Summer’s End 1978

September finds us enjoying the last warm weather of the season.  The weather in the early month was quite warm with temperature in the high 70’s. I like to work around the yard in shorts and soak up a few rays  while it is still there to enjoy.  The girls are back in school with Louise starting middle school (grade 6) and Ingrid is now a junior in high school. We have been thinking about college already, things of interest to her and also her very good academic record so far.  Hard to imagine but that is what parenting is.

Speaking now in 2020, this seems a long time ago in one sense but not another now that the girls are  well into middle age.  Marge and I  wanted the girls to grow up to their potential.  Back then there was a category named “gifted” for children that were definitely above average students. This was no surprise to us, we tried to encourage them so pursue things that interested them and support them in this.  Guess that worked out.

Vacation time is about over.  We did take a week and a day in July to go to Pat’s wedding in Syracuse and be house sitters. It was nice to go back to Syracuse again bringing back memories of our lives in college, newlyweds, etc.  I don’t believe I would like to return as that phase of life is over, and of course, the winters are harsher than in the Allentown area.

We did have a very nice week at Virginia Beach (actually Sandbridge) in August.  We and an other couple, the Herrings, rented a beach house for a week.  It was sight unseen so we took our chances but it was a very pleasant house, spacious enough for our two families.  The weather was hot and sunny, beautiful for a beach vacation.  I really like sunning and swimming in the surf at least for a week or so and the weather was great.  I did get hit with a jellyfish in the water and that stung but not too badly.  We did a bit of sightseeing and generally took it easy, a great time for all.  It was nice to have company and a different experience from camping in our trailer.  I looked forward to October as I have a trip to Dearborn, MI coming in late October.  This to attend a utility conference in which I have a part to play.  While there, I will take another day of vacation to tour the Ford Museum located there.

The vacation is still a pleasant memory to me. Even the jellyfish sting. I was into jogging then and would take a morning run of 4 miles in the sand. A great place for that. A present goal  is to walk 4 miles. The Herrings lived near us and we attended the same church in Coopersburg, PA.  I am pretty sure that one time some guy hit on Joanne Herring, she told him she’s married.  His response “too bad”.  That was a long time ago and the Herrings are but distant memories now, but pleasant ones. 

I bought a used 12 string guitar recently..  I have been playing at it but not practicing it as much as I should.  I enjoy music and should apply myself more than I have been. There is an informal group that meets at the church; another couple informally leads the music and I play along as well, not competent enough to lead.  I did sign up for a course at the “Y” for guitar playing but it was cancelled at the last minute. I guess the teacher backed out. That was dissapointing as I was looking forward to improving my technique, not just reading from a music book. Others in the family music scene finds Louise taking violin lessons and Ingrid is taking voice lessons.  I may have mentined that before. Louise is thinking of trying out for the school orchestra when that starts up.

We have a new addition to the family motor pool.  We bought a used 3/4 ton Chevrolet pickup truck.  It is a camper special which means it has a lot of heavy duty equipment on it as well as having the biggest engine made for this model truck.   It has a crew cab, that is another seat behind the front seat so there is no problem carrying all the famiy. It certainly has the promise of being a very appropriate tow car and we hope to use it as soon as we get a trailer hitch installed.  The truck is  very sound and has a nice interior but the body shows a bit of cancer though less than that for an average GM truck made in 1973.  I am going to see what I can do to reduce the cancer growth.  We bought the truck from a private individual who wanted to buy a different style truck but had to sell this one first.  As it turned out, he needed a car in the interim and bought our old 1970 Ford station wagon from us.  This was ideal for me as I got what I thought was a fair price for the Ford and didn’t have to fool around with a newspaper ad.  I cleaned and waxed it and fiberglassed the body cancer.  It looked pretty good when I got rid of it and I think it will be good transportation for him, but it is not a tow vehicle any more.

The truck was the first of many that I owned.  Marge and I went to visit the seller and so she got in and tried it too.  The owner was a bit surprised and said that she was the only woman that ever drove it.  I guess that was tacit admiration of her ability.  Marge was competent in many ways.  Of course I still miss her and enjoy these reminiscences.  I hope that comes across in these posts.  

I continue the running program I mentioned and now run about 3.5 miles a day and once a week I try to double that.  right now that is about the limit of what I can do without overstressing myself.  I really feel better for it and have some of the flabby muscles toned up and my resting heart rate has gone from about 80 to 60. I find this pleasant, especially in the morning when the sun is coming up.  Our locale is still rural around here with pheasants, rabbits, squirrels , as well as farm animals wandering around.  One does not notice these things from riding in a car and I feel more a part of our environment as I run. I expect to keep it up and we sill see how well I do in the cold weather. This may prove easier than the hot muggy weather of summer here.

I still try to take care of myself physically. No more running though at age 83.  At the time of this writing in 2020, I am about 10 pounds over what I want as I am getting tubby around the middle.  Some of this is due to being ill in November with bronchitis and I didn’t eat too well then.  Holiday season food added a few more pounds also.  When Marge was well she did sign up for Weight Watchers. It was a good program but for whatever reason she could not keep up the weight loss. I did join as well since they had some sort of promotional for signups by a member.  I was at least 25 pounds overweight due to a sedentary lifestyle after I retired and I did lose enough to be a lifetime member. Not that I go any more but I do try to keep in shape.

I am co-teaching a Sunday School class this year.  It is a small class with only 7 people in it.  The other teacher is the wife in the family that we were vacationing with.  She said she would not teach the class alone and asked me if I would help, so of course I said.  I am also teaching a PP&L  in-house statistics course at work on Friday afternoons for some of the staff in the office at work.  It is something different for me.  I do like teaching though I do not know if I would enjoy it as a full time occupation.

I mentioned in another post that I am a volunteer instructor at a continuing education program for seniors at the UNLV, University of Las Vegas Nevada.  So I got to be an educator anyhow.  I have a short cropped beard that at one time used to be dark brown. Oh well.  For a long time I also smoked a pipe and sometimes was asked if I was a professor.  There were many colleges and two universities in the area where we lived. Not like here in Las Vegas where there are 4 times as many people living.  things have improved over the 40 years I have lived here though, that is something and I have a very tiny part in it.

Marge and I still continue taking dancing lessons and are making some progress there.  We still haven’t found a really nice spot to go dancing; I guess it is just a matter of trial and error of looking around until we do.

Dorney Park in Allentown did open a disco dance hall in what I think was once a skating rink.  Mirrored globe overhead and all.  We went once and I did like it but not Marge.  I think to her dance was more of personal expression rather than a skill to be practiced and enjoyed for that. Like a sport. So, that ended that, too bad as I had hopes but…..

Dorney Park as it is now.  Good-bye disco.

We bought a microve oven this summer.  It is Sear’s version of a Litton.  It has a two stage memory control as well as a temperature probe that lets you set the temperature at the desired end point wished.  It is a luxury item but we do use it quite a bit.  The biggest thing we have cooked was a turkey ( actually  half of a turkey). I was surprised to learn about the things that you can do such as cooking corn on the cob  and heating drinks that one can’t do with a regular oven.  We also got the dehumidifier for the basement fixrd.  This does really make quite a difference, especially in the humid days of summmer. We are also going to put storm windows in our dining room this year to cut down on the winter wind blowing from the prevailing direction.  I was going to do this myself but couldn’t find one the correct size, so I painted the window frames which was necessary anyway.  Life is good, we look forward to fall.

So, another random walk along life of a middle class professional  family in the suburbs.  It was a good life, a meaningful life too.  


Spock philosophy






About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Pennsylvania, Relationships, Summer vacations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Summer’s End 1978

  1. Farrow J. Smith says:

    Hi Bob, thanks for including me in your email and bringing me up to date which I enjoyed reading.
    My wife, Grace, passed away this past May which you most likely know. I am still living here at Las
    Ventanas the past 7 years which I am sure you know. I turned 91 this past October and this place suits me, especially since I no longer drive. I am fortunate my two sons, two granddaughters and four great granddaughters all live here. We moved here in 1970 from Beaufort, SC. Pastor has a weekly bible class here and church services twice each month. I still think of the old days.

    • R. F. says:

      Thanks Farrow, I did get to Grace’s service. Marge and I were married 52 years. I still miss her and it took me about a year to get through the worst of the grief process. I am sure you miss Grace a lot. I am 83 now and do my best to take care of myself. Janet Rohde and I frequently do things together which is nice for both of us. I am glad you like Ventanas, must know a lot of people there now. Happy New Year and maybe we can get together if OK with you.

  2. Louise says:

    I enjoy your 2020 comments on the old family newsletter 🙂

    • R. F. says:

      I got the idea from you really. I got to thinking why am I doing this and what do these memories mean to me. this was an attempt to do that and I have got some likes from totally unknown people, so might just be something there.

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