Friday, March 19, 2010

School Closings


The other day the news reported that Detroit is going to close over 40 schools next year.  One of the schools on the list is Cooley High School.  Wow.  I really thought that school would still be here through the millenium.
My two older brothers graduated from Cooley.  My mom and I attended their graduation ceremony.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the building.  Then I had to take a summer school class at Cooley during my jr.high years.
Mom would drop me off on Hubbell in front of Cooley and I would have to walk through the courtyard and into the 3 story building.  It was constructed of light orange bricks that made the building somehow seem like a cathedral.  The stairwells were huge with stone steps.  (I know, I fell UP them a few times.)
When I finally graduated to high school, it was Cooley I attended. There were over 3,000 students in three grades - 10th, 11th and 12th.  There were at least 6 counselors for the students.  We were dividedld  by alphabetical order for the counselors.
Before school started, I would get a map of the layout of the building so I wouldn't get lost going from class to class.  The school was so crowded that we had several temporary buildings that held classrooms.
If it weren't for the horrible race problems, I would have graduated from Cooley, too.  It's a beautiful school with a rich history.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Scarlet Fever


I was 12 years old and June was about 9 months old. We both got very, very ill. Our parents were concerned more with June than with me because of our ages.
Our bishop was a pediatrician, so my folks called him up to see what was wrong. He looked at June and said it looked as though she had the measles, not to worry too much. But Mom and Daddy were still worried. June was too sick for this to be just a simple case of measles - and I already had the measles, but I had the same thing.
Mom called the doctor and was told they didn't want a contagious child in the waiting room. They could wait in the car and a nurse would come out to get them when the Dr. was ready. I remember Daddy was furious about that.
I don't remember much about the 2 weeks that I was sick. I remember getting out of bed and laying on the couch. I slept a lot, didn't eat too much and had a high fever. I had red spots, then developed fever sores around my mouth.
I don't know when we were diagnosed with scarlet fever. When I finally got well enough to sit up and eat, I was weak. Daddy convinced me to try to walk tot he store with him. I made it about a block before I had to head home. Daddy's arm was firmly around my shoulder. He kept encouraging me to go a little further but I was SO tired.
After I went back to school June got even sicker. The doctor put her in Children's Hospital in Detroit. Her ear drums had burst. She got a priesthood blessing.
June's hearing was totally restored. She has not had any problems with her ears at all. She did, however, have a rapid heartbeat from the time she was a little girl to after the birth of her first child. She went to U of M Medical Center and had an outpatient surgery that repaired that problem.
I don't think I had any ill affects from scarlet fever. I really don't remember much about myself at all. I just remember my parents concern over their small baby. I guess I should be happy that my parents had the faith that I would pull through unscathed - which I did.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

88 Years


Today is my father's 88th birthday. I could never have had a better father than he. Last Monday Daddy, Mom, June and I went out for lunch. Afterward while Mom and June were gathering their things, Daddy and I had a moment alone to talk.
"Are you mad at me for all the spankings I gave you?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Daddy, you never spanked me. And I could probably count on one hand the ones Mom gave me. I worked hard to get those spankings and deserved every one of them."
Daddy laughed. "I never had to spank you. All I had to do was give you a look (he demonstrated) and you would do what you were supposed to do." I laughed.
It was true. I never wanted to disappoint my dad. The times he was most disappointed in me was about my grades. I was to get nothing less than a 'B'. But I did a couple of times. That's when we would hit our 'rough' spots.
I remember Daddy standing me on our picnic table in Battle Creek and singing, "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day." And I would sing with him.
I remember Daddy shoveling off the patio in the back yard in winter and filling it with water so we had our own little skating rink.
I remember Daddy walking on his hands across the back yard.
I remember the tears that streaked down his face after we left Sandy at Fort Custer the first time.
I remember Daddy standing in front of church and conducting meetings.
I remember going to the barber shop with Daddy, to the store with Daddy, to the dentist with Daddy, going for walks with Daddy.
I remember Daddy telling me that the boy who had broken my heart wasn't worthy of me.
I remember walking down the aisle on my daddy's arm and giving me to the next man in my life - my eternal companion.
I remember buying an old piano and my dad and uncle lifting that heavy, heavy (solid brass sound board) piano and bringing it from the truck into my parlor.
I remember hugging him and not wanting to let go when we moved to Utah.
I remember him being wherever I needed him to be in times of crisis. He (and Mom) saved my life, I'm sure of it.
I remember his beautiful almost black eyes, his warm smile, his strong arms.
I remember when Mom went through menopause and was having such a hard time that he tried to understand. He didn't blame her for hormonal imbalances. He stayed by her side and defended her.
I remember when Mom was in the hospital and no one knew what was wrong, how Daddy couldn't even speak because he was so worried. One day he left the hospital and went home and locked himself in their apartment. Bruce and I followed him because we were worried. After knocking on the door for quite a while and promising that it was just me, he opened the door. We sat on the couch together and I held him this time while he cried.
I remember how the weight of the world was on his shoulders when Sandy died. He said a child should never die before their parents.
I remember him in his white suit officiating in the temple.
I remember he and mom came home from their temple mission to help my younger brother. When I said something about Ted should be able to handle this on his own, he said, "Family is first."
And now I see him as the patriarch of the family. He is a little slow in his walk, his eyes aren't as clear as they once were and he can't hear very well, but he is all the things that I remember and much, much more.
I love him forever.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Counting Pennies


My sister and I go away for a few days a year. We've gone to Ann Arbor and we've gone to Frankenmuth. We have a great time talking, laughing, sometimes crying and shopping, shopping, shopping. We LOVE Birch Run near Frankenmuth.
I decided to start saving early so I could have a lot of money to play with. I save change. I have a cute piggy bank that matches my dishes, so that is where I put my change.
As I was counting it the other day, I remembered that I used to do the same thing with my dad when I was little.
I wasn't allowed to play in my parents bedroom. It was their space. But a couple of times a week I could go in. It was a big room that held their double bed, an armoir, a large dresser and my mom's vanity. The armoir was the place that all things saved were put - at least that's what I thought. Mom had her fur coat in there and at the bottom were mason jars full of pennies.
My dad would put his pennies in the jars through a slit in the lid of the canning jar.
Maybe every other month my dad and I would pull out the jars and count the pennies. He would sit on the bed and I would sit next to him with enough room between us to put piles of pennies. I would count out 10 pennies and put them in a stack. By the time we were done counting there were stacks of ten pennies all over the place. I remember once counting out $18.00 in pennies.
Eventually the pennies were put in the bank in my own account. But it wasn't the money. It was the time that I spent in my parents bedroom (that room that held so many secrets and wonders!) counting pennies with my daddy and having my mom close by. It was a family affair. I remember lots of smiles and giggles and lots and lots of talking with each other.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Problems at the Grocery Store


It took me over a year to tell anyone what happened. I was embarrassed, humiliated and mad. Really mad.
It took place at a Meijers store in Waterford. I had taught an exercise class at church and was taking Mandy home for her mom, Roz. Mandy was around 3 years old. I had some time to kill before Mandy was supposed to be home, so I stopped at Meijers and did some shopping. By the time I got to the check out line, my cart was pretty full. Mandy was sitting in the child seat in the front.
Mandy was an absolutely adorable toddler. My main concern was keeping her happy and safe. I got into line with my full cart. I was probably the third person in line and everyone in front of me had full carts also.
A man got in line behind me. I should have noticed right away that something was wrong. He only had two or three items to buy, but instead of going into the fast lane, he came to the long lane.
He was dressed like a college professor - dress pants, dress shirt and a jacket with patches on the elbows.
He was getting kind of close to me, but I thought he was getting too close to Mandy. I made sure my body was between him and Mandy the whole time. Then I felt a rub on my butt! I spun around and the guy apologized and said he was reaching for a candy bar. I gave him a dirty look but didn't see any reason not to believe him.
The line had moved ahead so we were between two high walls filled with impulse items. I felt something rub on my butt again! Again I spun around and he made some excuse about dropping something. Again the dirty look, but this time I had my doubts he was telling the truth. Brick house doesn't have to drop on me!
The third and last time the guy actually pushed himself against my butt (his private part was seeking company!)! This time I reached out and grabbed the food divider and stared at him. I started to slap the divider up and down in the palm of my hand.
I was finally ready to check out. I still was concerned about the pervert getting to Mandy. It was difficult to keep myself between her and the nut and get food out of the cart.
After I payed for the groceries, I was furious! I looked for the guy, but he was gone! He must have pushed through the line back into the store because I looked all over for the guy - even outside.
I was so angry with myself. Here I was a 2nd degree black belt and some masher molested me in line at Meijers! I should have given the guy a palm heel to his nose! I should have at least screamed at him. But all I did was give dirty looks and slap the divider in my hand.
He will do this to another woman. And I had a chance to stop him for at least a little while. I didn't. I had failed.
There are men out there who get excited just by touching. That's all they want to do - at least at first.
The only thing I felt good about was that Mandy was safe. I did what I could to not let her be aware that something was wrong.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meniers Disease


In the early 1990's I was having a problem with getting dizzy. Sometimes it would last just a little while, sometimes it lasted for hours. Once it started, I just had to wait it out. Most of the time I would go to bed, wait for the spinning to stop, then try to sleep. There were times when if I moved my head, I had to throw up. I couldn't stand because I was so dizzy, so I had to crawl to the bathroom. Not good!
I went to my Dr. to find out what was wrong with me. He did a CAT scan but found nothing (My husband thought that was great!) to be concerned with. The dizziness didn't happen every day or even every week. I was sent to a specialist.
Dr. Verjabedian came in for an interview. I sat on the exam table while he asked me questions.
"Do you smoke?"
"Do you drink coffee?"
"Do you drink alcohol?"
"Not even at meals?"
"No. It's a religious thing with me."
Finally he got to the question, "Do you eat chocolate?"
"O.k. You need to eliminate that from your diet."
I sat there in shock! Eliminate chocolate? Is this guy un-American? We both just sat there looking at each other. "How about we go back to the question about coffee and I admit that I drink coffee? Then we can keep the chocolate?"
He laughed. I went without chocolate for over a month while being tested.
I went through extensive testing of my ears and hearing with just the conclusion that I have lost substantial hearing. I knew that! Could have saved lots of money and been happy eating chocolate.
Dr. V. put me on anti-vert, a drug for dizziness. It didn't help with the 'attacks'. The only thing the drug did was make me loopier than usual. All I wanted to do was sleep.
Finally, after eliminating everything else (this took months), the verdict came back as Meniers Disease. Why? I think it was used as a catch-all for whatever they couldn't diagnose.
The year we move to Rochester was the worst year for me. Since then, the attacks have pretty much gone away - thank heaven!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Always Sharp


My father is almost 88 years old. He's close to being deaf, he's unsteady on his feet and he has limited use of his right arm. However, his mind is as sharp as ever. He is a total blast to talk to. We all had lunch before Christmas. Before we parted and while giving me a hug he said, "Remember the good times."
Maybe ten or so years ago, my mom and dad, Bruce and I were returning from somewhere - maybe Battle Creek. I was driving, Bruce was in the passenger seat and Mom and Daddy were in the backseat. We were on a freeway near Lansing. It was pretty crowded. In my rear view mirror I saw a car loaded with young girls speeding in and out of traffic. They were having a great time cutting off traffic.
People like that are dangerous and, frankly, make me mad. So when these little chickies tried to cut me off, I sped up a little. When they tried to get in back of me so they could zoom around on the other side, I would slow up a bit. After a few minutes, the girls were screaming and making hand gestures that were not very nice. This went on for about five minutes. I was having a bit of fun all by myself while everyone else was involved in conversation.
"You're doing that on purpose, aren't you?" It was my dad. No one else noticed what was going on, but my dad is extremely observant. I smiled and said, "Yep." NOTHING gets by my dad. Nothing!
I had to explain to everyone else what was going on. The girls finally turned off and the rest of the trip was uneventful.