Wait for it

If you’ve read many of my blog posts you know that I was one of those surprise package bonuses for my folks. They were in their forties when I was born and my three sisters were all teenagers.

Life is just weird for us surprise packages. A good weird, a difficult weird, hard to explain.

By the time I was nearly 3 or so, two of my sisters had left home for college, marriage, life. My oldest sister with her special needs remained in our home.

The minute my two sisters left home for adulthood, I began to miss them. A lot. I do not remember ever living under the same roof as them, but their absence from my life affected everything about my life. This isn’t a pout fest or pity party, life was still good. Just not as good as I imagined it would be if Lois and Wilma were living with us. In the same house.

Wilma eventually lived close to us again and having her nearby was a blessing. And so very much fun. We had a big music connection, we had a big Jesus connection.

Lois lived many hours away. Always. And I longed for her visits home, or our visits to her home. Our trips to visit her started with the two hour drive from Minneapolis (Ks) to Wichita on old highway 81. In one of our Chevy cars. We only drove Chevies or Buicks. GM only. It was the law of my Dad.

While visiting Lois in Wichita I tasted my first pizza. From likely the first ever Pizza Hut in the whole world! Pepperoni pizza. So good. And Wichita had a Kentucky Fried Chicken which my dad was totally in love with. Eventually I would take extended solo visits to help Lois care for her little boy while she worked. She introduced me to Taco Tico, which at the time seemed like exotic foreign food. Something you just could not get in little Minneapolis. Mmmmm good. She took me to the Wichita Zoo. In those days it was just a tiny little spot in Riverside Park. Birds and monkeys. But boy, I was wowed. And she had a Magnavox stereo system with a stacking turntable and LP’s. The Mamas and Papas, Barbra Streisand, etc. My favorite was “Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles”. Yes, I was/am an “old soul”. I was raised by (fantastic) old souls. And we had neither a stereo nor LP player of any sort. My childhood home had a small desk top radio on a desk near the dining table where KFRM AM station played every morning from Concordia Kansas. Farm and ranch reports. Country western music. Every morning this woke me up along with the smell of coffee.

Lois gave me a taste of a life that was so very different, so much “younger” than my life with our parents and my oldest sister. So much fun. (please don’t misunderstand: I had a wonderful loving home with my parents. NO COMPLAINTS)

Those stays with Lois were like winning the grand prize to me.

She taught me how to play Scrabble. She taught me how to play tennis. She taught me all about her favorite make/models of cars. (She always drove the coolest cars). She worked as a Medical Laboratory Technologist.

And I wanted to one day beat her in Scrabble. And I wanted one day to beat her in tennis. And I wanted to one day drive cool cars like hers. And I wanted one day to be a lab tech.

Spoiler alert: I never ever beat her in tennis. Seriously, I am 16 years younger than her, why did she never slow down? She never even let me win. Nope. But Scrabble? I could compete.

Over the years, I waited eagerly for the day I would live near all my sisters. But Lois ended up moving to the west coast. Beautiful California. The first time we visited them in California I crossed her move back to Kansas off my wish list. Why on earth would she ever want to leave California? Good grief, I didn’t even want to go back home to Kansas after our first visit to California some 38 years ago.

And then, last August, Lois and her husband were visiting us in Kansas. As they were walking from our door to get in their truck and head back to California she turned to me and said “Keep your eyes open for a house we might buy here.” I looked at her husband and he said “Yeah, we’re getting old, we’re ready to leave California”. I could not believe my ears.

But you better believe before their vehicle was out of sight I was already searching for homes to buy on the internet. I dragged my husband all over Wichita to open houses and model homes. Taking pictures and videos, doing live video tours with Lois. With the help of an amazing realtor (thanks, Rebecca) I found a home just 3.4 miles from our home. Within three months it looked like the move was perhaps going to happen.

We helped them prep their home for sale in California, then we returned after it sold to help them make the trip back to Kansas.

Home. She came home. The wait is over. Could I now beat her at tennis? Probably not. Even though she’s fixing to add one year to….several. I’m 16 years younger but also old. **sigh** It’s okay. We’re pretty much unbeatable at Dominos.

And we both love and trust Jesus. That’s really the best part. One day all of us sisters will be together forever.

Every time I drive down Woodlawn I look to the right and see their home. It is just so amazing to be able to drive less than 5 minutes and be at my sister’s home. Worth the wait.

Happy Birthday, Lois.

2020. California birthday visit. Tell me again, why did you want to move to Kansas, Lois?

Let go of my Legos

Fifteen years ago I became a grandmother.

About eleven years ago, I bought my first ever Lego set for the boy who made me a grandma.

About eleven years and one minute ago, I became just a little obsessed with the delightfulness of Legos. So did said grandboy. We spent many hours building one thing after another, as the coins rapidly left our bank account.

Continue reading “Let go of my Legos”

Ebay lessons and Cabbage.

(Originally posted back in 2017….needed the recipe contained in this so I republished it. )

It’s been a week of education for Simply B in the fine art of using Ebay to purchase stuff.  I’m a relative newby, just mainly buying stuff outright and not bidding on it.  But this week I decided to bid on Castillian plates to add to the 2 that were given to me from my mom’s kitchen.   And I learned a vital lesson.   Once you place a bid on an Ebay item, you may well win that bid.  And once you win that bid….well….you pay for the item and it’s yours.  It’s a contract of sorts.  I guess I thought I’d win the bid then be able to decide if I really wanted them.  So far I have 10 Castillian plates.  There may be more on the way, who knows.  I kind of got carried away once the bidding started.  Wow.  No biggie.  I guess.  Haven’t checked our bank account balance.  Perhaps I should.  😅 Continue reading “Ebay lessons and Cabbage.”

Pep And Petrol

Small town America loves their school activities. That was certainly the case in my very small hometown high school during the 60’s and 70’s. Friday night football and Tues/Friday basketball would bring every loyal citizen who could still breathe and walk out to watch “their kids” play.

And for students, even if you weren’t part of the team, you were still part of the team. Some were in marching band. Some were cheerleaders. Some took turns working the concession stands. Some dressed up as the Lion Mascot. And the rest of us? Well we were part of the team too. Thanks to Pep Club.

Continue reading “Pep And Petrol”

The rest of the story….

Percival and Augusta**.    Long ago they lived across the street from my family in a small super-modest old home with peeling paint and many many many cats.  And one little dog.   There was a front porch.  There was a back porch.  There’s no trace left of where Percival and Augusta spent their sad life.  But my mind will never lose the image of that home and the couple who lived there. Continue reading “The rest of the story….”

Through

I was the last chance.

My folks were the parents of three teenage daughters when, out of the blue (or pink?) I came along. Another stinking girl. I have mental pictures of my dad, age 47, going from the hope of hearing “it’s a boy!!” to “oh, well”.

I was the last chance for him to have a boy to hang out with and enjoy time together. A son, a kindred spirit, a little Benton. He had three teenage girls. Just wrap your brain around that fact for one moment. At least once a month you KNOW my dad wished he had sons.

Continue reading “Through”

Rising numbers. Rrrrrrip.

My collection of numbers has become pretty large. Too many birthdays has added a ton of numbers to my age. And I seem to have an uncanny ability to add numbers to my weight. Though it’s tempting to blame COVID19 and the whole stay-at-home scene on the weight dealio, that would be a lie.

All these numbers have resulted in gravitational effects and odd changes to my already unfortunate configuration of body parts.

Continue reading “Rising numbers. Rrrrrrip.”

Dear Younger Me

My breath was taken away and tears came to my eyes. Not gonna lie, they even rolled down my cheeks.

A friend of mine shared a photo with me. She’d found it in an old yearbook of her mom’s.

Me. Age fifteen. The one school picture that never made it to a frame on the top of the piano with the other pictures of me and my sisters. I had totally forgotten about this particular photograph. I doubt there are prints of it anywhere, except of course the old yearbook.

Continue reading “Dear Younger Me”

Bunny, Bird, and Boo

Let me just preface this post with this statement: I love animals. Yes, I do. Now just plant that fact in your brain while you read the rest of this.

Our oldest daughter went off to college many years ago at Kansas State University and began dorm life. Our youngest daughter was four years younger, just a high school sophomore at the time.

Continue reading “Bunny, Bird, and Boo”

Mixed values; unexpected ho-hums

Got some time on my hands. You too? I refuse to use the C word or the P word though. If you’re reading this in say, 2030, and you have no clue what C and P words are, then you indeed are most fortunate. Be deeply thankful. And just go ahead and search for “historic events in the year 2020” if curiosity has the best of ya.

So while roaming about the house during the past week or so, organizing, cleaning, avoiding stir craziness, I came across a few items with stories to tell.

Continue reading “Mixed values; unexpected ho-hums”

Talking to myself and feeling (fill in the blank)

If you’re my age, and if you’re a girl (well, OLD girl), you probably once loved listening to the smooth voice of Karen Carpenter. The Carpenters. One of their most popular songs was Rainy Days and Mondays. “Talking to myself and feeling old” “Sometimes I’d like to quit, nothing ever seems to fit”. Such upbeat lyrics. NOT. Sadly, the line about “nothing ever seems to fit, like to quit” ? Karen died from anorexia at a young age.

I talk to myself and you probably do, too. Please tell me you do. 🙂

Continue reading “Talking to myself and feeling (fill in the blank)”

Food nostalgia and a recipe

On Christmas in the year 1970 my dad had just returned home from a one week stay at the hospital following his diagnosis of leukemia. He was dismissed Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was not the typical Christmas, as you might imagine. Not a lot of jolly old St Nicholas. But we were genuinely glad to be together. Just the four of us, Mom and Dad, Sharon and myself. We didn’t know what the future held but we sure loved having Daddy there with us on that day.

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Looking through windows

Recently I read a story that pulled the curtains back from a window into the life of a mom and her difficulties with her young son. His behavior is so poor that kids avoid him. Classmates say their parents forbid them from playing with him anymore. He comes home from school and says he was told he is “bad.” He has been removed from that kindergarten now. His mom and dad are struggling to help him.

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On an Island south of Manhattan. The little Manhattan

South of Manhattan Kansas on Manhattan Ave there is a bridge over Wildcat Creek. Cross the bridge and you have arrived on what is commonly referred to as Hunter’s Island. Wildcat Creek and the Kansas river border this land. Some of the most fertile ground around can be found on Hunter’s Island. The hubby tells me it’s only a true island when it is surrounded by flooding. Which happens a lot.

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The beauty of enough

How well I recall the day I learned my family was poor.  The news didn’t come from my parents.  I often heard them having lively conversations about finances early in the morning while they were eating breakfast.  While I was exercising my sloth-like tendency to sleep late.  I heard them, but it was never serious enough to fully awaken me.

No, reality hit one day in the third floor library of the junior high building in my hometown.  Probably my eighth grade year, during study hall. Continue reading “The beauty of enough”

Unpredictable, innocent humor….oh, my sister

Since Mom’s death in 1993 I’ve been the family member most involved in my developmentally disabled/intellectually challenged oldest sister’s care.  Sharon has been so blessed with wonderful care where she lives in a group home.  (THANK YOU GOD!!!!).

Today I participated in a phone conference call to analyze and evaluate the care she is receiving.  My input was limited and really I didn’t need to say much.  They asked Sharon questions and she answered.  And I listened to it all. Continue reading “Unpredictable, innocent humor….oh, my sister”

One Word. Two Words. Three Words.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts ever was from my sister Lois.  I was eight or nine years old, she was 16 years older than me and, in my little girl eyes,  quite wealthy.  She was a Medical Technologist and worked in a hospital laboratory in a big old hospital.  😜💲💲💲  What was this magnificent gift, you ask?    A Scrabble board game.  I was ecstatic.  Seriously!!

Continue reading “One Word. Two Words. Three Words.”

Lullaby voice. Just see what happens.

The year was 2006, the month was March.  I’d been longing to be a grandma for oh so long.  Prayers were prayed, decisions were made to adopt, and we traveled to Guatemala with our daughter and son-in-love and Grandma Cindy to meet the baby who would be our very first grandchild.  

We met him, we held him, we watched him react with his new mommy and daddy.  And we fell in love.  My grandma heart was fully activated.   Continue reading “Lullaby voice. Just see what happens.”