REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MY PRECOCIOUS CHILD



My child, at two, you sang
the names
of the apostles with me.
It was quite an accomplishment
for a child of two
To wrap your tiny tongue around
those names.
It was more than
some adults ventured to do!
More than once we smiled with pride
as you sang
and quoted on ---
“Jesus called them
one by one –
Peter, Andrew, James,
and - - - *Daddy!”
(*Well, you knew you weren’t
supposed to call him John!)
© M Sue

2-23-2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

DIGGING INTO MY PAST

When I was a preschooler, supposed to be taking a nap, I was not sleepy.
The room in that huge house in central Maine was hot.
The humidity on that mid-summer day was excessive.
Mamma probably needed the rest more than I.
As I lay on the thin mattress on the cot in what I am now sure was a room other than the one I’d normally use, I suspect it was one chosen because it might be in a cooler part of the 17-room house that had years before been a country inn, and certainly a room not used by our family during the cold winter months.
The cot on which I was supposed to lay was placed directly against the wall of exposed bare wooden laths with crumbling plaster stuck in between. That is, most of the plaster was stuck in between the laths until I, being bored with my status, chose picking plaster over taking a nap. The plaster was so old and dry, it crumbled easily under the pressure of my small fingers. Not only did it crumble, but in so doing, of course it left empty spaces showing signs of my (shall we call it?) labor, plus it made little scritchy-scratchy sounds, rather like that of scurrying mice, as the tiny pieces tumbled and fell at varying intervals down inside and outside the walls.
The strange thing is, following my “nap”, I don’t recall being scolded, or taken to task in any way whatsoever, for doing such a deed – unusual because damaging property was definitely frowned upon in our family - and generally brought about reprisal that I surely would recall. For this reason, I am positive this had to have been one of the extra rooms, likely over the long part of the “L”; therefore, almost never used. Why I’d be trusted there, I fully question. It could have been during one of the infrequent times a “babysitter” was called in when my mother was away. Obviously, I was not a trustworthy child, and only recall being in that room on a couple of occasions.
Even though I was there for a nap, I know all of the above really happened. I am sure I was not dreaming!


© M Sue

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A YOUTHFUL PURCHASE

Sometimes the little girl inside comes calling
And surprises me once more.
It happened just the other day
While at the Goodwill store.
These slipper boots called out to me -
The weather had been chilly;
I almost looked behind my back,
Sure folks would think me silly.
But like those boots? Indeed I did,
Enough to make me think
It worth almost any price to pay -
Would they send me to a shrink?
But I decided there and then
Those slippers may be youthful,
But deep inside one knows just when
To face self, and be truthful.
What about those slippers said,
“These are only for the youth”?
Absolutely nothing. In my mind was the real truth!
I’d been thinking the wrong way,
I’d do better to think truthful!
I bought the slippers, brought them home,
And now I float just . . . youthful!
© M.Sue

Saturday, February 11, 2017

HE WAS MY BIG BROTHER-HE WAS MY FRIEND

 (Written to Honor Lincoln L. Libby on What Would Have Been His 92nd Birthday)
    When I arrived on the scene, I had three “big brother protectors”, one 15, one 13, and one 3-and-1/2 years older . Curly-haired, green-eyed, completely oblivious to how special I was, all the trouble I caused in the whole family due to my mother’s life being threatened by the pregnancy and my middle brother Linc’s fear and resentment, it’s a wonder it ever occurred, but given time and understanding, Linc and I became, not only siblings, but also friends – really good friends.
    Having been born in September of 1939 meant WW2 came along about the same time as I, although, given the earlier comments, I must have you understand, I was NOT the cause. All too soon, the comfortable world I had as a toddler turned topsy-turvy as my brother next in age started school, and the other two of my big brothers joined Uncle Sam’s Navy Blue, while my daddy started sleeping days due to working nights making airplane parts. Gone were the many laps in which I’d sought comfort when I fell and bumped or when I dropped and broke a favored dolly so more Sunday movies at a nearby theater that the boys could take me to see even if it meant traveling through a snowy Sunday afternoon in winter, or a fun ride high in the air on upright shoulders telling my personal horsey to “Gitty-up!” until he’d say, “No more, your horsey is tired,” as he’d slow to a walk. So many “no mores”.
    I well know my brothers were not the only ones who left home with big plans to take care of the world. Here’s a list from our small Central Maine village, many of whom, even as a young child I knew personally, because they were friends of my brothers. As apparently had been the case for months, after getting my brother, Kent, and me off to bed, my mother would listen to the radio news. Thinking she had the radio low enough that we’d not hear it in our second-floor bedrooms, she was startled to hear the barefoot-steps as Kent stomped down the stairs into the living room, and, hitching up his pajama pants, declared, “I wish I was old enough! I go over there and we’d get this war over!” I am quite sure that earned a few lines in one of the many letters to “our boys.”
    Thankfully, “The War” finally did end and “our boys” did come home. We are well aware of those of their/our friends who did nor and/or those whose lives were forever changed. It is my belief that any who go into such are forever changed; how can they not be, but that’s another thinking for another time.
    Life didn’t ever return to what it had been. Our boys had grown up! Linc, who had left school prior to the end of his junior year, came back to finish his high school years, go to college, get married, and start a family, all within a few short years. His college education didn’t give him the satisfaction he desired so after a short time, he, Fran, his wife, and son, Linc, Jr., took the advice to “Go West, Young Man” with California and the area where Fran’s family had settled. Crossing the country in the early 1950s was a different trip then than now but they were young, determined, and having survived the crib death of a 6-week-old son less than 2 years prior, they were still learning how to handle challenges, sudden and expected. When we look at pictures of the faces now, we can see how very young they were, and perhaps see them in a different light for all they had already seen of life, but they were made of sterner stuff than to let the past win. They chose to not look back; they weren’t going that way! (Wise, don’t you think?)
    The years between my being twelve and my taking our mother into our home nearly forty years later passed without a whole lot of correspondence between Linc and me. Fran and I had more communication and particularly lots of messaging flew back and forth once e-mail was established, but Fran was good to encourage Linc’s visiting once Mom was with us. After Mom and John had each gone to bed the night of his first visit in Illinois, he looked at me and said, “You know, you and I don’t really know each other.” That was the beginning of our taking care of that situation in a joyful way!  We talked until our tongues fell asleep and woke the following day to start again! That was the start of infrequent visits by Linc to our home and we were able to go to Cave Creek to spend some time with them once in 1995.
    Here more recently, with his move to live with his children, in whom he took great pride, Lance and Elisabeth Libby, in Ft. Worth, they made sure we got several visits. Our daughter, Kim Middleton, and her husband Don, helped with the transportation on one occasion, but basically it fell to Elisabeth and she did yeoman duty! Thank you so much, Elisabeth.
    On this last visit Linc told of his trying to find time in his college years of study and work, to spend with Fran and toddler Linc, Jr. One of their favorite things to do was to take Linc, Jr., in a stroller that, to start their trek, required Fran at handle and Linc at front so they could lift it over a gulley to get out onto more even ground for a time, although the process had to be repeated from time to time due to the rough ground. On this one day he was remembering, he saw a beautiful butterfly he just had to have for his collection, so he and Fran worked together, not forgetting their parental responsibilities, but working together they met success.
    When he had finished telling that story of his life, I was really surprised. I said, “You had a butterfly collection?!” (I didn’t really have to ask, now, did I? He’d just told me so! J) So, I just HAD to tell him that at our maternal grandmother’s request, our mother spent hours reading, “A Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter while Grammie Glidden tended household chores. It was one of our grandmother’s favorite stories and since I had the video, I was eager to share it with Linc, but try as I might, with the equipment and time that I had, there was no way I could! With his upcoming birthday scheduled for February 12th, I determined I would either get a copy of the book so he could read it or a form of the video that he could see and either enjoy it by himself, or preferably share with Elisabeth and Lance because I was so sure they, too, would enjoy it. (Pictured is the version I’ve seen, have, and have shared, and I heartily recommend it.)
    Oh, the things we still had to learn about each other had time allowed!
    He told me stories of his everyday life in California and Arizona that I’d never have known had we not had these last few months to visit. He told how he treasured the time he got to spend with lunches with his son, Dan Libby, once Dan had left school and just the two of them had time to sit and talk. (He was good in one-on-one, wasn’t he, Dan?) I was able to answer some lifelong questions he’d had regarding our family as well as he did for me. We grew a bond we’d not previously owned, not from preconceived ideas planted by forebears of other generations, but one that comes from being able to see for ourselves the individuals we are.
    I am thankful that, even though the years in between my teens and taking Mom into our home were separated by Linc’s and my living basically across the country from one another, at long last we were able to reunite with more than a few letters, pictures, and phone calls, although to this day, I treasure the phone calls that most often ended with, “I love ya, kid.”
“I love you, too, Big Brother,”

Marilyn Sue Libby Moore
February 12, 2017





Saturday, January 25, 2014



JOHN AND SUE - NOVEMBER 1956

The Football Player Turned Sailor 
and His Goody-Two-Shoes

    Here is the story of the Sailor who really had a hold on my heart before he joined the USN...he just didn't know it!  He later liked to tell that I chased him until he caught me!  Neither of us thought our mothers were very wise when earlier they had tried saying things like, "Why don't you go out with that John Moore?" and "Sue Libby seems like a nice girl."  This was before John quit school at the end of our junior year of high school to join the USN.  (One of the smartest moves he made was to take his GED in the spring of 1957 so he graduated before the rest of us did!) 

    In the fall of 1956 my mom came home from Ladies' Bible Class saying that John was in the hospital with another bout of dislocated shoulder and she had his address so she was going to send him a card.  You must realize that was in my mother's nature plus she'd had two Navy sons in WW2 and her heart was still with the Sailor boys.  Our football team was doing so well that fall that I decided I'd do a good deed too, by writing a letter to John telling him about the team since I knew it would be in interest to him.  He later said he should have realized he was being railroaded!  I, of course continue to protest each time I hear that comment, by saying, "It was no such thing!  I really was just trying to be nice!"  By that time I had given up on his ever considering thinking of me as a girlfriend…or even a friend! 

    Later that fall he had a brief furlough at home and on one of his first days he decided he'd come to Bangor High School and show us all, teachers and students alike, what he looked like in his dress blues!  He now tells how he came by Mr. Noyes' 4th period study hall, looked in the window of the door and caught my eye and thought, "I wouldn't mind being seen with her while I'm home on leave!"  That afternoon as I stood ironing, the doorbell rang and I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if it was that John Moore?" as I went to answer.  It turned out to be that John Moore and he spent as much of the rest of his leave with me as time permitted and the rest, as they say, is history! 

    Because he was in the Navy most of our dating was through letter-writing and phone calls...the time I received a letter from him when he called me by his ex-girlfriend's name was one time when he almost saw smoke out of my ears that went from my home in Maine to his ship in Virginia!  The next time was when he wrote telling me about all the times (!) he and a very attractive female friend of ours (a year younger than I) went shopping around the Boston area!  She lived in Brookline, MA. while he was a patient at Chelsea Naval Hospital recuperating from surgery for continuing trouble with shoulder dislocation...he had given it all for the Bangor High School team, y'know! One BIG consolation I had was knowing that with a plaster half body cast, it let him have only one arm free, so he couldn't do much hugging very easily! Ha!  No, the real consolation was in my knowing I was his first choice…although that little niggling insecurity kept trying to get its ugly way!  In the long run real love won that battle and as we look back, we have often realized that our marriage and life have been guided and planned by Someone much higher than any earthly being. 

    Well, there you have the story of how two teens from Bangor, Maine, started their life together, even though one had said, "Aw, Mom, she's a Goody-Two-Shoes," and the other had said, "But Mom, you don't know his reputation!" 

Happy 56 years today, John E. Moore,
My Football PLayer TurneD Sailor Boy!

Who'd-a-thought-it?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

LOVE NEVER FAILS

    Once upon a time, (and we all know that many good stories begin with, “Once upon a time,” don’t we?) my family and I lived in the far northern part of the State of Maine in the city of Caribou.  Though the church family there was small, the love was large. 
    For fun, the ladies of the church had “secret sisters.” Those who chose to participate filled out forms that included personal information that answered what our favorites were.  The idea was to draw a name, slip a secret something of encouragement onto a designated entry table without being seen, and to keep our identity secret for three months.  At the end of that time, we’d have a gathering to celebrate and tell whether or not we had guessed who had been leaving the mysterious messages and personal packages.
    Over the period of time I took part, I am unsure whether anyone guessed my being her secret sister, but I do know I had a very sneaky little one who fooled me not just once, but twice!  The one who had me so completely baffled was a very sweet teenage girl named Heather Ledford!  Heather did everything anyone would do to keep me in the dark as to who she was, and to this day I smile, as each year at this time I bring out my very own Jack-O-Lantern pin, a gift from my sweet little teenage secret sister.

    Not only is the pin dear to my heart, but so too are the memories of those times with Heather and her family, made even more precious by her unexpected passing on January 9, 2012.
    Times and seasons pass, 
      but love never fails.
M Sue       October 26, 2012

Friday, September 20, 2013

THE FLAG THAT CAUSES ME TO WONDER


 
    Many of us have shared our family members with this country as they have served with the military in one capacity or another.  There are those of us who have been military members.  Some have served briefly while others have made it their life’s work.  Whichever way these men and women have chosen, each American has benefited from their honorable service.  There are times when I wonder about some of these who have helped to keep our country free.     
    One time I wonder is when I travel down a street in the city of San Angelo and I see not only the American flag briskly blowing in the breeze but under it just as proudly lifted by the winds is a POW/MIA flag.  Since I frequently go by one particular house whose flag pole often has both flags fluttering, my imagination goes a little like this:  I make a purposeful trip to that house, stop my vehicle, get, go up the walk, ring the doorbell, and hope the people who live there answer the door with open hearts.  I deeply desire to know the story of the person behind that POW/MIA flag so I imagine asking them about it.  So far I have not been bold enough to do that but I have already conjured up in my mind that this particular flag represents a Vietnam Veteran, possibly the brother of the man who lives there. 
    One day as I drove by, imagination intact, the man was out with a boy who was probably new at being a teen.  That day I decided that the homeowner might be the uncle of the boy and had him visiting in order to help fill the empty place caused by the POW/MIA’s absence.  Or maybe, the teen is the son of the homeowner and his dad is helping him learn to remember the fallen.  They were working in a flower garden and I felt it was to honor the loved one who wasn’t there.  Now, a couple of years later, each time I pass by that flower garden, my mind’s eye sees the man and the boy working together and I wonder some more.
    I also wonder about this draw that has my mind so wrapped up in wanting to know.  Deep down inside I am sure it is because the flag represents a person who left hearts at home and whose presence is loved, missed, and will never be forgotten.  Isn’t that something each one of us would like to know when we are gone from the presence of those we love?  Would this POW/MIA be any different? 
    The white-on-black flag tells us that it is obvious that this POW/MIA has not returned…or, here goes my imagination causing me to wonder again…is it possible that our flag person was a POW/MIA, who continues to fly that flag as an honoring remembrance of those who didn’t make it back? 
    I wonder.
© Marilyn Sue Moore                     4-19-05