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.🤪

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.🙄

What an Operation (match)😉

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?🙄

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It's Not Okay

If all people come out and say that they have all done it, does that make it okay (right, normal, accepted, forgiven, legal, permitted, moral)?

Remember the biggest excuse that you ever gave when you were young was, "everyone else is doing it." Back then it was maybe staying out late or letting your hair grow or wearing frayed jeans. Today it may be borrowing your friend's Netflix or driving 10 or miles above the speed limit or spending way too much time "socializing" with strangers on social media.

But does it make the act right just because it has become the norm? I hate to open the "news" each morning to find out who else has done what "everyone else is doing or has done."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Momma's Blog

My mother wrote the following blogpost exactly five years ago at the age of 87 years old.

Good and Bad Times.

For those of us who have survived all the ups and downs and good and bad times, we have a lot of stories. Let me share one of mine.

I am one of the depression children. Calvin Coolidge was president when I was born. His term was 1923-1929, and then came Herbert Clark Hoover who served from 1929-1933.These were the worst financial times in the history of our nation. It was a bad time for every body, especially for farm families like us. The banks were closed because there was no money and our little school closed because there was no way to pay the teachers. In our family there were five school age children who needed an education.

The school was finally opened, but you had to pay tuition to be able to go there. Our family couldn't afford the tuition, so when I got old enough to go to school I was taught by my older sisters. They taught me to read and write and do first grade work. I missed two years of public schooling. When I did get to start to school, I was put in the second grade. I was still one year behind the other children. I tried so hard every day at school to catch up. We had second and third grades in the same room with the same teacher. I would listen to her teach third grade and hope that she would move me up, but it never happened.

We walked two miles to school every morning and afternoon in the cold and rain  of winter. On some of the worst days our neighbor who had a car would give us a ride. Our road to school was a dirt road and it could be pretty muddy at times. So you can imagine what it was like at the time. Muddy shoes and wet clothes. We'd stand by the coal stove to warm our bodies and dry our clothes. Our clothes were hand made by our mom. She made them all, outer wear, underwear and even made overshoes out of inner tubes for the boys to wear around the feed lots. We never felt ashamed because we wore these things with pride. Our neighbors were in the same boat with us. Everybody was poor. Thinking back, we children didn't know we were poor. We had a nice family and parents who loved us.

Our lunches consisted of whatever food we could put together on that day so we could something to eat. There was no lunch room. We did the best we could.

Virginia Ridge Chapman (1925-2015)
Ridges of Lee County

Throw Back

Events of the last year threw me back. In fact, events of last year may have even thrown my back back. I thought that I was coping with the news (old and new), but this has not been my best year of my 69 years. Losing my mom and my confidante two years ago was difficult, but I am sure that the last 366 days have been more so.

Without dwelling more on what has been, I am moving forward. We finally put Facebook away as we should have done last December when we first discussed that break. There was a good reason that I never joined it personally, since I knew it wasn't right for me. 

I am a blogger, and I like to take photos. If I can just puzzle out how to get my photos on my blogposts again, I will be all set. Plus my Wetcreek Instagram is working out okay. 

Now, since I have that under control, can't someone figure out how to solve the other problems of the world?


Monday, November 6, 2017

Do You Ever Make Dog Bread?

Dog Bread

My mother sometimes made bread in a skillet on top of the cookstove and called it "dog bread." Although I have all of her favorite recipes in a recipe book handwritten by her, I don't think that she ever wrote down the recipe for "dog bread."

As I had about 1 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt that was still good but looked like curdled milk after spending 6 months in our freezer here at the Beltway Apartment, I remembered that you could make bread from equal amounts of some milk product and self-rising flour. I found a recipe for pizza crust or pita bread using equal amounts of Greek yogurt and self-rising flour and then frying it up in a lightly olive oiled hot skillet on the top of the stove.

After adding extra flour to keep the sticky dough from gluing my fingers together and flattening small pancake size pieces, I fried up the "dog bread." 

Our dogs are thousands of miles away, but I bet some hummus would be delicious on these bread patties.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

We Go Places

Maybe you remember the question that our Baptist friend asked me a couple of months ago. "What do y'all do over there in Holland on vacation twice a year?"

Besides watch television ( as she assumed that we had available), we go places. 

Once it was Sicily. Another time it was Morocco. And we have even been to Croatia, Serbia, Mostar, and Montenegro. I could name all of the other countries, but these impress even me.

So we go places.

This visit we did not leave The Netherlands, but we had a couple of family members who came for short visits. Former travel guide hubby was in his element with tours of Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. We even visited tourist attractions like Kinderdijk, where neither he nor I had ever been. And we finally toured Castle Cannenburgh in Vaassen that we missed last Spring (and almost missed this Fall🙄). 

Yep, we go places.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What Auto is This?

All of the fellows I know who have the same name as my hubby have been automobile fanatics. This W.C. Fields "dubbelganger" is my hub's grandfather. Maybe we can figure out more about the car.

The Prik

Yep. I promised to keep this blog clean, but today it was the prick.

Griep Prik😩

In English that is the flu shot.

We walked over to our Dutch doctors clinic this afternoon for our yearly flu pricks. Most of the "patients" had pink pieces of paper which were invitations to come by from 4-6:30 pm. When it was our turn, we simply gave our names, birthdates, and our doctor's name. The assistant made the notations, handed us our syringes, and we joined the short waiting lines.

No tables, no chairs. Just push up your sleeve, "here we go," and slap on a small bandaid.

Getting my windbreaker back on was the biggest effort I made. Now to see if this "prickly" feeling in my left arm does its job. We haven't had the flu in a couple of years, and I hope that good luck continues.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017



I am not falling for this one. Too many perverts are sitting out there in the WorldWideWeb just lapping up the stories. 

Mine won't be one of them. I have already shared enough of my life experiences.

Keeping it clean from now on. 

As my adult son always says, "TMI." Too much information😳


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Live in Two Worlds

Literally, my Dutch husband and I live in two worlds. Two times a year (Spring and Fall) we travel from rural southwest Louisiana to the very small progressive European country of The Netherlands. Most of our acquaintances here in the US have had very little travel experience outside of Louisiana, much less out of the US. Our acquaintances in The Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe have traveled in Europe (and some even to the US), but few stay with the "natives."

But we actually "live"in two places/two worlds.

For eleven years we have socialized with the senior citizens at the local Baptist church here in the States. In other words, we have lunch once a month with the 5-15 oldtimers who show up at the church fellowship hall to talk through the young preacher's lesson and then eat a potluck lunch.

Today one of the faithful "keenagers" at the church asked my hubby what church we attended in The Netherlands. When he said, "We don't," she freaked out. She immediately shuffled over to me at another table and said she had asked the wrong question. I laughed, since there are no wrong questions. Then she looked at me and asked, "What do you two do over there? (meaning The Netherlands) Oh, I guess they have television."

I am still laughing twelve hours later. But I promised to bring her photos of The Netherlands and our apartment in the renovated 1920's Dutch high school so that she can see that we actually "live" a whole lot better in Europe than we do here in The Deep South of the United States.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Are You? I am an American🇺🇸

Years ago my Dutch mother-in-law asked one of my teaching colleagues from The American School of the Hague the following question:"What are you?"

Henry and his lovely wife were both of Italian descent and had dark hair and olive complexion and had been stopped once or twice at immigration when traveling, according to Henry. As there were over 45 nationalities represented at the international school where we taught, what we were or what country we came from was never an issue.

My MIL had met this particular family before at our son's first birthday some ten years earlier. So now she was ready to ask the big question, "What are you?"

And Henry answered Ma's question just the way I expected he would.

"I am an American."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Advice to My Bachelor Son on Mother's Day Weekend

Marry the housekeeper.

No, I really mean it. Although Fox News says "Most men just want a woman who's nice," a woman who can clean up after you, your children, and your house is the woman you should marry. Unless, of course you can hire someone else to come in at least daily to do the dirty work.
Then a "nice" wife is just fine.

Makes me wonder why your father married me 37 years ago? I am definitely not the housekeeper I would like to be. And not the cook, either. Plus, I haven't always been so "nice."

But I am your mother and Pop's wife.
Happy Mother's Day to me and all of the other "nice" (but sometimes nasty) women.

Friday, April 14, 2017

How Can Your Boyfriend Rape You?

"Is LITERALLY one of the least intelligent questions anyone can ask... 😑"
Abigail Breslin

Sorry that my blog has taken on another light, Followers. For years and years my life has had another light, and now I must change the light bulb.

When I shared with my family and friends, and about a week later with my blog followers, my "story" (as some called it), that proverbial light bulb began to flicker. It was as if someone kept switching my thought process on and off. The "on" moments were as they had been for the last 47 years. The "off" moments were as dark as a burned out lamp bulb. My thoughts and remembrances were like bits of tiny bulb wire sizzling and burning to mere dust.

To complicate matters of light and dark, there were questions. Oh, very few questions from me, since I remember the date rape incident and the following handling of the pregnancy and adoption situation. But my dear friends and family had many questions. Most questions I can answer,  unbelievably void of much regret or emotion. The questions that bother me the most are the ones that doubt my honesty and sincerity.

That doubt is not new to me. Even during the four months that I was a resident at the home for unwed mothers in New Orleans in 1970, other residents and staff members doubted that I had been sexually attacked by my boyfriend. When I shared my "story" back then in a therapy session at the Home, many girls laughed. "Date rape? You must be crazy! That doesn't happen," they said. I do not even remember the therapist defending or standing up for me.

Research shows that most rapes are not committed by someone jumping out of the bushes. The
perpetrator is most of the time someone you know and even trust. Also, the Internet is cram packed with lists of Myths and Facts of Sexual Violence. (For Example)

I have hid my light under a bushel for long enough. My lamp may not be the same as the one in the religious song for children, but I will not keep quiet about sexual violence any longer. For years I would not utter the word Rape, since I had been taught that was a bad word. I heard it used for the first time at school when I was in the sixth grade. A girl in our class had been raped by her father. When I asked my mother what "rape" was, she blanched and told me to look it up in the dictionary.
What sixth grader in the early 1960's or even in 2017 would understand this definition?
"unlawful sexual intercourse or any othersexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim."

Well, I was the victim. But that will not shut me up.

Monday, April 10, 2017

We Are Our Choices (Jean-Paul Sartre)

It was not unusual for young men I knew in the early 1970's to boast that their former girlfriends had experienced an abortion or two. In most incidences I am aware of, the necessity for the abortion was the pregnancy caused by the said braggart.  It was almost as if the men of that time period were carving notches into something. It was not into a rifle handle or a bedpost. Perhaps it was their ego. Sort of a way of proving their manhood, their virility, but not of their fatherhood, unfortunately.

My mother told me many times that one particular aunt in the 1940's and 1950's had used extreme methods to make sure that she did not become pregnant. Sorry to say, I did not ask what those methods or potions were that kept pregnancy at a distance and perhaps eventually produced sterility for that dear auntie.

A woman has control of her body no matter what her partner, family, society, or humankind care to say about it. If our choices turn out well, we can take the credit. And if our choices are not so great, we suffer the most pain and agony.
In most cases alone.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Do You Have Aspergers?

Do you have Aspergers?
(Actually, I have some green ones in the fridge that need to be cooked tonight. Would you like them with a Hollandaise sauce or in a salad?)
Seriously, back to the original question. Do you have Aspergers? Not asparagus😳

The first time I ever heard about Aspergers was about 15 years ago when the mother of one of my students described her 7th grade son as "weird." I was shocked and thought that she was probably the rudest and cruelest mom I had encountered in all of my years of teaching. But she was dead right. He was "weird." And he was handsome and polite and always clean and neat. He was the best behaved kid that I taught, and he was writing a play script starring Joan Crawford and other actresses of her time. How many 7th graders that you know know enough about actresses in that time period to write a play? Much less write a play script about anything?

G's mother explained to me and the other teachers at our pre-school meeting that her son would wear the same type of clothes every single school day. A plaid buttoned-down shirt, khaki pants, brown loafers, and maybe a pullover sweater, if the weather was chilly. He would never have a casual chat with his peers, but would participate in a conversation with adults when he had no other choice. He would avoid almost all contact with peers unless that was part of the expected class participation. He would attend physical education classes, but mostly stand and watch the other students participate.

G. had Aspergers. Since that time that he was one of my students, I think that I have even recognized some Asperger symptoms in myself. Maybe that explains my "weirdness."

 You might want to know: "It was not until 1981 that Asperger’s syndrome (also called Asperger’s disorder) was acknowledged as a unique psychological condition."
"By the 1990s, Asperger’s was being diagnosed as a specific condition related to, but distinct from, autism. Generally speaking, autism is considered a more extreme pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD."
"However, those who live amongst us with Asperger’s are less likely to exhibit extreme behavior. If an early diagnosis of their condition is made and the people around them understand the syndrome, they have an excellent chance of remaining a productive and participatory member of their community."

And if you want to take a test to give yourself some more insight into characteristics of those of us who might have Aspergers, here is one test:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just Hang Up

Almost no one ever calls our landline phone except someone selling something or someone trying to scam us. I am almost tempted to unplug it.

Important message for today: Microsoft will not make unsolicited phone calls to help you with your computer. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up.

I hung up after I heard an Indian accent say,  "This is Microsoft."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Eye Spy Times Two

Eye Spy Times Two

My blog friend Joanne of asked how our cataract surgery went. So here goes, Joanne.

We were given a little booklet to read when we first made our appointments, and the procedure and follow-up pretty much went as planned.

Our taxi ride to the hospital was uneventful, since the Dutch are always prompt and reliable. It is just curious that the trip back home was a bit cheaper than going, but that method of transportation worked out and was reasonable.

Although some folks sitting in the waiting room near the operating room complained of having to wait too long, we were escorted right in, "stripped" of our outer clothes and jewels, and placed on stretchers to wait. And we did. Wait.

My husband was scheduled first, but we both received our "drupples" for pupil dilation at the same time. Then later more eye drops. In the meantime the salle ( group prep room) was buzzing with nurses, etc. trying to get the morning schedule finished before 12 noon. We were in that group, but it wasn't until after 1:00 pm that we were finished.

I knew that the anesthesiologist would be the one to look out for. I listened carefully as he did his thing on my husband, but that did not help much when he finally got to me. Even if he did make small talk and find it interesting that we came to The Netherlands for our surgery. It hurt!😩

J. and I were a bit of a novelty everywhere in the hospital since we were both having cataract surgery on our right eyes at the same time. When the nurse started to roll me into surgery, the attendant checked my identification and birthday for the sixth time and stated my husband's birthday. Luckily my nurse was attentive and said that was incorrect.

When my son was born 33 years ago by Caesarean section, I remember a green tent that separated my upper body from my lower part where the C-section was underway. For this cataract surgery, my head was tented with a heavy meshed plastic with my right eye left uncovered for the eye doctor. If you have claustrophobia, this is not the procedure for you. As for me, I could breathe. More than that I can't say. I was scared to death😳

I was told that I would feel water streaming in my eye, but no more. That was correct. When the doctor began pulverizing the real lens, she warned me that there would be noise. I am used to that, since my favorite dentist sometimes uses machines that can be noisy, too.

The surgeon told me when she was going to insert the new lens. I could hear the irrigation machine say in English "irrigation on" and then "irrigation off" many times during the surgery. Then the doctor told me that the surgery had been a success.

Whew! I was still breathing. And sitting up on the stretcher. My nurse was still amazed that both my husband and I were doing this on the same day and asked how long we had been together. When I said almost 40 years, she said that was quite remarkable.

Well, J. and I walked through the hospital as one-eyed pirates like in the photo on my Wetcreek Instagram. We will be sleeping with eye patches for the rest of this week and dripping in two kinds of eyedrops four times a day for longer than that.

Our local optometrist changed out our right spectacle lenses yesterday. Reading is not quite what it should be yet. But that will come in the next month.

We take seeing clearly seriously. And we want to be able to do that for a very long time. So for right now, we are seeing eye to eye.

Don't Stir the Pot too Deep

I am an awful cook! Really! Want to have a piece of my gummy banana bread I made yesterday? Oh, that is baking? Pretty bad at that, too, unfortunately.

My worst problem is that I scorch (aka burn) the goodness at the bottom of the pot or pan. Then without much thinking, I dig deep and stir the pot. You can see it, can you? All of that disgusting burnt food that could have been so good has now ruined my meal.

Moral of this story: It is a good thing to stir the pot, but be prepared that if you go too deep what you find won't be worth much and won't make your meal great.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Under the Knife

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) says this cataract surgery I am going to experience later today is "a piece of cake."

Now is the time for me to begin my strict diet.

I really don't want that cake.

Hold the knife!

Monday, February 6, 2017

And What Does Your Father Do for a Living?

One of the first questions many people ask you when you are young is, "What does your father do for a living?" We all know that this question is just a euphemism for, "How much money does he make, and are you rich or poor?" Coming right out and asking how much salary he brings home every month is an outright "no-no," but the job question is "Kosher."

While riding here in the taxi to the Beltway Apartment from the airport last Thursday, the Dutch taxi driver politely asked my Dutch husband what kind of work he used to do before his retirement ten years ago. My husband proudly told about his lengthy employment in the travel business, and then I chirped in with my equally lengthy employment in the field of education. If it weren't for both of us working all those many years, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Back in the fall when L. found me/us, one of her questions was, "And what kind of work did your father do?" Hopefully by now L. knows that our family managed on Dad's meager salary until I went off to college, and then my mom went to work to supplement our family income. My parents would have never done as well as they did if it hadn't been for their double-income family situation.

And then this morning my Dutch sister-in-law had a question about what L. did for a living. I chuckled to myself. I do not really know. I can see what L. has on her Facebook page, and she told me what she studied in college, but I never asked her what she really does every work day. Basically the same is true for her husband, although he did share that information with my husband when they chatted on our first meeting.

When was the last time someone asked you what kind of work you do/did? Does it really matter? I am always tempted to ask, "Would you like to see my monthly bank statement? Can I introduce you to my friend/relative/someone I know who hasn't worked a day in his/her life and is richer than you are?"

My mom never knew what any of her grandchildren were studying in college or what her children actually did at their jobs. Just the fact that we all studied and then worked was enough info for her.

I think that I agree.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I Am A Christian! Is That Enough Proof?

The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America as adopted in 1791 reads as follows:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Do You Carry a Religion Card?

Where does it say that God wants all of the Christians to come to the front of the line?

What if you have no faith? Does that mean that you have to show an empty space in your wallet where you keep your cards?

If there are no faith cards, how do I prove I am a Christian? I never memorized Bible verses.

Does that mean that those who just so happen to be Bible scholars but aren't real Christians will be at the front of the line?

Does just saying you are a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or Sikh or whatever other belief or non-belief make you that?

Where can humankind find the answers to the faith test?

It is times like this when I have no faith!

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Please take the time to read my important message below.  Love you all. ❤️ Linda

December 27, 2016
We are all winners.

Sometimes just one decision we make in our life makes everyone we care about a winner. Even if that decision seems at the moment to be a bit unusual and risky, the results can be rewarding and make us proud that we did what we did.

In my long lifetime, I have come to many "roads not taken" and made many decisions. I live comfortably in the present without dwelling on why I did what I did and what I should have done.  But I must say that the most difficult decisions have made me a winner. And I am pretty confident in saying that my other family members involved in my decisions are winners, too.

Perhaps the most difficult decision I ever made was at the age of 22. Near the end of an extremely successful four years of university study, I was a victim of date rape on New Years in my hometown ( whew! I finally wrote it) and became pregnant after my very first "sexual experience." In a time before Roe vs. Wade, and I having internally and mentally denied that this had actually happened to me, I finally told my parents about my pregnancy after about four months. My mom immediately began organizing my summer at the Methodist Home for Unwed Mothers in New Orleans, Louisiana, and I took my exams and graduated from college.

Much of what my parents and I said or did about this "situation" back  46 years ago has been lost in my memory. Over the years, I have pushed all of that as far back into that "file cabinet drawer" of my brain as I could. My parents must have done that, too. Because after I returned from the Home in New Orleans, we never talked about "the summer that I went away."

Last year when I cleaned out my mom's paperwork and belongings, I never found a trace of any documentation or letters (of which we wrote many) from that time. A detective would have had difficulty finding any proof that anything unusual had happened back in 1970.

As my parents are no longer alive, I can say with an open heart that as an adult I was the one who made the decision to relinquish my child for adoption. As I wanted to make sure that I would stand by that decision, I asked that no one should allow me to see or hold my child. As cruel and as hard as it might seem, the child I carried was not the child I planned. The situation of force and threatening during conception cemented even more my decision.

The sooner this could be over and done, the better.  I spent the months of June, July, August, and September 1970 working as a nurse's assistant in the medical clinic of the Home. I sorted and distributed meds ( basically iron tablets) to the other residents, took urine samples for testing, cleaned and sterilized medical equipment for the weekly visits from the OB-GYN, organized the timetable for the appointments for the doctor's visits, and took care of the residents in the infirmary who had given birth and were waiting to go home (with or without baby). I had a fulltime job for four months that I would never ever be able to include on my job experience resume.

Near the end of my stay in New Orleans, I gave birth by induced labor to a baby girl. After the birth, a hospital nurse helped me walk to a pay telephone to call my parents to let them know that I was okay and had had a girl child. I must not have stayed more than one night in the hospital, but then again I do not remember. I do remember that there was complete silence from the back seat of the car when we were driven from the hospital back to the Home. For over 46 years I wondered if that baby girl even came with the nurse and me or if she had passed away.

Louisiana adoption records are as locked tight as Fort Knox, so for over 46 years neither I nor my parents were notified that someone was looking for me. That all changed on November 9, 2016. While my husband, son, and I were still trying to recover from a presidential election like no other, I got the call. "Linda, does September 29, 1970 mean anything to you?" It was the child that I had given up for adoption. I was indeed surprised. Not shocked, since I knew that someday someone would reach out to me. If for nothing else than to ask, "Why? Who am I? And can I expect to have a healthy life?"  Or I would find out some sad news that she had passed away.

Recently I met L. face-to-face for the first time in my old hometown. The meeting was good. She and her husband were like dear friends that my husband and I had not seen in a while. Before we even left home to drive to meet them, I had finally come to the conclusion that I had definitely made the right decision over 46 years ago. We have all become winners because of that decision.

L's adoptive parents got the sweet baby girl they had always wanted. L. had two loving parents and siblings and a wonderful childhood in a happy family. She then met her future loving husband while in high school, and they are the proud parents of a smart, adventurous son.

The decision I made 46 years ago allowed me to go on with my career as a teacher (no school district hired unwed mothers as teachers in 1970) and finally earn enough money to travel to Europe and meet my future Dutch husband. My eventual move to The Netherlands would later lead me to teach for over 26 years of my 37 year teaching career at one of the most prestigious international schools in the world. And after marrying the love of my life, I gave birth to my one and only son who became a"jet-setter" dual citizen at the young age of 7 months and is now an engineer for an important international oil company.

We are all winners from the decision that I made.