Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dearest Children,
I realize I haven't shared with you as a group in many months. I believe the good Lord is prompting me to. Both Dad and I are united in the correctness of our decision choosing to live up in Juniper Ridge summers as the right thing for us. I would rather something central to each of your homes yet never being a pair to pursue wealth California mountains were beyond us. At this juncture in our lives we see so much comes together for us. We have moved on to a new situation from anything we have had previously. Another adventure. Some folks would call it 'a stage in life', our next, though not final.

Honestly, when one is turning 83 soon it becomes very clear that this stage may not remain all that long a time. For a couple in their 60th year of being together the next stage is not something we welcome. Nevertheless, it is reality that togetherness will come to an end soon. We look at one another and see plainly how much better off each is than either of the 4 parents at same age. We recall the number of earlier stages in our lives together-- dating, newlyweds, parents, farming, married, baby boys, students U of Chicago, 1st girl child, Springfield Ave., Winfield, many trips to visit grandparents, Orland Park, Anaheim Palais and then Orange Ave., Cunningham Rd., Winnebago, 4 in high school, music, ponies, more drivers, more cars, return Michael the first to leave home, to OC, Trevor- high school, some college, w/ children dating, a couple of weddings, 1st grandchild, Robb sets up shop, weds Nancy, Patrick transfers from OC to Reno Norco, RE debacle, move to Riverside, many visits to and from young families from Merryhill, from Alhambra then Sacramento, then Penryn , Christmas & Thanksgivings, Kev & Char & little Tim in Norco, Purchase their own home, leave for midwest, lots of grandchildren, boys, girls, camping trips, Char becomes ill, dies, Kev raises the babes, Timo leaves home, RVs, travel, move to AZ with Amy & Scott & Brendan, and Chris & family to Scottsdale. Jaime on his own and all are gone from home. Senior living, traveling, visiting many and renewing relationships, and after 10 or more years of this we settle summers in high country, near to the clouds, the sky, the forests, the birds. And the right choice. We are happy together. Of course, I want something similar for you and yours.

There is something different when marrying a high school classmate, even though 8 years hence. I knew where he lived, his home, his family, days he missed school, how often he was ill, or had to help out at home on the farm. He would arrive in the hallway of the high school, winters, with his buckle boots rattling, slam open & shut his locker, etc. We were in most of our classes for 3 years, together. In English class I knew he was a reader, in Algebra and Geometry I knew he was smart, and Physics. He often solved the problem for the instructor. Study Hall doubled as the Library. Whenever something needed fixing, take note Robb, he was right there and solved the problem. He still does. He was just 5'4" but I fell in puppy love with him. At least this is what my Latin teacher said. His mom, [your gran] perhaps as much as once a month was one of the volunteer drivers to deliver classmates to the Delevan skating rink and home again. She'd just hang around. Sometimes the class would take in a movie in Lake Geneva and have a soda in Hill's afterwards. Once your dad drove the blue chevy, with Gran as co-driver and Gran Bergin along, on a date to the movie in Walworth. It was 'Stormy Weather'. And I knew right then and there was something different about this mom and her son. Who in Hebron would put themselves out to see a show starring a black woman? I don't think so. He had innumerable cousins all about the town. Not only that he had nieces and nephews and married brothers and sisters living in or near town. He babysat so sisters could have time away. Summers I'd sleep with my head on my pillow into the window, bed high, and dream of him at home 6 miles away or driving the '37 blue chevy [when I first saw this auto it was gray] into town on an errand. I knew all of his family attended the Presbyterian Church in town. His mom and dad were very close friends with the couple who ran Home Bureau and Farm Bureau in Woodstock. Times Gran invited my mother to attend a function with her. Gran always liked me from the start though your dad went on to date many other girls in nearby towns. And it is Gran when he came home from the Air Corps who suggested he look me up. Which he did.

I'm telling you all this because in today's world it is rather unique to know so much about the person one marries. There is a solid background here. Gran never made a big deal about my being Catholic. She was aware of common ground. Being the reader she was she had a very open mind and extremely inquisitive. She and her son spent a great deal of time looking into this and that and figuring something out together. She was a thinker, a problem solver, smart, intelligent, alert, capable, boned up on the news. She was a woman who in those early days stood proudly beside her husband and shared equally in all discussions and projects and decisions. After the children were gone from home, even before, she spent most every Sunday at the Presbyterian Church teaching Sunday School. The town's children all knew her.

So this is some of the early, early background to how your father and I grew so closely together and have such a deep respect for each other. It is background to the 'old age' stage we are well into presently. My next intention is to describe a bit to you what it is like to be 82 going on 83. We accept this is old age stage. I will enter this into my blog. In the future should you want to check back on what I shared today these words will be there. Thanks to Paul's encouragement, Paul Smith, that is.

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