Thursday, August 5, 2010

Piggy Tales: 7th Grade: Painful goodbyes, wobbly beginnings, and church camp

Hello!  I'm so glad you stopped by for the 9th of  15 stories of my Piggy Tales already and today focuses on 7th grade.   I'm going to apologize up front for the incredible length of this post.  I just hope that you make it to the end to see what events impacted me for the rest of my life. 

Visitations: The court deemed that we had to visit our father once a month. Most of our visits consisted of sitting in front of the TV, cleaning, and fixing meals every time we went up.  He no longer bothered to smoke outside, so each weekend our clothes smelled horrible.  He always bought Hamburger Helper - I grew to detest it so much, that to this day, I refuse to buy or eat it.  Bryan and I slept on the pull-out beds that doubled as seats for the table.  It was that year that I began an "obsession" with reading and watching old movies as a way to get through each visit.

Marching band uniforms
School:  Ah, Jr. High! It was exciting moving up to the High school, where the Jr. High (7th & 8th) wing was down one hall, so you would think it would be relatively easy right?  Wrong! We had to switch classes each hour, and back then we didn't have orientations. If you were to ask my family, they would tell you I'm horrible on directions, especially to new places.  I can't tell you the times I went to the wrong room, at the wrong hour. I remember Mrs. Draper for English and Mrs. McBride for Science (can't say I enjoyed either), and Mr. Nordstrom (a tall older man who had the kindest smile and up-most patience with his students) for band was the best!  I LOVED band!  We learned 2 songs that were fun:  Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" and “I Write The Songs".  WoooWee - let's not even talk about MARCHING band!!!  How in the world am I supposed to march AND play!  During a school screening, I failed the eye test miserably... At this point, I didn't realize that trees had leaves, and was amazed when Mom took me to get my first pair of glasses.  She felt terrible all the way home when I kept exclaiming over all the cool things I could see!   You know the great thing about going to the high school?  It had a HUGE library!!!

Grandma Wilson:  If you don't know by now, Grandma was the highlight of all her grandkids and I, especially, loved the time I spent with her.  Watching her milk Pansy, gathering eggs, listening to her play the piano, working in the garden with her, hiding Easter eggs in her yard, making toast in her breakfast room... Any time with her was the best!  
         All that changed April 14, the day before my mom's 41st birthday
.  It was 2 a.m. when the ringing phone broke the stillness of the night, jolting from my sleep. I could hear my mom's raised voice calling through the darkness - "Mom?  Mom?  Just hold on... Please don't hang up... God please help me!"  I ran down to Grandma's house, where lights flooded the dark yard and the screen door stood wide open.  Running inside, I found my mom, kneeling over Grandma's prone body, partially under the buffet, the phone was dangling nearby, buzzing endlessly.  What happened in the next few hours will always be embedded into my heart and memory, as time stood still, we performed CPR on her, listening desperately for the ambulance, 30 minutes  to arrive. Switching back and forth when our arms grew tired, afraid to give up.  I remember hesitating about doing mouth-to-mouth because Grandma NEVER let us kiss her near her mouth - it was like a game with all us grandkids, and she would use her worn apron to wipe off her mouth. Gravel spun in the street as my cousin Steve skidded to a stop, just before the ambulance arrived. Hope wavered as he stood there watching us work.  He picked up the
corded rotary phone and started making calls...  The ambulance arrived, the EMTs took over and Steve ushered me outside to wait... Flashing lights of the ambulance mingled with the dancing stars as I ran to the horse pasture, where the horses were standing... A shooting star raced across the diamond starry sky as I stood sobbing into Buttercups mane... I didn't go to school for a few days following her death and I really couldn't see how we were going to go on without her...

Buttercup & newborn Sandy
Horses:  One thing that I always loved were horses.  My room was splashed with horse posters, Western Horseman and Horse and Rider magazines. Any moment I had, I loved going out to ride my Palomino, Buttercup.  This year as an especially exciting year because she was going to have a foal! It was the morning of my brother's 15th birthday, May 7, and we noticed Buttercup was acting a little strange.  We always said she was 90% Palomino, 10% Appaloosa, and 100% mule.  I just prayed she wasn't going to foal while I was at school!  Guess what?  She did!  Sandy, her colt wasn't very old and just trying to find his legs when I got off the bus that day, and I thought he looked beautiful!  That was the beginning a great friendship that lasted through my 3rd year of college.  Every day, after school, you could find me down at the barn, brushing him, getting him used to touch, a halter, and just getting to know him.  

When I stop to think about it, it seems my mom always had us at church.  Wednesday evenings, Sunday morning, special programs, etc.  I think you get the picture.  I actually didn't mind going - I loved my teachers, I loved that old church and even the people.  I don't remember when, but at some point I started going to Lakeview Christian Camp (now called Flint Hills Christian Camp) set in the rolling sand hills outside of Sedan, one week during the summer.  It was fun experience for us - getting away for a week. People would come from OK and KS to go to camp - I loved seeing old friends each year, but the time away from the norm and the lessons really struck at my heart. This was a pivotal year because one evening,  during some quiet time, I felt the overwhelming need to really invite Jesus into my heart. I remember walking down to the swimming pool - my feet felt so heavy that I could barely walk, like someone was trying to hold me back.  Each step was a terrific struggle, but eventually made it. That evening (June 21), as I stood in the yucky, stinky old swimming pool, I invited Jesus into my heart and was baptized, cleansing my heart and making room for Him to take over my life. Mom was so thrilled, but I really ached to have my Grandma there.  I knew that she was rejoicing, but I would have loved to just hug her. 

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Do you have any memories you can share with your children?  If you would like to read more Piggy Tales from other ladies, hope on Over to Mommy's Piggy Tales.   If you would like to join in and start recording your own Piggy Tales, contact Jana at Mommy's Piggy Tales to find out how  (jannajoy25 (at) If for some reason you missed any of my previous posts, you can find them here.


Crystal said...

Thats so hard to experience a death in the family as a child, especially someone as close as a Grandma. Mine didn't pass away until I was older but 7th grade was the start of her deterioation and she often didn't know who I was (read my post in group 6 to hear more).
Its funny, I actually did better then I thought with going to different classes every hour in jr high, and even in highschool when we had 'A' and 'B' days, so the classes could be 2 hrs long instead and 3 each day! I don't remember ever getting it wrong particularly but apparently it was a deep fear of mine because now in my mid 20s I still have night mares about being in H.S. and going to the wrong class at the wrong time, or forgetting what my classes were all together! They are really vivid too! Its pretty crazy!
Well thanks for sharing your memories!

Raine said...

Alright, you made me cry. But I guess life isn't always full of happy moments. Because of the note left by Crystal, which was very sweet, I skipped on over to read some her piggy tales stories as she shared stories about her relationship with her Grandmother also. These are important memories you are sharing with your family and friends! Kuddos! Did you ever get attacked by Grandma's mean goose? One time when I was going out the back door it came after me with it's wings spead out and flapping, squacking and trying to bite me. Grandma made the best home made apple pies in the world! To this day, when I smell apple pie, I think of her. She also made the best chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy! BLT's with home grown tomatoes so juicy you'd have juice running down your arms. And no matter how hot it was outside, there always seemed to be a breeze coming in through the breakfast room windows and the bedroom where we slept. Fun times!

Jenny said...

That is so cool that you got a colt. What a fun experience. I'm sorry you had to lose your special grandmother so soon. That seems sad that you had to see her like that. Or did it help you have closure, knowing you dud everything you could? I'm glad you shared your conversion experience.

Glenda Piper said...

I am crying reading this story. Reading your experience was interesting. I appreciate your vivid memories! said...

I am so sorry about your grandmother...and yet it puts within my heart what kind of grandmother I want to be. I loved horses at this age also...they were at my granddads farm.
The changing classes was a big deal for me also.
Band...I so remember others in band, so I heard these stories.
Enjoying your journey

Janna said...

I am so moved and blessed by your stories. Sounds like your father lost a very good woman.

Oh I could see your story of Grandma passing. I have loved hearing about her in your story.

Praise God you became a child of His and have been in love with Him ever since!