1. As a youth, my dad was a library aid. Also, he wanted to be a history teacher.
2. Pa used to be a trucker part-time. He’d make short runs during the day, getting back by late afternoon or by nightfall. Then he’d do the farming, sometimes until dawn.
3. Ma met Pa through Uncle Nick, who told Pa he “knew a good woman.” Ma worked in a doctor’s office at the time, and took a shift over at the nursing home to help out a friend. She hated it and said she’d never go back. She’s worked there for thirty years.
4. Pa’s first wife ran out on him for a man who ran a farm equipment business. Pa’s mother moved back to the farm to help him keep house and raise Sheryl and Leslie-Marie. Pa had a heart and the word Mother tattooed on his arm, and once I was born and his mom was dead, Mother was what he called Ma.
5. One of the stipulations Ma had for moving in with Pa really was indoor plumbing – Pa had no bathroom or running water indoors. Ma had the day off from work and they’d planned to go shopping for bathroom fixtures, but when she pulled into the driveway she saw a giant, new, bright blue hay baler. She figured she’d have to wait a long time for that bathroom, and she did. She still moved in, though.
6. My brother met his wife when he was a sophomore in high school. His daughter is almost 17 now.
7. There once was a murder. My mom has many distant cousins, and this is a story she heard from a close one: their cousin Phil was a farmer and he moonlighted working construction. He had two guys who worked for him regular, and Phil paid them out of pocket. They came around one night as Phil was getting home and caught him getting out of his truck. They wanted more money for a recent job, but Phil said he didn’t have any to give them. They insisted, and Phil said he still didn’t have it. One of them cut his throat with a knife, then stabbed him until he was dead.
The two men went into the house where Phil’s wife was making supper. She hadn’t heard the commotion outside, so when they walked in she told them that Phil wasn’t home yet but they could stay and wait for him and eat. They said okay and ate supper with Phil’s wife. After supper they stabbed her too, but she got away and ran into the bathroom. She locked the locked the door and they couldn’t get in, so she sat on the floor and bled to death by morning.
The men went into the bedroom of their teenage son, tied his hands behind his back, and strangled and stabbed him until he was dead. They went into the bedroom of their five-year-old adopted daughter, but they left her there sleeping. She’d slept through the whole thing.
In the morning the boy’s friend arrived to take him to school. He honked his horn, but the girl came out. She said the boy was sick, that she couldn’t wake him up and there was blood on the bed. He went inside and found the boy and called the police. When the police came they found Phil in his car and Phil’s wife in the bathroom, and later they arrested the men.
My mom’s cousin heard this story after getting a job at a bank and getting to know one of her co-workers – the little grown, grown to an adult. My mom’s cousin went home and told the story to her husband, and her husband said, “Melva, we’re related to them.”
When my mom’s mom died, my mom inherited the scrapbook of her mom’s mom. Included were two newspaper clippings, reporting the murder and the murderers’ arrests, and also a clipping about the wedding of Wayne Newton. We are not related to him.
8. Pickles, stored properly, will never go bad.