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Posts Tagged ‘music’

It has been a busy week; a tiring week; an exhausting week.

On June 26th, Sunday, we held a (F)UN birthday party to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday.  Her birthday is actually in January but no one wants to travel in January.  It was quite a success, with my sister flying in from Arizona, my neice and two daughters driving down from Michigan, my daughter from South Bend, along with one of her sons and his adorable girlfriend, and nephew and his fantastically funny wife coming down from Wisconsin.  The rest were from all over Indiana.  Mom was dully surprised.  When daughter brought her down from her apartment, to the building’s common room, she couldn’t figure out why I was taking a picture of her and who was that woman who looked like her granddaughter standing next to me also taking her picture, until she realized it WAS her granddaughter from Michigan.

Picture of my daughter, mom, greatgrandson and his girlfriend.

It was fun watching her wheeling around in her power chair going “Oh, you too!” as she spotted her sister-in-law, sister, and old friends.  Some of the food (mostly that made by my husband) was a big hit.  My potato salad needed doctoring.  The cake from Sam’s club was great.  People didn’t just eat and leave and that made it nice to talk with everyone.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

I, and my daughter from So. Bend, had been planning the party for three months.  We even had blue grass music compliments of Dan Cantwell, of Travis Creek Band, from Nashville, Indiana and our boy, Jacob Wells, who sings with the band occasionally and threw in some country music. My family is an artistic family and used to my uncle playing guitar in the background, so it reminded the relatives of him. I have movies of Dan and Jacob up on Youtube. My Youtube name is SAVanVleck. You could also search for Jacob Wells. He gets good feedback on his singing. I’m trying to link it but ……. haven’t got that down.  I think I have to upgrade to link a movie?

I would love to say that the band in front of the window was a wonderful cinematic affect, but I’m afraid the shaky camerawork and the one place of missed lyrics will make that a true lie.  I plan on rerecording this song when I can and have my tripod with.  I am afraid I am developing a family tremor.  I used to shoot 35 mm photos at f-stop15 with nary a shake, now I can’t hold it still at any speed.

Now, the bad of the week: A few days before the party we found out that my mom is in Stage 3 heart failure. With that, and other problems, the doctor has decided to have Hospice come out to her apartment. It is really a blessing. It will help ensure she is getting the best of care and take a load off of me. I suspected last month, as I purchased only a small amount of food for her that she wasn’t eating right. This month, it didn’t seem as if she was eating at all. Turns out, she is too tired to eat and they will figure out what to do about this, and send people out to help her with her personal needs and her house cleaning needs.

Today, when I went to her apartment to give her a shot (of blood thinner) and take her for blood work and meet her new Hospice nurse, she met me with: “I’m not stupid.” I told her I knew that and asked what was wrong. She decided that she only had six months to live and I was trying to hide it from her and that was why we had the party and Hospice coming out. While it is true she could only have six months, it is also true that she could have only one week or she could have two years, and we started planning the party months before I found out. I think she finally believes me but I am pretty sure that I will have to settle the matter several more times before she moves on to something else.

I have always wondered at older people saying they have no one left alive (no mate, no children, no friends) and so they are ready to die. I miss people who have died, but I do feel that life is a blessing to be lived to the fullest. Yet now, as I look at the photo of my dad’s family that I posted two months ago and realize that there are only two people left alive in that picture: my cousin, Richard and my sister, Evelyn. There is something that sets you adrift when you realize you are so close to being that alone. I mean, I have a family other than dad’s family; husband, daughter, grandsons, but not so many of those people who were there when I was born. It’s just strange.

I’m limping from sciatic nerve  leg pain, tired from everything, including taking steroids for the leg,  and probably boring, but meeting all the Hospice people makes it all so real.  Thanks for listening.

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gram-s-r-lydia

This is my grandma, with her pearls, Master’s Daughter, daughter-of-eleven and my Aunt Lydia.  Aunt Lydia never married.  She said she was never going to do what a man told her to do and, since the Bible said she had to, she just was not going to get married.  After helping her put a new door up at their house once, my father came home and said that she was the most difficult, bull-headed person on earth. 

 

My mother said that was like the pot calling the kettle black.

 

 

Grandma was a quiet, uneducated woman and once asked her son, when he came home on a visit from the military, “Do you have any of them G.I.’s in your camp?”  Everyone has a story or two about things grandma said.  She did not understand a lot of the world as it moved on past her.

 

She was not a real big talker anyway.  I mostly knew her from observing.  But, she always took the time to play the piano for me.  Her right hand had a huge tumor on it and it amazed me how she could make such beautiful music. 

 

I remember her ironing too.  She had this whispery whistle that accompanied her as she worked around the house and she was always working around the house.  I rarely saw her sit down and rest.  Even with a house full of company, she was always moving and cleaning. 

 

My aunt lived with Grandma, so I am not sure whether some of the things I remember were the result of my aunt or my grandmother.  I know when paper plates came out, they had to buy a pack.  We ate our meal on those plates and they gathered them up and took them to the kitchen. 

 

The next time I went into the kitchen, there was a clothes line of paper plates hanging out to dry.    

 

It did not matter how many children were there either, grandma always made their favorite food.  She would save out lemon pie filling for the child that liked it without the crust.  She watched and listened and, whatever food was the favorite of a child, would be waiting for them, the next time they arrived.

My funniest memory, of grandma, was walking in the door one time and hearing her yelling out, “Get Him!” Gorgeous George was wrestling on her little black and white tv and my quiet grandma was cheering him on.

This is a picture of grandma with three of her four children.  The fourth child, was a girl who died at the age of six.  Left to right is my uncle Clifford, my grandmother in blue dress (Flossie VanVleck) my father Harold and my Aunt Lydia. 

 

 

clif-gram-dad-lydia1

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