In October of 1980, Chucky was walking and Halloween was on its way. We decided to have a Halloween party at the big house. We invited his family over and bobbed for apples and wore masks. We had the place decorated with black and orange crepe paper and had it hung and twisted together from the ceiling and over doorways. When the party was over and we began to take the decorations down, Chucky was sitting in the floor and the crepe paper fell down and covered him! We laughed and he laughed so we grabbed the camera!
One morning early, Kathy and Lester came to visit about 9 am. We were barely up and I was starting to fix breakfast. They had about four children at this time and I didn't have enough food to go around for all the hungry faces that were peering up at me saying "I want some cereal!” I had to put off fixing breakfast, hoping they would leave soon since we hadn't seen them for a long time, we really didn't have that much to talk about. Charles, of course was outside with Lester puttering around in the garage. We didn't have a car at that time and we were borrowing Della and Charlie's Toyota until we could get our car fixed or another one bought. We went through so many different vehicles it was hard to keep track. Chucky began to cry, I knew it was because he was hungry. I couldn't believe Kathy hadn't fed those kids before she brought them over. Jenny, too, was wondering where her breakfast was, she knew I was getting ready to fix breakfast for them as I had done every day. I tried to console him, I picked him up and carried him around, and he would just get madder and want down. I sat him down on the floor, which ordinarily made him happy. He liked crawling around when he wasn't walking. He just threw a fit and screamed so hard and through himself backward on the floor in a tantrum I had never seen him throw before. I ran to him to see if I could quiet him when his eyes rolled back into his head and he passed out. He started turning bluish. I picked him up and ran outside on the porch and yelled for Charles. We apologized to our guests and jumped into the Toyota and headed for Sister's hospital in St Joseph, about twenty minutes away. He was awake and crying and I had Jenny keep an eye on him while we drove at lightening speed, the only speed Charles drove, I told her to keep him awake and not let him go to sleep. By the time we got to the hospital he was already laughing and acting normally. They said they couldn't see anything wrong with him and told us to take him home.
We never had any episodes like that again, we didn't see Kathy and Lester again either. I fed the kids and felt much better, now that they were gone.
We had a big Christmas tree in December and in January we bought some baby calves at a dairy farm in St Joseph. We had to feed them with a bottle. We wrapped the shed where we had kept the hogs in plastic. The temperature was 13 degrees. Charles had been outside in the shed and played with the first (after all the warnings he had given me about making pets out of the livestock).He pushed the calf and the calf would push him back. That calf was so cute. The next morning when I went down to bring him the bottle with the special formula just for calves, I found the little calf was down and wouldn't get up. We had a station wagon and Charles put him in the car and listened to him moo all the way to Atchison Kansas, the only vet hospital that would take him. They hooked him up to all kinds of I.V.’s. He had Pneumonia and died the next day. We lost about two more calves after that one until we bought a little bull calf we named Billy. Billy was a black and white calf that chased me around wanting that bottle. We bought bolus tablets, huge pills that you had to blow down their throats with a sort of plastic pipe to prevent diarrhea in small calves. Billy thrived and soon we were feeding handfuls of feed that we had to force down his throat. Very messy job but we soon had him weaned from the bottle. He still would ram the side of my legs as a calf would when trying to bring his mother's milk down from her teat bag. This was cute until Billy started getting his horns, then it wasn’t so funny. His horns came in long and sharp and he was getting bigger every day. We had a couple of calves that were bigger and already weaned and they taught him to eat the new grass that was coming in for spring. One day when Billy weighed about two hundred pounds or more I couldn't find him anywhere and Charles was working or sleeping I don't remember now, When Charles came home or got up I told him I had been calling Billy's name and he was no where to be found. It was getting dark. Charles was outside with a flash light looking all over the small farm for him. He finally shouted, “Here he is!" He had fallen into a large hole and was covered by some type of junk left by the former renters. Charles climbed into that hole and picked that heavy calf up and carried him out of that hole. I couldn't believe he did it! I was so glad to see him. Charles said he could hear him bleating like a goat! I ran and got the bottle since he wasn't completely weaned. He sure was glad to see that bottle! Charles covered that hole up and Billy never fell in again. As Billy got bigger and his horns got longer, he never got over his bumping me; we took Billy, reluctantly to the stockyards and sold him. He was enclosed in a pen with other cattle and mooed as loud as he could when he saw us drive away. We’d already sold him at an auction so there was no turning back now. I felt so sorry for Billy. We had him "cut" so the only thing left for him was to wait to get fat and, he’d be gone. If we had left him as a bull someone might have wanted him for breeding, but we were having a hard enough time with him, and his horns, the way it was.
In the summer of 1981, A&P went on strike. For at least a week Charles had to go to work and hold up a sign. They don't pay you, of course to picket their store. Kovac’s employees were picketing their store in south end at the same time, Retail Union workers. The workers lost their battle so the 9.00 an hour Charles was making being in the union was going to be reduced to minimum wage which was about 3.50 an hour. We told Mr. Paul we couldn't afford to take such a pay cut, but that was our choice. Charles had to quit his job and look for something else.
Della's husband, Charlie, worked at Friskies, a dog food plant in Elwood Kansas at the time and said they were hiring temporary employees for Christmas. The job would last for 3 or 4 months and that was it until we could find something else.
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