Category Archives: Retirement

Silly Pictures


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My step-grandfather was a pleasant addition to our family when I was a child. We’d already moved to our ‘big house‘, as we dubbed it, when Gramma and Nick came for supper and I noticed her diamond ring. Of course I had to be the one to shout it out to everyone first! Since our house was brand new and my Mama had splendidly decorated it, the wedding was to be held in our home as we welcomed Nick to our family. Over the years, as we grew up, every once-in-awhile Nick would buy a new film cartridge and deem that the entire roll of film was gonna be used for ‘SILLY PICTURES’. What fun we had taking these photographs, usually to the dismay of my Gramma and Mama, who liked their pictures of all of us poised and smiling.

Nick’s name was Harold Nicoson but everybody called him Nick. I’m rather sure that, other than family members and bankers, most people were unaware that his actual first name was Harold. I grew up in a teeny-tiny town with approximately 40 houses and my Gramma and Nick were next-door neighbors. Gramma was widowed first when Grandpa Joe died. Nick and his wife Amy were very close friends with Gramma, so when Amy got sick she asked Gramma to watch over Nick. Our family lived a couple of houses away from Gramma so we were accustomed to seeing Nick on a regular basis. His wife was sweet and quiet even tho he seemed gruff but nice, always hollering at the neighborhood kids as we rode our bikes up-and-down the road. When Nick was widowed, Gramma and some of the other neighbors made sure that Nick had meals to eat, otherwise he probably wouldn’t have bothered. Gramma had an old-fashioned front porch. I remember sipping tea and eating cheese-curls (Mama didn’t allow it but Gramma did!) with my Gramma and she’d allow me to bring any of my friends that I wanted also. Sometimes Nick would join us but I usually found an excuse to leave because I thought he was grumpy. Over time he softened and we started including him in our holidays because he didn’t have any kinfolk (that we knew of at the time). My Mama and Gramma were always good about not wanting anyone to be alone on holidays. Sometime during those years, Gramma and Nick must’ve fallen in love. I certainly didn’t see it happening, but then I was a child so how would I? It took much longer than a year for our new house to be built. Then Gramma, and Nick too once they married, moved into our old house (next door, incidentally) and their 2 small houses were sold.

Nick never allowed us to call him Grandpa. That was okay, I had a fantastic Grandpa already. He lived a bit further down the road and also joined us for supper most evenings. So I felt blessed, as I know that Gramma did when she ‘got Nick‘. She always told everyone what a good man he was. With my Gramma he was very affectionate in a playful way, as well as amiable and kind. I don’t think she’d had this much FUN in either of her other marriages before! So she was finally getting to enjoy her older age and that made our family happy. He loved his 2 stepdaughters tremendously and quit being the grouch that I’d remembered, turning into an amusing, merry, cheerful step-grandfather that we loved having around! Then when all of us Grandkids had our own children….at last he allowed them to call him ‘Great-Grandpa’! And you know what? I do believe that he enjoyed that title! He and Gramma seemed to love being Great-Grandparents. During the 4-year period that my own 3 children and I lived in my Hoosier hometown (following divorce), it was an awesome experience for these 3 ‘Air Force brats‘ to stay in one place and to revel in the company of having a set of Great-Grandparents plus two sets of Grandparents living IN THE SAME TOWN!

One of Nick’s most cherished photo that he took of me is one that I am NOT particularly fond of, nor will I share it. Whenever I’d come home from college, my Gramma would make a dessert for me that was aptly called ‘Cherry Delight‘ and it was my all-time favorite. Nick totally caught me by surprise as I had the big pan in front of me and was just preparing to serve it with a big spoon. He snapped the picture in such a way that it looks as if I’m about to dig in and eat that entire thing by myself! (this was before the days of being able to ‘crop‘ photos, yet he still managed to get the picture without any of the dessert plates or any other people in it) Of course he wanted to show the photo to as many folks that he possibly could!

The photo above is probably my favorite of our SILLY PICTURES. We’re standing atop a big stump while Gramma took the photo. Usually when Gramma would take the photos of the 2 of us, the pictures weren’t as silly or as ‘adventurous’. When Nick and I took turns taking pictures of each other, it wasn’t until about a week later when the drugstore would have the roll of film developed, that the real fun would begin! That’s when Nick would often, and I do mean OFTEN, get hollered at….first by Gramma and then by my Mama….when the photos of me doing crazy stunts like climbing onto the roof via the antenna (we both got into trouble for that one!) or holding onto the same side of the fence that the big angry bull was on or rolling in the dirt of Gramma’s carefully-tended garden. Good memories nonetheless with my stepgrandfather. I’m sure he’s told his pals in heaven all about our SILLY PICTURES already! We we fortunate to have Nick in our family.

Kindred Spirits

small zoo in Kauai 1987

I look sideways to smile at my handsome son as we stop at the convenience store…..he mutters “what?”, to which I reply that he’s still such a cutie after all these years. He makes an annoying-but-oh-so-familiar double-click with his tongue & rolls his eyes. However ‘macho’ he may be at age 28, I can’t help but notice that he’s still stifling a bit of a grin! He asks if I want anything in the store….nope, just the usual weekend lottery tickets.

I think back to when he was in elementary school, the class clown yet still a straight-A student…..a little guy yet always surrounded by a dozen little girls…..ornery but somehow still managing to be ‘teachers pet’! My Joey, my baby boy, the youngest. My Big Surprise–arriving exactly 2 weeks less than a year after his sister. I’ve been told that means they’re ‘Irish Twins’ & that it’s more difficult than having real twins. Nope! He was always the calm one, the easygoing child whereas the other 2 were as hyperactive as could be! But not my Joey! Having 3 children within 4 years kept me extremely busy but the time just flittered by. I always wondered that God knew that I couldn’t handle another hyper kiddie so he gave me my darling Joey. What a blessing!

I somehow knew that Joey would be the best driver in the family and that has most definitely turned out to be true. I did NOT plan for him to have to take over MY own personal driving though, at only age 57, because of my health! I feel bad, and often angry, that I now have to call upon my kiddies to take me places. This leaves me feeling useless & I don’t like having to be reliant upon someone else for transportation. Grrrrr! But of course he doesn’t even complain. God has surely blessed me with this wonderful son!

I glance over at the car parked next to me. There’s an older gentleman a bit older than me. A lady comes out with 2 cups, gets into the car, & hands 1 to him & says “here’s a treat for you, Dad”. His eyes light up, then he takes a sip & tells her “I just won’t test my blood sugar today”! How cute (and, oh my….but don’t I do the same thing once in awhile? Shhhh)! Probably another parent-child pair doing the same thing. I catch a glimpse of the the older gentleman’s eyes. I’m thinking that this probably isn’t the way that he’d expected his so-called ‘golden years’ to have turned out either. For a swift moment in an otherwise uneventful day, our eyes meet and we share a teeny bond that 2 old folks understand and that our kids probably do not and will not. Hopefully they never will either. My prayer is that my children will not have to become dependent upon their children as early in their old age as I did. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be; I most definitely didn’t have this in my plans, nor even within the outer reaches of my imagination!

Well, there they go, the lady and her dad…..and here comes my Joey out of the store. So off we go to do my banking & have lunch out someplace for OUR treat!

Here’s Me…….

57th birthday  I’m Jeannie….I consider myself to be a ‘misplaced Hawaiian’ because even tho I am proud to be Hoosier-born & raised, I’m currently living   in central Florida but am always trying to get back to my fave place: Hawaii! Eleven times I’ve been there so far; I attended college there,    even lived on Oahu while my 3 kiddies were young & my (now-ex)hubby was away on an Air Force mission far up north on the Arctic    Circle….and I’ve proclaimed that trip #12 will be a one-way trip!

 I decided to start a blog because I like to write. I have a lot of memories that I’d like to preserve before I forget them. I’m ‘supposedly  handicapped’ now and this is not something that I feel that I wanna just accept and sit around awaiting my mind to forget everything. So I’ll  recall little jaunts and happinesses, perhaps even toss in an opinion occasionally, and eagerly see where this new adventure/journey takes  me!

 I’ve been actively involved in the Travel & Tourism Industry for most of my adult life, even before college. This has always been rewarding and enriching to me. During college in Honolulu in the 70s I worked for a Vacation Club and also as a tour guide. Through the years I’ve been employed at various other Vacation Clubs, Travel Agencies, timeshares, and reservation centers. I have traveled extensively throughout each & every inhabited Hawaiian Island (altho I’ve only been to the ‘forbidden’ private island of Niihau once as a guest of a resident). I’ve also traveled to 16 of the countries of Europe, many of the Caribbean & Pacific Isles, and several countries in Central & South America. Having lived in central Florida for lotsa years now, I’ve happily played a role that surprisingly has given my 3 adult children & myself a giant cheerful Mouse as a wonderful boss! This has also allowed me to see situations in a new and Magical way that indeed allows me a very unique outlook. Even tho I am considered ‘mostly retired’, I still get a tremendous amount of joy in helping others plan their vacations! I consider myself to be an EXPERT in 2 areas: Hawaii & Disney! I still make myself available, at no additional charge, to help out tour groups (I’m an excellent tour guide) of vets, handicapped, elderly, etc. and do so willingly and happily because this is my way of ‘giving back’! Just because I am now considered ‘disabled’ by a stupid label does not mean that I am not ABLE to still enjoy helping others to have fun!

I invite you to come along for my latest journey!