We both put applications in at the plant.Charles' brother Richard and his second wife Carol were living with us. They had children of their own. Carol and Richard watched Chucky and Jenny when she came home from school. We both worked at Friskies Foods from Aug until about a week before Christmas. We made 250.00 each every week. We went to auctions and bought antique furniture, tables etc… We were exhilarated for that few months, high on financial freedom for the first time in our married life. But when the bomb was dropped, the exhilaration of that high deflated as a lead balloon. The bills kept coming in as usual and the income was gone. Charles had to find something else more permanent. Carol and Richard moved out and I was back being a stay at home mom again.
We searched the want ads and Charles said a state Representative, who later became a Kansas Senator, in Highland that had a small construction business needed someone to run back hoes and a trencher. Charles had never run any of that type of machinery before. He always said he could drive anything, so he applied and was hired. It was slow going at first. Mr. Gordon, the senator's name, was a rough boss but not entirely unfair. He made him work the fields digging trenches for farmers no matter what kind of weather it was. Driving from Troy to Highland every day and sometimes on Saturdays was starting to get old. The gas prices and increased and because of the current President, there were long gas lines at the pumps. Ronald Regan became President after that and things got better. We watched the hostage crisis on T.V. President Regan hadn't taken office much more than a month after swearing in and the hostages were released. We watched the Winter Olympics and saw the United States beat the Russians in hockey. The gas prices came down and all was right with the world. We saw President Regan's attempted assassination and James Bradley being carried away on a stretcher after taking a bullet meant for Mr. Regan.
On my twenty ninth birthdays Kathryn and Clyde came. We had a pool table in the basement and Charles and Clyde played pool while Kathryn and I stayed upstairs planning the dinner and playing the kids. Kathryn was working for the Calvin Center, a senior citizen haven for older citizens. They planned meals and games for the elderly much like the place in South End that Mama liked to go except it was called the Wesley Center. She had told Jenny that if she would learn to ride her bicycle she would give her 10.00.Jenny always got scared and as much as she would have liked to have had that 10.00 she couldn't balance. We didn't exactly live on a flat surface. Chucky was getting older, about two years old and Kathryn doted on him as if he was her own. She had doted on Jenny too, but with Chucky now the baby he got most of the attention. Jennie showed some jealousy and we used an eight millimeter camera to make a film of Kathryn trying to teach Jenny how to ride that bicycle. She pulled Chucky around in an old Flyer wagon while King jumped up and licked their faces.
On this day with Charles and Clyde being best friends now, in the basement playing pool I didn't understand why they wouldn't let me go down there. Clyde was his rude crude self but it bothered me why Charles was starting to act just like him. Finally Kathryn said she would talk to them and find out why I wasn't allowed to play pool too. When I went down there everyone yelled "Surprise!” I hadn't had a real birthday party before. They had a tablecloth over the pool table and a sheet cake decorated with a farm and animals on top. I’ve kept those plastic farm animals in my dresser and still have them to this day.
Every weekend we would go to the woods below the property and around to cut firewood to fill the coal room in the basement. One especially cold day, the wind chill index was forty below zero. I had my steel toed shoes on that I had had to wear at the plant. When the steel got so cold it froze the toes even through two layers of socks. Kathryn and I would pick up the wood and throw it into the truck and then stack it. Up and down, lifting the heavy wood that Charles and Clyde had cut into two foot lengths give or take a few inches. My back was broken and Kathryn complained too. I finally told the guys that all they were doing was using a chain saw; they had the easy part, so they told me to run the saw and see if I still thought their job was easier. The saw only had a ten inch blade and was light enough but standing in one spot cutting the limbs and the brush off the tree that the guys had felled and not moving my feet, staying bent over all that time was no fun either. When we had gotten the truck filled and headed home to warmth, my feet were nearly frozen. My back ached and I was so tired. We’d scrounge up something to eat and say goodbye.
Della, Charles’ sister, knew how to crochet. I only knew how to knit because my girlfriend at Faucett showed me on a sleepover at her house. Della was determined to show me how to crochet as well. I was delighted to learn and once she started there was no turning back for me. Della started showing signs of impatience. She let me finish a doily she had started and when I couldn't seem to get it right she finished it for me.
Della and her husband Charlie went to Las Vegas in the summer of 1982.I went to Wool co, a new store that had taken over a department store called Community. I went to Wool co and bought some yarn, a crochet hook, and a beginner book to teach myself to crochet. It wasn't long before I was making doilies and Afghans. One day I was making a doily and Chucky was outside with King playing. He was three years old then. The gravel road called Pottawattamie that we lived on was hardly ever traveled and most days not one car would go by. The mailman would come, of course, every day but that was all. King, like most dogs hated the mailman because he was always fooling around with the mailbox and King knew that was our box and shouldn't be touched by anyone but us. On this particular day, I was in the dining room and Chucky was outdoors just playing. There were big windows all around the house and the curtains were sheer and pulled back so I could see him. I heard King barking frantically and looked out of the window and saw Chucky in the yard and King following behind. I thought I heard a pounding on the door at the mud room but didn't see anyone but the baby and the dog so I continued with my work. I had assumed the barking was because it was about time for the mailman. A few minutes later the phone rang and it was a neighbor who had said she drove by and didn't see a car. She thought there was no one home.
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