Right in the Mouth

I never expected to be the kind of mother who’d hit her sweet child in the mouth but I was, totally unintentionally! I was a registered nurse on call for emergency acute hemodialysis.  One Sunday night, I got a call just about the time the kids were headed to bed.  I told Bud what was up and headed for the car.  Unbeknownst to me, my young son, John, had also heard the call and thought it would be fun to scare me.  Just as I settled in my car for the drive, somebody screamed and grabbed me from behind.  By reflex, I slammed a backhand connecting with teeth.

John yelled for sure that time, as shocked as I was.  He hadn’t taken the fight or flight response into consideration, never expecting his mother to attack.  We both felt awful but I didn’t even have to discuss not pulling that stunt again.



Young Boy Recuperating from Surgery Eaten by Beagle (Kind of) Wouldn’t this make a great headline?

Many years ago, my young son picked his toenails till he got them infected. He also had an adoring beagle who made his every step, especially when John was snacking and likely to drop crumbs. I don’t think John ever had to pick anything up. In most cases, that’s good, but not necessarily since Spotty spent a good bit of her time dancing on his sore toes. Eventually, John required toenail removal. Surgery went fine, and in the way of small boys, John proudly saved the excised tissue to show his dad, once he got in. Spotty never left his side. John convalesced on the sofa with his poor foot on a pillow all afternoon, admiring his sore toe, his toe remnant, and calling out for games and snacks. As you might expect, long before his dad got home, he dropped his trophy. Ever faithful, Spotty snapped it up before it hit the floor. Both recovered, though John was heartbroken. To the best of my knowledge, that’s the last body part Spotty ever snacked on.toe 2<img

The Dead Pony, the Warped Kid, and the World’s Most Horrible Mother

horse_puns_aglore____by_alexandrabirchmoreThe phone rang one day.  Without introduction, I heard the familiar, deep voice of one of my son’s friends.  “Miss Linda, is that story about the pony true?”

“Yep!”  The last thing I heard was gales of laughter as I hung up.

If you are the sensitive type, skip this story.

Many years ago when my son was young, we were hauling a load of tree trimmings to the landfill.  As my husband backed the truck up to unload, I spotted a dead pony, bloated with all four legs stuck up in the air.  Without thinking, I said, “Hey, John.  Do you want a pony?”

Of course he said, “Yes!”

“Well, there’s one right over there!”


I swear it was not intentional.  Sometimes I think there is a disconnect between my brain and my mouth!


This is for you, Lee Perkins

Tale of the Hair of the Dog Sweater

Mother and BuzzyimageMy son John lives to torment my mother.  Buzzy, our American Eskimo Dog sheds incessantly, making up vacuum every day to stay ahead of him.  One day my husband Bud noticed a big paper bag on the mantle stuff full of Buzzy’s combings, hair pulled from his brush, and hair swept from the floor.  Amazed, Bud asked, “What in the world is this bag of dog hair doing up here?”

Mother chimed in, “Oh, that’s Buzzy’s hair I saved up for your sweater.”

This was the first Bud had heard of his dog hair sweater.  He thought maybe Mother had finally come unhinged.  “What dog hair sweater?”

“The one you’re going to get the woman at work to make for you out of Buzzy’s hair.”  Mother thought Bud was losing it.   “John told me to be careful to gather up all the hair I could find every time I came over so that woman you work with can spin it and make it into a sweater for you.  How long do you think it will take to get enough?”

Poor Bud had to break her heart.  “John’s been pulling your leg, again.  There ain’t gonna be no dog hair sweater.”

imageMy son, looking his best.


Photo of hair I brushed out of Buzzy this morning, pictured next to pint jar.

Starry Night (from Kathleen’s Memoir of The Great Depression Part 1)

imageLike most of the people we knew, we didn’t have an car, so we never went anywhere at night we couldn’t walk, except for once.  Mama got the news that there was to be a brush arbor revival in Cuthand, hosting a guest evangelist!  To my everlasting amazement, we were going!  We put quilts in the back of the wagon, since we’d be getting home long after dark.  We hopped up in the wagon dressed in our best, headed for the revival, in a holiday spirit long before dark.  I had no idea what a revival was, but couldn’t have been more excited than a kid headed for the fair!

We pulled up to find dozens of wagons parked next to a brush-arbor in a clearing, a simple roof of branches on a make-do support sheltering rough benches. Though it was summer, a few small fires were smoldering, their smoke intended to discourage mosquitoes.  Before long, the song leader got us fired up with a rousing rendition of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”  The singing was wonderful, but eventually gave way to the Hell-fire and brimstone sermon, something that didn’t thrill me nearly so much.

It was late by the time the preacher concluded the altar call, releasing us.  After visiting a bit with our neighbors, we headed for home, long after the time I was usually in bed.  I lay in the back of the wagon with Annie and John on the quilts, looking at the magical night sky.  Travelling under its full moon and sparkling stars was a gift.  A slight breeze cooled us, keeping the mosquitoes at bay.  As the horse clomped along, Mama and Daddy told stories and talked amiably.  With all those I loved around me, I never wanted this night to end.

to be continued

Little Farm Boy Warrior

imageWe had a lovely little backyard garden just before my son turned three.  Everyday we’d tend it, eagerly checking the progress of the flowers, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, and one lone watermelon that had somehow volunteered.  We weeded, watered, and discussed every day when our watermelon would be ready.  John was Continue reading

John’s Tragedy (update)

I have recently done some research because Mother always felt John’s Tragedy left more questions than answers.    links:  https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/johns-tragedy-part-i-from-kathleens-memoirs-part-2-and-update-to-follow/


John’s behavior between announcing he was married and his wife’s sudden departure just before the birth of their child was so odd, they felt something was wrong.  On separate occasions, his father and sister had both come to visit, but each found Wanda had gone off on a trip with her parents, despite knowing of their planned visits.  He explained, she was young and spoiled, at only seventeen. She was used to having her way. Later on, her pregnancy made visits impossible. They got two letters from Wanda, that looked suspiciously like John’s handwriting.  Of course, this was in 1944, when John had just gotten back from a tour of duty in the South Pacific.  His mental health was very fragile at the time.  They were afraid to press for too much information.  The last they knew, Wanda had gone home to have her baby and not returned.

In November, 1944, John told his parents he was informed by Wanda’s father, she had given birth to twins in May 15, 1944. Both she and the children were killed in a train wreck shortly afterward. No further information would be forthcoming.  His father went to visit John as soon as he heard the bad news, but John quickly got rid of him.  In my research, I could find no record of a marriage or birth of twins listing John Arthur Holdaway as father, but eventually, combing through old family correspondence, I did come up Wanda’s maiden name. Mother remembered her new husband’s last name.  Armed with this information, I eventually the record of the birth of twins born May 15, 1944.  The mother’s maiden name fit, though no married name nor marital status at the time of birth was given.  No father was listed, but the boy(now deceased) was given the last name of the man she married at some point, not Holdaway.  I never found the date of that marriage.  This leads me to suspect he never married Wanda, probably only hoped to, maybe losing her to this other man.

John Arthur Holdaway’s wife did meet the California student who recognized the name John Holdaway raising the question of his own paternity, relaying the story to both my parents,so this part of the story seems true.

I am including two V Mails from his sister, Annie Holdaway who was in Egypt at the time John let the family know he had been notified of Wanda’s death.  The family referred to him as Arthur, at this time.  Later, he insisted on being called John, the only name I ever knew him by.V Mail about WandaAnnie's typed V Mail Feb 1945 Referencing Johns loss

John’s Tragedy (Part 2 from Kathleen’s Memoirs) update to follow

Daddy caught the train for New Orleans to see John as soon as we got the letter with his tragic news, not knowing what in what state he’d find John. John was living back in the barracks, explaining he couldn’t afford to keep a place with Wanda gone. He was strangely calm, resigned to the Continue reading

John’s Tragedy (Part I from Kathleen’s Memoirs) Part 2 and update to follow

When John was in the army stationed in New Orleans, we got a letter from him saying he’d married a girl named Wanda. It included a studio picture from Wanda, too, introducing herself. They’d see us some time soon when John got leave. Before too many months, there was a letter there was a Continue reading