Christmas greetings and best wishes to our dearest loved ones and friends in the only true Gospel of Jesus Christ:
I thought I would take a minute to drop you all a short note and catch you up on all of our goings-on.
We are all so grateful and humbled by the many miracles the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into our lives this year. Christmas is so special. It is our favorite time of the year and our testimonies have grown in leaps and bounds from all the special blessings we have received.
Lamar has had a challenging year. After he retired from NASA, he was besieged by requests to speak in Sacrament and Firesides about the secret plans to send exploration to Kolob.
You can imagine how thrilled he was to share his special knowledge of this inspired program. Of course, he could not tell everything he knows, (all top secret and very hush-hush).
The Lord inspired the Bishop to call special brothers and sisters of our Ward and Stake to drive him and his nurse, (after his accident -- more on that later) to speak in 25 Stake Firesides in five states. We can't find words to express our humble gratitude for their sacrifice.
You may have heard that Lamar fell off the roof while taking down our Christmas display in February. He was so proud of the display this year.
He added a new manger scene with all new Joseph and Mary and Jesus figures with completely mechanical, (he retired as a mechanical engineer for 50 years) moving parts and a light display.
Someone said that the strobe light made it look like a Disco dance. How rude! I was busy, as usual, making our usual 100 dozen cookies and 60 banana breads to serve to our guests who came to see the display!
Well, Daddy broke his pelvis, shattered his left leg, and was paralyzed for several months when he missed a step and fell off the second floor roof. It had something to do with those electrical lights he was carrying and the change in his medication for dizziness that he takes after he went through the Betty Ford Center.
But, all your prayers and the blessing given to him by his cousin, Peter Packer (who is an assistant to the 12 and such a spiritual giant), brought him out of it and we are just grateful he is alive.
Of course, we had to redo our whole house for the wheelchair and the live-in nurse who stays by his side day and night. We took out a wall so the kids have had to bunk up but they said they didn't mind. Whatever Daddy needs, Daddy gets! They are so considerate.
He says he doesn't know what he would do without his nurse and thanks Heavenly Father every night for her.
I have taken up residence in the little room in the basement. I miss being with Daddy, but, I am just not able to keep up with all of his needs after the accident.
As long as I have my scriptures, and my crafting boxes, I am happy! Oh, and my computer. I was blessed with a computer as a gift from one the dear brothers (our Home Teacher) in the Ward.
He has had to spend a lot of time teaching me how to use it -- teaching a old dog new tricks you know, haha, and fix all the messes I make. I am so grateful for his help. He comes whenever I call.
In fact, I am typing this letter on the computer right now and Brother Peterson is here right by my side in case I make a mistake. Such a sweet man!
His wife died last year and he says I am such a comfort to him. Isn't the Gospel wonderful?
Our oldest, LaRue has finally been able to come home for Christmas She is an Elvis impersonator and we all get such a kick out of her act! She was Mary in the family Christmas play this year, and (except for the mustache) she was very convincing!
She tells us she attends church every chance she can get. No marriage plans yet, but we keep her in our prayers.
Our twins: Lamar Jr. and Loretta are busy, busy, as usual! They both play the piano, organ, trombone, and cello, and take karate, which keeps me busy as their chauffeur.
They perform in the high school marching band and the local symphony (youngest to ever be accepted -- we are tickled pink) and take turns playing the piano and organ in church for Priesthood, Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School and Sacrament meetings.
They love Seminary and we are so blessed to be able to fill our van each morning for the 30 miles to the Church for class at 5 a.m. They are so diligent, they want to get there an hour early! They are such responsible kids.
I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you all anymore -- haha.
We send you our best wishes and bear our testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth and hope you see you all in the Celestial Kingdom. Ha ha!
XOXOXOXO = Love and kisses:
Lois, Lamar, LaRue, Lamar Jr. Loretta and our three dogs: The Three Nephites -- We gave them all the same name so when we call them they all come at once! It was Lamar Jr's idea. He is so clever! We get such a kick out of him.
UPDATE: January New Years Letter.....
Hello dear friends and loved ones.
For those of you who do not know, we had a very challenging month. Daddy died right after the New Year, something about a mix-up in his medications damaging his liver.
We were surprised, as I am sure you all are, to find out he left everything to his nurse, Sister Iletta Pugh, which held up the estate as it is in litigation (more on that later.) She is being a real stinker about all of this.
My dear Home Teacher, Brother Peterson recommended a wonderful Mormon attorney.
It is such a blessing to know that the Lord looks out for us in our trials.
All we can do now is pray she will soften her heart and let go of her claim on the estate.
Now the wonderful news: Brother Peterson (he says I can call him LeVon now) has asked me to marry him.
He says it is the least he can do for me for sitting with him at his wife, Cumorah's bedside when she was taken home to preach the gospel in the Spirit World last year.
He said she always wanted to be a missionary but never got the opportunity on this earth because of her mental illness.
She was my dear friend and such a sweet spirit.
You probably remember from my last letter, Brother Peterson, (now my fiancee - gives me the giggles at my age-thinking I have a fiance) gave me a computer. Well, just recently, he upgraded it for me.
I have so much more memory. The computer, not me! haha (LaVon says it is good that I am able to laugh a little.)I am so grateful for LaVon. He is such a wonderful blessing.
He asked if he could use the computer for some of his special letters and files, and of course, I told him: "yes." We both have our own special passwords now. I don't know his, but he knows mine.
We use the computer for genealogy and -- you won't guess -- but LeVon and I are cousins! We were so surprised. His great grandma was the 7th polygamous wife of my great great grandpa LaGrande Hyrum Smith! Of course, we have different grandma's but we feel related and so special to have connected in this special way.
LaRue came home for the funeral and told us she had something to tell us. We were all so worried, she looked so pale, we thought she had cancer or something.
She confided that she was born in a man's body. I can't figure it out but I do remember she had to shave her upper lip a lot as a teenager. Maybe it's a hormone problem, I hope it is not hereditary.
She needs money for the operation and we promised she could have her inheritance when it goes through the courts. We have to prove that Daddy was not in his right mind when he changed his will.
We cleaned out the house, and Daddy apparently had not been able to keep the Word of Wisdom like we thought. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
He had hidden a bunch of fancy bottles in the garage. Some were still full, so it looks like he was making a valiant effort to get his temple recommend back before he died.
He was able to be buried in his temple clothes and we were all so happy for that special blessing.
The Relief Society sisters and I dressed him for burial and I was so thrilled to finally see him in his temple garments.
I kept all those fancy bottles and covered them in decoupage and entered my best one in the County Fair and won first prize. It was like having Daddy spurring me on! I know he would be so proud of me.
I put the ribbon with my collection of ribbons. I have 27 County Fair ribbons now.
It was a wonderful funeral service. Brother Nephi Packer, his cousin, gave an inspiring talk on the Plan of Salvation. I just don't know what we would do without him.
We were worried about Daddy's Word of Wisdom problems but Brother Packer assured us Heavenly Father knew his heart. It is such a comfort to know that Daddy is teaching the gospel to the spirits in Spirit Prison.
Everyone is doing just fine. The twins are busy, busy, busy in school and Seminary, band, orchestra and Karate. I am so proud of them. They still have perfect attendance.
I went to see our family physician; Dr. Thayne Grant and he gave me some pills to help me feel better. I am not laughing as much and he thinks these will help.
XOXOXOXO = Love and kisses:
Lois, LaRue, Lamar Jr. Loretta and our three dogs: The Three Nephites. LaVon says I can add his name too now.
LETTERS #3 and #4
Hello dear friends and loved ones.
We are all so grateful and humbled by the many miracles the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into our lives. Our testimonies have grown in leaps and bounds from all the special blessings we have received.
This was such a wonderful month. LaVon and I were married in the temple. We had a very special triple ceremony.
First, LaVon stood in as proxy for Lamar and so he and I could be sealed for time and all eternity.
Then I stood in for Cumorah so she and LaVon could be married for time and all eternity.
He and Cumorah had never been able to be sealed in the temple for all eternity (because of her mental illness) so I had the special blessing of standing in for her as proxy.
Then LaVon and I were sealed for time.
My heart is so full. The spirit was so strong. I know that Cumorah and Lamar was there with us.
Daddy's estate is still not settled and we might have to sell the home to pay the taxes. Daddy always took care of things, so I had no idea the house was in foreclosure before he died.
Sister Iletta Pugh (his full time nurse) was very upset to find out she was not getting anything, so she gave up her claim on the estate.
Unfortunately, there is no money for LaRue's operation so that is on hold how.
LaRue insists we call "him" Ronnie (after President Reagan - whom she always loved) but I just can't seem to get used to it.
She is taking some new hormones and is looking more and more like Elvis every day. Oh, there I go again. I am supposed to say "HE",now.
Ronnie thinks that he can get more work now as an Elvis impersonator because he looks so much more like Elvis, that is, in his later years. Loosing the weight is no longer an option. It would hurt the career opportunities, I am told. v The twins are busy, busy, busy. Lamar Jr is following in Daddy's footsteps and going to college to become an engineer, plays his trombone in the college band and plays the piano and organ for church. He is going on his sixth year playing the organ.
He has recently called off his engagement. He found out his fiancee, Allison was pregnant with his best friends baby. He said that would not change his promise to be his friend's best man at his wedding. He made that promise long before all this happened and he said he is a man of his word.
They will be married next week in the Relief Society Room at church. Then in a year, they will to go to the temple to be sealed. Loretta made Allison's wedding dress. She says she hopes she can still get into it by next week. She all ready had to let out some seams.
Loretta is working full time, and going to college full time and has been doing volunteer work at the hospital. She is thinking of becoming a medical examiner. At first, she wanted to be a veterinarian, but changed her mind. She said she has been inspired reading Patricia Cornwell's books . She says she feels a special spirit working on dead people.
She handled all the arrangements for the reception we had in the park when LaVon and I were married. She is such a blessing.
One of the Three Nephites had a bad spell this month and we thought he was not going to make it. He ate the remote to the TV and it really made him sick. But LaVon and Lamar gave him a blessing and the doctor did surgery and removed the remote and he is his old self again. Of course, we have to keep the remote on top of the TV now.
We send you our best wishes and bear our testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth and hope you see you all in the Celestial Kingdom. Ha ha!
XOXOXOXO = Love and kisses:
Lois, LaRue, Lamar Jr. Loretta and our three dogs: The Three Nephites. LaVon says I can add his name too now.
UPDATE NEWSLETTER - about eight months later...
Hello Deal Friends and Loved Ones:
We have had several challenging months.
Several months ago, my sister Iris called and asked me to take her to a computer class at Adult Education. They were short people to meet their quota to continue the class, so I signed up too.
I didn't plan to keep up with the classes as LaVon said he could teach me everything I needed to know and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. More about LaVon later. Hint. It is not good.
I decided to stick with the computer class and went home to work on the new things I learned. I was thrilled to learn how to do research on the Internet. I could look up anything I wanted to know. I felt like a kid in a candy store!!
Well, something terrible happened when I was looking at the files on my computer. I was shocked beyond words to find that LaVon had downloaded naughty pictures on my computer! I called my computer teacher immediately and he came right over and showed me how to delete the files and get rid of all those awful pictures. Then I had a good, long cry.
Then, I found out that my deceased husband, Lamar is the father on another birth certificate, which explained the woman no one knew at his funeral. So, I had another good cry.
I was getting up my courage to talk to LaVon when he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. He died three days later of liver damage. When I cleaned out his things in the garage, I found the bottles he had been hiding, just like LaMar.
That was the last straw. I went to bed and did not want to get up again. Well, my sister Iris (who never liked Lamar and particularly detested LaVon) finally, after much coaxing, persuaded me to go see a counselor.
I had a really bad spell there for a few months, but when I started feeling better, the counselor suggested I take more Adult Ed. Classes and try to get out more. He also suggested I take up a hobby or do something for myself that I loved to do.
So, this last semester, I have been taking swimming classes. Those that knew me when I was a teenager knew that swimming was the love of my life. I was on the swim team in high school and wanted to become a life guard, but my father nixed that. He didn't approve of the bathing suits.Then, of course, I got married and that was the end of that.
I also took Self Esteem for Seniors and have met some swell gals. We have been going to movies once a week and have started a book club. We are all widows and have a lot in common.
While I was making changes, I decided to start using my legal name, Maureen - again. Now that Lamar and LaVon are gone, there is no need to use my middle name, Lois anymore. I am tired of having matching first letters of all our names. My counselor said it was a good sign.
The twins, Lamar and Loretta have moved away from home, but call regularly and are so supportive. They tell me they are so proud of me.
Ronnie (LaRue) moved to San Francisco and became a Democrat. "He" is living full time as a man and hopes to be able to save enough money for the "operation" in a year.
Iletta Pugh, Daddy's full time nurse-47 yrs old and never married, is pregnant and claims Lamar is the father. She was evicted from her apartment, so we moved her into our basement rooms. I told her she could stay until the baby was born. Then, I would insist on a blood test to show whether Lamar was the father or not.
I still have bad days but I am learning to live as a single female.
Updated NEWSLETTER #5
We have had a few more challenging months.
I have good news. Iletta's baby was born and Lamar was not the father. So, she moved out. What a relief. I never liked her anyhow.
The twins, Loretta and Lamar Jr are busy in school. I only see them about once a month now. I am so busy, now we can't seem to coordinate our schedules. Loretta has changed her mind about her major and now thinks she wants to be a hair stylist at a funeral home. Lamar Jr is engaged again.
I took a trip (my first one in an airplane) to see Ronnie (LaRue). He opened a new act in San Francisco.He has some very strange friends, but he put me right at ease. They sure are fun.
My counselor is helping me understand how LaRue became Ronnie. I am still not sure but I love him and am happy for him and his new special friend.
I am still taking Adult Education classes and have started a new job. I can't believe it myself. I am working for the first time in my life.
I am a receptionist at the Recreational Center for the swimming classes and I have been asked to be an assistant swim coach for the seven year olds. I think I am happiest when I am in the water! Mama always said I was a little "fish" when I was a kid.
The house sold last month, and after the bills were paid, I had enough money to move into an apartment in the same complex with my sister Iris. It was hard to move out of the house and say good-bye to it. I had to give the dogs away. I found a nice family down the road that would take the Three Nephites.
My sister does not drive anymore, so I am her chauffeur. It's good to be able to spend time with her. She and Lamar did not get along so we rarely saw each other. We have over 30 years to make up.
Iris never believed in Mormonism, so I have been going to Catholic Mass with her. I was sitting in the car waiting for her and she said I might as well come in, so I did. I am not sure what to think about it, yet.
A very nice man in one of my classes asked me to go out for coffee. I started to tell him that I was a Mormon and didn't drink coffee, but then I thought, oh, my goodness, what difference does it make. I will try it. Well, surprise. I love coffee!
He asked me to dinner a week later and ordered wine, but I drew the line at that. I didn't mind trying coffee, but wine was out!
I got up the courage to tell him that my sister was right all along about my husbands. They were alcoholics and I would not believe her for the longest time. Finally, I realized that I knew all along, but would not admit it to myself. I probably won't see him again. I think he drinks a little too much. I hope he understands.
I still have bad days but I am still learning to live as a single female. I think it is getting easier.
Aloha friends and loved ones.
This has been another challenging year full of surprises and heart ache.
I bet you are wondering about that greeting. Well, I went to Hawaii this last summer because (I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is) I won a trip for two for five days.
I filled out one of those little contest forms when I went to the market and I got the surprise of my life when I found out I won.
I wanted to take my sister Iris with me but she was not up to it -- her arthritis was acting up and she is was not able to fly.
So, I talked to one of my new gal-friends, Cora that I met at the Rec. Center where I am a part-time receptionist and teach a swimming class to the youngsters.
She also attends the same book club that I do. We just finished reading Carl Sagan's "Demon Haunted World" . That was quite an eye opener. I don't know what he is talking about much of the time, but I am going to keep reading it and try to figure it out.
Cora said she didn't know if she would like all those Hawaiian leis with her allergies, but I convinced her she would be OK if she made sure she took her medication so she decided to go along. After all, the trip was FREE!
The plane trip was quite exciting. I had a very strange experience. I asked for a soda and somehow, got an alcoholic drink, (which I figured out later!) and it made me giggly and sleepy! Tasted kind of funny, but I thought maybe it was just because it was Airplane food.
We had a very interesting time in Hawaii. It was a very different experience, bunking with her. She snored-- a lot --and even though she brought those nose strips, she must not have put them on right, because I had to wake her up half a dozen times a night to get her to be quiet so I could sleep. I don't think I will travel with her again.
I was a little taken back by all those-- practically naked girls dancing! They are rather "suggestive" you know. Cora was not concerned at all and had a ball learning the dances herself. My goodness,she danced with the men and the women and had a terrific time.
I was really worried one night though. I lost track of Cora and I could not find her anywhere. I asked the clerk at the motel if she had seen her and she gave me a rather strange look and just told me "not to worry."
Well, Cora showed up for lunch the next day-- looking really happy. She didn't stop smiling. I asked her what she was so happy about and she said: "never mind": and giggled. Then I caught on and said: "Cora, shame on you. And at your age too." She said that age had nothing to do with it and dropped the subject.
I came home with some of those Muumuu dresses and I have to say, the Hawaiians have a good idea with those. They are very comfortable!
I had a challenging month when I returned from my little trip. The toilet must not have flushed right, when I used it last (right before I left) and when I got to my apt, I found four workmen in there cleaning up all the water. I guess the toilet ran continually for four days! I didn't know they could do that! I thought they would eventually stop.
Two pieces of furniture got soaked and they put down all new carpeting and flooring -- and a new toilet that works better!
I should mention that Iris has been lending me her books from her Mormon history collection and, I had another challenging month after reading: "In Sacred Loneliness the Plural Wives of Joseph Smith." Actually, I still have not finished the book. It just breaks my heart. I have had a good cry after each woman's story. I have been so shaken, Iris suggested I call my counselor -- again and I thought I was doing so well. I picked out "American Massacre" but Iris said that because I was so upset reading the Compton book that she wouldn't loan me anything else until I felt better.
Enough about me. LaMar Jr finished his degree in engineering and minor in music and got a good job --2000 miles away. He married a lovely girl, Lucille (she is not a Mormon) and she has four boys from a prior marriage ages: 15, 12, 10 and 4. She teaches "Rieki" -- I never heard of it, but she told me all about it and she would give me a treatment when I came to visit. I am not sure I am ready to lay on a table with just a towel. I guess it is OK. We are both women!
Anyhow, it was quite an adjustment for LaMar -- becoming a husband and father all at once. Well, she became pregnant with a little girl, but miscarried at the fifth month. It was very hard on all of us, but they are doing OK, taking it one day at a time.
"Ronnie" is doing "great" he says. He got a part in "Jesus Christ Super Star", but I had to miss it as I went to Hawaii. He told me it was OK. I could see him in another production! He is always so supportive of what I want to do. I still can't get over his wild outfits and strange friends but I do laugh a lot when I visit him.
Loretta is living in the funeral home in San Francisco, not far from "Ronnie." . The owners made an apartment for her in the basement. She finished her hair dresser classes and loves working on dead people. She said she feel so close to them. I did notice, the last time I saw her, that she smells a little like embalming fluid. I had hoped it would wash off but she says she doesn't notice it. I didn't want to tell her but, I think that might be the reason that the only guy who she had a date with worked at the funeral home too. He probably smells like embalming fluid too.
I have had a bad year with the bishop and I don't mind telling you about it.And, yes, I have been rebellious!
I was really upset when the bishop said, (after LaMar Jr and Lucille's baby died) it was because the little one was too righteous to live on earth so she was taken home to Heavenly Father. That just did not seem right to me. How could he be so insensitive?
The bishop also told me I was expected to pay tithing on my social security checks from my deceased husband and I told him that there was no way I could make it financially if I did that so he said he could not give me a temple recommend. And it was a test of my faith.
I told him that I didn't mind paying the tithing on my little part-time wages, but that was not good enough for him. He told me that I needed to pay all the tithing and be a full tithe payer and if I needed help, financially, I was to ask my children. Well, I could not do that. They are struggling as it is. I can't be a burden on them.
After that interview, I went home and had a good cry.
Then I thought about it and realized that it had been so long since I went to the temple, that I surely would not miss it!
God knew my heart and if the bishop didn't that was just too bad. Iris said she had read all about the temple on the Internet and told me where to look and I was surprised at what I had forgotten. Right then and there, I knew that I did not want to go there again. It struck me as very strange, I had never felt like that before, but I was repulsed by it! There, I said it!
I was so upset that when the bishop wanted to give me a "calling" to teach Primary, I turned him down. I just told him: "No thank you!"I know he was shocked beyond words because he got really quiet and didn't know what to say. He has not called back. Iris had been telling me I needed to be more "assertive" and I guess I practiced on the bishop. haha
I told my counselor about my conflicted feelings about my Mormon upbringing and I think I am beginning to see that I have more choices than I thought I had. He said he was real proud of the way I was handling my life as a widow; independent female, he says! Gives me the giggles but that is what I am. I never thought this would happen to me, but I guess I am doing OK.
I am enclosing a new photo of me in a Hawaiian Muumuu. I know it does not look much like me, but that is because, with all that swimming, I lost 35 pounds and my sister, Iris introduced me to her hair dresser so I got a new "do." Now I am a "bottle blonde" ! haha-I;m laughing a little more now. Iris and my counselor says it is good to hear me laugh.
I still have my bad days, but I am learning to live as a single female. I think it is getting easier.
PS: I bought a coffee maker! If that no-good bishop won't give me a temple recommend , I decided I didn't need that silly Word of Wisdom either so I am experimenting ! I hope I don't get sick!
Hello friends and loved ones.
I have had such a wonderful year. I have found so many great new friends.
I have dropped my little job at the Rec Center as receptionist and am only teaching one beginning class in swimming for the six and seven year olds. I really do love that age.
I don't need the money -- and this is the big surprise -- LaMar had a savings account that I knew nothing about. He got some money from an inheritance from his grandfather William Scott Smith that was put in an account years and years ago and it earned so much interest that I do not need the income from the job.
Iris, my sister, and my counselor are so pleased with me. I am not crying as much, and I feel much more confident.
I do not go see the counselor anymore. I have "graduated" he said! Even gave me a little card with his name on it; for emergencies he said. He has my name, and Graduate on it! He said I could call him anytime if I really needed him, but he did not expect me to call.
Well, I did go see the counselor once this year. I was having bad dreams. In one of them, I arrived in heaven at a fancy gate and I was told I was not allowed in. I was so upset that I woke up screaming: "let me in, let me in."
I was spending the night at my sister's Iris's apartment (she had some minor surgery and didn't want to be alone). Anyways, she woke up and thought there was a burglar or something in the house and came racing into my room with her bat she keeps under the bed for protection. I don't know who scared who more!
When I explained it was a dream and what it was about, she said: "that's it. You are calling the counselor first thing in the morning." And I did.
My counselor helped me understand that for so many years, I thought I was not worthy of love or anything else and my fears were coming in dreams. After that session, I am pleased to report that I have not had another bad dream like that one.
Well, I did have one other bad dream. I dreamed that II could not get the temple garments off. I pulled and tugged and they stuck to my body like glue. When I woke up I told Iris about it. (I didn't know if I should call my counselor about it or not.)
Iris told me that she thought I could handle the problem by myself and suggested I take the "damn things" (her words exactly) off and buy some fancy underwear. She even volunteered to go with me to Victoria Secret.
Well, I was shocked beyond words at her suggestion, but after I thought about it for a week, (and just happened to walk by that store when I was in the mall and peaked inside) I decided she might have a point! But, I could not make myself go inside. So, I went over to Penny's and got some nice, comfortable, (not quite so suggestive!) underwear.
I kept them in my underwear drawer for several months before I got up the courage to wear them. I was afraid that something awful would happen if I took off the temple garments.
Besides, that silly bishop had made such a fuss about not paying a full tithe on my social security checks, and I was drinking coffee (with mocha!) and loving it, I figured that because I was doing fine, (didn't get sick!) that I would try some different underwear. Well, I am happy to report that nothing bad happened, I felt just fine. They felt a little strange at first, but I like them much better.
Iris is still teasing me about going to Victoria Secret, but I won't go!
I had been wrestling with Mormonism and how I felt about it for many years. A lot of things just did not make sense. I feel so rebellious: drinking coffee and not wearing the temple garments. And yes, staying firm on how much tithing I would pay.
I expected to have a lot of things go wrong in my life because I was not being a good Mormon, but just the opposite happened.
My goodness, gracious, life has never been better.
I am still going to the book club, and because I am don't get so upset anymore, Iris loaned me: "American Massacre" by Sally Denton and I have stated read it. Of course, I have had a good cry now and then, but I don't tell Iris or she won't loan me anymore of her books!
I have been visiting with a nice man who goes to the book club and he invited me out for coffee but made sure I knew it was not really a "date." I told him that was just fine. I was not ready to "date" either! He is a very sweet man. His wife died nine years ago. He says he is getting ready to consider seeing other women now. He has the cutest smile!
I know I have bored you -- again -- haha! This has been a letter all about me, but I won't even apologize! I just feel so much better, I had to share the news.
And before I forget, all the kids are doing great, couldn't be better and I have enough money to take more plane trips and visit all of them! I am just tickled pink!
LETTER # 8
Hello friends and loved ones of Maureen
This letter is from her sister, Iris.
I know you will want to know the latest. She has been such a wonderful letter writer, keeping her loved ones and friends up to date on all her goings on.
I am writing to let you know that Maureen was in an minor auto accident and then, while in the hospital, she had a mild stroke. She is making progress and the doctors are very encouraged, however, she still does not have full use of her right side.
I know she would appreciate any cards and letters. You know how she loves to laugh, so send her funny ones, OK?
We are doing fine. Her kids have each come out. Most have to return in a few days to their work. Loretta has been doing her hair. She says it is not much different than working on dead people but Mom wiggles a lot more! haha
Iris, Maureen's sister
Hello Friends and Loved Ones
I have had several challenging months.
I am finally home from the convalescent hospital, able to type again and use my computer! I am a little slow, have to hunt and peck with one finger on my right hand, but I am getting better every day. I am so happy to be home.
I want to thank all of you for the funny cards. They were a real pick-me-up when I was feeling so useless!
Everyone says I have a lot of spunk and are surprised at my recovery. I even surprised the doctors. But what do they know! I think they paint a grim picture just to get their patients fired up! Of course, I got right back in the water and did a lot of swimming and I think that helped me get better faster.
The Bishop called and wanted to know if I wanted a blessing, but I told him "no" I was doing fine on my own!
The "kids" have been wonderful. They made me a ramp so I can get in and out of the house and take walks in the neighborhood so I won't be housebound.
I have had visitors coming and going. Some of the ladies from the Mormon church came by and brought me some casseroles and funeral potatoes. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I hated funeral potatoes! My next door neighbors have a little dog and he loved them. haha.
Iris's Catholic friends from her ladies group brought me some delicious desserts and one came by for a few days and fixed my breakfast and lunch until I could do it myself.
My goodness, people are wonderful. It was hard for me to accept the help at first, but everyone was so nice, I just could not send them away.
Nobody from the Mormon Church even raised an eyebrow at my coffee maker. I considered hiding it in the cupboard, but then decided that I was not going to sneaky! Better to be honest and up front.
Iris has been loaning me more and more books on Mormonism, and her collection of Agatha Christie mysteries now that I am doing better. I have not had a good cry in several months now! I am having a lot more "good" days. It was difficult getting through Mountain Meadows Massacre without a good cry, but I did it! I have not called my counselor once!
It has been nearly eight months since my accident and tiny stroke and have finally thrown that walker out . Well, actually, I loaned it to a friend in our complex who needed it more than I did. I have a little cane that I use just for balance and it gives me a little more confidence.
I am working on getting my driver's license back so Iris and I can gallivant around again. Iris said I better study up on the manual because they keep changing laws and are really hard on seniors. Guess they think we forget how to drive.
I got to laughing about Mormonism the other day and all the silly things I used to do to please the Mormon God. Iris says it is good to hear me laugh again.
Iris still wants me to go with her to Mass but it just does not appeal to me. She says she understands.
I am not sure what I believe now that I had that health scare, and was told that I could die. I think I will be content to enjoy every day I have now and not worry about anything that might happen in the future or when I die. Life is just so short. It goes by so fast.
There is a very nice man in the apartment complex that has been visiting me from time to time. He says he thinks I am beautiful. I have to laugh at that. His eye sight is not the best but even if he can't see me very well, at least his heart is in the right place. We have a lot of common interests. He loves to read also. He said he was raised a Mormon but had not attended or thought much about it in over 50 years. It is nice to have another friend.He also makes delicious coffee! He makes me laugh!
I will close this letter for now as I am getting tired. Have to take more rests these days.
Thank you again for all of your thoughtfulness and help during these trying days.
LETTER #10 (Update 11/09)
Just a quick update, dear friends and loved ones:
Iris reminded me I have not written an update for several months, and she has been getting phone calls! The gals at the book club wondered what happened to me.
Well, I've been busy!
I had to drop the book club because I have been in "the zone"! I heard that phrase the other day and decided it fit me right now. I am writing my life story which meant I needed to do a lot of research. I found some things that were very upsetting and decided to take a break and come out of "the zone.".
I saw an advertisement in the paper for Salsa Dance Lessons, so I signed up. I'm definitely not going to get that hip swing and kick like the teacher wants, (that stroke was a bummer) but it's fun anyhow.
The truth is -- , I met a swell guy at Salsa Dance Lessons and he has been taking me lots of new places. His name is Delbert. He's a little sensitive about having the same name as the cartoon, so I had to hide my collection of Delbert cartoon books! He's 77 which is a little "old" for me, but we have such a good time and laugh a lot.And, he's Lutheran. I'm not sure what difference that makes, but he talks a lot about his church folks back home in Minnesota.
I know you are all going to want to meet him, but he's just a little shy about meeting family right now. He is Old Fashioned -- and he wants to take me home to meet his mother (who is 95 and still lives on her own), back in Minnesota, and get her approval-- when the time is right, he said, before I introduce him to my family. . Besides, his wife of 52 years died five years ago, and he is not ready to "date" yet he said. So, we're just friends.
Before I forget, I got some bad news. Ronnie really wanted to have the operation to finish changing him into a man -- even though I told him he looked fine to me, I thought he had it down pat.
But he is short on money and had to cancel his scheduled operation. His last show folded and he has been on unemployment for two months now. He said he didn't want to tell me as I would worry. Well. Of course I would!
He is convinced he can get a better job if he has the operation and is a "real man". His words, not mine. He is determined to go to the police academy and lost weight and has been working out. He told me that the money he saved on food paid for his gym membership. I hardly recognized him when he came to see me! I saw this buff young man in my peep hole at my door and almost didn't open the door! haha
I asked him about his career as an impersonator. He said the Elvis thing was just a phase and he is over it. He really always wanted to be a policeman. That's understandable, I told him. You were the one (when you were a girl) giving out tickets for all kinds of infractions for "breaking the law" in our home -- ! I think he has found his "calling."
I consulted my financial adviser and decided to give him a little more money so he could have the operation. Now that he has lived a year as a man, he can be approved! He is so excited! I'm still getting used to LaRue turning into Ronnie (and that Democrat thing) and can't figure out what happened, but I guess it's OK. He's happy and if he's happy, I'm happy.
I told him I couldn't talk long, I was just going out the door to my volunteer job at the Soup Kitchen. I volunteer twice a week. Now that I can drive again, I am going around to the grocery stores and picking up donated turkeys. We are planning for a big thanksgiving dinner in a couple of weeks. I volunteered to contribute 25 of my homemade sugar-free Pumpkin Pies ! (So many of the homeless are diabetic these days.)
LaMar is doing so well - he was promoted to a senior position. I forget the title but it sounded very impressive and important. The grand kids are all on OpenBook,. They are trying to get me to get on it too. I'm still thinking about it. I'm not sure about giving out my information on the Internet.
Loretta has been promoted to Head Cosmetologist at the Funeral Home. She took some classes and now teaches classes. She said it's not hard: See one, do one, teach one! That's an old medical joke, she told me.
She has been practicing on Ronnie - teaching him how to do his hair and help him buy clothes. I didn't want to mention it, but I thought that Ronnie's hair-do looked familiar. It's one of Loretta's favorites for viewings.
I see I have rambled on and bored you all again. haha
Hope you are all doing well. I send my best wishes.
LETTER #11 - Dec 2010
Hello Loved ones and Friends!
I couldn't get my update out fast enough today! I have the most wonderful news!
Loretta is getting married!
Loretta has been working as Head Cosmetologist at the Funeral home for some time now, and met the nicest man, Harry, who is a driver. He brings in the bodies so they got acquainted that way. He dropped a body and broke her foot, but that's a story for another time. I don't want to spoil the good news.
They have been dating for over a year. She kept it very quiet. Quiet is her little joke about the Funeral Home - sometimes she calls it the "Library" which is our "code."!
Anyhow, she called to tell me they are getting married in three months at the Funeral Home. They thought it was the perfect place. They both feel so comfortable there.
I had to speak up: "Loretta,:" I said: "Surely you don't really want to be married in the Funeral Home. That's just such a sad place, and there is that....smell...., you know!"
She laughed and said: "No mom not actually in the Funeral Home, the wedding will take place in the garden behind the funeral home." Thank goodness. I was worried the formaldehyde smell would make me sick. Even with all the flowers it's very hard to cover it up.
I asked her what they wanted for a wedding gift and she said they wanted matching caskets. She explained that it was such a good deal, they couldn't pass it up. They had a special sale -- two for a husband and wife for the price of one. Then, they decided to be cremated, instead, so they can get the urns at wholesale and storage won't be a problem. That makes it easy. I don't have to worry about them returning my gift.
More terrific news about Lar Mar Jr ...He is doing great. Got another raise. He has a larger area now, which means he has to travel some which he didn't mind. He decided to join the Organ Guild and was offered a "gig" he calls it, playing for the Presbyterian Church that has the biggest organ in six states. He said he enjoys playing the organ even more when he is paid for it! Besides, the money pays for music lessons for the kids. He sent me a photo on my computer (I still can't figure out how he does that.) I hardly recognized the grand kids. They are all growing like weeds.
Ronnie is recovering from the surgery. He said it was not quite what he imagined. He didn't want to go into detail, but he did say something about a package that I didn't quite understand. Loretta and a bunch of his friends have been checking in on him.
I'll send him a package next week -- a box of his favorite chocolates. I'll get the low calorie kind so he won't worry about gaining weight while he is laid up. He is very focused on his muscles. He said he was "chomping at the bit" to get to the police academy. I'm getting used to La Rue turning into Ronnie. But sometimes I slip up and call him LaRue. I can't help it. He was the cutest little girl when he was young.
I'm still seeing Delbert. I think I am understanding him better and his Minnesota Lutheran background. He told me one of his sister's great grand daughters plays the fiddle sometimes on the Prairie Home Companion show. I had no idea what he was talking about so I went to the used book store and bought a DVD of the show, and three of Mr .Garrison Keillor's books. I like that Minnesota humor. Makes me wish I was Lutheran.
He asked me to go to the Lutheran Church with him for Salsa Dance Lessons. I told him I didn't know Lutherans Salsa Danced. That's a big step as he said that means we are officially dating. Goodness Gracious. I'm not sure I am ready for that. I told him I'll let him know next week He said he understood, and winked.
It would be a good excuse to get a new dress. I saw one I liked. Of course, I'd have to get shoes and a purse to go with it and some matching jewelry. If his Lutheran church friends are going to think we are officially dating, I want to look spiffy. I'll get Iris to do my hair.
Well, I must run if I am going to catch those sales down at Willard's. I hope Iris can go with me. I need her expert advice on my new outfit to go to church with Delbert. I think I have talked myself into going!
I'm off. bye bye for now
Letter #12 - Dec 2010
Hello Loved ones and Friends:
More FUN news - so many Goings On- I'm so busy these days!
Delbert has been taking me to his Lutheran Church now for a couple of months. I enjoy the service. I like the music best. And the dinners. I never saw so much food in my life. I thought Mormons put on a spread, but the Lutheran's have them beat.
I had a big surprise this week. Camilla's son Guy came to visit. He was having problems and wanted my advice. He said he was "going crazy" so I asked him where that was and if I could go to! He laughed. He said he just wanted to visit me because I always made him laugh and he wasn't really "going crazy". Well, that's a relief!
We talked a lot about his mom, Camilla and her mental illness that seemed to get worse when she went through "the change." She was never the same. It was very sad. Paranoia, the doctor called it. She was convinced the medications were poisoning her.
We laughed about how she hid her medications in funny places. One time, he found them in his winter boots, after he put them on and crunched them all up. One time she put them in her husband, LaVon's Postem. Of course, he spit them right out! Unfortunately, LaVon (who was my second husband - and not a very good one at that), didn't have much of a sense of humor about Camilla.
Letter #13 - Dec 2010
Hello Loved Ones and Friends.
Well, I don't know where to start. Going to Loretta's wedding with Iris's was,... well, an Event we won't forget.
Iris and I decided to rent a car and hire a young man to drive us to Loretta and Harry's wedding in San Francisco .
We won't do that again. We specifically asked if he smoked and he assured us he didn't smoke. He lied. Yes. He told a big fat fib. Every time we stopped for gas, which was way too many times, (wouldn't drive if there was less than 1/2 a tank of gas), then he would disappear and come back smelling like cigarette smoke. I kept reminding him we weren't paying him by the hour and we didn't want to be late.
He was a very bad driver. He drove way to fast. I kept telling him: "The speed limit is 55 MPH. Don't go over it, you don't want to get a ticket."
And that isn't the half of it. I don't know what was wrong with him but he dozed off and veered off the road. Good thing we were paying attention. The only thing that saved us was Iris and me screaming bloody murder. That was the last straw.
When we got to San Francisco, we turned in the car, paid him, took a taxi to the wedding, and took the train home!
Now a bit about The Wedding!
The wedding was very interesting. Loretta neglected to tell us that the garden behind the funeral home is also part of a cemetery. There were a lot of flowers on the graves so that added to the festive mood.
Ronnie was feeling so much better, and lots of his friends came, as well as the whole funeral home staff and all of their spouses and kids and grand kids and some nieces and nephews.
The invitation said: Casual Dress. I never saw so many "casual" outfits in all my life! Iris and I looked quite dressed up in our matching pink pantsuits.
They had a lot of food. I noticed the Funeral Potatoes right away. Loretta said it was a little joke.
The train ride home was very relaxing. We'll take the train next time we want to travel.
That's all for now. I'll be writing again soon.
Maureen and Iris. She said I could include her in my signature now because it saves her so much time. She doesn't have to write any letters, because she says mine are so much for FUN.
Very funny. - 12/24/2014 - Don Bagley
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