Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oh, mother-in-law, where art thou?

Rebecca, circa 1940s

This is the only image of an adult Rebecca that we have ever seen. Rebecca is my husband's and my sister-in-law's (Sandy of Abandoned in Pasadena) mother. She mysteriously disappeared in 1945 after dropping her two children off at their grandmother's house. They were only about three years old (husband) and 10 months old (sister-in-law) at the time. The story as we have been told is that she allegedly went to shop for furniture and that's the last anybody saw of her. She never came back. The family never heard from her again. Her father hired private detectives to look for her at the time but no trace was ever found.

We have all been looking for Rebecca for many years. None of her family can provide any answers as to what happened to her. With the advent of the home computer, I have spent more than ten years searching online resources hoping against hope for some trace of her or a hint of where to look. Other family members have also looked and searched, but they also have had no luck.

About ten years ago I contacted the Social Security Administration seeking information about Rebecca. After a series of correspondence, I was told that they had no evidence that she was deceased. I took that to mean that she was still alive. I even wrote a letter for them to forward to her if they found a home address. My first mistake was assumption -- the assumption that she was really still alive and the assumption that she would receive my "poignant" letter and feel compelled to contact us immediately. (She never did.) My second mistake was to beg the bureaucrat at the Social Security Administration to have pity on us and give us the information we wanted to know. But, this was not to be. We never did find out if she really was still alive and we never did find out if they delivered my letter. They told me not to write to them anymore and they said they would not deliver a second letter. They said that all information was protected and confidential (because she was not listed as deceased).

There is a painful ache in our hearts because we feel we will never know the answer to the question.

There will never be closure because most everybody who would and should know is dead.

There will never be a final resting place.

Our children will never know her. I wish she could know all the wonderful people who are members of her family.

The worst part is my husband and sister-in-law feeling abandoned and lost all these years. They do not know what their mother was like and they do not know what she looked like. Others may or may not have pictures of her, but they are reluctant to make copies of these pictures. My husband and sister-in-law do not know why their mother really left or if she went on to another life. They do not know if she's planted under a tree in some garden.

Her disappearance is the most profound and painful mystery of our lives.

I wish I could fix this. I wish I could make it all better by finding the answer. I wish I could put my arms around my mother-in-law and say we've missed you terribly.

Rebecca was born on March 31, 1922. If she is still alive, she would now be 85 years old. Rebecca, we wish you a happy birthday. If she was here, we would have a big party for her. We wish we knew where to send the invitation for her to attend her party. I wish I could tell her happy birthday. If she's not alive, maybe she can hear me up in heaven.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday drivers

Husband and I had itchy feet today so we decided to go out for a Sunday drive down by the lake. The first thing we noticed when we stopped at our local convenience store to get something to drink was the temperature. It was about 84 degrees F. and you can't get any better than that. The next thing we noticed was the abundance of others out for a great day in the sun, especially the number of bikers. We followed three all the way to the lake and must have passed about 50-75 on the road.

Seeing all those bikers made me think of the Steppenwolf song, Born to be Wild, which was popular in the 1960s.

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin' with the wind
And the feelin' that I'm under
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild

© MCA Music (BMI)

The day was glorious and our first stop was our favorite lake access and we decided to take the walking trail. This is what we saw.

Folks fishing from the banks

Boaters racing to the next good fishing hole

Looking down at the lake's edge from the walking path

I wonder if anyone heard this tree fall

While walking the trail, we came upon some people we know. I used to work at the hospital with the wife and the husband works here (see below):

This is the Kentucky State Penitentiary, also known as
The Castle on the Lake (double-click for a better view),
which houses some pretty nasty characters

After driving for several hours, we took a long, circuitous route home. Along the way, we checked out some pretty nifty houses on or near the lake that we dream about maybe living in if we ever win the lottery. Finally, we came upon some more bikers who looked like they were maybe born to be wild. What do you think?

All in all we had a very pleasant day. We just finished supper and husband is watching NASCAR. He says, "You can't get any better than this. Thanks, dear."

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Spring has sprung!

Unwritten rules of gardening ...
by David Hobson,
  • The best way to garden is to put on a wide brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.
  • Compost is best aged a little like a fine wine. I mean, would you prefer to drink a nice 97, or something that was made last Thursday.
  • When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
  • A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.
  • Spring does not arrive until the ice is out of the compost heap.
  • Winter does not arrive until the ice is IN the compost. Until then, all bets are off.
  • Any self respecting rock will break at least one shovel before accepting its new home.
  • A good compost pile should get hot enough to poach an egg, but not so hot it would cook a lobster.
  • Gardening requires a lot of water most of it in the form of perspiration.

Every garden is unique with a multitude of choices of soils, plants and themes. Finding your garden theme is as easy as seeing what brings a smile to your face.

Submitted by Master Gardener Andy, Gettysburg, Pa.

Well, Spring has finally arrived in my yard. After "encouraging" husband to get the John Deere ready and fired up, I mowed the weeds down. Now the yard doesn't look so wild and wooly and maybe some nice grass can grow in place of some of the weeds.

Here's something I found growing in the lawn. These cute, tiny flowers were white with yellow centers. I don't know what they are but I imagine if our yard was a field, the ground would be blanketed with these beauties. (Double-click on images for better view.)

After I finished mowing, I found some things actually growing and getting ready to bloom.

Red Bud Tree (our two trees are turning pink overnight)

Purple and White Irises


White Dogwood (with French Lilac bush in background)


Live Forevers

Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree;
Up went Pussycat, and down went he.
Down came Pussycat, and away Robin ran;
Said little Robin Redbreast, "Catch me if you can."

Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a wall;
Pussycat jumped after him, and almost got a fall.
Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did Pussy say?
Pussycat said naught but "Mew," and Robin flew away.

And finally, for my friend Sue, this might be a solution to your squirrel problem.

So, now you know. My yard and flowerbeds are filled with weeds, but it's organic and full of useful earthworms. I may not have the most picture-perfect landscape but it continues to be a work in progress. I always say, maybe this year . . . When that happens, I will take a picture of it. I guess I forgot the basics of perfect gardening (as listed above). Maybe my sister, mrsgreenthumb, will come and help me one of these years.

In the meantime, I will continue to mow down the weeds and compost the grass clippings and chipped up branches.

Pardon me while I go blow my nose. Spring has sprung and the pollen is flying!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So this is where babies come from!

My husband's Aunt Virginia sent this little gem. So, I'm sending it along to you all in the hope that it will bring a smile to your lovely faces (unlike the little girl on the right below).

A six-year-old boy told his father he wanted to marry the little girl across the street. The father, being modern and well-schooled in handling children, hid his smile behind his hand.

"That's a serious step," he said. "Have you thought it out completely?"

"Yes," his young son answered. "We can spend one week in my room and the next in her's. It's right across the street, so I can run home if I get scared of the dark.

"How about transportation?" the father asked.

"I have my wagon and we both have our tricycles," the little boy answered.

The boy had an answer to every question the father raised. Finally, in exasperation, his dad asked, "What about babies? When you're married you're liable to have babies you know."

"We've thought about that, too," the little boy replied. "We're not going to have babies. Every time she lays an egg, I'm going to step on it!"

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

A thought for Sunday

Man's Best Friend

This fundamentalist Christian couple felt it important to own an equally fundamentally Christian pet. So, they went shopping.

At a kennel specializing in this particular breed, they found a dog they liked quite a lot. When they asked the dog to fetch the Bible, he did it in a flash. When they instructed him to look up Psalm 23, he complied equally fast, using his paws with dexterity. They were impressed, purchased the animal, and went home (piously, of course).

That night they had friends over. They were so proud of their new fundamentalist dog and his major skills, they called the dog and showed off a little.

The friends were impressed and asked whether the dog was able to do any of the usual dog tricks as well. This stopped the couple cold as they hadn't thought about "normal" tricks.

Well, they said, "Let's try this out."

Once more they called the dog and they clearly pronounced the command, "Heel!"

Quick as a wink, the dog jumped up, put his paw on the man's forehead, closed his eyes in concentration, and bowed his head.

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