Friday, November 22, 2013

The Hearse, Frozen Goldfish & Twins

Today, November 22, is the birthday of THE TWINS. I remember their first day on earth. I've told the story before, but in honor of the fact that all my siblings are now online, I will repeat it just for them.


We had only been at my Grandmother's house an hour when the hearse came and took my Mother away. The hearse did double duty as the town ambulance. I was only five, but I knew there was something ominous about a hearse. My Mother with her overnight bag climbed into the front seat next to the driver and they left. They left in a hurry.

It was November and one of the coldest winters in Missouri. My Mother was pregnant and the baby was due any day. This would be her third child, so when the snow storm hit she called our neighbor, Mrs. Mary's husband. He arrived with his tractor and dug us out. The drifts had covered the front door.

I remember standing there next to my Grandmother crying for my Mother, thinking I would never see her again. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized my Mother had been in labor when she called the neighbor. Snowed in, two small children and in labor; yet she remained so calm.

Grandmother was not very demonstrative. She was not affectionate. She seemed at a loss to comfort the two little girls holding tightly to her apron and crying.

That night my sister and I slept in the front bedroom just off the parlor. Neither room had heat, the stove being in the back bedroom just off the kitchen, quite some distance from where we were to sleep. My grandmother piled her handmade quilts on us for warmth. To this day I do not remember ever being that cold. No goodnight kiss, no father. I was frightened. "Watch the goldfish," my grandmother said as she pointed to the fishbowl on the table next to our bed. She turned out the lights. My little sister cried herself to sleep. Nothing I did comforted her.

I woke the next morning to the sound of my Father's excited voice. I sat up and looked around. The fish bowl was frozen solid, the goldfish caught in mid-swim. I could see my breath and remember well how cold it was as my bare feet touched the floor.

I ran to my Father leaving my sister under the pile of quilts. He was sitting at the kitchen table eating biscuits with honey and drinking coffee. My Grandmother, looking very pleased, was waiting on him and treating him like a child. It was so difficult at five to understand the relationship between my Father and my Grandmother; to realize that he was her child.

He lifted me to his lap and hugged me. I was so glad to see him. "Well Sis, guess what," he asked as he tickled me. "Do you have a new baby brother? No, you have two new baby brothers."

Twins had not been expected and were not discovered until the delivery. This revelation was the reason for the pleased look on my Grandmother's face and the excitement in my Father's voice.

I, on the other hand, was not pleased in the least. Not then, and not for many years to come. But I am now.



Posted originally for: A memory for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Childhood Memory.

The photograph is in the collection of little sister Biblio.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day - November 11, 2013



May we remember them always. Not just on Memorial Day or on Veterans Day,
but every day that we remember the freedoms that we have in this country.
For those of you veterans who are with us today,
a grateful nation remains indebted to you.

The Veterans who offered their lives in service, who bear the scars of duty
should always, always have a special place in our society.

~ Rick Perry, Governor of Texas ~


Admiral Stanley Montunez awards Mr. Maven
the Good Conduct Medal.

Mr. Maven was also awarded the
Purple Heart.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War."

Beginning the following year we commemorated Armistice Day, November 11th, which became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans--living or dead--but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. In the United States, an official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country.

Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November).

Red poppies, were a symbol of World War I (due to the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, below). Poppies are sold in Canada and the United Kingdom on Remembrance Day to raise money for veterans or worn in the lapel as a tribute. In the United States, red poppies are reserved for Memorial Day.

In Flanders Fields

IN Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~ Lieut. Col. John McCrae, M.D. ~
Born in Ontario, Canada (1872-1918)
Died of pneumonia January 1918, Boulogne, France
Poem first published in Punch December 15, 1918


Today, November 11, 2013,
Thank a Veteran, please!