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Sunday, February 29, 2004


I need to do some research on the years Louis spent in the Army. Since today is Sunday again I am taking the day off from blog writing. I shall be back tomorrow with one of his longest trips.

I leave you with another one of my poems that is appropriate for Sunday. Most of the time our ideals are too lofty for God. We want to build mountains while He only wants ant hills. We get so caught up in “doing” - all He wants is our “being.”


Commitment was only a word to me
A word so easily spoken,
A promise made for many reasons
And all too often, broken.

Oh I’ve built a mountain of good intentions
And though each was a solemn vow,
With every new day or come setting sun,
I could see where I’d failed, somehow.

One day as I watched an ant hill
Being shaped out of hard rocky ground,
My mind came off of the mountain
And true commitment I found.

We don’t learn to walk by running,
Nor does Trust build Her house in a day,
Like the ant we must be faithfully willing
To pick up and carry God’s clay.

Have a great Sunday……
Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Saturday, February 28, 2004


Having worked at an airport in Los Angeles for a short time one of the pilots took a liking to Louis and told him he’d better go home. He arranged for one of his pilots to let him ride along on a trip east. It was just a small plane but Louis got on. He was dropped at Chandler, Oklahoma when the weather became unfavorable. With his usual tenacity he managed a trip out with a company plane and made it back to Omaha. Yes, there really are angels unawares.

Of course we were overjoyed to see him and the stories were told and re-told for years after, always with a belly laugh and the unmistakable look of accomplishment on his face. In two months my dad sold out and we made the move to Missouri where it was just a stopping place for Louis.

Life back in the hills of South Central Missouri was still primitive with their own ideas about living and government. I figured it was much the same as Tennessee, the Virginia’s and Carolina’s. In May of 1945 when we moved it was beautiful and pristine …….but so backward it was almost humorous. The way people talked was like a “B” movie about hillbillies. However, we never made sport of them or were disrespectful.

I can understand why mom and dad were so content with their new location. After the stress of the war years in the plumbing business, the strange disappearance of uncle Robert and grandpa Andersen hanging himself it was like checking in at a rehab with no rules. They loved the area and became a part of it where Louis and I couldn’t.

The barn was the best building on the place. In fact, it was beautiful compared to the pitiful offering of a house. Mom and dad busied themselves making the place livable, buying some cows, pigs, chickens and a team of horses. There was no end to the work which dad incorporated for all of us.

We helped cut trees for wood, helped with cutting it up and getting it to the house. We burned the timber floor in the fall to kill the ticks, fleas and all the critters that like living in the woods. We helped with the haying and corn planting…butchering, gardening….milking and taking care of the animals. My dad was working overtime to get the place in the shape he envisioned. To Louis and me it looked like an endless endeavor that was never going anywhere. I guess we never bought into the idea.

He started school in the fall at Cabool riding a school bus to and from. The other option was a smaller town and school at Summersville which I chose. There were two bus routes available to us. He was in the junior year as his credits from Omaha were current with the curriculum for that grade at Cabool. The fact he quit school in February didn’t hold him back at all. I started my freshman year.

Louis got on the football team and in no time had a lot of friends. He enjoyed school at the time because it took him into civilization and away from the farm. He stuck with it until school was out the next Spring and then began the campaign to get the folks to let him join the Army. After visiting the recruiter in Cabool he came home with papers and they could see his mind was on leaving so they signed.

This time he would be leaving but with the permission of mom and dad. The body language as they both signed the papers was so sad. They knew this leaving would be his last from home……….but with the motion of the pen…….they let him go.

The date of his enlistment was June 6, 1946.

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Friday, February 27, 2004


I have been looking for the letter and cards that Louis sent when he left home. Imagine my surprise when I found them this morning. The odd thing about it is that the note left was dated February 27th 1945 which is exactly 59-years ago this very day. I guess I was meant to find them on the anniversary of his leaving.

As I sat and read them I decided to share them since it is the perfect time in his story. Who says there is no God who schedules our days? He is never early or late but always on time. I am blessed to have found them today.

I miscalculated the time he left. He was sixteen as I said but the month was February 1945 rather than the summer of 1944. I was twelve at the time so my memory slipped a tad these sixty years later.

Here is the letter and the cards as he wrote them:

February 27th, 1945

Dear Mom and Dad,

I guess this news will be pretty shocking to you but I can’t help it. I’ll go to night school at my forwarding address. I’ll write my next address as soon as I get one. I tried to study but I just couldn’t this way I’ll work for what I get. Dad quit in the 7th grade and he isn’t doing so bad. Please don’t call Maxine’s folks because that’ll only make things worse. She don’t know whats happening.

It isn’t as bad as you think there isn’t a thing to worry about and Dad don’t blame mom because if theres anybody to blame, blame me. Its all my idea. If the school calls up just tell them I quit. I enclosed this reciept because if dady finds time to put the Auston back together he can have the fifteen $15.00 dollars for his work. I would like to have kept the Auston but it would have coast to much anyhow.

Please don’t send the police, because I want to see how I can get along on my own. When I get settled I’ll mail as much as I can spare out of my paycheck.

I may go to Minesoto, Florida, California. Hear’s the way I look at it, I’ve got two a one half year’s of school lift and a year and a half to go to the ARMY, so I’ll make the best of it now.

Don’t think I’m leaving because of you because I think you’re the swellest parents there are.

Love and goodby,


March 1, 1945 Postcard from Cheyenne, Wyo.

Dear Mom and Pop

Making pretty good time so far. I ought to see the mountains tomorrow. Cheyenne is 6,000 feet higher than Omaha and its harder to breath. Tell pop if he wants to go duck hunting go to Ogolala. Well gotta go now Love Looie

Postcard from Los Angeles. March 14, 1945

Dear Folks

Well Im here now but I had a hard time finding a room. I’m a guard. In an airport so Buster hasn’t anything on me. I really had a time in Los Vegas, The M.P.’s picked me up twice and the police once. They was nice though they bougt me a meal and got me a ride into Los Angles

The mountains are kind of pretty but there to cold for me. I saw the ocean but it was kind of fogy I could faintly see a tanker out there every now and then it would make a hollow graon. Well the people Here want me to get something from the store when I mail this so I gotta go. Love Looie

Postcard from Chandler Oklahoma March 18, 1945

Dear Folks

Have been held over by bad flying weather

I’m writing 800 feet off the ground Love Looie

I typed them as he wrote them. I am still hyped over the fact it was this very date 59 years ago today. Talk about timing………it would be impossible for me to relay the emotions felt by mom, dad and myself between the cards received. All I can say is how happy we were to see him come home again……………….

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 26, 2004


After grandma Andersen came to live with us Louis moved to the basement. There were stairs and an outside door so it was perfect for him and his pals to come and go without tramping through the kitchen. His room was a favorite snooping place for me. There were model airplanes hanging from the ceiling along with all sorts of junk that boys like. I made routine visits to check it out.

When mom went to call Louis for breakfast from the top of the basement steps she never knew who would emerge. Sometimes he had one, two or more buddies who decided to spend the night. They would be working on a project of some kind and it would be too late to go home. They all knew mom usually had pancakes for breakfast fare and she always made them feel welcome.

One morning mom called Louis to breakfast and we began eating. She called a second time and a third, then went down to see if he was asleep. She found the bed empty with a note on top of the covers. It said he and his buddy, Tom Stuart, were hitch-hiking to California and he would write when he got there. Mom instantly panicked, Dad got mad and I thought it was very exciting. “Just like the movies,” I ventured but the comment was lost in the flurry of the moment.

For some time the folks tried to reason why he would do such a thing but in the end their reasoning made no more sense than the note. Dad went to work, mom was clearing the table in a frozen act of routine and I wondered if I would ever see him again. One day a post-card came in the mail. They made it to California and he was driving a delivery truck for a florist. His card sounded cavalier and enthusiastic. He sent another card or two and then we didn’t hear for a while. I will never forget the look on mom’s face when she got the next one. It simply said, “I am coming home. Love Louie”

When dad came home and she showed him the card I was surprised that he wasn’t as happy as we were about it. He took the attitude that he left and he could just stay gone…..he wouldn’t be welcoming him back with open arms…..on and on…… However the day Louis came up the steps and in the front door we were all overjoyed, dad included. For days he told stories of his adventure. One time they couldn’t get another ride and it was dark and isolated in a hilly wooded area. They heard sounds that sent them scurrying up a sign board and they stayed there the rest of the night. Mom and dad would listen and shake their heads. My brother’s laugh and his jolly recollections of the experience soon eased mom’s mind and she was able to join in with the moment.

Louis had a taste of the larger world and was looking forward to getting out of school and finding a job. He did drive for another florist in Omaha and even worked inside some. He made an arrangement for mom once that she prized. It was a flat pottery dish with dried moss around a mirror with a little green frog on it. The impression being the mirror was a lake and there were a few other little items around the lake edge to make it more realistic. Long after that was gone from so many moves my mother still kept the little lead frog that was painted green. I am sure it is in her things somewhere waiting for me to find it.

One thing I was surprised to find was the card telling us he was coming home. When mom showed it to him he let out a rich unbelieving laugh. “Oh yah?” he said. “I wondered if it would ever get to you.” He had been given a ride in a small local aircraft for part of the way home and seeing a couple of girls below he wrote the note, tied it to a pair of pliers and pitched it out. He figured they would never find it and if they did they wouldn’t mail it.

It tells a lot about a person when you look through things they saved during their life. The small, insignificant looking items to anyone else is very precious to the one who kept it. In her things I came across the letter he wrote when he left. I had not seen it since the day he left. The contents held me spellbound as I read the words. He didn’t want them to be hurt or for them to think he didn’t appreciate them. He wrote that he felt he had the best parents in the world ….but this was something he had to do. Then he wrote, “Dad, don’t blame mom for this, if you blame anyone, blame me.”

I looked at the yellowed paper and the envelope………..and felt the presence of my brother and my parents…….

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Everything that was anything was effected by the war. Long lines of young men strung out from every recruiting station across the land. Men that were too old and boys that were too young wanted to sign up. Dad wasn’t the right age for either war and was classified as essential to the home effort….with a wife and two children he never made a different classification.

Every day the newspapers carried stories of kids who lied about their age and saw the worst of the battle. Even today everyone knows the story of Audie Murphy. The guys who were underweight ate bananas to qualify…the ones who wanted in the Marine’s and were turned down for sleep-walking or flat feet, having to wear glasses etc; went from there to the Navy, Army, or Coast Guard until someone took them.

As for our family we were only conscious of the domestic ways that effected us. At school we were urged to plant Victory Gardens, and once a week we were given the chance to buy War Bonds and Stamps. We wrote to servicemen and had reports taken from the media.

Mom and dad didn’t have it that easy. I remember mom dealing with Ration Stamps and trying to mete it out so she could buy what she needed. Dad was given extra gas stamps because he was in business and he fixed flats rather than use up his tire allotments. The business was hard hit because of metal shortages. Being in the plumbing business lead pipe was necessary to pass inspections for water and sewer lines. Sometimes they would have to wait until supplies came through.

Louis was growing into an adult when all this was going on. At the start of the war he was thirteen years old and in Boy Scouts…..later joining the Nebraska State Guard. He was handsome and had great communication skills. His resonant voice is something I remember and miss. Our uncle Buster and he had the same voice quality and were hard to distinguish over the telephone. Two things I admire are eye contact and voice quality. They had both.

Louis was called to duty with the “Guard” when the Alcorn River was flooding it’s banks west of Omaha. He and his buddy, Tom Stuart, were excited about going. They packed and dad took them to the pick-up address. Of course it was fun reading about it all in the paper since he was involved in it and the following Sunday we went to visit the area.

We found him with a bunch of guys….in just a few days we couldn’t believe how “grown up” he looked. He had a cocky swagger and wore his hat in a flippant way……dad laughed when he saw him. Mom chocked up when she realized how adult he was looking. I was just proud because he looked so “official.” The Governor of Nebraska was there touring the area and dad pointed him out to me and said I should go get his autograph. The governor at the time was Dwight W. Griswold. I approached with my autograph book I always had with me and when he saw me approaching he reached for my pen and book. The first thing he said was, “Is your family with you?”………….when I told dad he laughed. He said, “Esther you just met your first politician. He wants to make sure we vote for him next election.”

Louis came home in a few days and it was hard for him to settle back into the routine of school and being home. From that day on he was restless to get on with his life……his sights were set far beyond 4237 Lake Street……….and we never dreamed how far he would go……….

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


My brother, Louis Lee Andersen, was born October 9, 1928. He weighed 9lbs. 2ounces. He was the first grandchild in the Stricklett family and was born at grandma and grandpa’s home. Being the first child the family took a lot of pictures. Mom and dad couldn’t afford them but aunt Beulah and uncle Ted were in the developing business and kept them supplied. I have enjoyed the pictures over the years….he was a poster boy baby at the time with blonde hair and big brown eyes.

He was with my folks through some of their very hard times and weathered the storms with them. He grew up to school age with very little allowances made for him. He had to walk over a mile to school and it had to be hard on him the first few years. Of course it didn’t seem strange to mom and dad because in their background kids walked further than that.

I honestly don’t remember too much of Louis until I was in the second grade. By the time I was school-age they sent me to Blair to stay with grandma and go to school there. They decided the mile walk in harsh winter weather might be more than I should deal with. When the year was up the folks moved further into Omaha and our trailer dad built was parked in the yard of a large old home. Businesses were built around it but that part of the block still had two beautiful turn of the century homes. The one where we parked had been turned into an apartment building. Two old maid sisters lived in the other and still wore clothes like “Little House on the Prairie.”

Louis was in the fifth grade when we moved to that location and I began the second grade. In a little over a year mom and dad saved enough to buy a house. We were then in the middle of the third grade for me and the sixth for Louis. We lived there the longest of any address in Omaha.

When I think of him now after all the years he has been gone I see him in a far different light. His artistic nature came out in everything he did. He was fond of making figures out of modeling clay….mom kept a piece he made of a soldier with his hands in his pocket. He let it dry and then painted it. I ran across it some time back in my mother’s things along with a small wood box with a metal top that had a hole-punched design on it. There was a wooden letter holder with a wood leaf decoration on the front. Those pieces are very precious to me now.

He was fond of making armies from lead he melted in tin cans on the old gas stove. I liked to hang around and watch him pour the lead into the molds. He had great patience and made model airplanes from the instructions, following every detail. I never had the interest to even sit and watch him with that. It was far too slow and technical for me.

Louis joined the Boy Scouts and had a shirt and neckerchief of the uniform. The patches he achieved were hard won. Dad worked from daylight to dark most of the time so couldn’t support his efforts. Whatever he accomplished was on his own. He was wearing that shirt the Sunday of December 7, 1941. We listened to the radio as planes bombed and strafed the fleet in Pearl Harbor…….and heard President Roosevelt declare war in his famous speech. It was a day that changed the America we knew ………….and certainly changed all of us.

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Monday, February 23, 2004


Today I planned to write of my brother’s journey and became lost in contemplation. Instead I will share a poem I wrote some time ago and hope that it speaks to you. Suffering and sorrow are two events we would avoid if given the opportunity, yet are wonderful disciplines to forge deep character and broaden understanding. They are levelers of pride and prejudice and become great teachers. The wise make peace with them - the noble seek them.


There is a field called Suffering
where gleaners come each day,
And the mercy of the Owner there
bids them all to stay.

It is true their toil is harder
and not many ask to go,
But the harvest that is found there
is sweeter than others know.

Suffering grants a bountiful crop
to all who work Her field,
For the gleaners bring in the last
of the Master’s precious yield.

There is a secret the gleaners know
who pick this field of sorrow,
Our Lord who suffered most is there
to heal our every tomorrow.

Until then,

Essentially Esther

Sunday, February 22, 2004


The Stricklett family were some of the first settlers of Washington County, Nebraska as were the Bouvier’s. My grandmother had a strong sense about her and was an astute business woman. Grandpa was a thoughtful man who loved music and his family. He played the fiddle and after he passed away it always sat by the piano in the living room.

After grandma was widowed she sat about making sure the children had a good education. Three of the children went to college while the other three married and moved away. There was always chatter about some new book or a community event that they were all part of. Grandma was a charter member of the Congregational Church at Blair. Her children followed suit and belonged there until moving away or as my two uncles who married women from other churches and attended with them.

The Strickletts were artistic and musical and strongly believed in higher education. The girls all played the piano and everyone sang. They would often gather around the piano and sing while grandma rocked in time to the music.

Inabelle, Sally and Roger did a lot of solo work which continued throughout their lives. Aunt Sally sang with the Sweet Adelines, often writing the theme and working on costumes. Roger organized the Melody Men and they toured for many years.

While grandma was a no-nonsense type she could be affectionate and had great respect for all of her children. She would cock her head to the side while listening and give her full attention, smiling and slightly nodding as you went on with your story. She was always learning and encouraging the rest of us to attempt great things.

The family had confidence without pride and humility without hypocrisy. They all enjoyed what ability they had and served their respective communities well. One day when I was quite small I asked grandma why she was always so “good”……… she thought for a moment and then said, “Well I always thought people should be good and I decided that it was going to be me‘…………..I have followed after her for a long time but my shoe still doesn’t fit her footprints…………I’ll have to go further down the road……………..

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Saturday, February 21, 2004


The Andersen men were physical and hard working. They were raised tough on the farms grandpa had but none of them ended up farming. Life demanded them to be men when they were only boys. Once away from the farms they all ended up mechanically motivated. They learned to fix anything with whatever was available.

As a little girl I remember dad and my uncles laughing about their feats of strength on the farm……..the corn-picking contests, plowing by moonlight, wrestling each other and dumping the loser in the horse-tank…their stories went on and on. There were regional bouts as well for they remembered their neighbors mostly by their nationalities………….the big Swede, the German, the Finn, old man so and so the Dane.

As they were able to have cars their competitive spirit turned to racing each other. They told wild stories about racing trains, racing horses and buggy’s trying to head each other off by going down in the ditch and across the field……..they were wild and wonderful to listen to and always interrupted with lots of laughter by all. They played as hard as they worked.

I remember them all with great admiration for where they came from and where their journey took them. I loved hearing the soft spoken Dane language when visiting grandma and grandpa. They would talk a while and then silence would fall as they remembered old friends, neighbors and family. Grandma and grandpa read the Danish paper and would relay news from back in Denmark. It was foreign to my dad and uncles but my grandparents spoke with a longing in their voice.

They made several trips back to the “old country” but as they grew older the trip was too hard on them. Though some of their family came to America over the years familiar sights and sounds still called to my grandparent’s. In their hearts they were very connected to their mother country.

The Andersen’s were not musical or interested in the arts. They only had time for work and their pride was in their strength. Some of the boys reached the eighth grade and some never went to school but they were all gifted in achieving their goals. I am indebted to the Andersen’s for passing on their strength of purpose, their honesty and ability to adapt.

Now that I am in the Fall of my life I wanted to pass the torch to my children. It is important to me that the Andersen’s are remembered………it is important to me to leave a light to follow……….

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Friday, February 20, 2004

Uncle Buster 

Roger Bouvier Stricklett was born June 27th 1925. He was the youngest child of grandma and grandpa and born in the Blair home as Sally was. When mom and dad married, grandma was six months pregnant with him which was a twenty-one year spread between mom, the oldest, and him. He was given the nick-name of Buster by grandpa.

Little Sally (who was three years old at the time) called my mother the morning of his birth and asked, “do you know what we have at our house?” Of course he was always adored by the family as the “baby.” Uncle Buster was ten years old when grandpa died and was surrounded by the women in the family from that day on. He had the auburn hair and brown eyes my mother did and they were always “soul-mates.”

Buster was a bit of a trial for grandma. She was forty-two when he was born and without the male presence in the house and three of the girls still at home she didn’t have a lot of time to mother him. When he was older he came to visit us often when he wasn’t in school. We were like a second family to him and he enjoyed the companionship of my folks. He and I often traded places as it was a treat for both of us. I would go to Blair and he would stay with my folks. My dad was in the plumbing business at the time and would take him along. The male jokes and men’s company was something my dad thought he needed. He would hand him a shovel and tell him to “git to diggin,” and they would have a contest to see who could dig their hole faster. Dad always paid him well and I’m sure that and the comradeship were most welcome.

Buster had a rich voice and a constant laugh. Dad loved to tease him or spin a long yarn about something hilarious and they would both laugh so hard they’d roll on the floor holding their sides. Mom would grin and chuckle but I don’t remember her ever erupting with riotous laughter. She would dish up dessert and we would sit around the table eating and enjoying the moment. Those were good times that we all laughed about the rest of our lives.

He graduated high school in Blair where his five siblings had before him. It was 1943 and he enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadets the same year. He served in the Pacific until 1946. Upon returning home he worked at an oil company in Omaha and in 1949 was employed by Vinton Motor Company in Blair. He started out as a salesman and was recognized many times for his achievements. He then took on the job of accountant, assistant and later general manager. He remained until he retired in 1991.

He always loved music as the rest of the family had. Must have been in the genetic line from grandpa who also loved music and played the fiddle. He sang in the choir at church and later formed a men’s chorus called the “Melody Men.” The group became very popular and made appearances throughout Nebraska and Iowa. They were commissioned “Admirals in the Great Navy of Nebraska” and were chosen to introduce the new State song, “Beautiful Nebraska,” while representing Nebraska at the New York World’s Fair in 1965.

He was very active in the community and became prosperous as uncle Bud did. He married Phyllis Petersen in 1949 and they had three children, Roger Phillip, Julie Ann and Joy Elizabeth. They remained in Blair and built a home on the property where he grew up, at grandma’s.

I rarely called him “uncle” Buster. He was more like a brother to me. He was only three years older than my brother, Louis, and seven years older than me. We all grew up very close. After retirement he still wanted something to do with his time so he drove a school bus several years for the Blair School System. He always had control over his passengers with his quick wit and his fun personality.

The last year he was driving he became very ill with what he thought was a bad cold or maybe pneumonia. It turned out to be lung cancer and his health deteriorated rapidly. Rocky and I made a quick trip to Nebraska to see him and the next day he was released to go home with Hospice care. Aunt Phyllis and his children gave him their constant attention and we were glad we could be there his last days.

At times we would be the only two in the room and we had the opportunity to tell each other our feelings and love for each other. We were to go home the next day but he turned his head in our direction and said, “why don’t you stay another day, Esther”…………….I said if he wanted us to we would. When it came time to say goodbye I bent over to kiss him and he said weakly, “have a good trip home, Esther”………………I kissed him and whispered, “and you have a good trip home too, Buster”……….we both knew we would never see each other again this side of heaven and it was our last goodbye until we meet again…………….

The memory of him is constant…I miss his rich voice and laughter….I miss my oldest brother………….he passed away six days later………..

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Coral Jean Stricklett was the fifth child of grandma and grandpa. She was born on January 1st 1922. Her nick-name was Sally and she was only ten years older than me. When I stayed at grandma’s it was fun to tag along after her to see what was going on. The year I went to school in Blair we walked back and forth together. I was five and she was 15. I remember she was in the pep club and wore a white sweater with a purple pepper on it. Of course they were called the Purple Peppers. To this day I don’t know why, I never thought to ask.

She was the first one of the six children to be born in the home at Blair. She was only three years old when my mother married and it was hard for her to understand why mom would not be coming back home. Aunt Mary and aunt Inabelle became the ones to fill that place for her.

She was outgoing and pretty. She had light blue eyes and blonde hair; taller than her sisters and slender. She was always fun because she was closer to my age than the other aunts. I liked to sit on the bed and watch her put on her make-up when she was getting ready for a date. I day-dreamed about growing up and dating like aunt Sally.

When she graduated high school grandma had saved enough money to send her to Midland College. She met a man at church that captured her heart and after her graduation from college, they were married. My mother was an excellent baker and Sally wanted her to make her wedding cake. I shall never forget the pressure my mom was under. I have written of her generic kitchen and the old gas stove. Mom rolled her sleeves up and went to work the day before. She baked all of the cakes that she would put together the next day with icing.

In those days boiled icing was all the rage and that’s what mom wanted to make. I can see her yet standing over the pan of icing with a rotary egg beater trying to get it to the right spreading consistency. The cake was large with several layers and after one batch of icing was put on she would return to the stove, stirring and cooking, then beating for the next application. I don’t remember how many batches of icing she made but it was a sticky day and mom was worried the whole time that the icing would slide off the cake.

Once she labored through the cake and icing she began to decorate. With her small decorator tube she put flowers and leaves in a beautiful pattern all over the cake. It was white on white….the icing and decorations were all white. When mom finished she was worn out. The cake was a work of art. That left the job of transporting it to Blair where the wedding was to take place. Blair was twenty-five miles north of Omaha so the cake would have to endure the trip to arrive safely.

That was where dad came in. He was always the “go to” guy when there was a problem. He rigged up a box container in the trunk of the car that would hold the cake in place, then carried the cake to the box. He carried the delicate treasure to the car and got it safely in. Mom suffered through every bump in the road expecting the worst when we arrived at the church that afternoon. When they opened the trunk, everything was in place and I noticed dad breathed a little easy as well. He carried it into the church basement and placed it on the table. That being done they both began to relax. Mom said she would never make another wedding cake but years later she was to make one for her granddaughter, Becky.

Uncle Rod had polio in his young life and he wore heavy metal braces on his legs and used crutches to walk. We always admired him because he made it such a non-event. He didn’t ask for favors and was very independent in his handicap. Over the years they had six children. Coral Jean, Janet, Bruce, Joyce, Marsha and Mark. They had the same sex and numbers in order that grandma and grandpa had. Two girls and a boy, two girls and a boy. Their home was always lively and yes………cluttered.

Uncle Rod died February 11, 1980. Aunt Sally remained alone and in their large home at Hastings, Nebraska until September last year. She had suffered some health problems and moved to Omaha to live in an extended care apartment. Her daughter, Joyce, lives nearby and sees that her needs are taken care of. Aunt Sally is eighty-two now and enjoys the social atmosphere of her surroundings along with her stamp collection she continues to work on. She is the last surviving sibling of my mother’s…………………..

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Aunt Inabelle was born May 27, 1915. She was the fourth child born to grandma and grandpa and the last child to be born at DeSoto. They moved to Blair in 1916 so she was only one year old at the time.

With two older sisters and a brother she fit right in as a playmate. She and my mother looked more alike in their coloring. Aunt Mary and uncle Bud had light blue eyes; she had red hair while his was black. Mom and aunt Inabelle had brown eyes; mom’s hair was deep auburn, Inabelle’s was black. Two of the children had the coloring of grandpa and two of them had grandma’s coloring. They were all nice looking.

The family called Inabelle, Snooks, which was a nick-name grandpa gave her. He had a nick-name for most of the children, however, mom and aunt Mary didn’t have one. I went to school at Blair my first year and lived with grandma. Inabelle was living at home and worked for a lawyer and his family as their housekeeper. She took care of their two children as well. She was well-suited as she was easy going and got things done without a lot of fuss. Aunt Inabelle had graduated from high-school the night I was born and my middle name of Belle is in her honor. It was also one day after her own birthday so I always felt a strong kinship to her.

She enjoyed going to Omaha to visit my mom and dad occasionally and they would take her to the movies or do things she didn’t normally get to do. She was about twenty-two years old when I was in the first grade at the Blair school. When the teacher sent notes home for me to bring Valentines for the Valentine’s box it was aunt Inabelle that got them. It was also a custom at that time to take candy bars to school when it was your birthday and again, it was aunt Inabelle who came through. It probably didn’t mean that much to her but I never forgot her kindness.

She met Tom Powell at church and they began dating. He and aunt Inabelle were made for each other and two years later they married. I remember the preparations very well because, as usual, I was at grandma’s house. I was swinging on the front porch when grandma walked by the front of the house leading her milk cow with a rope. She had her staked out and was taking her to a different part of the yard to graze. The thing that intrigued me was that she was crying. I went in the house and asked aunt Mary why grandma was crying and she said it was because grandma was sad that Snooks would be leaving home. That was the first time I saw two sides of a wedding…….the joy and excitement I could see in aunt Inabelle and uncle Tom and the sorrow grandma was feeling in losing her.

They were married in the home of uncle Tom’s grandparents which was planned to coincide with their 59th wedding anniversary. It was a small wedding but very nice. I have the clipping from my mother’s mementoes with aunt Inabelle’s picture in her wedding dress.

A year later uncle Tom took a position with the Government Printing Office in Washington D.C. Aunt Inabelle joined him as soon as they found a place to live. The year was 1940. When the war broke out he joined the Sea-Bees and was soon shipped out to the Pacific. Aunt Inabelle went to work at the Pentagon and did so until the war was over. When uncle Tom came home they started their family and their first child was a boy, Thomas Edward Powell, and later a girl, Mary Virginia Powell.

This began a trek back to Nebraska once a year for a reunion of the Stricklett family. Over the years aunt Inabelle worked in a doctor’s office but suffered a severe stroke and that ended her working days. Mom and aunt Mary went to see her and did what they could to help after she came home. Uncle Tom was an excellent nurse and devoted his time in caring for her.

Aunt Inabelle recovered fairly well so that she and uncle Tom could continue their trips home to visit. It became a custom for mom and dad to go at the same time so they could all be together. The two guys would do all of the maintenance they could to help aunt Mary and quite often would go to town together for a beer at their favorite hangout. They had a lot of good times together and fond memories.

Aunt Inabelle’s health diminished in later years to the point they sold their home in Virginia and moved to New Hampshire. They bought a home close to their daughter Mary’s and her family. They had some time together before cancer returned to aunt Inabelle along with her other health problems. Uncle Tom was devoted to her care and did all he could to keep her. On a July day he told her he was going to the basement to do some laundry and would be right back. When he returned she had slipped away. The love of his life was gone……….

He is still living and very knowledgeable about computers. He has spent a lot of his later years on genealogy both of his and aunt Inabelle’s families. He keeps active and busy and I marvel at his sharp mind. He has always been an information highway for me. He and aunt Inabelle were special people. My children remember her for the wonderful books she sent every Christmas for them. We read each book a chapter at a time before their bedtime. They still remember the books and the stories ……….while I remember how nice it was to look at their faces as I read to them. They remember uncle Tom because he always had the latest technology in cameras and other gadgetry that fascinated them. John often says his desire to have all the toys uncle Tom did has cost him a fortune.

We hope to keep him around for a long time…………….

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Peter Stricklett was born June 27, 1910. He was the third child of grandma and grandpa Stricklett. He was born in the DeSoto area as mom and aunt Mary were. By the time he was school age the family had moved to Blair where he attended Central grade and high school. There he met his future wife Pearl Svendgaard and they were later married July 31, 1929.

Uncle Bud (as the family called him by grandpa Stricklett’s nickname) was owner and operator of the Standard Oil Station all the time I was growing up. It was where aunt Mary always stopped for gas and a short visit and sometimes he would give me a bottle of pop.

After he sold the station some years later he became the area agent for the same company for more than forty years. He was well known throughout the community and after retiring from Stand Oil he worked in the Washington County Courthouse there in Blair.

He and aunt Pearl had four children, Ronald, Mary Beth, Susan and Patricia. They married and moved away from Blair in various parts of the country and all had professional careers.

Uncle Bud had a heart attack which fully retired him and he spent much of his time growing prize roses. He loved working in the yard and their home was quite a showplace. Later on he was diagnosed with leukemia and after a long battle he lost the fight. He is still survived by his wife, and the four children, spouses and the grandchildren.

He was the one of the aunts and uncles that I was around the least. By the time I came along and spent so much time at grandma’s he was married and had the older two children. When I spent summers at grandma’s I would walk to their home and play with Ronnie and Mary Beth whenever I could.

In remembering uncle Bud I would have to say he looked more like grandpa and had his slow and easy way about him. He was a quiet man but did enjoy visiting. In later years he came to the Ozarks to visit mom and dad, along with aunt Pearl. He loved all the trees and the casual way of the area. My mother and uncle Bud were very close as she was much like him, personality wise.

She told me when she went back to Blair to see him in the hospital he was on life-support and wasn’t able to talk. When she entered the room and he saw her his monitors went crazy. That was her indication that he knew her. It meant a great deal to my mother partly because she had helped take care of him when he was little, being the older sister, but mostly just because she loved him. Uncle Bud was the first of the six children to die. It was very hard on all of the family but hardest on grandma. With grandpa gone years before……. her love and loyalty had gone to her children……losing any of them was something she never thought she would have to face. There is a bond between a mother and her children that never lets go………even into eternity.

I do not have the date of his death or his age at time of death.
Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Monday, February 16, 2004


Aunt Mary Virginia Stricklett was born August 18th, 1906. She was 27-months younger than my mother, Dorothy. The girls were like twins growing up because grandma held mom back from school until aunt Mary could go. Because of that they both graduated high-school together in 1923.

Entering school at DeSoto she would be involved in class-rooms for the next fifty-seven years. She and my mother also attended Goll School before the family moved to Blair in 1916. Once in the larger school where music and art were offered aunt Mary began to shine. She learned to play the piano and art was a subject she fell in love with. Her passion for art led her to Wayne State, Dana and Midland colleges where she earned her Bachlelor’s Degree by going to summer school and night school. It took her twenty years after her graduation from high-school but she was determined to finish.

Her first teaching job was at Fort Calhoun where she had four unforgettable years, teaching fifth and sixth graders. Her beginning salary was $75 per month for nine months. She sandwiched in another year of college at the time and went to Fremont where she remained for thirty-nine years teaching various elementary grades. The remainder of her career was spent teaching art to junior high students for twenty some odd years. She closed the school-room door for the last time in May 1968.

She moved her things home to Blair and stayed there the rest of her life. Grandma’s health was failing and aunt Mary took care of her until she passed away in 1974. The “home place” passed to aunt Mary and she remained there keeping busy with community and church positions. She was able to travel quite a bit with various family members and she enjoyed working on genealogy.

In the fall of 1988 she, grandma and the youngest sister, Sally all came to visit mom and the rest of us here in the Ozarks. She didn’t feel well and when she was back home made arrangements for a good physical check-up. The news came as a shock. She had in-operable cancer and had only a few months to live. She died March 21st, l989.

The statistics of her life do not tell of the person she was. Aunt Mary had great confidence and would try anything. Whereas my mother was gentle and shy, aunt Mary was extremely outgoing. One time the girls were walking home from school and a boy unwittingly threw a snow-ball at my mother. Aunt Mary came to the rescue and took the boy down, rubbing his face in the snow. She was very impulsive, not in a reckless way, but she was the “go to gal” for ideas and projects.

Her red hair, peaches and cream complexion and pale blue eyes made her attractive to men and she was never at a loss for dates. She left a trail of broken hearts over the years clear into her retired years.

She was a favorite of all the nieces and nephews because she was different. She had a freedom and exciting life being a teacher that impressed us greatly. Where our own mothers seemed drab by comparison it never occurred to us that aunt Mary didn’t have the responsibilities of a family. She had full control of every waking moment in her life.

As I grew older I could see that aunt Mary’s life had a lot of holes in it. By the time she would have liked to be married it just never worked out. She was always the teacher, always finding a way to improve our level of understanding and encouraging us to read. She put her mark on us all and left foot-prints of learning for us to follow……………

I know I said I would write of my brother today…….what was I thinking? One of those senior moments! I need to write of my mother’s family…THEN…comes my brother………

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Sunday, February 15, 2004


Since today is Sunday I am taking the day off. Tomorrow I plan to write about my brother, Louis. But while I am away for the day, I leave you with a light-hearted poem I wrote in 1980.


Jesus picked fishermen
and men who planted seeds,
Tax collectors, Pharisees,
And men with every need.

Prostitutes and lepers
He loved them all the same,
Thieves and shady characters
He gave a brand new name.

Why He picked the ones He did
Is more than I can see,
Imagine my surprise when
He even picked me!

Have a great Sunday everyone and I’ll be back tomorrow.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Most people love their own mothers and most mothers love their children. Sadly it is not always true. John and others like him are employed to fix people who were not loved and who cannot love.

We were made to love. Since I am a Christian I believe we were created by God and given the choice to love or not. It’s a simple plan. God only gave ten commandments to help this work. Medically, socially, culturally and legally we find His plan is valid. God won’t, John can’t and other knowledgeable people can not make us love. It’s one of the intangibles that must come from within. For most of us we are shown love through our parents. If we are fortunate we get a good deal of information about right and wrong. Children learn best through the actions of those around them.

Mom was not permissive nor passive. She had strength to wait out a lot of problems. When others lit up the stage she was on the sidelines. Mom didn’t envy anyone or covet what they had and though she had very little she was content. Our dining room linoleum was so worn the pattern was gone but for the most part it never mattered.

She could sit on a broken chair in an old faded “house dress” reading poems out of a weekly paper and rise above her surroundings. Is she to be pitied? Never. Mom reached for the sky………and touched God’s face.

Journey’s End

For every hill I’ve had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song -
These were the things that made me strong!

For all the heartaches and the tears,
For all the anguish and the pain,
For gloomy days and fruitless years,
And for the hopes that lived in vain,
I do give thanks, for now I know
These were the things that helped me grow!

‘Tis not the softer things of life
Which stimulate man’s will to strive;
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep man’s will alive.
O’er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.

Taken from one of the poems she saved.
Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Friday, February 13, 2004


After the death of my dad I took full responsibility of my mother. At the time I had an older brother who lived in Seattle but he was too far away to help. I felt great empathy for mom because her grief was great and she was at an age where she needed help maintaining their home.

I mentioned before that she never had a washing machine. They had always gone to the launder mat to wash their clothes and mom didn’t drive. Rather than continue with that I began washing her clothes each week. I had been cutting and rolling her hair for a long time…then combing it out. I made most of her clothes because as short as she was it was easier to make them from scratch. It was like dressing a doll and fixing her up. I enjoyed doing that.

We helped mom with the maintenance and up-keep as dad had always done. It wasn’t any big deal and it took a lot of worry away from mom. We took her everywhere we went…..church, grocery store, visiting family, vacations…and all that. It was never a problem because she was pleasant and non-complaining.

In 1981 she went back to Blair to visit. One of her sisters and her husband were coming “home” where they all grew up. After grandma Stricklett passed away the property was left to aunt Mary and once a year the siblings would all get together for a family reunion. One night mom got up and became confused when she headed for the bathroom. She took a wrong turn and fell down the steep steps. Everyone in the house got up and came running but mom appeared to be all right. Amazingly she didn’t break anything and only had a few bruises to show for it.

Several days later mom was having some problems and she made a visit to the doctor. She had been having trouble with her speech so the doctor put her in the hospital for observation. During the night she got out of bed and collapsed on the floor unconscious. She wasn’t discovered for about 5-hours. She suffered a severe stroke and heart attack.

Aunt Mary called and we made plans to leave immediately for Blair. When we arrived at the hospital she was in ICU and didn’t know us. She was unable to respond to any family member or the doctor. Her life hung in the balance for several days. My husband and I were both working at the time so we could only stay a week-end with her.

From September until January we left home early on Friday mornings to arrive in Blair after a ten hour drive. I would go to the hospital afternoons and evenings and I would help aunt Mary in the mornings. On Monday mornings we would leave Blair and arrive home in order to work Tuesday - Thursday. We continued this until the last of January. The story had a happy ending at that time. Mom recovered most of her speech and dexterity and had been released to go back to aunt Mary’s. She continued therapy until the following May when we brought her home.

Mom stayed in her home and did quite well for several years. She was very good at following the doctor’s orders and her quiet nature helped her to heal. The day came when she had more and more complications and we had her in and out of the hospital to the point the doctor thought it would be beneficial for her to be in an assisted care facility.

She fought her physical handicaps relentlessly and for a time was able to enjoy her own apartment but eventually her health declined to the point she was wheel-chair bound. The cartilage in her knees was worn out and mom couldn’t stand surgery with her delicate health. Still, she made the best of it and didn’t complain.

At the last we were no longer able to bring her home to have dinner with us to visit in familiar surroundings. One Sunday morning we watched as she slowly slipped away from us. For days she had been gently calling to her “mama” and “papa” and reaching her arms as if to be picked up. Then she would look sadly as if they were walking away from her.

This last time she opened her eyes suddenly as if she saw something wonderful and a brief recognition………and then her little frame settled back on the bed. With a short little intake of breath it was as if her spirit were released and she flew away. It was so peaceful the ones of us who were there stood in wonder. Then realizing mom was gone we gave into the tears and grief of losing her………..mama went to heaven on Sunday………….

Tomorrow a brief tribute.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 12, 2004


The move to Smalltown was made at Christmas time in 1948. The Christmas holiday that year consisted of getting the necessities taken care of such as beds and kitchen needs. The following Monday dad was back at work and mom had to deal with all of the boxes and arranging. Dad was given several counties in the Eastern part of the area to work on highway equipment. He left home Monday mornings and came back Friday afternoons.

The man who was head of the garage was easy to work for and his wife helped mom get acquainted. In time she made a lot of friends and joined several community groups. While dad was away all week she made a life for herself and stayed close to the family with her wonderful letters. She was given the opportunity to work as a salesperson in one of the clothing stores and after that worked for a local grocer.

She joined church, Eastern Star, Royal Neighbors, the Garden Club and was active with each organization. Mom was no longer on the sidelines but stepping up to the plate in dad’s absence. She became more independent and capable and for her generation that amounted to several giant-steps.

During those years in Smalltown for the first time she was able to put together a home as she’d never been able to before. She decorated with things she loved and made a cozy, homey atmosphere. Weekends were spent traveling, fishing or hunting. Mom always joined in on anything dad did. She was excellent at fishing and often out-fished my dad who always had a funny excuse to save face.

Mom got to the age where being on her feet clerking in stores was too hard on her. She quit working several years before dad retired from the Highway Department and took up some of the pastimes she enjoyed. She had her windows full of violets that displayed every color imaginable. She propagated them and always had new “babies” that she potted……transplanting some of the older plants. Her gentle way made them bloom constantly for her.

She did beautiful embroidery work and on special occasions it would became a gift for some family member. I am thankful that I have a lot of her work to this day….I never discard any of those pieces….when pillowcases wear out I cut the embroidery sections out and make small heart “pillows” to put in a basket or poke into a stuffed bunny’s pocket. Mom’s work goes on and on with creative ways to “use” it. One of her samplers had a verse that dad was taken with. He told her to keep that one because it was appropriate for their home…….since they lived in a trailer. It read:

Dear house, you are so very small…
Just big enough for love….that’s all.

I have it still and wouldn’t think of parting with it. After dad died mom learned how to do latch-hooking and made quite a few items for the family… she also learned to needlepoint and piece quilts. She had the patience of Job and if she found an error it was painstakingly removed, stitch by stitch, and reworked until it suited her.

The day my dad died a part of my mother died as well. They had lived together 49 years, 4 months and 1 day. They shared some unbelievable hardships and set-backs but they held it together through good times and bad. My dad’s sense of humor and mom’s patience won the day in all of their trials. The hardest battles aren’t won with educational advantages or financial gain but how we stand in the trenches when the going gets tough.

Mom’s life with dad was over and a large part of her own was gone as well. Tomorrow we find out the rest of her journey.

Until then,

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Mom was never “on stage.” She was perfectly willing to be the audience. I’ve always said we grew up around the kitchen table for it truly was the hub of our home. Dad would come down the alley and coast into our driveway with his red-panel truck which was our sign to put supper on the table. Mom would have it ready to dish up when we heard him come into the drive.

In those days she had a natural gas cook stove with four burners on half of the top with the oven on the other half. Frankly I think that would still be a good idea. After all these years of stooping to look in the oven I would like one like mom had. Some things were right the first time.

While mom and I did dishes dad would read the paper and Louis would usually have some project to work on. On Friday nights uncle Emil and aunt Mardelle would come over to make out statements for the weeks work. Mom always had a nice lunch afterward. Dad and uncle Emil were partners in a plumbing business.

Mom kept books for the business which operated out of our home. As the business grew her responsibilities grew. During the war years it was difficult to get materials for their work and the bureaucracy was mounting. In a few short years Pearl Harbor was bombed, grandpa Andersen hung himself, uncle Robert disappeared and grandma Andersen came to live with us. Our home was small and so grandma was moved into my room and I slept on a cot to make room for her bed.

Mom was stretched to the limit as I look back on it. She never had an easy house to clean and dad was no help. He was so dog tired when he came in, often caked with clay mud that dried on his back, he would kick dirt off of his shoes on the porch, take his jacket off and come in for supper. He washed up in the bathroom and come right to the table.

How mom put up with no hot water in the house is more than I know. Since dad was in the business it is beyond me. Mom always had to heat water to wash dishes in a large enamel dishpan and we rinsed them in another pan. She had a large tea-kettle that was always on the stove heating water. We did have a bathtub but only cold water was hooked to it. A full tea-kettle of hot water was needed for a bath and cooled with water from the faucet. Dishwater was poured down the bathroom stool. There was no drain pipe or sink in the kitchen………just a rough cupboard with a table-top to put the dishpans on.

She never had a washing machine….ever! At that time laundry’s did a pick-up and deliver service and dad thought that was cheaper and easier on mom. I suppose it was also a necessity with no hot water hook-up. Mom never made any objections to any of dad’s suggestions because he was very good at selling his point.

When we moved to Missouri mom’s conveniences were even worse than living in Omaha. There was only a well which we drew water with a long cylinder bucket from. We heated water on a wood stove and used the large laundry tubs to wash the clothes. The clothes were hung over the fence because mom never had a clothesline. She always did with what she had to do with and never complained. It never seemed to matter to her. She took what came…..period. She is truly the only woman I’ve ever known that was so willing to forfeit convenience and so willing to do without.

Life on the Missouri farm was crude and hard. Mom and dad struggled endlessly to make a go of it there but eventually had to give it up and move into town. Dad applied for a job as a mechanic with the Missouri Hwy Department and was hired. When they moved this time it was to a small home that had electricity and running water……yes, even hot water. Mom’s life changed considerably for the better…..

Tomorrow we get acquainted in new surroundings.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


When the depression hit hard my mother and dad had been farming at the Andersen’s home farm. Times were bad for everyone and it is impossible to imagine the crisis that came to visit each family. Grandpa had acquired several good farms and at that time had one of the largest accounts in the Blair bank. Grandma and grandpa had moved to Omaha and lived well off of their assets.

As my dad told me the story years later grandpa sold some of his farms to Danish friends who could no longer make payments on them. Grandpa made the mistake of holding a second mortgage on the farms against dad’s objections. Trying to save those properties grandpa mortgaged the home place rather than spend the savings in the bank. When the banks closed his money was gone and he couldn’t payoff the mortgage on the Fontenelle farm.

With one stoke of the pen my grandfather lost all of his farms and the bank closed without enough money to make good on grandpa’s account. There aren’t any words in the language to describe the anger and frustration the family experienced. My mother and dad were summarily asked to leave the property and all they could take with them were their personal belongings.

My brother, Louis, was a baby which further handicapped their options. Mom’s grandmother Bouvier let them stay in her property at Blair and the Stricklett family helped with living necessities. Dad was able to get work in Blair for a while but it wasn’t enough to make ends meet. They left Blair hoping to find work and a better life in Omaha. When they left town they were several months in arrears on the rent but dad promised to pay great grandma as soon as he could get work. He never had the chance because she died before dad was able to do so. Dad later made up the money and gave it to grandma Stricklett. Of course she didn’t want to take it but dad wouldn’t have it any other way. And so the rent money went into the estate of great grandma Bouvier and divided among the heirs. Dad had kept his promise.

I realize I have written about all this before but I want to emphasize what my mother was going through at the time. When they went to Omaha they couldn’t afford to rent housing. Dad parked their car in an alley and left mom and Louis to find work. He was desperate for a job and after a few days was fortunate to find a garage that needed a mechanic. They stayed in the car at night, dad worked during the day and mom somehow managed Louis. Eventually they were able to get a sleeping room and mom was able to get a job as well. She worked for Northrup Jones Bakery which was the nicest one in Omaha. Dad worked nights and she worked days…Louis was juggled in between.

Mom lost a baby between my brother and me but I never knew it until mom told me about it many years later. She never doctored for it and never had complications….it was in the early months. With the raising my mother had it is to her credit that she stuck with my dad. He was a good man it was just “times” that were hard. Life back home would have been much easier but she never looked back. By the time I was born they were still struggling to find better living quarters. One time dad saw cockroaches crawling on me where I slept in a dresser drawer. He worked off-hours to build a small but livable trailer for us to live in and moved us to the west side of Omaha. An asparagus farmer let dad park our trailer there for a small amount of rent.

My first recollections began at that farm. On hot summer nights we would sit on a blanket in the grass and dad would point out the different stars. Mom would always have something good to eat. I don’t remember food being scarce or not liking what we had to eat. She had a way of making things taste as good as they looked. Her earlier work at the bakery helped her with wonderful baked treats. At Halloween she made the red candied apples and pop-corn balls for the kids living at the farm. At Christmas she never failed to make gingerbread men. She had a little generic cake decorator set that she put faces on the cookies with…..and raisins for buttons. I loved to watch her work in the kitchen. She just had an easy way of doing things that came natural to her.

Mom didn’t work anymore after the bakery job. Louis and I could always depend on her being there when we came in from school. Usually the smell of fresh bread would hit us at the door along with other baked goodies. The best thing about mom was she was always there, always ready to listen to your troubles and always tried to make them better……we were important to her…..and best of all…..she loved us.

More about mom tomorrow.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Monday, February 09, 2004


To write about my mother is like trying to take a picture of the Grand Canyon. A camera can never grasp the depth, the color or the expanse of such a place. It is the same with words in trying to describe the journey of mom’s eighty-seven years. But as a long journey begins with a single step we shall begin with one sentence at a time.

I have written a few things about her when writing of other family members. She was born May 12, 1904, and was the first child of Grandma and Grandpa Stricklett. They lived on the DeSoto farm at the time and just 27-months later, her sister Mary, was born. The two girls would remain close the rest of their lives. Two other children were born while at DeSoto but only mom and aunt Mary went to school there. Grandma held mom back from starting school so that she and Mary could go at the same time.

The girls were close in years but personalities were poles apart. Mom was quiet and shy while aunt Mary was vivacious and daring. Mom liked being outdoors and aunt Mary liked being in the house. Since mom was the oldest and more dependable she often helped with the younger siblings. Those of school age walked to school both going and coming home. There were also chores for each. Mom loved being outside with grandpa and often tagged after him as he did his chores. They had a special relationship I suspect because they were so much alike. Grandpa was quiet and easy going and so was mom.

After graduation from high-school mom worked on and off for The Racket Store. She helped grandma with a lot of the housework and the younger children when she wasn’t working. Mom never dated before she met dad. She had grown into a pretty woman with auburn hair and brown eyes. Her hair was long enough she could sit on it when it wasn’t braided or coiled on her head. It had never been cut. She was naturally pretty and never wore make-up. Her shy manner and apparent innocence were the features that kept dad coming in to buy candy. He was smitten but also shy so for a time all he could do was buy candy and gaze at mom while she bagged it.

Their first date happened quite accidentally as I wrote about in dad’s story. He came to town as usual on a Saturday night and a friend of his was flagging him down. Jack had a date with aunt Mary but only if her sister, Dorothy, had a date and could go along. When dad found out who Jack wanted him to go with he was immediately willing. He had been trying to get nerve up for weeks to ask her out.

They were drawn to each other from the start. Dad would often laugh and tell how he would drive up to their house to pick mom up for a date and honk the horn. Mom would come out and they would be on their way. He said it was a wonder Mrs. Stricklett ever let mom go with him because he was too dumb to go to the door for her. Grandma was a woman who stood by good manners but I suppose my mother’s pleading had something to do with her allowances.

I never thought to ask when they began dating. I would think in the fall or winter sometime because I remember dad talking about mom looking in her coat pocket for her check that she couldn’t find on their first date. By Valentine’s Day they had studio pictures made for each other and were married March 16th, 1925. Their wedding day was a novel in itself which I wrote of in dad’s journal.

They began their married life by farming which is what they both knew. They had a hard time of it with just the two of them but being young and together it didn’t seem so at the time. They rented a farm and lived just over the hill from mom’s family until dad’s parent’s moved off their farm at Fontenelle. They were needed to farm the Andersen home place so they moved in and acquired dad’s two brothers who stayed at the farm.

They had good times in spite of the lack of money. Aunt Mary was teaching school and would drive out on week-ends to spend time with mom and dad. They played cards and would load up in the car and go places. Mom and dad often drove to Blair to see a movie on Saturday nights. At that time they gave dinnerware pieces every time you went and mom had a whole set of those dishes. Mom gave them to me after I was married and to my sorrow I gave them away later on. (The sins of youth!) How I wish I had kept them. No matter how broke or how bad times got they always enjoyed what little they could with what they had. They lived past it and had many a good laugh over the movies they saw. Dad could almost repeat word for word each movie seen. They were entertained the rest of their lives for what seemed a costly extravagance at the time. You can live miserly with a lot……….or you can live richly with little. It’s a choice we each determine within ourselves…………..

Tomorrow we continue with mom.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Sunday, February 08, 2004


I have been busy telling you what I did at grandma’s house so now I will talk about her. She was not the kind of grandmother that swept you up in her arms to hug you but there was a sense of protection about her. After all, she was widowed with three children still at home and aunt Mary on weekends. Children were not a novelty to her and she preferred well behaved children. I was always busy and I assume making noise because she stopped short one day while ironing and said, “Esther do you have to make noise in everything you do.?” I took that to mean she wasn’t interested in what I was telling my dolls so I moved to the front porch.

Grandma didn’t have much to laugh about. Her work about the place was hard and money was never wasted. She was an astute business woman and rented out her farm at DeSoto that she had acquired from a Bouvier uncle. She had a house in town that her mother left her and I believe another rental property or so. I vaguely remember going with grandma and aunt Mary to collect rent at different times. Over the years she was able to build a sizeable savings.

I grew up in her house. Aunt Inabelle and uncle Roger often came to visit with my parents and grandma would take me home with her. All the years grandma lived in her home it hardly changed from the first time I remember it. Different things were repaired but the old fashioned look never was. Therefore it was one of the most stable things in my childhood because life at home was routinely flexible.

One by one her children married and moved away except for uncle Peter (Bud) and uncle Roger (Buster). They lived their entire lives in Blair. Aunt Mary’s home address was Blair but she taught school in Fremont until retirement. She was always at the home place week-ends and summers.

Aunt Mary was the one who stayed at home and took care of grandma in her failing years. Grandma traveled whenever it was possible to visit her three children who lived away from Blair. She died June 11, 1974 with most of her family by her side.

Grandma impacted my life. Her dedication to her family and her determination to overcome any set-backs was noted and remembered. No matter the situation she always did the “right” thing. She was honest and hardworking, not given to luxurious living, and had a charitable heart. Most of my life my name was unlike any other name. There were lots of duplicates and “faddish” names but I was always the only Esther. When I was younger it sort of bothered me but as I grew older I felt privileged to carry the name and attempted to live up to it.

Tomorrow we get acquainted with the Stricklett children.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Saturday, February 07, 2004


Grandma’s barn was a world unto itself. I spent many hours there during the summer. I loved the haymow because I could see forever from up there and find all sorts of unexpected things. The smell of hay permeated the area and the soft piles of it made a good nesting place for renegade chickens to lay eggs. Grandma watched to make sure they didn’t make nests up there. If their cackling gave them away she was up the ladder to roust them out and take the eggs.

I often found kittens up there where a mother cat had birthed them and left them in safety. I loved to watch them play or sleep piled together in a furry ball. If I made too much noise or disturbance mama would come back, calling with each step. I’m sure she didn’t appreciate my visits much and didn’t trust me alone with her babies.

Barn swallows nested over the feed door inside the barn. Watching the parent birds bring feed and filling open mouths was an endless sight. Fritz was usually right behind me and interested in everything going on. Rags got ran over down on the highway so Fritz was the only puppy left. Snuffy always stayed around the house with grandma.

The barn had three outside doors to separate rooms. One had a lot of things stored that belonged to relatives who had passed on. ( Much the same as grandma’s attic.) The middle one had grain in it and I liked to look in there for mice who would scamper away. As I remember, the last one had odds and ends tools in it but I never opened it much.

Cats would come running when they saw grandma leading the milk cow to the barn. If they were impatient and meowed a lot sometimes grandma would aim old Bossie’s teat in their direction and they could drink from a stream of milk. Grandma never laughed much but she would smile and chuckle a little as they tried to drink without getting it all over their faces. While they worked at cleaning themselves up grandma would finish milking and pour an old pie-tin full of the warm milk. When we left the barn to go to the house you could hear the cats lapping their milk. It was a happy contented way to leave them.

There was an old corn sheller in the barn that grandma would dump ears of corn into and the contents would come out into a bucket. She fed corn to the chickens, cow and sometimes the pigs. The cobs were taken to the house to start fires in the cook stove. Grandma had two huge buckets that she put pig mash in and then filled with water. She had an old paddle that she stirred it with and then she carried it around behind the barn to the pig-lot. I do not know how she carried two large buckets that heavy and that far but she did twice a day. She was just a wisp of a woman but she was strong.

I liked to tag along and watch. Grandma would take a stick and pound on their feed trough and they’d come running and squealing to eat. It was fun to watch pigs. I spent a lot of time there by myself. One pig had a large litter and after she had her fill at the trough she would go back and plop down so the babies could eat. Her contented grunts are remembered still. As the pigs got older grandma turned them out into the main pig-lot and I would crawl over the fence and climb the old mulberry tree in the center of the lot and watch them. One time the old sow took a dim view of me being so near and kept me up in the tree quite a while. Days…..it seemed at the time but I’m sure it was just a few minutes.

Grandma did something that I remember but I don’t know with what or why. For some reason she had a bucket of liquid and she would take a small can to dip out and then splash on the pigs back-sides. I thought she said it was for worms, but Rocky said it didn’t sound right…….even back then. At any rate she was treating them for something and after she put it down and went back to the house……I started thinking it would be fun to do. I got the can full and climbed the fence to run after them and splash……of course they squealed and made a lot of noise as they would run frantically away.

Pretty soon I saw grandma coming down the path hitting the ground every third step or so. She said, “I just thought you were doing that. You get back up to the house right now.” I was smart enough to know I’d better do as she said and not mess with the pigs any more. I’m still puzzled as to why she did that and what with but all information is gone now from her.

I can remember lazy afternoons when I would climb the hill above the house and look all over Blair. One time remembered clearly was when I lay down in the pasture to watch big white puffy clouds float overhead and decide what they were. I would watch them slowly fade apart and then rename the next ones…….when I’m having a hectic day I like to retreat to that wonderful place…….when time stood still and I was safe and secure……………at grandma’s house.

Until tomorrow,

Essentially Esther

Friday, February 06, 2004


In nice weather I played outside most of the day. There were a bevy of kittens and several dogs to keep me company. The cats were generally unnamed but the dogs were, Snuffy (the mother) Rags and Fritz. Snuffy had been grandma’s dog for a long time. She was short-haired and all-white except for black circles around and including her ears. Her two pups were longer haired and spotted here and there with big splotches. Their dad was absent except for conception and remained a mystery.

Mud pies were very big with my daily play. I would find an old coffee can and spoon, dig up some dirt, pump water from the well…and I was in business. I had old zinc jar caps lined with some kind of glass inside and I would attempt to make 3-layer cakes like my mom did. I studiously put the “dough” into the jar lids and placed them in the sun which of course was my “oven.” While the cake was baking I mixed up some “frosting” with thinner mud of course. I was so distraught when I tried to get my layers out of their “pans.” Of course they all cracked when drying and only came out in chunks. Not to be outdone they were piled up and “frosted” ……and then I picked some grass to go on my cake for coconut. I was so into this cake thing that I tasted some of the frosting believing it to be “chocolate”…….only when it hit my tongue did reality hit and I spit it out and kept wiping my tongue on my dress.

The front porch was my “house.” It went all across the front of grandma’s house and had a porch swing. I had several fancy dresses that had been my aunt’s and my mother’s at some time…….they were so pretty (still would be…wish I still had them)….they were finished off with pretty floral embroidery etc; the skirts flared out like the Ginger Rogers type and when I put one on and would twirl the skirt would flare out and I would be dancing in a palace with a handsome prince. Since I had no playmates at grandma’s I talked to myself constantly. This was entertaining to my furry friends and they would sit on the sidelines to watch and wonder who my “guest” was. I always had a four-footed audience.

Not far from the porch stood two fir trees in perfect line to put a metal pipe from one to the other for a gunny-sack swing. I begged and begged until Uncle Joe, my grandpa Stricklett’s brother, agreed to put one up for me since grandma didn’t mind. I remember the excitement so well. I watched every move he made with high anticipation. Finally he had it up and tested the rope to make sure it wouldn’t break with my weight but I couldn’t reach the swing to get on. That was remedied with two cement blocks stacked together. He had filled the gunny-sack with straw so it took a while before it quit sticking me when I hopped on but I didn’t mind. I had that old sack full of straw mulched down to powder by the time summer was over. I loved that swing.

Below the front of the house were a series of terraces that were planted in roses and hollyhocks. Steps went all the way down to the dirt road which was lined with lilacs. The scent in Springtime was unbelievable. When I tired of other play I would pick blooms off of the hollyhocks, and get some tooth-picks from grandma. Nothing was ever wasted at grandma’s house so now that I think back on it I’m surprised that she let me have them……however…..I would use the full blooms inverted for the skirts, run a toothpick down into the stem of it and on the other end put a bud for the head. Another toothpick run through would serve as arms. I thought this was my own invention but in talking with friends these years since I find it was a common pass time for little girls. It seems ballroom dances and hollyhocks gravitated together. A few years ago I planted holly hocks in my flower garden and I never look at them without thinking of grandma and the many hours I spent with her.

She loved flowers and spent much of her day digging and planting, pulling weeds or hauling water to them in large buckets. Of course I always tagged along when grandma came outside to work. Her preparation was always the same…she had a big brimmed straw hat that hung in the back porch. She would take it down, swipe her loose hair with one hand and poke it up under the crown of the hat. She would take her hoe and head for the flower garden. Grandma wore long sleeves to guard against the sun and the hat protected her face. When she was young she had scarlet fever and almost died. It left purple marks on part of her face but when you love someone you never see the scars they carry……..I thought my grandmother was beautiful……

Tomorrow we visit the barn and pig-lot.

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 05, 2004


My brother and I were the only grandchildren born in grandma’s house. The house was built against a hill-side and that offered many opportunities for exploring. Therefore if you went behind the house and climbed the bank you could hop over on the roof-top and prowl around up there. I also found entry into the attic from that vantage point.

The attic was a sacred place. You could literally feel the presence of my mother and her sisters there. Little white ceramic dishes were set for tea and old dresses, dolls and shoes were close by. It was fun to go there when it was raining and listen to the sound on the roof. There was a door at the top of the stairs to offer inside access to this special place.

Besides the attic there was another room full of furniture and boxes. The room had not been finished but had a floor and walls. There were two phonographs which still worked and a box of records…..old bedroom sets and various high-chairs. It was a perfect room for snooping.

The bedrooms were all called by the name of the occupant’s. Aunt Inabelle’s room was at the top of the stairs, aunt Sally took the room my mother had when she still lived at home, and aunt Mary had the other bedroom. There was a nice sized bath with a white tub. I liked the claw feet on it. A register on the floor right in front of the stool provided heat to come up from the grate below which accessed heat from the coal furnace. It made a perfect message center for anyone needed upstairs. You just walked onto the large downstairs grate, hollered the message up and down came the answer or the person. It was a rule to take anything upstairs that was placed on the lower steps, thereby saving unnecessary climbing.

When I stayed with grandma I took turns sleeping with everybody. In the winter my aunts liked to sleep with me because I would have the bed warmed up by the time they came to bed. The upstairs rooms could get pretty cool in the dead of winter. In the summers I mostly slept with grandma. Her room was downstairs and I could hear the activity of the household as I drifted off to sleep.

There was one other bedroom downstairs, kitchen, dining room and living room. Off the kitchen was a “summer kitchen” that led out to a concrete area where we pumped water from the cistern to fill the reservoir on the cook stove. This was also where we drew water for laundry day. A door from the kitchen opened to the cellar where grandma kept her home-canned goods and things that needed to be kept cool. It had been dug back in the bank, cemented over, and had a concrete floor. It had shelves and a large area where grandma stored her potatoes etc; It was a safe place to go if need be for protection from storms.

As a little girl I was terrified of thunder and lightening. In the Midwest fingers of lightening part the sky with a crackling noise before you hear the thunder. The sudden jab of light and resounding thunder would send me to the bedroom digging for a pillow. I would stay there until I was so hot and out of air I would have to come out. One night a bad storm came up with gusting winds along with the dreaded thunder and lightening. Grandma became worried because she had the milk cow in the pasture above the house. She told me to stay put and left with a raincoat and head cover. As she disappeared into the barn to get a rope there was a terrible clap of thunder. I was scared for grandma and scared for myself. Before long she was back dripping wet but the cow was safe in the barn. I could not figure how grandma could be brave enough to go out in that storm but I did know the cow must have been happy when grandma came to get her………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Sunday’s were good at grandma’s house. I would wake up smelling something being pre-cooked for dinner and hear movement all over the house. My aunts were up and getting ready to leave for church. After breakfast we would all get into aunt Mary’s car and arrive in time for Sunday School.

The building seemed so much bigger then. A few years ago I went back to Blair to revisit the old town I knew as a child. The church was so small it almost seemed like a different structure. There it was on the corner across from the grade school but white instead of the creamy yellow it was long ago.

Once arriving at church, there was an urgency about everything. Grandma would go to her class of older ladies, aunt Mary was Sunday School Superintendent so she had things to pass on to the teachers, Inabelle, Sally and Roger all sang in the choir so they were busy around the piano.

The Primary Department I attended was in the basement. Mrs. Murdock was always early, like me, so I often got to help put the chairs in a half-circle facing where she would stand. I loved those chairs. They were painted wood and just the size for our age group. Before teaching we sang songs and took up a collection in one of those familiar baskets…..dropping our pennies in was serious because we knew we were helping God do His work.

The church service was tolerated rather than enjoyed. I always sat by grandma and I could tell she liked it a lot but it was hard for me to sit still. Aunt Mary usually played the piano, with aunt Inabelle leading the singing. Aunt Sally and uncle Roger sang in the choir. I liked the music part but it seemed endless until the sermons were over.

Dinner was always better on Sunday. My favorite was when grandma would open a quart jar of her home-canned cherries. I would ask for them so often that grandma would have to explain why we couldn’t eat them all up first. We would have her applesauce, pears or peaches to make the cherries last longer. All of her fruit was homegrown and pretty to look at in her cellar.

Sunday afternoons were spent visiting or having company. Summer or winter the routine was usually the same. Knowing how cluttered our days have become with sounds and sights plus all the activities make those quiet afternoons very special. It is so easy for me to slip away and return to the pristine world I grew up in. It is not a yearning but rather a grateful thanks to the family members who lived their lives well……and became hero’s to me………….

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Grandpa Stricklett died October 10th, 1935 at home. He was 65-years old and grandma was fifty-two. Three younger children were still at home, Inabelle, Roger and Sally. Mary was teaching school and away part of the time but still basically lived at home as well. I don’t remember any of the family talking about their financial situation at that time but I do know how hard my grandmother worked to make ends meet.

She raised chickens and butchered and dressed them for delivery every Saturday. Once I ventured out to the “chopping block” to see how grandma killed them. One trip was enough for me……..grandma would hold their feet in one hand and in an easy motion would drop their heads down to the block. The right hand held the awful looking corn knife high in the air and when she brought it down it would cut through their necks with a muffled sound. At that moment grandma would drop the chicken and it would flop and flop for what seemed like a terrible long time. She continued this until the desired amount had been killed.

While she was outside, the girls had water heating on the cook stove and they were summarily dipped and taken to the porch where each girl would begin plucking the feathers. I hated that smell. Wet chicken feathers is a smell unlike any other. After the feathers were all off they were taken back to the stove where grandma had a piece of paper rolled in her hand. She would lift the front lid off of the fire box and hold the chicken quickly over, turning and turning until the pin feathers were all singed off. When she was satisfied with that they were laid on the kitchen table. It always had an “oil cloth” for a cover.

Usually there were three of the girls there to help grandma. The chickens were cut up neatly and then went through a series of cleansing and rinsing before they were packaged in paper trays. When people bought grandma’s friers they were ready for the skillet…..further cleaning was unnecessary.

Grandma also made cottage cheese and butter to sell. She would put the large kettle of sour milk on the cook stove and then strain it through a large colander with a sterile sugar sack lining it. The cheese was carefully crumbled, ready for the last stage. When it was dished up ready to deliver she would spoon sweet cream over the top. It was the best cottage cheese in the world to me. I would love to have some now.

Then the butter-making. Grandma had one of those big crock butter churns with a wooden dasher, and I always liked to help with that. Sometimes I would get too energetic and grandma would have to tell me to slow down for some of it would slosh up through the hole where the dasher moved up and down. Once the crock was full of butter chunks grandma would lift some out and begin “working it.” She had a large wooden bowl and a butter paddle. She would work and work the buttermilk out of the butter until there was none left. The butter was rinsed with clean water, worked again, and finally salted.

She had such an easy way of doing things. Nothing seemed like it took a lot of effort on her part. She had an old set of scales that she used to measure the pounds according to her orders. Once the butter was molded, weighed and ready to wrap she would take the butter paddle and press some little marks into the top for decoration. It was then placed in the ice-box ready for delivery.

I always liked to go along on the deliveries. Grandma would put on one of her better dresses (she made them all herself) and we would go around town taking them to the doors of the customers. It was a very pleasant experience for me. Everyone was always friendly and glad to receive my grandmother’s homemade products. Aunt Mary would drive grandma around till the last delivery was made and then we would go to the grocery store. It was an every week event.

When we came home grandma would write out a check for church the next day. She would read her Sunday School lesson and my aunts would be practicing their song to sing for the service. It meant bath time for me in the upstairs tub. This went on routinely any time that I would visit grandma. There was a goodness about it all that I love to think back on………….at grandma’s house.

Tomorrow we go to church.
Until then,

Essentially Esther

Monday, February 02, 2004


Esther Bouvier, my grandmother, was born August 20, 1883, in her grandmother’s log house at DeSoto, Nebraska. Her parents were Oliver and Coralena Hoyleman Bouvier. The elder Bouviers came from Switzerland in 1855. The Hoylemans left West Virginia to homestead in Adams County, Nebraska. Grandma and grandpa were married December 24, 1902, when he was thirty three and she was nineteen years old. Grandpa always said he had waited for grandma to grow up.

They had six children, my mother Dorothy was the oldest, Mary Virginia , Peter, Inabelle, Corol Jean and Roger Bouvier. The four older children were born at DeSoto and the two younger children were born at Blair.

By the time I was born grandma was 49-years old. There wasn’t a lazy bone in her poor little thin body. I don’t think she ever weighed over 100-pounds in her whole life. I find it hard to imagine how she could wash for a husband and six children but it was a ritual that came around every Monday. There was a cistern immediately outside the back kitchen door. Water was put in a large copper boiler with a lid and then put on the cook stove to heat. When it was hot it then was separated into three other tubs with cold water added. The copper boiler was refilled and put back on the stove to boil the white clothes. Grandma’s laundry was the cleanest in town.

After the last tubful was rinsed the girls would take a woven rope out to tie to one tree and wrap around several others to hang the clothes. There was a tall wooden prop with a hook in the end that was put under the clothesline to hold the heavy wet clothes up high. As they dried they were brought in and folded to put away or sprinkled to iron. I can smell the wonderful aroma of her fresh clean clothes yet as they were brought into the house. The clothes pins were always put in a medium sized gray granite pan that was too chipped to cook in anymore. Grandma always recycled things that had lost their intended use.

Ironing day was Tuesday. She had several irons on the cook stove she would alternate as soon as one cooled down. A wooden handle was clipped into place and she could iron continuously. I was always close by and her ironing used to mesmerize me. Back and forth, back and forth ………..and on a detailed piece there were little short motions for tucks or gathers…..puffed sleeves were carefully ironed last.

Grandma had an old Singer treadle sewing machine and if she came across clothing that needed mending it was hung in a different place. She would sit at the sewing machine after ironing and stitch and patch with her feet moving according to the work. I loved to watch grandma do things and I stored a lot of knowledge from being nearby and taking note of her activities. She could sew bias tape on an apron or other article of clothing so perfect it was unbelievable. I have two of her aprons that have been handed down from my mother and her stitching is by far prettier than I can do on a newer sewing machine today. Those old treadle machines were very well made for the duties demanded of them. I was given my mother’s treadle machine when I married but being young and silly, I wanted a new one. A traveling salesman came around selling White sewing machines, and you know the story without me telling it. Yes, I traded in mom’s machine on a new one. Did it sew better? No…….and think how much I would like to have my mother’s machine now. Besides that I was introduced to a “payment plan” which never seemed to end.

They say “youth is wasted on the young” and for me……..it was true. At the time I wanted “new” stuff……..not “old stuff.” I cannot bear to think of the treasures I was given by the elder family members that I would trade off or give away. Thank goodness there were enough saved to cherish now.

My grandmother had a huge influence on my life and we will spend a great deal of time with her……..because the lessons are fresh and needy yet today. She was a woman who traveled the higher road and always demanded the best of herself. That isn’t a bad example to follow…………

More of grandma tomorrow,
Essentially Esther