Self Reflection

Following is a highly abridged article by Steve Kalas, from the LV Review Journal. –

“Couplehood provides the missing pieces and psychic injuries we sustain in our upbringing. Our parents are imperfect and we bring with us into any relationship the gifts and wounds of childhood. Our intimacy brings to the fore the dramas of injustice, insecurity, egos and fears still unresolved from our past. Intimate couplehood is designed to do this, the provocation is built-in to marriage. Marriage is “a people growing thing” a good thing, though sometimes decidedly uncomfortable. Most of the time the discomfort is not evidence that your marriage isn’t working but precisely that it is. Marriage confronts us with the work of selfhood, sometimes hard work.”

So it was with Marge and I, and in these posts, I try to express our hard work in sustaining our 55 years.

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Holiday Season 1978


My reflections on and comments about the past. The text was written wrote long ago to communicate with friends and distant family.  The italized text is commentary now about the events of long ago.

We drove up to Syracuse to visit Pat and Adam and their family for Thanksgiving.  we did run into a bit of snow both going and coming but nothing serious to speak of.  We have not had snow in Allentown yet but expect it soon.  We have had a very pleasant fall here this year and hope that winter will follow suit.

wedding photo

Marge at Pat’s wedding

Thanksgiving is now over and  we are again getting into the Christmas season with things hoped for but not yet done.  Marge has not been too well this month and our activities have been a bit curtailed. She pinched a nerve in her back and then got a cold which has brought with it quite a cough.  We were concerned that it might turn into be pneumonia and are watching it.  Louise also has a persistent cough and is slowly getting over it. Ingrid did have a bad cough and sore throat so quit taking voice lessons for a while.  We hope she will resume  now that she is feeling better. I have been in pretty good shape so far, a bad day now or then, but nothing serious.  Winter colds are common and it seemed like that was our experience.

I do remember the Syracuse visit somewhat.  During the time when Pat was married to her first husband Paul we often visited each other’s home over Thanksgiving. Now remarried we are not quite so close. Pleasant memories of family get-together times.  Our children  were roughly in the same age group and got along well.  Families were, and are important to us and I have pleasant memories of personally keeping in touch.  In 1964, we  moved from Syracuse, NY  to Binghamton, NY and then to Allentown, PA.  For anybody not from the area, we were then about 210 miles away.  Keeping in touch is getting more difficult but mobility is a way of life for many and, in retrospect, we were fortunate in being able to move as opportunities presented themselves.

Well, I am officially an engineer now.  I received my notification since I last wrote that I passed my Professional Engineer’s exam and am now duly licensed.  It is more symbolic than practical. Nevertheless it was an accomplishment that I Had set out to achieve. I was very pleased that it came about, though I did not have any doubts in my mind about the outcome of the exam.

The company I worked for, PP&L had an unwritten understanding that an engineer did not even rise to become Senior Engineer without a license.  Much less so to a management position.  I was hired ten years after graduation and came in sort of by way of a side door.  The other managers in the department I worked in were all licensed and I felt I was at least equal to them.  Studying for this exam for a year was the path to prepare myself for the exam 20 years after graduation.  I was proud of myself in this accomplishment.  .  .I still am and the Certificate of Registration is framed and hangs in my office at home.  I can still see it as I type. I still feel pride.

I had a trip to Dearborn, Michigan in October.  I was attending a seminar on the subject of maintenance management in electric utilities.  I was not a speaker this year but served as a facilitator and moderator for a session. It was a pretty good seminar with about 150 in attendance.

We were almost across the street from the Ford Museum and Dearborn Village. If I had travelled all this way to visit the museum I would probably have been disappointed.   The automobile and train exhibits are good but the rest was mediocre in my opinion.  I guess a lot of it was being remodeled judging from what we were told at the entrance.  It still took the morning and into the afternoon  to see what we could and by that time I was tiring.  I also had a short (1 hr.) tour of a Ford Mustang assembly line. That was informative and interesting but I was glad I don’t have to work there.

Back home finds us putting money into the truck as part of getting it ready  as a tow vehicle.  We had a trailer hitch installed. Fortunately we could use our old brake controller and transmission cooler so we didn’t have to get all new parts.  We got new brakes, battery, and tailpipe and at inspection time I have been changing filters and doing tune-up work. After some body repair work is done we should have a vehicle we will be in shape for a trip later next year. The problem with do-it-yourself maintenance is that I can’t get it done in my garage do to the truck’s size and it is getting cold outside.  So, I hope for relatively warm weekends.

For me working on the cars was another source of pride.  This time pride in being able to do hands-on work as well as being a licensed engineer.  I never wanted to get involved in automotive work as a hobby, but I wanted to  understand the fundamentals of keeping the vehicle looking and running well. 

I have been keeping at my guitar playing and maybe improving a little bit. I hope I can take new lessons next year. Marge’s back has been bothering her so we have dropped out of dancing lessons but have gone out a few times in October. Colder weather has taken its toll on my exercise program.  I have not been getting out running every day and I can feel the difference. I do try, however to get at least a long walk on the weekends.

The Sunday School teaching project has been cancelled for me since our class has dwindled down to an attendance of about 3 on a good day and 1 on a bad day. This is, I hope, not a measure of the instruction but due to a small group in the first place.  Some of the children who came were from families whose parents did not attend this church,  or from divorced parents who  went to different churches and so we did not have as many as expected. So, the other person is doing the program as it is silly to have the teachers outnumber the students.

I put in storm windows in our dining room this year as a home improvement project.  The real test will be when we have a strong wind from the west, which is the prevailing breeze in the winter.  These would really blow cold air into the dining room.  I am glad we haven’t got any yet, but I would also like to see how well the windows do under stress.  I also went around all the windows and caulked all the visible cracks.  My other home improvement  project was to plant some Juniper in front of the house.  I had some holly which did all right until last year, at which time the rabbits or some other animal ate almost all the bark off. Some survivors did not look all that good. So, I replaced them with Juniper which grows well and won’t be eaten.

We had a quiet celebration of my birthday with some friends over for coffee and cake and a little picking and singing.  The next year will be something to look forward to, and that is ten years service at PP&L.  With that will come vesting of my pension rights and another week’s vacation, though this will not be until September.

The girls continue to do well in school.  Louise is in Middle Schoo now and they have a Gifted Program, but I do not think it will be as good as the elementary school program.Ingrid is taking a college level English course that is offered by the High School in conjunction with the local community college.  Enrollment is limited and of course we are glad for her achievement at being selected.  Right now she is agonizing over a term paper.

Marge on bedside

These newsletters were intended to communicate the experiences of our family but I recognize now that most of it has been about me.  I say this with regret as about the only time I spoke of Marge it has been commentary on her health, or lack of it.  She was very active as a volunteer at our small local library.  She loved books and words.  She took a book mending course and volunteered to repair people’s treasured books, especially bibles.  She took a course in stained glass art and made several pieces approximately the dimension of a human hand with fingers outstretched. I have these displayed on the windows of the dining nook in our kitchen. Marge was very involved in a home church movement which was active in this time period.  There is a technical term for this but I can’t remember it now.  We both attended the Coopersburg Moravian Church nearby and she also was involved in home church worship.  This was not for me though.  Though she was baptized already, she wanted to experience immersion baptism.  I recall being in a car with another couple driving to a location in Philadelphia were immersion baptisms were being conducted.  It was a very large venue in a building.  I am hyper vigilant and get vey anxious in any setting where I cannot easily exit. I was uncomfortable being in this strange location with a lot of people I didn’t know and an experience I was not familiar with.  I knew how important this baptism was for Marge and was with some breathing techniques was able to get through it OK as I wanted to be supportive.  

I think I already mentioned that I bought a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible for Marge. It had a color that looked sort of like peas soup green. I had it repainted a beautiful metallic blue and also replaced the top including the plastic rear window. The photo below is one I found on the internet which looks just like ours.  A beautiful car for a beautiful lady.


1967 Mustang





Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

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





Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Pennsylvania, Relationships, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

My 2019 Christmas Novella

Happy Holidays


Janet and cat Jerry.

Janet and her pet cat Jerry.

My Friend Janet and I both live alone and have known each other for years. We have many common interests and enjoy each others company.We went to two of the MET on HD movie operas in December, which we enjoy and look forward to throughout the Met season.

We  went to a  Lutefisk dinner in early December. Lutefisk is a Scandinavian fish specialty, just FWI.

Lutefisk forever. Sweden & Denmark

Dinner table at the Lutefisk dinner, a good turnout.

This is put on by  a Son’s of Norway lodge but attracts Scandinavians from other countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, our lineage.



My friend Dee

Lunch in December

My friend Dee moved here about 3 years ago. She  and I having lunch at a restaurant she wanted to try. Dee and I go to the same church, usually sitting together and having coffee after.  Sometimes we go to lunch, such as here.We had  plenty to eat, take outs for both of us and bones for her dog.  What a bargain. What a bargain.

Janet and I had a Christmas Eve dinner at her home on the 24th and I shared Christmas dinner with her, her son Bill and one of his friends.  That was a nice time and I enjoyed it. Janet and I went to another Lutefisk dinner on the 26nd of Jan.I finished the year with a small  party at Janets home.

We did not have a Christmas together as a family due to schedules but planned a get together in January at  my daughter Ingrid’s. January began with a trip to Sacramento to celebrate our somewhat belated holiday season at Ingrids home. We spent several days together, at home, at church and touring in Sacramento.

I had  a major home expense in January as the entire water treatment system had to be replaced.  It was the original one when we bought in 2000 so I guess we got out moneys worth out of that.  I had some minor home improvement done including putting photo ledges in the room where I show photos that I like without having to hang them on the wall. I will expand this later in the year.

My Photo wall at home

I had my annual Photo Dermatology treatment, also known as the Blue Light treatment in February.  The purpose of this is to destroy any pre-cancerous cells on my face.  Much better than past treatments with rather caustic prescription chemotherapy salves.

February was cold and icy here, very strange.  Below is a picture of the street in front of my house.


This is  my granddaughter Carina in March. She was working on gathering data on water usage and depletion so we made a trip to Boulder City to go down to the dam and the docking area for pleasure boats on Lake Mead.

Carina Julig

Pizza for two


Lake Mead

I went to visit my daughter Ingrid in Sacramento. I like Sacramento as a city; it  has plenty of interesting things to do and see there.  And of course it is nice to spend time with Ingrid enjoying coffee outdoors and a local theater production in Sacramento.

I started the process for installing solar panels on my roof. The state of NV initiated a program as a result of a statewide initiative last year providing incentives to sign up for solar.     This is good for the ecology and I believe will prove to be cost effective for me.

Bob & Dee at St. Andrew church after cleanup

Our church, St Andrew Lutheran had a luncheon and Dee and I stayed to help the cleanup ladies.

Louise came to visit me in April.  we had great weather and took these photos in the high end mall near me, Downtown Summerlin.

We also took a day trip to Pahrump a small rather rambling city in the next county. Coffinwood is business that makes custom coffins. We hoped to visit but found we needed an appointment.  Oh well, here are also some shots of a little cafe we had lunch at..

April was not very special. Visits to two of my medical team, take my cat Mocha to the vet as she now has feline kidney disease. Not too bad and the treatment is a specialty cat food designed for this purpose.

May is much the same with continued yard work and an eye exam at the VA.  I am pleased with my treatment at the VA and for glasses; they are basically free as compared with at least $500 out of pocket.  Janet and I go to another Met on HD presentation at our favorite theater for that.

Solar panel installation has started and of course some unexpected details to be taken care of them, but nothing major.

June moves along with a visit to my new Heart and Vascular doctor as my old one is not an insurance provider. I also have an outpatient treatment called “nerve burning.” for my back. Janet drove me down and waited until I was released.  I have had back pains, not to serious but annoying for some time. Nerve burning basically short circuits, for  while the nerve that is sending the message to me.  I have done this before and is does help. I have dinner at Janet’s one evening which is always pleasant and often means leftovers for me.

In July I made several visits to Senior communities, as they are called for independent living of even assisted care.  I don’t have a need at the moment, and hope I never do but I wanted to get a feel for how these outfits worked.  At my age, anything can happen and best be prepared in that eventuality. I did learn a lot and have a collection of brochures in my files.

I followed this up with a trip to Encinitas to visit Louise and also make visits with the two of us to different Communities in that area.  If necessary, it would be nice to be near one of my children.  Louise is self employed while Ingrid has a day job and is not as flexible.  She did look at one place in Sacramento though.

Dee, her son and I skip the church coffee hour in August and have brunch at a restaurant near me that I like, Brio.

Solar generation finally became a reality for me in August and I look forward to seeing how this all plays out, though I have no doubts.

I had another nerve burning treatment in late September.  The insurance allows this treatment twice a year and I try to achieve this.  Janet again drove me down to the surgery center and waited for me to be discharged and take me back home.  I really appreciate this.

My former neighbor Tom Scharf was here for a short time and we had a nice visit to catch up again.

I have owned a two manual Rodgers organ since 2001.  There is no longer an amateur organist community, I guess that hobby is in the past.  So the time is here to get rid of my organ. I donated it to the AGO (American Guild of Organists) for their use and it went to a deserving student who could not afford to buy an organ. Good all around. A woman and her husband are AGO volunteers who have the skills and equipment to pick up and deliver the organ.

My Rodgers organ which I enjoyed for many years

The couple taking the organ to its new home. Hope the young man enjoys it too.


October moves along with much the same. Trips to the VA hospital, two to my own medical team and a start with Physical Therapy for my back. Will see how that works out. I am presenting a semester on the films of Clint Eastwood which is working well for all. The Met season is opening and Janet and I made a day of it to the theater that shows it. We end this with lunch and time together at her home.

I went to the Veterans cemetery in early November to freshen Marge’s grave site with flowers.  Couldn’t make a selfie but a guy in the next session came over and took a few shots for me. Nice of him.

Summerlin Hospital Emergency Room

The rest of the month was not good as I came down with bronchitis.  I thought it was just a cold or air pollution but it got worse. I went to the ER of my hospital of choice and they diagnosed it as bronchitis and gave me some meds to treat it.  All the coughing damaged my throat and my voice was impaired, and still is a bit. At least it is stabilized.

Ingrid came to visit me for a few days on my 83rd birthday, the 13th. I was still getting over the last of the bronchitis but still a bit tired from it all.  She made some great vegetarian meals and also did some touring. One site was the Old Morman Fort, first building here in Las Vegas.  We also went to the Atomic Bomb Museum and also to an art exhibit in a major library. The poster exhibit celebrates 50 years of the Follies at the Tropicana casino.

Dee and I at lunch

Dee and I had made a date in the month to have lunch at a Greek restaurant near her that we both like.  This is a selfie she took as I am not very good at these.  It was a great lunch together.

Jim, Louise and I

Daughter Louise and her husband Jim came down for Thanksgiving. I got the food and wine ahead of time and she did the cooking.  We had a short visit but so nice being together and really thankful for our family.

Odile is French Canadian and was a neighbor of mine for a few years.  She moved away and we lost contact but recently just happened to bump into each other in the parking lot of a local strip mall. Since the Christmas season is here, I invited her to come to the AGO Advent recital at the UNLV organ here in Las Vegas.  It was well done and we enjoyed a few munchies before coming home.  A friend is visiting her and took the photos above.

I am a volunteer movie instructor at UNLV here in Las Vegas.   I enjoy sharing my interest in movies and teach a course every semester.

Another ongoing activity is taking several free courses in a nearby Apple store.  Following is a slide show of some of  my photos.

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Thats enough for this year.  It was much better than last. Odile commented that if I hadn’t been in good general health last year the pneumonia  might have killed me.  So now, every day is a bonus day. Hope the same for one and all. Have a great 2020!!!

Spock philkosophy



Posted in Hospital, ER, drugs, Las Vegas, photos, Relationships, Vegas 2010-2020 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vacation Over

Marge’s trip to Florida in the summer of ’78 is now over. She did a great job towing the trailer all the way down and back, to say nothing of living in it with the girls in the summer.  They came back in the early part of August, but I didn’t get around to writing about it.  Better late than never as the old saying goes.  It was great to have all of us together again! The educational part of the journey seems to have been a success.  That is immersion in Spanish. The girls took part as well.  Ingrid is taking Spanish II this year along with German II which she started in the regular language program at school.  She is the only one who has done follow-up language study and practice though. I did buy a short-wave radio with the thought that Marge could keep up with some of the Spanish programs.  That didn’t work out as planned though.  I have been a “radio bug” since high school and did enjoy some short wave listening on the ham and commercial bands.

Aristocrat Trailer

Going back to the Florida story; the trailer sprung a leak and rained on Ingrid, or at least dripped on her when it rained, which it did about every day.  This is typical of Florida and I don’t think I could stand to live there myself. Some of the people down there tried to stop it with some sort of paint on the roof, but that didn’t really work completely.  Eventually, after they reached home I fixed it by removing all the old sealing compound around a roof vent and re-sealing it with roofing cement.  Mr. Jack of all Trades I guess.

With the girls back, we went to the Jersey shore for a week which was our summer vacation for this year. The weather was pleasant and we went to the beach several times.  We also took a trip to a local reconstructed glass-making village in New Jersey. That was informative and a pleasant outing. I always liked the shore and the ocean, but a week at a time is about the practical limit.

I do have a frog story to share.  Florida has some very small, perhaps tiny frogs about the size of two joints on your little finger if you have small hands.  One of these hitched a ride north in the trailer and was still alive when we took the trip to New Jersey.  These frogs have a tremendous frog croak roughly about like a good sized dog bark.  Really!! Our resident Froggie started to sing his song which surprised us almost as much as our neighbors who easily heard it.  Marge located it in a track that was part of our door.  She escorted it outside so he could do his best, maybe even find a girl frog who liked the sound.  We will never know; we did what we could.

The Ford is showing its age and the brakes do not feel as sound as they should.  We did have it looked at in the garage and they worked on the car but it still does not seem as good as it should be. We went to a local campground over Labor Day and unfortunately, a rear bearing in the car failed and the axle seized up.  Fortunately, we were with friends who helped me get to  my garage and back.   By the time this was repaired the cost was about $150.  I think the ford is about at the end of the line for duty as a tow vehicle.  I am going to take a chance and do some modifications on the Chevrolet. It has low mileage for its age and it may be able to use as a tow vehicle rather than buying a new/newer car for use as a tow vehicle.

I used my amateur band radio that I build and am quite pleased with it, especially on trips. The radio is company and takes the monotony of driving around PA on business. Marge now accepts this.  Initially, she foresaw me hunched over my radio, neglecting her and the girls.  I don’t know where this came from but we got over this phase. My main reason for building it was for company when I took road trips.  I have a company car and the radio is easy to plug into the cars cigar lighter for power and I have a magnetic antenna that I mount on the roof of the car.  Easy on, easy off.  I thought about working on my code and maybe going for the next class license; that could be a good cold weather project.

We tried tennis lessons and finished the short course.  It didn’t really amount to anything, I think due to us not having a tennis court near us to practice. Marge and I both joined the Moravian church choir.  We have attended for some time now and we both like choral singing.  They wanted a tenor and I am a bass. The director did seem to appreciate new voices.  Marge has a good solid alto voice and this is now our contribution to involvement in the church; and activity that is enjoyable for both of us.

I had a trip to Harrisburg a little while ago and took Marge with me.  We stayed at a quite nice motel and ate at a Japanese restaurant. This was, for us, unusual and interesting.  Instead of tables, there were as best I can describe it, steel grills surrounded on three sides with wooden counters.  This was the eating area.  The cook came with the food for dinner, turned the heat up on the grill and cooked it in front of us and then served it to us.

Some of the cooks were very showy as they flashed their knives, cooked and seasoned the food.  Our cook was not very showy but the food was good and the experience was very pleasant for both of us.

We made some changes in the layout of the living room and find that now we use it quite regularly; while before it had been more or less wasted space. The family room in the rear would get quite crowded and junky looking occasionally. I have to do some work on the TV antenna system and that should improve our TV watching.

For the outside, we got some ground cover plants for around the house.  I got small ones in 1-gallon pots because (1) the cost is less and (2) it is much less work for me planting them, especially in our hard and rocky soil.

Did I mention earlier that I made some rhubarb wine?  I think so but not certain. One gallon came out quite nice but the other is somewhat cloudy.  I think I left the rhubarb and sugar in the first stage of fermenting a day too long resulting in a cloudy batch. I  think I can filter the clouds out.  I got some Concord grapes last week and am in the process of making a batch of Concord wine.  I haven’t made that in a while and look forward to this.

I am going to an amateur radio conference next week and our family is going camping for the last time the following weekend. then I hope to be able to get some free firewood for the picking up and then cutting that into pieces. That will take me into October. In October I have a business trip to Duke Power in Charlotte.  Later in the month, I have a speech to present at a Utility conference in Scottsdale, AZ.  I really anticipate both trips.

I plan to make some bookcases and cabinets for the house.  I really appreciate being able to do build things with my hands.  I enjoy my work as a manager, and cabinet carpentry gives me another way to express my interests. So you can see I have quite a few projects lined up for fall and early winter in addition to the everyday things that have to be taken care of.


Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

July 1978

I have been very negligent, but as the old saying goes, Better Late Than Never.  So, here goes: We enjoyed a pleasant spring, too bad I didn’t capture it in writing.  June was very enjoyable, maybe so much that I sloughed off in my writing. The weather was agreeable, not too hot, not too cold.  We did have a short cold snap in late June.  Perhaps a wake-up call to remind us how much we like living here.

School is over and the girls, as usual, did well.  We are so proud that they are progressing in life. Louise is going to a Mennonite camp with a girl she knows and we are all looking forward with her in that experience. The grade school here has a three-week program in August involving taking trips to see different sites in the area and Louise enrolled in it.  We are fortunate in having a school district that reflects our locale.  That is, suburban and moderately upscale.  NOT a gargantuan district that is an amalgam of backgrounds and interests serving no one well. Louise is still taking violin lessons; and with the camp and school trips, she is quite occupied learning about our area history, socializing at the Mennonite camp, etc.

Ingrid has no particular summer plans, though we hope she can fit in her driving practice for driver training so she can qualify for her license through that program. When I was her age I was more interested in the subject than she is now. I didn’t get my license until I was in college and could practice with a friend.  So now I am quite interested in the Driver Training program which I did not have than Ingrid is now. I hope she does satisfactorily finish the program. When she gets her license, that will drop many taxi trips for Marge and I if she can drive herself; Marge and I look forward to that.

Ingrid is taking voice lessons from a teacher in Bethlehem who teaches voice at Moravian College in Bethlehem (a four-year college). She has a good singing voice which will improve more with technique training.  Ingrid is also going to take part in a college level English program taught next year for selected H.S. students.  Both girls are intellectually   “Gifted” a School District recognition indicating they are both much above average in intelligence and ability.

I have made a few trips.  I had a small speaking engagement at an industry seminar in Chicago in early May.  PP&L paid for my expenses and it was a good visit.  I enjoy speaking about subjects and projects I managed at PP&L.  I went to Dearborn, Michigan as part of the planning committee for an industry seminar in October.  I am going to be a speaker at one session and flew into Detroit.  Dearborn has several attractions itself and I did some tourist activity when there.  I really enjoyed a trip to Tampa Florida at the end of the week before Memorial Day. I made a long weekend of the trip which was delightful.  The reason for this trip was an invitation to visit Tampa Electric since they initiated a program similar to the one I supervised at PP&L  My counterpart at Tampa visited here several times so I welcomed the opportunity to take this visit paid for by PP&L. My Tampa buddy is a sailboat enthusiast and charted a 27′ sailboat.  We had three really beautiful days sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. That could easily become habit-forming. I had a great time.

Recently I went to Poughkeepsie, NY to visit a counterpart at Central Hudson Power to exchange some information and discuss the program planned for October.  Last and certainly not least, Marge and I both went to Williamsburg, VA. I went to a trade show of utility vehicles and equipment.  This is tangential to my main area of responsibility but PP&L did authorize the trip.  We had made a family trip to Williamsburg before on a vacation and there were still some places Marge wanted to visit so she did that now.  This was the first trip that we made leaving the girls at home alone. They are responsible and trustworthy.

The flip side of that coin was an opportunity for Marge and me to be together.  That evening we started the evening with cocktails and a very good dinner.  After that, we went back to our room and enjoyed a very long and VERY delightful time together.

The trip back was very stressful for a while. This resulted from the worst rainstorm or squall I have ever been in.  It was almost like a whiteout from the snow in winter, perhaps worse but with cautious driving, we left the rain squall safely and returned home.  The weather was still rainy though not severe, just fall weather.

Now news from the health front: I had my eyes examined as it was about 6 years since my last exam and my vision was slightly worse, though not bad. I needed new glasses anyway as a while ago they broke at the bridge. I purchased a new frame, but it does not fit comfortably. I have a broad nose and not easy to fit with new frames.  I get glasses from my optometrist and they probably cost more than from a walk-in store.  Even so, they always need some custom fitting to be satisfactory and I suppose the extra cost is worth it.  I showed no eye health problems, such as glaucoma and I am glad to have eye concerns completed.

I experienced for the first time in my life a complete hearing exam.  This included both audiometric and medical tests.  The results from the exam were the news that I have nerve damage and a permanent hearing loss at frequencies above 3000 cycles and this is not treatable.  As a child, I had earaches severe enough to have the family doctor come to the house. So, the news from this exam was not really a surprise. The “good” news was that most speech is below the 3000 cycle limit.  Some sounds known as unvoiced consonants such as P and T cause some difficulty.  Hearing aids just amplify sound and would not help me. Something to watch, perhaps technology will improve in time.

Hay fever has been the bane of my existence as long as I can remember.  This is mostly a late summer occurrence, although I have tried to stay inside most of the summer when possible.  Since I was a junior in High School I have worked summers as a cook in a restaurant, or preferably a resort to avoid being outdoors. The family doctor gave me some medicine to take which I started in March to build up some resistance.  It seems to be working. I have been increasingly aware of minor aches and pains and shortness of breath.  Of course, I am getting older but I didn’t just accept that totally. SO, I have started a program of running, jogging really.  Some of the others in the office have done this and they do look better. I have never had a problem with weight and I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. I believe I am better off than many men my age but there is room for improvement in personal fitness.  So, I have started in warm weather so I can continue when fall and maybe even winter comes along.  That’s a reasonable goal.

An unwritten law at PP&L is that an engineer can’t progress to a Senior level, much less promotion to Manager without a license.  I came from the outside and had no need to become licensed.  I regarded myself as at least equal in mental capacity as the other managers in my department, but I didn’t have the official State certificate.  So, I enrolled in a year-long preparatory course at Lehigh University and took my Professional Engineer’s exam on June 24, twenty years after graduation. The exam was held in Philadelphia and it took 8 hours to complete. I went to bed early so I could drive down and get to the examination site.  I didn’t sleep well that night and, review classes or not, it is a long time since I have had to sit through an exam.

I felt that I did satisfactorily on the exam.  It will be late summer until I hear from the state how I did. It graded on a pass-fail system. I believe I will make out OK, but there is always the possibility that I misinterpreted some of the questions.  I got home about 5 pm, ate dinner and collapsed on the couch in the family room.  I slept until mid-morning the next day.  I was more tense than I thought and Marge told the girls to just let me be.

Marge and I had dinner and drinks not long ago a cocktail lounge and while there I commented on the dancers.  Perhaps we could take lessons and go dancing now and then.  I never did dance much and was not very good at that.  Now I have fewer inhibitions or unwarranted notions of my dignity or whatever…. We had one lesson and I think it will work out fairly nicely.  It is something we can do together without either one being the expert.

We are going to a place a little south of Virginia Beach in August, but no other specific vacation plans. Louise’s activities took up five of the summer weeks which was fine as nobody else had any particular interests. We are going to rent a beach house on an island with another couple.  It is sight unseen, but the literature looked good and is probably like countless other seaside villages.  We can’t go too far wrong unless we get some bad weather.  August is usually not as good a time for doing this but was the only time we could all get together.  Also, the weather will be a bit warmer than in July and the water pleasureable. That’s it for now.





Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, Relationships, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Winter 1978

Mid January was very cold and stormy for us, most of the East coast really, and it was a challenge but we were pretty well set for it.   As in the past we did experience power outages, but what else is new at this time of year.  We did learn something from earlier power outages.  Sterno to the rescue!!  We bought a new Sterno stove, alcohol for the burner and a Coleman lantern.

Much snow came to us on January 20. I was not able to drive to work. There was about a foot of snow, which is a lot for this area.  Not like upstate NY when the road snow blowers handle that much snow with ease.  The road was plowed in the afternoon. So what next? I discovered after I got out that I had a flat tire and was really stuck.  I had a company car and there was not a spare snow tire in it.  I pulled off the road best I could and let it sit there.  This did upset some people, but I could not drive it back home without help.  The Town police officer did come over with a four-wheel drive vehicle and with his help was back in my drive in about 5 minutes.  What a relief!!

And now after about a month of our furnace not functioning quite right, I installed a new relay and it now works properly. Another home improvement was a Radio Shack stereo that I bought from a guy at work.  It is almost new and works better than my old one, so an improvement in listening.

The girls were out of school for 3 out of 5 days due to the weather.  Louise has a cough but it was not serious, quite thankfully. As a break from shoveling snow, therapy or who knows what, I started building a scale model of a Black Plymouth coupé like my first car back in college.  Very nostalgic…fond memories of time in that car.

February brings yet more snow, not good.  We had the most snow so far than we have had in the 8 years since we moved here.  I even missed a day of work. Yet again, the road was not plowed but I took the car out anyway only to find that yet again I had a flat tire after I got stuck.  The car was a company car and the PP&L garage found that the rim had bent and this was the cause of repeat problems.

After the snow the weather warmed and rained.  Woe, Woe, what next?  We had water in the basement from the rain.  Almost Biblical travails this winter. The floor drain and the sump pump took care of the water but…what if we have another power outage?  Another possibility is that the septic system would saturate and back up. It didn’t though, but I did get up in the wee hours of the am , ready for the worst.

Marge and I  enjoyed a pleasant evening with another couple that we know.  We went to an amateur dinner theater production in Allentown.  The food and service were good and the production was enjoyable as well.  Something to do again when an opportunity arises.  And now the winter mini-plague, a cold or touch of the flu.  As usual I had a stiff neck and back as well as a headache.

For home improvement we purchased new carpeting for the family room.  The room does look better but we still need to get a pad for it in the not too distant future.

Mid February brought more snow to our area.  On the 7th we had yet another storm and this time I did get out of our drive but I had to back up because of the road being plugged up with snow drifted by the winds.  I did get to work in the afternoon and the city did a better job on the road’s snow removal that they did before. This weather is not routine for us but they did learn from the earlier experience.  Louise and Ingrid had more time off from school due to all the snow days.  More snow days that the district planned for for and so some holidays will have to be trimmed to get the required instruction days for the year.  We all hope that we will be able to have our regular Easter vacation but that is too early to know at this time.  We will see.

News from the culture front.  Marge and I went to see a production of Ibsen’s “A doll’s House” at the Rodale theater in Allentown. We went on the final night of the production and the company played to a full house.  We both enjoyed the play and I imagine it was more controversial when it was first produced.  The theater is having a bit of difficulty making a success of the venture.  They may have been overoptimistic about the potential for a new venture with a minimum of marketing.  Marge and I both hope they will make a go of it.

We did have a pleasant Washington’s birthday weekend.  We had a visit by Marge’s sister Pat, Adam, her fiancé and children Kathleen and Scott.  Adam seems personable and pleasant company and we did have a nice visit.  I hope everything works out well for them. No reason to suspect otherwise but “getting to know you” can sometimes be difficult for anyone.

As a Washington celebration, we took a trip down to Washington’s Crossing on the Delaware River.  We had not been there in some time and the park had additions and more displays since last visit.  Quite historical as is much of  this area.

In the evening we went to the dinner theater for a showing of the “Fantasticks” which we all enjoyed.

At last we experienced our first warm spell of the year and enjoyed weather into the 40’s. so much for the good news but…… which formed earlier had pushed up the flashing in the roof.  The water which was released by the thaw worked backward and into the upper house walls in some locations. I spent most of the day Saturday, as well as Sunday morning on the roof chipping ice.  I did remove it, but the water that came downward made the floor buckle up in some locations.  What next?  No more I hoped.

I made repairs by cutting into the floor, nailing down the subfloor and replacing the oak parquet floor blocks. We did not have costly damage, nothing that I could not handle by myself.  That took otherwise personal time and effort but the job got done.  I truly believe it looked quite good when I finished, especially considering how it looked after it buckled.

On Ingrid’s birthday the two of us went out for dinner together.  We planned to see “Close Encounters” but there was a long line at the theater. We went home and Ingrid and I went on Sunday afternoon.  We both enjoyed the father and daughter “movie date.”

On that note, Happy 1978 Easter.




Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

January 1978

Happy New Year! Pretty trite but expected. Is this a good time for resolutions? Better than none at all. I think we should have goals in life to avoid muddling and drifting along, flotsom&jetsom in the sea of life. What’s mine? Being a better communicator, spoken and written. Being more understanding, especialy of Marge. We didn’t send out any Christmas Cards last year. Why? Not on any matter of principle, just plain laziness and we didn’t get around to it.

I forgot to mention earlier that I had a trip to Charlotte, NC. This was a business trip for PPL, the power company I worked for. I learned about a piece of construction machinery the utility there purchased and thought highly of. This was a cable plow for underground construction.

I found a telephone number and called. The response was very prompt and polite. Good old Southern hospitality. Duke Power invited us to visit which was great. I said I would pitch the invitation to my boss and get back to my host.

You ask. What is this wonder machine? This is a piece of heavy-duty construction equpment that rips up soil to depths of at least three feet. At the same time, it feeds in the electrical cable. This automates the conventional method of digging a trench and laying the cable in, then closing the trench. A big time and money saver.

The trip was a success. Ed, my manager, is going to get behind the process to buy a plow. The only thing that was a bit unpleasant was me getting mildly ill in our afternoon session. Probably something I ate didn’t agree with me. I recovered in a few hours. Then dinner and a flight home in the evening.

Comes fall and I get an all expense paid trip to Phoenix AZ.  The occasion is an industry conference and I am one of the speakers.  I enjoy stuff like this, not just a great place but I do like to talk publicly and I was a speaker.  I was in High School plays and had a course in public speaking at PP&L as part of a speakers bureau. Back to Phoenix…we stayed in a great hotel and the weather..BEAUTIFUL, I could get used to this.

Back  in PA the state had one hellacious storm.  The leaves were still on the trees and the snow which was damp clung to the leaves adding a lot of weight.  Trees came down everywhere taking power lines with them.  I called home and things were OK there and I was thankful for that.

I enjoyed doing things with my hands and completed an excellent woodworking class in Allentown. It is one thing being a department manager, I enjoyed that work. Woodworking and basic car repair work gave me a visceral sense of satisfaction. Between gifts from Marge and others, and my purchases I was pretty well equipped and In October started to build some new kitchen cabinets. I finished them in December. I matched them quite closely in style and color to the existing cabinets.  Looked good, not that I’m bragging. I took out the old counter top and installed a new one, covering the original cabinets, and my new ones. I spent almost all Saturday on this task as I had to make some cuts for stove elements. Careful..careful.  Measure twice and cut once as the saying  goes.

Another part of the home  improvement project was putting in a new kitchen floor covering.  Marge and I did this together.  The new floor is vinyl and much nicer looking than the old asphalt tile one.  That done, now the original cabinets looked a bit dingy and houseworn.  I stripped the old finish, then refinished at least the doors. Big improvement and Marge helped a lot both in deciding what we wanted to do, and assisting me when I needed another hand or two.

In November I visited Toronto for a short conference on Maintenance Management.  It was a good conference and the hotel was OK.  Prices in Canada seemed unreasonably high to me, compared with those at home.  While there I did fit in a short visit with my sister Karen and her family not far from Toronto.  I enjoyed the trip for both professional and personal reasons.

December brought an ice storm to us.  As if one in October wasn’t enough. We  were out of service for power for about a day due to falling trees on power lines.  Our house was all-electric so this was not a minor matter. Marge and I put our fireplace into service and we managed to cook hamburg and potatoes and make cocoa over the open fire.  We got the Coleman lantern out for light and coped well.  Sort of indoor camping and for the short time it was almost fun.

My Mom came to visit us for Christmas and though her visit was delayed by a day because of the storm, she had no troubles while with us.  She stayed until after the New Year so we had a nice long visit.  I had some vacation time coming to me so took it to the end of the year.  We did visit some of the local attractions.  Some I had seen and some never. These were the sort  of attractions we could see any time, so of course we never went.

While mom was here we went to an afternoon performance of a soft rock kind of musical..  It was I think the “Jacob and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  It was loosely patterned d after the Biblical story of Joseph.  Fun really.  Allentown has recently opened a full-time theater. I believe the building was a downtown church, and this was their first performance. Ingrid had been there before; but not me.  Later we plan to go to a dinner theater with another couple who are friends of ours.

Marge and I are now in the choir of the Moravian church in Coopersburg. Marge did a solo piece once, she has a strong alto voice, backed by formal vocal music training.  I can read music and sing in the bass register but I would never try a solo.  I don’t have that control and my voice is not strong enough. The choir is something we can do together which we both enjoy and the choir can always use new voices that can actually read the notes.

The flu is making the rounds again and Louise was out of school for a while, mostly with a strong cough but no significant  fever thank God for that. I didn’t feel well one day at work and came home early.  I tire easily and feel drained.  Perhaps I have had sort of subliminal case of flu, not serious.

We had yet another storm the weekend of the 15th of the month and we exercised our home survival skills yet again. We lost power twice on Saturday from about 2 am to 11 am and then again from 5 pm to 10:30. We lost power again just as Marge was cooking and so, yet again to the fireplace. We pressed into duty a fondue set for cooking vegetables  and later water for tea. Despite some inconvenience we managed fairly well.  The storms are almost Biblical, a repeating plague set upon us for who knows what  sinful reason.  Our drive had some snow on it and also ice about an inch thick.  Ingrid and I finished the hardest part of shovelling and later I completed the drive. I felt distressed by the exertion and had to lie down to rest for a while.

Finishing on a positive note we are planning on going to Georgia for the Easter vacation period this year.  No reservations though at this time. We must hurry as March will soon be upon us.

Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

September 1977

I (Bob) slacked off during the summer. So, Marge gets to tell her story about her summer.

Dear Everybody,
It is hard to decide just how to describe our trip.

It was a bit scary the first day, driving to Petersburg, VA, but it went well and I gained in confidence. Then the next day the problems started. We got to Lake Marion, SC, and the refrigerator wouldn’t work.

Also, I got water in my ears in the swimming pool and could not hear. It doesn’t sound like much now but it was very discouraging. I think if it had been Petersburg, I might have come home, but I was halfway by then and went on. All my meat defrosted, and some milk spoiled, but when we got to Corvilla, it started to work again on electric, although the gas refrigerator still doesn’t work.

I was feeling very capable, having gotten to where I was going so as to get there before the July 4th weekend. Also, there was a convention at Corvilla over the Holiday, and that was the frosting on the cake for me. I met a number of fine people from many places; some of them came and had lunch or dinner with us and helped eat up all my defrosted meat. It was good to meet other Christians and to hear about what the Lord is doing in other parts of the country. On the way home, we went by Atlanta and spent some time with some of the folks we had met from there. Then, after the convention, the Spanish class started. Some of the people who had said they were coming didn’t and so Erskine Holt, my friend who had arranged the classes, and who lives at Corvilla, asked if the girls would like to take the class too. I said sure, but I couldn’t pay for it. He said that was OK, they had agreed to pay the teachers a set amount and they really wanted more students. So Ingrid and Louise also learned to speak Spanish. They both did extremely well, lasting the whole month, except we sort of lost Louise the last three days when we hit subjunctive. Our teachers were a man and wife, both teachers. He teaches at the University of VA in Lynchburg, VA and she in a Lynchburg High School.

They were superb. I also learned to cook some Mexican dishes, and we are enjoying that too. I am somewhat frustrated at the moment about using my Spanish. After a great deal of search, I found no Spanish 2 classes that were not credit courses in a college costing the earth. I have volunteered to work in the local branch library that serves the Spanish-speaking population here, but I dont have any contact with people and that is not working out too well. I don’t want to study more, but rather to speak the language. There is one other possibility that someone suggested to me today. I’ll tell you all about it if it works out in the next letter.

Several very good things came out of my trip. One is that both Bob and I gained a greater appreciation of the things the other did. I realized the amount of ordinary type coping he does. Never having done it myself, I hadn’t noticed before. Bob has never been alone, really, before and of course he had to wash clothes and dishes, and feed himself and amuse himself with nobody here but Rajah cat. It was also a very exhilarating feeling, to have set out this long trip, and done it all myself. There was a book title from some years ago that said it – Yes I CAN!

When I had begun to drive the trailer last spring, we had some personality clashes – no, rather role-switching clashes. We had expected there might be a period of adjustment needed when I got home, but there wasn’t. I think, myself that it was sort of like this. When I first started doing what usually Bob did, I felt like a 5-year-old saying Look at Me! I can tie my shoe!. Don’t you tie my shoe, I can do it myself! But now that I’m grown up, I don’t get defensive if someone offers to help me or do something for me. Now there is no question but that I can do the necessary things with the trailer, I don’t have to do it. So there was not any problem after all.
What I had not counted on was that there would be a lot of catching up to do around the house, as well as getting the girls ready for school. I had brought several books home from Florida and Atlanta to mend that were in pretty bad shape, and am just now getting to them. Oh, perhaps you will recall that last spring I was going to take a bookbinding course; but at the last moment, it was canceled. Wheee, it is being offered again, and once again I’m registered. The Library agreed to pay the fees, and the class should start next Monday. I!m really looking forward again, to it.

grapes vineyard vine purple grapes

Photo by Pixabay on

Bob was given some grapes if we would pick them, and the girls and I did, as Bob went to a ham radio conference. He is making two baskets into wine, and the third I have made into grape juice. Consequently, the house is full of fruit flies. On that jolly note, I think I shall stop.


Posted in Coopersburg PA, Marge Writing, memoir, Summer vacations | 1 Comment

June 1977

This post will start with a letter from Marge, just so you won’t be surprised.

Dear Everybody,

Bob will no doubt have an attack from the shock of my writing this, but it is good for him! For myself , the big news is that girls and I are going to Florida, where I will study Spanish with some friends, 6 hours a day a week for a month.  I plan on leaving next Monday, June 27 and returning either the first or second week of August.  I will be taking the trailer and spend 4 days going down.  My address will be: C/O Erskine Holt, 37 Corvilla drive, Zepherhills Florida,


For all of you who plan on calling me (!), the number is 813-782-7323.  This is going to be a very new, very big experience for me, going this far by myself, and being responsible in a much larger measure than I ever have before.

Aristocrat - 2

Aristocrat Trailer

 We have been making lots of preparations – doing things to the trailer; we bought a screen-house-tent; on the trip Easter I drove the trailer a total of 15 hours; and I’ve had to hitch and unhitch and back into the driveway here several times.  The girls have also been learning how to help with  hitching and so on.  In fact, they are learning some other good things too – they wanted to do some extra things for extra money around the house, and so Louise is trimming the lawn, and doing some weeding.  Ingrid does the lawn mowing, something Bob never did like doing, and she and Louise have been preparing the front porch for painting.  First the railings, which were slightly rusty, by brushing off the rust, uncercoating and now painting with Rustolium.  Then they will do the concrete.

Marge 1977 or 1978

Because we will be gone when Louise’s birthday rolls around we are going to have a mini-celebration today.  Shortly we will go pick up a friend of hers from school to stay overnight.  The weather looks good, so they will sleep out in our screenhouse (also giving us practice in erecting it). Both Ingrid and Louise did very well in school – Ingrid only had to take 2 final exams, since she had an A average in all the other courses. We have not gotten her final grades yet.  Louise had all As or Os for outstanding, except for S for satisfactory in handwriting and gym.

Ingrid has been suffering from allergy problems, she seems to have inherited it from Bob.  They both get miserable at times, although it only lasts about a month.  Bob has had his third bout with what-ever-it-is and achy muscles and tiredness.  After a couple of weeks of it combined with allergy, he went to the doctor, and is finally getting better.  I tease him and say that except for no fever, it sounds like malaria.  I, on the other hand have been healthy, except for a sore throat a month ago.

green peas on white ceramic bowl

Photo by R Khalil on

I’m felling fine and really am looking forward to this trip.  A challenge and a time to grow.  Before we went south at Easter, I planted peas and beans in my garden, the beans never sprouted because the ground was still too cold, but the peas did beautifully, and we have been eating them for about 2 weeks. They are almost gone, which is good.  The tomatoes and peppers are coming along, and also onions.

I think we mentioned earlier that we all took tennis lessons – that was fun, both to learn the sport (you will be seeing us at Wimbledon any time now) and to do something together.  Unfortunately, we have not had time to play since the lessons ended, but we hope to do so during the summer.

I will now do what Bob usually does – say I’ll leave room for him to say something, when I have covered many of the news items already!

Now from me – Bob.

I am recovering again from my malaria as Marge so jokingly(?) called it.  I have really been dragged out since Memorial Day but am in pretty good shape now, or at least recovering from the latest bout and hope it stays that way.

In May I had an article published in the trade journal Electrical World about one of my projects at work.  It started out when Some time ago when the consultant who worked for us originally asked if we would agree to having an article published, as he thought the job would be a good reference.  He hired a PR agent who used us as a basis for the paper I had delivered on the subject last fall.  The PR man paid us a visit and got more input, but I had to spend quite a bit of time editing it so the flavor was what we intended and then the magazine article editor did some more editing but the end result was pretty good and I got quite a few compliments on it. We have had some visitors interested in learning more about our approach.  I even got paid $90 for it so I guess that makes me a professional…but I’m glad I don’t have to count on that for a living.

My Heathkit transceiver is finally operational.


Heathkit Logo

 I finished it a couple of weeks ago and took it up to one of the fellows at work who has some test equipment.  As it turned out two of the transistors from Heath were bad; we found that out the hard way but were able to locate the problem and correct it so it now operates as it should.  I ordered an antenna from Sears and as luck (?) would have it, they are backordered on that item.  I do have a bit more work to do though in getting the cabinet put on, but it is frustrating to have yet another delay.

Louise expressed an interest in building a radio and so I got her one for her birthday from Heath.  It is an eight transistor A.M. radio and should be a worthwhile learing project as well as a decent radio when finished, and I think she is capable of doing the work on it.  Whenever she expresses an interest in technical things, I try to encourage her even though her interests seem to go through waves of interest and lack of interest for a new one.

I am trying to make some rhubarb wine.  We had some rhubarb in our little garden, but we already had some canned from other years, so I thought I would get out the  old winemaking equipment and try that out.

That’s it for now.

Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

May 1977

April is now over and for the first time in a while, we are all well, and glad of that.  The flu, or whatever I had in March hung on for a while as I would get tired quite quickly and even had a bit of it in April, but it is gone now.

On the first of April, we went camping for the first time this year.  We thought we had the trailer ready and OK but found a few minor things to take care of. One thing I forgot was to fill up the propane tanks and both emptied a short time after we arrived.  Fortunately, we were able to borrow a tank from the person next to us and that took us through the night.  The next day we went to a propane gas store and filled both our tanks.  We had a lot of rain and camped next to a creek.  We kept a close watch on it, but no problem.  However, the weather and the creek did not favor too much outdoor activity. We did enjoy going out in the camper again, it was a good time.

As was our usual practice, we went South for the Easter vacation starting the Thursday before Good Friday and went down to Petersburg, VA the first day.

Petersburg is a nice one day trip that one can make from here in PA without getting overly tired the first day.  The second leg to Charleston, SC was a bit longer.

Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

We had very nice wather with no rain on the trip at all, except for a very minor shower the evening of the last day.  When we were at Charlestown, we were actually about 17 miles away at a campground on the Wando river which empties into the Cooper. This is one of the two that form the Charleston Harbor where they meet the ocean. It was a good campground with some pines. A pleasant place to camp.

Live Oak Tree

There were also many the Live Oak trees with the Spanish moss festooning from them.  Very colorful.

The only disconcerting note was that there were many  small flies which bit and could be pesty.  They were so small they could get through  the screen.  we had to button up at night, spray the trailer, go for a walk and let the spray kill the bugs. Then we would go to bed with the windows closed and fortunately, the nights were not too warm.

It was a nice vacation, all in all.  we did a lot of sightseeing and went through much of historical Charlestown; visiting old houses and all of that.  The National Park service has a nice display at Fort Moultrie on the shore telling about Coastal defense in general and Moultrie in particular. I have enjoyed history since grade school.  At one point in High School I even thought that being a History Professor would be for me.  I learned later that the job requirement included having a PhD.  I could have handled the academics but the expense of such a venture was beyond the ability of my family or me to take on. I do enjoy these trips to historic sites.

The first fort on Sullivan’s Island, constructed of palmetto logs and sand, was still incomplete when Commodore Sir Peter Parker of the Royal Navy and nine British men-of-war attacked it on June 28, 1776. After a nine-hour battle, the ships were forced to retire. Charlestown was saved from British occupation, and the fort was named in honor of its commander, Colonel William Moultrie. In May 1780 the British finally captured Charlestown, including Fort Moultrie, finally evacuating the city in December 1782 as the Revolution entered its last year.

We also took a boat ride in the harbor and this included Fort Sumter, so we took in some of the Civil War history at the sight of the original action.  Some of the original facilities are there, though of course most were damaged by the War. Subsequent rebuilding was designed to make the fort operational with 20th Century Coastal Defense concepts as they applied earlier in this Century. My father-in-law, Col. Alexander Sutherland was in Coastal Defense after graduation from West Point military academy.

Now for the Fort Sumter video prepared by the Park service and not on YOUTUBE.

Click on the link to begin.  It provides more information in a current format than I can from notes and my memory.

We also took in some plantation tours at some of the plantations around us.  One had an oak tree in the garden which they estimated to be 1000 years old.  It was a real monster and I am sure it was the biggest Live Oak I have ever seen.  On one of these tours the leader told sort of a joke about Charlestonians. They are like the Chinese; they venerate their ancestors and grow rice. The grandfather of long-grain rice in the Americas, Carolina Gold is a delicate non-aromatic rice with chameleon starch properties that allow it to produce fluffy, individual grains; creamy risotto; or sticky Asian-style rice, depending on how it is cooked.

Here is a map highlighting the Magnolia plantation.

I don’t have any photos I recognize from that trip, but here is one of Marge at home in that year (about).

Bev Hills maybe 79

Ingrid met a local boy who asked her out to a movie. Unfortunately, we had to leave early the next morning so she couldn’t stay out too late.

Thats all the Charleston news so I bid you a farewell in the next photo.

Charleston sunset

I finished the auto course I was taking and put new brakes on the Mustang. I enjoyed learning practical skills such as home auto repair, woodworking etc. My job as a manager in the power company, PP&L is satisfying but its also satisfying to tackle manual tasks. This car below is not mine but exactly like it.  The car was Marge’s transportation.

1967 Blue Mustang

My Heathkit short wave radio is coming along and I look forward to getting it on the air.

Heathkit Logo

This spring all of us are taking tennis lessons on Monday evening.  we had one lesson so far. I’ll keep you informed but Marge did not want to add anything this time.

That’s it folks.

Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, memoir, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

March 1977

March is with us and its about time to write another letter. The worst of winter is over, not that winter is extreme here, though exceptions do occur and I have to shovel the drive then.  I came down with a bigger case of the “bug” than I had last month that I wrote about. I did lose a few days work this time.  I had some aches and a headache like the flu, got exhausted very easily from doing nothing.  Also a bit of a sore throat, but not too bad.  I think I am getting over it now though and perhaps this will be it for the winter.

Back to the future.  Considering my history with pneumonia and the severe problems I had this spring I wonder if my 1977 “bug “was a mild case of pneumonia.  It could have been but that’s just a guess now.

Ingrid turned 15 and we celebrated by going to the Shrine Circus which was in town at the time around her birthday.

Shrine Circus

We had not been to a circus in a while and it was something different for us to enjoy as a family.  They only had two rings but the acts seemed pretty fair though.  We all had a good time.

After having a record-setting January for wintry weather, we are now having a record-setting March with quite warm weather and a lot of rain.  I do believe it is preferable to the cold.  One thing though; we live on a plot that slopes in two directions and, of course, the rain runs down to us.

Beverley Hills Home

 We do have a sump pump in the cellar that does a good job of pumping water that rises to the level of the sump.  If the pump turns on during sleep time, it wakes me immediately and I rush downstairs to assure me the pump is working as it should.  Marge sleeps through this.  If one of the girls makes a sound in the night, she gets up right away and I sleep through it.

I did notice some wet spots in the trailer recently and when it got a bit nicer I went up on the roof and patched some places that looked likely candidates for rain.  I checked that same spot the last rain we had and it looked dry so I think I fixed that problem.

Aristocrat Trailer

Speaking of the trailer, we took it up to get inspected this weekend. This trailer above is smaller than ours but the general design is similar. We will get it back next weekend and so be ready for the next outing of the year.  This will be in April and after that, we will go on our vacation trip to Charleston, SC.

We have been a little negligent in following up on our dialogue as taught in Marriage Encounter.  We are going to make an effort to be more regular in this part of the program.  It takes a while before it gets habitual and it easy to slip back into old ways and old habits…

Marge is taking her Spanish class at the Allentown Y and when we can arrange it, we have had lunch together.  That is pleasant, something we both enjoy although sometimes other things conflict with this outing.

The end of the month will finally bring about the end of the bills to the orthodontist.  Hooray!!! Ingrid still has to wear the retainer but one day soon she can wear it in the night alone as it is not necessary to wear it al day.  She likes that, you can be sure.

More about Ingrid, she did a very nice science poster on the subject of energy.  She spent a lot of time on it and I certainly hope she gets recognition and an official appreciation for it.  I believe there is some sort of judging process involved.  She did a model of a cell a while back and received an “A”.  I think she will do well here also.

The ground is still mostly brown but we can see more and more green every day.  Also, some of the spring flowers are coming up.  When I get over this cold, or whatever it is, I will have to do some cleanup around the yard.  Also, I have to do some touch-up painting here and there where we have wood trim or when the iron railings are showing some rust.

I have a sense, a feeling that I have left something out but I can’t put my finger on what that might be. But then, Marge wants to add some of her thoughts so perhaps it is just as well that she can share also.

Now for Marge’s turn:

Well, it is now my turn.  I know what it was that Bob forgot – we thought we would lose our cat Rajah a couple of weeks ago.  (my note in 2018, this is not our cat below but one very similar to ours as we have no photos of him)

Siamese cat

He had a bad-looking jaw and we took him to the vet in Quakertown.  He said it might be cancerous and if so nothing could be done for him.  However, he removed two wolf teeth on the bottom and the swelling seems to have gone down and healed. We found out how very much a part of the family Rajah is – he is 13 and has been ours for 12 years – longer than Louise! Part of our distress was that Rajah might die alone and afraid in a strange place.  We prayed for him, and part of our prayer was that when he must die, he can die at home in peace.  We are grateful that our prayers have been answered.

Bob mentioned that he has been sick – well, since he wrote the other side, so have the rest of us.  I got whatever he had, and now Louise has managed to get it.  I am looking forward to our trip to the sunny south to let the climate help get us healthy again.  It is hard for me to believe we are going camping so soon. We go with the Campers Club the first weekend in April – it will be sort of a shakedown trip to see that all is well in the trailer before we get so far from home.  Speaking of that, here is the address of the campground we will be at. After the difficulties last year when Bob’s Mom had in trying to find us in Virginia, we thought we would tell you where we will be.  We leave April 7, and that night at:





Petersburg, VA Trav-L-Park     804-861-2616 and on April 8

Charleston SC   Trav-L-Park     803-884-2333 through April 15 and coming home 16

Petersburg, VA again, home late on April 17

Our Aristocrat trail license is PA TD 35852

Now that you have this information, I presume you won’t need it

My Spanish class is a delight – a small group, at the most 6 or 7 of us.  The teacher stresses our doing the speaking in Spanish, and so we make speeches every week;.  I seem to recall saying that last letter.  I will miss two classes on our trip south but will try to keep up.  I am doing very well, if I do say so myself, having a better ear for the sounds than any of the others in the class.  I have some hopes of taking a concentrated Spanish class this summer but will wait to tell you about it if it works out.

I have tried to get to Cornwall to see Mom (in celebration of her birthday in February !) but having scheduled it twice and have had sick people to cause me to stay home and play Nursie.  Perhaps when we come home from the south I will manage to get there.

I am having my annual attack of garden fever –  Bob never gets this disease but very nicely roto-tills the garden for me.  If we get the combination of a healthy and dry weekend, perhaps that will get done soon.  Then I will plant onions, perhaps other things too.

How clever of me to run out of space when I run out of things to say, or, goodbye.

Posted in 1970-1980, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, Marge Writing, memoir, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February 1977

This month brought to us, and much of the nation some very cold weather.  PA does have winter weather but it is usually not as severe as NY weather.  Many events in life are relative and with other places we have lived in, the cold weather was rather nippy but not really serious. We did have snow on the ground but not too high for real worry.  Our home is a total electric residence and our heating is electric. So, no worry about oil delivery and PP&L generation is mostly coal-based from mines owned by PP&L.

Nevertheless, situations such as this empathize how little control we really have over such basics as heating and staying warm in winter.  The news reported that the Governor of Ohio had even turned to prayer as this was a one hundred year storm for them.  Of course, prayer is a positive action and it may have some positive results but just possibly there is an issue of preparedness.  We were in good shape and of course, wished the same for others affected by this weather.

I mentioned the Marriage Encounter weekend last month. This was a very positive experience for us and though quite programmed, it was very personal for us. We did attend the follow-up sessions often and would recommend the program for any couple seeking some more insight into their married lives.

In February I lost some time at work and felt that I was coming down with some illness. I had trouble concentrating, I felt weak and spent at least half of a day in bed. I did feel better the following day and returned to work.  Looking back to 1977 now in 2018, I wonder if this was the beginning of another pneumonia episode as the symptoms sound familiar. I’ll never know, but it could have been.  Ingrid and Louise are over their illness and we hoped for a cold and flu-free winter.

I was taking another course in auto repair for the car owner. I enjoy hands-on work such as this and the knowledge is valuable in maintaining a car and doing the basic repair tasks.  Right now in the middle of winter, the weather is too cold for car servicing.  I think I mentioned earlier that we had some muffler work done on the Chevrolet.

1971 Chevrolet Impala

The stress of the new parts that connected with the replacements was too much so I had the remaining parts replaced too.  It could be bad if the muffler failed in traffic and perhaps I was too frugal when I had the earlier work done.

I learned that a prior friend from GAF days was working in the area and invited him over for dinner.  Unfortunately, there was a bridge on the route that I outlined which closed for repairs.  But he made it anyway though it did take longer than expected.  He and his wife had taken the Marriage Encounter session and we had this in common as well as our time working at GAF.

Margery added comments of her own.  I think this is the first time, so I shall include it exactly as written.

It finally occurred to us that I could also write some of this, so here it I am.  It is snowing at the moment but it is not supposed to last long.  the girls had three days of closed schools, but are back now, as our schools are oil and coal heated.  While out, Ingrid made herself a wool jumper which is almost finished, so the time was not wasted.  I have been on a sewing streak, having made some things for Christmas and a long gown for Ingrid to wear for her concert.  Then after Christmas, I bought some dark green velvet, on sale, and made and finished!! a suit.  I am very pleased with it and wore it out to dinner with some friends.

Ingrid has gotten her hair cut, and it looks very nice indeed.  It is about shoulder length, and the turns it under, somewhat like a page-boy only looser.  My hair is the most pleasing to me that it has ever been, being quite short, and easy to care for.  Bob got me a hair blower for Christmas and in using it that I look more consistently nice that I have ever been before which is a nice feeling indeed.  Louise and Ingrid both are now involved with after-school volleyball and enjoying it very much.  They play a lot of it in our campers group and they plan to surprise the campers with their improvements in that line.  Louise continues her violin, and after this school year, she will need a private teacher, as the school switches in the 5th grade to a sort of ensemble rather than lessons.  She got a telescope for Christmas and has looked at the moon, and found Jupiter with 4 of its moons. We discovered that it cannot be used effectively indoors, i.e. through the glass patio doors, so since it has been so very cold she has not been using it.

I was disappointed, in that a class I signed up for was canceled because only three people signed up for it.  Last fall it was announced that there would be a book-binding class given by the community college, and I had even talked the Southern Lehigh library to pay my tuition.  It was to have started next week, I really enjoy doing things with my hands and producing something of satisfaction from the book-mending I do for the Library, and for my friends and acquaintances.  However, one class I signed up for was not canceled – the Intermediate Spanish at the Y in Allentown.  I have been interested in Spanish ever since high school, and am finding it delightful.  The class is small, and the teacher emphasizes our learning to speak and assigns a subject for us to make a short speech every week (such a describe one season, using colors, why I want to learn Spanish; tell a little about yourself, describe your Thanksgiving Day activities, using foods.)

Bob spoke o  our Marriage Encounter weekend, and I want to say that it has been three weeks now since we went, and we see real changes in our relationship.  Good changes, involving more openness between us.  It is hard to describe in general terms – something like trying to convey what a concert meant to you by saying we went to the concert hall and there was such and such a piece played when each person was affected differently.  In some ways, it was more like being married than our 1960 wedding was, and I do not use superlatives lightly.

I see I am out of space, although not out of things to say, so I’ll save some for our next letter. (this is called a cliff-hanger.)


Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, Marge Writing, memoir | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage Encounter

Strange title isn’t it? My dictionary defines encounter as “an unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something.” How can a marriage be unexpected or casual?  Very strange reading the post title today.  Marriage can certainly turn out to have unexpected consequences.  Some marriages can be casual, but the majority are quite expected and often organized in minute detail. Perhaps the meaning relates to unexpected insights in an existing marriage.  The program name and title belong to the Roman Catholic church which developed and still continue this program. More about that now:

Forty years ago though the term itself was not uncommon. Marriage Ecounter was the name of a program developed by the Roman Catholic church to deal with what they identified as spiritual divorce. The program was well organized complete with workbooks, bumper stickers, etc.  I am not RC myself,  so how did I become involved?  One of my engineers at PP&L in Allentown, John, came up to my office and asked if I was free to talk with him.  I was and answered “sure, come on in what’s on your mind” He answered that he and his wife had attended one of the training sessions,  liked it and took away useful information. Perhaps something Marge and I might be interested in.  This took some courage on his part to suggest something personal with me during work.  We were fairly close in age and I am sure that in driving from one location to another we did discuss our personal lives, including marriage and family problems.

I said, ” sounds interesting, can you get me some information about this program including contact info and I will look into it.” I found an opportunity to start discussing this with Marge. Of course, all I had was second-hand information.  Remembering back, Marge’s concern was that she would be expected to get up in front of a group of strangers and “spill her guts” about our problems as she saw them.

At that time, we were attending a Moravian church in Coopersburg, PA not far from where we lived. They did have a follow-up program based on the Marriage Encounter format.  I suggested she talk with someone she knew who was involved. She did, and she agreed to take the training class.

Marriage Encounter is still quite active after 50 years and I enclose the following quote from their site as the principles are still the same. It is not a program of therapy/marriage counseling.

What happens on a Weekend? ( from the site WWME.ORG)

“Marriage Encounter Weekends are a special time for a married couple away from all distractions:  work, kids, bills, and other pressures and concerns.  When was the last time you had a weekend like that?  It takes place at a local hotel or facility where presentations are given in the conference room and couples reside at the hotel/facility for the entire weekend.*

A series of presentations are made by the Presenting Team, consisting of 3 married couples and 1 priest. Each presentation builds on the last as we examine ourselves, our behaviors and attitudes, our relationship with our spouse and God.  Communication tools are taught on the weekend helping couples connect in healthy, constructive ways on areas that can deepen their intimacy and connectedness.

Marriage Encounter Weekends have been given in the US since 1967. Decades of research, planning and tried and true wisdom have gone into the content of the Weekend and how it unfolds for couples and religious.  We ask all participants to attend ALL talks and participate intently using the tools with their Spouse in order to maximize their experience.

All sharing between spouses is PRIVATE, and this is NOT a weekend to solve problems!  This Weekend will help couples in good marriages communicate even better.”

Marriage Encounter began with a weekend experience as explained in the second paragraph above. We lived in PA at the time, and the location for the event was in Wernersville, not far from the city of Reading. The event itself was in a now-vacated monastery named Villa Maria.

Wernersville PA

Our encounter was held the weekend of Jan 14, 1977.  The location was pleasant though basic. It was located on the top of a small hill and I did have some trouble dealing with a bit of snow but got through. The encounter was well organized and it was much better there than in a hotel I am sure.  the sessions were well planned and the accommodations were basic but quite satisfactory. The facilitator for our section sent a very nice personalized letter to us in advance.  I have nothing but praise for the planning and organization that went into this.

The heart of the program is called the 10 and 10. This is a dialog between both partners with about 10 minutes allotted to each. The dialog has four elements for each partner:

W – write a love letter every day

E – exchange tenderly as with a precious gift of love

D – dialog, talk about our feelings

S – select a question for the next day

The purpose of the weekend is to develop these basic ideas and then give each couple time to practice.  Each letter is supposed to begin with the following statement or variations of “How Does it Make Me Feel —” We did our best. The whole environment including the old monastery was conducive to sharing what we wrote and personal intimacy.

For me the hard part was, and is I guess, getting in touch with my feelings.  Scandinavians keep pretty much to themselves, don’t talk about feelings much less even become aware of them. Too bad I never took a “feeling” class.  My usual response was to start with something like “I I think blah, blah…”

Marge was very intelligent and very expressive. I saved all our handouts and personal letters from the training encounter and later as we tried to apply what we experienced. Marge made a comment in one of her letters that the dialog concept was much like losing weight. Both were good ideas but difficult to really commit herself to do.

We did practice what we learned, at least to some extent until perhaps 1979.  I was distracted by my concern about my job and future.  We eventually left PA, moved here to NV the first of 1980. We did make an attempt to start the dialog again in 1981.  It didn’t last very long. Perhaps this was because we did not have any support group and for us, Marriage Encounter just went into the dustbin of the past.  Still, I think it was worth the effort and just perhaps some of the insights did become remembered.

The world of today is much different than the one 40 years ago. Just think social media and opioid crisis. I checked Google and there still are encounters in our area.  I do not hesitate in recommending looking into it for anyone even casually interested.



Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, Marital difficulties, Pennsylvania, Relationships | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Dec – Jan 1976

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.

Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Winter Wonders 1976

Time to catch up with the past, which is what this site is really meant for.  I had a great opportunity to travel to Scottsdale AZ, just outside of Phoenix.  This is a great time of the year to go down there, still swimming pool weather but not 100++ degree summer heat. The scenery is all that sort of brown and dusty look, but at least no snow.   So, why not go? The reason for the trip was to give a talk at an industry conference. I enjoyed the honor of being a guest and got the opportunity to meet some old friends.  At company expense, no less, what a deal!!

In November I went to see the electric utility people in Ontario Hydro to discuss mutual interests.  I like Canadians, always have;  Toronto is very impressive as well. A side benefit (how sly of me) was to visit my sister and family

Laposa family 2016

in Ancaster, Ontario which is near Hamilton not too far from Toronto. we don’t get together very often and this was a special treat.

November 13th was my 40th birthday.  Does life begin at 40?  A book of a few years past said so, but is there anything magic about 40?  I suppose it is a marker of sorts, particularly if you measure life by ambition.  Not that I have no ambition, but I was not cut out to be the back-stabbing personality that I have grown to associate with ambition.  I wanted to do the best I could at what I trained for, that is being an engineer and technical manager.

PP&L Allentown – Google

I have reached that point At PP&L and am satisfied with myself. What will another decade bring? Perhaps another job, another home, hopefully, some more wisdom and maturity at home and at work.

The Mustang convertible is painted now and looks new, perhaps better. It is a metallic blue color used on Lincolns and really suits the car.

1967 Blue Mustang

We have been extremely careful being wary of scratches and scrapes, at least until the paint has hardened.

Marge and I have almost finished a community college course in auto repair.  It has interested us and even if Marge never tunes an engine, she will be educated if her car has to go to a garage for a problem. I thought it might be too basic for me, but I can always learn something, and perhaps correct a faulty belief I had.  So, good for both of us. the second half of the course, unfortunately, is on Mondays, not good timing for Marge. I have stayed home with Louise while Marge and Ingrid were otherwise occupied so I won’t go to the next class.

I now have my amateur radio operator license, but no equipment.

Heathkit Logo

I have looked around and talked with operating hams and a Heathkit mobile transceiver looks just what I want, though no major rush on this, maybe in the spring.

Trailer travel and camping ended the first weekend in October.

Aristocrat Trailer

The photo is from a Google image search and the little girl is not mine, I’m sure of that. Cold weather has come and I drained the trailer and took the collision insurance off. It sits that way until April. The camping club meets monthly and we had our Xmas meeting party in early December. I made my specialty, PA Dutch style funnel cakes.  they are sweet, especially with powdered sugar sprinkled on them.  Yum!!  This will call for a diet in 77, just maybe.

Thanksgiving was exceptionally nice.  My Mom was able to come and I did not want her to be alone on the first major holiday after Dad’s death.  I loved my Mom and respected but did not understand my Dad. He was very quiet and not very communicative.  I suppose this was partly due to his upbringing in an immigrant Scandinavian family and an almost lifelong job in a maximum security prison.

Clinton Prison & Dannemora composite

Prison security is of the highest concern, not that I understood that in 1976, but  I have a better understanding now in 2017. In 76 we expect to be home for Xmas, as I  have one day of vacation left, might as well take it then.

Louise is coming along well with violin lessons; I am so glad that we let her follow her own pathway in this direction. She and Ingrid practiced a piano and violin piece and presented it at a little show that the Campers Club held for an old people’s home, as then called. Ingrid is active in the chorus at high school but isn’t taking lessons anymore.

Flu season is here again, surprise? I was fortunate in getting the shot in The ER room of a hospital I passed on the way home.  Marge stopped in at a clinic in a local armory and waited longer.  What a change from then to now.  All you have to do is drop in at one of the many drug stores at each corner.  But that was then and I guess prevention has taken a step forward.  We are now in good health and hope to stay that way, I think we will.

I was feeling like getting back into woodworking, which I really enjoyed as a hands-on skill. I made a picture frame clamp and frames for 3 pictures that needed mounting. It was so long ago that I enjoyed this hobby that, naturally, I made some mistakes,  correctable though with some time and effort. In the hobby world, Marge is starting her round of making her annual print of the family Christmas Card.  Similar to me, it took longer than remembered but we worked together on this and made our deadline.  Things should and did work out.

The weather report after the fact: November was cold, but really typical, though not the same every season. There is a little snow on the ground, I don’t like shoveling it, but it makes the roads slick and accident prone.  I put collision insurance back on after last years collision with the station wagon.

I have got back into my radio/TV correspondence course, via the VA benefits program for education. Finishing this course should make for a nice pastime in cold weather.

We have started to think about next year’s vacation.  We have some brochures about sailing school activity holidays. I have had some sailing experience in the Great lakes but none in salt water. Maybe this will happen and maybe it won’t, just daydreaming of all the glowing possibilities (in the ads). So a great family Christmas again and of course we never forget Marge’s birthday on the 27th.

Nor for a change of space and time to 2016:  I have had my second of two diagnostic spinal injections for a possible “nerve burning” treatment for my disk trouble.  The pre-treatment paperwork was not all correct but we (Janet and I) made it there in time and the treatment went well.  I have no pain now but am a bit unsteady and disoriented.  Not bad but no time to drive a car, especially as it looks like rain, not like Harvey in TX.Sorry Marge did not add an addendum but she leaves me with this task; that’s it for family history in December 1976;


Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

July 2017, Movie Nights

Movie night, what does that mean to you?  Well to me, it brings up Sunday late afternoons and evening here at my house watching films on TV with Janet.

Our church has a book club and they were reading “A man called Ove” It is about a Swedish man who was forced into retirement.  the book was popular and a film made from it. His wife had died and the movie started with him putting flowers on his wife’s grave in winter.   Sweden has plenty of winter weather.  On the surface, he seems like a grumpy old man, but with flashbacks, we see how the many good things he had done in his life.  He is trying to hang himself in his apartment different times but was interrupted.  On the last try, the rope breaks and he returns it to store for his money back, as it was advertised as good for all applications.

Janet is first generation Swedish-American on both sides of her family.  So was my dad; we both have Swedish genes and memories and the film seems realistic. Janet has cable but no streaming and asked me if I could find the film, which I did on Amazon.I have no cable, just WI-FI.  So a Sunday afternoon in early July she came over about 3:30, we had cocktails and then watched the movie.  We could relate the film to members of our own families and enjoyed it exceedingly.

By then we a bit hungry, but not exceedingly so we went to a nearby Applebees and ordered a dinner for two.  Marinara sauce and ziti pasta, salad, etc.  Quite good really and Janet even had some left over to take home.

A friend of Janet recommended the film “New in town” about a young female executive in Miami being designated as the president of a low performing factory in the fictitious town of New Ulm, Minnesota.  There is a culture shock to the woman as well as a climate shock, so she definitely wants to do the job assigned and go back to Miami.  Then a relationship develops between her and a man in the factory, a good guy with a teen daughter.  As you might expect, love conquers all and she saves the plant and the town.  I won’t spoil the film by telling how, but it is a pleasant romantic comedy. I did serve Kroger’s finest microwave popcorn, a bit sweet, but went pretty well with the movie.

We recently went to a new Italian restaurant near Janet’s.  It specializes in family style food.  We ordered a medium ziti and salad – feed3 –  naturally, some left over.  So naturally, some to take home.  I augmented the sauce and made a tossed salad for dinner on Sunday turned out pretty good.  Can’t say so much about my choice of wine. I really don’t know a lot about wine and it showed.  Whiskey is another matter, but it didn’t seem the thing to go with second-hand pasta.  Janet was very good about my poor choice and we went to the next feature movie. May be a short ad which I believe you can delete.

This was the first episode of the European version of the Dragon Trilogy 1.5 hours in length.  I think much better than the shortened American version even  in Swedish.”

With that, some Islay Scotch on the rocks for a good-night drink and movie night is over for this week.  I don’t have the book and Janet can’t find hers, so I lent her our 6 CD talking book version and possibly she can catch up with that.  Will see on the 13th.  Only 8 more episodes to go and I think movie night has legs, as they say for more Sunday afternoons.  Keep you posted.

This time we had Pizza and beer.  Janet brought the beer and I ordered a Pizza.  I tried ordering it from the new Amazon restaurant app.  It was a terrible experience.  Many of the restaurants yesterday were not available on Sunday.  I went through an agonizing ritual from one that was available and when I got to sign out, was notified it was not available.  So I ordered a Supreme from Pizza Hut and that worked reasonably well and I will never go near the Amazon site anymore.  My experience; BAD.

Janet had not seen Fargo from 1996 so I got that from Amazon.  Kind of grim in quite a few places, but had been decades since I saw it and Janet, never.

Slowly tanking up on Pizza and beer we finished watching episode two of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I think the Swedish title is something like “Men who hate Women”

I could be wrong though, but something close to that.

This is getting to be a pleasant practice.  We can each share something for both of us to experience.  Next week Janet has some activity already on Sunday so that is out. Next one is the day Lousie and Jim will be here, shortly, for their trip home from Colorado taking Carina to college.

Movie night is off to a good start, perhaps go even further.  We are both octogenarians, we have our own activities and interests but sharing together is nice.  A few drinks, munchies and a couple of movies to watch. Not death defying daring by any means, but at this stage of life who knows about that?  Time will tell as the trite old phrase goes.


Posted in Summer vacations, Vegas 2010 -? | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Furniture fun

As most readers know, I have back pain due to dislocated discs.  I have scheduled a second diagnostic test on the end of the month.  If this turns out favorable the insurance company will likely approve the treatment called RFA. Briefly, this short circuits the nerve with a jolt of radio energy stopping the pain signals.

This is only backup information which I have shared with some, not all. A main result of the back pain is that I am now limited to what I can physically do.  Moving/relocating furniture is a task that is very difficult and painful.

A few weeks ago I went shopping the day prior to my first diagnostic test to get that out-of-the-way.  I noticed a nice looking patio set at a Smith’s super market but it would be too much physically for me and I would need a truck to take a set home.  Fortunately for me, Tom, my neighbor, had a rental truck while his car was being repaired from an accident.  He took me to the surgery center for my first test and I asked if he could help the next day with the patio set and he said he could, it was the last day he would have the truck.

Since I did like the set, this was my last chance to buy, so I bought two sets.  One was the display model and one in the warehouse, no more after that. I bought both with a bit of a discount for the display model.

We had our yard landscaped at least 10 years ago and the patio was the largest expense.  They knocked out a small concrete patio and replaced and enlarged it with sandstone flagstones. It did look nice but was hardly ever used.  we did have a used table about 5′ round and some Target chairs.  We used it so rarely that the table had to have a thorough cleaning first prior to use due to the dust, and the chairs were not so comfortable.  I put them out on trash day for the scavengers to pick up as I put a FREE sign on them.  This worked.

Tom and I (mostly Tom as he is in good shape) brought the boxed set home and put it in the garage.  Another trip and we hauled the display set and put it on the patio. Here is the finished result. The chairs are a bit close, but I need some room to walk.  I put a low-wattage LED bulb in the light and that works well enough to see, but is not intrusive. I have had breakfast on the patio a few times, and even with temps about 95, but low humidity it is very comfortable in the evening with only moonlight.  If we only had something like this when we put the patio in. Oh well, what the hell.

My landscaper very quickly unpacked and assembled the other set.  I had opened the box and checked with the parts invoice, but assembly was too much.  My landscaper had some power tools and was able to assemble in very short order.  He is very good, an all around handyman.

Another furniture project was to remove a dining room bureau that we bought at a closeout of a store in Allentown maybe 1970.  It has been very useful to us when we had a family, and after Marge’s death, my children and some of her nieces took quite a bit of dinnerware, silver, etc. I went through it again and moved what remained into some empty shelves in what was Marge’s dresser.  I just wanted to get rid of the bureau to free the space and did not want to hassle for nickels and dimes from a Craigslist sale.  I asked the landscaper if he knew of a need for it and one of his helpers did, but they couldn’t take it that day, so we set a time.

As you can see it is in pretty good condition but probably outdated in style today, so the helper got something he could use, and I got some freed space. Win-win.

Next to go were two mismatched lamps, one having a bad switch.  A FREE sign on trash day did the job.  Next to go were two sets of Laz-Z-Boy recliners. The first set we bought in 1989 after Marge’s mom’s funeral.  She had one of these and Marge really liked it, so we bought a set and put them in what was then our TV room in our first house here.  They wore very well but were somewhat dated now. The other set above we got at Marge’s request in about 2009.  They were nice and as Marge’s cancer worsened, they were a living space for her. The cats scratched them a bit and I did use one, but it was heavy and not really needed.  I decided to slide them outside and put a FREE ad on Craigslist as well as a local service, very similar. My ad said no phone calls, first come gets what he wants and they will be curbside at my house.  That worked very well and I hope they did find a new home with someone who could use the chairs. I think so.

My next task was to position the furniture in our front room. This took a couple of tries but I think I got it now.  Almost all of the pictures and photos had to be repositioned also.  I framed and mounted two photos of mine as well to fill some awkward empty space.

Most of the wall art has at least a touch of blue to pick up the furniture color.  The large autumn landscape has been with us since about 1966. We bought the house in Vestal in 1965 with mostly hand-me-down furniture from our wedding in 1960. We got some 60-ish furniture from Sears and wanted a picture over our couch.  Binghamton had a consignment art store and we thought this one was the right size and was very representative of the area in fall.  I bought and assembled the etagere lamp in the middle of the window. It has 3 shelves under the light and I put an arrangement of blue ceramic ware of Marge’s that was in different places.  It took a few days to get things done the way I thought best but worth the time.

The library is adjacent to this room, and since the shelving is built-in, not much room for change.  I did reposition Marge’s grandfather’s bentwood chair with a dimmable lamp next to it. Leaning back in it is quite comfortable.

living room2

Finally the living room above.  Juan, My landscaper came when we agreed but had no helper, so one of Juan’s sons helped.  They also helped move out the living room furniture in my now empty living room.  Originally, we bought two sets of furniture from a friend of Marge who was part owner of a family furniture store.  This was about 1972, I had good reviews and salary increases and we bought a new home in Jan 1970.

Beverley Hills Pa House in 2016 - 3

Beverley Hills Home looking up at the dining room bay window

Our plan was to keep them till our girls grew up, give the LR sets to them, and get new for ourselves. Ingrid was willing to do this, not Louise but she did take an oak dining table and its chairs. That has worked fine.

The furniture is what was then called “Early American” it has been reupholstered many times, the last about 3 years ago. Not now in vogue, though the wood does go with the end tables and shelving I made. The walnut coffee table Marge’s Dad made for us in 1960. The antique oak “library table”  I spent untold hours refinishing perhaps in 1962. I think the mirror is the same vintage.  These were from Marge’s Mom after we married. All in all, everything is functional, easy to handle and both couches can easily be made into cots for guests if needed.

This has been fun for me. Removing furniture that is no longer useable to me at this time and replacing with family heirlooms and Smith’s finest furniture has been satisfying.  I have made and/or refinished much of furniture I own and with them, good memories of my past.


Posted in Vegas 2010 -? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Stay In the E. R.

So, what’s this about? I have decided to post some more of my life in these posts. Why?  (1) I don’t do social media (2) and am going to stop doing posts for my film classes.  This was an experiment in going green with my classes.  However, most of the classes were not comfortable with the result which was time-consuming for me  to prepare. So, some time now to talk about my favorite subject, i.e. Myself.

The entire West had a horrible heat wave a month ago.  Searing heat up to 115F was common.  We don’t sweat here.  Cuts down on deodorant but I and many others were not aware of being dehydrated, bad news for anyone.  I thought I was prudent carrying water, most of the time and grabbing a soda from the refrigerator at school.

A walk in the park? Not for me and I tried to get errands done in the morning as the evil rays beat me down, so… nap time in the afternoon. Why indeed? I did some Googling on health and hot weather and thought, Eureka, I found it. Not the town in CA, the answer.  Heat exhaustion explained many of my symptoms.  I called a buddy who used to work construction in CA across the border.  He said, sure sounds like it. The guys who tie one on over the weekend have a really tough time on Monday regardless of bottled water at work. My boozing days, such as they were, are long gone but I felt some vampire was sucking something out of me, though water helped. This lasted so-so for a week but I had a tough time at church on Father’s Day could not sing, barely stand silently.  No water bottle with me, that explained it, so I though. I went home drank a lot of water and accepted a dinner invitation from a very gracious couple I know. No problem.

Monday I felt really crapped out, crude description but apt. I was nauseous and unsteady in spite of my attempts to deal with it.  I ate some generic something for lunch, kept it down but getting worse.  I called Louise in CA and told her I was going to call 911, she readily concurred, and shortly a crew from the Fire Dept came.  They did a basic interview, checked b.p. , temp, pulse, etc.  Nothing obvious and told me I could tough it out or take an ambulance to the ER room at Summerlin Hospital which is near me.summerlin 1

So a lumpy ride on the road to nowhere to be dumped off, not just literally at the ER of Summerlin Hospital.  On the way  my right arm gets a mighty jab with a really big needle.  To hydrate me, so I was told.  Perhaps for mysterious experiments. Other electrodes taped here , there, no who knows where on my dehydrated upper body.

I was carried on a commercial ER ambulance not the Fire Dept one. Summerlin ambulance Fire is much better, they were here first, but I got the commercial ambulance which I have never liked very much caring for Marge.  Fortunately a short drive.

Have you spent much time in any ER?  Avoid it if you can, but if so take an ambulance for quicker service. Hopefully you have insurance for this. Trust me on that one.

So I got dumped off the ER bed to one of two beds in the ER room.Summerlin c The process went smoothly and I was left with a few mental cases and others suffering unknown maladies.

The ambulance tags get ripped off me so I can have still more from the ER.  I looked like Frankenstein’s monster on a good day.   Where is Igor when I need him?  To be fair, the charge nurse was pleasant, closed the bead curtain and gave me a bottle to pee in.  It was a liter flask and I doubted I could pass the first test here.            Continue reading

Posted in Coopersburg PA, Hospital, ER, drugs, Vegas 2010 -? | 8 Comments

A Tale of Two Obituaries

Marge’s Obituary

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Our life together, of course.  We were better as boyfriend/girlfriend than as man/wife, at least first, and sometimes later.  We brought along baggage from our lives with our parents, much of it useless. Marge was temperamental, she could be extremely very passionate and creative, also occasionally so cool that I got frostbite.  She was very smart, tall, and attractive.

She liked excitement and change but was easily upset, enjoying novelty but disliking ambiguity.  She had an oddball sense of humor,  perhaps that was the reason I married her. She was very curious, easily bored and would act and talk at the spur of the moment. She was well-read, well-educated, had a tremendous vocabulary, and was very expressive.

We survived early married life, as well as the empty nest.  Not easily of course. Many married couples experience this. Sure, we had misunderstandings, who doesn’t; but the good, better, and best times really outnumbered them.  We had some great times together and had times when we didn’t like each other, but really did love each other.

I have lived in Las Vegas since 1980 and until 2006, Marge and I owned a summer log cabin in UT.

Log cabin in UT

I spent a good part of the summers in the cabin doing maintenance, chopping wood, and reading.  Marge would often come up and  I did not live full-time in UT. This was a great time for both of us.  We could relax in a different zone of time and space. Our privacy often led to times of very prolonged romantic love, body and soul.

In her later years, Marge was operated on twice for colon cancer.  Five years went by and we thought she had it licked. Bad luck struck in 2010 when her cancer metastasized to stage four, terminal. I waited on her, pushed her around in her wheelchair, cooked, etc. She worked at her job until September when she was fired, for taking so much sick leave actually. She died at home in October 2012.  We really were meant for each other. We did love each other.  I miss her greatly but don’t grieve as much anymore.


Nichols Plot, Hancock, Frantzen

Riverview Cemetery, Hancock, NY


Who was Joanne L Beardsley? Joanne was my childhood friend from age 3 through elementary school. Please forgive my sloppy work with the screen shots and this software.  It’s the first time I have tried it, more of my comments later on.

Screen Shot Joanne 1

Rochester obituary

Plattsburg obituary page 1

Plattsburg obituary page 2

Joanne LaPierre-Beardsley Condolences PDF

Joanne and I knew each other as neighbors since we were three years old in 1939. As time passed following elementary school, we drifted away on our separate paths through the transitions of life.  Prior to that we went to school together and played together as children during the rest of the Great Depression and throughout WWII.

Morrisonville NY – my old home

 We lived in the hamlet of Morrisonville, NY, not far south of the Canadian border. Classic small town America and our parents were lower middle class. Reflecting back, that was a good time and place to grow up, playing in the hills, in our yards and homes, and on the riverside. No supervision, just children having a good time growing up.  We both loved animals, cats especially.  That life formed a bond that lasted throughout our lives.

Joanne Beardsley 1997, Prince Edward Isle

For some unknown reason that I don’t fathom now, probably never will, was with both of us approaching Medicare age, we felt a wish to find out where our childhood friend was now.

Beardsley 3

Joanne Beardsley

Beardsley 1

Joanne Beardsley

Five decades had passed and in 1997 we both independently began wondering about our old childhood chum. Joanne lived in the central NY village of Honeoye Fall, not too far from Rochester, NY.   We were both retired at that time

Indirectly through connecting with Joanne’s brother and mother, we obtained mutual mail addresses. Separately and independently, we composed long letters about our lives over the decades.  These letters crossed in the mail, both of us receiving the other’s within a day of each other.  How likely is that?  VERY unlikely.

My friend and former college roommate Roy and I made a trip to upstate NY in 1998, making one stop in Morrisonville.  We met the LaPierres, stayed overnight and continued our trip.  Joanne and I were then senior citizens, not school children; we had both aged and showed it.

Joanne and I were friends, just that,  we were not romantically connected though we were very close friends. We continued to call and write to each other. This might imply that we were in love and couldn’t stand separation.  I don’t think so, though we felt emotionally close and enjoyed jointly recalling details of our life long ago as well as the present.  They were pleasant times, and I have no-one else to exchange these memories, and I think the same for Joanne. Joanne’s letters were warm and exuberant, she called me sensitive,  humorous. and many other glowing adjectives.   The distant every-flowing spring of support, perhaps even a little love, was what I thirsted for then.  I still do.

I quote myself, “Not that childhood was an idyl of happiness. We did have differences and quarrels from time to time. But more important was that we learned to “Kiss and make up”  The grace to share, to forgive is a treasure indeed.  Because of this, you are a part of me, not the least of which are the memories of our times together……I too was and am, blest by your friendship and I am trying to understand this completely”

Our relationship was not a secret one.  I did tell Marges about our getting re-acquainted and my hope to spend a few days with her.  Things were frosty for an hour or so but no more than that.  I was sure that Marge has or had external relationships as well which I accepted.

However, time passed and we had an explosive session with our family therapist.  In anger, I tore up my ticket for a flight to see Joanne.  Moving to the present, I have learned that women regard emotional infidelity more serious than physical infidelity.  Men the opposite.  However, Joanne satisfied emotional needs for me, needs which Marge did not, at least in that time.

A portion of Joanne lived in the fantasy world

Kim Anderson Art

 She loved Kim Anderson art, sort of kitsch for me, but symbolic.  She sent me a very similar card with the following commentary”Do you believe the photo on this card. Such are the pure, simple joys of childhood- dressing up and admiring the love of flowers (on the actual card) with a friend. Ah if life today were only that simple and pure.  When you come in the Spring we must”dress up” and admire the early Spring flowers together.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to recapture the delight of such simple pleasures, the wonders of discovery?”

I think I have said enough about the bond of childhood between Jo and I.  I did visit NY different times and always made a point of spending time with Joanne somewhere, not at her home.

She lived in a large stone house in Honeoye Falls, full of cats and just plain stuff.  Joanne would browse the thrift shops and buy anything that caught her fancy.  No need for photos, but the house was of this, that, and the other thing whatever it was. To me, it seemed she would rather read, watch a film on TV than be a neat decorator or even housekeeper.  She slept in the day and waked at night.   She was never on time for anything. For a 6:30 dinner date I would wait at the bar until about 8.  There she came verbally showering me with the reasons she couldn’t make it.  I learned to expect this, so OK.

Another part of the fantasy world was New Mexico the “Land of enchantment” She even asked me to see a house she wanted to buy in Lincoln, NM. I visited Larry and his girlfriend and we did go for a camping trip.  I added a day and went to Lincoln, the home of Billy The Kid. The house there was beautiful, two wings with a glass enclosure connecting them.  She eventually made, with a lawyer,  arrangement where the owner could still live in the house, she would send him monthly payments to cover the down payment.  Later, the man died, the money was not in an escrow account, he had spent it. She lost considerably and told me about it too late to contest the estate.

It became obvious to me that Joanne would never leave Honeoye falls, regardless of her so-called plans for New Mexico. Once it appeared that Marge and I might separate, but that didn’t happen.  JoAnne didn’t like Las Vegas, and I didn’t care to leave Marge, and move back to central NY and deal with the weather. Even if, I couldn’t live with Jo but could have a house in the village and we would get together now and then. Jo would have grandiose plans, that never materialized.

I was back in NY in 7/28/07, just after her birthday.  I dated her at a local restaurant/bar in Honeoye as a somewhat belated birthday dinner.  She gave me a lovely cat book and signed it “Love, your Dear, Dear Buddy, Joanne”.  We were dear friends, just of opposite gender.  Marge had difficulty understand and adjusting to this.  The last I saw Joanne was in the summer of 2009 when I made another trip East.  Joanne treated me to lunch at a special little privately owned sandwich shop. Of course, she was late, but I expected that. A goodbye kiss and that was the ending of the active part of a long renewed very caring friendship.

A cross-country relationship is hard to maintain over the 20+ years.  No goodbyes, just no calls or mail.  Marge’s cancer metastasized into terminal stage 4 for in 2010.   Any other relationships at all were out of the question. She died in 2012.

In 2014 two years had passed, my therapist aided me in my bereavement and I tried calling Joanne’s number.  I got a robotic answering machine message that told nothing.  With some difficulty, I was able to connect with her sister Judi.  She told me that Joanne was showing signs of dementia and would be moved to Plattsburgh.  She died in 2016.

Who am I? Robert (Bobby to Jo) Frantzen;

Western Bob 2015

Here is a 2015 photo of me.

I retired from what was then Nevada Power Co in 1993.  I have an AB and a BE from Syracuse University.  I met Marge there a couple years behind me. I have an MS from Binghamton University and a Professional Engineer license from PA.

Even as a child I was interested in making things, taking things apart to see how they worked, etc.  A good skill set for an engineer and statistician, not so good for social finesse.

I am thorough and cautious, I like to plan ahead seeing all the possible outcomes I could imagine.  So, impetuous, not devil-may-care and perhaps that has, and does limit me. I soak up facts and history like a sponge.  This has led to the professional lifestyle that suited me and also a satisfying comfortable retirement.

Marge and I had communication problems.  At different times she would try to explain something about herself to me.  I  would nod my head, say yes, but be clueless.  Obviously, this didn’t help our life together.  I didn’t have this problem with Joanne.  I believed, felt that she really understood me and I could be open, trusting, ever perhaps loving and she understood me.  Perhaps this was due to our growing up together, that’s my theory.

Now the two women who meant most to me in my life are dead.  They were both a bit younger than I; they age no longer.  I miss them both; together and individually.   Marge and I were truly together for 55 years.  Joanne and I were together as children, re-emerging as caring adults, best friends forever now as man and woman, bonded by childhood but not romantically inclined in our Senior years.

I am alone now with no real female interests.  Some occasional dates, but nothing serious.  The future might bring a big surprise, who knows. Who knows?

Posted in Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The falling leaves-1976

I have been negligent in posting.  This time I am going to try both reprising the past, and commenting on my present life.

Fall had indeed fallen and was upon us.  School had started, and both the girls were moving ahead a grade.  Marge and I were proud of them, they are growing up to be very fine ladies, a year at a time. Ingrid is now in High School and went to that building, another life transition. Louise had to change schools also since the district pupil load had to be re-balanced.  We didn’t care for this but it did seem to be working OK, although for Louise this meant leaving friends and acclimatizing to a new environment.

August saw a lot of camping, maybe too much for me.  One event was a trip to the Adirondacks, which of course, is where I grew up. That was pleasant, but a long trip from eastern PA.  While we were there we decided to visit my Mom in Plattsburg.  Dad died in the spring of acute Leukemia.  I miss him more now that he has gone, as my therapist helped me gain perspective on his life and my relationship with him as a father.   I was born in the depression, a bad time for America and the world really.  That segued into WWII with rationing and hardship at home, as well as cousins being in the Service.  Dad was quiet and reserved which I took to be emotionally remote.  He had a secure steady job and was a good provider.  Perhaps if I spent the majority of my working life in a maximum security prison, I would be a different person, and not in a positive way.  Marge was able to stay with him, I am sure I mentioned this earlier and told me she grew to appreciate Dad more in the way he accepted his coming death with a quiet dignity.

Dad was a Chevrolet man, no Ford or Plymouth for us.  His last Chevvy was a 1971 Impala, which by today’s standards is a land barge. Mom could drive but didn’t want to so we had to do something about the car.  We decided that Marge and I could both drive home and take the Chevrolet home.  Of course, my sister Karen had a legitimate interest in the car as well, and we sorted that out later.  This meant that we now had four cars and the trailer in our garage and driveway.  It was excessive of course, but the girls were getting to be of driving age soon and would probably want a car of their own.  That was our justification, and it did make sense, we had room for all, one of my cars was a company one, the others we owned outright and the operating cost was acceptable.  The American way I think.  More is better.

I was working on the Mustang myself and made the repairs that I could.  We arranged with a body shop to repair the rust damage and repaint the car.  Slowly it is being restored and will be a beautiful car when that work is finished.


1967 Blue Mustang

Marge will look great at the wheel, I am sure of that.  Marge also wanted to sign up for a basic course in auto repair and was hesitant about going alone.  We both signed up, teamwork you know, as my knowledge of cars was spotty, I could do some things, but not others.  This made sense with so many vehicles to keep up.  Marge also signed up for a conversational Spanish course at the YWCA.  She was very smart and good with words.  I don’t think she actually wanted to speak Spanish, just learn how the language was structured, and what the differences were to English.  All sorts of knowledge that we didn’t get in college.

I did pass my radio operators exam and received a license from the Government.   The next thing was obtaining equipment.  If I bought anything, I would have to drive to Philadelphia since the Allentown area had no outlets for amateur radios.  I could always build what I want, that might well be fun in itself.  I passed a correspondence course in radio and TV repair and servicing in 1974.  I took the course as (1) I still had some veterans schooling dollars coming to me and (2) I was always interested in electricity and radios, even as a boy. Electronics has come a long way in 40 years; the days of amateur hobbyists has passed into history.

We went to a Christian retreat in the Poconos.  This was something Marge wanted to do and the site had room for some trailers. we were in this life together as partners and we made the trip, though I began to have flu symptoms.  Marge drove me home and drove back to the conference herself. She hitched up the trailer herself and came home on Sunday when the retreat ended.  she even backed the trailer up from the front road into our space for it.  Backing up can be difficult and not intuitive.  I was proud of her; she could do anything she set her mind to.

My bout with the flu/cold was over and then the rest of our family came down with the illness, whatever it was.  Then PP&L sent me to an industry conference dealing with labor relations. The conference was OK but rather remote from my day-to-day responsibilities. Coming home, I stopped at a store that specializes in sheepskins and bought Marge a beautiful sheepskin rug for her side of our bed.  I don’t know whatever happened to it as it is long gone now.

Not far from our home in PA there was a private small fishing lake stocked with trout. trout_imageEarlier, I promised Louise to take her fishing on our vacation but for some reason did not. To make up for this we went to this trout pond and after about half an hour, she did catch a fish. this was fun, I really enjoyed doing things with my daughters.  We went home and I gutted and cleaned the fish.  I think Louise watched, but am not certain of that.  Marge started to cook the fish but I finished cooking.  Marge never liked fish at all in any way, shape or manner. That was fine with me, this was really a father/daughter outing with Louise and we shared the fish for lunch.  That was a very satisfying day, I still remember it.

Now for the time machine, odds and ends from my present (2017) life:

I have had hearing problems as long as I can remember.  I  got a VA card about 20 years ago but never used it. Last year I began actually using the VA health benefits that I qualify for from my Air Force service. Neither Medicare of my supplement covers hearing aids.The VA does and   I am very pleased with the audiology department at the VA hospital here.  I had the most complete exam I have ever had from a resident who is finishing up his requirements for his doctor’s degree. Very nice guy and as I said, very thorough. My hearing problem is with consonants and understanding the high-frequency components. I have had this problem for decades, maybe all my life as I remember seeing a doctor when I was a kid due to earache. My first exam was about 45 years ago and the ear nose throat MD said the nerves were dead and there was nothing he could do. So, I have lived with it and the loss is getting slowly worse. The aids work great, do not amplify ambient sound like the ones I got maybe 13 years ago. I asked the D Aud in training about phone calls as I often use the ear buds for that to free up my hands. He said that there is a Bluetooth dongle that I could get so I can hear the phone conversation in my aids. We will talk about that in May.

 I found out that I don’t own the aids, they are on a very long loan, and I can also get free batteries from the VA. this is much more than I expected and I think the cost if I had to buy it from a civilian audiologist would be at least $5000 and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  Good move I think for me.

Phantom Frantzen cat had to have radioactive iodine treatment for a growth in her thyroid. This was an expensive vet bill, $1400, and of course, no insurance for that. The cats are my family, perhaps Phantom is my favorite so I want her to live as long as possible.

I am taking two film classes this term and will be a presenter at our OLLI Film Festival in May. I have sent a proposal for a 10-week course in the summer in the early films of K. Hepburn, and a later 5-week course in the Western genre. I have learned that there is not much actual teaching required since for the most part, the OLLI members like to watch movies and maybe have a short discussion period. So, it comes down to me doing some background research for about a 10-minute talk, answer questions and then just roll the movie. This gets me out of the house and I actually enjoy doing this.

I hope to take a trip taking the girls to Canada to visit Karen and Joe, the nieces, husbands/boyfriend and their kids. Louise is coming up in May and we are going to the AAA to work out at least a preliminary plan as each of our homes are in different locations, customs considerations, etc. I know I am deteriorating a bit and while I am still in fairly good shape do wish to visit my extended family in Canada, probably early September.

I had a very pleasant trip to Sacramento to see Ingrid over her birthday week.

McCarran airport Las Vegas

Double nickel now.  How did that happen? She had tickets for us to a local Chris Botti concert. It was pleasant and different for me as I know little about jazz.  We went to a nature preserve park near Carmichael, CA not too far from her home.  It was a beautiful day and not crowded at all, we both enjoyed the trip. We also went to an art exhibition in Sacramento college.  Snacks as well as pics.Very nice.


Nature park


Sacramento college


Ingrid on park bench


Sacramento college

Marge and I had some problems communicating, but we shared many activities that I cherish still. Yes, we both could have done better, but really No Regrets for all the years together.  My word count is almost 2000 so time to say goodbye for now.

Posted in 1970-1980, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Summer Solstice Soliloquies

 Below, the first two and last stanzas of a poem by Derek Walcott, “Black August”

“Black August”

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won’t come out.

Everything goes to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

I would have learnt to love black days like bright ones,
The black rain, the white hills, when once
I loved only my happiness and you.

I don’t know if I understand all the poem, but I do deeply, desperately understand black days and bright days.  Perhaps you do too, the black, the white; the drought and the rain.

My Dad died in May ’76, a few days short of his 76th birthday.  My family and I had gone for a short vacation and came back, I think the end of April. Sister Karen had been trying to reach me on the phone in Coopersburg, of course in vain back in the ’76 days; land line only.

Here is a scan of the Frantzen Family in about 1908.  My Grandfather is at extreme left, my father in the middle, blond hair already darkening.  The tall teenage young man is my uncle Carl.  I had not looked at this photo in years and first thought it was me.  The beautiful young lady next to him is my aunt Martha and the handsome middle-aged woman is my grandmother.  So, that’s my immediate heritage. Below is my SU yearbook picture.  See the resemblance? Then right below a little more family in these snapshots, left my cousin Larry, son of Aunt Martha, and Dad and I about 1938.

Frantzen family

Frantzen Family ca 1908


Bob's yearbook foto

Bob’s yearbook foto


Karen did reach us, I recall dimly now as the years, the water of life drift, dawdle, and diverge slowly by. Dad was in a hospital in Plattsburg, not expected to live long. What a surprise, I didn’t know he was even ill. So, we made hurried arrangements. Marge’s mother, Dorothy, agreed to drive up and look after the girls.  Marge and I drove to Plattsburgh, spent some time with Mom who filled us in.  Dad was diagnosed with a virulent form of leukemia, not expected to live.  We spent a bit of time together, Marge stayed with Mom and Karen, and I drove back home. I had a job to do, and there was no such thing as compassionate leave then, just the way society was.  Dad hung on for a week or two, then went into the whirlpool spinning spiral of death.  Another long trip for me, Dad had a transfusion which provided short-term relief.  His greeting to me was “how was the trip, and how is your car running?” Really, thinking back, that was good, a practical, pragmatic rational question.  No sloppy saccharine sentimentality just a rational reasonable question. Marge later said that during her time at the hospital, seeing how Dad faced his death, she a much fuller concept of him as a person.

I remember, recall somewhat dimly being in a room with Marge, Mom, Karen and the doctor.  His message, Dad did not have long to live and he died shortly after. The Walker Funeral home, as then referred to, took care of the details.  We had a viewing with an open casket as was the custom at the time.  Marge and I left the next day for home.  I think I did have a benefit of funeral leave and had pushed that a bit.

I didn’t have any grief, as such that I recognized, neither then nor 4 decades later. Just tired from the trips, Mom’s grief, the ritual of death.

 My father was not demonstrative neither in life nor approaching the end of it.  He could, at least to me, become unreasonably angry at the most trivial of events. His evening nightcap was a spoon of mineral oil.  It was not until Marge’s death when I was discussing family that I developed a mature understanding of Dad and my relationship. I now appreciate my father for what he was, a good stable provider, not projecting on him my idealized image that he failed to live up to. I have failed as well; I accept my failures, I accept my once buried grief for Dad.

Yes, love the black days like the bright days. Difficult, demanding, dark; just do it.

We did take a trailer trip with a group to the Pocono Mountains for Memorial Day.  It was a good change then,  a good time.  Very nice.

June busted out all over; yes it did.  We went out for a few weekends in the trailer but the Trip of the Month was to Lake Placid.  PP&L had authorized a stay for a conference at the Whiteface Inn on Lake Placid.


Whiteface Lodge, once Whiteface Inn – Google



Kate – Google image

In the ’50s our Whiteface neighbor was Kate Smith, a famous singer in the 30s and 40s.  The village of Lake Placid, of Olympic fame, is actually on Lake Clear. One would think that a clear lake would be placid, and vice-versa.  Both charming mountain lakes,  refulgent blue waters glistening glittering in the sun from dawn to dusk.


Mountain Lake similar to Lake Clear – Google images



June is the time in our hemisphere of the solstice, our earthly apogee.  We look forward to the fertile fecundity of the ground supporting us with the fruits of planting in spring. On a human level, assuming an average age of 85, our physical and personal growth reaches our personal apogee in mid-forties. Our fecundity past us, now in our own black August of decay leading to death, new generations repeating the cycle.   Finality, natural, normal, despite the various mythological, superstitious trust in dogma and doctrine, clinging to hope of an eternity. To me, we in the dusk of life can appreciate the birthdays before us, not the past ones.

I worked in the Whiteface Inn for two summers almost 20 years before this conference.  Surprisingly, I did meet a few people I knew in the old days and we chatted about then and now.  Marge and the girls came with me and I requested rooms in the hotel.  Due to some misunderstanding,  we were instead given a “cottage” a cabin outlying the hotel.  Ours had two bedrooms and a splendid sitting room with a fireplace.  A treat for us all.  the conference had arranged local activities for the families and a special ice skating exhibition in Lake Placid, the village.  It was a mini-vacation for Marge and the girls. The conference was interesting though not a good fit for PP&L.  There was a hitch in the billing as we were billed full price for the cottage.  I showed the clerk a receipt for the down payment to hold a hotel room and the matter was resolved amicably in a civilized manner.

Aristocrat - 3

Aristocrat trailer – Google image

I have not seen a travel trailer on the road for decades, RV or recreational vehicles do still sell them, as well as 6 figure motor homes, driven by old men straining to see the road.  For us, trailer travel was a way to go places, do things as a family unit. We owned two over a period of ten years.  The girls had grown up, Ingrid married, and the terrain here in and around Vegas does not lend itself to short trips for a weekend outing.  We did in ’76 belong to a club, working class people, not complex. They were very fundamentalist but not in your face with “Have you accepted Christ, etc. etc.”  So, a way to socialize with very good people in a safe environment for a few days a month or slightly longer.

Comes the fourth. Of July, the day prior to Louise’s birthday.  I think sometime that month we did again go to the 1972 movie “1776” We spent the holiday on a camping trip. there was a parade in the little village nearby which we attended. Some of the campers really were in the spirit and made floats, while we observed.  Small town Americana, as it was then, it may be so today.  At the end of the month, we went to Ocean City  NJ  again.


Ocean City NJ boardwalk – Google images

We took two cars since I did not have enough vacation time to stay.  The trip is only 3 hours long, so not difficult and I came back for another short stay.  I managed to get too many rays, the sun came out of its yellow room with a vengeance and I was sunburned, yet again.  I still pay the price for that today with regular trips to my dermatologists.  Ah well. Perhaps next year we will go elsewhere, we have seen everything of interest near Ocean City at least, and it became boring.

House painting, a room at a time was my divertissement all summer. As did Sisyphus, I finished one room only to be tasked with doing it again.  OK, another room yes, but the spirit is the same, and I like the Greek God who persisted, pressed on and persevered.

I have been studying for an amateur Radio license.  I enjoy technology and also learning,  per se, well, just things; who knows when they may be useful.  I passed the code exam previously, took the theory test in July and dutifully wait for the FCC to grant me the license.  I was, in my own way, waiting for Godot, a.k.a the FCC.

My college roommate throughout the Syracuse years remains my friend still.  He and his second wife visited us for dinner one day.  He lives in the Washington DC area, about 4 hours away.  His first marriage to Marina ended in divorce and he remarried.  I hadn’t seen him in years and it was very pleasant to see him again, and his new wife for the first time.

Louise had been asking for a microscope.  I told her that was a good idea, I would pay at least half of the cost if she could pay some.  We bought her a decent student microscope at a now long gone store dealing in home electronics, and scientific toys.  Louise did use it a bit.  Once we went and obtained a sample of stagnant water from a very slow stream nearby. The experience of viewing the hitherto invisible animal life thriving on the microscopic plant life in a drop of water. Wow!!  I was a kid again, secretly I believe I was more enthralled than Louise.

Late summer brought with it an unwelcome guest from about mid-May to mid-June.  Hay fever,  my nemesis from the plant world.  Ingrid also was so affected. July found me feeling weak and sick to my stomach one day.  I did go to work at PP&L, shuffled papers, dictated that which was necessary but not taxing. I left early and the next day felt fine.

School starts shortly, Ingrid will start High School, another mile marker in the convoluted complex confusing road of her life.

The clicking timepiece of life and death quietly stayed in the background of our lives.  Dad died and for years I was superstitious about my at least reaching the 76-year-old mark.  Ridiculous.  Divorce and remarriage of my old friend, Ingrid now in High School. Transitions perhaps not clearly recognized then as they are now.

I started with a fragment of a poem so I will end with one by Robert Frost. I think I did and am traveling on the correct one for me.  Quoting Piaf again “I shall have no regrets.”

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, Relationships, Summer vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

ides and calends of March ’76

onion sets -Google Image

onion sets -Google Image

Not the ideas of March silly, the ides.  Dictionary opened, I checked the definition and it means mid-month.  Calends, I found are the first days of the months.  A time for settling accounts, at least in Roman times. For us, variable, vexing weather.  Why so?  The first day of Spring was exceeding mild, around 70. Earlier, we chilled out with 20-degree snowy weather.  Called onion snow. Onion snow was a curious colloquial term, something new to me. The locals educated me; it was snow that came after the onion sets were planted, then melted and vanished, soon silently soaking the garden.  Just as above.  Makes sense.

In the interregnum of snow, I dug up the ground for our little garden.  You see, Spring brings to Marge Spring fever, known to me as Spring planting fever. Medically acknowledged? Not that I know of, but after the plants have sprouted, the evil weeds overtake them.  Marge is miraculously cured and is not infected with weeding fever. Now the horticultural future is left to plant destiny, Darwin determines the survival of the fittest.  All this, just our little rite of horticultural tradition. Rites of Spring.

For us and Marge’s Mustang, a time to give it a tune-up, then drive around town, top down. Three cheers for the seasonal solstice.

Remember the old song about Friendship? I think it went like this “Friendship, Friendship, what a perfect blendship.” An old Cole Porter song. Dated yes, but having friends and reciprocating is important to the lives of most of us.  Friends from Binghamton visited us during a weekend in March.  Can’t remember whom, basically Marge’s friends on a trip south whom she invited here for a weekend.  For us, we have stayed close to home.  Marge is going to Cornwall later and we are taking the trailer out at the end of the month,

Regardless of the April Showers, we are taking the trailer to Virginia,  historical Williamburgsburg VA

Williamsburg google image

Williamsburg –  Google image

as well as Charlottesville, where we have made advance reservations.  should be a good trip, not to far South, but enough to get a real touch of spring, and visit some historical towns.  We are going again to NJ in July and have reservations in Ocean City where we stayed last year.  No pool, but they are close to the Ocean.

A few people near us do have above ground plastic pools of which, I am not fond. One retired couple, older than we have an enclosed pool attached to their house.  I think they use is all year.  Really nice, but we are on a hill and it would be expensive to dig and make the necessary grading. Then too, who knows how long we are going to be here? We did join a public pool in Coopersburg, primarily for the girls.  Not my thing.  Too many people for my taste.

PP&L Allentown - Google

PP&L Allentown – Google image

Grumblings are heard about a strike at PP&L. I hope they get resolved peacefully.  If so, we are going to New Hampshire the last week in August to visit friends who were once neighbors here.  So much for vacation plans.

I have always loved my children from the day they were born, as a young man to the present, an old man; for them, “silver threads among the gold”  I have always encouraged them to follow their own path, their interests, and do help sometimes, but not assume more than that.  I still do help on occasion, and now I call on them for helpful suggestions, etc. as to direction and purpose in my time left.  Done now? Yes?

Back to ’76.Louise and I went for a walk, a search, along a little stream near the area of our house.  It is similar to this image, but not so wooded, Her art teacher has expressed an interest to some of her class to make some home-made beads for the younger classes. Louise wanted to be part of this planned project herself.


PA stream Google

 The little stream, for some reason of geography, unknown to me, has a considerable amount of clay along the slow-moving stream bounded by its meadow stream bank. We each took a plastic bag with us, gently gathering about seven pounds each of the raw clay.

The clay has a considerable amount of organic, and inorganic material which we did our best to clean out.  Louise made a small clay pinch pot which had now dried, ready to be fired in the small kiln given us by her grandmother Sutherland. I was very interested, truly excited a little about this experiment in an ancient craft.

Back to the future, the future of Mustang technology.

67 Mustang convertible

67 Mustang convertible – Google image

The upgrading and updating of the worn and tired vehicle progress quite well. I had some transmission repairs completed; seals, new fluid and band adjustments.  That accomplished, I ordered the rear springs re-sprung.  The old girl was sagging in her butt, as it were.  Now back to factory specs. No sag left. Regretfully, not so simple with humans.

Future goals for future months include: In April, body work to smooth a crease and repair that plague of the east, body cancer.  In May a new paint job reflecting Marge’s advice in the car.

1967 Blue Mustang

1967 Blue Mustang – much like ours except for the wheels – Google

 It will be beautiful when complete.As of the present, the now, the interior is pretty decent, it starts readily and, following a complete tune-up, runs well for a car of 75,000 miles. The planned trip to Cornwall should give us a sound base of its productive gas mileage and oil consumption. This done, completed, finished and analyzed will help us estimate the life left in the once tired old lady with the ugly green complexion.

Marge loves the car as it has power everything, and her voice determined its color and exterior ornamentation.  It will be great, her own car as she so wishes.  The early Mustangs are admired, particularly those in good shape.   It may even appreciate in value, though this is not our goal.  Wouldn’t hurt though, would it?

The Moravian Church we attend sponsored a square dance recently. They were very popular in my youth in Dannemora, NY.  Marge, Ingrid and I went to this dance. The caller took the time to explain the steps and assumed we knew nothing, no doubt true about square dancing. We got into the swing of this dance style and had a very enjoyable time of it.  Pleasant old village entertainments.

So much for fun and games, now for the tough stuff of life.  Salary review at PP&L was one of reduced raises compared to the last year.  Disappointed; sure we were, but at least we still had a job in the troubled times then. In Bethlehem, the steel company had salary reductions.  Doubtlessly there were layoffs in other industries, even engineers, and professional people.  The oil shocks of the 70’s hit all of us very hard.  The economy had gone south, per the saying, and we had to adjust.  Some of the businesses actually did move south to obtain workers who would settle for less than in PA.

We are pretty healthy, can’t really buy that.  I had the flu again with headaches and stiffness on all my upper body.This did improve with time though, thank whomever you wish for that.  Ingrid wears only retainers now, not the brace devices so, of course, she is pleased with that.

The interior of the house needs painting.  I did paint the dining room when we got new furniture, but no more than that.  I really hate painting, it is both boring and exacting simultaneously.  More than that, I hate the thought of paying anybody to paint and do not have to rely on anyone, feeling I can do anything by myself.  Self-delusion of course, but I felt that way.

What is a house, what is a home?  The notorious madam Polly Adler,  of years past wrote a book “A house is not a home” Her reference was to her bordello but I believe the saying goes beyond that meaning. I have lived in Las Vegas almost 40 years, yet do not consider it home, just a place of residence. The house that came closest to being a home was the PA one, Beverley Hills.

  Yes very homelike, but company politics and economics called for a change. We moved to Vegas.  So, I am not houseless, but, possibly homeless.  Possibly. There is a German phrase which, approximately translated, is  “home is where the heart lies” home is a feeling, a psychological state, perhaps a religious one, but is internal, neither brick nor mortar. Understanding that, I do feel that PA could have been home, not necessarily though.

Enough for now. Where does your heart lie?   Think about that.


Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Presidents Day ’76

 February brought winter weather, flu, car concerns, health, radio code course, and more…

Washington's birthday

Washington’s Birthday

Remember when we celebrated Washington’s birthday?

Per Wikipedia on this: Washington’s Birthday is a United States Federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. It can occur on the 15th through the 21st of February inclusive.

President's day?

President’s Day?

Colloquially, the day is also now widely known as Presidents’ Day and is often an occasion to remember all the presidents, not just George Washington. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, though treated as a holiday by many states. Confusing eh?

We now in 2017 have M. L. King Day showering acclimation and accolades to the memory of a fallen leader of the civil rights movement. All 50 states finally accepted the holiday in 2000.  MLK was a powerful orator and leader.  Had he not been assassinated, eliminated from the battle and fray, the conflict and clash of racial differences would he be solemnized by a Federal National holiday?  Had he aged gracefully, led a full life and died, as most of us do, from the infirmities of old age, would we still have a  day of observance, festival, and fête?  At any rate, a day off in January, perhaps that is the answer.

Las Vegas had, probably still has, some racial biases.  The last major race riot was in 1992, the year before I retired.  African/American performers were welcome on the stage, not in the casinos.  Personally, I think this was, to a significant extent, motivated by concerns for business.  Whatever the law was, many tourists did not believe in racial mixing and may have gone elsewhere to avoid it. Not good for business. Times change slowly and attitudes change.  I do know that the removal of the name of our founding president angered many in Nevada.  Eventually, MLK day was accepted by the state and the Power company, though there was grudging acceptance three decades ago as well as of the commonplace term, Presidents Day.  All these factoids of data are somewhat related to the month.  I have no background in sociology or racial issues to comment on, not my field.

As for me,  I would have welcomed a day off from shoveling snow would.  The 1976 snow came and stayed, like a guest overstaying his/her welcome.  It has been colder than usual and we look forward to spring.  Personally, I had a relapse from the flu, yet again. Not too bad though.  I qualified, as a manager, for an executive physical which is very thorough and I advantaged myself of this benefit. This was a two-day session at a clinic in Bethlehem and I passed with an A+. A few very minor concerns, not to worry about, and I was pleased to have this detailed report.

Marge, on the other side of the health ledger, is slowly recovering and we have gone to church a few times. She tires easily, though with some caution, gets through the day fairly well.  Last month, we did go to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate her birthday in December.  Although a month late, the evening was pleasant, pleasurable, and, delightful.

This month was, for us, one of much automotive activity.  I had the 1970-ford-wagonFord wagon painted and discovered that, yes still more problems; the accident blew out the plumbing in the air shocks. Of course, that was set aright and, oh yes, the body shop forgot to re-install the extra transmission cooler we had originally installed to handle the load from towing the trailer.  Isn’t this exciting?  Well no, but necessary and the body shop gladly remedied their oversight. Now, I truly believe, all the damage from the accident is repaired. Ready to roll again.

I am pleased and proud to announce the addition to our automotive fleet of a more or less, gently used 1967 Mustang convertible. I had a company car, we had the Ford wagon for various uses, and the IH Scout was Marge’s.  1970-scoutIn reality, this was a small truck with a right hand drive, as we bought used from the Post Office.  The weather let up a bit, I cleaned the truck up best as I could and put a for sale sign on it.  This I placed significantly and strategically next to our mailbox.  Sure enough, the mailman took the bait and we settled on a price $200 less than I paid 2 years ago.  Seemed fair, as it suited him, and really did not work for us.

And so, Out out brief Scout, to borrow from Shakespeare.  Onward to the Mustang.  I have digressed.

67 Mustang convertible

67 Mustang convertible

 The Mustang was owned by an engineer in my department and we settled on a fair price for it.  It was sound mechanically, but the body had some scratches and little dings. The paint was the ugly pea-soup green that Ford once uses. This image if from a google search and is the make, model, and color as the one we bought.    I don’t think our car had ever seen polish. Otherwise, in other respects, the car had power everything, just right for Marge and I promised to fix it up according to her wants and wishes.

Why not get a new car, we could afford it?  I, and I believe, yes I do that Marge and I were brought up in the old school, end of depression and beginning of WWII.  Then one often went without new stuff, as none was available, rationed, and fixed up whenever possible.  this quasi-minimalist mind set is still with me. Why send objects to the dump if they can still be made serviceable?  It is behavior I do not believe in.  Neither do I believe in going into debt to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Advertising means little to me other than the means of sustaining a decent standard of living.  I used to do income taxes as a retirement pastime/hobby.  Living on, or past the edge of poverty due to conspicuous consumption was not uncommon.

Also, I enjoyed making things, and if not acquiring the knowledge to get repairs done properly at the right price to all concerned. The Mustang fit into this category.  Pleasurable, yes seeing it turn into exactly what Marge and I both wanted for a car that suited her.  Not off the shelf.

These additions, deletions, coverage claims, etc. were calmly, politely, and very satisfactorily dealt with by our insurance company.  I have, had then, the same insurer that I had for my first car.  AMICA, great company, no regrets.

I like, and liked learning for its own sake.  In 1976 I was taking an amateur radio code course and using up the last of my VA school benefits on a correspondence radio/TV course.  Obsolete knowledge in 2017, but the satisfaction of mastering the technology of the time (1976) remains with me.

Beckoning all of us, over the calendar of time, is VACATION!!! Our Easter goal will be Virginia. First to Charlottesville, then to historic Williamsburg, ending in Jamestown, historical also, finally back home in Pennsylvania.  President’s Day offers the opportunity for a long weekend.  Marge’s health permitting we will do some local traveling.

These drips and drops of remembrances, do they have any meaning? I think, and yes hope, that they are a verbal window into everyday mid-American values, aspirations, and inspirations of 40 years ago.  The fabric of then mid-decade suburban life.

Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

November News – 1975

November 1975: Good news, bad news; Thanksgiving, car crash, music, Illness & health, Avengers.  You name it, we experienced it.

It was a dark and stormy month, so are they all, all Allentown Novembers. That’s trite and extreme, but at least gray, overcast, and wet.  This might be an excessive remark, but Novembers in Allentown and area were often just that.  Better than snow storms?  I guess so, just suck it up as everyone else did.

Do you remember the British series, “The Avengers?” It ran during the 60s and starred Patrick Mcnee and Diana Rigg. Mcnee played the starring role as Mr. Steed, as I recall. Diana played his frequent companion, Emma Peel.    His attire was a three-piece suit, umbrella, and bowler hat. Here’s some pics from Google Images.

Mr. Steed of the Avengers

Mr. Steed of the Avengers

Three-piece suits were the uniform for managers, and of course, I wore them, I think I looked good in a vest. The rain was almost always a constant threat so I carried a furled umbrella as a matter of course.  Being follicular challenged, I wore a hat also, to keep dry, and warmer, at least somewhat. Sometimes in fantasy, I wonder if I could morph into the Mr. Steed role.  Probably not, as my only acting experience was high school plays, though I enjoyed that.

Marge started college stating her preference as acting.  This lasted only one semester as she did not like the major when she got into a course or two.  Who knows what you want to learn as an entering freshman? Continue reading

Posted in 1970-1980, Allentown, Coopersburg PA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

September Song -1975

Do you remember this oldie, the “September Song?”

Read more: Frank Sinatra – September Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics second stanza goes like this:

“September, November
And these few precious days I’ll spend with you
These precious days I’ll spend with you”

Particularly in 2017 at age 80, all days are precious to me, so here goes spending distant, precious days with you;  remote September days, via this post.

August was very hot, humid, very unusual, ha-ha! of course, since that is the norm here, much different from the Vestal, NY area where we came from.

Front view of house and foliage

Front view of Vestal, NY house, and foliage

Our house here features cherished,  central air conditioning; walking out the door feels almost like stumbling into a wall.  This too comes to an end and how I value not having to sit out on the stoop of a row house for some, more or less, fresh air. This is not uncommon for many in the triple cities area and Philadelphia, even closer to the ocean.

We went on our monthly trailer camping trip with the club to which we belong. These monthly trips are at area locations with campsites.  100 degrees and sticky, sweaty, humid air.  Of course, no  A/C on our trailer, so we rough it.  I had difficulty in parking the trailer and punched a small hole in the side. When home I patched it with fiberglass and did my best matching the paint.  Too bad, reduces resale value, but, oh, well, all part of the hobby.

Marge’s sister Pat, divorced now, is moving to Syracuse to restart her life and get a new degree at Syracuse University.  Marge drove up and picked up her children, giving her time to get pack up and get the Penn Yan house ready to sell.  I left in the middle of the week both to help with the packing and helping with the real move.  Pat hired movers to take the large items and she and I  finished packing smaller items, renting a mid-sized U-Haul truck and traveling to Syracuse.


Pontiac Station wagon

She drove her well-traveled Pontiac Station wagon and I drove the truck.  It had power nothing – no A/C, power steering, brakes, or auto transmission.  A bit of a challenge, but actually I did enjoy that part, brought back old skills.

We did get the truck to Syracuse, unloaded the boxes, and collapsed from exhaustion. Not really, but the work tired us.  We got something to eat which helped. The Pontiac made the journey, but then, once there, would not restart.  Changing a starter is not brain science, but to do it safely one should have a car jack and jack stands to safely hold the car up while changing out the old for a new starter. We had neither parts nor tools.  So we decided not to try this, as time was running out; our priority was finishing the move.  I believe she had AAA or some similar service come and change the starter. So, tritely phrased, “all’s well that ends well.”  Pat had two air mattresses which we used to sleep on, though, as I think back, I believe hers had a leak and she ended up on the floor.


U-Haul truck

I returned the U-Haul, picked up my car and drove to Coopersburg. Marge drove to Syracuse with her nieces and nephew.  The totality, to a great extent, was much activity for all, having driven back and forth several times. Family and a sense of unity were important to us all and we succeeded.

“Woodsman, Woodsman, spare that tree” Ecologically sound; however, any electric power company must trim the branches from those trees.  These are then ground into wood chips so I asked for some of these chips from the trimming supervisor as part of my home improvement projects. Previously, I planted shrubs in the front, allowing sufficient space for future growth.  Alas, the grass filled in the spaces, which I covered with plenty of the wood chip mulch.  Good use for a waste product, as well as looking better already, and promoting future shrub growth.  I enjoy completing hands-on projects such as this.  I enjoy a sense of having some skills besides engineering and management, therefore showing to myself, perhaps others, that I am more than a desk jockey person.

I tripped, not the light fantastic, but a heavy Boeing passenger plane headed to Los Angeles to visit Southern California Edison.  I,  one of my engineers, and a field supervisor went to observe their construction methods.  We came back with many good ideas and the journey was productive.

California having been reached, and business satisfactorily finished, what next; possibly, perchance, with some trials and tribulations a visit to the village of St. Francis, a.k.a. San Francisco.  But no, I head to Sacramento where my Father-in-law, Col. Sutherland picks me up for a short trip to Vacaville (cow town). He and his wife Margaret own a home in an age restricted development there. I have always admired the Col. and looked forward to meeting him again.  Fortuitously, just by coincidence, my other sister-in-law Anne ( on Marge’s side) and her husband Lee were also there.  I don’t get to see them very often, so this was a mini-reunion, entirely unplanned and unexpected.  It was a pleasant ending to my journey across the country.

August ended with some wonderful weather, following a rainy Friday.  This was an opportunity not to be missed, spending time outdoors in gorgeous weather and adding more mulch to the shrubs in the front yard.  Both girls are in school now in September, Ingrid is the editor of the eighth-grade yearbook, and both Louise and Ingrid are taking piano lessons again. Marge and Louise are fighting off colds, and, fingers crossed, I have managed to avoid this. Marge volunteers at our small local library and socializes with her friends in the area.

Summer ends on a fine note, in this review of our activities,  rather unsophisticated, though our lifestyle suits us, we have activities we can all participate in, we enjoy our home, our family, (immediate and extended), our friends, and the Moravian Church we have been attending.

So, as I have recalled the cool cares and pleasant pleasures of a perhaps, insipid suburban life,  I think it is appropriate to end with a few stanzas of a song. The style, now dated in  2017, suits the text, so farewell with some more help from Frank Sinatra:

“The falling leaves

Drift by the window

The autumn leaves

Of red and gold

Since you went away

The days grow long

And soon I’ll hear

Old winter’s song

But I miss you most of all

My darling
When autumn leaves

Start to fall”

Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

May the 4th (of July 75) be with you!

The home of the brave… in??? of course, now I remember,  the land of the free, in our case Northeastern PA. I hope, and of course sincerely wish, that your July 4th was one of nostalgic remembrance of our national struggles, in the past, in the present, probably in the future; which of course, we shall overcome, or did someone else use that? No matter, I think he stole it from an old Southern song.The point of this, if it is such, I enjoyed one day off, did remember why, and hope you did the same, or even better.

What did we do on that memorable day in our national calendar, somber reflection, watch a village parade, or add a day to our vacation time?  Knowing us, as I am sure you do by now, your razor-sharp perception quickly honed in on the correct answer, we took a day of vacation in addition to my week off, due me as an employee benefit.

 That being said, we could have visited many of the artifacts from the beginning of our country now residing in Philadelphia, but we didn’t, perhaps on some more propitious occasion.  But no, we migrated to that land of sea and shore, to say nothing of the boardwalk, which is, of course, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Our choice of place and time was close to being great, but not, unfortunately in our case; we stiffened our upper lip, accepted the finality and infidelity of weather, and dealt with a cold and windy day.  Fortunately, it was not a dark and stormy night,  I just had to say that. Forgive my addiction to clichés, it is a weakness I admit. Our last day at the campsite bombarded us with rain in the morning; however the God of weather gave us an armistice in the afternoon and the clouds left us, at least partly.  Old Sol did favor us most of the week and we did soak up some rays on the beach.

This year, we departed from our traditional norm and stayed at a different trailer campsite. Our site was impossible, perhaps even impregnable to set our trailer into. Fortunately, our situation was not unique.

Aristocrat - 2

Aristocrat Trailer

 The owner, the stout chap that he was; owned a backhoe with a trailer hitch mounted in the front of the vehicle. With this configuration, spotting our trailer was child’s play, assuming one with an adequate training in the use of this vehicle, to set us on our site upon our arrival and out as we departed the sunny shores and tempting boardwalk of Ocean City for our journey to home sweet home, a.k.a. Coopersburg.

How is your German today?  If so, here is  a couplet for you; “Regnen Tropften, auf mein fenstern cloptfen.” or in English “Raindrops dropping on my window.” That they did, however, the rainbow, if you looked for it in a symbolic sense was, with time at my disposal, and being restless caused by the inclement weather, decided to fix, repair, and improve our trailer anticipating another trip in late August.

While in NJ, we took a side trip and visited the Somers Pt. Atlantic County Historical Society.  We enjoy little outings such as this with some personal surprises for me at this one. We were talking with the volunteer who was showing us around, finding that she was of Swedish ancestry as am I.  More than that, she had visited Bornholm Island, Denmark, the home of my Danish ancestors, and she thought very highly of it. Her companion in the museum was also of Nordic descent, sort of old home week. We learned that many of the residents in this area are also of Scandinavian descent.  Small world indeed.

The forthcoming trip at the end of the next month will be a joint venture in traveling, this time with friends of Marge, whom I had never met. Upon our return to normal life in Coopersburg, we were very angered to find obscenities scrawled on our driveway. This nasty greeting was perpetrated before, last time done in paint.


Beverley Hills Pa House in 2016 - 2

Beverly Hills Road home


Our neighbor, who was a slum landlord in Allentown has children somewhat older than ours, and teenage boys often gather there. Naturally, I suspect one or more of these delinquents as the desecrators of our drive, but alas, can prove nothing. White Trash all in my opinion and, naturally, I reported the latest incident to our one local police officer, also notifying him of the dates of our next absence, not that I believe this will do much good, just stating something for the record; at least I hope this is duly documented in writing. We had no further incidents, so perhaps the local police had a little talk with the likely offenders.

Margery as our head (and only) cook and menu planner, has for some time now, wanted to buy a home freezer to aid her in having more diversity in her familial role. Of course, I want to please her but did wonder about the additional cost of purchasing a freezer and the added electricity it would need to run. We have been partners in our life together for about 15 years and to tell the truth, I should be more responsive to reasonable requests; so we bought our first freezer.  I believe that my concern for cost as a first priority is a value I picked up from Dad.  It isn’t a bad value at all, but in a marriage, sharing is more important and I can improve in this dimension of our life together.

Summer will soon be ending, and with it, more fresh fruits and vegetables;  I am certain that Marge can use the freezer to take advantage of this summer seasonality. All of us enjoy eating beef, Western beef of course, as that is popular in the East, and vice versa for reasons unknown to me. With the freezer, we can buy larger quarters of beef, maybe even a small half.  Costly? Sure at the butcher shop, but worth the cost with the variety of cuts readily available and already paid for.  Marge had a good idea, I am glad we got this freezer.  It lasted at least 30 years though it was not self-defrosting, which was messy and a lot of trouble particularly as we aged.  We bought a new one, and the Power Company took the old one away for recycling and gave us a check for $50.

After Marge died, I kept the freezer for a while, but it no longer made sense since I cook very simply, and having a freezer was only a temptation to stock up on food that would be frozen much too long to taste good.  It is now gone to freezer heaven via the Power Company, and I do fine with the one that is part of my refrigerator.

After we married, I signed up for a woodworking class in Syracuse.  It was poorly equipped and poorly taught. As I mentioned before, I signed up for an excellent course in Allentown and enjoyed working with wood until we moved to the present house, where there is no room for my tools, though now I have a lot of time.  But, back to July past; I refinished some of our wooden chairs and they look really fine.

Suburban living in a brick ranch-style house suited us, though the 1/2 acre lot required lawn mowing in the summer and the rain this month stimulates growth, but inhibits mowing. So, I could not make hay while the sun shone, as the proverb goes, but I did cut grass in the sun when available. In the photo above of the house and present owner, you can sense the uneven character of the lawn. Were it not for the downturn in the economy, and my perception of being in a dead-end job, I would like to live there still.  At this stage in life,  I would have to rely on help to mow grass in the warm weather and remove snow in winter; so with that perspective, the move to Las Vegas was a good decision.

Louise enjoyed an extended birthday this year. birthday-greetingIt was so extended that it crossed the border into New Jersey.  Marge and I, and Ingrid brought some presents to present to her on her actual birthday.  We also went out for birthday dinner at a nice restaurant in Ocean City. Upon our arrival home, she did have some presents waiting for her from family members.  Louise had a small party with some of her school friends later in the week which completed her birthday for this year.

The oil shock of last year has slowed the economy in our area, as it has in most of the country; resulting in much reductions in new customers for PP&L.  Attrition is now the word of the day, no new positions, and no replacements for retirements, death, etc. The only good news is that there have been no layoffs and/or forced retirements.

Another month gone by, not exceptional but pleasant.  Our children are growing and learning, we shared vacation time together, bought a new major appliance and continued to enjoy our life in Pennsylvania.

P.S. Above images from Google Images


Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

May Memories – 1975,Holiday, Wallenpaupack, Trailering Home improvements

Have you ever been to Lake Wallenpaupack?

Wallenpaupack map

Wallenpaupack map

 No, well we went there for a weekend.  My then employer, PP&L, then had a hydro plant on the lake and several acres of land with a rustic conference room and rustic cabins.  I was conducting a meeting in the conference center and arranged a weekend retreat for our family. The time was the first of May and when I awoke, the cabin was cold

wallenpaupack cabin

Wallenpaupack cabin

enough to justify a fire in our fireplace, which I accomplished quite briskly. That accomplished, the rain came.  Not unusual for this time of year, but still…….We did make a pre-Memorial day visit to Hancock visiting the cemetery where Marge’s family is interred.  Our time there will come later.nichols-lot

May is typically warm and rainy.  When we married in May, we had some rain every day, but that was years before.The lawn is growing well, responding to the fertilizer I put on as soon as the snow melted.

Beverley Hills Home

Beverley Hills Home

Last years shrubs have survived, as have the ivy, so the lawn is in good condition.

In June, we replaced the kitchen sink.  The original was merely an enameled sink which had chipped somewhat.  No doubt the builder bought the cheapest sink that could be installed.


Kohler Red Sink


The new sink is a Kohler red cast iron sink which we chose when we remodeled our first home in Vestal.  Marge’s favorite.


Memorial Day changed this year and we took a trip to Plattsburgh to visit Mom and Dad.  The drive is 400 miles each way, so this made for much driving in a short time. We took our trailer and stayed at a campsite in Plattsburgh.  The water pressure was erratic, and the water was definitely sulfurous in taste,  not so good regarding that. The location was good and we didn’t plan on spending much time in the trailer, it was livable.

Surprise, Surprise, we had some auto trouble as twice the starter didn’t disengage from the engine. Hmmm, what caused that?? When we carefully got back home, one of the diodes in the alternator failed, running the battery down, but was quickly repaired.

The trailer did double duty as a truck coming back home.  We had previously ordered 6 dining room chairs from a one-man furniture shop a few miles south of Plattsburg.  These are constructed from Butternut wood, a common tree in the area. It was somewhat cramped inside, but we saved many $ in expenses.  The man’s prices have not changed in ten years, amazing.  I guess he is more a craftsman than a businessman.  The chairs, as well as the antique oak dining table I refinished, are still doing duty with my daughter in San Diego.

The middle school musical program was held the end of June and Ingrid did the piano accompaniment for three of the chorale pieces.  One selection was “Jesu joy of man’s desiring” by J. S. Bach.  the other pieces, not classical but still of equal technical difficulty. Ingrid did very well, we are proud of her.  the entire group did well, more professional than any similar program we have heard.  A small school district serving the needs of the suburban professionals is no doubt superior in many ways to bloated all-purpose urban districts.

We are very glad that the school has a teaching staff which can bring out the artistic as well as academic ability. This was followed up with an abbreviated program held in a local Moravian Church.  Ingrid sang a vocal solo for this, a piece that was done yesterday by another girl.

Many things accomplished as we segue into the summer season. It has been a good month for us all.

Posted in 1970-1980, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

April Fools – 1975

So Vacations over. It was enjoyable, more detail later.  I feel dragged out, hope I am not getting old, maybe just a bit of a cold. As usual, we take advantage of school spring break to go south, get a head start on Spring. This time to Florida.

We broke the trip into about thirds, only driving about 400 miles a day which is not too difficult.  As usual, minor problems, a water hose broke, the alternator belt was ragged and we replaced it. I noticed the hose problem at a rest stop, fortunately.  I got a piece of hose form another fellow trailer traveller and it held until I could get a Ford version.

When we reached Orlando the temps were around 90.

 Big change from PA. We went to Disney World, Cypress Gardens, and Weeki Watchie Springs to watch the merpersons swim underwater. Lucky manatee!!

How middle American at best! Contrived and artificial? Yes, but part of our great country nonetheless. Not trekking Tibet, but something we can all enjoy together.  Funny thing happened at Disney World.  We were all walking around taking in the sights and rides and we ran into another manager and his family from PP&L. He and I chatted a bit about what an attraction this was, then on our separate way.  Marge said something to me (not quietly) like “Everywhere we go, we run into some buddy of yours!!!” This did happen from time to time, I think it was just a joke of hers.  Hope so!!!!

Then on to St. Augustine for a few days. We went to Marineland to see the show and exhibits. We went thru the fort at St. Augustine and some smaller forts in the areas.

 I like visiting historical sites, not so sure about the girls. There were some teen age archeologists doing some actual restoration work. I think this counts as being educational   as we kept the girls from school for a few days. Good for the young scientists, I hope some become pros.Who knows? The images above are from Google Images. They are however, sights that I remember when on the trip, personal images on the Internet. We didn’t take a camera with us.

Did the sun burn? Of course and I did get some sunburn. I never learn. We were only a few minutes from the Ocean and that was convenient.  We did have reservations which was good as No Vacancy signs abounded. We were almost in Disney World, right on the beach later.  Though the warm weather was quite pleasant, Florida did not impress me, too flat and scrubby.  Of course the Ocean is excellent.

We left On Wednesday in a fog. Great!!!!! This turned to rain in a while and we got in a traffic jam about 1.5 miles long.  A semi had run into a station wagon killing all occupants. Very sad so who are we to complain?  Eventually in the general area of Atlanta, we found a KOA campground and a level spot. This was excellent as it was getting dark and setting up was easy. Then cold and windy as we started next day to Hendersonville, NC to visit Marge’s aunt and uncle. Smokey Mountain and Blue Ridge country.  Really great people.  We all had a fine lunch at his club.

I was born and raised in upstate NY but western NC has beautiful scenery, four seasons a year but not harsh winters. I could get used to that easily I think. The wind was really gaining speed and this is not good for trailering, Aristocrat - 3driving is difficult and sometimes dangerous, so we stayed another day. Weather let up the next day so we left and continued north. Going through Maryland, we saw one upturned travel trailer and a modular home unit completely turned over on the shoulder of the road.  Wise decision to wait a day. We hope nobody got hurt, at least badly.

We got back OK about 6 pm on Sunday. Talk about tired! There is a place not far from us that specializes in take-out Chinese food. We drove down, parked the trailer, turned on the furnace and had a decent meal without having to make a dinner when we were all tired from the trip. Not too classy, but very practical.

If I ever get another trailer to replace the Aristocrat, I am going to get one where the beds can be just that, not do double duty but that is not a big deal, we will see as time moves along.

It was a very nice vacation and we were glad we went.  We drove about 3300 miles in 15 days and I , for one, think I am not alone, now glad to stay put for a bit. More leisure would have been nice, but I had to go to work again, we took the girls out of school for a few extra days, so more time off was not practical. We’ll  go some place again, not so far away soon.

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March 1975, Health, Teen Age, Music, Spring

More memories from the past to share.  I rejoice having these letters and notes to refresh my mind.  March brought signs of spring.  I look forward, as usual, to our spring vacation. I had the car serviced for troubles I was aware of, and some items they found so I feel safe and OK there.  I went to the trailer show and didn’t see anything I really liked more than ours, though I hope to have bunk windows put in the rear. They should have been built in when designed as there is no ventilation and gets hot up there.  I want Louise, who sleeps there to be comfortable.

As always, our health is a concern of mine.  Not that we are unhealthy, but I want to do all I can to be sure we are all well.  Louise did have a second bout with the flu, but got over it. I was a bit tired last week and had a severe headache, so had the sense to leave  work early and now feel OK.

Our daughter Ingrid is 13, she is officially a teen-ager and another life transition takes place.  On Saturday after her birthday greetings, she and Marge went shopping as a mild celebration and we all went out to dinner at a local restaurant we like to patronize.  Her school was sponsoring a showing of the movie “1766” so we went to see that after dinner. 1776-posterWe had seen it before and we liked it and it was worth seeing again  Unfortunately, there weren’t too many people there. We hope that the student council, the sponsors, made at  least some money putting it on.

For me, guitar lessons are coming along well.


12 string guitar

 The music store across from my Allentown office had a sale and I bought a 12 string guitar at a reduced sale price.  It seemed a good deal, and the 12 string has a richer tone, though a bit more difficult to master playing.

The guitar course is 8 weeks long and will soon be over.  They have an advanced course following this one, so I believe I will enroll in it.  I do enjoy music in any form and really enjoy the guitar.  I hope to improve both my understanding and technique.

I am getting to the end of refinishing the chairs I mentioned earlier.  I do like working with wood in many ways. I did have trouble with an earlier chair as the cellar is cold and I put on a second coat too soon to dry properly. The brush dragged and the end result was uneven.  I do believe that with considerable sanding and waxing it will look OK. Live and learn they say.  I learned that I will allow more time for the others to properly dry.  No big deal at all.

We had what is called an “onion snow” that lasted about a week and now has melted. For the uninitiated, that is a bit of snow coming after the onion sets are planted. Next we expect the considerable rain showers that are typical for this time of year.

March is a slow month.  It is too early to do Spring activities and we are tired of winter. Still, winter is not as severe as it was when we lived further north.orient-express We did see the film “Orient Express” with  Albert Finney and did enjoy that.  The quality of many movies, in my opinion is questionable, but this one was good.

So, little pleasures and little problems.  All part of the  rich fabric of life.  We move along, accept what comes and see what we can make of it for our needs and our pleasures.  That’s it for now.


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Feb. 1975, Flu, Florida, Family, Guitar, Electronics, Furniture

Lucky us, February has come and it’s been a mild winter. Some snow, but now melted and gone.  How about that! Keep it up, as OK with me.

I opened the door, and in flew Enza.  Heard that old one? Well it’s here and I’ve been sick about a week, but OK now, I stayed home, that’s what sick days are for, to get better and not spread the bad news around.  The company has a benighted culture of middle managers making a big deal about workers who never took sick time.  No doubt, potentially abused, not much I think.

The girls? Well they had colds, not too bad, didn’t want to stay home so off they went. At work everyone in my office was ill with symptoms some time in the last month or so. No snow, lots of sneezes.

We are going to sunny Florida next month.  We wanted to take the trailer to Disney World but we waited too long, all booked, so maybe another spring. We did go to Florida, Orlando and St. Augustine in particular and enjoyed some beach time. Impossible in Pennsylvania this time of year.

We hope to go to Hendersonville, NC  to visit Marge’s aunt and uncle there.  Sure, a couple hundred miles out of the direct route but family is important to us and the country is beautiful there.

I did some minor repair on our trailer, doors sticking but a few hours work and fine now, good as new actually. To me anyway.

I missed our first group guitar lesson, but Marge filled me in and I made the second one. We enjoy this, and when possible even practice a bit. We both have some musical background so not too hard for an entry course.  In fact, for me, I have looked around for a better quality guitar. Maybe. there’s a lot of potential here from simple bass/chord strumming to some very elaborate technique. Also, a lot easier to carry around than a piano.

I still have some remaining benefits from the VA. They finally did authorize them for my service when the National Guard was activated in 1961 and I went on  active duty.  I have always had an interest in electronics, so signed up for a mail order course in radio/TV repair. This’ll be a fine experience in both construction and repair at little cost to me, if any.

About ten years ago, we bought some furniture from a little one man shop in upstate NY. I think the wood is butternut. This is a species of walnut native to eastern US and southeast Canada. The nut makes a great cake too.  I am having the chairs stripped and will refinish them to match the table I refinished last year. Our kitchen chairs are on their last legs, wobbly ones at that. So we know where to go for new ones, the butternut man. We have a catalog, prices the same as 1967. What a bargain!!

The girls glazed some items in ceramics class and we fired them at home, after I fixed the plug on the kiln. Somewhat variable results as the temp control is not exactly correct. Still kind of fun though, making things with your hands, seeing them through to completion.

The not so good, to us, completion is the increasing development of our area. Individual homes, not look-alike tract homes at least. So, no more tossing yard waste next door but I have done all the planting that I want. Progress, sure in a way, but I’m not too happy and will watch carefully for possible encroachments, problems like that.


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Jan 1975, national economy, holidays, travel plans, new and old hobbies

A new year is upon us.  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem  better than last year. For us as a family the situation appears OK. Nationally is a different matter. One month we hear of a tax surcharge, than a tax rebate. Forecasting, especially economic forecasting is difficult, particularly about the future.

Our short-term house guest, Claudia has a job, or so I heard.  I did what I could, sheltered her for a few weeks and do not want to become involved to a further degree. If others do, fine, but it is no longer an immediate concern of mine. She might benefit from some relationship counselling but I am not going to propose this, as no doubt, then I would be involved.

Marge 1978

Marge 1978

Marge about 1982

Marge about 1982

I didn’t take any vacation at Christmas and we stayed home for the holiday.  There was a radio station in Wilmington Delaware that played Christmas music all day, uninterrupted and we used to have that as background through the home intercom.  Quite nice really. Neither did we go anywhere for New Year’s celebration.  One practical reason was that Marge was dieting again and pigging out for the holidays would be self-defeating.  Marge’s birthday was Dec. 29 and she is now 44.  I thought she still looked very appealing then, though having two children and 44 years did give her a slightly middle-aged look.  This was a personal image thing for her, so I was as supportive as I knew how, with my limited awareness. She really looked great and I was too dumb to tell her so. I regret this lack of my perception to this day.  I was a better father than a husband.

To me, the New Year celebrations have a barbaric undertone.  You know, The survival of the sun again over darkness, eating and drinking and, well… you know.  I think the Romans called this Saturnalia.  I don’t object to eating, drinking, and romancing, and I guess New Year’s Day is as good a way to enjoy all these all too human habits. Why not more often?

The weather outside is not frightful, as the song goes, but quite mild. A bit of snow lasting a day or so and then gone.  Not at all like Syracuse.

Disney World - Orlando

Disney World

 We made reservations to visit Disney World at Easter, travelling in our trailer.  It is up on blocks now, winterized and does seem in good shape for a trip South.  We all look forward to this.


Pottery kiln

Some years past, we acquired Marge’s mother’s pottery material and the girls were very interested for a while. I had trouble with the cord on the kiln burning out so I calculated the load and the current was 1.5 times the cord rating.  My next task on this is assembling a heavier cord and switching system.  WE do NOT want to risk a fire and the new assembly should remove the hazard from the kiln.

Marge and I are going to take lessons in folk guitar in a group training program, I think it was the YMCA, but not certain as I write.

beginners guitar

beginners guitar

 We are going to take the same class together and we expect this as educational and pleasant, since Marge does like to sing basic church songs and I enjoy music generally.

When we bought our house the area surrounding was not developed.  Of course that would not last for too long and we had some controversy with the developer about the lot lines.  I confronted him with out plot pins and our survey of the lot.  I called our surveyor who is still in business and he told me that he personally would back me up if necessary. With this information, the developer’s engineer agreed to accept our survey and plot plan.  We are watching the work carefully, as we have had similar trouble with the developer in the past.

A good month, we said goodbye to the last year and look forward to the present.  

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Mid Dec. ’74, New Home, Christmas, PP&L, Economy, Heathkit,

PROLOGUE: Louise visited PA in the fall and took some photos of the house we bought there in 1970.  She shared them with me, and I am including a gallery of those pictures, and early ones I have.

The man and his dog is the third owner/resident.  We bought the house in 1969 from the developer, sold it CASH to an older woman who wanted a single story house in 1981 and this man bought the house from her. For a house built almost 50 years ago, it has held up well. The foundation plantings are new, but I believe I planted the trees at the rear property line. The drive and front walk look as they did when I had them put in.  I am sure they were maintained different times over the years. The house has held up well and not decayed, I think of our family as its first curators of this house, and it has passed along with, I think, the same spirit.  If the local economy had not tanked in the late  1970 decade, I think I would still live there.  I liked the house and I think all of us did.

In December ’74 we began sending Christmas letters in lieu of cards.  I know Hallmark is disappointed but exchanging cards with people who sent us one did not really saw anything personal.  At one time, we did try linoleum block printing but that was quite time-consuming though somewhat creative.

One of the reasons we did not get around to card making was that we had a house guest for about 3 weeks.  We did not plan on this but through the home church movement that Marge belonged to she learned about this young woman who was having problems. Her name was Claudia, that’s all I remember. Claudia had found herself without a place to live and no money.  Marge wanted to help so she invited Claudia to stay with us until she got her act together. I don’t remember much about Claudia, though she smoked, and though I still did, not inside.  I do remember Claudia asked us to go bowling with her.  I had never bowled, but I took her to a nearby alley and did what I could to support. The stay was longer than we expected, but that month she did have a job offer.

We learned that she can get welfare help and won’t be totally penniless.  Also, another family who have internal problems of their own, agreed to let Claudia room with them. Claudia did have some behavioural issues, can’t remember what exactly now, and wrote nothing about them.  I did have some doubts, which I kept to myself, it was not my business and we did move her out of our home to the other family. I don’t know how that turned out, but we tried and I hope the situation resolved. We did what we could.

In Dec. ’74 we still did not have any snow, although the western part of the state had very much. PP&L did send some employees to aid West Penn Power as they did not have enough people to cope with all the snow problems, mostly downed overhead distribution.

Heathkit Logo

Heathkit Logo

Time is moving along and both my Heathkit stereo and my TV were not working properly so I took them to Heathkit in Philadelphia.

Heath Stereo

Heath Stereo

I can do basic trouble shooting, but I don’t have all the equipment to trouble-shoot.  At least I built them by myself.

Louise and her wart parted company, though it did take 2 trips to the doctor. He used some form of acid patch to remove it, but the patch slipped and did not remove everything.  Now that is over. Health-wise we are in good shape. Ingrid was sick for a few days, but nothing serious.

Christmas is coming so we went and picked out our Xmas tree.  A local farmer owns a meadow with a gully in it that is not good for farming. Trees grow wild and we buy one for $4.  The farmer tags it for us and when we want it, will chainsaw it down.  a good deal for both of us. He clears out these trees to start clearing the gully, and we get a fresh tree at a low-cost.

As the year comes to a close the work situation at PP&L is uncertain. Gas prices are going up and companies are going out of business. The economy was hit hard by the first oil shock and the company may have to cut staff again if things do not improve. Fortunately I feel secure, but what will the future hold for me?


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Nov. ’74 – Home Improvements, Music, Teeth Bands and Braces, PP&L

I started the month more or less anticipating my birthday.  Getting perilously close to 40, a few years to go.

The living room is in pretty good shape at this time.  The new furniture arrived, and also a rug from Sears. Not too surprisingly, it  was the wrong rug and we refused to accept it and re-ordered. Much better now.  I refinished some old round tables we inherited from Marge’s mother and we bought two Ginger Lamps for them. They worked well together. The next step was to haul out all our pictures, paintings, needlework, etc. and arranged them in a way that made a pleasant effect.  We didn’t have much in what you would term as art, mostly family memorabilia, memories on the wall.

That done, we also purchased new lamps for the bedroom and placed the former living room rug there. The result pleased us. Earlier in the year I planted at the front foundation some holly, globe arborvitae, and forsythia. As you can see, the front was visually barren and called for some planting.

102 Beverley Hills

102 Beverley Hills

Even now I can recall when my pick got stuck under a rock and I pulled a ligament in my back.  Ouch for sure.  No permanent damage though.

In September I spread some fertilizer on my lawn and the yard turned greener than my neighbors.  Of course, even in November it required mowing  again as it was getting long and I didn’t want to leave it that way for the winter.

The girls got me some Scott Joplin records for my birthday and I did enjoy them.  Scott Joplin received a new awareness as result of ragtime being played in the movie “The Sting.” In the summer I bought a collection of ragtime sheet music and did my best to learn them.  I could play the notes about OK, but getting the beat and phrasing correct was a bit beyond me, compared to the records. I did what I could, and enjoyed the records as well as long as I didn’t compare my skills to the record artist.

We were all in decent health, though Louise soon will have a wart on her foot removed and Ingrid is wearing bands as well as braces on her teeth. She has some pain after the adjustment so we try to schedule appointments for Saturdays, so she won’t have discomfort at school.

The local economy is deteriorating, some plants and stores closing and PP&L had to lay off some people due to the slowdown. In a way, this was good news for my group.  We work on projects in construction management to improve effectiveness and cut costs. This, a matter of the ill wind not being all bad, at least for us.

We looked for a nice quiet Thanksgiving at home. I plan on carrying some vacation time over into 1975 and perhaps going to Florida for a few weeks, if all goes well. 



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July 1974- union strikes, major flood, trailer camping

Summer ’74 is definitely with us now, and for me an unusual experience, working as a helper on a line crew.  A line crew installs and maintains the wiring from the electrical distribution system to the last customer.  Was this due to a reversal of fortune, being downgraded from a manager to a “grunt?” No indeed and the story follows.

PP&L, my employer, was unionized though this was not part of a national union, instead it was what is commonly called a company union.  That is, the union membership is restricted to employees of PP&L.

PP&L office building

PP&L office building

 The contract was up and negations were going on between union and management.  The one sticking point was that the union insisted on having a cost of living adjustment added to the base wage.  This was anathema to management and neither side budged so there was the strike, first in the company’s history I believe.  Personally, I did not think the union was being unreasonable, but nobody asked me and I didn’t offer my opinion.  Zooming forward to 1980 when I joined Nevada Power, that company did have a company wide cost of living adjustment and this was nothing new.  

So, resulting from the strike, PP&L assigned management employes to jobs formerly done by  union workers.  I joined a line crew composed mostly of foreman, perhaps an engineer here and there. I am not a scab. I had no qualms about this as I did not consider myself a strike breaker or anti-union. The power company provided a vital service to the community which I firmly believed in.  After a few days of physical work, it wasn’t too bad, though we worked 12 hour shifts.  The good thing about this was that our monthly salary was recalculated to an hourly basis, resulting in much more pay for the added hours. The crews did stop for a doughnut break, lunch and we paced ourselves.  After about a month of that, I went back into the main office where I was primarily a runner giving and getting information from the field to my manager.  Eventually the strike settled and things went on as before, though the union was now subsumed into a national union.

Louise’s birthday was the 5th and I don’t have any notes about how we celebrated.  I think, and emphasize think, that we all went to a matinée and followed that by going to an ice cream restaurant that sold sodas, banana splits, etc.  We did do things like that so it is likely, but I have nothing in writing about it.

I have no notes, just memories of our response to a storm “Agnes.”

Typical flood damage

Typical flood damage

I thought this flood was in 1974, but checking dates on Google I found that the storm and flooding of the Susquehanna river was in 1972. We had steady rain and storms from storm Agnes for at least a week and the Susquehanna river flooded many cities, including Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Someone in our area  asked for volunteers to join him in a school bus ride on Saturday to Wilkes-Barre to help in the cleanup.

 I volunteered to join the group and a few days later, Marge drove our station wagon to that area with food.  We did what we could and were very glad we did not live on the river bank, as we did in Vestal. Louise would become very disturbed when we had a heavy rain, and one day I asked her as tactfully as I could what was she afraid of.  We discussed this, and this led to her telling me she was afraid that our house was going to slide downhill.  For a child seeing all the pictures and TV coverage of Agnes, this was not unreasonable.  I gently told her that we were not near a river and didn’t have to fear the damage from rainstorms such as Agnes.

Aristocrat - 3

Aristocrat trailer

I mentioned the camping group we joined.  The name of the club was Christian Campers.  Eastern PA was home to a  bewildering number of denominations, mostly fundamentalists.  The club members were decent ordinary people and we got along with them and they offered, but did not make an issue of their own belief system.  Our first meeting with them turned out being a short-lived mini disaster.  Every camper would bring something for a pot luck which we would all share.  Marge made some simple casserole, franks and beans maybe. We put it in the refrigerator to hold it until we set up the trailer, thinking we would then take it out and warm it up in the oven.  However, our site was a bit uneven getting into and we did pitch a bit.  The refrigerator opened up and down came the casserole.  When we opened the door, Marge was heartbroken and cried copiously.  Fortunately the wife of the club leader came over to say hello about that time and consoled Marge and helped her to stop crying.  Her words were something like ” we always have more than we can eat, that could have happened to any of us, you did your best and do you need help in cleaning up?”  All became well again and we did enjoy ourselves and since the group didn’t try to convert us, we got along well.  

One sad thing that happened, I think around this time was that there was a severe wind storm in the area where the camp leader lived. This took down power lines in different places, one near his home.  Of course with no electricity you had no radio or TV unless you had a portable radio. John, the leader was rather type A and fidgeted because he had no power or information.  He asked his son, “Johnny” to go out and see if he could find anything out.  Unfortunately “Johnny” touched a downed line and was electrocuted.  He was a nice kid, only 15 then,  and would have been middle-aged now, but for that.  We went to the funeral, offered what support we could and at the next get-together, there was a pall but things soon moved on.

My Clock

Finished Clock

The extra money from strike pay came at a good time. It helped pay for the new drive construction, the Scout and finally, new furniture. We did have new furniture in the family room, but the living room stuff from our first house was showing its age. After much searching for material designs, etc, we decided to get a set that matched the family room but with a different patterns so the house would not look too monotonous. This would arrive in September. Marge and I thought that we would give the furniture to our children when they set up housekeeping.  This worked for Ingrid, but not Louise.  I still have one set in the rather small living room here.  I replaced the cushion foams  3 times, and the fabric at least 4.  I do have a few real antiques, as well as replicas I built mostly from kits and the “Early American”  furniture design, though dated, fits in with the antiques.  My grandfather clock project is almost finished. The case is complete and stained.  I was applying an oil finish then and would install the clock works when the finish has soaked in and dried.

Both girls went to the YMCA day camp this summer. They first went for a 2 week session and enjoyed it so much they went to a 1 week session as well. They both enjoy this and being with other children, play and swim and Marge and I were happy for them. Louise came down with the chicken pox and has a few cock marks but I think they will fade with time. I felt her resistance was down, as the last time we were camping she had a bit of a fever the following Monday.  Maybe this is related to her extreme fever at Easter, but who knows, just a guess.  She could not take too much activity and late nights.  Our sole recreation has made the Christian Campers meetings and going to a few movies all we did . 

The weather at the end of the month is in the 80s and very humid. Fortunately our house has central air conditioning which is fine, but when we go outdoors, the difference is quite marked.  New York summers were a bit cooler and we could get by with window fans. The grass is a bit brown, and we keep the garden and flowers watered.  Marge and the girls have been working to keep the weeds down.

As I write this, a dim memory is coming back, I think from around this time. Marge was not feeling well and for some reason I went to the Lancaster area to go to a local craft fair.  I hoped we could go as a family and Marge was not so sick that she required constant care, so I went by myself.  I don’t know now why this was so important to me, I guess I had planned on us all going beforehand so I left.  I bought some local trinkets there, and stopped at a shop of a local candy maker and bought some.  I believe it was some form of chocolate candy, something we could all enjoy.    

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Easter Vacation 1974

I think that a slight change in style is proper.  My sources, other than memories, are letters and notes from the time period in the blog title. I am trying to correctly represent that by writing in the past tense , perhaps adding a bit to it.

Spring finally came in mid April.  We did retrieve our trailer from it wintering place and brought it home.  The gasoline situation had improved and we decided to take the vacation which we had planned months before. We did leave on April 11 which was a bit late.  We did not as far as we wished the first day.  

We did get to Winston-Salem, NC on Friday and stayed at a small mobile home court that had some spaces for over night travellers. Salem itself has many restored buildings which was our goal for Saturday.

Louise was not feeling well and she and Marge did not go on the city tour but Ingrid and I did. I attended a service that night at the Home Moravian church  which was very pleasant. Louise became steadily worse, in fact fell from the sleeping area over us which was distressing to all.  There were no cell phones in those long ago days, but there was a public phone at the travel court. I was able to find a hospital and we took Louise to it. Fortunately the city is not too large, and with Marge’s help, I was able to follow directions to the hospital emergency room. In the wee hours of Sunday morning the ER had a few knife wounds, and other evidence of fights. Louise then had a temperature of over 104, but no other symptoms. An ER doctor examined her, gave her some medication and we all returned about 3:00 a.m.  This cancelled our plans for attending the Moravian Salem Easter service which we understood was very moving. The Moravian Church uses brass music often.  Many of the street corners had brass trios which we had wanted to hear, but we were all in for doing any sightseeing.

We went to Hendersonville, NC and stayed at the Alpine Trailer court which was quite nice and the owner was very obliging and helpful.  We visited Marge’s uncle Franklin Uhlig, and her aunt Louise.  We ate dinner with them and two of his sons and their families.  The meal was at Franklin’s country club with a pleasant view and delicious food.

Our Louise was still not entirely well and we did nothing much on Monday, and did some travelling on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Tuesday.

We left on Wednesday and Louise’s fever again spiked 104.  We made a daytime side trip to the ER at Whytheville, VA.  We filled a penicillin prescription and drove home the next day, cutting short the rest of the vacation. This symptom never recurred again and we have no idea what the cause was.  None of the rest of us had any symptoms. 

I went to work on Friday which was a nasty day for weather.  Saturday was pleasant and I rented a roto-tiller to dig up the garden.  Marge was enthusiastic about planting, but when the weeds came, her enthusiasm dropped considerably. 

The weather turned very warm at the end of the month. Our flowers and bushes were blooming and I had already mowed the grass at least twice.  Our contractor paved the driveway at the end of the month and it looked better than just a truckload of gravel spread over the drive area.  Some dirt was left over from the construction which we used to lessen the slope of the lawn in places and plant flowers there.  The rocks and junk we dumped into a vacant lot next to us.

In our vicinity, there is a natural formation of an acre or two with “ringing rocks” on the ground. Officially it is the Ringing Rocks County Park, a Bucks County park which we visited. When struck, the rocks did send a metallic tone quite like hitting an anvil with a hammer.  Different sized rocks provided different tones.

At the end of the month, our plan was to attend a trial trailer outing with a camping group. Their literature seemed a bit over organized, but we decided it was at least worth a trial outing.

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April 1974

March surely did go out like a lion this year.  We had about an inch of snow on March 31, but it didn’t last long.  The snow flakes were big and wet, came down hard for a few hours and then stopped.  I believe this was the last hurrah!! of winter. Good riddance I say.  After moving from to PA from NY, we learned that this snow is known locally as onion snow. This baffled me for a bit as the snow did not look a bit like onions.  I did learn that many people put in their onion sets in late March or April, and snow at this time gets that peculiar name.  It never lasts long, not quite spring and winter is not quite over.

Ever hear that old crack “I opened the door, and in flew Enza?” Anyhow somebody must have opened the door in March as we all dealt with it.  It took me about a month to really get over it.  Guess what else I had? Headaches and inner ear problems.  Bummer!!! Louise had it off and on but is getting better now.

Ingrid started that right of passage, the Orthodontist. The trauma of having separators put on her teeth made her more than a little out of sorts for the next day. She should be completely wired up in a day or two.  

I always enjoyed making things, taking them apart and hopefully putting them together again.  I used my sick time somewhat productively by working on my electronics correspondence course. I have built two of the nine kits on the TV sets so finishing it should be no problem whatsoever.

The gasoline shortage seems to be resolved now, though with higher prices. The stations are selling on Sunday and the lines, if any, are only a car or two long.  So, we decided to take a spring vacation after all. Here are some similar photos of a smaller trainer by the same manufacturer. 

  We plan on making another trip to North Carolina, visiting Marge’s relatives and doing some sightseeing. We have plenty of literature of literature and have a plan; we are all looking forward to this trip. It would be nice to see the coast again, but I don’t think we will have time to fit that in this time.

Freezing rain as well as snow make for a dismal month so we delayed getting our trailer ready for the trip.  Toward the end of April, the weather became quite nice and we were able to work on our lawn as well as work on the trailer at the parking site.  We are all looking forward to an early start on Spring with our trailer vacation.

Our poor old Rambler wagon is having its death throes I fear.

Rambler Wagon

Rambler Wagon

 It makes increasingly more unhappy noises.  The trouble is the starter itself and although replacing a starter is not rocket science, I will try to get rid of the car rather than spending any more time trying to repair it.  Enough is enough and the end of dear old Rambler is near, one way or the other.

Early March  brings the Shrine Circus to town.  I have not been to a circus in decades and we decide to take the family there for Ingrid’s birthday. This was a pleasant family adventure and a change in pace for us all.

This month was good for one thing.  That is sitting around the fireplace and listening to the wind blow.  Just the thing to heighten our expectations for our spring trip, even if spring only can mean lawn mowing, and our lot is quite steep.  Just a part of the joy of suburban living. 




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Marching Along – 1974

Spring is springing, a young man’s thoughts turn to Love, and a middle-aged man thinks about his trailer. March 74 certainly came in very lamb-like.  I was sick again in February with the flu, more severe in February than January.  I felt lousy and miserable most of the month.  Then, no surprise, the girls got the flu also. Louise more so than Ingrid, perhaps as she is younger and her immune system not as well-developed. The very good news was that Marge did not come down with it.  In general her health is more fragile than mine, but not this time thankfully, as there were more patients  to be taken care of.  By month’s end we are all well again and looking forward to a pleasant springtime and Easter.

It’s always something to go wrong when you own a home.  this time it is our 1962 vintage washing machine.  I can still, vaguely, remember buying it. Now the timer and control mechanism don’t function and I couldn’t repair it myself, nor find a replacement.  I guess it is obsolete.  Marge and I went to look at new washers again at Sears. We have had good luck with them and Whirlpool appliances.  We buy a new one that has all the features of the 1962 one and some new ones, and costs about the same amount.  that was a relief on the checkbook.

Back to the closeout furniture store. Oh I now have the answer to the buffet; they were to deliver it but still hadn’t done so.

1974 buffet

1974 buffet

 Marge and I were somehow able to do it ourselves.  The store loaded it into the wagon and we carried it into the house by taking all the drawers out first and then carrying the main part out.  Whew!!!, but we got that done.  I still have the buffet, now with some bumps and scratches of accidents over the years.  I could not have ever done it without Marge, I didn’t think she was that strong!

I have also started a new home improvement project which is refinishing the oak table that we have. This is a Victorian antique that Mrs. Sutherland gave us. As of now (2016) this table is in my daughter Louise’s home, so it has a long history, and in my opinion still looks good.  Marge and I had in ’74 discussed buying a new table. But we liked the old one and as Marge liked to sew, it also serves well as a cutting table. I believe sewing was her equivalent of woodworking, auto maintenance that I enjoyed, a skill one that requires concentration as well as physical skills.  While in our first home in NY, she made a very well made mother/daughter outfit for her and Ingrid.  I have a photo somewhere  and it was very cute. 

Marge’s  dad had refinished the table top in the past but not the legs. We were both much alike. Those stout legs had been turned on a lathe in the fashion of the 19th century. Large and ornate.

Bumps and bruises, as well as lactic acid from spilled milk had stained the top.  Fortunately, there was a furniture stripper close to our home and I took the table to him.  He stripped the entire table chemically as it would have been impossible for me to do by hand.  He also showed me, in an antique furniture reference book that tables like mine were getting $100-$150.  That was in 1974 dollars, so worth the effort.  I chemically bleached the table to even out the color variations. The chemical was a poison and I bought it from a pharmacy and had to sign for it. I made little progress on the task while ill, but I should complete it  soon and it will be good for another 100 years. Now (2016) it is still in daily use so I think it will easily outlive me.

Marge left in late December, her birthday, to visit her mother. She took the Rambler, and on returning it developed move drive train howls. I think it is soon headed for its end, as it is getting close to 100,000 miles. We had it for 5 years and only paid a few hundred for it, so I guess we got our money’s worth from it.

We did buy a used International Harvester Scout from a Postal Service sale.IH Scout It is about the size of a Jeep, licensed as a 1/4 ton truck.  It was sanded and repainted and had about 19,000 miles on it.  We hope that it will be good for short local trips.  Ours was right hand drive since the postal service used it.  The photo is not ours, but the same model.

The gasoline situation gets worse almost daily. We are fortunate because I have a PP&L company car and can get gas from the company garages. We have some PP&L neighbors and I give them lifts when asked.    Marge has been able to get gas for our personal cars, but we have cut down on our driving.  Long waits at service station are the new norm. We are going to  plan our vacation different this year due to this problem. There are several places within a tanks worth of gas for us to visit.  We hate to give up our earlier plans for Easter, but we will do what we can.  We hope our elected leaders can resolve this problem, as it is beyond personal or local resolution.

I made a business trip  to North Carolina in February with my boss Mr. Seidler.  We were evaluating a construction process Duke Power uses as it might be applicable to PP&L.  The demonstrations at Duke Power convinced both of us.

I am progressing well on my correspondence course in electronics.  The benefits expire in May so I have to hustle.  Realistically, I don’t think I may exactly complete all the lessons and kits, but I have learned a lot whether I finish or not.  I have always enjoyed building things as well as taking them apart, hopefully correctly back together.

Ingrid has her 12th birthday in March and Louise is reading very well.  Time moves along, they are growing up, we are growing older and I think Marge and I are good and loving mates and good parents.  Not perfect of course, but pretty good.   






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Another New Year – 1974

Here we are again, now in 1974.  I didn’t get around to writing until the end of the month for some unknown reason now, probably the Christmas rush, celebrations, etc.  One of our Christmas day rituals was turning the house intercom to radio Wilmington.  They broadcast all day with proper music and no ads, so we looked forward to that again last month.

Another reason for not writing was that I had contracted a case of the flu, which was quite unpleasant for me.  I stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday at the end of month.  This was for me  as I felt lousy, and why pass it along to others?  I was up but quite inert, fortunately I had some correspondence lessons to finish.  I sat in a comfortable chair with the lessons and did pass the time away, somewhat productively as I enjoyed the course and did make needed headway on it.  I enjoy the hands on part a bit more, but I enjoy the theory behind the nuts and bolts as well. 

Earlier in the month, I felt better and ambitious.  We have oak parquet floors and I waxed the floors in the family room and dining room.  They look so much better waxed and polished with a glow. The dining room is the one with the small bay window near the chimney.

102 Beverley Hills

102 Beverley Hills

 We had purchased for our dining room an Asian weave area rug from the Hess Department store in Allentown.  That done, we purchased some draperies for the dining room bay window that complemented the rug.  Both made much improvement and we were quite pleased with the look.  When we lived in New York, the children were younger and often spilled part of their meals on the rug, so we were in no hurry to decorate our PA dining room. They have more control now in their eating. 

I think we must have contracted buying fever and took advantage of a closing of a furniture store near my office in town.  We bought a buffet for the dining room, still with me now, four bedroom dressers and a desk.  I think that Ingrid has a few pieces now. At the time we had a ten-year old Rambler station wagon

Rambler Wagon

Rambler Wagon

and I loaded the dressers and desk into the rear.  The buffet is still heavy and I don’t know how I got it home, maybe a friend with a truck helped out.  Whoever it was, thanks a lot. We each took a new dresser and Louise got the desk.  We had used old painted dressers from Mrs. Sutherland and now finally got rid of them. I  refurbished  the oak desk Marge received from her Grandmother. Ingrid received that one replacing the second-hand desk she formerly used. So gradually the house is taking on more of our own wishes and personality.

I have mentioned how much I enjoy woodworking and have started on a 3/4 size grandfather clock, sometimes also named a grandmother clock. My Clock I am not making this from scratch as it is a kit clock, though with some cutting and joining required as well as assembling the lathe turned parts. Unfortunately, one minor part was missing and I sent to the factory requesting this part to complete the clock. The clock works were replaced once and the clock is still with us.  It is a constant reminder of how we loved our first and only brand new house, and the clock I built for it.

I was also working on a ladder back rush seat chart.  When completed, it will be for Louise as it should go well with her desk.  Weaving, if that is the word, the rushes into a seat is the time-consuming part of this task. I am not making another.

I worked on my taxes on Sat. the 26th.  All manual preparation then as computers have not evolved yet.  The interest and taxes on the house increased my deductions, so I should get a refund.  Marge is checking my figures.  She hates to do this, though she is really good with numbers, and usually finds a few more dollars to add to our refund.  Same this year, so I am going to send it in on Monday, and I want to use the refund to pay for paving our gravel driveway in spring.

We had a bit of a January thaw with Sunday the 28th hitting 66 degrees.  PA is a bit warmer than NY, I think because it is further south  and closer to the Atlantic.  We  had a lot a rainy and overcast days.  The plus side is that this weather is ideal for completing inside home improvements.

Based on our experience trailering last year, we plan on taking time off at Easter again this year. This will give us a head start on spring and gasoline appears available and priced in a stable way.  I checked on the trailer and it is holding up well in winter.  We had a bit of leakage from the large roof vent, but not too much, probably due to snow buildup on the roof.  Marge wants to visit her uncle in NC and perhaps tour the Smokies and that is exactly what we plan to do in our Easter vacation.  I like her uncle, he is OK.

The girls continue to do well in school.  Ingrid started her orthodonture, we are in good health and look forward to a fine 1974.  Same wish to you all. 






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Notes on November -1973

November ’73, I am now a year older, but still under the figure of 40, another decade in the odometer of life. And so far it has been a good life. For us, this was a month of trips.  The first gasoline crisis is with us and prices going up. Therefor November seemed a good time to make some family trips before gas $ gets too pricey.

I took the 12th off and made a trip to Dannemora, NY to see Mom & Dad. this made for a short, but pleasant visit and sort of birthday outing as well, since that was the 13th.

Clinton Prison, Dannemora, NY

Clinton Prison, Dannemora, NY

On the way back to Coopersburg we stopped at Albany, NY to see some old friends, the Tom Shaws. We have known them since college days and it made a nice break in the trip home.

The second trip was to Penn Yan , NY to see Marge’s sister Pat and her family. Family is very important to us.

 While there, Marge’s cousins, the Uhligs, came for a day and I got to meet some more of her extended family.  We were In Penn Yan for Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, the 25th. It was a pleasant trip with uneventful driving both ways.

Penn Yan, NY

Penn Yan, NY

So far, by the 29th of Nov., it was a mild fall. We have used somewhat less fuel so far than a year ago. Some due to economizing and then the milder weather in winter to date. We have electric heat, not oil, so we will be in good shape for our heating expenses. The oil shock is starting to hit our pocketbooks.  What next???

I have to deal with where to park our trailer this month.  According to zoning, we are not supposed to park it on the property.  I think this means full-time, but at the same time I did not want it in the drive impeding snow removal.  It is now in a trailer parking lot and we will see how this goes, but I think OK.  The trailer has been a fun purchase for us all.

I signed up for a mail order course in radio and  TV repair. I don’t want to get into this business, but I like to build electronics, and have some VA eligibility left, so why not enroll. At least I will get to build a few radios and a portable TV to put in the trailer.  Nothing to lose and building stuff has been a big interest all my life..  

My job at PP&L is progressing OK, though I could be doing a bit better. A goal for next year.

PP&L Headquarters Allentown, PA

PP&L Headquarters Allentown, PA

 Due to renovation at the PP&L headquarters, my department will move to the second floor of a building nearby. This  move will be completed by the end of the year.  It so happens that the second floor is now vacant, but the first floor is a theater that specializes in XXX rated films.  I suppose I will be the butt of some male jokes about that after we move in.

Concerning our health, we are all well and Ingrid is starting to see a orthodontist in Bethlehem next month. The girls are developing gapped front teeth, I think from Marge’s side.  I could have benefitted from orthodontery, but our little hamlet of Danemora was lucky to even have a dentist.  

Life moves on and it is a good life, I am glad we moved here and bought the trailer to enjoy as a family. 



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Remembering September – 1973

September…Fall will soon be on us, the heat and humidity of summer are over, school starts again and our lives follow the pattern of the seasons. The weather was warm at the beginning of the month but then the leaves began to fall and the month was a pleasant and productive one.

 We stayed home Labor Day and I did some yard work.  Day lilies grow wild in great profusion and I dug up and transplanted about 250 of them in our  yard to create a pleasant view looking toward the rear.  I find that physical work such as this is satisfying in a way that differs from that of being a manager.  Not better, just different and I feel more competent and self-reliant.

In our house, we bought some new furniture, Marge made curtains and I did some minor  needed repairs.   When we bought the house, the dining room was lit by a very cheap and cheesy looking light.  I bought a colonial style chandelier in kit form, assembled it, and installed it.  This made a big improvement and helped make the room more functional.

Upon our arrival at Coopersburg I attended an excellent course in woodworking and now have the tools at home to do basic cabinet making. I converted the fourth bedroom into a sewing center for Marge, and am well along on the electrical work and custom cabinets for her. These will soon be assembled and installed and I am, justifiably I think, proud of the result.  Slowly we are making the house our own as we put our own stamp on it.

Our trailer also needs some maintenance, nothing major.  I took it for an inspection and completion of some repairs by a local small trailer dealer. I did winterize the plumbing and heating to prepare for the winter.  I located a decent trailer park close to us that charged only $50 to park it for the off-season.  We can also use it then, though I doubt as we will, since I have winterized it. We would have to do without water, or refill the drain lines with antifreeze which seems more bother than it is worth.  But maybe.

Ingrid went to a retreat at Stroudsburg, PA and the rest of us stayed home. Marge wanted to attend, but is coming down with a cold and  Louise appears to be going to get it as well.  Fingers crossed, but I don’t think I will catch it.

Of course school started after Labor Day. Ingrid  is going to a different school this year and did have some “jitters” settling in but got over this phase quickly. Louise is attending school full-time now and the three of us are taking piano lessons.  We found a competent piano teacher who makes house calls so we worked out a schedule that allows all of us to take lessons.  Not Marge though.  She did study some piano and even organ in college, but is not now interested in playing.  She does sing in the church choir as she reads well and has a strong and pleasant Alto voice.

In summary, a pleasant and productive month as we head into Fall.


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Summer Time – 1973

The Date: August 15, 1973.  The Place: Coopersburg, PA.  August here is usually hot and muggy, this day being no exception.  Not like NY where we could get by with large window fans and we are so thankful this house has central air conditioning.  Going from the house to outdoors is almost like getting hit with a wave.  Summer will be over in about a month and the good news is that Marge is truly well not and has fully recovered from her operation and fever of last month.  Her back also feels better.  My opinion is that this is due to her not seeing Dr. Quack any more, though of course, I keep this opinion to myself, we are all thankful she is her old self again.

Earlier in the month we had company for a few days.  One of Marge’s friends who used to live in this area now lives near Pittsburg, PA.  I believe this was Joanne Herring and her two daughters; that sounds likely as the Herring family did move to that area and later moved back to the area near us.  Their daughters and ours got along well, so it was a pleasant time for all.

On the 4th of August we took the trailer down to Ocean View, New Jersey intending to leave it there for 15 days. Naturally, the weather was hot but we had no problems on the trip down.  I did have some difficulty backing the trailer into the space, but with the experience gained so far, and the help of Marge giving me signals, I got the trailer in place.

One good feature of this site, after we made it in, was that  we had nobody  in back of us, or on one side of us.  This camp was about 4 miles from the Atlantic at Sea Isle City which is about as close as you can get.

Fenced sandy path to beach at Island Beach State Park of NJ at Sunset

Fenced sandy path to beach at Island Beach State Park of NJ at Sunset

The city has a use fee for the beach, and fortunately for us, the people on the side of us were moving out.  They had a season pass which they kindly gave to us.  That was very neighborly and we appreciated this gift.

I took Monday off and went back to Coopersburg that night.  I also took Friday off and returned to NJ Thursday after work.  All in all, that worked out well, but we decided not to do it again; one week is enough and things can get a bit boring after that.

We did see some interesting local sights though.  We spent one day going to the restored village of Batsto.Batsto Their website gives this information:

Batsto Village, is a New Jersey historic site in the South Central Pinelands, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks & Forestry. This site is nationally recognized for its historical significance and beauty. The roots of Batsto Village can be traced back to 1766. Two centuries of American history are available to visitors, with the Pinelands environment as a scenic backdrop.

The site included a Revolutionary iron forge which made  “bog iron” from iron deposits which lay on the bottom of the streams in the Pinelands. Wikipedia defines bog iron as: Bog iron is a form of impure iron deposit that develops in bogs or swamps by the chemical or biochemical oxidation of iron carried in solution.  This iron was very valuable in making cannon balls in the Revolutionary war.  

With the discovery of coal, the iron business folded, then the business turned to making glass, but that did not last for long and Batso became a ghost town. NJ State now owns the area and did a good job of restoration. I, and I think our whole family find it interesting to visit these places which abound in the East. These restoration do much to bring history to life, and a better understanding of the area in which we lived, and of course ourselves as well.

 Of course no vacation is problem free, this being no exception.  The trailer has a fitting that you fasten a hose to and the other end on the camp water supply.  This was plastic, it cracked and leaked. I was not able to fix it, and could not get a replacement in the area.  We did use the trailer water tank which had its own pump.  I returned to PA when Marge called and said the pump was erratic so I gave her some suggestions. I could have fixed it at home, and we did manage to limp along until I returned. The problem was simply that the trailer tank had emptied.  Oh well, all part of the fun.

August 29– I returned and was able to refill the tank and we finished our vacation as planned.  We learned that 15 days is more of the Jersey shore that we will do again. We ended up by spending time with the girls playing miniature golf, paddle boat rides, and the amusement rides at Ocean City during the last segment of the vacation.

Our trip back to PA was uneventful but exhausting. When I got home and we got the trailer unloaded, I felt sick and generally lousy and went to bed with a temperature of 102. I did feel better next morning, but not well so I stayed home. Several other people had similar symptoms as did the girls, but all had passed by the end of the week.

We did have company the following weekend as Marge’s sister Pat and family stopped in for the evening while going to NJ for a shore vacation.  Temperature and humidity both in 90s; typical August for us.  It was pleasant to get together and personally catch up.

The following week, Marge and the girls went to visit a friend of hers in Columbus, Ohio. so, I am living alone with the cat again, though he is good company.

Hammond Chord Organ

Hammond Chord Organ

 The Hammond Chord electric organ needed some tuning which was awkward  since you have to tune it from the rear with keys pressed down from the front. The good part was that nobody else was around to bother with the noise and I got it adjusted.  I played some for myself and Rajah, though he doesn’t seem to be a music lover. We were given this organ by my father-in-law when he built a larger one.  It is Hammonds first all electronic instrument.

At PP&L work is going well. A trial project my department has worked on is now completed with good acceptance with requests to set it up  company wide.  I had a job offer to an engineering graduate accepted.  He worked out well and I imagine he has now retired and on Social Security.  

School will be starting in September, with Louise going to elementary school full-time and Ingrid starting middle school.  Of course I expect them doing well and moving along in their lives.  In ’73 I am definitely in middle age and we are not going to have any more children.  

Summer is about over, we were now all well and looking forward to enjoying the rest of 1973.


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Independence Day – 1973

I had the day off since 4th is a holiday.  Louise’s birthday is the 6th so we all celebrated a day early.  Seven years old already, how did that happen? Of course, we had birthday cake and presents and altogether a pleasant day.

I worried greatly about Marge, she is still not well and runs a fever that increases during the day and falls back at night.  The next day repeats the same pattern and I don’t like it at all. She did make a return visit to the OB_GYN who operated.  He told us he couldn’t find anything wrong sith the procedure and gave her some antibiotics to take.  I really didn’t like him, the bed had more of a bedside manner than he did.

If antibiotics don’t do the trick, Marge is going to her internist who at least does lab work and some diagnostics before he comes up with an opinion. He is a partner in a small practice and I see him as well when I am ill.   At least Marge does not seem worsening. Finally she is not taking those shots in her spine.  I thought the procedure bogus as it did not seem to have any effect and I did not like the Dr.  His procedure was to have Marge strip and then lay down on a padded table for the shot.  I didn’t think it was necessary for her  to be as naked as the day she was born to have a shot in her spine.  I suspected, can’t prove that the Dr. liked to see women with attractive figures, especially their butts, and Marge fit that description, that I verify.  I always went with her and kept a sharp eye on Doc.

The girls and I go to Kutztown to see a folk festival in the afternoon.  We first moved in 1969 to a rental not far from Kutztown which is in the fringe of the PA Dutch culture. It was very interesting if you like that folksy sort of entertainment.

 Kutztown Birch Beer Still

Kutztown Birch Beer Still

 It was nicer to visit than to live there where we were definitely Uitlanders.  We went to the market to buy some accessories with a PA Dutch flair.  I recall getting some candy and what I considered an attractive piece of costume jewelry for Marge. 

The festival had a whole ox being roasted for ox sandwiches, a tinsmith, carver, etc. The girls were a bit bored as there were no activities to do, just food and stuff we probably wouldn’t look at again.  I think they did enjoy it in a low-key way. When we got home, Ingrid made and decorated the cake, I made supper, we got Louise a bicycle for her present.  All in all it was a pretty good birthday, but I did wish that Marge was well enough to join with us in the afternoon.

July 11, 1973: We were able to get an appointment with Marge’s osteopath, her primary doctor on that day, a Saturday.  He gave her some medication which really did the job on her infection.  It does seem the operation was a success but Marge had a little sinus trouble then and the stress of the operation knocked her resistance down. The sinus, just waiting for a chance, flared up again.  Things seem   under control, no thanks to the OB_GYN who performed the procedure on her.  This experience deepened my wish that I never have to depend on the medical profession for help.  So far, so good, other than minor office visits. 

We had a sad weekend.  Backing up a bit, an acquaintance of Marge, back in 1967, was moving and the place she was moving to didn’t allow pets.  She had two Siamese, a male and a female from the same litter. We never had pets but we took them. We named the male Rajah and the female Sascha.  We didn’t know then that Sascha is really a male name, but it didn’t seem to bother them.

The bad news is that Sascha experienced  a fit and started growling, spitting, and striking out at her brother.  We thought maybe he was playing too rough and kept them apart for a while and all was OK.  Then a few weeks later, she did the same thing with no provocation. This seemed strange as Rajah seemed quite confused by her behavior. I had called the vet the first time this happened, but he could offer nothing but to tell us to watch her, which of course we were already doing.

Again, a bit of history.  One day, maybe in 1971, I came home from work and Rajah was lying prostrate at the side of the road.  He had been hit, but was alive.  I carefully picked him up and told Marge what happened.  There was no vet in Coopersburg but we found one in Quakertown, about 12 miles south, who would attend as soon as we could bring Rajah down. We made him as comfortable as we could and rushed down.  The vet said his jaw had  broken, but he could wire it shut and gave us some animal antibiotics to ward off infection, as well as a shot to deal with the pain.  That worked, and we continued to see  the vet when necessary.  I am sure he was qualified, but his bedside manner was not so good. 

Back to 1973. Both cats had spent the day curled up together, which they often did.  This time Sascha had another cat fit, and this time it was for a longer time, getting worse, whatever the cause was. She calmed down Sunday  and let us hold her but growled and spit if her brother came near her. She would also growl and spit when we shut her in a  room to separate her from her brother. We made several attempts to let her out but any semblance of normal behavior failed. I decided to put her away as she was aging and I figured this affected her brain.

We talked about this and decided to do this ourselves to make her end as peaceful as possible instead of by a disinterested vet at a strange place.  I used car starting ether which then came in a spray can.  It didn’t have the additives which were necessary later as diesel cars did not exist in ’73.  This only took a short time but I felt terrible, even though we knew it was necessary. I never realized how much I liked her until she was gone.  We buried her in the back lawn, I came in and was so upset I went to bed and cried.  I will never do this again.  We all got in the car and went to the nearby town of Emmaus to see a children’s matinée.

Louise reminded me more detail of the movie and I am updating this post to include it. You mention that we all went out to a children’s matinee, but don’t mention that the movie was Charlotte’s Web, which is of course very sad about the spider Charlotte dying and of course the subtext of the piglets being fattened up to be eaten. I remember Mom telling this story afterwards that neither of you knew what the story was about when we went, but just wanted to get out of the house and get our minds off of the fact that you had just had to put Sascha to sleep and bury her in the back yard.

I did calm down but was sad and depressed the rest of the day. Rajah, the brother cat, how has no kitty companion and is insistent on sitting on or with somebody.  I really think animals can experience grief as well as humans. When vacations are over we will try to bring in a kitten in hopes he will accept it.


Lake Wallenpaupack, PA

In ’73 my employer PP&L had a power plant on Lake Wallenpaupeck in the Pocono mtns. They controlled the land around it and owned a conference hall as well as several cottages.  I was fortunate enough to get a cottage for a week in July. We returned to Coopersburg on July 23.  

We returned from our vacation having had a very nice experience.  The cabins were rustic but very nice for a week and included a fireplace as well as a dock. The girls went down daily to swim and I did once in a while. The lake is artificial in that the creek was dammed for a power plant owned by PP&L.  The cottage was in the woods and was one in a group of four, but not at all crowded.  The geography of PA is quite different from NY, in it does not have a shoreline or glacial lakes. We were fortunate in getting this cabin, especially as Marge was slowly recovering from her ill-health earlier in the month.  I really loved Marge and her health was more fragile than mine. I felt so helpless when she was sick, but did all I could to aid and make her feel a bit more comfortable. 

 That week I grilled several things on the fireplace, nothing fancy, burgers or steak. Ingrid was a big help with dishes and I believe the trip was a real vacation for Marge also.  We took two side trips.

Fort Delaware, NY

Fort Delaware, NY

 One was to Narrowsburg, NY to see Fort Delaware, a reconstructed frontier fort complete with the firing of an actual ancient cannon, girls dipping candles, etc.  It was quite interesting for all of us.

Bushkill Falls, Niagra of PA

Bushkill Falls, Niagra of PA

 We also took a trip to Bushkill Falls and spent much time walking around the falls and streams in the area.  This was situated at the Delaware  Water Gap where the river cascades down on its way to the Atlantic. It was rather steep and a bit of a stress for Marge, but she made it quite OK. I was so thankful that she could get to enjoy this side trip as well.

So, back to civilization. I weeded my flowers and as usual found more trouble than was first clear.  Some of the Iris plants looked sickly and on inspection they were infested with Iris borers, so I dug up the bad ones and destroyed them.  The Iris bed needed trimming anyway so I accomplished two tasks at the same time.  Next year I will spray in the spring to help prevent this infestation.

All in all, a good month, especially as Marge now appears healthy again, I am so thankful.



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Springtime For Frantzens – 1973

No, not Springtime For Hitler, that’s been done, but about me and my loved ones.

I took a business trip to Oklahoma at the end of April.  A local vendor of construction equipment was having a show in Oklahoma City and I and one of my engineers went.  the purpose, of course was to drum up business for a new line in products they had taken on.   The company paid for our expenses  so we went.  Their equipment looked suited to the needs of PPP&L and I wrote up a positive trip report.  The company catered a  dinner and the different guys went out on the town after.  At least going to some stripper bars, and maybe more.  That was not my thing, so I joined a few of the reminding guys and we swapped stories.  All in all, a pleasant trip, though I had no desire to return to Oklahoma myself.  Nothing specific, the area was not appealing to me.

April showers came in May, as they did the year we married.  We even had tornado warnings and the land a few miles to the West had some serious damage. Just wind and rain for us. Heavy and continued rain would saturate the ground and our sump pump would kick into action.  When this happened in the night, I immediately awoke and went into the cellar to check on possible damage.  Marge wouldn’t hear this, but when one of the girls cried in the night, I would sleep through it and she would jump up.  I guess the subconscious would arouse us to act out our  family roles.   We enjoyed a pleasant visit with Mom Sutherland, though the weather prevented us having any real outdoor activities.

The weather cleared up in June so we went to the Jersey shore in our trailer.

Cape May NJ from the sea

Cape May NJ from the sea

 We learned travel skills  from out trip to Myrtle Beach and, with some difficulty we found a good campsite.  We stretched our legs at Cape May where we parked the trailer.  Then we all went to Ocean City for a seafood dinner.  It was a real treat having fresh fish to eat, with somebody else doing the cooking.  Marge doesn’t eat fish, though she likes lobster, shrimp and related seafood.  We drove 360 miles, but it was a worthwhile, enjoyable trip, enjoyed by all.

Summer came next with a let up in the rain and hot temperatures in the 80s and occasionally in the 90s.  This heat was often accompanied by high humidity and I was SO glad that our house had central air conditioning, a true blessing. I still remember going outside and the hot humid air was almost a physical entity that I had to fight my way through. 

Marge and I had gone to an informal bible study led by a professor at Muhlenberg college in Allentown. An older man than Marge and I then, maybe in late 50s.  Surprisingly for me I enjoyed this, even looked forward to it. It was not church related and there were many viewpoints expressed at any session. The study was not doctrinaire and we welcomed constructive questioning and critique.  

The study was held at the home of an older couple who owned a big farm nearby. It was a beautiful place with large oak and locust shade trees. The farm also featured a pool stocked with Bass and Bluegill. I don’t have a personal photo, but the one below is typical of a PA farm pond.  

PA farm pond

PA farm pond

 Nothing beats a dinner of freshly caught fish, far better than frozen ones in the market.  The farm also had a large indoor swimming pool, the first one I ever saw.  We all enjoyed time in the pool, especially the children. Marge and I were in our mid 30s then.  It took me by surprise at how good some of the gray-haired women looked in bathing suits.  Not that I was personally interested, of course, Marge and I were getting along pretty well then,  though I did hope that we could age as gracefully.

It was a pleasant old-fashioned day with an outdoor picnic on a hot Sunday afternoon which I did enjoy.  Doesn’t sound very sophisticated, and it wasn’t. So what!  I still fondly remember images of that day 40+ years later.

The third week in June we took the trailer down to Lancaster county to a site owned by PP&L on  property about a mile in from the Susquehanna river.  The river is dammed for the Holtwood Hydro plant. We packed up early and left on Friday after I returned from work.

Susquehanna river at Holtwood Pinnacle

Susquehanna river at Holtwood Pinnacle

 I don’t have a personal photo, but here is one showing the river from the Holtwood pinnacle in the fall.  Beautiful area, I miss the water and the green.

The sites had electricity, but no water so I filled the trailer water tank before leaving and checked the pump.  Somewhere, somehow the fuse  between my car battery and the trailer blew out and the trailer battery was low, so we couldn’t use the pump.  We do learn from experience and brought two emergency “Jerry” cans for water.

Park City Mall Lancaster PA

Park City Mall Lancaster PA

While there the rain came so we went to a beautiful mall in Lancaster and did some shopping, and between showers did some sightseeing.

Returning home the cable between car and trailer loosened, dragged on the road and I lost half the connections in the wiring.  Fortune did smile on us since the brakes still worked, and when I got home I spliced the breaks, everything good as new now. We were all grateful these incidents didn’t happen on our first big trip.

The weekend of June 23 was a quiet one. We missed the PP&L picnic since we went to a movie on Friday and slept in Saturday. Marge did not feel well and slept most of Saturday. It was good we didn’t go to the PP&L picnic, she would not want being left home alone, and would be miserable if she went.

Sunday was a nice day, Marge felt better and we did go to a picnic sponsored by the “house church” group she belonged to.  I, of course, made my prize-winning potato salad which I learned preparing, while working at the Lake Placid Club in NY. Things will come out all right in the end, and if they don’t, it isn’t the end.  The weekend did end very nicely.

Marge and I soon after had some long discussions about family size planning. At that time Marge was taking “the pill” and worried  about possible long-term effects from taking it continuously.  She was still having the doctor I mentioned previously inject some form of slurry into her spine. I mentioned that she continued this rather invasive procedure and what about its long-term effect. I recently asked my neurologist if he ever heard of this procedure and he didn’t, so I think I had reason to worry. Marge decided to quit both.   The upshot of this was Marge’s decision to have a Tubal Ligation.

Allentown Hospital

Allentown Hospital

The doctor told us this was minor outpatient surgery, so we elected to go that route.  This took place on a Wednesday and I picked her up after work.  She had the procedure in Allentown Hospital. It is  minor surgery for some women, but Marge’s health has never been too good so it took her some time to fully recover. 

The girls went to a YMCA day camp for a week and got a big kick out of it, figuratively, not literally.  Marge still not feeling well so I went to Parents Night with Louise.  I did my duty, but Marge is closer to the girls at school than I.

We did go take our trailer to the mountains for a week in July and the shore for two weeks in August, but that is getting ahead of myself as the last days of June were upon us.

Susquehanna river flooding

Susquehanna river flooding

 We did experience more rain on June 29 and a few rivers and streams  flooded. there were some deaths, at least half due to people rafting or boating in flooded water, a very dangerous activity.  The papers and news stations advised residents not to use the flood for recreational purposes.  Some people believe they are invincible, but sadly not true.

The flooding was very bad to the north of us, particularly the city of Wilkes Barre.

Wilkes Barre flood on Main Street

Wilkes Barre flood on Main Street

 One of the churches borrowed a school bus and asked for volunteers to aid in the cleanup.  I went with the group and it was something that had to be seen and smelled to be believed. I was glad that I helped a bit. Later on, Marge took our 70 Ford wagon up with food for residents.  With the back seat folded down, there was quite a bit of room to put cooked food it to help out.  We did what we could.

So, summer began with some changes and minor adventures with yet more to come.

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Great Expectations – Our First Trailer Trip

I am shameless in appropriating titles, though we did in fact have great expectations for our first trailer vacation.  The time was April 1973 just preceding Easter of that year. We made a trial trip to Lancaster PA to get an actual feel of pulling the trailer, setting it up, staying overnight, and reversing the process back to Coopersburg.  We stayed at a trailer parking place, I don’t remember the name now but it was OK, that I do remember.  The weather was overcast and quite chilly which was fine since we experienced using our heater and the interior was quite comfortable.  The trip was a very positive learning weekend.

We left on Good Friday, April 20,  and travelled as far as Petersburg, VA.  We stayed as a Holiday Inn park and left the next day for a similar park at Virginia Beach, our next destination.  Of course, no internet then so we would consult trailer travel guides, select a park and use a pay phone to reserve a spot.  We left the next day for a similar park at Virginia Beach, VA. It was a short drive and we did get some time to browse around the area and actually get a couple of hours on the beach itself.

The next day we went to Atlantic Beach NC. There was a tremendous rush of beach traffic, mostly going out and we were going in.  We found a trailer park a mile or so from Fort Macon, NC. Marge vaguely remembered the location from her childhood and we spent some time exploring the historic part of the fort. the next morning we all got up early and attended a sunrise service, April 22 at Fort Story.  Marge loved Easter sunrise services wherever they were held and this place was part of her childhood.

On Monday, April 23, we got to Myrtle Beach, SC and again stayed at a Holiday Inn Travl-Park. this was largely due to their having a toll-free reservation service and we didn’t have to wast time looking around for a place to park. We again, enjoyed a pleasant stay, the park was very nice and only a few minutes walk from the ocean.  The girls went swimming.  I didn’t as it was a bit cool for me. I did get some rays lying on the beach. 

We had  an unpleasant  surprise one morning.  The sun was shining and I wanted to take a picture of our daughters.  I asked them to pose under a Palmetto tree.  They soon began to wiggle and then cry and Marge and I had no idea why.  We rushed into the nearest pharmacy, described the symptoms and asked what would relieve them.  The clerk told us that they sat on a fire ant nest and sold us some OTC local anesthetic  called Itchi-Cool.  Fire ants bite fiercely , and we had never heard of them.

We did some local sightseeing and saw some of the local attractions. The most notable was a plantation which once owned by the Huntington’s and now turned into a garden setting.  This held the sculptures of Mrs. Huntington and assorted American sculptors.  I wish I had a photo to show you. The garden was very attractive although most of the spring flowers were beyond their peak. We had good weather throughout. The rain did fall in the evening and we had a brief shower one afternoon. Later I learned that back home the weather was April showers, and then some.

We took two days to come back as we realized that is all the time you need. We could not be assured of a reservation until Monday.  We did have a few negative times along the way.  One time I drove up a road that was clearly marked closed.  However, there were many cars going in, so I assumed the sign was wrong and the locals knew that the road was open.

WRONG, the sign was correct.  The cars were coming in, but parking on the side and walking in.  The road had a side road about a 1/4 mile behind us, which was the only way to get out as our road had drainage gulleys on the sides. No place to get hung up.  I sweat blood trying to back up to that road.  I could NOT do it. Marge took the girls out as I was very stressed and the incoming cars were blowing their horns at me.  I could park the trailer but not drive backward.  Fortunately a Good Samaritan camper came and gave me the help I sorely needed.  I closely watched his technique driving backward to learn.  This one of the rare occasions when I could not figure out a solution.  A humbling, but learning experience.

I ran over a dog on the way back as it just ran into the road in front of me, and with a trailer behind one cannot just veer a bit. I was extremely sorry but could not have avoided it.

On reaching home we received a threatening letter from the school board for keeping the girls out for a few days.  I think the first hand learning  about our country was worth it and they didn’t suffer from the absence.  They both were, still are, very smart and could make up what they missed in class.

It was very nice to get a head start on Spring, something we would later do when we could.  Marge had some sort of bug and my bane, hay fever, was starting.  The girls had their annual art and music demonstration. Louise has shown some interest in piano  and was now taking piano lessons on an alternate basis with Ingrid and I.  We were fortunate to have a teacher that came to our house, instead of vice versa.

Our first real trailer travel adventure was very pleasant.  We met some unexpected trouble but overcame it and it was very nice coming back to PA where the spring flowers were starting to blossom. We had an extended Spring and a bit of family adventure.  Our great expectations were certainly met.

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On The Road…In PA

Apologies to Jack Kerouac but I couldn’t resist. Marge and I have discussed buying a travel trailer.  Really, it was my idea but of course it was a joint decision to make.  I have no idea why, it just seemed as though it would be fun.  We bought a used two-year old model, I can’t remember the make now.  It was a 22′ model, very well laid out and suitable for our entire family.  Marge would agree to camping if she had a double bed, bathroom, gas heater,  range and sink, which this one had in compact form.  Our 70 Ford station wagon needed some beefing up and then we got the trailer home, and I managed, for the first time, to back it into the spot for it in our drive. Hooray for me, a cinch. Or at least I thought so then. Live and learn.

When I was looking at trailers in the spring show, I got into conversation with a guy  seasoned in this hobby.  I still remember his remark about buying “If you can get a good night’s sleep in one, you can put up with anything, if you can’t, you can put up with nothing.” Very sage, so that evening we left the kids in the house and set up the double bed to  verify that.  The heater was comfortable as was the bed, though we didn’t spend the night sleeping.  A personal life mystery is why some times we could make love and it was excellent for both of us, other times just go through the motions, have a smoke roll over and go to sleep. The smoke bit is just a stale gag from “B” movies. Forget that.  I am sure other couples had similar experiences, we were not alone in that.  Still, it would have been more meaningful and satisfactory if we could have enjoyed the mysterious pleasure of physical union together more often.  

We had a mild winter in 72-73 though with some colds and minor aches from spring yard work, nothing serious.  March did bring a company car to live with us which was much appreciated by all.

This is much shorter than my usual posts but I will write about our first trip the next time as that deserves treatment of its own.

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Orphanage of Marge

I want to reprise a bit from the earlier long quote about the Charismatic Movement. It does still exist in different forms, but I don’t believe here (LV).  Marge had made some very bad decisions in our early life and was often very remote, and to me on occasion, explosively angry .  These eruptions were to me a mystery, but they were probably built up anger for expectations or actions of mine that I was completely unaware of and  did not fill her unexpressed inner needs. 

Her acceptance of her misery and her plea to Christ was transformative and I believe it was the beginning of recognition of a need to know the meaning of life personally, and intimately have some connection with the eternal. Marge’s confession accomplished that for her, she did become easier to live with and the movement provided her with an uncritical environment to express and enjoy this growth. This was positive for our life together.

Moving ahead for just a moment, I even tried going to a Pentecostal church when I first came here (LV) and when Marge and the children moved here, we both went, though did not join. Our joint consensus was that as a denomination this was not Charismatic but programmatic, just a different structure than Lutherans or Presbyterians. 

In psychology, this action is often called development of the psyche or soul. Marge’s particular crossing of this life threshold was not then, and is not now my own.  I have a sense of the eternal and I try to live a life that adds a little to the social good of the world, and grow, slowly perhaps, in my self-awareness.  Christianity is one of many approaches to this path. A belief in any religious system is  unnecessary to reach  a sense of soul.  To me, the concept of only one God, and his only son, Christ is quite limiting and only one of many ways to personal growth. This path may exactly suit another.  It is not my way to get boxed in by unquestioningly accepting someone elses   dogma and doctrine.

That then, is our wedded interpersonal relationship when we moved to PA. The background of our life.

I am reading background books as preparation for a course I plan on at least proposing to teach.  At present, I am reading the book: “Awakening The Heroes Within–12 archetypes to help us find ourselves and transform our world.” Carl Jung, the psychiatrist developed the concept of an archetype  which refers to common personality descriptors that appear throughout society and over a very long period of recorded time.

I read  all day and just finished  the chapter on the ORPHAN archetype which struck me as almost having Marge’s name on it. Hence the name of todays post.

I will start by quoting in an abbreviated fashion sections of this chapter that I believe apply:

Many Orphans live in what seem to be intact families, but the children are not cherished, nurtured or guided and do not feel emotionally safe.  The Orphan archetype in each of us is activated by all the experience in which the child in us feels abandoned, betrayed, victimized, neglected, or disillusioned…Unfortunately, we live in a society in which being hurt or vulnerable is not socially acceptable.  The result is that this child is not only wounded, but very lonely…The Orphan in each of us is activated by painful experiences, especially childhood ones, and many people are orphaned in intact families from very early ages…Orphans have been abandoned by whatever parental figure might rescue them and are left with a landscape inhabited by only two kinds of people: the weak, who are victims, and the strong who either ignore or victimize the weak.  Sometimes orphans feel like exiles. The fate of such orphans is to be shut out forever from Eden, the homeland, or heaven itself…Although Orphans seem to wish to be rescued and even believe they want to be rescued, they rarely let anyone help them…Developmentally, the Orphan stage is the time children turn away from reliance on parents, to the reliance on siblings or friends. Orphans to not think they can have a happy love life but at least try to find a partner who will not actively mistreat them.

In 1956 Marge wrote a 2 page memoir titled Alone  which I think relevant:

“They don’t know what it is to be alone.  They have their girl friends, and the telephone calls from their boy friends, and they have brothers and sisters, and a mother and father always there when they are needed…but you, you are alone now. In more ways than one.  Our mother is gone now, gone to take care of your sister who is sick and needs her.  Your father is in the Army.  You are proud of him, but you really don’t know him and he is gone now, too; he is overseas.  You get a letter from him now and then, but he doesn’t say much.  Your closest friend is your sister, and she is five years older than you, and is engaged.  Soon you will lose her too.

“Something in you is not right, You are smart in school, but when you are with a crowd, you are with them, but not OF them…For a while, about a year, maybe a little more, there was a boy.  At first he was just a boy but he grew and now is handsome and tall and if he worked at it a little smart. He liked you, but now you have lost him. You haven’t seen hin in almost 2 weeks, but you heard that he asked another girl to the prom.  You like the girl and hope she will have fun, but you wish, oh you wish with all your heart he still wanted you.  You long to ask him:  Why don’t you want me? but you know he would not answer.”

“You are alone in the big house now.  You will be alone for several more weeks to come.  It is quiet, and the silence you used to know and love as a friend is pressing in on you making you think the books from the library are there on the chair.  But you cannot lose your mind in another world now. You  think “loneliness is like frost, it starts in the easy places to reach and spreads and travels to the heart finally, and kills.”

“You like to think of yourself as a girl, tall and straight and slim, proud and unafraid. You know this because it has been wounded and deeply, you have great pride but you are not unafraid, you fear many things.  But the thing you fear most of all, unconsciously is your mind, and what it can make you do.. and not do, and you fear being alone.  They do not know what it is like to be alone.  I know.  And I wish I was like them…for I am alone.”

There are some similar memoirs, but in interest of brevity, I will quote from Marge’s biography sections that pertain to childhood.

“By the time I was in the third grade I was aware that my parents were not really happy, but it was just a sort of background, not anything in the forefront of my life or thoughts. Sometime later I remember a time when we were all in the dining room, and Daddy and Momma explained that Momma was going to  go back to New York, and we three girls had a choice of staying with Daddy or going with Momma.  We had to choose.  It was devastating.  I remember choosing to go with Mom, because I didn’t think Daddy could take care of me. Just putting this down now (1986) is causing my eyes to fill with tears and I feel again that terrible feeling.  I remember how little and helpless I felt, and how awful. I feel it again just remembering it”.

“It must have been during the previous years, when there was a lot of unhappiness, and tension, and no doubt lack of and mis-communication, that I picked up the attitude that Daddy; and by extension, men in general were the enemy.  Not to be trusted with your innermost being because you would get hurt.”

So Marge’s family was intact, but fractured.  She did not feel emotionally safe and was fearful of being alone.  Her limited experience with men was very unhappy. My conclusion is that the Orphan archetype was prominent within her.   

The book I quoted from above has a measuring tool to find one’s archetype score on a randomized set of 72 statements where one quickly rated oneself on a scale of from 1 to 5 about how much or how little you agreed with the statement.  I took it and the results were about that which I would define myself. FYI, my lowest score was as an Orphan and the highest as a Sage, about what seems reasonable, and I think it correct. Perhaps, if I were aware and more sensitive to where she was emotionally coming from, I could have been more compassionate and helpful. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

As a matter of disclosure, I will briefly relate an incident that was damaging to both of us. When we lived in Vestal we went to a Halloween party at a friend’s house in Binghamton.  We were among the first to arrive, and I confess that over a period I consumed way too much alcohol.  In fact I got so drunk I passed out cold. Imagine; drunken Presbyterians. This was  the first and only time this happened to me and that was once too many.  Somebody got me home and I guess Marge put me to bed, then returned to pick up our car.  Of course, I had embarrassed and humiliated her in front of her friends and worse, unintentionally left her alone. That dreaded word.

Marge was extremely vulnerable and  another  married guy at the party hit on her.  She fell for it.  This affair went on for a while, her behaviour was suspicious to me then, but I had no proof.  The guy was a little shrimp, a nonentity in a low-level job at the chemical plant where I held a senior technical position. He was truly a pussy whipped wimp with a shrew for a wife. They are together in Paradise now. Ca that is. Apparently he had done this before, his wife got wise, told him to quit the relationship, and Marge got dumped.  Left again.  Marge validated this, and some other suspicions in 1993 and things were pretty frosty for years.

Like the PA Dutch say “I get too soon old, and too late smart.” 






Posted in Marital difficulties, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

PA 1972 – 1973

Back to the Pa. suburbs at Beverly Hills.  We did make a trip in December to spend time with Marge’s sister Pat and her family in Penn Yan, NY. The weather was cold for December, but reasonable for January though still in the teens.  We attended a pleasant New Year party with friends and I made my celebrated potato salad and that PA Dutch specialty, funnel cakes.  I  made these with pancake batter drizzled into hot fat using a funnel to obtain variety in shape.  Hot, greasy, and sugary, food heaven! 

In January, friends of ours were moving away and we had a light buffet at our house, including home-made ice cream.  A little cool for January but tasty. Ice cream was requested, and tastes better freshly made than with a lot of preservatives and artificial flavors.  Not too wild a party but very nice. 

I went to a class in November to refresh my skills in my areas of work.  I did well and things learned before came back quickly.  Slowly but surely, I made progress on my woodworking projects.  Marge had bought me a very nice radial arm saw as a present and by taking my time I could do a pretty good job at basic cabinet making.

We were in reasonable health in 72.  Marge was still taking injections in her back from a doctor I didn’t trust.  I can’t remember the name of it now, but it involves injecting some sort of finely ground slurry into her back somewhere.  I really didn’t think it was helping her and it might have adverse effects later, but at least she was only going once a month now. i can’t remember how this got started, probably some friend told her about this guy.

Work was doing well and I had finished a big work project on time and was satisfied with that accomplishment. February 73 provided a work related opportunity to take a trip to Los Angles . I was disappointed at the weather as it was wet and rainy.  A not so sunny CA, but I realize now that winters there are rainy in winter, at least for us as we get only a few inches total per year.  In fact January was mild in PA, no snow that lasted.

To recap a bit for myself, I had not darkened the interior of a church from the time I graduated from High school in 1954 until we had Ingrid baptized in 1962 when I came home from active duty. We did go to an old like Presbyterian church when we moved to Binghamton in 1964 and to a new young church when we bought the house in Vestal. We fit in better with the other suburbanites and I was even a church officer for a few years.  The pastor was new, recently graduated from seminary and didn’t exactly seem sure that this was his real calling.  Nice enough guy and his wife was also, they just didn’t seem really comfortable in this role.  His name was Walt, can’t remember the last name and after we moved to PA in 69, heard that he had left the ministry.

 When we moved to PA, we joined a nearby Lutheran church and that was a BIG mistake as the membership was very insular and the pastor rather cold. We quit a short while after joining and agreed not to join any church.  “Once burned, twice shy” as the saying goes. We did attend a very small church near us that was home to two congregations meeting on alternate Sundays. The Lutheran pastor was a full-time professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. He was Dutch or German as I recall. I actually felt I was learning worthwhile information from his sermons. Marge and I went to a Bible study group often, and I really thought it worthwhile, big surprise.

I finished my bedroom cabinet making with two bedside stands and we put up new drapes. So much for home improvements for a while. Too bad personal improvements were not so straight forward.  We sort of drifted along.  I was never very religious myself, had nothing against it, but really was not a true believer, and a deist more than a theist.  

Its pretty well accepted from the time of Albert Schweitzer’ monumental opus that there was a historical Jesus, and he certainly seemed  an exceptional and an enlightened being. Many religious institutions teach people to be good, but don’t help them to become self-aware.  When I grew up, we went shopping on Saturday and church on Sunday. That was just the pattern of life. Something you did, but really to me church had no special meaning, it was just another regular activity in life.

 What is “God”? Depends on who you ask. Even Christianity had to invent the Trinity to remotely try to explain what God meant. This did and does still, using terms that are not very helpful, as they also are not externally defined.  

Marge’s mother was, in her way spiritual, but not a believer in organized religion.  She was a follower of a man whose name was Browne Landone and she had boxes of his writings, and I still have two of them.  Her Dad, Col. Alex Sutherland was an atheist who said he had looked into religion and it was a bunch of “hooey.” Perhaps the atrocities of WWII were part of his conclusion.

My Mom went to the little Methodist  churches in the hamlets where we lived.  My Dad went as well, I think to support her in our family.  Methodists don’t celebrate communion as do the RC church, Lutheran and Episcopal, but Methodists have a monthly remembrance ceremony. I don’t remember whatever the Methodists named the service, but Dad would never go to church on those days. Obviously he was not Christian.

Moving along, in Vestal Marge had decided she had messed up her life and made a personal acceptance of Christ.  Prior to that, I think the reason she went to church was so she could sing in the choir, something she was good at, and welcomed for her singing ability. She became involved in what was then known as the Charismatic Christian movement.  I don’t think it exists in any form today. Through this though, Marge made friends in Binghamton and somehow through them met people with similar beliefs in Coopersburg, the village about 3 miles from us.  For her this was a growth experience.  She did become easier to live with and I told her so.

“Quoting from Marge’s biography “I became involved in a group that met in the new friends home. It was a house church, and after initial discomfort and on my part (no one ever does things exactly the way you are used to, in a new place.), I dived right in. I was still my basically conservative self; there is always a part of me that stands to one side looking on and sort of checking things out.  

I was developing my relationship with the Lord, but I still was struggling with lots of feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.  In some ways I was no doubt, arrogant, and not everyone saw me as I saw myself, as thoughtful and willing.  I had various personality conflicts with certain people in the group.

 One of the characteristics of that movement was an emphasis on worship, and worship was usually an audible expression of love and adoration poured out to Him, both in the group and when one was alone. This was very often in the form of singing.  The songs we sang were either choruses, or Bible verses set to music, sometimes old hymns or new songs we learned.

The other kind of singing we did was called singing in the Spirit, where the words and the melody were spontaneous.  sometimes the whole group would sing together, everyone singing their own song to the Lord.  You would think it would be just noise, but it blended together, and was incredibly lovely. Sometimes one person would sing alone.  I did that.

It was sort of like gathering up what everyone wanted to express to God, and pouring it out in one voice and song.  It is difficult to express what this meant to me, but you can understand that this was a very emotional thing, and in some ways very fulfilling.

 I have always been reluctant to express my emotions very freely, and yet I could do it there, almost publicly.  This gave a richness to my life that I had longed for and been frightened of for many years.”

In PA,  I worked for the power company as a manager. I enjoyed my work had good people in my department  working for a first-rate company. The company was  PA Power and Light.  It was not a state company, but regulated by the state. To me, Public Utility  companies are fulfilling a social need.  They were not turning out needless junk that would be obsolete in a year or two.

I liked our new home, and developed friends in the community. Marge had found a new faith and supportive friends.  The girls were doing well in school.  Time to bring this post to a close.


Posted in 1970-1980, Coopersburg PA, Marital difficulties, Pennsylvania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

R. F. & M. F. – End of Chapter


Words and Lyrics

Henry Clay Work

“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.”

“Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopp’d short — never to go again —
When the old man died.”

My Clock

My Clock ca. 1974

The concluding element of Mind Prober is, if you haven’t guessed it from the above lyrics of the old song, ca. 1876, deals with that which makes each of us “tick.”  The idiom is common enough, you may have used it yourself, however, what does it mean? In our lexicon, what concepts, beliefs; what principles do we find included, absorbed in this idiom which, in our digital age, will probably fade away, much as the (tick, tock) in the 19th-century song above.  The clock above is one I built over 40 years ago. Still running, still ticking,  still tocking.

The web site,,  lists the following meanings of the idiom, somewhat here abbreviated to conserve space:

Something that motivates someone; something that makes someone behave in a certain way; if you make sense of someone’s actions you understand the reasons for their behavior and personality;  the reasons why someone behaves the way they do.

Without truculently trudging the trackless trip through the Dismal Swamp of personality theory, the idiom relates to an understanding of a person’s behavior and the motives underlying it.  With that definition as a tentative assumption, a premise; the rest of this post will dwell into the Mind Prober’s analysis of what makes Ms. M. F.  and Mr. R. F. “tick.”



“Mr. R. F. would secretly like to live in a world of beauty and tranquility, inhabited by gentle people.  In such a setting he could feel free to express himself without fear of criticism or exploitation.  In the meantime, he deals cautiously with others, testing their goodwill and intentions before allowing them to come close.  He sometimes feels the need for a protective shell.”

“Disorganization and chaos may bother Mr. R. F.  He can spend a lot of his time arranging things so his life is predictable and he is in control.  Mr. R. F. will want background information on any issue before he takes action.  If life gets a bit hectic, expect him to step back and take stock of what is going on around him.”



“While Ms. M. F.  likes excitement and change, she is also sensitive to pressure and easily upset.  Consequently she often bites off more than she can chew.  This explains why she so often feels overwhelmed or loses her patience with others.  If she could keep her self from doing things she later regrets, her life and the lives of those around her would be a lot smoother.”

“Ms.  M. F. is the sort of person who experiences a good deal of discomfort when there is uncertainty in her life.  Disorganization may cause her to feel out of control.  While she prefers things that are new and different, she dislikes ambiguity.  Expect her to want definite knowledge on most everything she discovers.”


This time, I think Mind Prober has gone too far about me.  The fantasy world  paragraph one described, is reminiscent of old Walt Disney Movies such as Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, possibly Pinocchio; in the background the strains of Beethoven’s Pastorale Sonata, gently supplementing the visual image with musical symbolism of nature and countryside which I might enjoy visiting for a week or two, but not dwelling there. I welcome constructive criticism, as I certainly have been proven incorrect many times, how else does one grow without some challenge.

I am measurably more intelligent that probably most of the population and Marge had me beat by a few points. So, what do I, chatting with Joe and Jane Average, have to talk about other than the superficial and shallow events of the everyday world, unaware of the underlying currents of causation leading to today, tomorrow, possibly the next day?


“Oh, Hi, haven’t seen you in a long time.  How about a coffee at Mickey D.’s, my treat.”

“Sure, but listen a minute, you’ve only got school smarts, how about street smarts?  You live near two tunnels each one-third of a mile long. Could you live in even one tunnel?”


Two Tunnels

 “No, I wouldn’t know where to start.  How would I get washed, how would I keep warm, where would I eat?

“You’re so smart, figure it out for yourself.  Joe and Jane do it, you’ve seen their mattress, the charcoal once stolen from Von’s, their artwork sprayed on the tunnel walls.”

OK, OK, but don’t forget, I’ve got my pensions, my investments, Social security, my house without payments, my two cars. How about them apples, Eh?”

“Yeah, today but how about that tomorrow?  Suppose you get Cancer tomorrow, the BIG C; retail med and drug prices would wipe you out in a few months; maybe, you could hold on to Social Security. What then, Smart Guy?”

“Yeah, Social Security, I can count on that, other people do it, I could too.  Think you cornered me?  No, not quite. I’ve got an escape hatch, you forgot that, Wise Guy.”

“Sure, Sure, but not where you live now.  The cars also have to go; use the bus, the Wi-Fi has to go, maybe enough left after expenses for a one bedroom walk up in a so-called racially mixed neighborhood. Maybe near the University; even a City Social Center nearby.   Learn about that in School?”

“OK, you’re starting to paint a bleak picture, however unlikely it is.”

“Unlikely? who knows. You went to college, I am sure you know this saying, “forecasting is difficult, especially about the future.”  And another thing, while we are talking together, at least Joe has his Jane.  You saw that soggy double bed mattress in the tunnel, fit for two, in a way.  Who do you have now?  You did what you could for Marge, we both know that, but the truth is, she is gone now.  You live by yourself, that one-room walk-up could get awfully lonely.”

“Don’t rub it in, OK?  I know some women, I go out occasionally, I take care of myself, and am not exactly the hunchback of Notre Dame. There’s a lot of widows and divorcees out there, how about that, Mr. know it all?”

“Got a better deal for you.  I think you could well end up in the University area, you know where.  There’s a lot of laundromats there, get used to that.  I know a gal, might be just the one for you.  Nice really.  She’s about half your age, got 4 kids, all in school.  They could sleep on the floor, you and the gal in bed together.  She is full-figured, but what the Hell, keep you warm in winter, how about it?  She has food stamps. Stay single and share, maybe move up to a two BR flat.”

“Nuff said, nuff said.  Good to see you again, can’t say much about today’s chat, but I won’t forget it.  So long, take care!!!”


So, maybe I do need a protective shell,  maybe that shell is the paper on my office wall.  If I had to live by my wits, I would be lucky to last a day.  Degrees don’t count on the street.  Sort of humiliating to have a 30-year-old computer program point that out.

Disorganization and chaos do bother me, I try to think ahead of the moment visualizing the various outcomes arising from a decision of mine.  I try to take countermeasures to the negative outcomes,  implementing the most promising course of action.  Some people thrive on chaos, I don’t, never have.  The second paragraph is a trifle excessive, not much though, and does display the careful cautious approach to life that has carried me through almost eight decades. No regrets, no; not anything at all.

Marge can’t speak for herself so I will quote from the psychological test she took and highlighted that relate to this wrap-up. Next, extracts from highlighted texts results:

“She is overly critical of self and others, likely to express negative views regarding her self and others, She is hostile, independent, impulsive and rebellious and a history of conflicts with social limits is common. She may express a great deal of anger toward men with impulsive, inappropriate expressions of sexual conflicts. She has difficulties expressing anger in a modulated, assertive way and becomes passive-aggresive and manipulative in heterosexual relationships, masochistically provoking men to “mistreat ” her. There is little concern about how others view her, and there are personal hostile aggressive impulses and decision-making tends to be indecisive”

“She feels overwhelmed and stressed from coping with everyday problems.  Excessive worry, depression, hopelessness and futility are often described. Stress is handled by withdrawing, daydreaming, fantasy and sometimes a wish for death.  Daily activities are seen as boring and unlikely to lead to better conditions.  She has a tendency to feel persecuted, misunderstood, and mistreated because there seems to be some difficulty understanding the motives and behaviours of others. Her social style is outspoken, talkative, impulsive, dominant and others may see her as bossy and aggressive, as well as argumentative; while also courageous and enthusiastic.”

“She is lonely and misunderstood and feels more sensitive and high-strung than others.  Feelings seem more intense, and risky situations are sought out.”

I believe that these tests support and supplement each other, though at the same time, not reflecting Marge in her individuality and uniqueness. These trends and tendencies, while important are not all-inclusive and entirely conclusive. 

Margery did retreat into fantasy.  When we lived in Vestal, I would come home from my job that was dull and the house looked much the same as when I left in the morning.  The only change was  about 6 light mysteries such as Ms. Marple  which Marge had read evading boring household activities.

She would start things and not finish them; such as having a garden.  I would rent a rotary digger and clear a patch of the yard.  Marge would plant, weed a few times and then just leave it.  She was temperamental and would blow up for no known reason. She did have, as the test delicately phrases it, inappropriate expressions of sexual conflict.

I really wish Marge had shared this information with me, together with a professional interpreter, but that didn’t happen. She was secretive. This exercise has given me insights to myself, and our past, which in itself is very valuable.

We were not the celestial couple, neither were we the demonic couple.  The quoted tests were completed, I think 1985-1990, from other documents in her file. This was the empty nest period for us and a hard time adjusting to.  Marge did have all these somewhat negative personality qualities, but she had many more positive ones.

Marge could be very loving, in any and all definitions of the word.  I think the best time I remember was when we first came to Las Vegas to live.  We had a 30′ travel trailer and we loaded it up with stuff for me and took about 10 days to cross the country at the end of January 1980;  me doing the driving and Marge the navigating, looking for places to stop for a night.  It was a real partnership.  We shared all the tasks and made love some times along the way.  It was a great trip together toward a somewhat unknown future.

I have gone over all this material before with my therapist who gave a post-mortem opinion that Marge had low self-esteem. She felt that she was not well cared for by her father, and her few relationships with guys before me had not turned out well at all.  Marge was smart, had a great figure even into her 40s and when she wanted to, could be beautiful, and I know this is not just my belief.

Mermaid Marge - 1985

Mermaid Marge – 1985

I have 4 mechanical striking clocks in my house.  What makes them tick?  The spring, of course and if it isn’t wound weekly, the clock stops. How do you wind up the spring of love? Did I tell Marge how I loved her, and tell her how beautiful she was? I failed miserably on those all important tests.  I just didn’t know how, even my letters to her when I was on active duty are so dull and banal it’s a wonder she didn’t tell me to get lost when I came back to the US.

My Dad was not demonstrative at all; I’m not blaming him but my home culture, and  Scandinavian culture in general is bland.  Depression medications were also part of my detachment, as they flat-lined my emotions. Ultimately I failed to give Marge what I see now was what she wanted  most; being told she was loved and adored.  This does not show up in the personality tests.

This post is getting  tediously long, but this is the last of this series and I can’t quit without accepting my inadequacies in our relationship.  

Remember that book that was popular maybe 20 years ago “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”  I did try to relate better, I really did but maybe, yes even very likely,  I was speaking Martian and Marge Venusian.

Eventually we both cleared the hurdle of misunderstanding, each of us, as separate persons and together as a couple, made mistakes but they weren’t fatal.

Marge never gave up. She worked, she contributed to society, she did all she could, and was fired because she was not able to be to work as much as she once  was.  This, by an acting manager who did have the balls to confront her personally but did it by mail.  Marge died a Hero’s death.  She knew the Angel of Death had quit flying overhead and had settled down next to her. She knew that, but she had no fear. When she died, quit ticking,  like the clock in my lead paragraph,  she was never to tick again,  a part of me died also.   

 We stayed together until death parted us.  That’s a pretty fair record, I think.     


Posted in Marital difficulties, Relationships, Vegas 1980-1990, Vestal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mind Probing Marge and Bob – Sex

Sex!! where would we be without it? Of course, you wouldn’t be at all, unless you were conceived miraculously. Christianity, Buddhism, aboriginal beliefs, and other religious systems have similar tales,  so that idea is part of our Jungian collective unconscious thereby explaining the mystery of birth and the divinity of the founder.

So, why sex?  Why don’t we just pollinate like plants? Really, I am serious.  We (and I speak for men) could perhaps just wiggle our ears, blow our noses, whatever, in the windy season and somewhere, someplace,  a receptive female receptor would snag one and start a nut, a bulb, whatever.  Does that sound like fun to you, it sure doesn’t to me, but then to some people’s disbelief, I am actually human.

In answer to the sex question, even the Judeo-Christian Bible implores us being fruitful, to multiply, to cleave to one’s wife.  If that doesn’t work, then try concubines who were, despite other chores, a form of sex slave. Said Bible does not say anything about polygamy, nor stoning men for visiting prostitutes, only women, the selfsame prostitutes driven to that trade because of sexist domination by men.  How unfair!  And birth control,  look up the story of Onan if you aren’t sure.  The so-called Old Testament has a lot of juicy stuff if you look long enough.

Speaking of enough, let’s get to a real answer.  HAVING FUN!!!.   Break the ancient rusting chains of arbitrary social constraints and so; Lovers of the world Unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains. Humans are not beholden to the Estrous Cycle so we can make love, have sex; almost when and where we wish. Truly a gift of the Gods, Cupid, Venus, Aphrodite, your choice from a few of many.  And what better place than Las Vegas where what happens here, stays here. Click on the link below for a sample of the old days:  

Spring Fever is not porno, if that worries some, but it was part of Las Vegas for a time.  Not a hot bed motel but a hot tub spa, check it out on the link below, and if interested,  when there, don’t open website but open associated categories. Nice pix, but no nudity, not sexist by todays standards where topless pools abound, perhaps even nude ones.  Spring Fever

By the way, the colloquial slang for Spring Fever was “Soak & Poke” blunt but descriptive.

Spring Fever is now long gone, here is the text from a short YOUTUBE video, and then the video:

Published on Nov 6, 2014
Only in Vegas. Catering to the “afternoon delight” crowd, Spring Fever was a business that rented out private spa rooms by the hour. Your own spa big enough for several people (although I don’t think they encouraged that), a small sauna and wooden shelf for sitting/laying/doing gymnastics. It was a very popular place, especially at lunch time which makes me suppose there were some illicit goings on there.

Hooper Productions produced this commercial for Spring Fever in 1985. It was the first TV commercial the spa had ever done even though they’d been around for a while. They really needed to advertise to a new generation.

I hope you watch the short video, but since Spring Fever is a common term, stop viewing when the video is finished or the video will continue to, I believe, a singing group of the same name.

I don’t think they were open much longer after this aired and the building was left to deteriorate and eventually burned to the ground.

But, what a great idea for lunch, huh?!
People & Blogs
Standard YouTube License

So, you get a general idea of the place.  The corner of Sahara and Boulder Highway has deteriorated from what it was 30 years ago.  Spring Fever burned down with cause unknown.  There was an urban legend that there were two-way mirrors in each hot tub room and someone captured an Asian and friends frolicking on videos which were later copied and sold for next to nothing in China, or wherever there was a market.  Supposed Asian had friends here who torched the place in revenge.  Could be, however, each hot tub room had its own heater, and maintenance may have slipped; you must understand these tubs burned a lot of propane.  That alone could have caused an explosive fire.

Spring Fever did play a part in our own amorous adventures, with more of that later.  No pix though, and if I had them, the last place  they would be is on an unrestricted Internet website.  





“Mr. R. F. will move slowly toward a sexual encounter, all the while giving subtle hints of his interest.  He will spend a great deal of time testing his prospective partner’s willingness and acceptability.

Once he has received sufficient assurance that the feelings are mutual, he is likely to show tenderness and commitment to his companion.  However, he would probably feel tremendously hurt by rejection or infidelity on the part of his lover.”



“You may find yourself unable to predict Ms. M. F. ‘S sexual interest on any given encounter.  She can be aloof and distant or warm and intimate,  She is changeable, preferring conventional lovemaking sometimes and new and different approaches at another.  Her mood is the key to her sexual behavior. Ms M. F, can easily be described as temperamental.  Her emotions have a greater impact on her sexuality than anything else”

Analysis and Commentary

Since I am cautious and deliberate in almost every aspect of my life, logic alone indicates that the sexual facet on the gemstone of my  love life should shine;  glowing gleaming , glimmering, not flaming up then burning out.  Perhaps I missed some exciting times, exciting women, at least for a while, but I am what I am and overall it suits me.

One short story about Marge and me:  Once early in the evening, Marge asked ” Have you heard about Spring Fever?” Of course I had, heard of, but not experienced being there. So, my reply was something like “Sure, what about it?” and her response “Let’s go there now.” I called ahead and assured that if I came now, they would hold a room for us, and so we went.

This was a first, but not a last visit to Spring Fever, and quite unlike Marge to start this encounter.  I hope you clicked the link and watched the short video. Neither really does justice.  The room was very clean, the water hot and bubbling, and as the text above said, there was a bench for sitting/laying/doing gymnastics.  And so we did all the above as well as enjoy the tub.  Once we had to hurry down without eating dinner, so we stopped at a Subway for some sandwiches and bottled water. A hot tub picnic, very nice really, such pleasant memories.

So much for the past for me, what about the present, possibly the future? In Las Vegas, I have gone out a few times with a very nice woman, about my age, and I have spent some time with her at her home.  I have attended a class, by chance sitting next to an attractive woman maybe in her 60s, who on her initiative, arranged for me to do volunteer work at her office.  So, I feel satisfied that despite my age, I still have something to offer and interest in a relationship.  

I’ll share the opinion of the AARP on the matter of sex, the following is a direct quote from their website: “Great sex minus intercourse involves the same leisurely, playful, whole-body caressing that sexuality authorities recommend to lovers of all ages. But with intercourse off the menu, it focuses instead on the many other ways couples can make love: hand massage, oral sex and toys — specifically dildos and vibrators for women, and penis sleeves for men.”  So, who knows, if the pharmacy no longer can help, look to the AARP.

Marge did leave some results of a test that referenced psychological standard terms and some observations touching on sex follow;  I find the writing quite passively voiced but here is what she left:

She may express a great deal of anger towards men.  Impulsive, inappropriate expression of sexual conflicts may be reported. The client has difficulties expressing anger in a modulated, assertive way and becomes passive-agressive and manipulative in heterosexual relationships, masochistically provoking men to “mistreat” her. The client does not appear to be attracted to one’s own sex, and is comfortable talking about sex.

The Mind Prober quite concisely dervied quite accurate descriptions of our individual and joint sexuality.  One issue not touched on hs her weight and appearance. The image of her below must be about 50 years old, and retouched as best I could, but I think it presents her well as a young woman.

Marge going to dance class

Marge going to dance class

Marge was almost 5’11”, tall and leggy. I think she weighed a bit over 150# then, which was right for her height and general figure. In my opinion, she looked like a LV showgirl, though that occupation would never have been her personal style.  She was temperamental but quite open to trying different approaches, often initiating them.  I never asked “Where did you learn that?” I just enjoyed her making love to me.  

I could have done a better job of assuring her, in terms that were meaningful to her, but I didn’t have her verbal aptitude.  Thinking back, I could have learned to express myself in ways that were more detailed, more descriptive and less trite.  I hope that my actions and attitude toward her were perceived as loving.  Maybe a bit, I think so.     

Posted in Marital difficulties, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mind Probing Bob & Marge – Personal Interests

Time. Time and time again. What is time?  My dictionary first defines   time as a noun : the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole; when used differently time is a verb, a  linguistic shape shifter –   you ask “How can that be  because no matter how much I ponder your statement, that’s not the way I learned English.”

The answer lies, not deeply hidden, in its usage, such as in  planning, scheduling, or arranging when (something) should happen or be done such as ; “The the sapper  timed the bomb to explode in thirty minutes.”  Time also finds it way into wonderful, delightful delicious phrases such as: all the time, ahead of one’s time, being behind the times passing the time of day, time and tide wait for no man, even time exposure.  How can one be exposed to time, like sunshine, do we spread on a chemical to cut our exposure to time, if so,  how do I find it? 

Theologically, the Wisdom book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die but my personal favorite phrase, vaguely theological, and I gladly share it with you is this: keeping time.  This simple phrase, for me, takes me back to High School more than 60  years ago while taking a course in music fundamentals  our class was discussing the difficulty in maintaining a desired beat, playing some music at the tempo written on the script, when someone asked our teacher  “Are you teaching us how to keep time?”  To which, and to wit, she replied “Only God keeps time, we merely mark time.” I still remember that,  dimly in details,  so clearly in deep-rooted memory.

Isn’t English wonderful? One can correctly write  the crudest sentence using the formula: subject, verb, object (also called complement). Maybe even throw in some adverbs and adjectives.  Or, in the style of centuries ago, you might write clauses after clauses, phrases in clauses, hidden in other clauses, finally culminating in a completed conclusion.

Why this lengthy introduction about time?  The answer lies, by implication, in our topic for this post; which is Personal Interests.  According to two dictionaries I referenced, personal is   an adjective about one’s private life, relationships, and emotions, instead of matters connected with one’s public life; interests is the plural of interest, the state of wanting to know or learn about something or someone; involving time requires action, either present or future, mental or physical. For example, finding time for your interest, making time, taking time off for it, etc.   






“Mr. R. F.  will work hard at perfecting his skills.  He may be reluctant to discuss his personal interests with any but his closest friend,  When he does talk about a project he is working on, it’s with a close friend or two in familiar Surroundings.  His interests tend to be middle of the road; not too spicy or exotic, but personally rewarding”. 




 “Ms. M. F. ‘s involvement in hobbies or projects is much like a traffic light.  She is likely to be either all excitement and enthusiasm, or she is totally uninterested.  Regardless of her level of involvement, she tends to be cautious and unsure of herself.  she generally can be counted on to select the most difficult or unique aspect of any project.  However, the very challenge will unnerve her.  If a project becomes too demanding or draining, she will go on to something else.”


Analysis and Commentary

So, time to write some more. First of all, I have absolutely no interest in sports as I am not built for that.  When I graduated high school, I was about 6’2″ (have shrunk a bit since then) and weighed 150#, Therefore I was not suited for contact sports.  I  have and had an interest  in music, took a class in music fundamentals in high school, and played cornet in the band. Also so in science, particularly radio, and  I  built a few simple tube radios.  I had a few friends also interested in amateur radio as well.

At University, I hoped to continue in the band, but the Engineering course load left no time for hobbies.  After graduation and marriage, I took a course in woodworking, building several different pieces and making a sewing room for Marge, complete with cabinets with panelled doors, places for her materials, etc.  I also liked doing as much automotive maintenance as I could, and took some courses in this. I found satisfaction by working with my hands, neither with computers nor office work. Something tangible.

Of course, another form of Personal Interests is an interest in women.  Resort work some 50-60 years ago was an ideal venue to explore those interests, especially after buying a car since the kitchen and wait staff (mostly college age women) had close contact in the kitchen, and resorts were often quite remote from other resorts and towns.

Even now, I sit next to a very attractive and well dressed woman in one of my classes, we, sitting together and not apart, do the “getting to know you” dance verbally  wherever that may lead. Perhaps the dance, a minuet, ancient and stately, time-honored and understood.

Therefore, because now and in the forseeable future, I do find my personal interests rewarding, assuming that I am physically and mentally able. Thusly I grade Mind Prober an A on its process.


Margery presents another situation entirely.  Some of her hobbies were relatively short-lived, while others were lifetime activities.  Margery was a very intelligent person, scoring an IQ of 145 on a MENSA test, at the 97th percentile.  Her SAT scores in 1957 were 664 in verbal aptitude (extremely high) and 545 in math totaling 1209.  The 1957 averages were 473 and 496, totalling 969. Mine in 1954 was very close +- a few points, sadly now lost despite asking for a copy.

I say this, not as braggadocio, merely stating a fact leading to the conclusion that our interests were far from those of the proletariat, masses, populace, average people.  We, with the people, but not of the people.  This led both of us to a personal sense of loneliness reflected in many facets of our lives. Our interests, more intellectual, erudite, cerebral,  and enlightened than the average Jane or Joe. And so, set apart from the masses by our genes, not by conscious decision. 

Marge was verbally expert, experienced, accomplished, a  professional,  a teen master.  She won prizes for her composition and oratorical skills which you would expect with her high verbal aptitude score. Not the average Jane by any definition. 

Some of Marge’s personal interests were short-lived; such as learning to play the organ, bookbinding, stained glass and more.  Others were lifelong companions, singing, sewing, and needlepoint. She also had a fulfilling wish to help others.

 There is a sardonic Nazi phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei” translating to “Work makes you Free”  Ironically, work did make Marge free to fulfill her want, her  yearning,  eagerness, and enthusiasm to help others. She worked, almost to her death, not because she had to, because she wanted to help others as a mediator,  a tax preparer, and church officer.

Marge had a strong Alto voice, I could read and sing music in the Bass register and we often sang together in church choirs, or in a local Chorale society, singing the stirring sounds of dead Germans. Music was a lifelong interest for us individually, and together.

My evaluation of Mind Prober’s analysis of Marge is that is Incomplete because it is just that, only partially hitting the mark.

And finally, yes, we both had personal interests in the lives of others, but underneath it all, we did love each other, and did not break up.


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