Patj's Stories & Genealogy

Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Busy Year of 2016 -- Maybe The Last Speaking Year

   Speaking Schedule as of December 8, 2016
1/4/2016  Civil War Roundtable Lady Spies Presb Church
1/11/2016  Mirasol (Repeat) Falling in Love/Ancestors Mirasol (LVLD)
1/14/2016   LDS    Church Lesson 4 Training Stake Center
2/16/2016   Friday's DAR Girl Power 1770's Meth Church
2/17/2016  LVLD Library End of the Story LVLD Lib
 3/12/2016  Mirasol The Day You Were Born Mirasol (LVLD)
3/16/2016  LVLD Library Land of Plenty LVLD Lib
4/14/2016  LDS Church Merilyn Lloyd Stake Center
4/20/2016  LVLD Library To Be Or Not To Be LVLD Lib
5/14/2016  LVLD Library Intro to Genealogy LVLD Lib
5/18/2016  LVLD Library The Tax Man LVLD Lib
5/20/2016  Faith Evang  Church Beg Genealogy Faith Church
5/30/2016  Columbine Care Center America's Last Soldiers Windsor
6/15/2016  LVLD Library Today's Gen Resources LVLD Lib
7/2/2016  Park Regency  Beginning Genealogy Loveland
7/14/2016  LDS Church Family Tree Lesson Stake Center
7/20/2016  LVLD Library World of Directories LVLD Lib
8/11/2016  Estes Park Gen Soc Connecting Anc & Hist     Estes Park CO
10/13/2016  LDS Church Family Tree Lesson Stake Center
    10/19/2016  PEO Chapter  Internet Genealogy LVLD Computer Lab
12/5/2016  Civil War Roundtable General's Wives Presb Church 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trixie - 1956 - 1973

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I don't know why I have been thinking about Trixie lately.  It has been forty five years since she died, but I have been thinking about her quite a bit.  Maybe if I introduce you to her I can get over this feeling. Trixie came into our lives when Cindy was about age three. My stepdad, Laurel L Evelyn brought two puppies home to his house at 1815  P Street in Gering, Nebraska.  We lived in the basement apartment and he had me bring Cindy upstairs for a surprise.  The two puppies were in the big overstuffed chair, and he said to Cindy, "You pick what puppy you want."

One was Trixie, and the other one was her brother Skipper.  Of course they didn't have names yet, but these were the names for them eventually.  They were both cute as a button, as all puppies are. Skipper was a tan color and Trixie as you see her above.  

It took quite a bit of evaluation for a three year old to make a big decision like that.  She looked from one to the other several times.  Finally, she petted Trixie, and said she wanted her.  A very wise choice as Skipper turned out to be a scatter brained puppy that had no sense at all.  He was lovable and cute but not too smart.

Trixie was the opposite -- very smart and became a permanent part of our family until after Cindy was grown and married.  For fifteen years she went everywhere we went and was always part of the things we were going thru and moving from place to place with us.  She was never any trouble at all. So gentle and loving to us.  

I believe animals are a special gift Heavenly Father gives us to give us joy in life. Trixie was the best gift we could ever have had.  She adapted to what was going on in our lives and each stage of Cindy growing up.  Although she wasn't thrilled when a new baby came to us in 1962.  Too much noise and disruption for her I guess.  She was never a threat to Laurie, but she made it clear she liked things the way they used to be.  

Our last move with Trixie was when we moved to Colorado in 1971.  She adjusted just fine, but it wasn't long when she was starting to falter.  She was getting old and sick.  One day I had to make a hard decision.  It was a Saturday morning, she was not able to walk anymore and I knew the time had come to say goodbye to my faithful friend.  Longmont didn't have a Humane Society yet so I had to drive to Boulder to turn her over to be put to sleep.  It was a sad drive to Boulder and even sadder drive home.  I cried all the way there and all the way back home.  Little did I know this was the first of these things I would have to do in my lifetime.

I will never forget that day and I will never forget my loyal and loving friend, Trixie.  What a special spirit she was. Yes, I believe she had a spirit just like I do.  I hope that in the hereafter I will see her again.  


Friday, December 9, 2016

A Fun Party At Mimi's In Loveland - December 8, 2016

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What a wonderful party we had on December 8, 2016.  It was during our recent cold blast from who know where.  Almost too cold to breath outside.  Although it WAS a little warmer than the night before, when it was -0 by 6 pm.  But all you need to do to get a feeling of warm is to fill the room with genealogists.  Especially members of Larimer County Genealogical Society.  Spouses were there as well, and surely were used to hearing genealogy spoken.  The cold probably kept a few away, but it was hard to tell as our room was filled to the brim.  The first topic of conversation was the many accidents folks witnessed as they drove to Mimi's Cafe east of Loveland, Colorado.  Our President was half an hour late as she was stopped by two bad accidents as she traveled from north of Fort Collins. But that was all forgotten as folks started visiting and ordering and eating.  We heard some "hate mail to our ancestors" like WHO WAS THE FATHER OF YOUR SON? and why did you even marry a Smith, and then to name your son JOHN?  It was messages we have all thought of sending to them if it were possible. Then we all wrote four surnames on pieces of paper and as each table read them others in the room raised their hands if they had them as well.  The one that the most had in common was BAKER.  A couple of people actually connected with ancestors that were in common.  It was a fun game.  The evening was closed with the drawings for door prizes.  All were good, with some comments on the ones from Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream.  Those didn't sound so inviting on such a frigid night.  But their time will come for sure.  It was a nice evening and well worth the effort to get there.  Hopefully everyone arrived home okay.  Stay tuned for more reports of festivities.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Nice Start To December 2016 - Dinner And The Civil War

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Meredith Hall- St Joseph's Church

December 3, 2016 was a wonderful afternoon spent at St Joseph's Catholic Church. It was the annual Senior Dinner that they graciously host each year.  I have been attending it since 2009 when I lived at DMA Plaza and it was something several folks there attended.  At that time it was at another Catholic Church in Fort Collins and it was in November as it was a Thanksgiving Dinner for the seniors in the community.  I started going with neighbors Sharon C., and Bill Kim.  We rode together to the dinner in those first days. Eventually, it changed to a dinner held between Thanksgiving and Christmas and it moved to Meredith Hall at St Joseph's Church.  I usually call and make the reservations for the three of us and we meet there.  I have moved from DMA Plaza and so has Bill Kim, but we still go to the dinner with Sharon C.  This year we met a few other residents of DMA Plaza there and we all sat together at a large table.  It was sort of a reunion and it was so good to see old neighbors.

The dinner was excellent and served in great style.  No details were overlooked, and the room was beautifully decorated.  There was Christmas music which was nice while we ate.  I am guessing, but I would estimate there were 100-150 people there.  All quite dressed up and feeling festive.  It was a room filled with good old fashioned joy.  No other word for it -- JOY.  What a nice way to start the Christmas season.  Thank you to the parishioners at St Joseph for a wonderful afternoon.

On Monday December 5, 2016 I presented the program at the Fort Collins Civil War Round Table at 1 pm.  I like to prepare and present Power Point presentations and this group is always so gracious in letting me do that. I am not sure how many attended, maybe 50. It is hard to think about that when you are giving the program. My subject was Wives of Civil War Generals.  I did four Union wives, four Confederate wives and one Private's wife.  They were (from the Union) Mrs. General Benjamin Butler; Mrs General Joshua Chamberlain; Mrs. General Daniel Sickles;  Mrs. General Philip Sheridan; (from the Confederacy) Mrs. General Nathan Bedford Forrest; Mrs. General Stonewall Jackson; Mrs. General James Longstreet; Mrs. General George Pickett; and the Private's wife Mrs. Peter Thorn better known as Elizabeth Thorn, a Civil War heroine in her own right.  It was a nice afternoon, spent doing what I like to do.  And being with the nicest folks around is an added bonus.

So 2016 is closing in fine fashion.  It has been an eventful and fully loaded year and I am glad I was here to enjoy it.  I am looking forward to a great 2017, especially with a new great grand baby on the way and due to arrive in March. Stay tuned for further reports from your humble correspondent, Patj

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Ancestors Will Live Forever -- If I Do My Job

My grandson recently sent me an article about the values of genealogical research.  It is not necessarily a new view, but a good reminder of why I believe it is vital.  At least it is vital to me. It is the reason I write about my ancestors and publish those writings either here or at the Family History Library or the Allen County Library.  

I also have shared on the feeble attempts I made years ago to create Genealogical  Websites.  The websites are still active, but I don't update the material anymore. However, my contact information is there for folks to contact me if they have questions.  The websites are:

But, to get back to the subject of this article -- here is the most pertinent part of it. 

"Forgetfulness is immoral.

How then do you avoid the immorality of forgetfulness? How do you acknowledge and thank someone for a gift when they’ve gone the way of all the earth?

You remember them. And in so doing, you prevent their second death.
Preventing the Second Death, or How Memory Is Redemptive

Every person dies twice.

The first death comes when their body physically expires.

The second occurs when their name is spoken for the last time.

For most people, their second death arrives when the last person they knew during their lifetime also passes from the earth. No one remains who knew them in the flesh, and their memory is buried along with their bones.

For those people whose posterity does their genealogy, however, their memory never dies. Their name is read and known by he who first compiles a family tree, and by all the individuals who come after and keep sacred the record.

Viewed in this light, genealogy is an act of redemption. Through our family history research, we can save our ancestors — even the lowliest and most apt to be forgotten — from the second death.

Memory is moral."

I seem to have always known this and thus my own motto "Fall in love with your ancestors!" No matter how they behaved in life, without each and every one of them I would not be me!  I owe them the effort to learn about them AND write about them. 

And today, Thanksgiving 2016, I am thankful for every one of them.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your ancestors.  Patj

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Forgotten Soldiers of Camp Collins November 5, 2016

This day was very historical.  After 150 years, these forgotten soldiers are at last identified and remembered.  They all were buried at Camp Collins between 1863-1866. After excellent research by Brian Carroll they have now been identified and are listed on this memorial that was unveiled in Grandview Cemetery on November 5, 2016.

The project was the culmination of eight years of hard work by Friday's Council Tree Chapter, NSDAR.  This dedicated committee has photographed every headstone in Grandview Cemetery and in Roselawn Cemetery in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I well remember the day we were asked to undertake this project,and the enthusiastic approval by the small, newly organized chapter of sixteen members.  Now eight years later, and boasting sixty three members, the fruit of that commitment has been realized.  Yes, it grew far beyond the original vision, but what an accomplishment it is.

One of the identified forgotten soldiers was represented by a great great granddaughter in attendance. She and her husband traveled from Wisconsin to be here today.  A special spirit was in this cemetery today and I imagine these men cheering that they are finally remembered after so many years of being forgotten.

Adding to the excellent program was a high school group that does Civil War re-enactments.  The "Lobo Mess" of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins posted the colors and contributed greatly to the events of the day.  A nice reminder of the good students in our world today.  Two young ladies that are part of "Lobo Mess" were dressed in colorful Civil War dresses. Thanks to them for participating and joining today's festivities.

Brian Carroll read the names of the newly identified soldiers and gave a short bio of each one.  At last the world knows who they are and what they were like.  Brian is scheduled to give a presentation about this research at the February 16, 2017 meeting of the Larimer County Genealogical Society.

All in all, it was a beautiful day, accentuated by perfect Colorado weather.  It was a gorgeous setting for showcasing a "job well done".  It was a perfect day to recognize the many different people and organizations that helped accomplish a long and difficult project.  It was a "feel good day" that shows the good in people everywhere, and we need a day like that once in awhile.

Thanks to all from me, for an inspiring and beautiful day.  Patj

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Home Again -- Alone October 2016

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 Benson Sculpture Park - Loveland, Colorado

October 2016 was a delightful AND busy month. My youngest daughter, Laurel, was with me for two week, on her way to a new home in far off Hawaii.  It was a bittersweet visit as I loved having her here, but know I won't see her again for a long time.  She is an incredible young lady for sure, and I love her and am so proud of her.  It is a great skill to be able to land on your own two feet time after time.

The other blessing for me is that the reason she is moving to Hawaii is that I am about to be blessed with a 5th great grandchild in Hawaii.  It is a boy and I am so excited to know when he arrives safe and sound and is strong. He certainly is endowed with strong genes from both sides of the family.  He will be our "Wonder Boy".

But, back to the visit -- we sure did have a good time and did some neat things while she was here. The first Sunday was spent driving up Poudre Canyon. It was a beautiful and colorful Colorado day and the scenery was spectacular. We sat in on a couple of court hearings for a person/case of interest for me.  We attended a political rally at Colorado State University where Bernie Sanders spoke.  We visited Medical Center of the Rockies several times where my oldest daughter had hip surgery.  We went to Chapunga Sculpture Park and Benson Sculpture Park, both in Loveland, Colorado.  We went to a couple of movies and ate out everyday at various restaurants.  In short, the visit was way too short!

Alas, the time came for me to take her to Longmont where she spent the last week of October with her stepmom.  I went back to Longmont on the last day of October to spend time before she left there the next day.

This was the hardest parting.  All of a sudden alone again, and having to face the adjustment of that once again in my life.  I decided to look on the situation with rose tinted lenses rather than black tinted lenses.  The joy I found in that short time was priceless and I don't want to cancel it out with negative thoughts or feeling sorry for myself.

I will always cherish the memories of October 2016.  Nothing can take that away from me.

Until later, patj

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

33 Years Ago Today -- A Wedding -- A New Life

It was thirty three years ago I married John E Johnson in Loveland, Colorado. The picture shows how we felt that evening so long ago.  It was the third marriage for each of us and we both carried a great deal of baggage as we undertook this new life together. It was a gamble for both of us. 

But at this moment that was all set aside as we vowed our love for each other and determinedly ventured forth on a sometimes rocky path. 

Twelve years later we were still best friends and still in love. This picture was taken the day before we began one of our genealogy trips in 1995.  Cloverleaf Community, where we lived, had set up a photographer to come and take pictures of the residents and John had made arrangements for us to do that.  Quite a handsome couple wouldn't you agree?
How I would love to take off on a trip again, like that one was. We had the best time investigating Kentucky and other places where our ancestors lived. We could ride for hours without talking much, just content to be together. 

We were married 26 years in all. John died two days before our 26th anniversary on September 25, 2009.  And as expected, as we grew older we depended on each other much more, and our love ripened into a wonderful relationship.

All I can say is that I wouldn't have missed this adventure for anything, all of it.  I miss John and wish I could talk to him one more time. But of course, if that could happen I would ask for even more time and that can never be in this world.

Over and out, Patj

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Update On My Accident On August 16, 2016 --- All Is Well

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It is a miracle -- Pedersen Toyota was able to repair my car successfully. I picked it up Saturday September 3. I immediately took it for a long ride to charge the electric engine battery up and it drove just like always. It was so nice to have it back.  As you know it has almost reached my favorite car status called "As Good As Orange Bird".  I am not sure any car can live up to that standard, but this one is close. So with a new front fender, front wheel, side door glass and mirror and some under carriage repair it is good to go for  awhile longer. Welcome home to "Almost As Good As".


Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Remember 9/11/2001 --- Oh So Well

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It was a beautiful September morning and John and I decided to go out for breakfast.  We went to Carl's Jr for biscuits and gravy. Our friend Diane was working that morning and as we were waiting to get our food she came by and said, "Something terrible has happened in New York City. Something about the Twin Towers, but I haven't heard the details yet."

We hurried and ate and rushed home to see what it was on TV. As we pulled into our carport our neighbor, Mary, was walking into her house and was crying. She couldn't even talk, just kept saying, "Terrible, terrible."

We rushed into the house and turned the TV on we saw the last plane fly into the second Twin Tower. It was like a scene from a horror movie, but we knew it was a real thing. A very real horrible thing. We both sat there mesmerized by what we were seeing on TV. Then heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon and one crashing in a field in Pennsylvania, just about twenty minutes shy of hitting the White House.  It was madness, and we were practically eye witnesses to the whole thing. The news people were rushing around trying to get the latest news to broadcast to the nation.  We just sat there sort of in a trance. Not talking, just staring at the TV screen in disbelief.

It was about 11:30 when I said, "I can't watch anymore, it is just too much to comprehend."  I got up and went out into our back yard and sat at the picnic table.  Our backyard was pretty well private because we had a hedge of Rose bushes in the back, and a hedge in the front of Lilac bushes.  I sat there for several minutes when John came out and we sat together in the silence. We didn't talk.  The sky was silent because all air traffic was stopped.  There was no traffic sound, no other everyday noises,  It was as if the world had stopped making noise. It was so quiet it was eerie.

We finally had to say something and we both agreed that our world would never be the same after what happened today.  My daughter Laurie called me and all she said was, "Mom, I love you."

It reminded me of the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing.  I heard about that on talk radio on my way to work early that morning.  I remember the announcer saying, "We all need to tell our loved ones we love them."  At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could happen in our country, but 9/11/2001 proved that wrong.

And now fifteen years later, it has been proven that on that day our country changed forever.  We can never go back to the seemingly carefree world I remember as a young girl and even as a young woman.  I feel sad that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will never know that "other" world.

Today, I have much to be grateful for, but I have to remember the horror of that day that changed my world so much.  Our nation has been blessed by God, but I fear what will happen if he stops, and pray that never happens.

Until later, Patj


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday #84 To John "Jack" Johnson

Oh so many years ago. Oh so many things have happened since. But what a beautiful memory that day is. We always said that we were a "gang of two". We were on our way for a few days out on our bikes. It didn't take much to think of somewhere to go.  This short trip was to Ogallala, Nebraska. This picture is at one of our regular stops on Highway 34 east of Greeley.

I often wondered what it would be like when our biking days were over, but it was no problem, we continued many more years as a"gang of two" through those days as well.

I don't mean it was a sweet, smooth journey but it was a loving journey (most of the time).  How I miss seeing you and hearing your stories of people in your life and experiences from your past. Some happy and some not so happy. I know you are somewhere waiting.  I know you are free of the pain of living in this world. I know you are celebrating your birthday today, August 21.

You were a unique and special man, I loved you then, I love you now. I remember the last thing you said to me, "I love you, and I always have. I'll see you in the morning."  I would give anything to have one more big bear hug and smile.

Happy Birthday to you and rest in peace.  RILYA Patj

Friday, August 19, 2016

Oh No -- Not Again -- August 16, 2016

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Look at my beautiful 2005 Toyota Prius. It was in perfect working order, the nicest car I have ever owned, almost up to my "Orange Bird" standard.  I figured it was the car that would last for the duration of my driving days.  That was until it met a huge Peterbilt truck pulling a very long horse trailer. A truck trying to make it through a very busy entry to a fast food mall along Interstate 25. Something like threading it through the eye of a needle. Something like fitting a size 12 foot into a size 6 boot.  It didn't fit and my Prius was the one that suffered for it.

It is terrifying to see something that big headed your way and hearing it collide with the drivers side front of the car and the trailer skimming down the side of my car ripping off the side view mirror before the driver got stopped. My mirror was entangled in the window of her horse trailer. 

When I finally got untangled, we looked it over and it didn't appear too badly damaged from the exterior. The mirror was hanging by a cord but the Prius didn't look too bad. My first thought was that if it was just a mirror it could be fixed easily. 

I made a u turn to go over to where she had parked her truck so we could get out of the driveway. My car did not want to move, something was holding it back. Then a huge red triangle showed up on my dash screen. I told her I would have to be towed home as there was something seriously wrong with my car. We exchanged insurance and contact information. She basically said. "While you are getting a tow truck I am going into Qdoba to eat."  A mere slight delay in her busy day. 

The end of the story is that I know after reconstructing the scene if I had been in a lesser car I would have been seriously hurt. That Toyota Prius was so well built and it withstood that terrible impact and didn't cave in on me -- the driver strapped in a trap. I am grateful to that car and to Heavenly Father for protecting me.  Am I angry? Yes, I was simply in her way and she was going thru no matter what and I am the one to pay.  But I have to let it go, and remember how lucky I was to survive it.

Stay tuned for the next development in the Pat's Cars Story. PS - Drive carefully and watch out for bullies on the road.  Patj

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

40 Years Later In Estes Park Colorado

Tomorrow, Thursday August 11, 2016 I will travel up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park to present a program to the genealogical society there.  I have always enjoyed the times I have spoken there. The ride up into the Rocky Mountains is gorgeous and the people are so nice.  This year I hesitated because Highway 34 is under construction once again, but I have been checking CDOT and all looks well for tomorrow.  Maybe a few one lane areas to go thru but I will allow plenty of time.

The subject is Connecting Ancestors and History.  The picture above has nothing to do with the story of my ancestors in Bloody Kansas, 1854-1859.  It is the opening slide because it shows 103 historical people -- and all of our ancestors were somewhere in the world of history when they lived.  I like to look at the picture and see how many I can name.  It is sort of a mind relaxer.

The story is of my Meech ancestors that lived in Kansas before it became a state in 1861 and were in the state in the pre-civil war era that was Bloody Kansas.  It is so interesting to discover what was going on at the time any of my ancestors lived in any particular place. My great grandmother Faithy Ellen Meech Craig was the daughter of Dennis and Margaret Meech. Dennis and Margaret raised my grandfather, Claude Craig, after his mother died in 1888.  Dennis and Margaret were in Kansas before June 1860.

Now I can understand the events going on around them and appreciate their survival skills so that many descendants can be here today.

And we cannot forget that in 1976 the Big Thompson canyon was flooded with what was called a 100 year flood.  I will not forget it as it was catastrophic and many lives were lost --- and Highway 34 was under construction to make it flood proof.  But the flood of 2013 proved that it was not successful so another construction project is under way.  Adding to the story that there is never anything new under the sun.

Over and out from your humble correspondent, Patj

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Amazing What Many Eyes And Many Hands Can Do

Another amazing feat for the genealogical community. Think of the millions of additional names now available for searching, AND finding, after the July indexing project at FamilySearch was finished. Three days of concentrated effort all over the World did an outstanding job. A huge thank you to all 116,475 indexers that participated. Take a look at the stats showing age groups involved and regions involved. Your humble correspondent was one of the 24,104 in the most senior group. 


Friday, July 8, 2016

There Is Nothing Like Planning A Genealogy Trip!

For a brief time this summer I thought I could not go on my annual genealogy trip.  I was so depressed about it that I decided to throw caution to the wind and figure a way to go.  Even if it means a "Raman Noodle" diet for two months, I have to find a way to go.  So now I am not depressed anymore and I am excited about the future.  I have the Atlas out and figuring my route, etc.

Where an I going? Southeastern Kansas!  Yes, I know it doesn't sound all that glamorous and exciting -- but to a genealogist on a quest it sounds perfect.  What is my quest? Trying to find the ending story of Mary Ann Gray Meech.  I first met her as a young girl in 1850 living with her grandparents, Richard and Dorcas Champion.  I was finding my connection to the Champion family and didn't pay much attention to the little  girl named Mary Ann. It was many years later that I made the connection to another line of ancestors the Meech boys, Dennis B and William Wallace Meech. They married cousins, Margaret Pryor and Mary Ann Gray.  The girls were daughters of Champion daughters.  The two Meech couples migrated to southeastern Kansas and remained there the rest of their lives.  Mary Ann Gray Meech was the wife of William Wallace Meech.  I am descended from Margaret Pryor and Dennis B Meech, but I have been sort of haunted by Mary Ann the last few years.  Her husband died in 1905 in Cedar County Missouri and he left all of his property to his beloved wife Mary Ann. But that is the end of what I can find about her and it bothers me that I can't find her ending story. If she is buried next to her husband in Prescott, Kansas she does not have a tombstone.  I find no evidence of her anywhere after 1905, She is not in the 1910 or 1920 US Censuses.

So what is the solution? Go there and snoop around. Mary Ann is typical of women in the 1800's and early 1900's.  Many times they just fade into the distance with  no one caring or trying to find the end of their story. Wish me luck in my latest detective adventure.

Of course, if you have read my blog for very long you know I really like travelling the little back roads. So this trip will be no different. I will report back after the trip is done.

Stay tuned, Patj

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Final Farewell -- Again -- Richard W. Meier

This week saw the end of a bit of my history.  In August 1952, I married Richard W. Meier in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. On June 7, 2016, he passed away in Longmont,Colorado.  That could be all that I really need to say, but I can't just forget the years of our life together.  It is not so much a romantic story as a historical story for my descendants.  Why? Because many of them do not ever remember the two of us being together, but if we weren't together, those folks would not be here so I owe them a bit of history.

Our experience together began in 1951. What a time that was to be a teenager. The world was changing into the technical word we live in now -- but it was just a small bleep on the horizon.  A friend (a boy) and I were in the group of kids that were riding in Richard's car on a Sunday afternoon. I was sitting directly behind the driver, and could see him in the rear view mirror, and vice versa. Since I was with another boy, I tried not to be too obvious in the way our eyes were meeting in the mirror.  Eventually, the day was over and everyone headed home, but that little seed of attraction had been planted.  It took root and soon we were dating on a regular basis, the other boy was then a distant memory.  We were two innocent (sort of) teenagers and we were soon to embark on a life that was to be absolutey perfect.  What a wonderful time of life that was.

A year later we were married and off on a honeymoon to the big metropolis, Denver. We were given $100 by my step dad, Laurel Evelyn, to spend for a week in Denver.  Two country bumpkin kids that were off on an adventure. The week in Denver ended and we actually had money left over from our week of adventure. [Remember?  I told you it was a different world in 1952.]

Our life was blessed by two daughters and many other experiences, but like all of life, nothing stays the same.  It eventually ended after twenty one years.  It was sometimes a painful parting, but we both moved on to other people and other experiences, and now at this stage of my life, I have to think very hard to recapture that part of my history.

But, I will never forget that wonderful age of optimisim and hope and grand plans for the future. Good, and sometimes not so good, experiences made us into a crazy quilt of life. Now however, as an old friend of someone that knew me when I was just a young kid, I have to say I am sorry he had to suffer in his last years.  I wish him God Speed to the next adventure and I am grateful to have known him and had his children.  Even though time changes us and memories dim, there are some things that can not be forgotten.  Farewell, Richard Meier, I wish you well wherever you are.  Patj

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remembering A True Friend -- Kitty Girl

There she is in her favorite kitty bed.  She had many to choose from and this one was in the bedroom at 300 Remington Street in Fort Collins, Colorado.  She could watch what was going on outside and stay inside where it was nice and safe.  We had just moved to our bachelorette apartment after John died in 2009.  This was to be her last home, as in 2014 she had to pass on to another world.  Can you tell I miss her tonight? She was the gentlest, kindest, most loyal and loving person ever. Saying goodbye to her was not an easy thing to do.  It seems that I never get good at saying goodbye -- ever. I have had to do it so many times in my life, but that is not why I am writing tonight. The one picture John wanted to have at the rest home was of Kitty Girl. He loved her so much.

But, I am thinking this evening of when I first saw her.  It was near the end of June 2002.  I had gone to Gering, Nebraska to see my mom and Lee, I was there for my birthday on the 29th.  After we visited a while my mom said, "Oh, we have a cat now."

I wanted to see it and we went out to the attic over their garage building that had steps up to the storage area.  We all looked up the stairs to see if she would make an appearance.  Finally after much calling she peered down at us.  She was bedraggled, very thin, and scared.  She had been thru a rough time obviously.  Lee said, "Ok she can stay BUT she is not coming in the house!"  I said, "Hello Kitty Girl."  We didn't even know yet if it was a male or female but the name Kitty Girl seemed to fit her.

Mom set some food out for her and we went back in the house.  All I knew was that we had looked at each other, eye to eye, and connected.

A week later, when I called my mom she said, "Guess who is in the house now?"  Yes, Kitty Girl had moved in and in that short time had established her place in their home. They both loved that gentle Kitty Girl. That was her name for the rest of their lives and the rest of her life as well. She was a good and loving friend to them.

My mom died in March 2003 and Kitty Girl became Lee's best friend as he fought the loneliness after mom died.  Finally he moved to the Veteran's Home in Scottsbluff so Kitty Girl needed a home as no one that he knew wanted her.  John and I talked about it and told Lee we would take her.  It was a big decision as we already had a big old tom cat named Buster.

It was heartbreaking when we went over to get her.  Lee was so sad.  And we had to grab her real quick before she saw what was going on and we got her in her carrier.  All 160 miles home she cried and cried. We tried to drown it out by playing the radio and she just wouldn't stop. She cried all the way.  We were almost crazy by the time we got home.  Then there was the challenge of introducing another cat into our house when Buster had been king of the roost for so many years. There is another story about that on this blog called "The Mulberry Street Peace Accord".

But in the end, Kitty Girl won over everyone - including Buster. It was her gentle spirit and kind nature that did it. After Buster had to be put down she filled in that gap.  John loved her so much. She and I were sole companions after John died and I depended on her so much. She was loyal and loving.  I hope to meet her again in another world, as she is a special spirit.  The time she and John and I were a happy trio are happy memories. I miss Kitty Girl tonight and also all of the people that we knew and loved together.

I am grateful to have these memories. Good night to Kitty Girl & Company.  Patj