Memories of Me

What do you see as your place or purpose in life? How did you come to that conclusion? – I see me as the repository of corporate knowledge. Because I have a “fly paper” memory, I seem to remember “stuff” that other people don’t. As I’ve gotten older, it sometimes takes some prompting for me to dredge the stories and scenes out of my brain, but writing this blog, I’ve realized I often remember when and what others don’t. Siblings, cousins, and even children have remarked to me that the episodes and people I’ve recounted here had disappeared from their memories until I reminded them. That’s probably because I preferred being an observer of the family instead of a participant in it. I preferred sitting quietly and listening to adults talk, rather than playing with my cousins, siblings, and others of my own age. I’m encouraging Al to do his own set of questions because he often will say, “You forgot to mention so-and-so.” I respond “Hey, these are my memories, you need to write your own.” It isn’t that I don’t remember most of the things he reminds me of, it’s that those episodes weren’t important to me, while they may have been important to him.

What would you like your children and grandchildren to remember about you? – I would like them to remember that I loved them, and that I did the very best I could for them. I’d like them to remember the way I took care of my own parents, so they will treat me with the same love and respect that I had for Mama and Papa. I’d like them to remember my passion for social justice, and my love of God and the church. I’d like them to remember that family is one of the most important things, and that even if you don’t agree with your sisters, brothers, cousins, and parents, you still need to love and respect them.

Finishing up “Identity”

What kinds of things bring you the most pleasure now? – Reading, web-surfing, (unfortunately) eating, knitting, train travel, cruising, watching grandchildren play.

When you were a younger adult? – Reading, (still) eating, sightseeing, travel, watching the world go by.

When you were a child? – Reading, (again) eating, listening to adult conversations.

What things frighten you now? – Traffic, losing myself to Alzheimer’s, having something happen to Al, one of the children, or one of the grandchildren.

What frightened you when you were a younger adult? – The threat of nuclear war, loss of Al or one of the children.

When you were a child? – Loss of my parents, the “unnamed stranger”, things that go bump in the night.

What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted but still don’t have? – A full-time maid and cook, and enough money to pay them.

Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger? – A little. How? I’m much more confident now. I used to want approval from Mama and Papa for everything I did. Mama and Papa are both gone now, and I find I don’t need the cheering section any more. I’m capable of living my life alone, if I have to.

What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? – My intelligence is still here and my quick intuition (or maybe that’s the same thing). I’ve always relied on “knowing”, and maybe that’s why Alzheimer’s scares me so.

What do you think has changed? – I know this sounds like a broken record, but my self- confidence. I’m much surer of myself – but isn’t that a big part of being an adult?

Holidays, Pt. 1

What do you remember about holiday celebrations? Is there one holiday memory that stands out for you?


Christmas is and was a big holiday for us. We always had stockings even after we were grown. It was best if we had a big family celebration, and we always tried to have as many people as possible for dinner.

Ray’s second Christmas – 1968, in Germany. We didn’t have any other family around, but we invited a couple of airmen from the base who were far away from home, too.

Christmas 1970 – the first year Mama and Papa were back in Texarkana. Ray and I were there (along with Harriet, and Nannie). Al was still in Thailand.

Christmas – 1973 we spent in Canonsburg at Al’s parent’s house.

Christmas – 1978 we spent in England.

In 1980 we came home to Texarkana for Christmas.

In 1991 we were living in Abilene, but came to Texarkana for Christmas. Stocking for all four of us, for Mama and Papa, and for Bill and his family.

And the last Christmas in Texarkana, in 1996.

Just a few stockings when we were living in the apartment the first year in Dallas – 1997. Bill was newly married and in Louisiana, and we only had Ray and his girl friend with us – although we did go to my brother Bill’s for dinner.

In 1999, it was Ian’s first Christmas to know what was happening, so Al, Ray, Papa and I all trekked to Metairie, LA, to have Christmas down there.

In 2000, Bill and Co. were in Dallas, and we had Christmas at my house.

In 2002, Kate has joined us and the mantle is again jammed with stockings.

In Dallas, for Christmas 2006, amid all the destruction of Christmas morning.

In 2009 we all descended on Madisonville, LA where Bill and his family are living.

And in 2010, it was just Al and me in Dallas (although we DID go to Bill Greisser’s house for dinner).


Easter is much more of a religious holiday for us, because it ALWAYS happens on Sunday! So we always go to church on Easter, followed by a dinner, usually with friends and family.

Ray’s first Easter basket in 1966.

And his first Easter Egg Hunt in Denver, in 1967.

Easter always also means new clothes. Here is Ray in his Easter Suit in 1971.

And Billy’s first Easter Egg Hunt in 1973.

The boys hunting Easter Eggs in Las Vegas in 1976.

It was too cold to hunt Easter Eggs outside in April in England, so the bunny made nests for candy and eggs in the house (isn’t that a DREADFUL rug? English decorating…)

In 1979 we had the Morgan’s come to dinner in Finstock.