a year old, Grandpa Meeks moved the family to California where all of his family had moved years earlier.  They did not stay in California long.  Grandpa didn't feel like he could make a living that would provide for his large family in California, and he missed farming.  I don't think they lasted in California more than an year or two when they moved back to the farm in Alexandria.

The farmhouse wasn't nothing fancy.  There were three bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs.  Mom and her oldest sister, Itsy, shared one room.  Mary and Patty shared another, and Charles had his own room.  The house was not insulated so the kids roasted in the summer and froze in the winter.  Evidently the only heat source for the upstairs was a grate in the floor which was located in Mary and Patty's room.  This was to allow heat from the downstairs coal stove to rise up into the room.  However, that coal stove was never used.  The house had two coal stoves, but coal was expensive so Grandpa only used the stove in the front room which didn't radiate much heat.  The kids kept their doors open hoping some heat would travel upstairs but very little did.  Besides no insulation to help regulate the temps in the house, they had single pane windows.  All my relatives told me how they would wake up the winter with snow inside their windows and on their covers.  BRRR!!!!

The other inconvenience that they had to deal with was a lack of bathroom facilities.  We are so spoiled today with modern conveniences that we don't realize that many families didn't have basic things like indoor plumbing just a generation ago.  At least my mom didn't.  Neither did my in-laws.  In fact, my mother-in-law's parents didn't have a toilet until late 1980s/early 90s.  Uncle Charles told us a story while I was visiting this weekend that gave us all a good laugh concerning their bathroom issues.  You see, growing up on the farm, they used the outhouse to do,  well, you know what happens there.  Anyway,  one year on Halloween night some crazy kids thought it would be fun to turn the outhouse over.  Since Great-Grandma Derstler owned the farm, Grandpa Meeks felt it was her responsibility to fix the issue.  She refused and, in my opinion, due to pride and sheer stubbornness between Grandpa and his mother-in-law, the outhouse was never fixed.  Instead, he told the kids they had 40 acres so find a place to go, and they did.  The kids decided the chicken house was the warmest, coziest, and most private place to go.  Charles told us that whenever the urge hit, he would go in the chicken house, scoot a hen off her roost, and sit there.  He didn't think much about it, but one day while at school he was given a note from the teacher to take home to his mom.  He was afraid that he must have gotten in trouble which means he would be in trouble at home too, but being a obedient boy, he gave the note to his mom.   Upon receiving the note, Grandma went to school to see what Charles had done this time.  Sometime later, when Grandma had returned home she called Charles over to talk to him.  It seems that while at school, whenever he had to go to the bathroom, the kids would hear him cackling like a chicken and shouting out "Woo Hee!"    Needless to say, the teacher was concerned.  LOL.  Ok...the note from the teacher didn't REALLY happen, but yes, they did use the coop.  Life was hard there.  Mom remembers the day they got running water inside and how excited they were.  Baths were taken in a wash tub that was set next to the coal stove.  They usually took baths at night when they could turn the lights off and have some privacy.  Grandpa did put a shower in the basement but you had to go outside to go downstairs which was not very convenient during the winter.  Clothes were hand washed in a ringer tub, hung to dry (inside during the winter), spritzed with water after coming off the line, and then every article was ironed before putting them away.  This process took hours/ days at times.  You and I know, laundry never ends.

On the farm you worked from early morning to late at night, and then you could do your school work, but in order to survive everyone had to help keep the farm running.  Grandpa died of a massive heart attack when mom was 14 years old.  It was some time later that they got an indoor bathroom. 

The thing that impressed my cousin and I the most is that our moms and their siblings have all risen above their upbringing.  The hard work and lack of conveniences made them hard, dependable workers who appreciate everything they have.  None of them have any debt.  They are all thrifty sometimes to a fault.  I am proud to have Meeks blood running through my veins.  That is not to discredit my dad's family because they have impacted me in many wonderful, positive ways. I feel so blessed.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Heart Will Always Be In Alexandria

Alexandria, Indiana is my hometown.  I was five years old when my family moved from Alexandria to Anderson, which is a few miles south.  Seven years old when we left Indiana altogether to move to Tennessee, but I always claim Alex. as my hometown.  Both of my parents were born and raised in Alex., and all of their siblings either still live there or in cities within 20 miles of there.  My fondest memories of my childhood center around Alex. as we would always travel back there to visit Grandma and my aunts and uncles every summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  When I got old enough I would stay in Alex with my grandma for the summer.  I loved walking from grandmas to downtown Alex to the bakery to eat a carmel roll.  I loved spending time with my cousins, going to the city pool, riding bikes, climbing trees, etc.  I think my love for small towns comes from my childhood memories of being in Alexandria.

This past week I went to Indiana to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday.  My one request was to spend a day in Alexandria.  It just happened that Saturday was the grand re-opening of the Alexandria Historical Museum.  The museum is located in the old clinic where my Aunt Patty was born.

 In the museum we found a picture of John High.  He married Clara Ellen Wright who I believe was my dad's aunt from his father's side.  John was in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. At one point he was reported missing and the family thought he was one of the many casualties from that tragic day, but they found him a short time later very much alive.

 An Alexandria High School tradition in the 1960s was the graduating class wore corduroy pants and skirts and drew on them with marker and the entire senior class signed them.  I think it is a pretty cool idea.
 In the museum we also found my grandpa Wright's junior year book - 1937.  He is William Wright also known as Johnny Bill.
 I had mom and dad pose by a photograph of the Top Hat Drive-In.  It is at the Top Hat that my dad first noticed my mom and decided that he wanted to ask her out.  The rest is history.

 In high school my dad worked here at Cox's grocery store.  He walked there from his house every morning to stock the shelves.  He then walked down to the bakery to get a bite to eat and then walked a few more blocks to school.  After school he walked backed to Cox's to work some more before walking home.
 Inside this building used to be Rex-All Drug Store where my mom worked as a Soda Jerk.
 Just a block down the road from my first home is Dor-Tees.  It is still open today.  It is a fun little drive-in where you can get hot dogs, hamburgers, and milk shakes.
 This green house is my first home.  I was four when we moved from here to Anderson.  I remember a few things about our house.  I thought it was huge but mom tells me it wasn't .  I guess that is a pre-schoolers imagination for you.  I still remember my mom spanking me outside this house.  I decided to walk down the sidewalk by myself to visit a neighbor.  Mom came running after me, grabbed my arm, and beat my little butt.  lol 
 This barn which needs to be painted was our garage.  I think there was a loft in the garage that dad used as an office. 
 We couldn't visit Alex without stopping by the cemetery.  We tease my parents because they have already bought their tombstone and plot and have made all of their funeral arrangements.  lol  I would have had them lay down in front of their stone but the ground was too wet. 
 Their plot is next to my mom's family.  Her mom and dad our buried in the row in front of them.  In the row in front of Grandpa and Grandma Meeks is my grandmothers family the Derstlers. 
I would have loved to have spent a few more hours to walk the streets. I wish I could have walked to Grandma Bonnie Wright's house and just reminisce.  Sadly, Alex.  is dying.  The buildings are falling apart and being torn down.  Most of them are empty and bank owned.  I wish I had unlimited funds and could rebuild and revive my favorite little town.  After WW2, Alex. was named Small Town USA.  It was featured in several magazines and THE place to live.  For many years it was the bedroom community to the bigger towns that housed all of the GM (General Motors) plants.  However, with GM closing up, the towns that housed the employees have all died.  My heart breaks.  Regardless, it was good to go back and visit.  I loved hearing all of the stories that were told from my aunts and uncles of growing up in Alex.  My heart will always be there.