Monday, December 28, 2009

My Sister-in-Law


Vicki Lynne Williamson(nee Sneed)was born on February 12, 1954, the second child of Garfield Sneed Jr. and Shirley Alma Krebs. She leaves behind her husband John L. Williamson, three of her four children and their spouses; Chad and Megan Earls, Jeremy and Shannon Neal, and Candi Neal; and the absolute, without a doubt joy of her life, her five beautiful grandchildren, Will Earls, Cara Earls, Genesis Neal, Kaitlyn Neal and Kaylie Neal, two younger brothers and their wives; Bill and Theresa Sneed, and Jimmy and Terri Sneed; and three younger sisters and their husbands; Gail and Randy Newberry, Lois Sneed, and Wendy and Mike Mitchell, and her father, Garfield Sneed Jr.


She married Jody Earls and gave birth to her oldest son, Chad. Her second marriage to David Neal gave her three more children, Jeremy, Christopher (who died shortly after birth), and Candi. Her third marriage was with John L. Williamson.

Vicki was a cute, howbeit, mischievous toddler.


It didn't take her long to discover the joys of flinging food ... at her father. That was her first mistake. One fateful meal Garfield turned the cards on her, literally. He dumped the whole bowl on top of her head, and she never threw food at him again.

She was a difficult child when it came to potty training, so in a final act of desperation, her father tied the potty chair to her, which worked, but would probably be illegal today.

Her dad also remembers a time when he was her hero, and “saved her life.” She had become very frightened of a particular toy and was screaming in fear, until he threw it down on the floor and stomped on it. She stopped crying.

Vicki was tough little girl. Her father got his first assignment to Long Island New York, and left Shirley alone with the kids, and without a car. Because she didn't have a car, and had three young children, Shirley ordered groceries, and had them delivered to her home. When the man who delivered the groceries began “hitting” on Shirley, Vicki came over to the door and said, “You better get out of here. My mommy’s going to go get a shot gun.” He left quickly and never bothered Shirley again.

Garfield and Shirley took their children down the river to gather rocks for their patio. Four year old Vicki stood on a rock to watch, until the rock started to move. What she thought was a rock turned out to be a snapping turtle. They killed the turtle, and her mom made turtle soup.

Garfield had the basement floor poured on a Saturday morning in their new house in Goshen, and when they went back to check on it that next evening after church, a thin layer of water covered the entire floor. Vicki walked the perimeter of the damp basement splashing her feet in the water until she came to the area where they had set up a sump pump. It looked just like the rest of the floor. She stepped into it, and plummeted 30 inches down, up to her chin. She bobbed up and down, like a cork in water, bawling her eyes out.

It was at that same sump hole, where Bill grasped a hold of a metal lamp, and while the electricity was coursing through his veins, Vicki tried to rescue him. She grabbed a hold of Bill, but now the two of them were getting the shock of their lives, until Gail quickly accessed the situation, and unplugged the lamp, saving them both.

Gail admits that she always kind of jealous of her older sister, because Vicki got everything, and got away with everything. She even got tap dancing lessons, but that was because Vicki used to put plastic cups over her feet and dance in them, and that’s why her mom was convinced that she’d be a dancer.

About his sister Bill says, “She had those stupid horses.” The horses were such a hassle. But when Vicki was on a horse, she was in her element. She was horse crazy. She was great, and pranced around like a pro. She was good with the horses, and took excellent care of them. She was even hired by someone in the area to board and care for their three horses.

Vicki fell while swinging from grape vines at Camp Turner (girl's camp) and broke something, but her dad doesn't remember what. But, she did break her wrist hitting Lorin on top of the head once, after his relentless teasing. She ended up with a cast, and Lorin ended up with … well, nothing, except a really good story.

Here are some random thoughts about Vicki, from those who knew her best:

She crocheted blanket, quilts, Afghans and dollies for her home, and as gifts for others.

She loved her soaps; All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and watched them faithfully from 1-4.

She was a pretty good softball player and slid into first base when she was 6 or 7 months pregnant with Jeremy.

She was always athletic.

She had the most beautiful, sweet smile.

She loved the Dollar General….

She made the best homemade cookies and the best homemade pizza.

Vicki liked to wear leather and ride on the back of John’s Full Dresser Touring Bike.

She loved playing Euchre every Friday night.

Vicki’s comeback to Jeremy about her being short?—“Good things come in small packages.”

She hated daddy long legs, so Gail used to chase her with them. Bill says, “We all did.”

She loved walking the creeks…

Vicki always dressed nice. She was stylish. John L.'s mother, Phyllis was one of her best friends. They did everything together.

Vicki 2

Vicki loved all of her grandbabies, and has two granddaughters named after her; Kaylie Lynne, and Kaitlyn.

Vicki didn’t have a favorite heirloom, piece of jewelry, or any material object. She wasn’t like that. She loved everything. She loved life, and didn’t want to leave…

Jeremy’s wife, Shannon, got along superbly with Vicki. Shannon says that Vicki never looked at her as an in-law, but as a daughter. She once overheard Vicki say to Jeremy, “You better keep this one.”

She was undeniably beautiful, and never left her house looking anything but fantastic. But that took a lot of time. She meticulously wrapped her long hair around her head and pinned it… she even ironed her hair, before hair irons for hair were invented. She kept a great tan, and her fingernails were always perfectly manicured. She did her own nails and spent hours trimming, applying several coats of nail polish, and adding decals.

She was around the age of 12 when she had her appendix taken out. Later in life, the doctors found out that Vicki had a nonfunctioning kidney, and the kidney along with a seven pound tumor was safely removed. It was found to be noncancerous.

John L. tells the story of how one morning they awoke to find three year old Jeremy standing on a chair in the kitchen pouring flour into the coffee maker. She couldn’t get mad at him, but she wouldn’t drink the coffee either.

Her house was impeccable, always clean and orderly, nothing out of place. John L. says, “The kids would get toys out and go into another room, and she’d pick up after them. She had to have things picked up…” and Jeremy’s wife, Shannon says, “Is that why you think I’m going to do that?”

Candy talked to mom almost every single night, even when she was a teenager. Her mom was her best friend. Candi remembers that any time Vicki went to the grocery store, or the laundry mat, she tagged along. She also remembers brushing Vicki’s hair and French braiding it too. Vicki loved that.

When Vicki and John L were dating, John L turned the music up loud, stopped the traffic on Main St. in front of the Stage Coach Inn, and they slow danced to Islands in the Stream, while he proposed to her. After their marriage, they decided they wanted to have a baby together, and on the way home from somewhere, she grabbed her birth control pills out of her purse and threw them out the car window on Rt. 68, where Lorin used to live. A month later she became pregnant and unfortunately had a miscarriage. She would have a second miscarriage before having to have a hysterectomy.

Vicki was a stay-at-home mom for many years, until Candi was 14, when she took her first job at Diesel Eagle. She was a packer, and really enjoyed shipping. She worked there about ten years before it sold out, and then she went to work at the Golden Chorral in Eastgate. She had faithful customers who came just to see her, like Marlene (who came to see her in hospice.) She loved her customers, and they loved her. Vicki gave such good service, that her customers would ask which section she was working in. She worked there for about 10 years, up until the time that she got sick. The obituary picture online is one of her working at the Chorral.

Vicki 2

It was taken a little over a year ago.

She loved their chow, Rocky, and Buddy, their Siamese cat. There was something about Vicki and animals. Shirley’s cat Tigress isn’t too partial to people, but would jump right up on Vicki’s lap when she came over.



Vicki always went all out at Thanksgiving with ten or twelve pies—every one of them made from scratch. Each Thanksgiving, they had one whole table with nothing but pies, and they’d try to find the largest turkey that they could to feed all of their family and friends. She did everything in her power to make sure that her children had a good Thanksgiving, and a great Christmas – that was really important to her.


Vicki's Life

Vicki always made sure that Candi’s hair was perfect for school.

Once when Vicki attended a parent-teacher conference for Jeremy, she questioned the teacher on some point and the teacher replied, “Oh, but you signed your name that you received it.” Well, evidently, she did not, but what they discovered was that Jeremy was signing her name so convincing that it fooled even his teacher. Vicki wasn’t too happy about that. Funny how brothers can be so alike—Chad tried pulling the same prank with signing his dad’s name to a report card! He got caught too.

Vicki loved the outdoors, camping, and fishing. Once she caught a 38 pound cat fish at Sherry’s Pay Lake…a stocked lake, and won big money $1,200 dollars for the 38 pounder. She actually won the daily, weekly, and monthly jackpot with that 38 pounder. One of her and John L.’s favorite thing to do was to go from pond to pond, and ask if they could fish there. At a mud hole that didn’t look like it’d have anything, she caught her biggest bass…

Because of a frightening experience when she was a little girl with a bear attacking the family car at Yellowstone National Park, Vicki had a natural fear of bears. Fortunately, there aren't any bears in Batavia Ohio. Well, there never used to be. John L. waited for her in the tall grass between the farm house and the market house with a fur coat draped over his shoulders. He jumped up and down and made growling sounds, and she screamed loud, ironically calling out for him. That kind of put him in a bad spot, and he jumped up and dropped the coat and apologized to her.

Vicki loved boating and tubing, but did not like to go fast. John L. gunned it and took her around in a wide circle. The tube flipped over and she tumbled out, but when she resurfaced, her bathing suit top did not. She probably laughed about it, after she wrapped herself in a towel, and got redressed.

She was a phenomenal pool player and got into a tournament in Beechmont at Billiards with over 130 people, mostly guys. She came in third. She got to the point that she was as good as John, and they built themselves up quite a pool reputation playing for money. They were known as, Jack and Jill. Yes, they were that good.

Once, back in 1988, Vicki and John L. were walking around in a used car lot and her eye caught a red Trans Am Firebird. She kept looking at it, and wished there was some way that she could get it. So, later on, John L. made a deal with the car salesman and the kids put a big ‘ol white bow on it, and on that mother’s day gave Vicki one of her sweetest surprises ever.

Vicki's Life

A few years later, they traded it for her Blue Baby, a Buick Regal. They gave it a new paint job, and custom wheels. She loved it, and washing it daily.

Vicki's Life

Vicki's Life

Jeremy and Shannon had three miscarriages, and Shannon says, “Every time we lost a baby, she lost a baby.” Shannon’s doctor told her that she could never have a baby, but Vicki said, “Unh uh,” and refused to let them give up. So when Jeremy and Shannon went to visit her after their three month doctor appointment, Vicki said, “We pregnant?” and was ecstatic that they were. Vicki was able to watch Genesis’ birth, and was the first grandparent to hold her.

When Genesis was a little baby, all she had to do was hear Vicki and her bouncy seat would go crazy. She had Vicki wrapped around her finger. She knew that Vicki had a snack for her, and would get in her purse for crackers. She’s dump them out everywhere, but Vicki didn’t care, she’d just pick them up again. Genesis was not allowed to dump crackers out, and when she was corrected by her parents, Genesis said, “Dama lets me.”

Shannon told Vicki that she needed help getting to a doctor’s appointment, but what she didn’t tell her, was that Candi was on her way to surprise her with her 4 week old granddaughter that she had not yet seen. So, when she answered Shannon’s front door, and found Candi and Kaylie standing there she said, “Shannon, Candi’s here,” and then burst into tears.

Vicki loved surprises. Good thing, because apparently this family likes to give them. Once when Candi was on her way up from Tennessee, Vicki called asking if Candi had arrived yet, and they said “No,” right at the very moment they were entering the Golden Chorral with Candi to surprise their mom.

Chad remembers spending time with his mother at Grandma’s house, when he was younger. He remembers her sending a few cards, and an occasional phone call. He’s grateful for his birth, and for what she unintentionally taught him.

He remembers that his mother showed up at his doorstep when her first grandchild and only grandson was born and that she held Will, but all he has is a picture of it, because he wasn’t there. He believes that she always had good intentions, and that she did love him. Chad is thankful that he got to see his mom while she was still conscious. Vicki told him she was sorry for some of the choices she made. The best thing he ever got from his mom was his dad, grandparents and family. Chad doesn’t have much of a memory of his mother, but he never stopped loving her or hoping that she would one day is a part of his life.

During the last week of her life, whenever she woke up she’d say, “Where’s my babies?” and they’d wake her grandbabies up, and bring them in to her. It would take every ounce of her strength to hug and kiss them.

Gail says that John L gave her the most loving compassion and tenderness that she’d ever seen a man give a woman. Vicki reached up and grabbed him around the neck and kissed him over and over on the cheek and said, “I’d be lost without you.”

John L adds; “Just like I am now."

John L. gave her all of her baths, and dried her hair, not just in hospice, but at home too.

With every breath, she would tell her children and grandchildren that she loved them. She could hardly speak and gave all her strength to hug them.

John L was sitting with her when Gail arrived. She said, “Oh there’s Gail!” She reached her arms up to her.

John L and Gail both say that there was something special about Jimmy. Vicki would call out, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.” John L says the hospital bed made sounds, and one night at 2 in the morning, the bed made a sound. He woke up to see Vicki trying to stand. She was sinking to the floor, because she was so weak, and fell into his arms, and said, “Jimmy’s going to be mad.” John L asked why, and she said, “Because I got out of bed.”

Vicki always responded to John L’s soothing voice. She’d calm right down when he spoke. Hospice told him to relax, and they’d take care of her, and he said, “No, that’s my job. Keep her pain down, keep her comfortable, and I will do everything else. It was my job to do everything else.”

Even when she was asleep they’d all talk to her, and John L loved to rub her back.

In the last few days of her life, Vicki said over and over, “I’m so blessed.” It was because of all of the love she saw around her.

We’re all kind of blessed like that. No matter what happens to our family, we still love each other. Vicki felt blessed and validated by our love, and now it’s our job to continue that legacy. We’re all we've got, and we’re family.

It’s so hard to let Vicki go, especially those of the family that were with her those past few weeks. But can you imagine Vicki's joy in being with her mother? and Lorin and Dennis, and Karen, and her son Christopher? We weep at our loss, while they rejoice in her return. One bright and glorious day, just like them, we'll be looking into Vicki's sparkling eyes and seeing her beautiful smile again.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Mother-in-Law

Shirley Alma Sneed (nee Krebs) was born at 4:10 pm on April 3, 1931 in the Cincinnati General Hospital, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. She was the second child of four born to Albert Krebs and Stella Nash. Her sister Betty Jean was 4 ½ years older, Alberta was exactly 2 years to the day younger, and Robert James (Bobby) was 11 years younger. Shirley had a great love for her parents and siblings and was very close with them. They often packed a picnic lunch and took site-seeing trips on Sunday afternoons. One of her favorite places to visit was Hoppi’s Island, where they would play, and swim.

Both Shirley and Garfield grew up in the Over the Rhine area of Cincinnati, which was a nice area back then. Garfield moved into the apartment next door from Shirley, and one floor up. Garfield says that the first time he saw Shirley, was the very next day. He was talking to a friend across the street from the apartments when she came bounding down the steps. His mouth dropped open and he said, “Wow! Who’s that?” His friend told him, “That’s Shirley Krebs, but forget about her—she’s going out with a red-haired boy.” Garfield said, “Well I can’t help that”. It didn’t matter to him that she was going out with someone else, he was smitten on the spot, and the challenge was on. He followed her everywhere.

They became friends and along with Shirley’s best friend Jeanie Traurig, and the other neighborhood kids, they’d scour the neighborhood for empty pop bottles and newspapers and take them down to the junk yard to cash them in for money to ride the rides at Coney Island. They played baseball, stickball, kick the can, mummbly peg, and road their bikes. But Garfield’s favorite game, but not Shirley’s, was spin-the-bottle. He remembers how every time he’d win, he’d pick Shirley to kiss. Once she said, “For crying out loud Garfield, why don’t you pick someone else!”

Because of the close proximity of their apartment buildings, one day Garfield looked out his window and saw Shirley looking out of her window just below him, and he began to sing, “The more I see you, the more I want you and somehow this feeling just grows and grows, with every sigh I become more mad about you—more lost without you.” Shirley slammed the window shut. He got a big kick out of it.

Once in metal shop at school, Garfield took a piece of aluminum and cut and polished and shaped it into a bracelet with Shirley’s name on it. Well, she gave it to another guy, and when Garfield saw him wearing it he made him give it back, and she looked at Garfield and said, “I hate you.” And Garfield said, “I love you,” and she said, “I hate you,” and Garfield said, “Well, I love you,” and then got back on his bicycle and road away. After two years of Garfield’s relentless pursuit, (okay, stalking), she finally gave up and sent a letter to him through her younger sister, Alberta that said, “Okay, I’ll go steady with you.”

Shirley attended Rothenburg Jr. High and William Howard Taft High School. Her favorite classes were swim class and gym. Shirley was very athletic minded. She withdrew from high school in the tenth grade to earn money for her family and went to work at the Gruen Watch Company, and then later the Palm Brothers Decal Company where she worked as a silk-screen operator. She stayed there until Garfield got out of the Marines. It was while she was employed at Palm Brothers that she consented to be his wife. They were married in the Lawrenceburg Methodist Church by the Rev. O.K. Malone—the only minister in the area that could officially okay a marriage license. They were married on July 29, 1950 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County Indiana and moved onto Mulberry Street not far down the road from where they both had grown up together. They lived there from July until January, when Garfield enlisted in the Marines, quit his job, and sold the car. Shirley moved back in with her parents on Seitz St., and stayed there until Garfield got out of the Marines on May 30, 1952. They moved across the hallway from her parents.

A few short months later, Shirley and Garfield would pass through a very difficult time, the stillborn birth of their first child; Garfield Dennis Sneed on August 20, 1952. Dennis’ death changed their lives forever and brought them to their knees in search for answers. Garfield had been raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but had stepped away from his upbringing. In mourning the loss of his first-born child, he turned back to Christ. He told Shirley he was going to start back to church, and asked her if she would take the missionary discussions. She said yes. Garfield had never read the book of Mormon before that time, and together they began to read a couple chapters each night. On Nov 9, 1952 Garfield was ordained a priest, (he held the office of Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood while inactive), and right after he was ordained a priest, on the same day, he baptized Shirley.

Two and a half years later, on February 12, 1954, they were blessed with a baby girl, Vicki Lynne. On June 28, 1955, 16 months after Vicki was born, another baby girl entered their lives, Gail Susan. But that small apartment on Seitz Street, would welcome yet another child with the birth of Garfield William (Bill) on July 11, 1956.

In November, Garfield and Shirley, along with Vicki, Gail and Bill moved into their first home in Goshen. They had started to build the house in Goshen just before Bill was born, on July 3. Garfield tells the story of how Shirley shoveled every bit of the 40 tons of p-gravel through the basement window onto the dirt floor that November, only 4 months after Bill was born. He remembers how very tired she was, but how she never gave up, until the job was finished.

While they lived in that small house in Goshen, Shirley gave birth to Lorin David on Oct 3, 1958. Lorin was eight months old when the Sneed family packed their 1959 Ford station wagon, no air, and drove close to 2100 miles (no freeways) to Loa Angeles California, and Garfield and Shirley were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple for time and for all eternity on May 29, 1959. Three days later, on June 2, after driving from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, Utah, they had their children sealed to them in the Salt Lake Temple. Garfield says of that blessed occasion, “The kids came into the sealing room with white gowns and beach-blonde hair and suntans and they glowed like angels, and then the matron came in the sealing room with eight month old Lorin and laid him on the alter and Vicki, Gail, Bill, and Lorin were sealed to Garfield and Shirley for time and for all eternity. It is a seal that will never be broken.

Nine months later, on March 9, 1960, James Arthur was born. A little over two years passed, and Shirley and Garfield suffered the painful loss of another child, Karen, on August 10, 1962. She only lived 20 minutes. A year later, Lois Diane was born on September 8, 1963, and a little more than a year after Lois was born, on November 17, 1964, Wendy Robin completed the Sneed family. Gail says that her mom was “always pregnant”, and that Aunt Vera said that if Shirley came up pregnant one more time, she was going to have a little talk with Gar. She had nine pregnancies in thirteen years.

Shirley had a taste of becoming a country girl while they lived in Goshen with pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and a big garden, but it was after they moved out of their small house in September 1968, and into an even smaller house at Old St. Rt. 32, that the transition from city girl to country girl became complete with the addition of cows and horses to their 17 acre farm. But farm life was not always fun for the kids. Some of the animals were raised for a purpose and Jim and Bill say that there’s nothing like coming home from church and finding your pet pig gutted and hanging from the swing set. They remember their mother saying to Garfield, “You murdered it, you clean it.”

It was while they lived at the farm that Shirley was called to be the Young Women’s Girl’s Camp Director and then later the Stake Girl’s Camp Director. Gail Says, “Mom always had girl’s camp training at our home, and our house was full of kids from church, and the neighborhood.” We found this story written in Shirley’s own handwriting.

Shirley absolutely loved working with the young women and they loved her. About Girl’s camp, and Shirley, Jim’s wife Terri says, “At girl’s camp everybody was, ‘there’s them and there’s us, but Shirley wasn’t one of them, she was one of us’”. Shirley was known throughout the stake, and throughout the years as, “Mom Sneed”. In fact one of the messages left on the online obituary for her refers to her still, as “Mom Sneed”. She was a mom to many at different times in different ways. Everyone came to Mom.

Chicky says that just recently Shirley overheard her tell Garfield that she and Tom used to call her “Shirley Mom” and Shirley perked right up and said, “Yeah, how come that stopped!” Calling her Shirley Mom may have stopped, but the feelings of love that Chicky and Tom and Shirley had between them will never stop, and will go on forever.

After living and loving in the old farm for 25 years, Shirley and Garfield finally sold it, and built a lovely, smaller home on the six of the acres that they kept. All of Shirley’s homes were always clean and orderly. Dishes never stayed in the sink, laundry never piled up on the laundry room floor, table tops and counter tops were never cluttered. She bought wax in a can and got down on her hands and knees and waxed the floors, and then had her children put on their socks and slide up and down the hallways. But once, at their Goshen home, Garfield remembers her pointing at the boys and then down at her clean floors and yelling with an exasperated look on her face, “Look! Just look at them!” She pointed to the mud covered steps going downstairs, and then at her mud-covered sons. Apparently, the land next to them had several trees that a landscape company came in and dug out and Jimmy says that they left large empty holes that naturally filled up with water. They made great “swim holes”. And Bill remembers that a part of his mother’s vocabulary was, “Get outside and play!” so it really wasn’t their fault. What’s a boy to do?—especially if he’s a Sneed. Needless to say, Shirley’s washing machine was always going, and it seemed like seeing fresh laundry draped over long clotheslines stretching clear across her yard was pretty much a given at her house.

Shirley never owned a dish washer. She never liked them and didn’t want one. Bill remembers that his mother cleaned their rooms, and that would explain a lot of things. Here are two meassages to Shirley from two her children.

She was a hard worker, and right to the very end, you’d see her bent over picking up small pieces of paper, or pulling weeds in her beautiful flower gardens.
She knew how to do everything, from working alongside of Garfield on top of high scaffolding, to sewing frilly Easter dresses. She enjoyed stripping paint off antique furniture and restoring them to the original grandeur. She loved to be outside hiking, camping, having BBQ’s, and picnics. She enjoyed water skiing, and Garfield and she would leave the kids on the beach to watch them ski. She loved to swim, and liked to skip rocks across the surface of the river. She was great at softball and had a mean pitch and Wendy and her team went undefeated. She was an incredibly fast reader, and could finish a novel in one day. She had a natural knack for compassionate service and if she felt like you needed help she was there. She enjoyed quilting, and sewing and making all sorts of crafty things from painted porcelain dolls to cross-stitch. She didn’t care that her boys had long hair, although Garfield did. And there were few, if any, that could rival her cooking. She could make a delicious meal out of next to nothing. She enjoyed canning her own home-grown garden vegetables, and they never went without food. One year she canned nearly 100 quarts of green beans, carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato juice. Once she canned sassafras root beer in glass bottles and one by one the bottles exploded in the cellar—probably a good thing they did before any one drank them. Shirley and the girls milked the family cows, Gail says the boys slacked on that one, but, in defense of the boys, Bill says, and I quote, “Weeellll, Dad and us boys were always out laying bricks on the stinking house laying up the last brick at 3 in the morning.” Though I could be wrong, I’m betting that Shirley was too.

Here are some more messages from one of Shirley's children and two of her grandchildren:

She never sat down and was either organizing a bake sale or an ice cream social or some kind of a project. There was always something happening at the Sneed’s home. From morning until night the radio was on, or music played, and she was singing and bopping to the tunes. Chicky tells a story that happened recently; Shirley did not want to resort to the inevitable and refused to use the bathroom anywhere but in a real bathroom. Gail was on one side of her, and Chicky was on the other, and as they led her slowly to the bathroom, she stopped and became very still and Chicky thought, Oh no! What’s wrong?—when all of a sudden, Shirley got a goofy look on her face and started be-bopping to the music playing on the television. She had a great sense of humor.

Lois asked me to add this to her mother's eulogy from Lorin's funeral a few years ago-

She wanted more than anything to keep the family together. Things had to get pretty bad for her to complain, but every complaint that she had was softened by her great love for them. She was the core of the family and like all great mothers many times went without, in order to meet the needs of her children. Sometimes Garfield would come home from work and find Shirley arguing with her children, and try to step in, but like a lioness she would turn on him and defend her kids. She could argue with them, but heaven help anyone else that tried to. She was fiercely protective of her children and her grand children and her great grand children. These are Shirley’s words and not mine. We found them after praying to find something that she had written—something that she would want her family and friends to know.

Shirley’s smile and laugh could light up the room. She loved hugs, and loved people, and always comforted them. She was positive and lifted them up when they were down. Many times Wendy called her mother because she was having a bad day, and her mom would cheer her up telling her tomorrow would be a better day.

For all of us who loved Shirley, these are her words; tomorrow will be a better day. The sun will come up and go down, and come up and go down again, and eventually the better day will come, and IT WILL COME. Until that day, the memory of her smile and her laugh will light up our lives and hearts every time we think of her, as we continue on life’s journey towards becoming an eternal family.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"I Hate Mirrors" (or, it's best to put your make-up on the dark)

I hate mirrors!
Don't call me old
If I hadn't looked
I'd never have known
Years of smiling
Etched in deep lines
Reflections of a life
Well lived
I love mirrors ...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Step Away

When I was a little girl growing up in the woodlands of Maine, my mom would squirt a small amount of Joy dish soap and water into a cup and give me a plastic straw and I’d take it outside our apartment in Charleston and dump a good part of it on the grass, as the ground needed a fair amount of preparation for the pointy ends of the grass not to pierce my intended creation. I’d sprawl out and rest my straw in the soap, forming an amazing array of rainbow hues atop a lush carpet of deep green.

But, as moments of joy do end, I vividly remember my dismay in discovering that all bubbles die, after what appeared to me a very short life. I remember watching each iridescent bubble, with the forever-hope of a young child, that this one would not follow the same course as all the others. But alas, the empty black holes always emerged as if tiny cancers in my bubbles—ever growing, always consuming—as is the fate of all bubbles amongst the demands of time and circumstance. Would that I might find the secret to eternal bubbles—never dying—always remaining, but then, what would I do with them all? And who am I do assume such a lofty position? Did not each bubble fulfill their intended purpose in existing that I might have wonder and delight in their creation? And finally, would the thrill of the bubble be dimmed, if bubbles never burst—popping into frothy mists and dissipating back into the earth?

What do I take for granted now that if it were suddenly gone, I’d mourn the loss of?

What is life, if not iridescent, fragile bubbles of life and love, forever dissipating into the annals of time?

Ah-but herein I know the secret! Life and love in all its wonder is and always will be eternal in nature and substance. It might appear to “die” as mortal does, but what waits on the other side has existed from before the beginning of time. We return back, from whence we came—this place called heaven—is home, but a step away.

Per chance might I find my bubbles there?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cool Dream

I had this dream on July 27, 2009 and told some friends that as soon as I began blogging, I'd post it. I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. I never edit or revise writings of that nature because I want it to be as fresh as the moment it happened. Here it is ...

Last night I had a dream and in my dream I went outside. I was carrying something but don't remember what. The first thing that I noticed was the clouds. They had an unusual color maybe a green tint (lining) maybe not but they were mounded up like columns or pillars only wide and still topped like a cloud. As I looked closer I saw tiny lines at the base of the clouds (not the bottom though, just lower than midpoint). They didn't look like part of a normal cloud so I kept looking and as I did I could see that there was a long line of people all clad in the same color as the clouds (or at least close enough to blend in). I recognized them as angels of the Lord so I scanned across them looking for the Savior and there He was in the center of the line. There was a slight space between Him and the angels and His arms were outstretched. I pointed to the sky and was vaguely aware that others were too, but not everyone. Those of us that saw Christ knew we were supposed to get to higher ground (now this is where I'm fairly sure that a normal dream sequence took over). Those of us that could see Him began to climb this mountain that appeared in front of us while those who could not tried to prevent us from climbing. One mother of a former student could not see the Savior, but her children could and they came with me, but she didn't. Now the dream begins to get strange as dreams often do and because those that couldn't see the Savior tried to prevent me from climbing, I was able (because of my faith) to hold onto the children and simply rise in the sky. Cool dream, huh?

I had a second dream a few days later which I recorded as soon as I awoke, but I'm not going to record it here (it was not about the Savior). I'm not going to record it because I want to turn it into a book! It was pretty cool. I've had lots of neat dreams and have a paper I wrote called Dreams and Other Significant Things. Eventually, time permitting, I will post it.

Time Flies

So ... yesterday I had this awesome "conversation" via facebook with a friend of mine from yesteryear. We were best buds in high school, but as time often does, it slipped away ... and 21 years later with an ocean now between us, I found my friend 21 years married to a British guy and living in England with 2 boys, 3 girls and 3 grandchildren. She reminded me of some hilarious times we had together ... funny how I had almost forgotten them, but how quickly they came back to memory. I guess friends are like that ... almost forgotten, but quickly back again, as if neither time nor distance had ever come between. Love you Jill! and thanks facebook ...