Diary, musings on life, people, interests. Posting my poetry

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Location: Lacey, WA, United States

I have a Certified Artist/Teacher degree with the National Society of Decorative Painters. Taught decorative painting, color theory, calligraphy and other art related classes for 12 years. I enjoy using my artistic talents, especially to update furniture and repurpose found items. I am married to the world's most wonderful husband. We celebrated our 48th anniversary this year (2016). We have raised six children, three boys, three girls. Have 10 grandchildren. Through the NSDP I have paintings in the White House, Blaire House and Smithsonian Institute. I was given the honor of being the Chair of the Pacific NW, "Breeze and Brush" Decorative Painting Convention. What fun we had! I like keeping healthy and enjoy life. I love humor and people. God has been good to me!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Story of Bravery and Love

Take a young widow in her late twenties, focused on her family of five children, three boys and two girls ranging in age from 8 years to 9 months, with absolutely no intention of ever marrying again. Introduce a bachelor in his early thirties, tired of being paired with 'ditsy' women, not into the party scene and resigned to a single status. Quite a combination.

I was totally absorbed in bringing the older home, the children and I were living in, up to date. Installing a new gas furnace with ducting to each room, remodeling the kitchen to make it larger and enclosing an outside basement entrance, installing carpeting, painting, refinishing furniture, re-doing the children's rooms, in between school functions, yardwork, housework, cooking, laundry, ironing, washing windows, cleaning the gutters, weekly trips (at least 3 a week) to my mother's, to clean her house, cook, bathe and do her hair (she was in a wheelchair with M.S.).

We lived at the bottom of a small hill on a dead-end street. A high school classmate, Carolynn, her husband and family lived 5 houses up the street from my home. We became re-acquainted and would have coffee now and then when the kids had left for school.

Carolynn's Aunt Charlotte was a school teacher in North Dakota. She was staying with Carolynn's mother for the summer while she attended some classes at the University of Washington. Charlotte had some extra time on her hands in the evenings and decided she would sell Sarah Coventry jewelry at home parties. Carolynn's mother, Alice, hosted the first party to which Carolynn invited me.

That would be my first encounter with Don, Carolynn's bachelor brother. Don wasn't a complete stranger to me, we had attended the same high school, Cleveland. Cleveland at that time had grades 7 through 12. I was in the 8th grade when Don was graduating. I knew him by name only, being a lowly 8th grader. Although we had lived no more than 3 blocks from each other while growing up. God has a sense of humor doesn't he?

I had the greatest babysitter during those years. Her name was Linda and I hope she might somehow read this Blog just by chance. I have lost contact with her since our move from the Beacon hill house. I'll be posting another story about Linda at a later date.

Don was prepping his mother's house for painting and was perched on the top rungs of a ladder when we arrived. The party was a lot of fun and it was so nice to be in the midst of adults and having adult conversations, a refreshing change from work and children 24-7. I still have the bracelet I bought at that party. Don was in the kitchen when refreshments were served and he was introduced to me. We exchanged a few words and the party went on for another half hour and it was time to head for home.

Over the next few months I would see Don when he was at Carolynn's visiting or helping with a project. Carolynn had two children Rick and Rhonda who were close in age to my older children and spent a lot of time playing with them. The kids would make tent houses in the livingroom, have picnics in the backyard, pick blackberries in the field at the top of the hill and bring them back for me to make cobbler for them, have sleep-overs. They got to be close friends.

Before I met Don at the jewelry party, Rick and Rhonda would tell their Uncle Don about Mrs. Donald Duck, because I could talk like a duck. They thought that was pretty funny. Now Don knew who Mrs. DD was and he finally made the first call to invite me to a movie. We would date now and then and he would visit with the children before we left for the evening. I knew he was serious when he showed up one day when I was in the middle of making cinnamon rolls. Ladies, anyone who will sit and watch you make bread must be interested! It scared me a little.

One New Year's Eve I was dressed to go to the local church New Year's party, complete with dinner and dancing, champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Don, his sister and her husband and three other couples we had gone to high school with were going together. The children were bathed and in their p.j.'s, ready for the night. My babysitter, Linda, was there. Von, my youngest, who was 20 months at the time, was already in bed. When Don arrived and Von heard his voice, he started crying and jumping up and down in his crib. He had never done that before and I was concerned.

I went into the room to comfort him, then it happened, Von vomited, on the sheets, blankets and carpet. Here I was in a silver lame' dress and heels, ready to dance and have a good time. I cleaned it up (Don helped, now that's bravery!), changed the bedding and Von's p.j.'s, calmed him down and quietly left the room. Before we left for the party Von had vomited two more times. He was upset, not sick! If anything would deter a guy from getting involved that just might be it! That was the night that Don asked me to marry him.

For weeks after that incident, Don would come over and sit with the children just to talk or read a story, work on a puzzle or watch t.v. just so Von would know that just because he was there didn't mean that mommy was leaving. He's a man of patience, thoughtfulness and compassion. The children have always loved and respected him.

When one of the kids would come into the room and Don would be giving me a kiss on the cheek, he would say "just practicing!" They got used to hearing that. He would play and joke with them and was the first one to introduce the wonderful outdoors to them. We would go into the woods mushrooming, picnicking or just sightseeing. In winter it was tubing in the snow and enjoying hot chocolate afterwards.

About a month before the wedding Don wanted his good friends to meet us. Dean and Kathy owned a fishing resort, Lonesome Cove, on San Juan Island. Don and I and the five kids, Don's mother Alice, his sister and brother-in-law Carolynn and Tom and their children Rick and Rhonda took the ferry to San Juan Island. It was the kid's first ferry ride and was so exciting, there was so much to see and experience and the scenery was beautiful. We all stayed in one of the cabins at the resort, enjoyed the water, fishing, sight seeing, visiting, playing board games by candle light, and sleeping in sleeping bags in front of the warm fireplace.

Coming back on the ferry it was dark, the kids were tired and there wasn't much to look at. Royce, who at the time was 8, was sitting next to Don and kept looking at him. He finally said "can I ask you a question?" Don said sure! Royce commenced to ask Don why he didn't stay overnight at our house. Don explained that we weren't married but we would be in another month and then he would move his belongings into the house. That satisfied Royce but his final comment has always brought a smile to our faces......"Oh, I just thought you would want to practice." Sleeping in a strange house can be really scary you know!

Don and I have been married 45 years now, he adopted all of the children and we had a daughter, Amy. They are all grown with families of their own. We have 10 grandchildren and God has blessed our lives with happiness, love, health and contentment. Who would have thought you could get all of that at a Sarah Coventry jewelry party? I have often wondered, if it had been me who was the single person and I had met a man with 5 young children, would I have been so brave?