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Posts Tagged ‘family’

It was around the 1940’s, while World War II was in full-swing, hopefully to be over soon. In America, soldiers would go to bars to flirt and have some fun before they got sent off to their next assignment. The ladies enjoyed themselves as well, but if a guy got too fresh with them, they had pointed hairpins that they could use to set him straight.

At one such bar, a young man named John Thomas was socializing and having fun. He had his eye on an attractive lady with great legs. Claire Ewalt was sitting next to him, minding her own business as best she could in a noisy bar, until that clumsy guy accidentally spilled his beer on her fancy new green skirt. His attention tore away from the other woman, and he profusely apologized, offering to have her skirt cleaned. Claire declined his offer and said she would wash it herself. Unfortunately, in washing it by herself, she ended up ruining that skirt. But it did bring John Thomas into her life.

One thing led to another, and they ended up falling in love. He wasn’t Catholic, so Claire’s parents didn’t quite approve. Love won, and they ran away together to get married in 1950. John and Claire Thomas began their new life together filled with the utmost love and devotion. He did end up converting to Catholicism which blessed their marriage with faith and love.

Over the years, they moved several times as a military family, living in Illinois, London, England, elsewhere, and eventually settling in South Dakota. They had four children, one daughter and three sons: Cynthia, Lawrence, John, and Stephen. While they didn’t have a lot of money, they still maintained a life of simplicity, love, and a close family bond.

As their children grew older and settled down with their own families all over the United States, Claire and John ended up moving themselves to Texas where they finally put down roots to remain. Throughout my life, they lived in the same house in a great retirement community with a golf course in their backyard. I always loved visiting them and can even remember the welcoming smell in their house. My family and I lived in Saint Louis, Missouri, so it was a lengthy drive, but I always looked forward to visiting with them.

There’s even a family video recording of my grandparents meeting me for the first time after I was born when we flew up for a family reunion in South Dakota. My grandma had tears in her eyes as she welcomed me. As a child, my brother and I would play dogs with my grandma and grandpa. I can remember with fondness how compassionate and loving they were. It was always a great treat when Grandpa and Grandma Thomas came to visit. Throughout my adolescence they were always so supportive of me and were always so proud to hear about my accomplishments in school, band, choir, theatre, and beyond. They were even able to attend my Senior Vocal Performance Recital, which was the culmination of my Bachelors degree in Music at Webster University.

The love between my grandparents was always visible. They were always holding hands, placing their hand on the other’s leg, stealing kisses, and being affectionate with each other. I remember one time while we were driving somewhere with my Dad and Grandpa in the front while Grandma and I were in the backseat. Grandpa reached back to caress his wife’s leg, but he didn’t look behind him, which caused him to touch my leg instead. I cleared my throat and said, “Grandpa, I think you’re touching the wrong leg. That’s mine.” It was a funny moment.

My Grandpa always had a positive attitude. He was silly, laughed all the time, and created different voices and sounds to put everyone in a good mood. In all my time with him, I never saw him complain once. He was completely devoted to his wife. He was an admirable man with quiet strength. When my father played the guitar during their visits, my grandpa would always chime in singing.

I last visited my grandparents in 2012. It was after that time in August that my grandpa’s health began to steadily decline. They moved to a nursing home where he could receive more care. In December of 2013, he was hospitalized for serious issues, and we thought that we would lose him. But he surprised everyone and held on. Over time, he gradually lost the ability to speak coherently. My family would FaceTime Grandma, and she would include him in the video calls. One Christmas, we called them, and I sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” for him. He opened his eyes to listen. It hurt to see his health declining so much.

Last Sunday, on the day before my father would go into surgery for a major spinal fusion, we received word that my grandpa, his father, had passed on to Heaven. We were in the middle of Costco shopping for our dinner that night. We all just formed a big group hug and cried together in the middle of the store. And that night we grilled some great New York Strip Steaks with salad and red wine, toasting a great man.

His body was blessed, and he will be cremated. He will be buried in a major cemetery for veterans in the Dallas area. That internment ceremony will be next year when my father is able to fly to be with his family. I’m very glad that they will be waiting for him to be there along with everyone else. I wish I could be there too, but France is very far away, and I won’t be able to afford the plane ticket.

I haven’t had the chance to really and truly cry and grieve the passing of my Grandpa Thomas, but I wanted to take the time and write a brief account of the love story between my grandparents that lasted 65 years. Their story and enduring love is an inspiration for the entire family and everyone who knew them. I can only hope that my marriage will endure all those years into the future as well. I never knew my maternal grandfather because he died the year my parents married in 1984, but I had the privilege to know John M. Thomas throughout my 25 years of age. I will miss him dearly, but I know that he is in a much better place at peace and able to run, jump, laugh, and speak in Heaven. He is no longer suffering and in the arms of his Father.

We love you, Grandpa.

Easter 1991

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I wrote this short story when I was in third grade on April 24, 1999. I still remember vividly how I shared it with the class, but it was so long that when it came time for recess, I had to stop reading and continue it after we all came back! It’s been years since I’ve read it, and I’m happy to share it with you. I hope you like it!

 

Medival Dreams (a story similar to Alice in Wonderland)

It all began in 1946. In the state of Tennessee. My pa and I live in a farmhouse on a farm. My ma does not live with us because she died several years ago. She died of a disease that I know nothing of. The last time I saw her she was lying in bed with her eyes closed. Pa did not let me get too close to her. Now pa does not want to let me out of his sight. He says he does not want me to die like ma and if I did he would be lonely. Once after school in the one room schoolhouse I went to my best friend’s house without telling pa. When I got home there were police cars in the dirt driveway. When I went in, my dad rushed to me and said, “Katie, you scared the daylights out of me! Where have you been?”

“Pa, I was at my friend’s house. I’m sorry for not telling you first,” I exclaimed.

“Well sorry is not going to work this time. From now on you are not staying out of my sight I will call school and say that you will be staying home with me and help take care of the farm!” Pa yelled.

That was the first time I heard pa yell. So I stayed home taking care of the animals and gathering the crops. One day I saw a machine throwing seeds all around. They did this for a week. After a month or two I saw some sprouts. There was about 50 million of them. One day the people who controlled the machine came and looked at the sprouts. Pa and I went out to meet them.

“Hello there, my name is Bill, and this is my daughter Katie,” said Pa.

“My name is Bob and this is Paul,” said one man.

“Can you keep a secret, Bill?” asked Paul.

“Sure I can,” said Pa.

“Okay here is the secret. The forest is going to be magical in six more years,” said Bob.

“I will be fourteen,” I said.

“Are you sure you’re not fibbing to us? Because if you are fibbing, then I’ll make sure the police will get you,” exclaimed Pa.

“I also know that it takes people back in time to the place that you wish to go to,” said Bob.

~*~

Now I am fourteen years old. The forest is as full grown as it could be. I thought they were taller than the tallest building in America.

Finally pa has loosened up on me a little and lets me go places alone without asking. One day I went near the fores, I saw something that I could not describe. I thought I saw the Queen’s dog running away. So I rushed home and went inside.

“Pa, pa, are you home?” I yelled.

“Yes I am Katie. Is there anything you need?”

“I was wondering if I could go in the woods for the afternoon,” I asked.

“Sure you can, just be careful.” he called.

“I’ll be careful. You can count on me,” I called back.

So I went out the door to the woods. When I went in I gasped. It was the most beautiful place that had ever seen. The leaves felt like silk. When I was in the forest I noticed that the trees looked as if they touched the sky. There was a clearing so I went in. The tops of the branches were in a dome shape. As I watched the branches sway I thought about England. Then I started getting sleepy. After a while I fell asleep. When I woke up I decided to go home. So I got up and went out of the clearing. When I got to the opening of the trees that I went into, I gasped. I was not in Tennessee. I had to so I went out of the forest. I saw a woman so I went up to her.

“Um, excuse me but I was wondering if you could tell me what the place and year is?” I asked.

“I guess I can if you can tell me what your name is first,” said the woman.

“Okay, my name is Katie,” I said.

“You can call me Martha and you are in England in 1603. Oh my! Look at your clothes. Why don’t I give you some clothes to put on to fit in,” said Martha.

“That will be fine with me, as long as I fit in,” I said.

So I went with Martha to her house. She lived in a mansion that seemed to touch the sky.

“I love your mansion, Martha,” I exclaimed.

“I love it too. The Queen of England herself gave it to me,” said Martha.

“Why did she?” I asked.

“She and I were best friends in the one room schoolhouse,” said Martha. “Why don’t you stay at my house.”

“Sure, I will,” I said. I was so excited. When I went inside I found out that the inside was more beautiful than the outside. There were sparkling glass chandeliers that sparkled like diamonds. Then she showed me to my room and it was the most beautiful bedroom I had ever seen.

“Thank you so very much for the bedroom and letting me stay here!” I exclaimed.

“You are very welcome Katie, you also get a maid named Marie and I better get you dressed in proper clothes,” said Martha and she rushed off to get me some English clothes. When I looked in my room I saw a woman working in my room.

“You must be Maria,” I said.

“Right you are miss. I will be your maid and you can just ring a bell and I’ll come,” said Maria. “Is it all right if I call you miss?” she asked.

“You can call me miss and I will try not to work you so hard,” I said.

Then Martha rushed in with a blue dress that shimmered like the sea.

“Try it on Katie,” said Martha.

So I tried it on. It fit me perfectly.

“Now people will know who you are staying with,” exclaimed Martha.

“Why will they know who I am staying with?” I asked.

“Because I am the second richest in the country of England,” said Martha. “By the way, we will be seeing the Queen tomorrow afternoon,” she said.

“Are we really going to see her?” I asked.

“Yes, and I am going to introduce you to her,” Martha said.

“Well now we better get to sleep now. Look in the wardrobe and you will find a nightgown.”

So I went and found a nightgown as green as ivy. And I put it on and went to sleep.

The next day I put on my finest clothes and got ready for the carrige to arrive. When our carrige arrived I was nervous. I kept on asking if my hair looked good and other things. Martha kept saying yes. When we got there I finally calmed down. I could not believe I was going to meet the Queen herself. Everything was going to get boring when Martha motioned me up.

“We are going to meet the Queen now,” said Martha.

So when we got to the Queen I gasped. She was only sixteen! We met the Queen and we talked and talked some more. Then she looked at me and took off a ruby ring surrounded with diamonds that looked like the sun rising.

“I hope you will treasure this forever,” said the Queen.

“I extremely will,” I said speechless.

The next thing I knew we were home. Then I was so tired I fell asleep instantly. The next day I suddenly remembered home and pa. So I went to the woods. I went to the clearing. But I did not fall asleep so I went back. The next day I tried again. It did not work.

“Oh man…” I said.

“…Where has she gone off to?” Pa yelled.

“Here I am!” I yelled.

“Katie where are you, you were gone all afternoon,” he said. “It is time for dinner.”

I looked at my finger and saw the ring.

“Okay dad. I’m coming,” I said smiling.

Forest Princess

❤ Me

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Pray

Please pray for my brother who

Really hurt himself in

A fall that fractured his jaw in three places.

Your thoughts of positivity and hope matter.

He has been in the hospital since yesterday morning and will be transferred to a larger one today. The oral surgeon admitted he had never dealt with a trauma such as this in the operating room, and he wants him to have the best care and recovery as possible. I believe he will need facial reconstruction.

My brother has been through so much at only 20 years old. He is suffering from kidney failure and goes to dialysis three times a week to have his blood cleaned with the help of a machine. There is hope and good news that my aunt may possibly be able to donate one of her kidneys to help give him a new chance. I pray and ask for yours as well that hers may successfully work.

He is such a strong person with aspiring dreams to be a musician. I know he will get there someday!

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts for a speedy recovery.

❤ Me

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