Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Longing For a Sister (While loving my brother to death!)

I call my little granddaughters Elsa
and Ana. I'm so glad they have each other.
Both of my parents-in-law were only children. My father-in-law was not supposed to have been “attempted” because his mother had given birth to a girl, who was not stillborn, but I believe only lived a few hours. The doctors advised against another pregnancy, but who listens to doctors?

I’m not researching this, but my memory tells me that she (Ruth) was born in 1916. Perhaps it was late in the year, because I don’t think they were three years apart. Donald was born February 15, 1919. He would be 98 today.

My mother-in-law does not have a similar story, but her parents didn’t have any more children. I don’t know why.

What I do remember her telling me, was that she wished she had a sibling in older age. She didn’t “speak” for her husband, but I had the impression that siblings on both sides would have been welcome. They loved their four children, their eleven grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. They loved them, but they were not their peers.

The point of this is the desire for familial companionship in our elder years. I wouldn’t take a bazillion dollars for my baby brother, and I do speak plainly to him with matters of health; but I sometimes wish I had a sister, who thought like a woman.

I have a wonderful cousin who is 13 months younger than I am. We were raised together. Our grandmother bought us matching clothes. We were as close as could be, as our mothers were sisters. I know I can call her just about any time, and that could be happening more often as we age, but she has four children and seven grandchildren, a husband and the two of them are still working! Life is full.

My three sisters-in-law are fabulous people; but if you paid attention to those numbers earlier in the blog, you can picture the sized families they have! My one sister-in-law married a man with two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren that are not counted in the above numbers because my In-Laws didn’t know them. This alone shows that they are extremely busy with their families. We women are all retired, except the one who works in her son’s office one day a week.

I text the sister closest to my age quite a bit. You never know what she’s doing, coming, going or whatever, so she can return as she is able. She and I became what I call “fast friends” in our youth. I can only say that about three people in my life. I can talk to her just about anything.

My husband’s older sister is eleven years my senior, so the “chum” part isn’t there, but she’s a nurse and sometimes I need to call her. We eventually get off subject and by the time we’ve run through what all her kids and what all my kids are doing, it’s easily an hour. She’s usually home and settled in the evenings, so that is her best time.

My brother-in-law's wife and I are not as close, but there is a logical reason for that--she is one of eight children, only six survive today. She has A LOT going on with her aged mother, and her own three daughters and four grandchildren (and two step-grandchildren). We get along fine, but it's seldom. This past year her husband had a very serious medical situation, but I got the details second-hand through my husband. MANY prayers were said!

All of this is great, and I am thankful for them, but there is something missing.

Many of my wonderful friends live in my town and attended the school my children went to, and they have their friendships and “gangs.” They are all still close and they are there for each other, but I’m not a part of that.

I have truly loyal and friends that are like family, but most of them have left the area. I don’t have that “gang” that gets together regularly. I have a high school classmates luncheon every month, and we are very inclusive, which includes men, so it’s not like best buds. It’s great people going through life together, and I am thankful for this group.

I have one friend that I could call anytime, but even so, as much as we care about each other, she has 7 grandchildren, and she spends much time with the elderly widows of her family. A nurse, she’s another to call if I need advice that I haven’t found on the Internet and she has taken care of me with every surgery that involves changing of dressings that I can’t reach. I really WISH that we could go on a girl’s trip, but I don’t see it happening. Maybe one of these days.

I am grateful for the many relationships in my life, church, family (both, after 39 years it’s all the same), but I do wish I had a sister, that person that I could call anytime, anyplace, regardless of what else is going on in her life. And vice-versa.

It just doesn’t always work with a spouse.

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Seventh Anniversary!

I knew it was about time to check, and yes, yesterday was the 7th "anniversary" of my first post on this blog. Since I have previously discussed how writing this blog has changed me, I won't rehash all of that.

At this stage of my life, there isn't much "change," for which I am very thankful. Occasions come up like the Induction of our HS basketball team into an "Athletic Hall of Fame" and I want to write something for posterity.

I've been writing family stories for the next generation to be able to read---sometime. There will be sometime in the future that we think of another story worth keeping. I don't write about my husband's family generally, except to compare it to mine.

ALL blogs are pre-approved before publication if they involve another person (s). I don't write about my grandchildren unless their parents approve it.

At this 7th anniversary, it is winter and life is fairly stagnant. We are dealing with some health issues, which means doctors' appointments, but otherwise, not much new. However, I am always aware that something will happen that just BEGS an entry.

Grandchildren are always at the top of the list; it's Chorale Season and we are singing Brahms's Requiem in German. There are church activities, and we each have lunch with a group of friends once a month (separately). We also have dinner with the Homeowner's Association once a month (together). We have other friends that we see separately and we have friends that we see together. Jerry continues to volunteer at the hospital. I attempt to see my mother once a week. I continue my activity with the Medway Historical Society.

So we are in a "Life Goes On" period. This year is our 40th wedding anniversary and we are going out west to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, and visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We are also going to Salt Lake City and hope to see some old friends there. This is with a tour so we aren't driving and parking and arguing about where to eat!

Some of my previous topics are ongoing: decluttering, weight and health issues, and I am not going to "report" all the time. Suffice to say, it continues. I will continue the Derges' Digest as our Christmas Letter.

Some of the topics have been requested, such as settling estates. Others are guest blogs, which I always consider!

So, life indeed goes on. If any reader has a subject they would like me to take a look at, I would consider that. I don't write about politics, and religion would be sparse, so those are not subjects that I would tackle for another person. But I will teach you how to set up a blog!

I'll just close by saying how thankful I am for my family and my friends, and the ability and time to be involved with these other activities. Life without big events is OK too.

P.S. There will be something coming with our trip later.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thrift Simplified: Just Buy Less!

I haven’t been particularly thrifty this year as in “looking for the best deal,” and I haven’t had one of those “no-spend” months, or years, or anything. This is where I’m at: I just don’t buy as much anymore!

It’s as simple as that!

As I have spent the last two to three years in a major purge, moving into a condominium and finding good homes for many of the things my children do not want and there is no point in keeping them. Those things are things that I don’t need in a banker’s box in the garage and could be used by the historical society, or the Women’s Center that gives out baby (and small children) clothes.

The things that I keep are the things that I love. I want to look at them. They bless me in some way. This morning I was looking at the seven belts that I have and I know there’s a purge coming there; but one of them will NEVER fit this body again. It was made by my father, and it’s not going anywhere!

The long and short of this is I just BUY LESS!
  • We don’t need as much food. Period.
  • When I get rid of clothes, I don’t replace them, unless I have a need.
  • I don’t buy books.
  • I DO pay $8.00 a month for Netflix, but I don’t go to movies. Well, I never did much anyway.
  • At Christmas, I reorganized my spending, and although it didn’t come to less overall, I bought less.
  • I’ve gone out to eat less.
On the other hand, I did treat myself to some things. Because I oversee the Class Reunion, I got myself a room at the hotel. I did find a roommate; but had she not shown interest, I wouldn’t have cared at all. I was worth the reduced stress. Besides, it’s only every five years, and I did NOT buy any new garments.

One of the things I have done less of is use savings apps. They are getting to be so plentiful these days and I know the next generation uses them all the time, but it means signing up for, and giving my information to more people than I am comfortable with. Also, you must BUY to SAVE! (I remember my Mother-In-Law telling me that). And, I am NOT BUYING!

I am leisurely talking about selling some big-ticket items that I don’t use. This might involve paying someone who uses e-Bay. I am not in a hurry.

In a very calculated and planned way, I did buy a new laptop and a wireless printer. The other, while perfectly fine, is 11 years old, and lasted through three computers. I also planned to buy an iPad mini and I LOVE it. They offered me $65 for the old one and I said “No, the kids will watch it.” (They are not touching my new one!) These are items that I use every single day in one way or the other. I can never go back to handwriting anyway, the arthritis in my thumbs is so bad.

I do try to find homes for things, but if not, I will donate to Salvation Army. I never plan this, but somehow, when we’re doing taxes, it helps there too.

So I guess my mantra will be BUY LESS and plan big purchases.

Friday, January 27, 2017

This is NOT us!

As a postscript to the entry I wrote on “You Can Go Back Again,” I started thinking about a subject that has bothered me for some time. I try not to talk about it all the time, but I have health issues. I do NOT talk about my cancer unless someone has specifically brought up BREAST cancer. I want to give them empathy, comfort, and hope.

Several years (decades) ago, I had determined I was not going to be that person. But here we were at the post-game gathering, talking about knee-replacements, as if it were a passage of life—like puberty. I’ve always felt in my inner person that “if I would just lose so many pounds,” that my problems would be less.

Here I was with folks who, while they are not the skinny little kids that we all were before the onset of real adulthood, are NOT heavy! And, they still have the same problems!

On the way home, I began thinking about what these conversations would have been like 50 years ago, of my grandparents and their peers, because many of our parents have had the types of orthopedic surgeries that are available to us today.

Grandma and Grandpa undoubtedly had arthritis. One of my grandparents died of a brain tumor at age 61. Thin in stature, I don’t think he had any other problems during his lifetime. The other three, however, “slowed down” considerably.

So, what happened to life? I do remember my widowed grandmother taking trips in her 60s. I think that slowed down in her 70s, but she was always upbeat about life in general. There was never “I can’t do that anymore,” just a quiet acceptance of whatever, as we would say irreverently today. When we went through her things upon her death, there was a sweater that I had bought her and it had never been worn. Only then did I realize that she was unable to slip it over her shoulders. But she wore her jewelry until the end. I already have “easy-clasps” on my jewelry!

My father’s parents didn’t travel much, and that involved visiting relatives, such as their son in Florida. My grandmother was heavy, diabetic, and I am built quite a bit like her. She lived to be almost 73 (massive heart attack, but she cooked with LARD, for Pete’s sake), and until her death, she worked in the flower beds, walked up and down basement stairs to do laundry (as a widow, that might not have been as much) and had one bathroom—on the second floor. How she must have struggled with those narrow stairwells, but I never heard one word of complaint. There might have been a couple of grunts.

Her husband, who lived to be 79, was small in stature and I never heard any complaint from him about anything physically. However, he did slow down. In his later years, he took up the hobby of paint-by-numbers and thoroughly enjoyed that (while my grandmother cooked, cleaned, and did laundry). He also loved to play cards with us kids. It was always the easy games, I learned Euchre from my parents and Spades in college. But Grandpa and I and my brother played and talked and played and talked.

Grandma was on insulin, but neither took any other statins, BP meds, or any of the things many of us take today regularly. Might they have lived longer had they taken them? Grandma still cooked the old way and that was fattening, but he never had trouble with it and she maintained a steady 230-250 all the years I knew her. She didn’t know anything else. Exercise? He walked everywhere in town, although he did own a car, and she was working in the yard. She put up her garden every year. My knees hurt writing those sentences. They were not sedentary.

So I sit here today on a COLD morning, thankful that I don’t have to go anywhere until later, and I am still having trouble with the knees. However, they have been followed by a knew thing, which has plagued me three other “spells” in my life. Plantar fasciitis. Gotta love it. I have insoles, I but probably need new ones as it’s been ten years.

It’s always something! I guess I should be thankful for the things we have to help the situations and just accept the other things that can’t be helped.
I still feel old.

The Kline men were slight of build.
Grandma's in her mid-30's here.
I don't know when she was diagnosed
with Diabetes, but you can see she's
beginning to put on weight.

Grandpa was diagnosed with
brain cancer and didn't see his
62nd birthday. The twinkle is not
in his eyes here. I wonder how
close this was to his death.
Grandma, though, always had a

Friday, January 20, 2017

You Can Go Back Again!

When I was a junior in high school, our varsity basketball team went to the Regional Final game, further than any other basketball team from our school had ever gone in tournament. We were one game away from the “Final Four” of our state, and we did lose to the eventual state champions, Chaminade High School.

It truly was the Cinderella story of a small-town team—with a regular season ending record of 11-7—bulldozing its way through the District Tournament, and upsetting the first game of the Regional Tournament against Cincinnati Moeller. Newspapers titled their articles “Fairborn Who?” The entire town had decorated storefronts. I don’t have a picture of it and I don’t know if anyone had the mind to capture it, but as we went under one of the crossings in Cincinnati, there was a big banner, “Go Fairborn.” It was a great feeling to see that sign!

Many people have said that that tournament experience was the highlight of their high school years. It was a bandwagon! Basketball went from what you just did on Friday nights to a major event! Other students and their parents, people whose kids had graduated, merchants; we packed out Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio. We had five games to play at Hobart and I remember I was sick on the night of game #3 and listened to it on the radio. I knew a little something about basketball, and I could just visualize the plays that I had seen many times before.

I’m not going into the scores of each game or our opponents, although someone did save every article and they are truly exciting to read for those of us who were there, or those of us who have lived their lives involved with sports.

So 46 years later, this team is selected to be honored in the Fairborn City Schools Athletic Hall of Fame! Of the 11 young men carried on that team, 7 returned. One is MIA, two couldn’t come and one is deceased. There is a great article about him here. In addition, there were a bunch of us, some cheerleaders, some in other capacities in athletics, or not, who came to witness this.

There was a catered dinner before the evening’s basketball game, and I chose not to attend that as I am not a relative or “close” enough friend and I knew space was of a concern. I caught up with the gang as we met up in the auxiliary gym and it really was like old home week. Even though we’ve—uh—changed in many ways, I certainly didn’t have a bit of a problem recognizing anyone. It was a festive atmosphere.

Those of us “others,” went into the gym and sat where we would have as students. We really didn’t push anyone out of the way. The student population has declined to the point where there just aren’t as many students at a basketball game. (To be fair, this was not a league game.) I think kids have other things to do on Friday and Saturday nights these days. That may or may not be good.

The inductees were introduced one by one to rousing applause! This was the same floor (it’s been resurfaced) they played on all those many years ago, and it was surreal. Two managers also joined them, and I must say, they all turned out well! Of the nine gentlemen who were there, six still live in the area, one the next state over and two had to travel a bit. It was worth it. The coach passed away several years ago, but two of his children joined the group.

We were born at the height of the Baby Boom and even during the years leading up to this Championship year, the Fieldhouse was packed to the rafters at every game! This night, while certainly not empty, there was plenty of room to choose to sit. It was very different. There was definitely an “Izzone” or whatever you wanted to call the student section, but it was so much smaller.

It was a competitive game. We left at halftime to go to a restaurant, but I wouldn’t have minded staying. The visiting team has been a nemesis to the Derge family for 15 years of playing and coaching, but it’s a fine school system. As it turns out, Fairborn won on a buzzer-beater.

You can’t talk much at a basketball game and you’re not supposed to, so we went to a sports restaurant to continue our conversations.

What connects you after all these years?

·         Kids and grandkids

·         Retirement plans

·         Health issues (ugh, we are NOT those people?)

·         Old funny and ornery stories.

·         Old cars we owned. (This was not me!)

·         Remembering those no longer with us.

The hair, if it’s there at all, is grayer, there’s a little bit more of most of us to love, but we are still US. We have all lived 45-46 years since, but we are still US.

We are there to love each other in a different way. We have embraced our mortality. We still enjoy each other the best way we can.

Many people from afar wished they could have come.  It was different from a class reunion in that we were really all on our own and made our own entertainment.  We’ll probably never have an occasion like this again, but it was so nice to remember a major highlight of high school!

We still felt like teenagers again! Inside.
An ad in the local newspaper.                              District Champs. Photo Credit: My mom.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Minimalizing Never Ends. Ever!

From Becoming Minimalist
Several people have asked me about my minimalizing this year, so I thought I would address it.

First, most of my minimalist activity took place in 2015 when we moved into the condominium

Secondly, it never ends!

One of the big things that I have been doing this year is going through items that I had never wanted to get rid of. But I came to the realization that all I was doing was making work for my children, and I knew that they would NOT appreciate it.

These activities led me to making some new friends.

I had plenty of clothes that we would now call “period” clothes and even if I lost a vast amount of weight, I would not be wearing them. I met with the collections director at our local historical society and because many of these items were worn by people in a family that is involved in the history of this town, the collections director was interested in them. We took a day and went through them, and she could (look forward to) access them into her collection.

During this time, I met another staff person of the historical society and although I really didn’t give her anything, excepting my knowledge and putting two and two together and fill in some holes in her historical work. I was happy to be able to help.

I have a remarkable portrait that was dated 1894 that belonged in another town, but they honestly don’t have the room for it, so they photographed it and the curator and I sat down and filled in some holes in that branch of the family. That was a VERY interesting day!

Then there is my work with the local historical society and their Bicentennial. Most people don’t get that I consider this my “hometown,” because I only lived nine years there, but it’s my history that makes me a part of it. I haven’t had much to offer them but pictures and letters and memories. I haven’t given them all my letters, because some involve someone still living (my mother). I don’t know what I will do in the future.

I kept lots of special baby clothes, which my kids have no interest in, so I chose to donate them to the Area Women’s Center. Women who are taking parenting classes at the Center earn “dollars” to buy clothes for their children, and although I didn’t donate any of my clothes, they can buy clothes for themselves, also.

So, my husband and I have decided it is time to change our wills and make our son, who lives in the area the executor in case we pass together, or the second is unable to serve. Hopefully I have the house in a condition that he and I can take a walk through the house, and I can say “stuff…...stuff…...stuff……this is important……stuff……more stuff….”and you get the idea. We do have some Derge antiques that need to be offered to Derges. Other than picture albums and my old Bibles, the rest is “stuff.”

We live in a condominium that is 2000 square feet. We could minimalize further, but this is what is comfortable to us, and will be easy to deal with someday. We have three coolers, I don’t know why we have three coolers and one of them (at least) will probably go to Goodwill or another organization someday, but even if I don’t get to it, it is NOT a difficult decision to make.

Minimalist living is constantly keeping up. It means buying less or replacing only as needed. I bought a bedspread set this year. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it. Then I realized I didn’t like the “feel” of it. Admitting I made a mistake and setting about to correct it NOW, I offered it to a friend for a gift card. I paid exactly $30 to learn I didn’t like it. Well, it could have been worse.

As long as a person lives with another person, drawers continue to need to be cleaned out. This is a constant. Everyone throws things in drawers. I know that if it were just me, there wouldn’t be as much to do, but I still would stash when the opportunity came.

I am comfortable with the place we are. I don’t stock up much on food, except in the winter. We don’t live in the frozen North!  I have never experienced blizzard-like or dangerous conditions that lasted more than three days. Plus, I am very creative if need be!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Derges' Digest 2016

I’ve been putting our Christmas Letter on the blog for several years, but I believe that since increasingly people (read: the family is expanding) are involved, that I’m going to put a “cleansed” edition here. If you are on my email list, you will get the unabridged edition.

2016 was full of big things and little things, but ends on a good note. As we slow down at the end of the year, we remember Why we celebrate the Season of Christ’s Birth.

Between Jerry’s volunteering at hospital, and my part-time job arranging doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, that fills most days. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and feel there has been help there. I had carpal tunnel surgery in September, so still feel some of the residue of that, but it’s no big deal. Jerry remained at #6 at the hospital in hours volunteered.

I sang in the Symphony Chorale this spring and we performed Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Sea Symphony.” It went well and I enjoyed it by the time it all came together.

Jerry and I both meet monthly for lunch with our pals—him with teacher co-workers, and me with my classmates. This was 45th Reunion year so much of my time was consumed with that. I’ve decided that the 50th Reunion will be my swan song.

In March, our daughter’s family moved into their permanent home. It will be a very nice home for slumber parties and all kinds of social events.

We cleared our calendar for the birth of our first grandson on May 26th.  Our son and daughter-in-law have delighted us in their roles as first-time parents and we certainly enjoy seeing him often! We see plenty of the girls too. We are the grandparents with a pool!

My Class Reunion was July 28-31st. The following weekend I was involved in Medway’s Bicentennial activities and it was so much fun, seeing people I hadn’t seen in decades! In addition to working with the Medway Historical Society, I have established relationships with the Clark County Heritage Center.

We kept the girls for the end of August so Mommy and Daddy could have a vacation. Then it was time to get organized for the celebration of my Mother’s 85th birthday on September 18th. It was a very nice celebration of a long life well-lived.

At the first of October, I went to the 45thReunion of Tecumseh Class of 1971. I had a wonderful time, and can’t wait for the 50th. These are the people I would have graduated with had my family not moved in 1964. Although I had to miss their football game (!) I went to the Saturday night event. I knew about one third of the people there and many others introduced themselves to me.

I’ve also been attending school board meetings as our community decides what they want to do about new schools. It has been an “education” hearing all the opinions, but one thing is clear to me. As a citizen, it is still my duty to provide good schools for the children. Someone is doing elsewhere for my grandchildren.

And then, of course, there was football! Tippecanoe HS moved to the (larger) Greater Western Ohio Conference, which provided some new challenges. The team ended up with a 7-3 record and made the playoffs. We played one playoff game against a 10-0 team and we BROUGHT IT, heart-breaker losing by one point.

Thanksgiving was spent with Jerry’s siblings this year, as it is the “off” year where the children go to the other side of the family. We did not take a vacation this year. Someone else graciously agreed to host the Class Christmas Party so that was December 9th. As always, a good time was had by all!
Mom is still living alone with much help from my aunt, who lives very close by. She likes her solitude and she has regular visitors. And of course, there is the Internet! She's on Facebook!

May God richly bless you in this Christmas season and in the coming year! Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and good will toward men.