Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Week 22: More Birthdays

Yes, Mike and I are only 8 days apart in age. Wednesday was his day. Again the celebration began at Monday Meal. Chef-Son did it again: a surprise gift on the table, a delicious meal and great dessert--lemon meringue pies.

The honoree leaning on the new sign Chef-son made for the pottery studio--Klaytivity by Michael Koch.

In Argentina there were huge festivities for its 200th birthday. On the 25th of May, 1812, a group of criollos (Spaniards born in the Americas) determined to be free of the control of Spain. It took six years to earn and declare that independence. Here you can see some representative photos,

On that day I was wishing I had an escarapela to wear all day. And before the day was over, I just had to sit down at the piano and play el Himno Nacional.

Wednesday was Mike's actual birthday, but life demands did not cease in his honor. In fact, his car decided to give him grief. Two wheel bearings needed replacing and they conspired to make the task very difficult for him. Why would they, belonging to the same vehicle, require different size tools and parts? I don't know how many trips he made to the auto parts place. Once again, my man refused to give up and persevered until the end--a two day job.

He continues to train for the 100 mile cycling event two weeks from today--La Pyrénéenne. He covered 65 on Saturday, in the heat.

We leave Tuesday, June 1st and arrive in Basque Country on Wednesday at 10:40 a.m.
We have been planning, preparing, communicating with our hosts. We are excited about this travel opportunity, and especially about meeting Amaia's family.

So what else happened this week?
I was sick, sore throat, head cold, congestion, miserable for a couple days. Slowly kept plodding on with household stuff and travel preparations.

I finished the puzzle the boys and I started last Friday. Malachi set most of it. Elijah hung in there till we finished the edge. I was very impressed with both of them. I glued it and Skye helped me hang it on the wall.

This was the last week of Skye riding the bus to our house before going to the Red Barn. Next year the bus will take him there directly from the Junior High. I will miss those times with him--we memorized verses together, I taught him Spanish words and phrases, and we talked about school, friends, books, whatever.

I love the sea of daisies in front of the Red Barn.

Thursday was Skye's 6th grade graduation.

Friday we enjoyed a little date night to use a gift certificate to Outback. Great food!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flashback Friday: Summers

What were summers like when you were a kid? Did your family have any particular traditions? Did you sleep 'til noon or get up early? Did you attend camps? Spend lots of time at the pool? Was it a neighborhood pool or in your backyard? Did you take swimming lessons? Did you live near a beach? (And do you call it the beach or the coast?!) Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School)? Did your library have a reading program that you participated in? What types of prizes were available? Did you get to buy treats from the ice cream truck? Did your family go on vacations? If so, what is a memorable one? Do you associate any particular songs with summer?
This is Mocha With Linda's weekly prompt. Others may have linked up by now, and I am just beginning my response. We have little time as we are very focused on getting ready for our trip to Spain. But I didn't want to miss the opportunity to once again delve into the old photos and memories. I will be brief.

My parents were Grace Brethren missionaries in Argentina, so as a family we were involved in the summer activities of the mission or denomination: summer camps for different age groups and the general conference.

The camp grounds in the sierras of Córdoba, always near a stream or river, el arroyo o arroyito,  provided delightful afternoons of swimming and playing in the water. If I remember correctly, boys and girls, or men and women, were assigned separate swimming areas.

The following photos prove that  I was taken to camp from a very early age.

Looks like I had plenty of lovely young women to keep an eye on me.

This area holds the most memorable summer memories. I own a painting by my late friend, artist and pastor  Juan Colle to remind me of those happy times all the years I was growing up into a young adult.

Official swimming lessons? Not till I took a course in college.
No pools or beaches nearby.
No reading programs or special traditions. I do not remember going on family vacations either.
We did have VBS programs. No special memory stands out.

So, I will leave it at this. I will probably not be able to join you all for the next couple weeks. We will be visiting friends in Spain near a beach and a pool! More water fun awaits!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Week 21: Birthday Week

The celebration began at Monday Night Meal. Chef-son had a gift waiting in the center of the big table with a humorous greeting.

And after the meal a cake with only 18 candles and the group crazy song, of course.

Tuesday the 18th, I started the day with some of that fine Alliance World coffee.

Wednesday, Skye found a baby chipmunk and revived it with some peanutbutter on a toothpick.

Sadly, he escaped in their house the next day and was later found dead.

Thursday Sam brought another birthday gift--a book I had asked for, also coffee related, quite a fascinating story by the one who started Alliance World Coffees. I happen to have a photo from a couple weeks ago of author and book.

Friday we went to Elijah's pre-school graduation--a sweet program and a fun family time.
The children sang and then in pairs quoted a Bible verse. His was Genesis 9:13.

Meanwhile, Auntie Leah and Uncle Jimmy enjoying (?) baby Zion.

Today, I got to enjoy his sweet kisses...



...when he wasn't watching Elijah play T-Ball.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flashback Friday: High School Graduation

Once again Mocha With Linda has outdone herself thinking up prompts to jog our memories and bring out all kinds of interesting things from those days long forgotten. Here is prompt # 10. After reading my responses, go to her blog and be entertained by the other anecdotes from bygone days.

Tell about your senior year in high school. Were there any special traditions such as getting a senior ring? Were there lots of activities and parties as you neared graduation? Were you in any extra-curricular activities that had traditional "rites of passage" or "passing the baton" too the next class? Were awards given out - either serious or fun? Did you send out graduation announcements? Did your school have a Baccalaureate Service in addition to the graduation ceremony? If you attended church, did your church recognize/honor Seniors in any way? Did you keep your tassel - did you hang it from the mirror of your car or do something else special with it? What sorts of things did you get for graduation gifts? Was it a tradition to display the gifts in your home?
 And once again, my answers are different from everyone else's, like as far removed Argentina is from the USA.

This is my senior class photo, the only one, no individual pictures nor fancy artistic poses and all sizes of prints to hand out or hang on the wall. Can you find me?

No need to tell you we wore uniforms. They were every mother's nightmare--pleated, white, starched, ironed, buttoned-in-the-back and tied at the waist guardapolvos (=to protect from dust).
You might wonder why there were only two boys in my class. It was a Normal school, train elementary teachers. The boy/girl ratio is probably not very different here in El Ed programs.
One more note of interest. There were three sections of 5th year and each group stayed together all the time in the same classroom, no moving around. The teachers came to us.
I look at the faces, some names have faded from my memory. I wonder where some of them are and what they are doing??? No high school reunions for me.

Here is the only photo of the simple graduation ceremony from the Escuela Normal Mixta de Quilmes Almirante Guillermo Brown, November of 1963. I pinned a flower on my father's lapel and he pinned our class emblem on my uniform. That is all I recall, folks. There were no diplomas, tassels, awards, open-houses, church recognition, gifts, cards, parties. At least, that I can remember.

Now I'm going to go link up and see if anyone can top that odd tale!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Day I Was Born

May 18, 1944

The day I was born the world was at war yet love was in the air. Bing Crosby’s “I Love You” at the top of the music charts. And so it has been throughout my life, no matter where or what, I have felt loved.

I was born at 6:45 on a Thursday evening in Warsaw, Indiana, in The McDonald Hospital owned by Dr. J. R. Baum. The total cost for delivery and five day stay was $57.50.

Grandma Hirschy wrote in her diary on May 19th: “…got a telegram from Sam this morning stating Rita Dorene arrived last night, 7 lbs.” Grandma then traveled from Pennsylvania a few days later to help when Mother got out of the hospital. An entry in her five-year diary records, “Sam carried Kathryn out to the car and into their new home. I held the baby.” Was that so he wouldn’t have to hold me, perhaps? Mother claims now that Dad was afraid of holding the baby.

Later in a letter addressed to my grandfather--“My dear companion,” Grandma wrote, “Kathryn got up to eat dinner with us in the kitchen this noon but got feeling fainty so Sam carried her back to bed and she ate there…”

I would never have known about Mother’s initial frailty had not Grandmother Hirschy kept such good records, and had these letters and diaries not been carefully archived by thoughtful family members. I remember Mother’s later pregnancies when she was strong and healthy and worked very hard almost till the last minute. To this day she never admits to a moment of weakness.

Grandpa Hirschy wrote in the family letter, carbon-copied and mailed to the six children scattered abroad, “Mother got home from Huntington a week ago today. She says the baby is a Hoyt, she has dark hair and is a very intelligent child, already understands when you talk to her. Hoyt and Hirschy must make a wonderful combination!!!!!”  (Yes, there were that many exclamation marks.) This quote makes me smile every time I read it and also makes me feel welcomed into a very loving family.

I am so grateful for another ‘birth’ in 1944. Scientists at Harvard University with some funding from IBM constructed the first automatic, general-purpose computer. The advances in technology make this task of writing my stories a thousand times easier than the labor-intensive communication my grandparents maintained with their children overseas. What a work of love that was!

Though my entry into the world was a happy one, there was great turmoil at the time; the world was in the throes of a terrible war. The now famous young diarist, Anne Frank, and her family were discovered while in hiding and died along with millions of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.

My own uncle, Mother’s younger brother Phil, was wounded in the war in Europe and went missing in action for weeks. Those were terrifying times. There was a shortage of manpower; women went to work and Rosie the Riveter, the ubiquitous poster woman of the day, transformed the image of femininity forever. Major annual events were canceled. The Indianapolis 500 was not held that year nor the U.S. Open Golf Tournament.

Those were very busy times for Dad and Mother. They were both studying in Grace Seminary at the time of my arrival. Dad, very tan from working on the railroad, was also pastoring a small church in Huntington, Indiana. Mother had a part time cleaning job. For most people, life moved on even while World War II was wrapping up. For me life was just beginning.

First photo:
Rita Dorene, 4 weeks old

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2010 Week 20: Another full week!

I've heard that as you grow older time accelerates, speeds up, flies by! Too true. Here are my representative photos, some cell phone pics, some borrowed (or stolen), a few my own photography.

Sweet Mother's Day flowers

Honeysuckle? Whatever they are, I enjoyed them on my walk -runs. Monday they were gone!


These clinging vines that have become one with the tree always remind me of a chorus I used to sing to my girls team to wake them up in the morning, because it says "I love Jesus in the morning..."

Amo a Cristo en la mañana
Yo le amo al mediodía
Al atardecer yo le amo
A medianoche cerca está
El la roca y yo la hiedra
y aferrados más y más
Pues en Jesuccristo tengo
gozo y dulce paz.

I especially like the highlighted verses:
"He is the Rock and I the ivy
and clinging more and more..."

A new granddog, Rally!

With the friends who are going to Spain with us

With Mother at the annual Mother Daughter dinner.

Speaking of mothers and daughters...some of you wanted to know the story of the similar dresses in last week's post. Here it is. Kayla's prom dress was the same one her mother wore to her prom nineteen years ago--timeless, appropriate, suited perfectly to her and the occasion.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flashback Friday: First Paying Job

Another great prompt from Mocha With Linda. After you've read my Flashback, be sure and read the other stories--always interesting, informative, and often reflect the similar experiences of an era.
How old were you when you got your first (paying) job? Did you work during the school year? What stipulations, if any, did your parents put on spending, saving, etc.? What types of jobs did you have before you were, oh, 21 or 22? Did you go to college or a technical/trade school? If so, did you work while you were pursuing your post-high school education? What were your favorite -- and least favorite, if you wish to share! -- jobs? What did you learn from those early jobs?
I did not have a paying job as a teenager and I do not remember that any of my Argentine friends worked. It was either an unknown concept, or there were no opportunities, or school was our work. I cannot imagine being able to do anything besides school studies. I was even exempt from home chores, for the most part.
Consequently, I hardly had any experience with money (spending or saving) until much later, nor did I receive an allowance that I can remember.
My first paying job was probably as a waitress. (Was it when I was in college or seminary or both?) The Westminster Hotel in Winona Lake had a smorgasbord. I worked for a cranky cook, Mr. Tucker was his name I believe, but we got along. During my one year at Grace Seminary, I also helped serve banquets.

I had another part-time job, whether at the same time or before or after or for how long I cannot remember--secretarial work for Dr. Toirac at Spanish World Gospel Broadcasting. He was from Cuba and passionate about getting the Gospel out to his fellow countrymen.
Oh, I also attempted to teach Spanish at a Christian school in Warsaw. Looking back on that is very embarrassing. I had no clue how to teach language at the time and had no curriculum, textbook, or guidance of any kind. Poor kids!
So, what did I learn? Lots. I had so much to figure out about life in general and the American culture. I am still learning!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

2010 Week 19: Big Week!

It started out slow enough--modem out, limited internet access--but by the end accelerated to a hectic pace.

The last of the Lilies of the Valley. Wish I could include the fragrance as well. Ahhhh.....

At Monday Night Meal we celebrated David Judah's 12th birthday. He's become like family, so the 'cousins' were there and he got the You Are Special recognition and his favorite food, Monte Cristos.

Maybe not so favorite was the Koch-style birthday song. I think he is trying to contain his laughter, or maybe shut out the noise.

On the way home, after the storm, we saw the most beautiful rainbow, or maybe a double rainbow?

Mike completed a huge project--handrails. Turn your head a little sideways and visualize us hanging on and making our way up the stairs in our old age. And, now we won't be afraid of baby Zion falling off the side either. The other four grandbabies survived our railless staircase, so maybe he is safe too, but this will prevent us from having a heart attack.

Saturday, May 8th: niece Tina and DIL Kristie's graduations. What to do?
Friday I traveled to Winona Lake to spend time with Mother and take her to the Presidential Dessert reception at Grace and thus we honored the lovely Cristina, who graduated Suma Cum Laude the next day.

Saturday brave Daddy Sam, the three boys and I battled the crowds at Ball State University's Sciences and Humanities graduation ceremony to honor Kristie, who triumphed against all odds and earned a near perfect GPA in Psychological Sciences.

Between commencement and celebration meal, I had enough time to go home and get in on Kayla's prom send-off.

Do you notice anything similar in the following photo taken 19 years earlier?

A busy but wonderful day! And now it is Mother's Day. Here is the poster I made for my mother.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flashback Friday: Teacher Appreciation

Mocha With Linda reminds us that this is Teacher Appreciation Week and asks us to look back at all the good memories, reflect on the positive influence they had in our lives, and maybe even go back and say thank you.
Here is Prompt # 8:

Tell us about the teachers from your school days. Who were your favorites? Why did you like them? How did they influence your life, your occupation, or another aspect? Have you ever gone back, seen or contacted a favorite teacher to express your appreciation? Do you still keep up with any of your teachers? Was Teacher Appreciation Day/Week celebrated when you were in school?
I am going to begin by responding to the last question.

In Argentina we celebrated Día del Maestro on September 11 to honor Domingo Faustino Sarmiento whose major influence in the area of education earned him the title of  "The Teacher" of Latin America. His involvements and achievements were many, and he was also Argentina's seventh president.
So, on the anniversary of his death we remembered him with speeches and songs. I can still sing the Hymn to  Sarmiento. The funny thing is that I do not remember doing anything special for our teachers. Has it been too long? Is it a failing memory issue?

After last year's Teachers' Day, a childhood friend mentioned that he had sent flowers to our favorite teacher, and also called her. Now in her eighties, she still remembered and mentioned me, "la rubiecita tan callada y buena alumna"--the little blondie so quiet and such a good student.
When I told my brother, he agreed that Srta. Dina, our 6th grade teacher was his favorite as well. However, I am at a loss to describe the qualities or characteristics that made her 'the best'. I do have one treasured photo where I am standing next to her, and my brother is next the the principal.

I have wanted to write to Srta. Dina ever since I heard about my friend's kind gesture. So, today, thanks to Linda's prompting, I made a copy of the photo and as soon as I have finished writing this post, I am going to find or make an appropriate card para escribirle unas líneas a mi maestra favorita.

P.S.: My brother who has a keen perceptive memory has this to say about our favorite teacher:
I´m not sure, but if I had to hazard a guess, there were at least three things. 1)  I don´t remember her having any one preferred student, she cared about us all,  2) She knew her subject matter, and 3) She kept order in the classroom.  All of these things added up to a sense of safety in the classroom that I did not seem to have other years.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

2010 Week 18

All kinds of new growth in the woods and garden! Everything is turning green--verde!
The hostas have gone wild and the columbines are spreading. The lilac bush is huge, but my favorites are the lilies of the valley!

Twice a week I go to an exercise class for seniors at the Gray Barn. Exercise Science majors run the program. I feel myself getting stronger. Now if I could just lose some belly fat as well...

Tuesday evening was our last ladies Bible study. We ended with food, fellowship and our final Psalm was 145.


I was especially blessed by the background given for verse 8.  Those were the words God chose to describe Himself to His erring people after Moses' second time on the mountain when he returned with a whole new set of stone tablets. (Would you say this to your children after they have behaved their worst?)
Our leader went on to point out that these words were common knowledge and everyone in Israel would have known exactly what followed a proclamation of the name of Jehovah, much in the same way we know what "I have a dream..." was all about. Do we think of those divine characteristics first thing when we hear His name?

Wednesday, among many other things, I watched granddaughter Kayla at the dance studio. It was picture taking day, but they also performed a few of the numbers. We will not be here for the recital in June. I am sad to miss her many dances but especially her performance as the purple fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

A month from now we will be on our way to Spain. We have been meeting Thursday evenings with the other couple going with us to share, discuss, prepare for this big event. This week we met at their house with the lovely view of the sunset. Dane and Mike will be riding La Pyrénéenne with a group of Basque friends.

Friday morning they set off for Tennessee and today they rode the 3S3M (3 States 3 Mountains). Mike phoned today, after it was over. He felt very good about how it went and the weather was perfect, no rain!

Meanwhile, I headed to Muncie for Elijah's first T-ball game, but it was canceled due to impending rain. So, I got to visit and play with grandbaby Zion.