Molly turns 21 today. Our first grandchild, who has skipped to adulthood in a most exuberant, yet easy, laid back way.

IMG_0216 Bill and I looked forward to her arrival, not knowing whether she would be a he – and of course, like grandparents everywhere, it was love at first sight.

She will graduate from college next year to become an elementary school teacher, carrying on what has become the family profession for three generations, including me and her mom and dad. I have no doubt that she will be a fine one – fun but firm, caring and compassionate, all laced with a healthy dose of common sense.  All attributes she’s had to have as an RA in university dorms for three years, which prompts me to reveal a couple of things and a letter I’ve never shown  her:

March 1, 1956

“Dear Miss Huddleston,

We appreciate your explanation. However, after checking with the head resident again, she pointed out that it was not one incident but rather the general behavior of all of you that prompted their reporting you to this office….I would hope though, if you are admitted to one of the halls next fall, that you will be one of our exemplary students. You will have then a better appreciation for the need for quiet hour schedules when you are trying to get your studies done.

Sincerely yours,

Emily Chervenik

Assistant Dean of Women

How times have changed in liberal Madison,Wisconsin and for that matter, schools everywhere:  In the ’50s, the doors of Elizabether Waters locked at 12:30; failure to be in by then resulted in being ‘campused ‘or not allowed out, on a subsequent weekend . Certainly, no men allowed. Ever. On another occasion, I got a fine for smoking on campus and finally, the one thing that required me to shape up and become an exemplary student – a letter announcing to my parents that my grades placed me on probation.

I’m so proud of Molly for being far more sensible and appreciative of her opportunities than I was at her age, and I credit her mom and dad as well, for stressing the importance of being responsible and accountable. I can say without bias (well, maybe some) Molly is  quite simply a delightful young woman – I know she will be an excellent teacher!


Writing in my Big Chiefs

IMG_1160I grew up loving Big Chief tablets. I still buy them wherever I can find them with the old ones becoming scarce and even expensive. Relics of the past. The new ones, if you can find them, retain some of the old characteristics; the paper is similar in texture, but sadly, the covers are brighter and the image of the Chief has been updated. My best find was an old dime store going out of business, where I bought all they had – a stack with their original yellowed price tags on the back so the covers looked pristine.

Now that I’m blogging, I’m grateful to have the old Chiefs. The smooth newsprint pages with lines just right contain a myriad of ideas,  incomplete sentences with words crossed out and replaced, memories. hopes and dreams – plus all the oddities that fill my head in a day.

If you’re interested,I’ve already written a post About Me in my blog, Chuckysueslastdance – so here I’ll just tell you some of my favorite things in no particular order:

Growing up in the ’50s with parents who loved me, being close to two sisters, a man I adored who gave me two sons and a daughter, 5 happy grandkids and a daughterinlaw I love, friendships I cherish, Labradors under my feet, a knotty pine cabin upnorth on a beautiful lake, fine next door neighbors here and up there, pretty ribbons, books and more books to  read, coffee, wine and chocolate and now – happily growing older.

The thought of being able to put into words all the things I feel, believe and know, inspires me to do more than write in my Big Chiefs- which is the reason Chuckysue looks forward to creating posts she would feel honored to have you read…


The Least Expected Happened

Sixteen years ago, April 10th happened to be Good Friday. It was also the day my husband, Bill, died. Today, April 10th is just an ordinary Thursday and beginning to feel like Spring, but I want to write about that Good Friday anyway.

Every fall when the temperature hovers near freezing, son Gunnar takes the pier out, son Bill drains the pipes and I clean out the fridge. Only three things remain to be done – scatter a few moth balls, turn off gas and electricity – and leave my end of summer note:IMG_1104

Only Bill didn’t return in April that Spring 0f ’98

In May of ’97 we learned that he had colon cancer, followed by three surgeries, a long anticipated November hunting trip to Wyoming with son, Bill, and rounds of chemo when he got back. With only one left, and feeling happily optimistic, he and Bill shared his last weekend fishing on the Mississippi. Gunnar had just come home with the end of hockey season, and a few days later Bill had a massive stroke. In the ER he held my daughter Betsy’s eyes as the doctor explained that the clot buster TRC could possibly reverse the stroke or cause his death. And that, it did.


Life resumes, and every year Spring does arrive in April, but the missing him is always tucked inside all of us.

I look forward now to telling my grandkids how well he lived his 63 years, knowing that someday I’m going to catch up to him and his whole strong self.

My Postscript on Buying Hyacinths….

Somehow the text that went with yesterday’s photo seems to have disappeared into thin air. I’ve made futile attempts to retrieve it, but have come to the conclusion I just screwed it up – so, here is what I said…

I’ve had this verse by Omar Khayyam in my wallet and on my refrigerator for years:

                                                            If of thy slender store two loaves to thee are left,

                                                                         sell one, and with the dole,

                                                                      buy Hyacinths to feed the soul.

I’ve always loved the sentiment, but now that I’m categorized as an elderly golden aged senior citizen, (when just an old broad would suffice), the gist of the verse is more significant. Now I often pause to ask myself, “Do I want it or do I need it?” My answer to myself is invariably, “What you already have, honeygirl, is way more than enough .” Which is not to say I don’t still want it…

My next door neighbor is my Wilson. We can cover the state of the world, best fish fries, and thrift shop treasures on any given day, but recently he suggested a perfect avenue to stock my store. As a result, I’ve rented a space in a local well established  antique mall where I’ve made many interesting new friends. Not only has this encouraged me to clear out some clutter in this old house, I now have a purpose for one of my favorite pastimes here, and upnorth in the summer – exploring flea markets and garage sales. Hot Dam, what fun!

Simply stated, I’m content with my life, and I already have all the things I need to make me happy… my family, my friends, a black Lab, books to read, a purpose – and of course, an occasional Hyacinth to feed my soul.