Friday, March 27, 2009

Mom and Dad

Jack and Mary Faber have pretty much grown up together. Mary was born March 20, 1927 in her parent’s home. The Doctor had come all the way to the farm to deliver her and ended up staying there for a few days because of a blizzard. Jack was born October 27, 1928 at his Aunt Ella Hollander’s home in rural Campbell, Nebraska. His mother Artie says that Ella took care of her, Jack and his dad John for nine days. His mother Artie said that she stayed in bed those 9 days because that was the rule of the day, if the mother didn’t want to fall to pieces.
One of the Christmas gifts from Santa that Jack remembers is a Caterpillar Tractor. Santa Claus came to his house. Mary says that they didn’t get presents for Christmas that she can recall, but they always had a big Christmas dinner with turkey raised by her mother. Mary had a dog named Spook, and Jack had a dog named Patsy.
In 1935, Jack’s family moved from Nebraska to what we now know as the home he grew up in, and it was a little over 2 miles from where Mary lived. They were neighbors and went to school together some of the time. Mary went to Atwood to school some of the time in grade school and Atwood is where she went to high school. She stayed with her Grandmother in Atwood. Jack went to Colby to high school, but neither one of them graduated. Jack later got his GED in the 1970’s. Mary’s sister Olive thought that when Jack came to school, he was the cutest little boy she had ever seen. Jack and Mary both said that they fought with each other all the time. Mary says that Jack and Donald Hawkins used to tease her. She says Jack threw her in a sticker patch, but Jack says it was Donald who did it. Will we ever know for sure? Mary also said there were times when her bicycle had flat tires and she believed those boys had something to do with it.
When Jack’s family moved to Kansas, Jack got to pick out the wallpaper that would hang in his bedroom. He chose a tan wallpaper with roses splashed all over it. This room would later become the bathroom.
There wasn’t anything special between Jack and Mary in these growing up years, but eventually, a love developed between them that would last through the years. On December 9, 1945, Jack and Mary had a date. Mary had asked her dad to bring her a pretty dress from town. He picked out a brown dress, really rather drab, for Mary to wear. Knowing that this date with Jack was special, she was greatly disappointed in the dress and cried. Her mom and dad had no idea why this dress was so important to her.
Mary didn’t wear that dress on their date. She chose instead a jumper that was brown, trimmed in gold that she had worn before and had liked. She ordered it from a magazine from Hollywood. Jack notes that she is still ordering from catalogs. It was ordered COD and her Dad paid for it, even though she didn’t tell him she had ordered it. Jack and Mary looked for Gene and Helen Fields to stand up with them, but they couldn’t find them. They went to Brewster, Ks, stopped at Bea’s CafĂ© and convinced Donald Hawkins and Rosella Jones Hawkins to go with them to Goodland and witness their marriage. They went to the home of Nora E. Beecham, the Sherman County Justice of the Peace where a wedding was quickly put together, much to the uncertainty of the Judge, and they were married. Mary was 18 and Jack had just turned 17 in October.
Jack and Mary had a rather unusual wedding night. Jack took Mary home, just as he would have on a regular date and then went to his home. Their first night as husband and wife was spent in separate homes. The following morning, Mary’s mother was doing the laundry when Mary showed up flashing her new ring so that her mom couldn’t help but see it. Her mom immediately let her dad know what had happened at which time her dad shed a few tears. No one seems to know who told Jack’s parents. Possibly, Mary’s dad told him after Jack and Mary had left on their honeymoon. Jack says he sure didn’t tell them. His dad was not happy about the situation.
Jack and Mary went to Denver for about a week for their honeymoon and stayed at the Colorado Hotel. Mary's dad had given Mary some money as a wedding gift, which she almost entirely blew on a gold suit. Jack stopped by the Dewey Ranch to pick up his paycheck and this is what they used for their honeymoon. Mary says that none of the neighbors thought their marriage would ever last, and right now, they’re in their 64th year.
Jack worked for Chauncey Dewey the first year of their marriage. He rented ground from Chauncey eventually and then bought some land for himself. Jack had his first wheat crop in 1947. During this time, Jack had a great time riding steers, bulls, whatever kind of cow he could find with the Dewey boys. One day while riding a steer, he got bucked off, hit the fence and ended up going to the hospital for stitches. This put an end to his riding. I don't know if it was because he had had enough, or if Mary wouldn't let him ride again.
Jack and Mary’s first home was the SE Quarter of 3535, then known as the Bob Baird Basement. It was a basement house and Mary hated living underground. It wasn’t long before they moved to Mary’s parents yard and fixed up an old granary for their home. It had three rooms, a kitchen, living/dining room and one bedroom. Jackie was born while they lived in this house.
In 1947 or 48, Grandpa John bought a quarter of the Lydick place and Jack bought the quarter where the old Lydick house sat. Mary cried when she heard she would have to leave her little house in her parents yard. Jack and his dad fixed the house up. It was a disaster. They put concrete over the wood siding outside of the house and fixed up the interior. Mary fondly remembers the large flower patterned wallpaper that hung in the living room. Vonita and John were both born while living in this house. When they first moved in, they had no electricity and used an outhouse. It was an exciting time for Mary when these conveniences came to her home.
Around 1956, Mary’s parents moved to Colby and Jack and Mary moved their family to the Hurst home. Jack had helped build on to this house when he and Mary lived in the granary. After they moved into the house, they eventually built a room where the back porch was so that they wouldn’t have to go outside to go to the basement and it made a washroom and storage area for Mary. Other than one winter, this is the house where they raised their children. For one winter, Mary stayed with the children in a rented house in Brewster because of bad weather.
In 1947, they lived one winter in Mary’s Grandmother’s house in Atwood while Jack worked for Ernie Hackerott. He helped to gravel what is now a highway from Levant straight to Colby. He also graveled what is known as Whiskey road going from Levant into Colby and some of Highway 25.
Around 1952 or 53, Jack harvested with Ernie Hackerott in South Dakota. At this time, he and Mary actually considered moving to South Dakota.
In 1957, Jack and Mary had no crops. Jack took a job driving a truck for Western Auto carrying cars from Detroit to Denver or Cheyenne. It was during this winter that northwest Kansas was hit with a terrible blizzard. Jack was gone. Mary was at home with the children and it began to snow. It snowed for three days. When the snow was over, the family was snowed in. The porch was filled with snow and the windows were covered. One of the outlets in the house sparked, and Mary was afraid the house would catch on fire and she couldn’t get the children out safely. Jack’s dad managed to make his way to their house and dig them out.
During these years on the farm, Jack also worked for the ASCS office in Atwood. It was in the 1950’s. Jack measured fields, became supervisor of the measuring crew, then served on the county committee for 6 years.
They moved eventually moved to Brewster in _______ when son John bought the home on the farm. The house in Brewster cost Jack $900.00. It was unfinished and small having two bedrooms, a bathroom, a washroom and a combination kitchen/living room. He had the family room and basement built on to the house and once again, he fixed the place up for Mary with a beautiful family room where the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids have spent many hours in front of their fireplace.
Jack also worked for Federal Crop Insurance starting in the 1950‘s. During this time, he and Mary lived for a while in Hays, then moved to Manhattan. Mary loved living in her little trailer in the city. She and her friend Katy had a blast playing bingo several times a week. When they moved back to Brewster, Mary was somewhat disappointed to leave Manhattan, but happy to be near her family again. At that time, they passed up the opportunity to move to Topeka. They have lived in Brewster since that time. I can’t say that Jack retired because he still helps out on the farm and works part-time for Federal Crop Insurance.
During Jack’s years, he has been a rifleman sharpshooter, winning many trophies and ribbons in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. He was an excellent pool player winning games and trophies in the area. Another hobby was coin collecting, and he remembers Grandpa John going to Colby on the day the city emptied the parking meters so that they could get all the coins that went through them. His dad, Jack, children and grandchildren all sifted through the many coins at his dad’s house, finding those they could add to their collection. After his dad passed away, he was faithful in taking the Townsend to the Bird City Tractor Show until John and his sons took over the task. He liked to fish and did some hunting. One year while on vacation, Jack caught a huge trout in Colorado and had his picture taken with the fish and published in the newspaper. Chasing coyotes and shooting them was one of his favorites. I think it was the excitement of the ride. Several times when taking the kids to school, he would take off over a field to get a coyote. Such an exciting journey for the kids. Jack loved music and played the violin and guitar by ear. He played for some of the neighborhood dances. He and Mary loved to go dancing, and who could forget Jack singing some of the good ol’ western songs?
Jack has served on the school board at Pleasant View School, Mirage School and at Brewster school for 6 years. He has been a member of Lions Club, volunteered time with the Senior Center and served as their president for 25 years. He received the conservation award in Rawlins County, and he received the Brewster Citizen’s award in 2007.
Mary’s greatest joy is her family and Jack. When in Brewster, grandkids often came to her house for breakfast, lunch or dinner, to snack or to spend the night, and she was always ready to feed them and happy to have them there. Mary loved to make bread which she learned from Jack’s Aunt Henrietta. Mary is a devout Democrat who will argue politics with anyone, and when her grandchildren reached 18, she would take them for pizza when they registered to vote, if they registered as a Democrat. Much to her dismay, they didn’t all remain Democrat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Time Flies

It's been ten days since I've written a post. During those ten days, I've managed to turn 60 years old. I just can't believe how fast time goes these days. Remember back when you were a kid and you could hardly wait until you could go to school? Then the time came and you had another goal. You couldn't wait until you were in Jr. High or High school. Next on the list was the age of 14 when you get your learners permit to drive. And then 16, when you could legally drive anytime, anyplace. It wasn't long after that and you started looking forward to graduation from high school and when I was a kid, the age of 18 when you could legally buy a beer. That one has changed. At 21, you were truly an adult and ready to take responsibility of your own life. Well, for many of us that was at 18, but for some reason that I can't think of right now, it was good to be 21. Maybe because you graduated to stronger drinks than beer. From 21 on, things went downhill. Instead of looking forward to the milestones, you begin to dread them. Oh, no, I can't be 30, 40, 50 or more. And now, 60!! What do I have to look forward to? Retirement! Hmmm, I'm basically retired right now, but in 3 to 5 more years, I can get social security and all that good stuff.

I sound as if I'm complaining. Really, I'm not. I'm thankful for every day that I have. I'm thankful for having my parents, my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my family and my friends. I'm thankful that I live in the United States, even with the problems we are having right now. I'm thankful for the great advancements that have been made in medicine and health care and looking forward to even more advancements in this direction. I'm thankful that I can see the sun, the moon and the stars, that I can hear the birds sing, that I can smell the flowers or the rain, that I can feel the emotions of love and taste the german chocolate in my birthday cake (thank you, Pat).

Today my mom turns 82. Today I'm especially thankful for her presence in my life.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Today would have been Grandma Smarty's birthday. My dad reminded me yesterday as we were driving home from Denver. Grandma always wrote the most wonderful notes and letters to all of us on our birthday's, so, here is one to her.

Thank you, Grandma, for all the love and support you have shown your family and friends in the past and for all the fun times I had at your home.

Grandma always had games for us to play, especially Uncle Wiggly, and craft items for us to do. Remember cutting snowflakes from pieces of paper? We also made paper chains at Christmas and strung popcorn and cranberries, all to decorate the tree. We would take napkins and color the lines of the design or decorate paper plates. Such patience she had. She allowed us to make items for our little store that we would set up. The mailman almost always would buy something from us. I'll always remember crawling into her chair with her and listening to the stories she would read us. I remember scattering paper dolls around the living room and setting up a mini kitchen in the kitchen. Then there were the shows that we would have and the mess she had to deal with when we made our stage. We also used to build our own little houses, covering chairs with blankets. Grandma let us fix up a playhouse in one of the outside buildings, play in the barn, sit under the lilac bushes, start our own campfire or build a fire in the stove that was in the milk house. She fixed picnics for us to take wherever and enjoy. Sometimes we would take picnics to the creek where she let us wade in the water and play in the hills and rocks. It was always fun when Grandma would play the piano and we would sing along. I even got to go on vacations with them on occasion. Maybe it was so that Dinah would have someone to play with, but just getting to go was such a treat. I remember one especially, and that was the trip Grandpa and Grandma took us to Marble, Colorado. I also remember going to Aspen, Colorado and walking down the sidewalks listening to people playing their musical instruments in the upstairs apartments along the street. I remember getting sprayed by a skunk and taking a bath outside in the little round tub. When we took showers, we would get into the shower and wet ourselves good, then she would stand us up on the toilet seat and soap us good all over, then back into the shower to rinse off.

Oh, my, there are so many wonderful memories and they continue into my adulthood. I always felt special when I went to see my Grandma.

These are really random thoughts, in no order whatsoever. Maybe I'll write more about some of them later. If you knew Grandma, tell me what you remember about spending time with her.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tulips are Popping Up

Well, now, here it is March already. Time seems to go faster every day. This is a month filled with family birthdays for our family.

I have some tulips that are popping up in my flower garden along with the daffodils. It let's me know that spring is on the way with all it's beauty and pleasant weather. I have been working on some family history again and came across another writing of Grandma Smarty. Today, I'll share with with you, thanks to Dinah for sending it to me a couple of years ago.

"There is one [tulip] that has been most faithful of all. I look for it each spring on the west side of the sidewalk that goes out a short ways south of the south porch. It has been there for I suppose forty years and comes up each spring and no matter how dry and unfavorable the conditions may be it never fails to put up at least a little purple blossom. I like it much not for its beautiful bloom for most times it doesn't amount to much but because it is faithful and does its best in spite of whatever may come. I have known a few people like that. The places where they found themselves weren't pleasant and the way may have been hard but they were there doing what they could with what they had. I think of my cousin Belle xxxxx who lived in Benkleman. She grew up with her dad having run off and left his family to be raised by a weak mother. She married too young and had too many kids and nevert had enough money to hardly have enough to eat. But she never complained and was such a calm fine old lady taking care of herself and others who needed care even until she was past eighty five. A fine, fine woman."

Grandma Smarty was a special person herself. She was able to see the beauty in what most people would pass by. She was also able to see the beauty in the people she knew. Grandma loved us for the beauty inside, not for how we looked or what we did, because I'm sure all of us have done things we're now ashamed of. She looked past those things and saw the goodness within. I'm sure this has had an effect on all of us who knew her and that it helped us to become good people.