REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BABY-WHISPERER - DO YOU KNOW THE SENSATION?

When I recently beheld the picture of a friend cradling her new grandbaby close to her breast, I made a comment similar to, “Looking at this picture, I almost ‘get the sensation’! Once you've had such, a true baby whisperer NEVER loses the power to receive it!”
Following are a few remembrances that should help explain my "true baby whisperer" belief. From my teen years, I have had the absolute blessing of being able to comfort a crying babe. It has brought me some of life’s most fulfilling moments. A true baby-whisperer will understand that comment; others reading this are likely to think, “Poor soul.”
Every one of us has heard a crying baby in any one of a number of public places. I am not talking about just being aware of a noise; I mean a sensation - a feeling – a personal call from that particular baby directly to my heart. It is not to say I am the only one who is able to help; it is to say, at that moment my heart’s being called by that baby’s cry with a great desire to help.
There were the evenings when our daughter, a teen babysitter called for me to be her momma’s help. By the time she’d call, she was nearly in tears herself, begging me to come quiet the infant who, upon her arrival, obviously had it figured out that he could frighten her. Then, once he started crying, frightened himself so much, that he couldn’t stop until he felt the baby whisperer wrap the blanket around his tiny body that up until then, had been taking turns in rigid rebellion and wanting to give in, to the softness now wrapped around him. Within less than 45 seconds he had chosen the soft clouds of slumber, and I continued to cuddle another five minutes or more to be sure he was really off in dreamland. (Or, was the extra holding-close time more for my benefit, when it’s likely he was already in a deeper slumber than I was ready to admit?)                       A most unexpected occasion arrived early one morning while I was at work at a huge crafts and fabrics store. A young woman with a well-bundled 1-month-old came in planning to choose ribbons. Her baby girl had other plans. Ribbons held no interest to the little one because she was searching for immediate, direct attention from her mom. Anyone who has dealt with an infant knows when a baby has its mind set, it’s sometimes difficult to distract them. Likewise, in this situation for the young mom as she was trying to hold a starting-to-squirm bundled baby with the one hand, while comparing colors as she picked through rolls of ribbons with the other. Within seconds, the wiggles from within the blankets became more vigorous while the sounds grew more voluminous! I had already approached with an offer to help if the mom had any questions or needed any help, then as usual, I had stepped back while staying reachable. Once things started looking difficult, I questioned my actions a very few seconds before I stepped closer with the hopeful offer, “I know you don’t know me at all, but if you would let me, I would love to hold your baby while you choose your ribbons.” It took less seconds for her to pass the little one to me than for my offer to have been made! My having that baby in my arms made my day, but of even greater importance, as soon as I started talking directly to the little one, she began to stop her fussiness in order to study me, then pay even closer attention to this stranger who was giving her the full attention she had been seeking all along. Not only did the store have a successful ribbon sale that morning, but I also had another in a good run of baby whispering experiences along with the long-lasting memory that is more than a picture image in my mind. It truly is a “sensation of feeling” as well.
One of my most favorite, almost-unbelievable experiences was with our own newborn granddaughter. Her parents had had to run an errand the day they brought Emily home from the hospital, and because her Paw-Paw John and I were there, we got to babysit with her 3-year-old sister Alyssa Sue, my namesake, and Emily Shae, (her paternal grandmother’s namesake).  Because the opportunity was presented with such ease, with Emily on the waterbed, I decided it the perfect time to get a few new-baby pictures. This was pre-digital camera days, so it’s likely it was after we got back to our Ohio home from their Washington State abode before we saw the pictures. Obviously I hadn’t lost my baby whispering touch! The questions with which I was left are: was this newborn laughing at me or smiling for me? Either way, there is no denying, that was a smile! Our bond was immediate.
As most of you know, I seldom meet a stranger when I have more than 90-seconds in a quiet space with a new-to-me person. At least 95-97% of the time, the experiences are pleasant and I walk away feeling I have gained a new friend. However as much as I love offering my help as a baby whisperer while making new friends at the same time, there are occasions when I recognize it wise to restrain both. John and I walked into a doctor’s office last week where a young mother sat holding a dear little girl. I absolutely had to stop to admire the baby, learned she was 3-months old, chatted briefly with the mom, smiled a lot at the baby while talking a bit to her, then said my goodbyes and left to join John in the row of seats behind. The baby was very peaceful while her mom held her as the grandmother sat by them filling out paperwork. With the paperwork completed, the grandmother could not wait to get her hands on that baby! When with the mother’s permission, I was right there in spirit with the grandmother … until … she picked the baby up under her arms to hold her out away from her to be able to get eye contact. The baby was safe enough but was obviously uncomfortable. Eye contact not being gained, grandmother rather swiftly moved the little one onto first one shoulder, then the other, bouncing the baby up-and-down, up-and-down, most of the time, not allowing her time to settle in any one position. Soon, she sat the infant in her lap, and tried to force her to cuddle as she had been doing with her mother 5-6 minutes earlier when the probably-by-now-dizzy-one started to protest, then fuss. Minutes ago, I had wanted to do so! That’s when the mother turned from her texting as she realized the baby seemed needy, gave her a pacifier, then some liquid in a bottle. Now, Grandma held the baby quite still in her lap, cuddled against her body. No more protests as the now once-again comfortable child fell asleep. Whew! Now, I could rest, too . . . until I think about it all over again!
Earlier I mentioned my teenage start with the seeming almost-expected acceptance of babies and me to one another. The years in between only encouraged and increased “the sensation” as I took part in helping/teaching the infants in the church nurseries in Northern Maine-Tucson, Arizona-Rantoul, Illinois- and finally in San Angelo, Texas. Now, those wee ones are either married or preparing their weddings! It’s a bit sad to me, and I think for them, that the sensation has passed between these very ones and me. An age has come when though many still know my name, they no longer remember my heart. While it’s true that much attention is given to the fact that elderly are forgetful, I wonder if there might be more camaraderie between the opposite ends of the age spectrum if more emphasis were put on the “sensations remembered”.
 I believe this “sensation” or “baby whispering” as some call it, is a gift from God. While for a long time I was able to use it in a more active manner, my arms and heart still hold the security an infant desires. Now, as I continue along the way, my ability allows me to share and to teach what I’ve gleaned. It is truly a joyful sensation to share what I’ve learned to try to make life more comfortable for current mother/caregiver and infant.

(c) M Sue    6-15-2017
p.s. Some of the VIPs upon whom I have been blessed to share Baby Whispering sensations:


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I REMEMBER


I remember the nickel
I remember the day
I remember the joy
Boys so long away

I remember home from work early
I remember the car 
I remember the smiles 
Yes, there they are!

I remember the men
I remember the whoops!
I remember Daddy and Pat
"Here, a nickel for ice cream!
   …Maybe TWO scoops with THAT!”

Yes, I remember the cheers
I remember the joys
I remember the nickel
But most, I remember the boys

Two were my brothers
How longed for they’d been
They, like so many, left home boys,
Came back full-grown men.             

In our small part of the world
Though much joy spread around
Sorrow was once again shared
As grief poured through our tiny town
 
I remember the pride we had
In every one who had served
Whether home or abroad
We were proud of each one . . .

I remember . . .  because . . . EACH ONE WAS OUR SON,

OUR BROTHER, OUR HUSBAND, OUR FATHER,  
 OUR UNCLE, OUR NEPHEW, OUR COUSIN, OUR FRIEND  
                             and I REMEMBER
THE BROKEN YET MERRY HEARTS WE ALL SHARED . . . TOGETHER!

© M Sue  In Honor of D-Day  6-6-2017






























Here is a close-up of the names of the boys grown into men; of course, some were men with families prior to leaving while others had not finished high school.


Our big brother Galen C. Libby 
with Kent W. Libby and me.











            Our big brother Lincoln L. Libby 
                  with Kent W. Libby and me.



Friday, June 2, 2017

SEWING MACHINES AND MEMORIES


    I have no time for adding more because I am not getting done what I should. I have little energy to accomplish what I absolutely must. However, with a couple of straight stitch projects that have been waiting, either for a machine to borrow or, as a friend offered, for her to do, when I mentioned a sewing machine, my husband said, "Get one."  
    That comment was all the “go-ahead” encouragement needed for me to start an Internet search. I was pleasantly surprised to find a less-than-expected prices for machines I liked. After I had read the qualities of this one and the other, I narrowed my search and took my laptop to my husband to look at as he sat in his recliner. As I showed him the one I felt I would be comfortable for me to work with, before I could explain much more than that, he swiftly reached out and poked the "Buy Now" button!
     For once in our life together, I was (almost) speechless! So, I completed the order delivery process and was able to pick up the machine the following day. I also brought my sewing boxes from their hiding places and was delighted to find the bobbins I used in my worn-out machine from many years past still usable. Now, the sewing machine is waiting ~ for those straight stitch projects that have been “on hold” ~ plus at least a couple doggie belly bands to be made. We call them "Speed-Os" for our little male dog...after all, what proud male dog wants to wear a "belly band"? After that, if I can avoid mending, I will be most happy; otherwise, I will repeat Eeyore's favorite saying, "Oh, bother!" oft-times! It has been years since I did anything except hand-mending.
…and yet…
    Just as I was writing all this, I remembered!  John’s and my first apartment was a furnished corner basement apartment in a city dwelling that went from 89-99 Marian Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. In it we had all that newlyweds needed that one would expect, but I had a lot of time and desire to sew with no machine. Therefore, the first piece of furniture we bought after our marriage was a Model 99K Singer Sewing Machine in a cabinet, a floor model so not only was it one with which I was very familiar, but also it was on sale!
    Looking back perhaps that should have been a forewarning to John about what was ahead regarding my ability to find and make use of sales. Because of our several moves and houses bought and sold, he developed the tale that “I once had trouble selling that one house with the escalator in the back yard.” Of course people had to question him as to what that had to do with me and my buying sale items. “Yeah, Sue always would buy anything marked “DOWN”.
    But back to that little Model99K and me: we stitched many miles together! We made clothes for maternity, baby, toddler, First-Day-of-School, School-Play-Costumes, and Special-Occasions-Along-The-Way. Model 99K was still working when she went to live with other family members in the following generations. Her replacement in the years in between wore out, thus the replacement for her replacement has come to grace our home. I wonder what memories she and I will create.

(c) M Sue 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

NURTURING ARMS OF LOVE

    There is just something built inside, a God-given spirit to nurture. Some of us recognize it earlier than others, and for some it’s fulfilled in different ways.
    As this Mother’s Day draws near, I am once again reminded that this imagery we tend to have of MOTHER is that of first taking that solid little body into our arms to hold in gentle firmness against our breasts while at the same moment holding forever in our hearts. However, the point of view from the infant at that time is one of looking around in wonder. Recent thoughts have come to mind that from the child, there is a great deal forever unrecognized about their mother.
    One way that has come to light has been in that my mother was a firm believer that animals helped teach children responsibility. Thus, we had a family dog, my brother and I each had a cat at one point. One late spring day as I walked home from our country school, my mother and my brother, Kent, age 12, were huddled in the grass by our house when I heard Kent, as though upset, say, “Don’t let Marilyn see this!”  Mamma hurried me right into the house and told me, “Sonny Boy is dying.” What? Sonny Boy was my beloved, smooth-haired, yellow and white striped kitten. How could he be dying? He was too young to die! (This was right after WW2 and vet visits were for people with more money than we had, plus country cats were just that – country cats.) Sonny Boy had worms, apparently from an unhealthy mother. My 8-year-old broken heart must have been nothing compared to the one my brother suffered as a result of his careful attendance of Sonny Boy’s death and probable burial. Hopefully, his Jeep cat brought him some cuddling comfort, or, more likely, our dog, Peggy.
    Not too long after, when we visited our maternal grandparents, as so often was true, there were kittens for our playing pleasure. This time, having asked permission from my parents beforehand, Grammie gently picked one tiny grayish-striped one with an almost black pointy tail from the box , offered it to me with the explanation, “The mother kitty of this one is old. She doesn’t have enough milk for all of her babies. If you think you can raise this one, she can be yours, but you will have to feed her milk from a dolly’s bottle for a while.”
    “Oh, yes, Grammie! Yes, I can do it! Thank you!”  Thus, baby kitty was passed from grandmother’s hands into my waiting, cradled arms. Today, I can almost relive the ride home in the one-seat pick-up truck , still cuddling my mewling kitten, and Daddy’s wondering, “What have we gotten ourselves into this time?” attitude. (He was not fond of cats, but he did love his little girl!)
   
We named this beautiful, almost Maine Coon Kitten, Tippy because she had white tips, one on each of her four paws. With her close-up striking coloring view of tan-black-white, she had a defined “M” in her forehead. Mamma told me that was for Marilyn. Tippy thrived on her diet of milk; I thrived on being her mamma as I had to hand-feed her several times each day and sometimes during the night those first few nights! She suffered through my dressing her in doll clothes and loved being cuddled close. Within a year or so she became a mamma kitty herself and before long we all became city folk. Tippy tolerated the move well until several years later she got poison somehow, “probably from killing a poisoned rat,” and after most of a week at the vet’s which our family could ill-afford, the vet said, “She lived just because she wanted to.” She also had God and prayers on her side and a good vet who was opened New Year’s weekend!
Following that episode, her health declined and there came a time in which we knew the best parts of her life had passed. Having the services of a vet was a blessing and with the decision made, my mother took the deed upon herself. This was no simple task: my mother did not drive and Daddy was at work during vet hours. My brother was away in the AF. and so while I was in school, my mother (once again in helping me avoid the pain of separation) took Tippy on the bus, likely having to change buses at least once on what was about a 5-mile trek one way, to the vet. We did not have a kennel, so Tippy was probably cuddled close to my mother’s tremoring breast all the way. Wiping tears that had to have been falling must have been painful, troublesome, and even a bit embarrassing all along the way. How I wish I had been thoughtful enough to go with her! So often that thought returns when I remember this trip my mother made to save me from pain.
    This was all brought back to me “in full living color” this past week as I writhed in my mind over what our daughter and her daughter were painfully suffering. A far different time, but not such a different scenario was being played out. A little girl once asked, “Can I please keep this kitten? I’ll even pay to have her fixed.” And so a companionship began for the kitty’s lifetime with the little girl through high school-college-into marriage but now Minny Kitty needed medical care that the vet felt could be accomplished with surgery since all the blood tests indicated “Okay.” Minny Kitty had been brought to the trusted vet at the growing-up home and since her Emily Girl had to return to her home to work, the grandmother person, the “Mama’s Momma”, was there to nurture and comfort. The antibiotics for an ear issue were given faithfully until that last evening prior to surgery when Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Not tonight. I’m tired. I’m old. Surgery is not the answer.” With the signs given of a possible stroke and past the vet’s open hours, the Mama-Grand-momma sat holding Minny Kitty in as comfortable a position as tolerable for her while both were on the floor. A little mewing from Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Thank you for loving me so much,” as she took another brief breath or two and went to sleep in the nurturing arms of love.
     For those same nurturing arms of love that once first held her baby Emily Shae back to the arms of my mother who once first held and nurtured me, little knowing the prices they would pay for loving us so much, beyond the pain they had just endured, we could ask, “Would you do it again, or is it too high a personal price?”   
    Perhaps this simile answers well:
“You see only the best views
when you have climbed to
the top of the mountain.”

© M Sue Libby Moore




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WELL-CHOSEN

Our mother was a widow 39 years, lacking a very few days. When our dad passed suddenly all those years before, she had no hesitation in exactly what was to be on his tombstone: Psalm 1.
Each time I hear it spoken or see it written, I am reminded of how fitting of Daddy and how wise of Mamma 's choice.

"Through the Bible In A Year"

Chronological Reading for Today:

Psalm 1New American Standard Bible (NASB)

BOOK 1

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A PAGE FROM THE PAST - LITERALLY

In searching for something else, I  came across this summation of the summer following my daddy's death.in March, my mother had come to live with us, our youngest had just turned 4, the other two were 6 and 8, and John's new job took him miles and days away ~ thankfully summer came:
 I'm unsure who the BUDDING vAN GOGH was!
This was on the back side of the page.
 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

DADDY - FIFTY YEARS - BUT SO MUCH CLOSER IN MEMORY

WILMER MADISON LIBBY April 17, 1910-March 8, 1967 
    When I think of Daddy I see a man whose life was spent serving God and his fellowman.
    He had much respect, compassion, and great love for the elderly or infirm. If there were a task that needed to be done and for some reason he couldn't do it himself, he’d try to set it up so another could.
   Daddy never shied away from hard work. He worked as a machinist making airplane parts during WW2. He dug and planted home gardens for produce. He swung a large scythe to empty the fields of hay at our home in the country in West Garland, Maine, hung a rope swing from a butternut tree for me, and dammed up the brook so our family and friends could have a swimming hole. He was a talented mechanic and kept our old cars on the road. To save money and wear and tear on the cars when we lived in Bangor during the 1950’s, regardless of the weather, Daddy walked about 14 blocks to the downtown area where he could take a bus the 15 or so miles to his work at the Old Town machine shop. Another of his talents was the ability to repair clocks and he did so with a chiming wonder that belonged to my maternal Grandmother Glidden. He even found and took time many evenings in West Garland to play Dominoes with us.
    He thoroughly enjoyed good music. He appreciated his sister's accordion-playing, always with his foot tapping the beat. He played the harmonica well but not often. In Bangor, with a smile on his face, he listened to radio play-by-play of the local basketball team, particularly during the years we had friends involved as team- members. When the time arrived that we had a TV, watching and listening to the weekly Liberace Show became a "must". Again, the foot-tapping accompanied the lively piano music.
    He also appreciated good humor. Whenever I see an ad for The Globetrotters, I always think of Daddy's laughter as he   watched their antics on TV. I hear it again when I watch any bit of the Roadrunner and Wylie Coyote cartoons or see the Lucy and Charlie Brown comics during football season.
    In his last years Daddy, chose to leave his work as a machinist and become a full-time minister because he wanted to share all he could of what he had learned in his own walk as a follower of Christ.  
    Daddy was a man of few words so when he spoke people knew he had something to say. He said much by simply living.

DADDY IN HOULTON, MAINE, DOING WHAT HE OFTEN DID THERE  THE WEEK HE DIED THE   TEMPS WERE 30 BELOW ZERO.
 THE HOULTON, MAINE CHURCH BUILDING. THE NIGHT DADDY DIED ROM A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK ABOUT A MONTH BEFORE HIS 57TH BIRTHDAY, HE WAS STUDYING FOR HIS SUNDAY LESSON. JOHN E. MOORE, AGE 27, USED THOSE NOTES AND BROUGHT THAT LESSON THE DAY FOLLOWING THE FUNERAL.


THE LAST PHOTO TAKEN OF 
WILMER AND SUSIE ("MIMI") LIBBY IN LATE 1966.

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

VOICES FROM THE PAST

    

During our song service this past Sunday morning Justin Thornton led the hymn, “There Was One Who Was Willing.” There are some songs, hymns in particular, that bring the voices of particular people to my head and to my heart with such clarity, I can nearly feel the presence of certain persons. Am I the only one with such feelings, or do you recognize them as similar?
    “There Was One Who Was Willing.” always brings a return to my teen years of singing soprano in response to my mother’s request to “Please come sing with me.” She had a wonderful gift of true harmony and while she generally sang alto, on this song, her voice smoothly transitioned to the high tenor. While I would thoroughly enjoy having a recording of one of our sessions, particularly one that would include this hymn, I don’t really have to because it is so well embedded in my musical memory box. Without having to be wound up, it plays each time I hear the song. I am thankful. 
    Another voice I hear is that of my daddy when we sing “Without Him”. Daddy and George Beverly Shea had unforgettable timbres of similar quality. As I recall, that hymn gained popularity not too long prior to my daddy’s death, but I know he favored it in more ways than one. 
     Of the myriad that does stand out to me, another song I respect more than I alone would have chosen, is ”Worthy Art Thou” that we seldom sing. After Daddy died, I found his easy-recognize-pencil-handwriting by the title simply stating, “Good Song”. Coming from Daddy it meant I must pay closer heed to its words.
    Before that, there was a summer day when our young family of four, John and I, with Beth, 3-and-1/2, and Chip, 1-and-1/2, were house-hunting. We were in our Plymouth that shortly before had suffered a burned-out clutch at the end of a very long day of travel, while we were hauling a U-Haul type trailer that held all our earthly belongings.  With a good night’s rest and a once again road-ready car, we were driving through neighborhoods, looking for “For Rent” signs when we passed the church building. From the back seat, Beth started to sing, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  Lesson taken, little girl. I cannot say for sure, but I don’t think that hymn has EVER been led in an assembly of which I have been a part, but what the memory of that young voice in song has returned to my head and my heart.
    I’ve read of touches of humor in relation to how, before they can read, children misunderstand words of hymns. Here’s one that stays in my music memory. I was tending nursery the last day our son, Chip, was at services before he left to serve in the USAF, so I didn’t hear this, but was told about it later. Because I knew the petite, 6-year-old blond who sat beside our son, I could well imagine how her ability to project her singing voice sounded as she sang out her praises, “And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted, And His glory is exhausted far above the earth and sky.” Michelle, to this day you are unforgettable! You brought so many smiles, not only on that day, but also on many days since.
     The scripture says, “A happy heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) Singing these songs and hearing the voices from the past is uplifting. Have any of these tales brought any memories of similar hymns/songs stories from your hearts? If so, why don’t you share? We’d really love to hear them!
© M Sue
2-28-17

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