Saturday, January 20, 2018

One Woman’s Voice

One Woman’s Voice

so that one day
a hundred years from now
another sister will not have to
dry her tears wondering where
in history she lost her voice.
— jasmin kaur

January 1970 was probably the most difficult beginning of a new year as I can ever remember. Before I could make it back to college for my last semester, I got the flu. I was really sick. So sick that I missed my scheduled college registration and returned late to campus to do late registration. At least I didn’t have to wait in long lines, but some of the classes I wanted to take were already closed. So I took the lightest schedule I ever had my four years of college. Maybe that was for the best.

My earliest class three mornings a week was an introductory speech class. I was not too new to this speech stuff, since I had been an avid debater and oratory speaker in high school. I enjoyed standing before my classmates and making presentations. Probably sometime in late January or February, morning speeches and classes became difficult. Most mornings before class I spent a few harrowing moments throwing my insides up and out in any toilet in any restroom or behind any bush I could find on the way to class.

Morning Sickness. At first I blamed it on the flu I had had back in early January. But really. There was only one reason for my Morning Sickness. I do not remember discussing this with anyone. Not anyone! Of course, my roommate Barbara must have known. Our suite-mate must have also known. But they also knew that my boyfriend and I  did not date anymore, so no one said a word. It was as if you didn’t discuss the pregnancy, then it did not exist. 

My life continued on its course in my last semester. I had a few dates with other guys. One fellow(Tommy had been my regular ride to Student Teaching for an entire semester) even noticed that I was getting a little poochy tummy when I wore a tight knit dress when we went out dancing, and he asked if I was pregnant. I acted surprised at his question and lied, of course.  Tommy must have known the truth. He never asked me out again. 

One of my girlfriends tried to convince me to enter a campus beauty competition that early spring. My dad even agreed to financing my wardrobe, etc. What was I thinking? Or was I even thinking? This situation had not only screwed me, but had screwed up my mind, too. 

Recently in late 2017, one of my best high school and college friends read my Wetcreek Blog from last January and found out about what happened back then. She was so apologetic that she had never even noticed anything or picked up on any clues of what I was going through. I even remember spending time sunbathing with her in April or May of 1970, and she never noticed a thing. Except for Tommy, no one seemed to notice or even care.

In the meantime, I had kept my parents completely in the dark. Several times when I went home for the weekend, I wanted to share. But how could I? What would they do? What would they say? Didn’t I need to finish college?

Sometime that spring my mom came up to college to spend Mother/Daughter Weekend with me. A perfect opportunity! Even after viewing together the movie “The Graduate,” I still could not tell her. Finally two weeks later I got up the nerve to tell both of my parents at their breakfast table that I was pregnant.  

There were no happy tears of joy, since I had no steady boyfriend. How quickly my mom got to work trying to plan my future, I do not remember. I do remember her somehow getting a phone number from the secretary at our church and calling the Methodist Home Hospital for Unwed Mothers in New Orleans. Momma scheduled a date before my birthday on June 22, and then we must have planned my exit. 

I vaguely remember a brief discussion with my parents about whether I would keep this baby. When I said that I could not keep it, my dad said, “We don’t want this baby either.” I don’t remember any crying or emotions. It was just matter of fact.

I finished out the last few weeks of the semester and graduated from Northeast Louisiana State College on May 22, 1970. At that moment I was five months pregnant. With the help of an elastic girdle ( yes, even skinny girls weighing 125 pounds wore them) and a puffy dress my mom made for me, I celebrated my college graduation and even attended a Memorial Day picnic with relatives visiting from out-of-state.

Then in June,  I “went away” for the summer.

(Linda’s note: I recently wrote everything that I could remember about my situation of date rape and the events that followed. I decided to spare my blog followers the details of Part 1 of my story, so this bit today was Part 2. I will be back another time with more parts. I am so happy to have finally found “my voice.”)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Give Me Strength

What my goal should be.
All that I can manage at the moment.
A lot of stuff happened this last 12-13 months, and it made me a little bit crazy. 
The very latest thing that threw me for a loop was this cold/bronchitis situation. Having a healthy body helps with having a healthy mind. And I am sure that the opposite is also true. 
At the moment I am dealing with strength.  As a step counter and walker, I am having big issues with not having the energy nor strength to walk anywhere near my walking goals. I know that one of the so-called “cures” of what ails me is rest, but sitting in a chair or lying in bed is not in my being. 
I know that my strength will return when I have conquered this illness. 
But in the meantime, it makes me a bit crazy.πŸ€ͺ

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Too Much


  Being ill anytime is the pits (or any other word you want to fill in here). But being ill during Christmas can actually be relaxing. Gosh, I never thought that I would say that😳
For many years now Christmas has been on the back burner of my life. My Dutch family never made too much of a deal of gift-giving at this time, since the Dutch Sinterklaas on December 5 was always the highpoint of the season. I especially fell right into that when our only son was born on December 6, 1983. Sinterklaas and his birthday one day apart, that was about all of the gifting I wanted to handle. I must say that I did look forward to the multitude of gifts I received from my seventh grade students on the last week of school before the long Christmas vacation each of my 37 years of teaching. Each year the food gifts were tastier and the other gifts were tackier, but my hub will tell you that I kept count and that I wrote and mailed thank you notes to each of those kids.
This year we had no gifts. Don’t feel sad or sorry for me or my small family. None of the three of us (and the three dogs) needs or even wants anything but good health and a peaceful life. 
In fact, as far as I am concerned, I am ready to get back to my Year of the Clear 2018 and get rid of everything that is “cluttering” up my life. Too many collections! Too many things to dust! Too much on my mind!
But first I need to get over this cough and bronchitis, get back to my 10,000 steps a day, and then I can tackle the “too muches.”

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Momma's Memories of Christmas

Christmas Memories
By Virginia Darline Ridge Chapman (May 7, 1925 -October 20, 2015)
My momma wrote a blog her last few years of a very long life. She never included these Christmas memories, so I will do that for her. Momma's memories were published in her local newspaper back in December 1981.
"Being 7 years old with Christmas only a few days away is always an exciting time. And it was no different back in 1932, except it was during the Depression and there was very little money at home.
My father was a dirt farmer who had only 40 acres to support his seven children, that was until my mother gave birth to twins a week before Christmas. The twins were delivered by a mid-wife with the assistance of my mother's friend and my father. The mid-wife received a pig and a sack of flour for her services.
My two older sisters, who were 13 and 15, decorated the house the best they could for Christmas. I can remember red and green crepe paper streamers draped around the room. There was also a big red Christmas bell. My sisters and brothers cut down a cedar tree from the woods and decorated it with homemade ornaments. My sisters also cooked the Christmas dinner by instructions from my mother who was still weak and too busy with the babies to be of much help.
Santa Claus even came that year. When people in town heard about the babies, they made sure Santa stopped at our house with a new toy for each child and plenty of candy, fruit, and nuts to fill the stockings. I received a storybook and a bracelet.
I'll never forget these sweet memories. We were poor in material things, but very rich in love. My parents always gave us the best they could, and their love made up for the difference."

Sunday, December 10, 2017


No need for mistletoe.  
Fifty years ago--Punch bowls were out, punch cards were in.

While initiating my Year of the Clear and trying to sort through some love letters and less important correspondence from ages gone by, I ran across three letters to my husband written in 1968. All three of the letters were introductory letters from young ladies eager to have a chance to meet the then 22 year old handsome young Dutch man I have known for 40 years (and married me in 1980).

In one of the sort of "mail order bride" letters, the young mademoiselle mentioned their match on Operation Match. I just chuckled and looked forward to finding out more of this "match up." Guess what? He said that he had ZERO recollection of those letters or of Operation Match. So I cleared the deck and tossed the letters into the trash. 

As my curiosity can rarely be curbed, I decided to see if Google could enlighten me about Operation Match. According to my research, a couple of Harvard students in 1965 decided that blind dates and such meeting situations were not working for them is searching for a mate. One sharp guy came up with the idea of using computer data from a questionnaire to match up "couples." A questionnaire (150 questions) was filled in and a $3.00 fee for processing was collected from each participant. After a week or so, each participant would receive in the mail a list of five or six matches with contact info. 

It is obvious that either my hubby (or his mother or his sister) had filled in the questionnaire and had paid the fee. Thus, these three young ladies had been "matched" with him.  He insists that he does not remember a single thing about all this, but I find it to be very interesting. 

Operation Match was the very first computer social/dating/match. And all of this was even before the introduction of PC's (Personal Computers) in 1975!

I took some time yesterday to read through the 150 questions (75 for the participant and 75 for the participant to fill in about his/ her "ideal" mate.) Many questions would be seen as "sexist" (not sexy) or elitist today in 2017, but what should I have expected? These were written by Harvard male students in the late 1960's.πŸ™„

What an Operation (match)πŸ˜‰

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, DrivingDutchman❤️

I always saw the birth of our only son as a Sinterklaas gift. He was born early morning December 6 after the day that millions of Nederlanders yearly celebrate Sinterklaas's gift evening (December 5).

He didn't want to wait for Dr. B. to show up for the scheduled C-section at 7:30 am. When my water broke an hour or so earlier, the medical staff put me on an intravenous drip to slow everything down until they were ready. That is just the opposite of the usual experience most mothers have when giving birth. Usually everyone wants to get through this birthing as quickly as possible.

When I called my husband to tell him that things could be moving quicker than we thought, he raced to the hospital. And all three of us then waited until the staff arrived and THEY were ready for a delivery.

After the Dutch doctor said to me in English, "It's a Boy!" my husband (who was waiting outside the delivery room) was prepared to keep an eye on his baby. He had heard too many stories about babies being swapped at birth. He did not know that there was only one other baby in the hospital that day, and that other baby was a girl. 😊

Our "pride and joy" (DrivingDutchman) was born 34 years ago. Yesterday he spent the day with his father doing what they both like to do--Driving fast cars and this time on a real racetrack (Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas). 

Like Father, Like Son❤️

Happy Birthday, Jan😘😘😘

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Don't Cook Thanksgiving Dinner

Actually, I don't think that I have ever cooked a complete Thanksgiving dinner. When I lived in The Netherlands, we somehow found a Holiday Inn or an invitation to a work colleague's home on this special feast day. Since returning to the US in 2006, we have hosted family potluck Thanksgivings or visited with our adult son and eaten with him.

Although I don't like to cook, I can prepare a reasonable version of sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole (Campbell mushroom soup variety), and pecan pie. I'll be preparing and taking the two casseroles to dinner at my youngest brother's home tomorrow, since that is what my sweet sister-in-law requested that I bring. We will leave the turkey and ham to the grill guy in the family, and then see what my SIL cooks up for the rest. It is never a disappointment at their house for any meal.

For you non-southerners who wonder what we eat for Thanksgiving dinner down South, here is a good news article. Southern Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow❣️I still need to shop for groceries. You think that the shops will be busy today?πŸ™„