Tag Archives: father

From Rebecca: Construction zones

There seems to be construction zones on several streets in and around town. I do like good roads, safe bridges, and up-to-date gas/water lines. But it does get frustrating to find delays and orange cones on every trip out.

My husband Darren and I frequently encounter one project in particular. A small bridge on a street that is part of a highway, and a main artery through town, is receiving heavy maintenance repairs. The work has been going on for almost two months and is scheduled to run through July. Thankfully the work is being done without completely closing the bridge, with one lane in each direction staying open. It is still a delay to get through, especially during rush hours. Darren and I have to go over this bridge to get to his mom’s apartment, as well as get to the store from which we get her groceries, and the pharmacies for her medications. We will both be glad when the work is finished and all lanes of the street are open again.

Downtown also seems to have constant construction zones. One new building is finished, another seems almost finished, another building, on the other end of town from the first two, still has a way to go, and they always seem to be building on the university campus. This all adds to the construction traffic and lane restrictions around the building. Now, the town is also re-paving the roads. Last Thursday I crossed the street in front of the library to head to the bus stop and all was normal. The next morning I came from the bus stop to cross that street and the top layer was gone – it was milled. That was quick. They are doing the work at night when there is less traffic.

Another long running project is on and around the street my dad, sister, and nephew lives on. They haven’t said anything about being inconvenienced by the lane restrictions and side road closures that move around their block, but I often see the construction cones when I ride by on the bus on my way to and from work. This project does seem to be less intrusive, as it is on one block one week and on another block the next.

I feel the most sympathy for the bus drivers. The learn their routes and are trying to stay on time, and here are a number of construction zones to contend with, the number and location of which changes from week to week. We can at least choose a detour, they are stuck with the established route and any delays.

On another topic, I wish Joe luck with buying a new laptop today, to replace the one that is slowly dying. He is at the store as I type this. There is a slight possibility that Joe will put up a bonus entry about his new computer over the weekend.

I am glad so many of you enjoyed Joe’s tribute to his mother in yesterday’s blog post. We will be back next week with two more blog entries, on topics to be determined then. As Joe would write, take care, hope you are not living in the middle of a construction zone, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

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Remembering my mother, Dr. Dorothy G. Kockelmans

Greetings, readers. Tomorrow marks the fourteenth anniversary of my mom’s passing. I was going to do a blog entry to mark the occasion, but realized we did this last year. That entry turned out so well, there was no need to do another one, and it is definitely worth a repeat post. That is something I hardly ever do, though WordPress has a handy feature to copy an entire post, tags and all. It will be linked to Twitter, Facebook, and the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page. Mom, this is for you.

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

June 14, 2017 Rebecca will have a blog entry up sometime tomorrow. I am still having computer issues. There is a slight chance I will be purchasing a new computer tomorrow, and if so I might chime in myself with a small entry giving you details. Wow, perhaps a double entry day. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

You can’t go home again

Greetings, readers. I’m in one of my nostalgic moods today and I’ve been thinking of my parents and the house I grew up in. I still remember every inch of the old place. If I close my eyes, I can walk through every room, nook and pantry. I’ve been in the house since it was sold – I know the new owners – and they completely redid the inside. Why not, it’s their home now. It looked so different, though.

I am reminiscing about my childhood and all the wonderful times we had at home. Between holiday gatherings and the normal school year goings on, there always seemed to be something happening. One weekend it might be a game of Wiffle ball in the circle – what my neighborhood called the area outside my house, another weekend it might be watching a Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game with my friends.

I’ve often wanted to go back to those days, but it is impossible. Life marches forwards, not backwards. One of my issues is that I have always wanted to be different; either better than I was or, worse, somebody else. That stems from my poor self-esteem. What to do?

Other people have traits I wish were mine. Because I tend to forget things, I desire to be more like my mom. She was the most organized, clear-headed person I ever knew. Mom always had every base covered. Sometimes I wanted to have Pop’s work ethic. Heck, I would have twenty books written if I did. Then there is my best friend, Dave. He is the king of planning. I’ve always admired how he’d tell me every step of what needed done, and with such encouragement. You see where I’m going with this? I want to be everybody but… me!

I’ve learned recently from friends, family and inspirational quotes that all I need to do is be the best me I can be. I can do that. 🙂 Let’s all do that.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

Still trying to figure out my life

Greetings, readers. I shall try not to bore you with my depression, and actually I’m not even sure it is depression. I am experiencing low energy levels and I am taking more naps than usual. I would consider my diet mediocre at best; more protein might help, as would less junk food. Still not having a job is weighing heavily on my mind. I was hoping to be gainfully employed last August. But that opportunity fell through. As we approach late fall and early winter, it seems all the jobs in town are taken.

It could be the fact that my medications are making me sleepy, or a case of mild depression, but I am now averaging two naps per day. Way too much sleep. Recently I just finished watching over 100 episodes of the new Hawaii Five-O, each episode about 45 minutes long, in a three-week period. Imagine if all those evenings were spent writing creatively. I might have 100 pages. But no, I was entertained, but nothing with my name on it came from it.

As I’ve asked myself before, do I still wish to be a writer? Yes. I do not wish to be a non-writer who wrote three books and a play. If that is all the Lord wanted me to do in the creative writing realm, I wish He would let me know. I’m not sure what else I would be passionate about. I wanted to be an airplane pilot as a child, but health issues put an end to that at age 16. I’m sure one of these days soon, I’ll find a job at one of the local stores. What I should do is get up at 6:00, plant my butt in a chair at 7:00, and write until 9:00. But no, I check Facebook, I check Twitter, I play Train Simulator, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil soccer.

Sometimes when I am depressed I can actually imagine myself in a nursing home, sitting in a chair, watching TV or listening to music. When I used to visit my father at the local nursing home, I could tell how depressed he was. He tried to hide it, but he couldn’t. He was in his 70s when he went in. I fear because of my monetary situation and handicaps that I might have to go to assisted living much earlier.

On a brighter note, the Penn State football team won another game and they are well on their way to a New Year’s Day bowl game. Yay, Coach Franklin and team.

Next week we will be working on Wednesday and taking off Thursday for Thanksgiving. I will put up at least one blog entry and possibly two.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

R.I.P. to Al Bennett Sr.

Greetings, readers. It is a very sad morning that I am struggling through. This morning when I checked my Facebook page I learned of the passing of a very dear friend, Mr. Al Bennett Sr. Mr. Bennett was a Bear Spring Camper from my mom’s generation and I do believe I have known him since I was 5 years old. To lose somebody that you have known that long takes time to get over. For Mr. Bennett, who was a member of that special Bear Spring Camps family, dealing with his death will take me a little bit longer than usual.

As a child and teenager, I would always see Mr. Bennett on the grass near the beach, sitting in his porch chair, doing a jigsaw puzzle on his card table. That picture in my mind will be with me forever.

The entire Bennett family is warm and wonderful, and Mr. Bennett, the patriarch of the family, epitomized that. He and his wife, Jean, would always greet me with a warm smile and a cheerful hello at the main house while we waited for meal time to begin. He would ask me how my fishing trips were, and what all I would be doing that afternoon. He, like all the campers, genuinely cared.

In the era of Bear Spring Camps happy hours, the Bennetts could throw one with the best of them. They rented the biggest cabin Bear Spring Camps had to offer and there was plenty of room for everyone to enjoy their cocktail and snacks.

What will I miss most about Mr. Bennett? I will miss his warmth, his generosity, his humor, and the genuine love he felt for everyone, not only in his family, but also in his Bear Spring Camps family. Rest in peace, Mr. Bennett. Say hi to my mom and dad for me. And get to work on that big jigsaw puzzle in the sky.

Until next week, have a great weekend, happy 4th of July, and happy reading.

Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

Another short week for us, so if there is no blog entry tomorrow, I’ll try to put one up on the weekend. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I wish I had kept from my parents’ house

Greetings, readers. It pains me to have to say this, but when I moved into my new apartment, I simply didn’t have enough room to take everything I wanted from my parents’ house. I chose paintings, small knickknacks, and small family pictures. The two most important items I did take were the credenza which sat in the front hallway and my mom’s desk which was in her home office. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to part with those. When loved ones pass away, or are forced to sell a house, sometimes your judgement is clouded by emotions. This is what happened to me. Here’s a top ten list of items I wish I had taken before the house was cleared out. These are in no particular order except #1, and whose to say if I would have had room for them or not.

#10. My double bed. [I took Pop’s single bed instead and though it is comfortable, I quickly learned that I toss and turn way too much, and enjoyed the extra room the double bed gave me.]

#9. The marble coffee table. [My mom and dad’s house had two living rooms. The actual living room, a fancier room used for Dad’s parties for colleagues. And the family room where we sat and enjoyed life everyday. The marble coffee table was in the living room. It was my favorite room in the house.]

#8. My organ. [Although it was 8/10ths dead already, the organ my parents purchased for me held special memories; the nicest of which was me learning to play Christmas carols to perform at the holiday time. My favorite was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.]

#7. The big screen TV. [This model was not one that hung on a wall and it would have taken up all of this apartment’s living room. Ha ha. For sports watching it was gorgeous.]

#6. The fancy clock in the living room which worked under its own power. [It was stylish, gorgeous and would have looked great on the credenza.]

#5. My grandmother’s teacup and saucer set. [I took the tea service but was dumb enough to forget the dainty cups and saucers that went along with it. Having fancy 4:00 tea with guests just doesn’t seem right when the tea has to be served in coffee mugs.]

#4. My grandmother’s chest of drawers. [Yes, it was fancy and maybe a little girlie, but I loved it and certainly could have put it to good use. The small bureau I took turned out to not have enough room for everything I needed it to hold.]

#3. My thick black winter coat. [I had a fancy thick black coat from New York, very stylish and warm in the winter, and in my sorrow and confusion, left it behind. It was something I could have easily had room for.]

#2. My Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins knit winter caps. [I had them from a very early age and they probably wouldn’t have fit anymore, but again, they would have been mementos I could easily store in my walk-in closet.]

#1. The house itself. [It goes without saying that I would have loved to keep the family home. I doubt very seriously whether I would have had the monetary means to pull it off for many years, but I didn’t even get a chance to try. On a side note, my eye doctor and her family now own our house. It’s not very often that you know the owners of your former home. Since Pop’s passing, I have been inside the old homestead once. It was very nicely remodeled but there was not much left that I could say I remembered as being from my house. It’s their place and I have no qualms with them making it theirs. I’m just going to remember it the way it was.]

There’s the list. Hope you enjoy. If you have questions or comments you can contact me either here or on my Facebook page.

I’m going out of town for Thanksgiving, so there will be no blog entries Wednesday or Friday. We do have one set up on a schedule to automatically post on Thursday. This is the first time we have tried this feature on WordPress, let’s hope it works. We will be back to our normal schedule the week after Thanksgiving.

Have a great holiday, take care, and happy reading. Gobble-gobble.

I’ve been enjoying old school football games lately

Greetings, readers. I must say thank you so much to YouTube’s members. Over the past month I have been happily enjoying watching many college and NFL football games in their entirety and without commercials. The 1984 Orange Bowl comes to mind as one of my favorites, as well as many of the Oklahoma versus Texas Red River Shootout Games, played in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl. Every year, these two teams flip-flop being the home team, for this stadium is half-way between the university cities. People come from all over the country the state fair and this football game, which has been played for over a hundred years.

On the professional side, I’ve watched the Freezer Bowl, the San Diego Chargers versus the Cincinnati Bangles, in the early 80s. The temperature that day in Cincinnati was below zero and the wind chill made it feel far worse than that. Still the stadium was packed. Those were football fans.

I’ve also enjoyed a number of old Super Bowls. The one I watched most recently was the Minnesota Vikings versus the Miami Dolphins. A couple of these wonderful videos are played in stadiums that no longer exist. I think that is why I like them. I didn’t realize until recently just how old school I am. I love old cars, old shows, old everything. It’s funny; I like my technology, I think I would die without my PS3, but something keeps calling me back to those good old days.

Back in the 70s and early 80s, the North American Soccer League, or NASL, was rather popular. I found some games from that league and enjoyed them immensely. My dad taught me to love soccer, or football as it is called in the rest of the world.

Lastly, if you were a United States Football League fan, there are tons of games to choose from. Popular teams with the most videos are the two-time champions Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, the New Jersey Generals, and the Michigan Panthers. No, play was not as good as in the NFL, but I loved it. The league folded after only three seasons. There is talk of it making a comeback one day. It was supposed to begin two years ago; it keeps being delayed. I don’t see that as a good sign of organization. If any of my readers just happened to be associated with the new USFL, I have two words for you: Please don’t. It would probably fail faster than the first league did.

There are many other things on YouTube besides sports that I enjoy and I will fill you in on those in a future entry. Until Friday, take care, enjoy the warmer weather, and happy reading.

Change to blog side features

Greetings, readers. When I changed the theme for the blog a few weeks back, I failed to see that the tabs for the other blog pages weren’t visible. This has been corrected, thanks to Rebecca. They are now on the right hand side of the homepage under the search box, or for some of you it is on the bottom of this page with the rest of the widgets.

As you can see on the site, there is now a link to the About page, My books for Sale, Performance Pictures that are from my shows, and the Picture Gallery which includes photographs of my father and Keekee.

Thank you to all my readers. Take care and have a great day.

From Rebecca: Thanksgiving and my mom Betty Lee

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, the holiday where we celebrate the gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans to give thanks for friendship and abundance. Traditionally we celebrate it with a big meal that we eat with as many family members as possible, where we say what we are thankful for, and then after the meal we fall asleep will watching football on television. The holiday is about family, tradition, gratitude, and food.

It was one of my mother’s favorite holidays. Betty Lee was big on counting your blessings, but she also really loved that every few years her birthday was the same day as Thanksgiving. Last Sunday I had conversations about her with my father and with my sisters. She passed away almost four years ago, and we are thinking about her a lot. We aren’t going to be all together this year, instead we are having small gatherings in our own homes. I never realized how much she and my step-father did to get us together for the holidays and birthdays until she passed away. Without her calling with the time, place, and expectation to be there for family get-togethers, we just don’t get many of them arranged anymore. We do see and talk to each other a lot, so that is good. Maybe the big meal together is more for families that are far apart from one another. We are blessed to live as close as we do. We are not as close as we would like to be my step-father, but we try to keep in touch as much as we can.

My mom and step-father, when they were still in good health, loved going places and talking to people. In restaurants they knew the servers and managers, in banks they knew the tellers, and in grocery stores they knew many of the cashiers. They really liked knowing about other people and had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. If someone had trouble and needed help, my mom and step-father would give that help if they could. Mom loved keeping in contact with people on the internet, especially Facebook. My sister Marjorie has inherited these traits. She also likes keeping up with a wide circle of friends on the internet. When I go to restaurants with her, she knows all the servers and managers. They stop by the table for a minute on the way by to chat with her and she cares about many of them. At one place, she is such friends with a few of the servers that for a while she was giving them rides to and from work when they had trouble with transportation. Mom would be so proud of Marjorie.

Mom also spent her life exploring her spiritual path, inner truth, and how to live her faith. She sometimes explored paths that were different from those her family, and sometimes society, were following, like A Course in Miracles. She followed her own sense of inner right and wrong, while accepting that others had different views. My sister Jennifer also explores her inner spiritual truth and how to live her faith. She participates in her church and struggles with how to follow her path and God’s plan for her. Her father, mother, and sisters are not a part of her church and that faith, but she is true to herself by choosing to be there. She also uses her artistic skills to help others who are in pain because of tragic loss. Mom would be so proud of Jennifer.

I am not sure what I share with Mom, other a love of books, but I know that her life on earth flows through us and with us into the world. I am so thankful that she was my mom. It is one of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, along with my dad, sisters, step-father, nephews, niece, brother-in-law, husband, mother-in-law, my friend Joe, and my other friends. Mom was a big believer in going around the Thanksgiving meal table and saying our list of what we are thankful for each year.

I know there are people who do not celebrate Thanksgiving the same way, and see it in light of the eventual oppression of the Native people of this land by the European people. I am aware that the Natives got the short end of every deal they made with the people and nation that followed the help that tribe gave the Pilgrims that first pivotal year. But I love the spirit of two different groups gathering together to celebrate friendship, generosity, and achievement. The Pilgrims had lost so many in the ocean crossing and the first devastating winter. Then, with help, they learned to live off the land and grow crops in their new home. They had food and skills to go into another winter from a better position. In gratitude, they invited their teachers to a feast, to celebrate having an abundance to share. We honor that meal with our holiday.

So if you are in the United States and participate in Thanksgiving, may you have a good meal and great company. If you don’t celebrate the holiday, may you still have many blessings to give thanks for this year. Happy Thanksgiving.