Funerals

Jul 06

I am so glad I was getting things done ahead of time because when Dan got the call from North Dakota about his cousin going off kidney dialysis, he wanted to go visit him before he died. I am the travel planner so I made reservations for ND to leave on June 23. But we get a phone call that his nephew in Port Angeles, WA died suddenly. It was a chaotic few hours trying to sort out what to do.

In the end we flew to Seattle on Monday to then drive the two and a half hours to Port Angeles. We were able to pick up Dan’s niece at the airport who came in the day before and visited friends for the first night.

As we headed out to the funeral on Thursday, Dan called ND to see how his cousin was going. He died a few minutes before. After the funeral we changed tickets again to fly to Minneapolis. The nonstop Southwest flight was sold out so it meant we flew to Chicago first to change planes.

A dear friend in St. Paul welcomes us with open arms when we need lodging. My sister who lives on a boat in the summer was staying with friends near Edina due to high waters in their marina on the St. Croix. Severe thunderstorms cancelled dinner plans with my sister but there is always FaceTime. We did return to favorite spots in St. Paul Bon Vie Cafe and Subtext Books on Selby Avenue.

What a contrast in funerals from the informal Celebration of life after a Lions Club meeting to the traditional Lutheran funeral in a small rural church with over 80 family members. It was standing room only with chairs set up in the vestibule to watch the service on TV.

We stayed overnight at St. John’s Abbey Guesthouse to break up the five hour trip back to Minneapolis airport. It is very peaceful for me to seat in the choir stalls to sing Psalms with the monks.

It is too bad that out-of-town family member only get together during funerals and weddings, but that is what happens with our family scattered all over. Although the trip was not a vacation, we had some time to treasure moments with friends, relatives, and the wide open spaces of North Dakota.

Read More

Rite of Committal

Aug 20

Dan and I are still in St. Paul, Minnesota after arriving last week. My brother from VA, my sister and her family from Minnesota gathered at Calvary Cemetery to bury my parents’ cremains in the Wall family plot. My fathers’s two brothers are buried here. My grandfather left the last plot to me when I was widowed in the 70s. It seemed so right to bring my parents cremains back to Minnesota where they lived until their retirement.

20130820-142615.jpg

20130820-142729.jpg

Although my parents died last fall, just 7 weeks apart, we waited until we could gather as a family in the summer. We celebrated a wedding in June and the birth of a new grand niece in July. It has been a summer of life changes for our family.

Heather treated the family to lunch at the Muffaletta in St. Anthony Park where we lived in our teen years.

Read More

Loss and More Loss

Dec 31

First it was my 63 year old sister, Mary. She died September 3, 2012 after three weeks in the hospital when her comprised lungs from COPD couldn’t fight off pneumonia. Three weeks later, my 95-year old mother died of pneumonia after a week long illness. We returned from Ireland a week early to be at her bedside for the last days. My  dad took ill the morning of her funeral. He was treated for an infection in the hospital, then 3 weeks in the rehab unit receiving PT and OT to get his strength back.  He never got to the point of being able to return to the apartment he shared with his wife of 71 and 1/2 years. As we moved his recliner and TV to his new room at the care center, I wondered how he would do. A few weeks later he was treated for pneumonia for the second time. This time, his 96-year old body gave out after only 5 days.

His funeral was easy to arrange, we used the same readings and music that were selected for my mother’s funeral. Charlestown has a beautiful chapel on the campus, Our Lady of the Angels. We didn’t have to have a viewing at a funeral home, most families have a visitation 30 minutes before the funeral. It makes it easy for the residents and for the families.

As my sister, brother, and I sorted through their belongings, we discovered their letters written during World War II when my father was in India and my mother was in Duluth, MN. What a treasure trove of the past. My dad wrote love poems to his wife which she saved. My scientist father had a romantic streak.

My mother was very organized, having sorted through photos and divided them into plastic bags by family grouping. She even saved all the cards, letters and then emails her children sent her. It made our job easier as we closed out a chapter in our family history.

Family photo albums were pored over, jewelry was divided and we honored my my mother’s wish that we take back the things we had given to them over the years. It was a sad day turning over the keys to their apartment of 18 years. No more visits to see them, no more seeing my mom in the hallway going for her walk, no more stories of their life.

Now we become the older generation.

Read More

Hydrangeas in Bloom

May 23

I was out in the yard taking a video of our yard before we move. The mophead hydrangeas on the side of the house which we cannot see are fabulous this year. Too bad the only window on the north side of the house is frosted. Good thing I walked around the house to see them.

Read More

Where We Come From

Feb 22

20120222-141305.jpg
We are sitting in the Genealogy Archives at the Washington Memorial Library in Macon. It is our first visit after hearing about the great resources at the last meeting of the Central Georgia Genealogical Society. The building was completed in 1923 but dedicated two years later when they had enough money for the furnishings. It was expanded in 1979.

While Dan found books about Catholics in Ulster, I perused back copies of the Highlander magazine. I have been copying down Scottish genealogy blogs after reading about blogs being a good source of information. Maybe I will blog about family history as the author suggests.

We both like libraries and have been known to stop at town libraries as we travel. The genealogy archives are nice and quiet with a large collection of books. The circulation section is on the second floor with a large section devoted to computers.

It’s been a few months since I have been to our local library. I keep telling myself, no library books until I read the books I have. I dragged in 40 more books when we had the bag sale at the end of our AAUW book sale In October. How can any book lover not buy a grocery bag of books for $2.00.

I am not a very consistent blogger looking back on my entries. I have focused on the travel we do which means the months we do not travel are ignored. I spent entirely too much time updating other blogs for the organizations I am involved in. I will try and change that.

Read More

April Travels

Apr 21

April seems to be flying back. First, I attended the state convention of AAUW Georgia the first weekend. We flew to Baltimore to visit family, the daughters in Alexandria and my parents in Baltimore the next week.  The parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary April 7. What a very long time to be married. My mother turned 94 and my father will be 95 the end of April. They have slowed down quite a bit but still manage to have their own apartment in a retirement community.

We tried something new for our Alexandria stay. Since the daughters really don’t have a guest room, we have stayed in motels or with Evergreen Club members. This time, I had difficulty finding an Evergreen place to stay. I have been reading about the new AirBnB website so I decided to try it. We reserved a room in a private home and paid for the night through the website. It was a grand adventure to me go to Jenn’s house for the first time. She is an enterprising women, working as a CPA in her day job and renting three rooms in her Arlington, VA home through Airbnb. We had a large room with a queen bed and a large recently renovated bathroom. The highlight was the 55 inch TV in the room. It worked out well for the two nights we stayed. We met her at breakfast time when we were drinking coffee she provided.

Flower Lady

After our return it was off to Conyers, Ga for the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women Spring Meeting. We were encouraged to be divas for the day so hats and boas were in order. I came away with a potted geranium  plant for being a president of a chapter. Two of the women I nominated for awards did win for a leadership award and businesswomen of the year. Conyers is two northeast of Warner Robins.

The rest of the time I have been writing to my Senators and Congressman and state legislators. Georgia didn’t follow my wishes and voted for an AZ type immigration law and will allow health policies from other states to be sold without the mandatory coverage for women’s preventative health (PAP smears and mammograms).

I don’t do as well keeping this blog up-to-date as I do the MGDWC and AAUW Georgia websites up. I do better with Facebook.

Read More