To begin with, I apologize for not posting in such a long time. I don’t know why about the summer, I don’t have a plausible, or for that matter any excuse. My daughters and I visited my sister and family in Ontario following Labor Day in September and in November I had a very serious health issue. Briefly stated, I had a fall in my home with very serious complications following. This hospitalized me for half of the month and I received home health care until the last week of December when I traveled to Encinitas, CA enjoying an excellent holiday visit. Now I am feeling better, nonetheless although not fully recovered, I return to my memoir writing.
So where was I in Jan 1977? Still in Beverley Hills, PA. We enjoyed, while it lasted, the annual ceremony and ritual of Christmas. Our family ritual of the season included a birthday celebration for Marge on the 27th. NO to combining!! Thinking back a bit into December, both girls had some form of gastrointestinal illness. Fortunately, it was quite mild and they recovered quickly. Although this was of short duration, Ingrid had some accompanist work to do for the school chorus and missed one performance. She did feel better the following day and made the next performance. A real musical Trouper!!! We were fortunate in not really suffering more in the cold/flu season.
December weather in eastern PA is often variable. Sometimes mild and no snow, but that was not was this December brought for us. No indeed! This year the weather was colder than in earlier years with some snow on the ground. White Christmas may sound nice in a song, or on a Xmas card, but snow must be removed, nonetheless. Ingrid wanted to earn some extra seasonal spending money and we agreed that I would pay her to shovel the drive. There was only a couple of inches of snow and she found it was more work than she anticipated. She finished the job, however, and learned something, and I got a break from shoveling.
Forty years ago there was no computer for home use. We, like most people, did have a typewriter and I experienced problems with the left margins. Ingrid was taking typing in High School and practiced at home. So the stress of extra typing required more adjustments. How different things were four decades ago.
Living in snow land did bring about auto problems not experienced in the Southwest. Rust and corrosion were a constant headache for car owners, almost everyone. For me, the Chevrolet needed a new exhaust system, pipe, muffler, and tailpipe. The pipes were constructed from steel that had two layers. Bad idea, I don’t know why and that design is now long gone. Probably some jerk in the South designed it. It was very bad on car bodies. A little paint chip would allow the salt from the road to ruin your car in a few years. I experienced exhaust trouble when I ran over a puddle of water in December. The shock of the cold water on the hot pipe caused the outside to contract, crimping the inside layer, resulting in back pressure so severe the car could hardly be driven. Midas Muffler did the work for $100, probably around $500 today. The work had to be done, I knew this from inspecting the system in detail. I disliked surprise expenses but did put some slack in the home budget to accommodate such happenings.
So what was interesting to me in the past year? Glad you asked that. I like to know how things work and signed up for a semester in auto repair, shade tree version. I did learn skills that I applied in caring for my vehicles.This experience gratified me by becoming being more self-sufficient. A very good and satisfying feeling. I am taking the next course, Marge is not due to conflicts with other plans of hers. A friend of ours took the course from another instructor and is taking the second, same as I am. I think we can share rides. He has a Ph.D. in metallurgy. I am a licensed engineer with two undergraduate and one graduate degree. We were overqualified in the theory department. The community college teaches practical skills which supplement academic education. I look forward to what I pick up the second semester.
I learned from one of my former colleagues at GAF in Binghamton that a mutual friend has left and now working in Phillipsburg, not too far from here. We have a tentative plan to get together some time.
Another event planned for Marge and I is Marriage Encounter. This is a weekend program sponsored by the Catholic church designed to help couples improve their married life. One of my engineers went through it and suggested it to me, as he felt it well worthwhile. I am sort of vague about details but several of our friends have been through it and raved about how great it was, so I thought why not. Marge and I discussed this and we decided to enroll. The program is filled well in advance. I think, from what I have learned, that more non-Catholics that R.C.s attend. After over 17 years of marriage, we have been through some bumpy patches of life, perhaps this will help smooth things out. This deserves a post by itself, so stay tuned.