TBT: The Cousins

Family

This picture was taken back in 2011.

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This is my family. In green, my cousin, Janet. In yellow, my sister, Melodie, In lavender, my cousin Rikki and in blue, me. We’re New England’s version of Steel Magnolias.

We have all been through so much in our lives, but we are a tough bunch and never give up!

We have a cousin (not pictured) and he is the only man in our little group. He is dearly loved, although he was not with us on this day.

Lobster Fest 2019

Today my cousins Janet and Larry, and Janet’s husband Dave came up for our annual Lobster Fest. They stopped to pick up the Lobster, steamers and corn all fresh from the sea and the garden, on their way up here and they arrived by 10 o’clock.

I’d been cleaning and puttering all morning and I’d managed to set the table, put out the dishes and I got the pots we would need too.

69021047_377893962922778_543479174451429376_nThe Lobsters before being cooked!

When Dave and I unpacked the loot, we worked together deciding which lobsters to cook in which pot and when and where to cook the corn and steamers. For those who do not know, Steamers are Clams.

69609880_809810296087837_4730889726171545600_nMy cousin Janet took this picture of Dave and me after we put everything we had cooked on the table!

Dave and I cook so well together. Since we had 5 pots that all needed full flame on the burners, we did a bit of juggling and in about 40 minutes (By this time it was about 12:45) we served up the luncheon. If anyone left here feeling hungry, it was their own fault.

20190818_125655I took this one of my plate.

We each had a two-pound Lobster, Corn on the Cob, Steamers, and Potato Salad. I never really appreciated the size of a two-pound Lobster until I found myself unable to finish mine!

68496064_495298354551991_733756336017244160_nJanet took this picture of her two-pound Lobster! Just look at that sucker!

I cleaned the rest of my Lobster, and the rest of Jack’s Lobster and we have enough for a nice meal tomorrow. I really must be getting old if I am unable to finish my Lobster!

20190818_125705My homemade potato salad with eggs. A real hit today!

One really great thing about cooking the meal with Dave was that at the end of the meal, Janet washed all the cooking pots. I managed to get all the other dishes into the dishwasher, but all those pots! She made quick work of them, and she told me that she really likes washing dishes. I’m thankful. At this point in the day, I was getting pretty tired.

So Lobster Fest 2019 is over and a success! I love eating Lobster, but more than that, I love getting together with my family! Thanks, Janet, Dave, and Larry!

The Birthday Bash!

My trip down to the State of Connecticut was highly successful! I went down to celebrate my sister’s birthday, and with the help of #2 son and his sweet girlfriend, I was able to pull off a surprise party for her on her big day!

I come up with great ideas, but in this case, it would have been impossible to pull off without Tim and Erica.

My job was simple. Supply the things I could hide, and get Melodie out of her house for the day!

67266316_355217625172240_1496811903840681984_nMe with my sister, Melodie.

Between the two of them, they decorated my sister’s house, helped me come up with a menu and Tim ordered and picked up all the food. Erica handled the decorations and she also ordered the cake!

I cannot begin to tell you what a fabulous party and meal that it was. My sister’s oldest son and his wife and their three children came, as well as Tim’s eldest son. His younger son was working.

Now here is where things got dicey. I knew that I wanted to have Eggplant Parmesan for one of the two main courses. We decided on Sausage and Peppers for the other.

I was pretty convinced that there would be a ton of the Eggplant Parm leftover (hoping!), but that entree on the buffet went quickly and there was just a small bit left at the end.

It was simply the best Eggplant Parmesan I have ever had. In fact, the next time I go down I want to order one and bring it home to freeze into sections, to enjoy over a couple of months.

Here is a picture of the Buffet Table. Isn’t it just beautiful?

20190723_175704The Eggplant is the first item at the bottom of the picture! My mouth is drooling like a St Bernard just looking at this!

The Sausage and Peppers were also great as was the salad and the Italian bread!

We sat out on their deck and enjoyed our meals and watched Melodie open her gifts.

67098028_350385052540939_4945848991045648384_nMel’s daughter-inlaw, Karan, me, her husband, Ron, and Melodie.

20190723_175639Everyone signed a seashell and the cake was in the center. It was the most amazing cake and decorations for a “Beach themed Birthday Bash!”

My sister is really good at doing this for everyone else, in fact, she even threw a surprise birthday party for me! So it was time for us to treat her.

67389581_359770604706293_908556123370422272_nErica, Melodie, and Karan.

67232283_401409527144966_721887215369584640_nMel and her two sons. Mike, left and Tim, right.

I wish I’d gotten pictures of her grandchildren, but it was a crazy happy time and I was not thinking. I will tell you that everyone had a great time and the kids were all super happy to be at a party!

67091920_487194112110704_3065550860483297280_n (1)Melodie and her husband of nearly 48 years, Ron.

So once again, a Happy Birthday to my beloved sister, Melodie. I wish you many, many more, and I also hope we can continue to share them together!

Happy Birthday, Melodie!

Today is my sister’s birthday. I am down with her to celebrate in Connecticut, while Jack stays home with the doggies!

I wanted to tell you all what a wonderful sister Melodie is. She is five and a half years older than me, and I was her “first baby”. She cared for me like a little mother and was always more like a mother to me, than a sister.

Mel is one of the kindest women that I know. She always has a smile and a warm greeting for those around her. She loves her family with her whole heart and rejoices in their successes and comforts them in their sorrows.

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Ron and Melodie

She has been married to her husband, Ron for 48 years. They met at the age of 13 at summer camp and wrote to each other for many years before their wedding in November of 1971.

So today, on her sixty-sixth Birthday I want to wish my beloved sister, Melodie a very Happy Birthday!

Mel & Me

So by the time you read this, I will be on my way to Connecticut to my sister’s house. I haven’t seen my sister in almost a year and so I am really looking forward to this visit.

31564165_10156103190411183_6175445862433423360_nMelodie and Me.

It usually takes me 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to her place. I am hoping that the traffic won’t be bad and I will breeze on down. I’m taking the back way across New Hampshire first to Vermont and then to Massachusetts and then to Connecticut.

I’m taking my Ipod so I can listen to and sing along with my favorite songs, and I have a new cell phone holder, so I can have my phone available to use as my GPS with an App called Waze.

Spending time with my sister! It doesn’t get much better than this!

46436778_364378414135206_4687094382740897792_nMel and Me.

The excitement builds!

It’s All In The Family

I started looking at family pictures recently and when I saw this picture of my Grandfather Prussman’s sister, Katchen, I was blown away at the family resemblance with both my mother and me.

Prussmann Family (2)

This is Katchen at about 4-5 years old. She had chestnut brown hair and big brown eyes. She was Papa’s baby sister and he adored her. She was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, came to Boston as a child, married and tragically died in the Influenza Epidemic of 1918.

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This is my Mom. Light brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a simple and sweet expression. Much like her Aunt Katchen. Mom was a shy woman, although many people would disagree with this. She volunteered for everything and she tried very hard to make people happy with her cooking and her way of welcoming people into her home.

img077And this is me. Lighter brown hair, and dark brown eyes. Papa often mentioned his sister Katchen to me, telling me that I had chocolate brown eyes just like his sister, and Grandma Honey remarked that I looked very much like her. I never thought about this until I held the three pictures together and I saw the familial link.

Since I never met Katchen I can only wonder about what she was like. She was best friends with my grandmother and very close until Katchen’s rather untimely death. I imagine that Katchen must have been a lot of fun since Grandma was.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Honey

1. She was born February 4, 1898. Her parents George and Sarah named her Mary Francis Daniell.

2. She had two sisters, Sarah Mathilda, the oldest, whom we all called Tilly, and Marionette, who chose to move away and never have much to do with any of the family.


Marionette, Tilly, seated and my very blond grandmother.

3. She met my Grandfather when she was 8 or 9 years old. His family moved into her neighborhood and Gram became best friends with his sister, Katchen. Gram taught them to speak English, as they were from Germany and didn’t speak a bit of English when they arrived.

4. Papa fell instantly in love with her and pursued her all through their teens. (Today we would call this stalking! LOL)

5. Her father insisted she finish college before she even considered marriage. He wanted Papa to go to college too. And he did!

6. They married right after graduation on June 1, 1921, and were married for over 65 years before she passed away.

7. They had one son, Robert and my mother, Rosamond. They always thought of Tilly’s son George as their own too. They adored him.

8. Gram taught school in the Boston Public Schools. She taught 5th grade and she also taught Special Education.

9. She was a member of the DAR, The Eastern Star and worked for the Christian Science Monitor in Boston.

10. She was always busy working for charities and I can’t recall a time until she was very old that she actually rested.

11. She adored her grandchildren, there were five of us, Carl, Erica, my brother Richard, sister Melodie and yours truly!

12. She made the best cookies and also warm milk with honey and a pat of butter in it. To this day it calms me.

13. Sadly, she passed December 2, 1984. I feel lucky to have had such a great and wonderful grandmother.

14. So, Happy Birthday to my dearest Grandma Honey in Heaven. I miss you each and every day, but carry your love with me everywhere!

 

 

 

Life’s Journey

Life is strange, isn’t it? One moment you are plodding along, everything is so normal that it’s almost boring.

Then one day you answer your phone and the world as you know it, changes forever.

And so it was,  on the weekend right after Thanksgiving, when I answered my phone and heard Candy’s panicked voice.

She’d gone to the Walk-in Clinic for a bad cold, and as she left she was told to call her doctor on Monday

After that, her life, and the lives of all the people who love her came to a screeching halt.

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Candy and her husband and their family. Especially her beloved pup, Aurora.

We all held our breath and prayed that the diagnosis was wrong. That somehow the Universe had messed this all up.

But as the days passed, it became clear that this was our new reality.

I admit to standing in my living room and swearing and crying before my trip to Florida began. I prayed that I would make it to her side in time. Things were happening so fast, I wasn’t sure if I would.

But on January 23rd, when I walked into her twin sister, Mary’s home, and knelt by her bed, I thanked God I had gotten there.

She was still able to sit and eat small amounts.  Mary and I gave her anything she wanted.

We talked, we were peaceful, we held hands, and watched our favorite TV shows, like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune,  The Property Brothers, (also twins!) And Love it or List It. Making comments, usually, one-word comments, during each show.

My room was next to hers and I noticed we both were sleeping with the TV on, as was Mary.

Sometimes I got up in the night just to check on her. Just to see her face.

We all held onto each other as we began the walk down this bumpy road. We tried to keep it all together, but tears flowed many times.

And then something amazing happened. We began to talk about her forthcoming death, but with no anger, no sadness, but with the love and friendship and the life we have shared all these years.

We laughed, we joked, we shared so many wonderful feelings and stories of days gone by, and told each other how we felt.

Oh my goodness, I am blessed beyond measure!

I’ve learned so much on this journey.  I’ve learned how very precious life is and how we should celebrate our loved ones each and every day. Make sure to let people know how much you value their presence in your life, and never take for granted the people around you that bring you joy!

I am on the bus now on my way from Boston, Massachusetts to Concord, New Hampshire.  It’s freezing cold here, but very soon I will be home with my hubby and three precious pups!

For me, my journey continues,  but I hope to make it an even better life after everything Candy has taught me.

 

 

Thoughts on a Wednesday

I lived in Punta Gorda, FL for six years back in the 1990s. My first friend here was Candy. I met her at Church as we both sang in the choir. It’s funny how quickly we knew each other. It was like two souls that had been together at some other place and time, were once again reunited.

Our first couple of years Candy sat next to me and we sang together. We even sang a couple of duets. She was so good, with pitch-perfect tone and it was easy for me to follow her.

Then the last choir director left and Candy became our organist Choir Master. She was amazing. She picked wonderful hymns and knew how to work them over with the choir.

July 15 13 005

Candy and Me. Back in the day.

So, yesterday, as I drove down US 41 to US 17 and out to Arcadia, where she is now in hospice, I was recalling so much of our time together.

Most of good old Punta Gorda was washed away during Hurricane Charley, but there were many areas I still recalled. Things that had not changed.

Yet, now, as I drove out to Arcadia, I knew that everything is about to change for me, in regard to this special place.

Getting the Governmental System to allow Candy back into Hospice was not easy. It angers and frustrates me to see that a person needs to be suffering and because an i wasn’t dotted or a t crossed, things will not be done! I think the part that makes me even wilder is that while people suffer, our esteemed Government does nothing to hold the insurance companies accountable!

In any case, after several hours of talking to Nurses, Doctors and Social Workers, Candy’s sister got her back into Inpatient Hospice Care.

I’m relieved. I leave tomorrow to return to New Hampshire, and I was so worried about who would be with her during the days. Now I know she will be well cared for.

Of course, today, when I go out to Arcadia again, it will be one of my hardest days. When I leave Candy today, it will be the last time I see her in this world. I am planning for tears, and I am expecting a downtime until I can compose myself and then drive the 40 minutes back to Punta Gorda.

Life is never guaranteed. None of us know when our last day will be. This is why I believe that we must make every day count and make sure those that we love know how we feel.

Quiet Days

My day started with me groggily getting up and going in to check on my friend, Candy. It was only when I started talking that I realized that I still had my bite guard in! I guess I am used to it.

The day was overcast and cold once again, which is fine as I have some warm clothes with me.

Candy’s husband and step daughter arrived for a short visit. It was nice to see them.

And right around noon the minister from Candy’s church came with communion.  I felt very emotional and I admit to crying just a bit. I am, however,  so glad he came.

The home health nurse will come today. I am not sure how much she can do as Candy cannot move much.

I leave on Thursday for home and I wish I wasn’t going back right now.

This is so very hard.