Donnie Cindy and my little sister Lana
Today as I was sitting next to my sister Linda in church she whispered that Jan Gaeth passed away.Jan was a name from my past that I haven’t thought of for years and because of her one of my favorite people in the whole world came into my sisters and my life.
As the story goes I think Jan may have introduced my Aunt Jackie to my Uncle Don.I loved my Aunt Jackie.She came into my life when I needed her most.At the time my mom was married to a horrible man that was meaner than a snake to my sisters and me.She was a soft place for me to fall and always had open arms and was ready to listen any time I needed her.I am sure she doesn’t know how much she meant to me because her and my Uncle Don got divorced and we never saw her but a few times after that.I idolized her and everything she did.She would take me for rides in Uncle Don’s convertible with the top down.She always had the coolest clothes.She wore these boots that I knew I was going to buy as soon as I got a job and her hair was always teased into this amazing hair cut.Sometimes she had highlights and she wore make up just right.I always think of her as young,hip,and wonderfully kind.
As I got older Aunt Jackie would let me babysit for her and I loved her kids like they were my own brother and sister.She probably has no idea that those times I was at her house gave me reason to keep going.I was always fighting to save myself and my sisters from my stepfather at the time and going to Aunt Jackie’s gave me a look at life without fear for a little while.We would listen to rock and roll and laugh and talk.I watched and learned from her that sometimes you have to fight terribly hard to get where you need to go and to me and my sisters she is still a part of our family.
So where ever you are Aunt Jackie know that I thought of you today and your kids Donnie and Cindy.I want to thank you for your kindness and the love you showed to little girls that needed it.Gods Blessings.
There is a lesson in here for my grandkids and I mean to untangle it now.Love doesn’t have sides and there was none to my sisters and me in my aunt and uncle’s divorce.We loved them both and still do today.When my grandma(her ex-mother-in-law) died my Aunt Jackie came to the funeral home.To me that means she has great character and knows how to forgive.I love her for that.
I think God puts some people in our life when you need them most and I think Aunt Jackie is one of them.I really don’t know for sure where she lives today but I do know this,she will always hold a special place in my heart.
This is the Grandma of my childhood.I remember her sitting on that step stool and climbing it to get to the cupboards above the stove like it was yesterday.If you look closely on the cupboard there is a radio and a cookie jar that bring back vivid memories.On the floor is one of the many rag rugs she made in the basement on her loom and she has on her apron that she always wore when she cooked.
The radio was on at every meal and every meal was at six,twelve,and six o’clock.The common table prayer before we ate was first on the agenda and then we listened to a local radio station out of Bad Axe called WLEW.They always reported the local news and the obituaries and we had to be quiet when that radio was on.If lunch ran a little over sometimes you could hear a few snippets of I Got A Tiger By The Tail sung by Buck Owens but not to often.They weren’t into that kind of stuff.It was all Christian music and the Polkas and if you spent the night on Friday you knew the polkas were on Saturday morning and Grandma taught more than one of us how to dance that hopping little polka dance on that kitchen floor.EIEIEIO EIEIEIO and around we would go.Grandma with a big smile and me hanging on for dear life.I loved dancing with Grandma and as we got older Linda and I were quite the polka divas at weddings and parties.
That cookie jar never held any cookies.It was mostly for looks because she liked it and was a wedding present.Grandma could tell you almost every wedding present she got and who she got them from.She had a memory like a steel trap and it makes me sick that same memory failed her before she died.I am going to ask when we are reunited why that had to be,because besides her kindness and love to her grandkids her beautiful mind was so wonderful to my sisters and me.
Besides being a seamstress and quilter she was baker and made many wedding cakes.More than once one of us got in trouble for stealing her rosette flowers she had drying on the little table in the front room of the basement.I could never figure out how she knew because there were so many of them.If you were there when she was making them you could have a sample but not when they were done.Nobody wanted the wrath of Elsie so we tried to be good,but sometimes it just wasn’t possible……
This little darling got in trouble at grandmas more than once.Grandma wasn’t only a baker,seamstress,and polka instructor she could also grow anything and she loved starting African violets from leaves.Linette as she has mentioned would play with them and Grandma would not like it.I imagine the soft velvet feeling of the leaves conjured up memories of her beloved pudz that she needed for comfort when sucking her thumb.I saw the mess after Linette’s attack on the plants one time and almost had a heart attack because I knew this wouldn’t be pretty.It’s a lucky thing Linette was a darky like Grandma used to call us because she lived to tell about it.
She loved to have people over and she loved to go visit.This is how I remember her always laughing before the dementia set in.She played cards and games with us and my favorite was cootie.She also taught us donkey that we play with our grandkids today.It was a staple to have her pop up pop corn in that silver pan she used to wash dishes in on the weekend.One side caramel corn with nuts the other side plain and canned grape juice from the basement or if you were really lucky a punch with Seven UP mixed in.I think to this day nothing can taste that delicious.
I hate that my Grandma never got the chance to leave this earth whole in mind and body.After the dementia got so bad when we went to see her in the nursing home she never spoke and it was heartbreaking.She was in a wheel chair in the dining room the last time that I saw her alive just a shell of the vibrant woman she used to be.She couldn’t feed herself anymore and I was trying to get her to take some nourishment.She wouldn’t open her mouth so I asked a nurse to help me.We finally got her to take a few mouthfuls of food and then I gave her a drink of milk through a straw.A little of it dribbled on her chin and I wiped it off with a napkin.It was then to my utter blessed amazement she looked at me and in that sweet sweet little voice said Thank You.Those were the last words I ever heard her say.You know it just figures that even in her last days on earth she would be teaching me something.I hope to be that way for my grandkids.I want them to know that even if they kill my house plants or steal the dog food like Linette and Loretta did when they were little that I will love them.I want my kids and my sisters to know that what ever path they take I will always want to be a part of their life.I want my nieces and nephews to know I think they are a treasure and my Mom to know that I adore her.Grandma taught me that.Even in her last days she was thankful and she told me thank you.I loved my grandma like my kids and nieces and nephews love mom so I guess things go full circle.It really is a blessing to have somebody care for you that much.I will pull her memory out of the past to make me realize that some blessings go on and on only in memories.That is best maybe because people can take a lot away from you but they can’t take your memories of love and family. So to that Grandma I say………………………….THANK YOU.Your Dilly
I have told you about our little Love Nest in Sebewaing that I loved and after Mom had four kids in that little one bedroom garage turned house we moved.My sister Linette was the baby and not quite a month old.About this time Mom’s Dad my Grandpa Jahr bought a farm and it had a HUGE sand brick house on it.He would pay us and we could live there for free if we did the chores and fed the feeder cattle or pigs which ever Grandpa was getting ready for the stock market at the time.I was pitching silage with Mom and Dad before I was eight years old.It has both good and bad memories attached to it and I try to focus on the the good.
The house had four big bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs.We turned a parlor into another bedroom so there was two bedrooms to sleep in downstairs.We girls slept in the bedroom and Mom and Daddy slept in the parlor.The first summer we saw the place before we even moved in my mom and grandma were hoeing the fields of that farm.They would have us take naps in the cool of the house in the afternoon with Grandma’s famous green sponge things we slept on that my sister Linette has commented on.Two girls in a closet,I guess for darkness and two in the room we would later use as our living room.I remember one time Linette and I were in the closet and we heard a like buzzing sound and then the smell of burnt wires.It seems that Lori stuck something in a outlet socket and we shorted out something.I was scared to death and knew we were in trouble.It wasn’t long before Grandma came in and started snooping around saying what happened.I was glad it was her because she never spanked and got everything under control.
It was here that the last of the little Hahn girls made her appearance and here she is with Linda and Lori.I love this picture of her and as you can see Linda is holding her hand.She always was Linda’s baby.We always had the babies with us even before they could walk.We played in that big yard and pretended with our cousins all the time.
We had this stroller thing and the babies were always in it being pushed around.I don’t know where that thing came from but we racked up miles and miles pushing our little sisters.This is our dog Tippy that I tried to train like Grandma Jahr did her dogs but I was never any good at it.We lost more dogs at that house because it was on a very busy road and there was a chicken coop across from us that the dogs always wanted to go to.We never had a refrigerator in that house just the big freezer so we always put our milk in between the door and the screen door in the winter to keep it cold and Mom would freeze and unthaw from the freezer in the summer.One time Grandpa gave Mom some money for feeding the cattle and she gave it to Daddy to go by a used refrigerator from one of his friends that had a gas station in town.She wasn’t very happy that he brought us back a little dog instead of the fridge.There was some words, I remember, but that was Dad.We loved that little dog.I finally had a dog that could do tricks and climb ladders and everything.Her name was Mitzy and we just adored her.Before the end of the summer she was killed on that crazy road down by the corner and I saw her.Daddy and I went down and got the little dog to bury and I remember him being as sad as I was.He took me in his arms and just let me sob and he cried too because I was so sad.You know I can almost feel his arms around me right now as I think of it.I guess there are some things that never leave you and that day was one of them.He hated to see us cry and when one of the animals died it was horrible.This reminds me of our cat Joey that we had in Sebewaing.I was looking for it in the winter and couldn’t find it so I told Daddy.We went hunting outside and found that cat frozen in our shed out back.I begged Daddy to put in on the stove to thaw it out and I remember Mom and him being so sad telling me that we couldn’t do that.Mom remembers that day too and her smile when we said the same words at the same time I will treasure.
That house gave me many things,my last Hahn sister that I love,many fun times with our cousins there(remember the Deeg boys)and it also brought me much unhappiness.I refuse to let the bad take over my memories.I have much to be thankful for.I know that my stepfathers were horrible to us five girls but you know what,Ward trumped them all.He gave me back my childhood memories and I hope he knows it.His childhood was terrible too and he never treated me with anything but kindness and I will treasure his memory like I do my LBS(life before stepfathers).I love my sisters and all that Ward gave me.I hope he is in Heaven telling my dad what good girls that we turned out to be.Thank you God for giving me a dad and a mom that loved me and for Ward.You have given me much Lord and I hope that I can give it to someone in return.God bless my family,warts and all.
I got up yesterday morning and while surfing the web found out that Richard Dawson passed away.He may not have been a huge TV star but he sure conjured up a lot of memories for me.Most of us remember him from the Family Feud game show,which I might add was one of my favorites,and even before that The Match Game, but I most remember him from back rubbing days when he was on Hogan’s Heroes.
This guy,my dad,Daddy to a seven year old girl back then, loved that show.Richard played Corporal Peter Newkirk and my dad would laugh as he watched that show with five little tiny girls crawling all over him.I realize now why all of my kids and grandkids love to be messed with,it’s a family trait from way back.My mom would be in her bedroom reading and as long as we rubbed Daddy’s back we could stay. He would lay on the floor in front of the TV and us all over him.The TV, just a small thing with rabbit ears back then but oh how we loved it and even more so with our dad on the floor.
There were times my mom would holler “Chuck,It’s time for the girls to go to bed.”I would wait holding my breath thinking maybe this time he would make us go,but he never did.Sometimes I would pretend to fall asleep just so he would carry me to bed.
He loved to be with his little girls.I do believe Linda was his favorite because he felt bad because Grandma Jahr always favored me.He loved us all though and he never got sick of us.Mom deserved a few minutes of peace because she stayed home with us while he worked and was probably half nuts dealing with five kids under the age of eight.I can’t even imagine.
I looked up Hogan’s Heroes and then I remembered McHale’s Navy another show he would crack up at.His laughter is a thing I would like to hear again because I don’t remember what it sounded like or even his voice anymore.
What I do know is this.Some people are in your life only a short time and like it or not that is all you get.So Richard Dawson hopefully my Daddy gets to meet you in person.I know he will be laughing because that is what he does.I hope time really does come full circle because you gave him much enjoyment with five little girls all over his back.So Richard,thanks for the memories today and God’s speed to your final destination.