Dedicated to our Mom, the Best Mom in the Whole World!
To whom it may concern:
I am keeping the following journal for my family. It will be published on my website. I guess I should start at the beginning.
I am the youngest of four. I have one sister and had two brothers. My father and mother were divorced when I was about seven years old. He used to come and take me out sometimes on a Sunday afternoon. I only remember it a couple of times. He died when I was eight years old. I remember I cried a lot but didnít really know why. My girlfriend's mom told me she was sorry about my dad passing away, but I wasn't sure what she meant. After that I remember my sister was in charge of me and my brother Dave. My oldest brother, Bob, went into the navy. My mom was gone a lot, so I didnít really miss her when she was. I remember my grandmother lived with us. She and I shared a bedroom in the attic. It was my job to go up first and warm the bed with a hot water bottle. There wasnít any heat up there. I used to like to play up there and pretend it was my house. I would clean it and rearrange the stuff. My grandmother would yell at me.
I know I have a lot of aunts and uncles because my dad came from twenty-one brothers and sisters. I donít know any of them now. My mom was an only child. I donít recall a lot until I was about sixteen, quit school and was living in Highland Park Michigan, with my mom. I worked in a drugstore around the corner. I had lied about my age, because you had to be eighteen to work there. One day a really cute guy came in, sat at the counter and asked for a coke. We didnít talk much. When he left, I found he had left me a dollar tip, which for those days was a lot! Well he kept coming into the store each night and leaving me a tip. One day he asked my name and we went off from there. We had so much in common. He asked to take me to the show and I said, "OK." I told him I was eighteen and he said he was twenty-one. He was so handsome. I couldnít believe he had asked me out. I found out he was staying in a rooming house down the street and was working as a millwright. He had been sent here to work.
His family was in Buffalo, so he was all alone here. After a few months he took me to Buffalo to meet his dad and brothers. His mom and dad were divorced. His mother lived in Indiana. We found out that my grandmother, who was a nurse, was taking care of his step dad, in Indiana. When his step dad died, he and his brothers got their dad and mom back together again and they remarried. In the meantime I found out Charlie was only nineteen, so I told him I was only sixteen and we laughed about that. When I was seventeen we tried to elope to Bowling Green Ohio, but no one would marry us, so we came back home. Just before I turned eighteen his brother David came here from Buffalo and married Evelyn Truxes, so we thought we should get married too. So on December 29th we got married at Trinity Methodist Church in Highland Park. I had just turned eighteen in October and he was twenty-one.
We got our first apartment. He continued to work for Mechanical Handling Co. I worked for Sears. After three months I got pregnant. On December 2, 1957 our son, Kenneth Charles, was born. I was a nervous wreck. I had no clue how to take care of a baby. He was so small and wanted to be held, which I loved doing all the time. Charlie was gone to work all the time, so it was just Kenny and I to muddle through. We did it though, and the next thing you knew we were pregnant with Michael David. He came along on April 29, 1959. We moved out of the apt, into a rented house on Kentucky street in Detroit. Soon I came home with Robert Allen, who was born on April 23, 1962. Soon after that we bought our first home in Warren. I couldnít have been happier. I had three great sons and lived in a nice house. When I discovered I was pregnant again, I really got excited because I knew this one was a girl!
I was three months along, when I got a phone call from the hospital at 9 PM on a rainy night, the day after Mike's birthday. They told me to come fast. I had just gotten my drivers license two weeks before. I ran to my neighbors and asked them to watch the boys. I got into the car and drove like a madwoman. When I got there the doctor walked out and said," your husband is dead". No warning, no nothing. I remember I called my mom and told her. At first she didnít believe me, then told me to wait for her. Soon Charlieís brother David came and then friends came and everyone surrounded me. We were all in disbelief. Charlie, while trying to cross the street, was hit by a car. He was killed instantly. We all went home in a daze! Somehow we got through the next few months. Then it was discovered that Davidís wife Evelyn had cancer and was not expected to live. They had six children, Cindy, Jim, John, Joe, Jack, and Jeff. Cindy was the oldest at eight. Charlie had died in April, and Evelyn died in September. I gave birth to my wonderful little girl on October 16, 1966, my 28th birthday. It was a bittersweet day. I remember I came home the next morning because I couldnít stand to see all of the husbands coming to visit their wives and babies.
When Betiann was a month old, David called me and said his housekeeper had quit and left him there with the six kids and he had to go to work. I gathered up my four kids and went and got his six kids. There we were, ten kids under nine years old and a boxer dog. Well I went back and forth taking kids to school and watching the ones that were not in school. I was getting very tired of keeping two homes together, so David and I decided to get married and live in one home. We got married in November. In December we bought a huge house in the country so we could bring up these eight boys and two girls. It was not an easy task. I worked eighteen hours a day washing, cooking, cleaning, wiping butts and noses, shopping, etc. Things were finally beginning to fall in place when one day in May I got a call from the hospital again! Yes, David had a bad car accident, he fell asleep at the wheel of the car. He lived for ten days and then he died! I didnít know what to do. My brother David came to live with me to help with the kids.
After a few months, Charlie and Davidís brother Bob, came and said he was taking Davidís kids to live in Buffalo. I told him no, that I was OK, and they were happy being all together. He said I was not their blood, and he took them on July 4th, I was devastated! I called every week asking for them to come back, but they told me no. Then I found out they were sending Cindy, Jeff and Jack to Indiana to live with their Aunt Betty. Again I asked for them. After a few months Betty called and said they were going to put all the kids into foster care. I begged to have them back, but was told no again!
I was alone for two years when I met Tom at a New Years Eve party given by my friend. We were married three weeks later. He was a widower with four kids, so the ten of us began a new life. We visited Davidís kids a few times, who were all back together again in Buffalo. We were told they were about to be put in foster care. I begged for them and this time they agreed. Jim, John and Joe, came home with us, and a few weeks later, Cindy, Jack, and Jeff came to live with us too. Now we were sixteen. I was a bit overwhelmed, but the kids were fine. They were ages sixteen down to two years old. Eleven boys and three girls. Two Cindyís, two Jeffís and three of them the same age. We had plenty of room for all of them. It was a lot of work, but I gave everyone something to do and it was OK.
Tom worked at Ford Proving Grounds, which was just a couple of miles from home. Betiann and I would drive him to work and pick him up most of the time. Most of the boys played little league baseball. We would go to all of the games. I really enjoyed that. We met a lot of people. Bob, Gene and Ken were all very good players and we always won the championships. We had to go all summer. They played at different times, but we made it to most of their games! We had dogs, cats, rabbits, raccoons, and fish. I had a small garden.
I remember when it got too nuts, I would go down and sit beside the creek on a rock and let my mind wander. I was tired most of the time. Some of the kids were getting into trouble. Tomís youngest son was a real problem child. He made things extremely hard for us all. One of Davidís kids was into trouble a lot also. Many tears have passed since those times. Tommy left home to get married, then Cindy left home to get married. And soon so did Eugene. Ken was my first child to marry. It was to his high school girlfriend, Barbara. Then Mike married and then Bob. Soon most of the kids were out and on their own.
We sold the big house that had raised fourteen kids and went into a smaller place in Rochester. Tom was retired by this time. We had lived there for three years when he developed cancer. He lived for six months after he was diagnosed. My life changed drastically. Bob was divorced at that time and he and my first grandson, Chad, moved in with me . Soon Bob met a new woman, Theresa, and within the year, they married. I left that house and bought a mobile home in Washington. My sister, Mickie, and I were to share it. That lasted a year. Oh yes, I had been working as a supervisor in the mental health field since Betiann had turned eight years old. When Mickie moved out to work as a caregiver, my nephew, John, moved in with me. That didnít work out very well and he had to move out. About a year later Jim, who was living in Florida at the time, gave me his dog, a Yorkie, her name is Toy. As I write this story she is sleeping at my feet. She is now twelve years old. Soon after that Jim moved back from Florida and moved in with me! It was a perfect arrangement.
I continued to make my job my life. Betiann had gotten married and lived very close. After ten years, she and her husband, Brian, had a baby girl named Emilee! She was and is the light of my life. I spent most of my free time with her and Betiann. Time passed and before I knew it, I had worked thirty years and had turned sixty-five. It was time to retire. I couldnít go cold turkey, so I took in a man with Downs Syndrome to live with me. I sold my mobile home and Art and I moved into a beautiful new apartment not far from Betiann.
Soon I began to get a little bored, so I went out and bought a computer. I had no idea how to use it. Everyone helped me and soon I had it pretty well mastered. I went into the personals one day and found a man who seemed to be very interesting. He was also a widow. We emailed back and forth for several weeks and then decided to meet in person. We met and it was an instant connection. That was eight months ago and we are still seeing each other. We have become very close. There is to be no commitment, as neither one of us want that. So it is just fun! I have so much more to tell but will continue at a later time.
It is now September 5th 2005ÖÖÖÖAnd guess what? Jack and I were married last December 29th(yes I used that date once before lol) We fell in love and came to the conclusion that we wanted to share our lives, for the rest of our time on this earth. Both of our families were very happy for us. Art still lives with us, as well as Toy, jackís 2 cats and a parrot.
Sadly, last year I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma! Although it is not curable, I went through some treatment and I have been in remission for a year. All over my health is not the best, but Iím okÖJack is wonderful and takes such good care of me. I love him dearly!I canít believe that time has gone so quickly; I have done so much in my life, mainly raising a family that I am so proud of. Bob and his wife Theresa, and 2 sons, Garret and Chad, Ken, Mike and his daughter Julie and son David, Betiann and Brian and their daughter Emilee. The rest of the kids have scattered over the states, and donít keep in touch very often, Cyndy, Tom, Jeff and Gene. Cindy, Jim John Joe (deceased) Jack and Jeff are in my thoughts often. Iím sorry we are not together more often!
Jack has 2 daughters Kris, and Kathy. And one son Kevin. We live about 40 miles from them and donít get together too often, But keep in touch by phone. My life has had so many milestones, that I canít list them all. I will continue this story as time allowsÖ