When my grandpop passed away in 1997, it devastated me. I had received a phone call from my Dad at the beginning of May that my Pop was loaded with cancer, and that the oncologist had given him a time frame of 3 weeks to 3 months, at best.

I had just come off of working a month and a half straight without a day off because my coworker had pneumonia. We worked in a rest home and shared the 3-11 shift. She had told me the day before I got the news that she owed me big, and when I took my vacation time, she would cover my two weeks. 

I talked with my then-husband, and we decided it was best to get to WV sooner rather than later, and set about getting time off. I called my coworker, and explained the situation and she told me to just go and she’d cover me. So R (hubby) and I picked our dates and made plans.

A week or so later (and 2 days before we were to leave), I go into work, and my supervisor tells me that coworker decided she does not want to work all of those days. She then says that she cannot find anyone else willing to cover my days, so I will not get my vacation time approved.


I swear, my brain fell out at that moment. I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was saying. I just looked at her and said, “If you think  for one second that I’m skipping this trip, you’re crazy.”

She rebutted with, “If you go, you’ll be fired!” My eyes got big as dinner plates. “Seriously? Everyone here gets to take their vacation time, except me? Who is the ONLY one who covered all of T’s days while she was sick?? Who covers other shifts, often working doubles? Who comes in early so YOU can leave??? Me! That’s who!”

I was about to explode. I told her that I quit and I tossed the keys at her and told her to enjoy her evening and I walked out, got in my car, and drove home. Little did she know, but I’d been on the hunt for another job. I’d just finished schooling and had been interviewing and had gotten a call THAT afternoon that I had a job! 

So, it was Friday evening and we were to leave Sunday, because I was supposed to work Friday and Saturday night. I called my Nan to let her know we were on our way. My dad was already there. 
We spent two weeks with them. My brother and his family came in as well. It was such a sad time, watching him in his final days, witnessing my Nanny trying to cope with it all. We had to leave on May 31st, as I was to start my new job on June 2nd. 

It was SO hard to leave. Hugging him and saying goodbye was dreadful.. knowing it would be my last time in doing so. I cried the whole way back to Massachusetts. 

I started my new job on June 2nd. The 5th was my birthday. My mom was now in WV at my Nan and Pops. As I readied myself for work, I expected a phone call from my mom. She always called me on my birthday and she always sent flowers as well. 

I went all day and heard from no one. I had the worst feeling in my heart. I knew why I’d not heard from anyone…

Upon arriving home, then-hubby opened the door for me and when I saw his face, I knew. All he said to me was, “I talked to your mom a bit ago…. I’m so so sorry…”

I didn’t even make it into our apartment. I collapsed in a heap in the hall way. I couldn’t breathe. The tears poured down my face like never before..

The days and weeks that followed were filled with such sadness. I cried myself to sleep at night. I was so upset to miss his funeral. Every one kept telling me that I was there for him when it mattered, and to not fret over it. 

My Nan later told me that at about 6:30 that morning, he had woken up. It was the first time in days, and he just wanted to know what day it was.. when she said it was Thursday, he said, “No.. what’s the date?” She said, “June 5th.”

She said he closed his eyes, smiled a small smile.. and by 7:45 he was gone. She thinks he waited for a special day. 

I don’t know about that, but I didn’t celebrate my birthday much in the years that followed. It just wasn’t a happy day for me any more. 

I go visit their grave often. He was not my biological grandfather, but there’s no way I could’ve loved him more than I did.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot waiting for my kid and my hubby, when all of a sudden I was swamped in sadness. My heart filled with sorrow and felt so very heavy, and the one thought in my head was that my Pop never got to see this small town get it’s Walmart. 

Random. So so random. I could hear his voice in my head and I had to smile. I miss him SO much. I think it’s time to go pay a visit and bring some Fall flowers up for them…

He had a daughter. I’ve not seen her since 1982 or so. I adored her. No one knows where she is or what became of her. Endless googling turns up nothing. 

I’d love to find her. I’d assume she’s in her 60s by now. Time is crazy…..


Sixth grade

Not a good year for me at all. Yet, it was amazing st the same time. 

 We left PA and moved to New Bedford, MA. We were living in my grandmother’s apartment (she was shacking up with her man lol), but my mom didn’t want me in NB schools. So, she enrolled me in Dartmouth Middle using my Aunt’s address, and we would drive over there each morning for me to catch the bus. 

It was okay, I guess. I made a few friends. I wasn’t there very long, though. 

We ended up moving to the Cape, to a little summer vacation rental along the ocean in Sandwich. It was FANTASTIC. The Atlantic was literally my backyard. 

Oh, I spent pretty much all of my time outside. I loved low tide, looking for creatures in tide pools and sitting on the jetty for hours, watching the tide roll in. And the rocks and shells! Endless hours of solitude and exploration. It was bliss. 

Ocean air is intoxicating. It is invigorating. It is addictive. I often ended up with wind burn upon my face. We lived near a marsh. A very, very large marsh, with a mile long boardwalk from one side to the other. I’d walk it each day. When the tide was up, I’d lie across it and watch the crabs coming in and out of their little hidey holes in search of food. 

I attended the Henry T. Wing Elementary school, which is where I spent K through 2nd grade before moving WV. I was able to reconnect with kids I had been friends with in the beginning. I was only there for a short while, because in January we moved into a brand new house in Monument Beach. I then attended the Stone Elementary School on Otis Air Force Base. 

I’m still friends with a lot of the kids I befriended back then. I remember really trying to figure out who I was during this time. 

I loved riding my bike and playing street hockey with the neighbor kids. The girl across the street and I became best friends, and life was good.

Still, I was so glad when 6th grade was over. It had seemed to go on forever…

PA, continued.

My love of that house and its surroundings is what fuels my desire to purchase an old farmhouse with some land. I want chickens, and pigs. I want goats. I want to garden. I want fruit trees and a grape arbor. I’d even like to try my hand at bee keeping. If only I could get over the fact that they are BEES. Ugh. 🙄

 I want solitude. 

I want a big kitchen with lots of counter space!


When I took the hubby by the old place last year, I was in shock at how small the house actually is. When I was a kid, it was a big, old house. 

It’s not big. Lol. I actually went and looked up the property online. It’s about 1100 square feet. It looks tiny compared to how I remember it! Perspective is a funny thing.

We are slowly working towards the dream of having an old farm house. The trouble lies in where we are. Pickings are slim here. I’ve been on the hunt for over a year.

If we sell this place quickly, and before we’ve found what we want, we have no where to live! 

If we find what we want, we need to sell this in order to purchase that! And selling a house here is NOT an easy or quick process. So, I am not really sure what we will do. *sigh*

I’m guessing we need to sell this first. We’d need to rent a place til we found what we wanted. Finding places to rent around here is like finding a needle in a haystack. 

We have our work cut out for us, for sure. 


We moved to PA when I was 10 or 11. I remember the day we stepped foot into the house. It smelled like Pine-Sol. It was big and I fell in love with it immediately! It was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hay and Timothy fields and woods and a potato field. 

It was so very quiet. Occasionally, you’d hear a semi going along the interstate just a few miles away. I remember many days sitting outside, alone, digging in our red clay driveway, in the hot sun… red clay makes fantastic mud pies you know…

I dug up some really neat rocks in the shade of one of the barns one day. I loved riding my bike back and forth along our desolate road. I’d spend hours wandering in the woods or through the fields. To this day, when I hear a small plane in the sky, it reminds me of that first summer there in PA. 

We had a water pump out front that pumped ice cold water all summer long. I used it often to quench my thirst, and to cool off, and for making mud pies 😉

I spent a lot of time alone. I was happy there. My mom loved baking and making butter and breads.. my dad hunted and we always had fresh eggs and fresh milk. One time the cows got out and got into a garlic patch. The milk the next day reeked of garlic.. we couldn’t drink it.

 I ate rabbit for the first time, in a pot pie, during our first winter there. Mom told me it was chicken. When the truth was revealed, I was NOT happy. I don’t like being duped.

I had to help my dad chop wood, as that is how we cooked and heated the house. Our neighbor down the road had a small saw mill. I used to help him, too. His grandson lived with him and his wife. His name was Scott Shives. Scott and I became good friends. I used to wander down through the field to their house often. There was a stream that was mostly underground, that ran through that area. In the middle of that field was a huge, deep hole. I used to sit some times, just listening to the water tinkling along. It had a lot more water in it in the Spring and Fall. It came above ground again right near Scott’s grandparents house. We used to drop toy boats in the hole and try to make it to the house before the boats. We never did beat those boats!

That field is now a full forest of trees. It blows my mind and makes me feel old. 

Scott’s grandparents are both gone now, as is Scott. He was killed in a car accident in his Senior year of high school. 

We had another neighbor, Clarence. He was a sweet old man. He had lost his wife just prior to us moving in. He spent a lot of time with us. His loneliness was evident..  He was my buddy, my friend… he never tired of my endless questions or my rambling on about anything and everything. I helped him cut and bail hay, helped him feed his livestock and round up cattle.. he’s gone now too. He lived to be 95. I found his daughter on FB and we chat. It’s nice. She looks just like him. 

School was a nightmare. Fifth grade was the worst. I had a teacher who, for whatever reason, singled me out and often ridiculed me in class. She would make jokes about my cheap shoes, or about my then ever-present cowlick. If I raised my hand for anything at all, she ignored me. She’d look me in the eye and move on.  She moved me to the front of the class one day because the boy next to me had taken my notebook and would not give it back to me, so I got up and took it from him, forcefully. She would stand directly in front of my desk while she taught. She spit a lot when speaking. It was unpleasant. One day, I accidentally kicked her while swinging my legs back and forth. My feet didn’t reach the floor and would sometimes fall asleep, so I’d swing them. She made a HUGE scene. You’d have thought I stabbed her! Off to the office I was sent.

I’d throw up every morning while waiting for the bus. She had me so riddled with anxiety. It was awful.  

I didn’t make many friends there. I had Scott. And my bestie there was Tina. I spent a lot of time with her and her brother George. In the summer, Scott’s cousin Dean was always around. He was cool until that summer prior to 6th grade. Dean followed me wherever I went. It was cute at first, til he wanted to kiss me all the time. At that point, boys were still icky to me. He tried to get me to have sex with him. I told him to go jump off a cliff. I was 11! He was 14 or 15. 😳

I started 6th grade and all was well. No anxiety! I don’t think we were more than a month in when I got a note from the office lady telling me to say goodbye to my friends. That was to be my last day at that school. 

We were moving back to Massachusetts. …..
To be continued…

It’s just a house…

That is what I keep telling myself, anyway.

My Nan and Pop bought the house in 1979 or so, and moved from Baltimore to Rowlesburg, WV.

It was long known as the ‘Dunbar House’ by all the old folks in town, as the Dunbar family had apparently built/owned the house for years.

The house was always clean. My Nan had a lot of stuff, but everything had a place. My pop had lots of plants. He was good at growing things.

If you came to visit, expect to eat. Nanny was a fabulous cook.

My Pop went to bed at 8 p.m. and my Nanny would settle in to watch a show or two on tv. The dishes from dinner would be soaking in the sink, and around 11, she would do them, quietly, by the little light under the cabinets to the left of the sink.

I loved that time with her. We always had such good conversation. Being there was the same as being home. It was warm and comfortable. I loved being there.

Sometimes we’d throw some sleeping bags down on the living room floor to watch a movie together. She would make popcorn, and when that was gone, out came the ice cream.

We had big family meals together often. Holiday gatherings were filled with food and laughter and LOTS of love. And you can’t speak of Nanny and Pop’s house without mentioning the porch. It was a wonderful place to be!

They are both gone now, as are all of my aunts and uncles, except for one.. and we were given the opportunity to move into the house. We left life in FL behind and headed for the mountains.

It was odd to be in there with all of our stuff, and not Nan and Pop’s things. Odd, yet it felt like home. It was wonderful and bittersweet, and I am so very thankful to my cousins for all of it.

I had a falling out with the cousins, and after 10 months, we moved to a neighboring town.

I learned recently that the man who lives beside the house, purchased it from the bank and intends to tear it down. 😧

I have no control over the situation, and I’ll always have my memories (hopefully!) so I’m trying not to dwell. It makes me so sad, though.

While sleeping today (trying to rid myself of a major sinus gig) I had an awful dream in which my mom and I were in the house. It had been sitting vacant for many years and was about to collapse in on itself. We kept finding stuff that was Nan’s. We were trying to save it all as the house crumbled around us. It was so very unsettling. It’s what got me really remembering all the good times, and even the times that weren’t so good.

I miss them so very much.. 💕

I think I’ve kind of attached myself to every place we have ever lived. I’m overly sentimental…


The Blue Bike

I do not remember actually getting the bike, you know, the actual moment of receipt. I do remember that my Nanny and Pop got it for me. It was blue, had a smallish banana seat and big, deep handlebars. Oh, and training wheels. I think it had a horn, too.

I can remember riding it around on our driveway, which was difficult, as it was narrow and sloped towards the road.

I don’t remember getting rid of it. We moved to another house, and I got another blue bike. This bike was used, and a bit bigger than the original. It did not have training wheels. My dad taught me to ride it along a worn path in the grass that ran along side our very long, stone driveway.  Before I knew it, I was riding around in the neighborhood with my friends, shooting down hills as fast as it would take me.

The brakes started to not work so well, and one day as I was barreling down the hill towards the main road, I panicked. I hit the brakes and nothing happened.

I bailed.

My bike sailed across the main road, and on into our driveway amidst screeching tires and a blaring horn. I could see the drivers face as I rolled and skidded to a stop in a rather large pile of debris from construction of a nearby home.

He shouted a few choice words in my direction and kept going. I sat there for a few minutes, scraped up, covered in dirt and blood, and trying not to cry as my friends came racing down the hill.

I had new brakes, seat, handlebars, and tires by that weekend, thanks to my dad. I was able to once again speed down hills with confidence. 😌

We moved, again. The bike, for some reason, did not make the move with us. For Christmas that year, I got another blue bike, used, and HUGE. It was an adult bike, cruising style, with a ginormous seat and a basket on the front.

I had really wanted a BMX style bike, but I knew my dad painted this thing and worked to make it nice for me. I was glad to have a bike, period. It was tough to ride at first, as it was a bit big for me. I did take the basket off after a day or so..

The day after Christmas, I was riding it and I ran into my cousin and some of his friends. He asked to give it a spin, so I let him. They were all going on about what a nice bike it was (it was nice) and next thing I know, my cousin tosses it off of the bridge we were near, and into the freezing creek below.

We laugh about it now. But I was pretty darned mad. I went home and told my dad, he was way more than mad.

He went and found my cousin, and made him go into the deep (at least 15 feet or so) freezing water to retrieve my bike. I wasn’t there to see it. Sure wish I had been, though. 😬

It became a long running joke between cousin and I. That is, until he stopped talking to me.






The rink

My dad was awesome in so many ways. I miss him so very much. Often times I will find myself deep in thought, memories flashing through my mind like a film reel.. I get angry that time has just kept on. I mean, that’s just the way it goes and I understand that.

It’s cruel, though. To lose someone so very important and so deeply loved, to have my world thrown upside down like that, and yet being forced to keep going. I didn’t WANT to keep going. I wanted my dad.


When I was three or four, my dad built an ice rink in the back yard for me. My sister used to take me ice skating and I loved it. So, he built me a rink. When it was done and frozen over, my mom bundled me up and off I went. I got on the ice, and froze. Literally froze in fear. Of what? I cannot remember. I just remember not being able to move, paralyzed with fear. It was ridiculous, to be honest. My dad stood there, hand extended towards me, and I would not move.

He was understandably upset.

I remember all of that. I just don’t remember why I was scared to move.

It is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks, “If you could go back and change something, what would it be?”