Sunday, May 29, 2016

There's One More to Love!

As I mentioned in my post about becoming a grandmother for the second time, there is enough love in my heart for a dozen, but learning that my baby boy was going to have a baby boy just filled my heart in a new way. I cherished my daughter-in-law, the vessel in which this new life would be formed with God's help.

Just as with our first granddaughter, we learned of this baby during Birthday Season. Grandpa got a card with a lot of dogs in it and I think it had a gift card in it, but he didn't notice ALL the dogs. The kids had slid a postcard with their dog on it, into the other card. The postcard said "Guard Duty: June 2016." Well, Grandma knew what that meant!

Once again, I loaded the app on my phone that would tell me how big the baby was at any given point. At the twenty week ultrasound, we found out it was a "he." It wouldn't have mattered to me at all, as we are in GirlsRus mode; but I love the little snakes and snails and puppy dog tails as well. Well, he already has the dog!

I realize that it's the first grandchild for the other side of the family (not that it matters, but they'll learn that someday), so I know that in the beginning I will step back a little. They are all very gracious to me and Jerry, but I can see the gleam in their eye.

There is just nothing like being a grandparent! Nothing! Not knowing any other way, I can't imagine being a grandparent without a partner! It sparks a love for my husband like no other!

Because of slightly elevated blood pressure and a holiday weekend, the baby was "encouraged" to come early. My daughter-in-law is a Labor and Delivery RN so she was able to "manage," if that word could be used, her labor. She knew what was needed at each point. I was clueless back in the day! I know they wouldn't give me a second epidural when my son tarried, and I don't know if that is what they did back in the day, or if I COULD have demanded it! We'll never know.

We didn't know the baby's name until we walked in the hospital room. We knew his initials and I hoped they would carry on my son's middle name, which they did. However, he definitely has his OWN first name! He was a little one, but long enough to be able to tell that he will fill out in his time.

His other grandmother held him first, as I did when my daughter gave birth the first time. Then she handed him to me. It's such a miracle to look at that little face. He had the "goop" in his eyes still, so I didn't have a real good look at him. I could see traits of both families in him. He has plenty of dark hair, but that never lasts.

His grandfather wants to make a Red Sox fan out of him, so this will be interesting. The Reds are doing crappy this year anyway.

We didn't stay long, because we know how exhausting it is for the mother, although she was in very good shape! I'll have plenty of time with this guy. I am retired and a professional grandmother (among other things).

Little JRD, you are so loved!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It was Supposed to Be Easier as We Got Older!

When we were younger, we had so much going on, and we said "It will get better when we don't have so much going on." Surely, we expected to have aging issues, but we wouldn't be as tied to our family responsibilities.

I’ve have had the pleasure of talking to many “new” people and I expect a new mix of people at this reunion. I am delighted whenever we reach someone new. I’m anxious to see them, and I believe others will enjoy seeing folks that they haven’t seen in 45 years! We’ll have name tags, don’t worry. I think it goes without saying that there is no shame in just asking, “Who are you?” If you don’t remember them, admit it, and ask a question about what they are doing now?

On the other hand, there is another trend. So many of our age group are caring for aging parents and cannot leave them. You may ask, “Don’t these people have siblings that can help?” but that is sometimes not the situation, even with the bigger families of our generation. There were three children in my family; but one is deceased and the other is disabled, so it’s me. Thankfully, my mother is doing well, and we hope that continues, but I can see how this could happen in another family.

Those who live near can usually find someone else, but those who have to travel can’t make decisions until the last moment. Many of us are also taking care of spouses or significant others who are ill. And finally, some of US are “iffy” on any given day, so don’t want to make decisions too soon!

We do need those of you who know that you are coming to register; because we need a cash flow and a reasonable number to order food. Because we are not serving plated meals, we don’t have to give an exact count, and can accommodate people at the last minute.

As I thought of this, I thought of all our reunions and how they defined certain “eras” of our lives.

First of all, we are all pretty much the same age!

We had a fifth reunion that was organized by our Class President Eddie Howe in 1976. It was at the Girl Scout Camp. This was done by word of mouth only and we had a fairly nice group. It was completely pot-luck and low maintenance. We took few pictures that I know of. I would LOVE to get my hands (digitally) on some if anyone has any. At the fifth reunion, we were mostly college kids or recent graduates and it wasn’t much different from a high school function.

As we all know, Eddie was killed in an automobile accident in the summer of 1978. There was no real organization for another reunion; so a few of us got together in 1980 and starting searching for people. It wasn’t like it is now. We could call family members that were still in Fairborn. One thing led to another. It was like six degrees of separation. We worked from the list on our graduation program. That is all we had. I realize now that many people were overlooked if for one reason or another, they were not on that list. However, and I think we know this now, “it does take a village,” as a committee of 6-10 people cannot possibly know everything about almost 700 people.

The tenth reunion: It was only one night, but many people came. We all still looked like ourselves for the most part. It was fun just visiting and enjoying each other. We had a DJ and we danced and did line dances. The following day we had a picnic in John Bryan State Park, where we spent so much time in our high school years. Some of us were married and had young children, so the “brag books” were exchanged. Many ladies were pregnant. Kids were welcome at the picnic. It was fun.

The twentieth reunion: By FAR the largest. We had three events: an “ice breaker” on Friday night at the Holiday Inn. Because of the size of the group, we did limit this to classmates. It’s not that spouses were not welcome. There just wasn’t much room and the crowd spilled out to the pool area. It is my understanding that someone ended up in the pool! Saturday night was a nice dinner at an entirely new venue in the area, that of the Berry Room of the E.J. Nutter Center at Wright State University. We signed our contracts before the building was finished. That made me a little nervous, but they were wonderful to work with. It was a lovely dinner and dance. On Sunday we had a picnic, but this time at Fairborn Community Park East. At this stage of life, many shared what they were doing vocationally and bragged on their kids. We were young families. I had a 7 and a 2-year-old.

The twenty-fifth reunion: Again we worked with the Holiday Inn on Friday night because they were so easy to work with! Saturday evening was held at the Hope Hotel. Hope Hotel holds more people than the Berry Room at the Nutter Center, but the attendance was lower. The nice thing was that the food, the DJ, the bar in one corner of the room and the photographer in another corner of the room made it very nice to have everything in one room. We had a nice memory wall too. Sunday we had a picnic at the Greenacres Pool. That was VERY nice and one of my favorite memories of all reunions. As I recall this reunion, VP Tim Garrigan made a video of some of the yearbook pages. He offered them at his price to anyone who wanted a copy. Another thing I remember is having really meaningful conversations.

The thirtieth was also held at Hope Hotel. Less people were coming so we consolidated in a smaller area. Both nights were held at the Hope and it was different each night, so we didn’t have to redecorate the room. Many people had teenagers in activities and were in a place in their own careers that they didn’t have as much flexibility in the summer. By this time, no one cared about impressing anyone, as it would have been in past years. The spouses started dropping out because they didn’t know people. (That is a general statement. There were still plenty that came) We still had our picnic and our children came too. They were growing up.

The thirty-fifth was a year where the Friday night event had to change venues. It worked out though and with the exception of the replacement venue being up a long flight of stairs (we can’t do that anymore!), it went very well. It was cozy and people could really visit well. Saturday night was again at the Hope Hotel. With smaller numbers, we again had meaningful conversations. We still had a picnic, but it was becoming more work! Still, it was fun!

Our fortieth was the first reunion held after the creation of the web site. I think that created interest and people we hadn’t seen in twenty years came back to visit their friends. With more freedom of adult children, people were not as tied into activities. The first night was held at the Moose Lodge and was very casual. While we said “casual” for both nights, Saturday evening was held at the Nutter Center, the same venue we had our twentieth reunion. We had a picnic on Sunday and decided that would be our last. It was just too much work, after two nights of partying.

What will happen this year? The verdict is out, but YOU are a part of the answer! 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Guest Post by Mike Thomas--We MUST forgive!

This is another “guest blog” from my friend Michael Thomas.  He posted this on Facebook and it got such positive feedback that I want to share it with my readers.

Monday, May 10, 2016

We MUST forgive!

This is a story I always thought that I would keep to myself, but something is prompting me to post this story this evening!

As many of you know, I have been visiting several prisons around the country. There was one incident that, for some reason, I feel the need to share with you.

In 1970, my oldest brother was killed in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he was killed by his CO (Commanding Officer) His Army buddies informed the higher commands what had occurred and charges were brought forth. The CO was convicted and sent to prison.

This past March, I was asked to speak at a Federal Prison. The talk was a success, even though the so-called comedian that spoke before me made fun of the inmates. I was asked by the warden if they could do anything for me before I left. I asked him if they had an inmate by a certain name and he said they did. I then asked if I could meet him.

They brought him to a meeting area. By now he was in his late 70's. After a few minutes of talking with him, I asked him why he was there and he told the story of what lead to his imprisonment. We talked for a little while longer, and finally I told him that I was the youngest brother of the soldier he had killed.

Charles T. Thomas
May 15, 1948-February 14, 1970
I extended my hand and he took it. it was then that told him that he had been forgiven for what he had done. We then hugged and there were many tears of joy and sadness from both of us. He said that he had always wanted to ask for forgiveness. I told him that he had been forgiven even before I meet him. That forgiveness took place many years ago.

Today, I learned that he passed away a few days ago.

You see, it wasn't his asking for forgiveness that needed to be done for his acts. It was ME that had to ask for forgiveness from HIM. Forgiveness for the harsh and negative thoughts that I felt towards him, but he needed to know that forgiveness was already granted to him by me.

I HAD to forgive for my wounds to heal. Thanks to Heavenly Father, that forgiveness for me came many years ago, so that I could heal. Before he died, this man, through forgiveness, could make peace with himself.

Through the Savior Jesus Christ, all things are possible! But we must forgive, move on and then the peace and joy comes into our lives. [Matthew 5:16 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.]

So do NOT hold on to grudges or harsh feelings towards someone. First, forgive yourself, so you can then forgive others.

The title to one of my talks says "In Order to Live, You must Forgive."

Extend the hand of forgiveness and then the peace and joy WILL come into your life...I did mine!

A special thanks to my Heavenly Father who forgives me hourly!

The “rest of the story” by me. (Denise) Teddy had lost some hearing when his tank drove over a land mine. About two weeks later, his unit was leaving the area and they were going to burn up everything they left. Teddy carried a five-gallon container of gasoline and was the furthest man out. The CO called for everyone to come in. Teddy didn’t hear him. The CO repeated himself and Teddy didn’t hear him. The CO may have thought he was disobeying orders, but he basically lit the gasoline with Teddy still out there. Teddy didn’t die immediately, he was taken to a hospital and his parents were able to see him before he died. Teddy’s peers reported the incident and the CO was court-martialed and sentenced to life in prison.