(p. 20) DESCRIBE WHAT THE FAMILY LIVING ROOM LOOKED LIKE WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD
Again, we're in Miami Springs. I lived there only eight years, but as far as I'm concerned, that's where I grew up. Some of the furniture from there is in our Chantilly living room today- the breakfront, two end tables, and the gold velvet chair that you like. Back then it was dark green velvet..
The front door led directly into the living room. There was a big picture window on the front wall, with a sofa against the wall below the window. There was a coffee table in front of the sofa. The brass samovar thingie that I can see from here in our basement was on this coffee table, along with a lighter and ashtray.
Mom had made a slipcover for the sofa out of a home dec designer floral print. She made draperies and covered cornice boards with a light green fabric. I remember a light green room size rug on the floor. There was a fireplace across the room, with doorways on either side leading into the Florida room beyond. The bricks surrounding the fireplace were painted white.
Looking from the front door, the breakfront was on the left side of the room. On the right side of the fireplace was the large chair that you saw in the den in Dallas. Originally it was upholstered in fabric to match the sofa; now it's leather.
The left side of the living room opened to a hallway with two bedrooms. The right side opened to a hallway that led to the master bedroom, the master in this case being Butch. On the wall in this open space, that could be seen from the living room, hung the portrait of Mom, me and Butch that you have seen in the Dallas den. Have I told you where they have it now?
I wonder how much of all the family heirlooms you will want, and hope you will tell me.
Sometime look through the trunk up in the American room, and also read the books the World War II letters that Mom and Daddy wrote.
There is a picture of me and Butch hanging our Christmas stockings in the Miami Springs living room, and another of me opening Christmas presents in one of the earlier house, probably Dinwiddie St. in Arlington.
(p. 21) WHAT KIND OF PRAYER DID YOU SAY BEFORE YOU WENT TO SLEEP? WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO PRAY IT?
“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take.
God bless mommy and daddy, Butch , Lavinda and Buster, Mary and Charlie.”
(and every friend and relative I could think of)
When I was a little older I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, still followed by “God bless ...” and a long list.
Probably, Mom taught me to pray. Daddy didn’t go the church with us, even when he was not away on a mission. But mom explained that he worshipped God privately. When he died, I was sure he had gone to Heaven. This comforted me greatly and kept me from wanting him back. I really felt God was my heavenly father from that point on. I got mad at Him for not sending me a Christian husband. I was impatient to get married. This is probably how I expressed how much I missed Daddy.
(p. 22) WHERE WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD HOME LOCATED? DID YOU ENJOY LIVING THERE?
I remember and can still find two houses in Virginia where we lived before going to Japan. I don’t remember the places we lived in Alabama, Great Falls MT, and Virginia Beach before that. The house on Dinwoddie St. in arlington was small. There are pictures of it around here. I’m still in touch with the Fitts family who were our neighbors there. They live in Danville VA now. Pat (Patsy then) is my age and her mom Polly and Aunt Sis are still doing well. We moved to the house in Falls Church on Radnor Place (near 7 corners) in 1952 when it was new. The Garvins on one side had four girls - Mary, Ann, Eileen and Joan. On the other side, the Mitchells didn’t have kids, but they took our cocker spaniel Buddy when we went to Japan. There was a creek behind the house and a food garden behind the house. I remember lots of strawberries and once Daddy killed a green snake. I don’t remember my room. but there was a basement with a neat little passageway to the living room, meant for passing logs to beside the fireplace.
(p, 23) DESCRIBE YOUR GRANDPARENTS" HOUSES. DID YOU VISIT THEM OFTEN? WHY OR WHY NOT?
The latter questions are covered where I wrote about what we did in the summers. You can tell that I haven't answered these questions in order.
Thank goodness we stole that ear of Shuler corn and got old Jim Manus's attention. You got one of the last tours of Grandmother's house before it was torn down.
When I was a kid, Grandmother rented out all the rooms she could in the summer, so I had a room in the basement. This made Mom mad, like I wasn't being treated well, but I thought my room was cool. It really did get cool at night, and I had a quilt. Every morning I would look outside and thank God I was still in the mountains.
The last time I visited Grandmother Good's house was in 1955, although she lived there until she died sometime after 1967. I am going to guess it was 1969. I received a small inheritance, which we used toward the down payment for the orange house in January, 1970.
Her house was at 1601 South Lincoln Avenue, Springfield, Illinois. That is the address on my birth certificate, so we must have been living there. I was born during the brief time Daddy was out of the Air Force. He tried sales and law school, got bored, and went back to being an Air Force pilot. Grandmother Leatherwood told me the few stories I heard about that time.
There are pictures of both houses in the American room.
(p. 24) LIST ONE SPECIAL MEMORY ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
There's just Butch. Hmmmm, what's a good memory? I've already told you about the hurricane. Have I mentioned how he would get a screwdriver and take the doorknob off my door so I couldn't lock him out? Since I was older, Mom expected me to deal with it without complaining to her. I do believe that siblings should work out their own conflicts as much as possible, but he got off too easy on that one. I was always envious of him as we were growing up; I thought Mom loved him more because he was the boy, he wasn't fat, etc. etc.
Mom corrected me when my envy was showing by reminding me that the Green Demon was after me.
A recent good memory of Butch was going together to hear Dean Ornish speak. He is a cardiologist who has written some popular books about fitness. He talks about the need to "open your heart" spiritually as well as physically (keeping arteries unclogged with cholesterol by eating almost no fat) Anyway, we liked him, we bought a book and got his autograph. Mom was still living at home so maybe it was the summer of 1998.
(p. 25) RECALL FOR ME SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED IN LIFE.
Don't envy your brother is a good one to start with. That's from the Ten Commandments.
"It's not about me," from The Purpose Driven Life
"Whoever would save his life shall lose it, and whoever would lose his life for my sake shall find it." from the gospel according to Matthew This means life is best when one is involved in a purpose greater than self, sharing God's love with others
"Set your affections on things above, not on things of earth."
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you."
"With God, all things are possible." -also from Matthew
"Nevah, nevah, nevah give up." -Winston Churchill
"Thanks be to God" -Father Tim in Jan Karon's Mitford books
Thanks be to Bethany for sending the first book to me!
(p. 29) SHARE A MEMORY OF YOUR GRANDPARENTS OR AN OLDER PERSON YOU LOVED.
Grandmother Good- sent a $3.oo money order every year for my birthday, sent us homemade peanut brittle at Christmas, came on the train to visit us and all her grandchildren throughout the year, even though we were scattered all over the country and she didn't have much money, came to my college graduation.
Grandfather Good- took me fishing before daylight the summer I visited when I was nine. He died not very long after Daddy died. Grand Bear always told us that losing his son broke his heart.
Grandmother Leatherwood - running Pine Tree Farm and Motel. She let me help check in guests at the desk that we have in our living room now. A typical room rate was $3.00 or $5.00 a night, plus I computed the sales tax. She had picture postcards of the place that we gave to guests. She had gray, almost white hair from my earliest memory, when she was in her late 50s. She was a good country cook - biscuits, string beans seasoned with ham, creamed corn, fried chicken...
Grandfather Leatherwood - taking me to the mom & pop grocery store on the other side of Deep Creek toward town. I've told you how he taught me to eat a pint of ice cream there. The store had a penny gum ball machine with mostly normal gum balls and a few speckled balls. If you got a speckled ball, you could buy 5c worth of stuff - a candy bar or a drink in those days. Teaching me how to prime the pump to get water from the well at the wolf den. Taking me, Uncle Robert, and Mercedith to the rifle-shooting match at Hiawassee, Georgia when I was ten or twelve.