Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Ties That Bind

My sister and I drove to Cincinnati last weekend for a Crusham family reunion. My mom was one of eight children, and two of her sisters are still alive. We treasure the opportunity to see these sweethearts as well as our many cousins. This time we had to stay in a hotel as the one cousin who normally puts us up (or perhaps I should say puts up with us) was out of town for a wedding. He may have planned it that way - ha! I chose a hotel by the airport, which isn't the most convenient location, but between a Reds home game, Oktoberfest, and a music festival the hotels close to the city were either booked or asking an extravagant rate for the rooms.

Friday night we met up with my dad's remaining sister Gloria and helped celebrate her 85th birthday. Two of her daughters were able to join us, and we had a nice dinner together. The evening ended when Gloria proclaimed, "My ass hurts, it's time to leave." We all busted out laughing! When I am old, I shall say whatever I please.

Saturday morning was a bit dreary, but that didn't stop us from heading to Findlay Market in downtown Cincinnati. Three of our cousins on my mom's side met us there. It is an historic market, with stalls and shops and pretty much anything you could imagine to eat. It was great to be able to sit outside and catch up with everyone's lives. My cousin's dog Bella is a Super Star at the market, and her cute face scored her lots of handouts.

Findlay Market

That night we were off to Price Hill Chili, where they have a nice back room suitable for the rowdy Crusham crowd. We had the same waitress as last year, and I told her I was surprised that we she hadn't quit after the last time we ate here. She just laughed. While we had a smaller turnout than last year (32), we were so surprised to see my mom's first cousin Dot Krauser and her sons with their wives. She is 97 years young, and is quite the firecracker. She had such a great time, and my aunts sure enjoyed visiting with her. She even had a Bloody Mary! I am inspired by these ladies who know how to age well.

Betty, Margie & Dot
Kathy, Betty, Margie & me

On Sunday we picked up Aunt Betty and Aunt Margie and took them out to lunch before going to the rehab center where Betty's husband Jack is undergoing therapy. It was nie to have one on one time with the aunts, and of course a visit to Cincinnati is never complete without seeing Uncle Jack. That night we met up with the cousins who had been out of town for a wedding - over dinner, what else? As I have always said, we eat our way through Cincinnati!

It was a fabulous visit, as always. It was fun to reminisce about the past while creating new memories for the future.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Preserving History

our house
A local library received a grant to procure some video equipment and auxiliary lights for the purpose of recording the history of the town and its older residents. Several churches will be celebrating their 150th anniversaries next year, so this project ties in nicely with those historic events. To begin the process, the library director asked if they could interview me about the history of my house and its place in the town when it was built in 1902. Of course I said yes as talking about my pretty lady is one of my favorite things. They may be sorry they asked - ha! Since she has just been freshly painted, the centenarian is looking great for her age.

We recently had a meeting to discuss the project. I brought along my notebook filled with the documents I collected to prove the age of the house when I applied for the century home plaque, as well as the two old issues of The Ladies' Home Journal that contain the drawings of plans used to build the house. I also showed them the book I made about the history of the house. I think these would be some nice visual aids for the taping. Most of the actual interview will take place at the library, but they also want to come to the house and shoot some footage of the house as well. The director does have some concern that other residents will expect him to do a video of their homes as well, so his answer to that will be to ask them what interesting items they have found about the house. He doesn't think many will have the amount of stuff that I have collected. I don't have a timetable yet for when the project will begin, but it should be fun!

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge
Another piece of history that I have been wanting to see is the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in Jefferson County. It is one of four remaining covered bridges in Missouri. On Saturday we loaded up some drinks and the dog and drove down Highway 21. The bridge is nicely preserved and on a such a beautiful day there were several groups shooting pictures at the site. We decided to continue on with a walk and ended up finding a field of grazing horses. They were not the least bit concerned about us, or all the cars flying past on Old Highway 21.

horses in the field

As luck would have it, Jim's business partner call while we were driving to say that he was at his lake house if we wanted to come by. As it is off of Highway 21, the timing could not have been better. We stopped and grabbed lunch for all of us, and enjoyed eating it on his deck overlooking the lake. Then we went out for a boat ride. Kirby loves to get on the boat, so he hopped right in. It was a great way to end the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Remembering September 11th

Each year on September 11th you can hear people discussing where they were when they first heard about the terrorist attacks on America. Just like when President Kennedy was shot, I will never forget what I was doing. As usual on a nice weather day, I had walked with my daughter to her elementary school and returned home. Sitting down at the table to eat breakfast, I turned on our 9" television set to catch the morning news. The Today Show interrupted their newscast to show a plane crashing into the first tower in New York. Like most people, I assumed there was a problem with the plane or that pilot error was involved. When the live footage of the second plane hitting the other tower appeared, I knew that no errors had been made. I immediately called my husband, and followed that with a call to my sister. She was staying in Cincinnati caring for my dad at the time. After they viewed the initial coverage of the planes, my dad ordered her to turn off the television. She was not allowed to watch any more of the events if he was present. Did that bring back memories of WWII for him? I never asked him about it.

On the tenth anniversary (which seems an odd choice of words for a tragedy like this), volunteers in St. Louis placed 2,977 flags on Art Hill in Forest Park - one flag for every person who died in the attacks. On each flagpole was the name and photo of the deceased. It was a sobering and moving sight, a visual representation of how many lives were taken that day.

September 11, 2011
This year at Kirkwood Park local boy scouts installed flags around Walker Lake, one for each first responder who died on 9/11. There were 388 flags. My friend and I headed to the park to take some pictures. Like in Forest Park, each flagpole had the name and photo of the person who died, along with the unit he or she served in and the location of death. Standing in the parking lot as we first arrived, both of us were overcome with emotion at the sense of loss and total injustice of lives cut short. As we walked through the forest of flags, we talked with others along the way about the symbolism of the flags and the display of America's strength and unity. I hope that it brings their families some comfort to know that we haven't forgotten their loved ones, and what they sacrificed for others. Never forget.

September 11, 2015