Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Waiting and wondering

Hello Family,
I interviewed yesterday for a position as Facility Manager at the Alfred University Equestrian Center, and am holding my breath.
I could say, if I believed in destiny, that I've been heading toward this place in my life, for all of my life. Ergo:
As to horses, I remember being bucked off of Prince in North Loup (I think I remember it, but it may be something people kept telling me.....).
I remember that in sixth grade I told Mrs. Barton, my teacher, that I would have a horse farm when I grew up. This one won't be my own, but if I get the job it may seem like it.
Dad loves to tell how, when we visited the Anderson/Rasmussens in the Nebraska sand hills in the 1970s, I climbed up onto one of their horses and cantered away. Mr. Anderson and Dad were fairly impressed, I guess.
I loved the idea of having a pony, so when we got Tory from Jude Frechette I had dreams of riding a lot, but when we moved into the village there just wasn't much opportunity for it, so I have my regrets about all that.
I've been able to get a few chances to ride but it has never been enough. I've told Jeanette I'd love to have a couple horses, but she has no interest in the expense and having to take care of them every day. Yet she was a bridesmaid in a friend's horseback wedding, many years ago.
When we started building our house here, one of the things that appealed to me was the trails on the state land next door, which are intended for walking, bicycling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. I've even said I'd prefer to ride a buckboard to town when I need to do errands, just to slow things down.
Ian has enjoyed the times when I've been able to take him on rides at Karns' in Hartsville and Brentwood in Angelica, so I know he's "in" with the idea. He likes shoveling snow at church, so he probably won't mind helping his Dad at mucking out stalls at the Eq. Center, either.
But there I go, hoping and planning.........

Friday, February 23, 2007

Late February update

Hey Family,
Dad just got the call this morning conveying what the biopsy found in the mole on his right arm: it is a slow-moving basal cell cancer that Dr. Coch recommends removing in about a month. I'll be setting up that appointment and will let you know what's the date. I believe it will be done in the office rather than the hospital.
Just wanted you to know.
More later,

Sunday, February 18, 2007

February update

Hello family,
Evidently the Universe (if it may be presumed to have Will) didn't want us to go to South Carolina this week, if last week may be seen as an indicator. Ergo:
On Monday, I got a call asking if I could interview next week, for employment as Facilities Manager at the Alfred University Equestrian Center. I asked if it could be scheduled for the following week.
Tuesday, after Jeanette had bought groceries and done many preparations over the week-end, Ian's Cub Scout banquet was canceled because a winter storm was coming in.
Wednesday, with a foot of snow on the ground, school was canceled so Jeanette stayed home and Ian spent part of the day at a friend's house, while I spent most of Valentine's day plowing and shoveling driveways and sidewalks. The decision to close schools on Thursday also, did not reach Jeanette as it was supposed to.
So, on Thursday, Jeanette got up and started for school, not hearing that school was closed when she checked the Wellsville radio station. I got an e-mail and heard it on the Hornell station, after she left the house. Later that day, Dad got his reminder call about a follow-up examination with Dr. Coch and, although I knew about the appointment, I hadn't gotten it onto my calendar. With Ian home, we had one of his friends over for the day so his father could go to work. Then there was a small fire at Sam Scholes' house, so I assisted with putting that out and getting the smoke out and so on.
All of the above meant that little time was left on Friday to get ready for a trip, and an ambulance call Friday morning cut into that. While I was driving the ambulance, Dad got a call from Lois and spoke with Ethel on the telephone, with the result that he decided our trip was not necessary, for him.
A little later, Dad and I met with Doctor Coch after waiting for more than forty-five minutes, and discussed loss of memory and depression and skin cancer. Bill re-assured Dad that his loss of memory was pretty normal and happens to everyone to some degree. He also told him that he's convinced Dad does not have any form of dementia, but I know Dad is frustrated with it.
Dad said his digestion was better (probably because he's taking 80 mg. enteric aspirin instead of 300 mg. regular aspirin, daily) but we all surmised that although he was feeling some better, perhaps the effect of cold and gray weather had resulted in little net improvement. So Bill had Dad move up to 20 mg. per day of anti-depressant, and he biopsied a mole on Dad's right arm that had snagged on something when Dad was dressing. We were glad Dad had mentioned it to me, as Bill said it looked like another squamous cell cancer. He'll remove it there at his office, if the biopsy comes back as positive for cancer.
When Jeanette was leaving school, she stumbled on the stairs and heard a pop in her ankle and knee, but declined to go to the Emergency Room that night, and we resigned ourselves to staying home for the week, under all these circumstances.
After church and lunch yesterday, we persuaded Jeanette to go to the Emergency Room, where they confirmed that her ankle is sprained but apparently not broken. She went to Camp Planning Committee meeting this morning, but is supposed to keep her leg elevated, iced and splinted for the remainder of the week, so I guess I'll see if they want to do my interview this week, after all.
Cathy and Sherm, do you want to try to come to Alfred next weekend, after all? Let me know, so we can prepare, please.
I just wanted you all to know what's up . . .

Friday, February 2, 2007

Travel and travail

Hey Family,
I've been home with Ian since Tuesday: he's had a fever and cough and congestion and headache, and I've had a lesser version of them. I think he'll probably head to school today, however.
I'm up early today because Ian woke me at 3:30 or so to tell me that he had discovered that Midnight (was Carol's cat until about a month ago) had thrown up. I had been dreaming something delicious, evidently, although I can't recall what. I had to pee, too, so I got up and took care of that and the cat puke. Then I asked Ian what he might do differently the next time the cat throws up. He said he'd clean it up himself and I said I thought that was a good idea. I had specifically gotten a substitute for my ambulance-driving night because I didn't feel up to being awakened, and have been having headaches all week.
We're planning, at this point, to drive Dad to Bob and Lois Edwards' beginning the 17th of this month, while Ian and Jeanette have winter break. We'll leave Dad there to spend some time and assuage his conscience and so on, and I'll take J. and I. to Columbia, SC so we can see her uncle, who has just had his third pacemaker installed. After a visit there, I'll leave J. and I., and head to the beach to see a few friends and maybe run down to Charleston to get some solitude.
Then I'll start north, gathering family members along the way, returning home by the morning of the 25th, so Ian can go bowling with the Cub Scouts and we can recover before they have to go back to school.
I wanted you all to know what we're planning, and to know that Hub Watson died early yesterday morning, so we'll probably be taking Dad to Rochester for a memorial service sometime soon.

Aunt Nellie's Round Robin letter, and DSC's sense of inadequacy

April 8, 1967

Dear Ahvagene, Wilna, Mary, Virginia and Elizabeth,

You'd better ask someone to get the smelling salts when you get this
letter. Ha Ha. Well, well, well. This is a beautiful day. The sun is
pouring in the living room making our golden flowers that Burton and Carol
Crandall gave us for our 25th wedding anniversary dazzling. Mandy is
spending the afternoon experimenting with hairdos. I have shortened Wyn's
evening dress for Mandy to wear to the candlelight ball tonight - a dance at
the Hornell high school put on by the Horizon Club of the Campfire Girls.
Wyn is off somewhere in the star covered VW. Bill is working in the yard.
I have some great music on the Rochester "good music" station. I think it
is a Charles Ives composition. As Mary says, "The facts of being born and
growing and thinking are more wonderful than all the dogmas in the world."

Right now our church is in somewhat of a turmoil, but I think it is all to
the good if it doesn't kill David and Fran. I have come to admire and
respect them more all the time. I wish David had more confidence in
himself. I do think he has courage and wants so much to be of service! It'
s sad when someone wants so much to improve a situation - and to be of
service to others who do not want help or do not see that they might need to
change their point of view. It's human nature, of course, to resent
criticism or even a suspicion of criticism when one has been a pillar of the
church, particularly for years. It's a long story but I will tell part of
it. The young people (high school) had charge of the service last week. It
was completely their own. The music was guitar (electric) and folk songs,
readings from "The Prophet", a dance to the Lord's Prayer and talks which
questioned tradition, Bible interpretations, having grape juice instead of
wine at communion, the 10 commandments, and one boy said, "We do not want
you to answer these questions. We want to find out for ourselves." I
guarantee everyone was alert at that service. No one went to sleep, in fact
two people got up and walked out. Kenneth Kenyon and George Place told
David they were disgusted etc. One of the complications is the fact that a
Mr. and Mrs. Toland who came here two years ago and almost immediately
joined our church are very unpopular and they are sponsors of this group.
Mr. Toland is a lawyer. No one really knows why they came here. He has
many plans for this town - gets into everything, and people are suspicious
of his motives - not just the church people but many people whose opinions I
respect. His personality is definitely against him. He is constantly
pushing himself and reminding everyone of his worth. There have been
examples of his using people to his own advantage. I guess, now that I
think of it, they are all hearsay, and I can't be definite about this.
Mrs. Toland has done some interesting things with the young people and they
like her - and put up with him. Now their daughter and son-in-law, who own
a coffee shop here and made a big point of wanting a "clean place for the
students where there would be no liquor", have applied for a liquor license
so they can sell beer. David is inclined to take up for the Tolands,
sighting the many good things they have done for the community ( and they
have, such as being instrumental in getting another doctor here) and he will
not come out definitely against the beer. The young people do have some
church people seriously questioning their beliefs, and I think this is
great. The Snyder men for instance - Ken S. borrowed one of the children's
talks so he could think about how he would answer the questions in them, and
David has arranged for a discussion time next Sat afternoon as a result of

I think the center of a small town is likely to be not the home or the
church but the community, and it's fascinating. The children feel this also.
We're fortunate that this town is made up of a variety of people, and I like
being with various groups: the international club, the church, our great dec
isions group, the party group, the artists, etc. Surprising as it may seem,
there is more variety here for us than in Bala Cynwyd. - at least that we
are really a part of.

It's interesting to me that the four boys who went off to private school
(George School - Quaker) at the 8th or 9th grade with the good possibility
of going on to an Ivy League College are all home again in Alfred. Tom
Randall spent one year at Syracuse, did all right but much to the surprise
of his parents, didn't want to go back and is in the design course here.
Ted Randall is doing well at Alfred Tech after floundering around here and
there. (I know their mother had dreams of Yale for both of them -that's
where their father went.) Mark Sibley started out in Weslian and is now
here in liberal arts. Rob Turner was in his second year at Swarthmore and
came home last week and announced he wasn't going back.

I find having an 18 year old at home or anywhere is difficult. This has
been a difficult year for Wyn. One should accept one's child as she is at
this point I expect and not try to change her, push her, look at her
anxiously. I feel guilty; she feels guilty; Bill feels guilty! Ugh! Here
is the adult that you brought up. She is no longer an extension of you; she
is an individual. Can parents ever accept their children that way - as
individuals with faults, strengths, weaknesses like every one else without
taking blame for the faults and feeling guilty. It's a dilemma because
guilt is a damaging thing. At a dinner party the other night a mother was
proudly telling about how her son got into Annapolis on his own initiative -
making contact with Senator Javitts etc. She had told us earlier that she
and her husband knew how to bring up children - one reason being she had
taught school for a number of years, and her methods courses had been
tremendously helpful. I thought she was stupid, and yet I bet that
confidence she has is instilled in that boy; he feels lucky he has such
confident parents, and he is ready to face the world. When you can stand
away and look at life, it's a riot.

Your letters are wonderful. Jim's poem struck me - he can stand away and
look at the army with all its inconsistencies. Bill said the motto of the
armed services is "Hurry up and wait." Hurry up to get ready to pull out
for instance, and then wait.

Mandy came home with a poor report card. Cheerleading, boys, telephone
calls, figuring our girlfriends' problems have taken precedence over all.
She has made rules for herself like no telephone calls after 6:00. It's
going to be hard. Her aptitudes in tests she took showed highest in art and
persuasives. And she has almost persuaded me she can stick to those rules.
She is interested in human relations - history, peoples' problems - and is
sensitive to feelings of others. She speaks well and does very well orally
in school but she can't write! Her spelling is atrocious!

Bill is too busy. He is president of the national arts teachers assn. -
something like that - teachers of pottery in universities. Anyway their
meeting is next week in Michigan. And he is looking forward to it because
all the work will be done then, and he likes the other men and knows most of
them well.

I have much more to say - can you believe it?

Must go.