Sunday, August 2, 2009

Growing up in 1918

And the winner of MaryLu Tyndall's The Blue Enchantress is...Angie Arndt! Congratulations Angie. I know you are going to enjoy this book. But you better plan on buying some more because once you read this one you'll have to read the other two in the trilogy.

My grandmother, Delitha, is staying with me for the next ten days. She was born in 1917 and is a wealth of information. We sat out on my front porch swing yesterday and talked about some of her life as a young child.

She was a little over a year old when the flu epidemic of 1918 hit. Her mother, Basha Bay, died in that epidemic and seven days later her aunt, Icey May died. My great-grandmother said my grandmother wasn't feeling well the day of her mothers funeral and they feared my grandmother was coming down with the flu. However, if she had the flu it was a mild case. The epidemic left her motherless and fath
erless so her grandmother, who wasn't a well woman took her in.

I asked her what her earliest memories were, and I have to say it's funny what the mind remembers. She remembers at age four going to her aunt Pearl's house and eating beef steak and thinking it tasted better than anything in the world. Her other memory at age four was of her grandmother's cook stove. It was a cast iron type where you put the wood and paper inside to get a fire going to heat the four burners on top.She said they had a small hole next to the burner to stick something in and be able to pull up the burner. She remembers her grandmother sticking her finger in the hole and flipping the burner so fast she didn't get burned.

Grandma at age five was given a cotton sack that hung across her shoulder and back to take out to her uncle's cotton field in Missouri and help pick cotton. She said she remembers it being so hot and at the end of the day they weighed her cotton and paid her ten cents, and she thought that dime was wonderful.

She told me she grew up in an age when horse and buggies were going out but some of her family still had them. And she was fortunate to be born when life was starting to get easier. But as I listen to the tales of walking down the street after dark at nine years old to get a bucket of coal to help heat a house I can't help to think how much we take for granted and our children even more so.

A child was expected to work in their youth. So many parents today think that if their children pick up their own toys they've done a great days work. Chores are fast becoming a thing of the past. Allowances are earned for nothing more than being their child. But are we really doing our children a favor? When I see what kind of woman my grandmother turned out to be I can't help but wonder how her childhood helped her become the lady she is today.

Until last year when she had a stroke she was a busy woman. She retired form GM at sixty five. Went back to work once more, this time for a real estate, where she worked for several more years. Retired for a year, got bored and went to work in retail until she was eighty five years old. But don't think she sat around after that. If one of her grandchildren had a project going, be it painting, gardening, lawn work, canning, yardsales, etc. you could bet she'd be there helping. She is a woman who wasn't afraid of work and a woman I am proud to call grandma.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

USS Bataan Underway

I Love My Sailor

Good-byes are always hard but when you know you are about to watch you child sail off and you won't see them for seven months it some how just doesn't feel the same. You need to say something that will encourage them and you. All while you're staring at the vast nothingness that the ocean holds. Your heart is breaking and you want to go and tell some Major or Lieutenant that they better take good care of your son or they will have you to answer to (well at least I wanted to!). Problem is you can't. They've grown up and have a job to do whether you like it or not. They have a country to protect. Ours. I don't believe a parent could be prouder than I was as I watched Josh make his way down the dock and on his ship.

I told you I'd post some more pictures in a
few days. Well I'm closer to a few weeks but here they are.

This is Josh where he works in Air Traffic Control. All those little yellow dots on the screen are actually numbers. They are the identifying numbers of the planes in the air. I believe the screen was set on a twenty mile radius at this point. Now you know why they say it is a stressful job!

The four men in my life standing outside and under the flight deck.

Interesting fact: All Sailors must have their hats on when they are outside.

This is one of the Navy ships stationed in
Norfolk, Virginia. They did a drive by for our benefit. You can see the edge of our ship in the lower left hand corner. The picture is a bit deceiving in that it was much closer than it looks here.

The Navy really went all out for family day. They also sent a submarine by. You can see the sailor saluting us as they pass. Pretty cool!

This is the Sea Knights helicopter coming in for a landing. Gotta love the name. Wait til you see the painting on the side.

I bet this pilot likes Medievals!

Ever wonder what the Navy Brig looks like? Yeah me neither but here is one for you to see anyway. We were informed they are no longer allowed to feed their prisoners stale bread and water. One thing you won't see here is any televisions and the only reading they are allowed is the bible.

This is a picture of the proud mom and dad and their son after a wet and windy day out to sea.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Navy at Work

God Bless the US Navy

Monday afternoon we drove six and a half hours to Norfolk, Virginia and Tuesday morning at five am we boarded a Naval ship the USS Bataan with our oldest son Joshua. Josh's ship is getting ready to head out for seven months. Family day is the Navy's way for the family members to see what their loved ones are going to be doing while they are separated.
Josh is an Air Traffic Controller for the Navy and it was eye opening to see the responsibilities these young men and women have. Actually for each and every person on the ship. It ran as smooth as a clock even with the extra several hundred civilians. I can't imagine trying to do my job with hundreds of people poking their heads in, asking questions, getting in the way, and just plain slowing me down but every one of these sailors did it with a great attitude. I met the captain of the Bataan-- a good natured man that you never would have guessed held the responsibility of a Naval ship on his shoulders.

What a busy day!
The ship was hopping when we walked on. The crew was helpful and in high spirits. It was a great reminder to me of why I am so patriotic and why I am so proud of my son. I take my hat off to each and everyone of these men and women who have given years of their lives so that I can live in a country that is free and safe.
(This eagle picture is painted on the inside door of the ship and I am going to guess it to be twenty to thirty feet tall)

Their lives are not luxury. They work in small areas, their
halls can barely fit two people passing, they have to climb
up two ladders and down three just to get to the mess hall,
they sleep in what they call coffins and they do it without

complaint because they love the USA.

(This is the halls and the doors that you
must step through to get anywhere on the ship)

(To the left are the the 'coffins'. I know the next time I want to complain that my bedroom is too small I'll think twice on it!)

(To the right is the mess hall)

This pully system is what drops and draws up the anchor. To give you an idea of the size of this chain, each link weights 380 pounds. There are two of these anchors stationed sided by side. These are dropped when they are in the ocean not when they are docked. They use the mooring lines to tie to the docks.

Check back in a few days for some more pictures from the USS Bataan!