Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 Week 21: Busy Times

--Preparing for our trip to Basque Country leaving June 1st.
--Celebrating birthdays

 Monday Mike relocated our flower-garden digger and he hasn't been back since.

The culprit is trapped

 Mike works, most Tuesdays and Thursdays, at Sam 's to get their 'new' home ready so they can move in July. This week he asked me to go and clean. I swept up debris all day.

Home now, future house
Mike went to his weekly robotics mentoring session and I met my good friend Jane at Payne's.
Great food and even better catching-up time after too many months.

Tuna bouriche  and goat cheese club wrap
 Wednesday our dear friends of 40+ years came through, from MI on way to GA, and we got together with other mutual friends at our local eatery of international fame.

Bankers, Cratons, Kochs
Dennis and Mike share a birthday on May 26th and an enduring friendship.

Birthday 'Brothers' sharing a pottery lesson and a chat at a memorable wedding 
Friday: What's happening in your studio, Michael?
A dismembered sculpture? And a new lacy pot on the shelf?

Saturday, May 25th was a patriotic holiday in Argentina. Time to wear my special T-shirt.

 And time to bake our favorite cakes for the joint birthday celebration with the family the next day: Never Fail Cake with Seven Minute Frosting, my favorite; and Blitz Torte, Mike's.

Sunday was our last before we leave for the Circle Tour of the Basque region.
Again we were invited to Sam and Kristie's for the family birthday celebration.

The birthday song was the worst ever! However, family fun was over-the-top: food, frisbee game, and lots of intergenerational interaction.

Hmmm...maybe I will join in!
Aunt Karen takes a break from frisbee game
Monday, Memorial Day--a Work Day at Sam's

Who worked longest and hardest? Probably the one who is not pictured, Sam who kept us all usefully occupied!

The abundance of photos is meant to hold you over till we get back from Europe. We'll be back sometime the 18th. Ivan and Kim just arrived for a short visit. They come back next week to stay in our house till we get back. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When You Were My Age--Grandma Hirschy and Mother

I've been discovering treasured nuggets in the family archives.

One letter dated 11-3-79 from Aunt Fae to all the Hirschy siblings, was written to update them about Grandma's condition, 91 years of age at the time. I read it with interest because now my mother is that age.
I wanted to compare their physical and mental state.

Grandma had fallen a couple times, her legs simply gave way while standing at the sink and later at the ironing board. This time she did not resist going to the doctor like she usually did. Uncle Phil took her the next day. Grandma said she'd never had such a thorough physical. The doctor could find nothing wrong other than the blood pressure and changed her medication to one that would not have the same side effects (depression, confusion). "With the keen mind she has we don't want anything in the medication to cause her problems." She loved it when he said she was the youngest 91 year-old he had ever seen. He thought she had temporarily 'blacked out', just for an instant and that caused her to fall.

I must add this note verbatim.
This part of the story is really funny--Phil could hear this from the outer room where he was waiting--the nurse and Dr. were with Grandma. She had to undress, and Phil heard her tell the Dr. that she wasn't wearing a bra. he said, "Well, that's all right, Esther, a lot of the younger girls are going without them these days."
When I read this to my brother Lynn he said he could see and hear her in his mind, remembering her self-deprecating little laugh.

After these sweet discoveries I went on a search to remember what my mother was doing at my age.

For another day...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Week 20: Celebration Bookends

Sunday, Mother's Day, I drove the hour and a half to my mother's right after teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders in Junior Church.
When I arrived Mother had a great meal prepared and was admiring the bouquet of roses she found on the table when she got back from church. The card said they were from my brother Alan.

Later we went to the cemetery to take a look at other family members headstones.
The one task we wanted to accomplish on this visit was to settle for a grave marker for Dad's burial site.
We needed help to locate the three plots in the maze of hundreds so went back Monday morning when the office was open.

Grandma Hoyt's, Aunt Gladys', and Daddy's graves
Mother and I had a good time on Mother's Day. We didn't need to go out to eat or do anything special. We made potato soup together--wonderful comfort food. Remember, it was cold that day.

We stayed up late looking at my Fotos antiguas album on Facebook and reading the comment threads. I uploaded those ancient photos (digitized slides of our family's life in Argentina) over two years ago. Recently some old friends, new arrivals to FB, discovered them and an interesting conversation is going on, so many memories and emotions stirred.

Monday I arrived home in time to meet and have lunch with a delightful Taylor senior, Spanish major. We both so wished we had met earlier. She has been a faithful helper at the Red Barn, so Mike knew her and invited her over because she wants to spend time in some type of volunteer development-type work in South America. If you know of opportunities or have ideas, let us know.

Mike struggled with a bad head cold all week, it was much worse Tuesday. Even so, he had two meals started when I got back from the eye doctor and grocery shopping.

The Wednesday ladies Bible study group met here for the final brunch. Our leader shared slides and stories of their time in Israel. And one of the ladies brought the typical breakfast fare they were often served over there: fresh vegetables and humus dip (in the foreground).

We had promised the women a surprise at the end. Granddaughter Kayla (my tap teacher) and I performed the little dance we've been working on all year! Only the two of us because the other three ladies couldn't come. Don't think there would have been room for all five of us anyway. We also hoped to recruit more tap students in the mature age range. We'll see if any show up next Wednesday. We plan to record our routine at that time and then begin a new one. (Maybe I'll post the video.)

I don't know if you'll be able to see this, the strangest sight--a dark squirrel with a blonde tail! Very hard to capture a photo from the deck of a scampering squirrel off in the distance.

Friday I finally planted the flowers I bought Monday! 

The next day I discovered one of the flower boxes dug up, seriously disturbed by a racoon. Uggghhh. Mike put out a live trap.

So far I only worked on the flower boxes and the front flower garden. There is so much more to do before we leave for Spain in two weeks.

I tried to tidy up my writing area, but only made it worse. I got so caught up in sorting through the box of family archives, so enthralled by the treasures I was discovering, that nothing else mattered. There is material there for many many blog posts to come. I did write one Daddy post, however.

Saturday was my birthday. Mike and I spent the day at a prestigious art fair in Broad Ripple spread out in a lovely park. We especially admired all the ceramic art. There is truly no end to creativity.

In the ArtsPark sculpture, Twisted House, 2005
That evening was our scheduled church fellowship group dinner. Our hostess surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake decorated in an Argentine theme. So my day was complete!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daddy's Birthday Greeting

I have been finding many treasures as I cull my way through a box of archival documents: letters in my paternal grandparents handwriting, whom we barely knew; obituaries, eulogies of long deceased aunts, even a handwritten letter where my uncle tells the story of how he came home from a preaching weekend and found his wife had died of a heart attack; long forgotten photos, cards, drawings.

Among these was a letter my father wrote in 2002 on the occasion of my birthday.
What a timely discovery, tomorrow is my birthday!

My wonderful daughter,
   About five years ago I decided to write a note to each of my five children with the special purpose of expressing my love and deep feelings for them. Up to now I have only written two (to Aldo and to Alan) I think it very appropriate that I write the next one to you, Rita, on the occasion of your 58th. 
I find it very difficult to express my feelings face to face, personally, so I shall now do it with words carefully chosen and written. I want to pinpoint some of the things that have been etched on my mind over the years.
   Of course, I'll begin with your birth. Mother was awaiting your birth when we were living in an apartment over a stream in Huntington, IN, since I was studying in Huntington College and pastoring a new little church there. The birth pangs came that day in May of '44 and we set out with fear for the hospital at the edge of Winona since Dr. Baum would be there for the delivery--would we make it, what if??? Well, the Lord takes care of ignorant beginners like us! I remember Mother's great joy when the news came--"It's a girl". For some reason she couldn't imagine her first being a boy. When the ambulance delivered this precious package to our door, they wanted me to carry you up the stairs but I didn't have the courage--guess I was afraid of breaking or dropping you. 
   One Sunday when Mother and I were on our way to a worship service with you, Dr. McClain looked at you and said how beautiful you were and couldn't imagine how you could be our child.
  Although Mother wasn't carrying a full load at the seminary, she kept right on and Grandma Hoyt served as the baby-sitter. How thankful we were!
   Soon after seminary we were on our way to Argentina and we handed baby Rita over the side of the ship to missionary Dr. Sickel who came to meet us at the dock in Buenos Aires, so Rita was the first of the family to touch Argentina soil!...

There were more memories, but I will stop there.
At age 81 Daddy was already preparing to leave us. His very slow decline lasted ten years.
To the end I sensed his love and pride.

First Family Photo

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2013 Week 19: A slower week

The lilac bush is laden with fragrant clusters.
The grass is growing wildly.
The total greening has me enclosed, I can no longer see my neighbor-friend come and go.

The week was somewhat similar. I was more confined, fighting a cold.

Sunday Mike got back from the wet and cold cycling event in Chattanooga, TN, tired, cold, but safe! One cyclist died in those dangerous conditions, others were injured.

Monday I added another post to my new blog Doulos Days.

And, looks like I got ahead of my husband in Words With Friends, surprise!

Wednesday I brought in the very last narcissus, explored the new growth in our fascinating woods and discovered tulips growing in an obscure spot.

That evening Sara's son (who just finished his freshman year at Anderson University) came by to pick up the luggage he stored in our attic so he could pack and be ready to leave for home after graduation. (As a music major he was required to stay and play for commencement.)
He was feeling so relieved and relaxed after a demanding semester that he hung around with us old folks to play card games! His school friend from Little Rock, a Taylor student, joined us for the second game of Hand and Foot. The saying beginner's luck proved true when she won!

It was after midnight when they left. We feel so honored when young folk enjoy hanging out with us. :-)

Thursday is always a big writing day, deadline for the missionary report. I am so grateful for the large loft area that I call my writing center because I can spread out papers, photos, letters and make piles and they are not disturbed, or seen from downstairs.
I dared to open a box this week and discovered many interesting treasures. (For some reason, maybe because I am the oldest, I have been given all the family-history documents.) I opened a package wrapped in brown paper and labeled Hirschy letters.

I read one of Grandma Hirschy's carbon copied letters from June 22, 1978, when she was over 90 years old, at least seven typed pages. (I wonder if she had help?)
For many many years she blessed her family, scattered around the world, by copying their letters to her and sending them out to all.

Friday I got together with a former student and she gave me a Mother's Day card. How sweet!

I also worked on the T-shirt quilt I am making, put together the first six blocks and went back to Sew Biz for advice. (Don't want to spoil anyone's expectations with premature photos.)

Saturday, while Mike was leading his annual ride for the Delaware Cycling Club, I had several errands to run. I stopped at Subway for a sandwich and was served by a delightful young lady we have known since she was a baby. We always called her 'little Kayla', but I think she's outgrown that now that she is about to graduate from high school. We are very proud of her.

Jared was back with big sister Alyssa, who flew out from Arkansas to help him drive home safely for the first time in his new car.

They spent the night here and left early Sunday morning for the long trip.
Of course we had to play a game of Hand and Foot. ;-)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

2013 Week 18: Flowers and Showers

Sunday afternoon we went to Kayla's dance performance in Muncie and to Steak 'n Shake after for a bite.

Then remembered that last year we had taken a great family picture, so we tried again.
We seem to prefer the crazy version every time. 
Kayla was in a silly mood and had us all (and herself) in tears laughing. 
She even approved her monkey face as 'blog material'!

Monday was a more quiet, catching-up sort-of day. I was so happy to be able to go to Stephan's Monday meal.
Tuesday again was a many-errands type-of day.
Throughout the week I made new discoveries in our woods almost daily: two tulips; white, yellow and blue wild blooms; lilacs; a mound of oregano that has come back stronger than ever; and four blossoms on the new little rosebush. Ah, but the garlic mustard is flourishing in places and had to be pulled.

Beauty midst the weeds

Wednesday at Bible study in a friend's home, I spotted a Klaytivity piece on her mantel.

Thursday, Michael finished his first trial casting, a learning experience.

Casting and Sculpture

In the evening we went for a walk to Taylor Lake and back. The weather was so inviting.

Evening Glow

Friday,  Michael took off for Chattanooga, TN, with friend Dane to ride the 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge.

Leah and I were busy this week planning and hosting a baby shower. 
So we had a house full Friday evening and a lot of fun.
I couldn't have pulled it off without my event-planner daughter.
And I was glad to be able to finish another baby hoodie started long ago.

Good desserts, fun games, and lots of gifts

The forecast for Saturday for the region of the cycling event was 100 % chance of rain. 
And this time it was accurate.  
This is a photo from the website.

Just received word from Mike that he finished 67 miles (not as far as he had planned) 
safely, but soaked to the bone.

Meanwhile, DIL Kristie ran the Indy Mini in perfect weather and here are her stats.

Kristie Koch
F / 34

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daddy's Hands

This photo of Daddy's hands is so meaningful.
These are worn and tired hands, injured too.
They were hardworking hands, and skillful too.
Who could enumerate the woodworking projects they made?
Or the churches and houses they built?
And what about the letters and sermons he wrote?

April is over, time to change the calendar picture.

When I choose photos for the family calendar I think of the birthdays in each month.
Back in December, I did not know if Daddy would still be with us for his 92nd birthday, April 2nd.
And, in fact, he did not wait that long. Breath and soul left his frail body February 21, 2013.

At the viewing, one of my brothers noticed something wrong with the way his hands were arranged. The mortician probably was thinking to hide the injured hand. Dad lost a part of his left index finger years ago.
I do not recall the circumstances of the accident.

I may not have noticed. But my photo of Daddy's hands confirms his customary way of placing the left hand over the right.

This one photo gives me much to ponder and raises unanswered questions. It seems that with each week, as I endeavor to learn more about Daddy's life and person, I am left with more to explore and discover. I am hoping that my siblings, with better memories than mine and keener observation skills, will help fill in some of the missing pieces.