Countdown to 60

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Category: The Story (page 1 of 2)

Pieces of the puzzle, part two

…continued from Pieces of the Puzzle

After yesterdays post it took three siblings and me to piece together the sequence of events from that time. I was off by a year. The years following our mother’s death was a blur of disappointment.

But it was 3am Christmas morning, 1971 that our father called my sister Janet downstairs to take him to the hospital. She was just 16 and the only one at home with a driver’s license.  Continue reading

Pieces of the puzzle

I’m learning that my life is analogous to a big jigsaw puzzle. All of the pieces are there, but not together. And to make it even more difficult, I don’t have a picture to go off.

Photo by Hans Peter Gauster

Photo courtesy of Hans Peter Gauster

You are helping me find the picture. Continue reading

I can fix it

Just before my 40th birthday, I got a job in sales for a local furniture/interior decorations store, in a big two story building in the heart of downtown Bend.

It was a bit surreal to be working downtown after all of these years. The last time I’d worked there, was in 1978 when I was 19. Part of starting over after a divorce is taking a step backwards. For me, this was a giant step backwards. Continue reading

How I became one of those women

I’ve written before that 1999 was a difficult year for me. I moved, divorced, lost friends, changed jobs, had surgery and turned 40. It was a big year.

When I moved from my farm into town I went from 20 acres, a 3,000 square foot home, a shop and barn, lots of animals and spectacular views, to a 900 square foot home on a tiny lot, a carport and one dog. We split the dogs up when we got a divorce, but the kids came with me.

So I learned how to share a bathroom with teenage boys, make the best of our small house and go for walks in the park that was just a block away. I was finding my way again in the world, and it was exciting and scary.

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A different sort of crutch

When my husband and I made the decision to separate and divorce we agreed we were going to be the couple that could do it the right way. What we hope for and what becomes reality can be quite different.

I’ve heard it said that whatever you are fighting about during your marriage is also what you fight about during the divorce. I had no idea just what a fight I was in for. We couldn’t agree on anything. Continue reading

Picking up the pieces

Getting a divorce after 18 years of marriage and having two kids is not an easy thing to do.

                          And it hurts. A lot. For everyone involved.

For that reason, it was extremely important for us to try everything we could to repair our marriage. I’m proud of the fact that we tried to find the answers, for years. It was no easy decision to end it and wasn’t taken lightly by either of us. But once the decision was finally made, a new set of problems arose. Continue reading

In sickness and In health

In my last post, Change is in the Air, I left a question unanswered. In March of 1998 my husband of 17 years had just proposed to me…again.

When he asked me to marry him years ago, it was days after my brother’s death and I think he felt sorry for me. I was a mess and I can understand how difficult it must have been to see me like that. I said yes then, but all of those years later the answer was different.

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Change is in the air

I want to stay on the farm…at least in my memory. Continuing the story is going to be hard for me. There are things that I’m embarrassed about, or wish I would have done differently. And most of those happened after we sold the farm.

If you’ve been reading along, you already know my marriage was pretty rocky right from the start. I can’t pin point one thing or say I know exactly what happened, it was more of a chipping away. After many years of this, there was nothing left to save.

At least that’s how I felt about it. I know my husband felt differently.

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I’m pretty…hardworking

I could write a hundred different posts about our time on the farm. It was some of the best years of my life. But there were trials for me also. Finding and holding onto friendships in my 30’s was challenging and I lost a few friends along the way.

I read once that we tend to build friendships around our kids when we are new parents, and I can see that was true with me. But one of my friendships started the other way around. Shelly and I became friends first, which lead to our children becoming friends.

As with many families, we women lead the way in organizing family get-togethers and we all had a great time at barbecues, dinners and picnics. This went on for years, until one day it all stopped.

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Fine powder and Fireball – the rest of the story

Apparently I left a few people wondering what Fireball is, from my post about my boys growing up on a farm. I may have even left the impression that they were sweet little boys.

Let me set the record straight.

Even before moving to the farm, those two boys of mine kept me on my toes. They were curious about everything. One time my youngest tried to electrocute himself with the Christmas tree lights. That was after he fell in the river and almost drowned. But moving to the farm was an open door to explore nature and the world around them.

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Little boys, piglets and fireball

I’ve made some decisions I’m very proud of and perhaps the best one was giving my boys a country/farm experience when they were growing up.

My boys spent their youth outside running, playing up in the tree fort, climbing trees, chasing bullfrogs, taking care of animals, and helping with all of the farm chores. We didn’t have cable television, and it was before the Internet, but they got plenty of entertainment outside.

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I found your diary…

Yesterday I found an old journal stashed away in a drawer. I say I found it, but really I’ve known it’s been there for a very long time. I put it in the same exact spot no matter where I’ve lived. It always goes in the drawer of my nightstand. I couldn’t begin to guess how many homes it’s been in.

The front cover is a bit worn, and it must have gotten wet at some point because the pages are wavy, but all the words that were written in it are still there. My first entry was Sept 21, 1990.

I found an old journal

I wrote in that journal for almost 20 years. Sometimes about my family and other times about my own feelings and fears. But my favorites are the entries about our life on the farm.

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Thin Ice

I know I’m supposed to be over this, and it’s probably silly that I’m not, but I don’t know how to let it go. I’ll try to explain what it’s like, maybe you will be able to understand or relate.

I feel like I’m always on ice. That I’m standing on a frozen lake going about my day. Most of the time, the ice is thick and supports me and I am fine. There are times when I’m skating and happy and laughing. Some of the time, it’s a bit slippery and I fall or lose my balance.

And then every once in a while, the ice cracks and I fall through in an instant. I can’t breath, it’s ice cold and I’m scared to death. A few seconds later I realize the water is only three feet deep and all I have to do is stand up.

That’s when I get embarrassed and feel ashamed that I’ve acted like a child. There’s no need to cry or be afraid, it’s just a little cold water, stand up, you’re fine Loretta.

Do you ever feel like you are on thin ice?

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There are some years in my life that don’t really stand out much. Just another year that went by with no life changing event or trauma. After everything I’ve been through, I kind of cherish those years. But 1992 was a year I remember fondly.

Buying a small farm and fixing it up was challenging, but so very rewarding. The day we moved into our little farm was my 32nd birthday, and Mother’s Day. I was born on Mother’s Day, so every few years or so, my birthday falls on that Sunday. When that happens most of my friends are busy celebrating Mother’s Day, and so I usually don’t count on a big to do.

That day was different.

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Crazy Cat Lady: Part Two

…continued from part one

Remember I told you I was raised on a farm, right? Well, I was no stranger to the non-romantic side of farm life.

Sunday was ‘chicken day’ on our family farm. My dad would get a large pot of boiling water, grab a chicken and break it’s neck with his big strong hands, then grab it by it’s feet, dunk it in the hot water and hand it to one of us. All in one swift motion. I could barely hold up that stinky wet dead chicken with my left hand as I plucked its feathers out with my right.

So I should be able to handle a few inbred cats, right?

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Crazy Cat Lady: Part One

You know those stories about the crazy old lady with a bunch of cats? This one’s a little different.

When my boys were little I wanted to give them the experience of growing up on a farm, like I had. Maybe you need to have been a farm kid to understand that, which my husband wasn’t. But he did agree and we purchased a 20-acre farm in Tumalo, Oregon.

However, what we could afford wasn’t pretty. Thankfully I had a knack for looking past the debris, disrepair and cow manure to see the potential.

cat infested pig pen

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The Farm – Part Two

I had a few friends that lived outside of Bend, (where we lived) in a little community called Tumalo. Most had land and a few had horses.

As a kid one of our neighbors had horses and I was allowed to ride one once. It wasn’t a good experience. Whoever synched up the saddle didn’t do a very good job of it. About the time that horse took off on a trot, the saddle started slipping sideways.

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The Farm – Part One

When you experience a death of a parent at a young age, your life gets measured into two pieces. You see your life before the event, and then after. It’s like there’s a crack in your personal timeline that you have to hop over each time you recall memories.

At least it’s that way for me. When I look at my life and think about my past everything is measured as either Before Mom Died, or After Mom Died.

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As the years go by

I lived in Arizona for three years, and that’s about as long as I could stand it. The only good thing to come out Arizona was my first-born. Okay, that’s a little harsh and not totally true.

I did meet some wonderful people, and movie night at ASU’s Gammage Theater was cool. For $1 you could get popcorn and see the movie. But I hated living in a condo surrounded by concrete, it was way too hot and there was no ocean.

I was happy to say goodbye in June of 1984 as we packed up a U-Haul with our belongings and headed back home to Oregon.

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Book read, lesson learned

I was born in Hollister California, grew up in Hart Michigan, moved to Bend Oregon when I was 18 and found myself in Tempe Arizona at 22. Moving to a different state was always an adventure for me, and a learning experience.

This time I was married and we were about to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in a new home. We quickly unloaded the rental truck in the scorching heat and then celebrated by having dinner over a cardboard box with paper plates and plastic wear.

After getting settled in, Joe went off to school and I went off to look for work.

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