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Personal History for Faye James

Dedication Chapter

Title of Your Autobiography

Growing up in Nebraska

Just The Facts

Please enter the date you began answering these questions.

I started answering these questions on November 8, 2004

What is your name (first, middle, maiden name, last)? Do you like your name? If you could, would you choose another? What name would you choose? Who were you named for?

My name is Ila Faye Ullstrom James. Growing up I was always called Ila Faye. Many children in that day were called by their full names. I never particularly liked the name. Partly it was because no one else had that name. I can remember that my sister belonged to a Dorothy club. It was organized through a church paper for young people. She had a round robin letter that she sent on to other Dorothys across the country. It always irked me because I could never have such a club. Who ever heard of an Ila Faye?

Are you male or female?

I am female.

In what country, state, and city were you born? What hospital?

I was born in the house that had belonged to my maternal grandfather in Ashland, Nebraska on March 31, 1927. My mother used to tell me that I was the only one of her babies that kept the doctor waiting. I was a breach baby. I guess they didn't try to turn breach babies in those days but let them come bottom first. I've heard it said that breach babies always have trouble with their hips. Maybe that's why I have so much trouble with mine.

What is your birth order?

I was the youngest of 4 children. The first was a boy who lived less than a year because my mother had German Measles during the pregnancy and it left the baby with a weak heart. My sisters were 7 and 5 years older than I.

How old are you today? How old do you feel?

I'm 79 years old. Three years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As a result I have trouble walking. I had walked for exercise for about 20 years before that diagnosis. Now I can barely walk for a block or two. I wouldn't feel my 78 years if it weren't for the effect of Parkinson's disease.

What is your birth date?


Are you right-handed or left-handed?

I guess I'm right handed. I write and eat with my right hand but I cook and deal cards with my left hand. I can remember when my aunts were around and I was writing something when I was preschool age my aunts corrected me and tryed to get me to write with my right hand. I can also remember complaining to my mother that a new electric skillet had the handle on the wrong side. She told me I was using it backwards. I did have an uncle who was left handed and my daughter, Barb, is also left handed. So there are apparently some left handed genes in my family. Perhaps I do the things I was taught to do right handed and the things I just picked up on my own I do left handed.

What is your height, your weight, your eye color? Do you wear corrective lenses?

I have grey green eyes and have worn corrective lenses since I was 21 years old.

What is your mate's name?

My husband's name is Philip James.

What was your maiden name? If you are a woman and married, was it difficult to give up your maiden name and take your husband's name?

My maiden name was Ila Faye Ullstrom. I was happy to change my name to James. Taking the husband's name was the custom of the time and I think hyphenated names are cumbersome.

What is your anniversary date? How many years have you been married or were you married?

We were married August 11, 1951 and have been married 55 years.

Are you overweight or underweight?

I am overweight and have fought the pounds ever since my pregnancies. Living in a retirement home that serves great food doesn't help my battle with the pounds!

How many children do you have? What are their names? How old are they?

We have 3 children. They are Margaret Ann James, who will be 51 years old in September, Barbara Louise Kelter, who will be 48 in October, and David Edward James, who will be 46 in December.

How many grandchildren do you have? What are their full names (first, middle, last)? How old are they?

We have 6 grandchildren. They are Seth Benjamin Kelter, age 19, Aaron Philip Kelter, age 16 Michael Philip James, age 16, Clare Margaret James, age 13, Katherine Mary James, age10, and Teresa Elizabeth James, age 7.

What is, or was, your occupation?

My occupation was that of teacher. I taught vocal music and English in Pawnee City, Nebraska, vocal music and orchestra in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, and History and Principles of Education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

What is your race? What is your religion? What is your political affiliation?

My race is Caucasian. I am of Swedish, German, and mixed ancestry. Politically I am an independent although I am registered as a Republican because in order to vote in the primaries I have to be affiliated with a political party. I am very unhappy with politics in our country and feel very strongly that we need less politics and more statesmanship.

Do you live in the suburbs, a city, a town, or in a rural area? What is the population? Do you live in an apartment, a house, a condominium, or a retirement home?

I live in a small city. Lincoln, Nebraska now has a population of about 220,000. I now live in a retirement home. When we were raising our children we lived in two-story home with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, living room with fireplace, dining room, kitchen, recreation room, and double garage.

Are you allergic to anything? What is your blood type?

I am allergic to ibuprophen. My blood type is A+.

Please add a question or fact that you would like to answer or share.

My mother "gave readings." There was no TV, sometimes no radio if a tube for the radio burned out and we had no place or no money to replace it. Mother entertained people by giving readings. She kept a scrap book of poems or "readings" from which she could select poems and subjects she wanted to use. One of her favorites which she recited hundreds of times including the times she told it for her grandchildren was "Little Orphan Annie" by James
Whitcomb Riley.

Little Orphan Annie's come to my house to stay,
To wash the cups and saucers up and brush the crumbs away.
To shoo the chickens from the porch and dust the hearth and sweep.
and make the fire and bake the bread to earn her board and keep.
While all us other children, when the supper things is done,
we sit around the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun
a listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!

Once there was a little boy who wouldn't say his prayers,
and when he went to bed at night away up stairs,
his mammy heard him holler and his daddy heard him bawl,
and when they turned the covers down,
he wasn't there at all!
They searched him in the attic room
and cubby hole and press
and even up the chimney flu and every wheres, I guess,
but all they ever found of him was just his pants and round-abouts
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!

Once there was a little girl who always laughed and grinned
and made fun of everyone, of all her blood and kin,
and once when there was company and old folks was there,
she mocked them and she shocked them and said, she didn't care.
And just as she turned on her heels to go and run and hide,
there was two great big black things a standing by her side.
They snatched her through the ceiling fore she knew what she's about,
and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

When the night is dark and scary,
and the moon is full and creatures are a flying and the wind goes Whooooooooo,
you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear,
and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears
and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about,
or the goblins will get ya if you don't watch out!!!

Mother said that I recited that poem when I was only two years old. I'll bet it was with every expression and pronunciation exactly like hers! She also said that I sang my first solo at the age of two. It was
"Jesus Loves Me" and I sang it for the Missionary Society at the Methodist Episcopal Church at Ashland. Mother loved to show her children off.

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as an active senior citizen. I am an intellectual who likes to read, discuss and interact with others.

Your Family and Ancestry

List the names and birthdates of your mother, father, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, paternal grandfather and other great grandfathers and grandmothers. What did you call them?

My Mother's name was Lola Anna Hendricks. She was born December 12, 1886 in Fillmore, Missouri. My Father's name was Wilmer Ullstrom. He was born February 1, 1876 in Mt. Carroll, Illinois. My maternal grandmother was Elizabeth Jane Rude Hendricks. She was born September 14, 1848. Her mother died in childbirth when Elizabeth was born and she was raised by a family by the name of Baker.
My paternal grandmother was Louise Letting Ullstrom. She was born July 24, 1838 in Sweden. My maternal grandfather was Salathial Pritchard Hendricks. He was born July 14, 1843 in Columbiana County, Ohio. My paternal grandfather was Jan Peter Ullstrom, born April 8, 1834 in Sillerud Parrish, Sweden.
I never knew any of my grandparents. They all died before I was born. The house my maternal grandfather owned was willed to my Aunt Nellie who was the only one of the children who did not marry. She stayed at home and took care of her parents until they died. My Uncle Ernest was left a widower by the early death of his wife, Ada. They had a young child who needed care so Aunt Nellie went to Julesburg, Colorado and cared for Mary Jane in the winter when Mary Jane needed to be in school. She came every summer to live with us in her house. She loved to quilt and every winter she would piece quilts. She had a friend in Ashland, Mary Cook, who quilted with her. Each spring the quilting frames would be set up in the "sitting room" and Nellie and Mary would spend the summer quilting the quilts that Nellie had pieced during the winter. I was born in this house and lived there until 1941 when Aunt Nellie died and the house was sold and the money divided among the remaining 8 Hendricks children.
The house was on Clay Street in Ashland. The house had a full quarter of a block of land. It also had a barn and a coal shed. We had a large lawn and a large garden. My parents raised most of the food we ate. One of Ashland's bankers lived in a large Victorian house across the street. He had three quarters of a block in land around his house. One quarter of his land was used as an orchard, one quarter was lawn and he let my family garden the other one quarter which he did not care to use. I can remember helping to plant the garden and shell peas, snap beans, and shuck corn. My mother canned the produce from the garden that we couldn't eat fresh. She also dried corn. She would cut the corn from the cob, spread it evenly over cookie sheets, cover the corn lightly with cheese cloth to keep the bugs off and let it dry out in the sun for days, stirring it from time to time to make sure it dried. When this was dried it was stored in a cotton bag. It was not as good as fresh corn on the cob, but it was edible. I don't know whether some ancestor learned this from the Indians but at any rate I assume it was passed down from previous generations. There was no air conditioning. Mother's canning was done by the hot water bath method. In Nebraska with temperatures often in the 90s and 100s, you can imagine what it must have been like in that kitchen! In addition, she cooked on a cooking range that was fueled by wood or coal so that heat was added to the hot temperatures from outside. My mother did not lead an easy life.

Do you have brothers and sisters? What are their names? When were they born? Do you remember the first time you saw them?

I was the youngest child in the family. My sister, Marjorie Helen, was seven years older than I and Dorothy Anne was five years older.

Where was your mother born? Where was your father born? What circumstances brought your parents to the place where you were born? Were there people already there whom they knew, or did they come into the community alone? Was the community welcoming to them?

My mother was born in Fillmore, Missouri. She was the youngest daughter in her family. I was also the youngest daughter in my family. Our daughter, Barbara, was also the youngest daughter making her the youngest daughter of the youngest daughter of the youngest daughter. That progression will end with Barb's generation because Barb has only boys. After the Civil War my grandfather moved his family from Columbiana, Ohio to Fillmore, Missouri where he bought a farm. The school in Fillmore only went through the eighth grade. All the other children in the family got an education by living with some of their older siblings. But my mother was the baby and her Mother wouldn't let her go away to school. Mother's older sister, Clara, was teaching in Ashland, Nebraska and so Salathial Hendricks sold his farm in Missouri and moved to Ashland so that my mother could go to high school. Ashland High School offered what they called Normal Training which prepared a student for teaching school. My Mother took this Normal Training course and she taught in Cedar Creek and Grand Island. She left teaching to get married. In those days married women were not given the opportunity to teach. Those jobs were to be left to women who were single or widowed and had to have a job to support themselves.

Tell about your aunts and uncles. Did they play an important part in your growing up? Do you remember any special aunts and uncles?

My favorite aunt was Aunt Orla. She and her husband, Uncle Martin owned a small grocery store in Wann, Nebraska. This was not far from Ashland. I stayed overnight for a few days with her from time to time. When her grandchildren came to visit she would often have me come, too, so that they would have someone to play with. When I received my last doll, I named the doll Elizabeth, which was Aunt Orla's daughter's name so that I could be Aunt Orla.

Was yours a religious family? Did you attend services together? Were these dress-up affairs?

My family were members of the Methodist Church. The children always attended Sunday School and often attended church. My mother was actively involved in the Missionary Society and in teaching Sunday School. We dressed up to go to Sunday School and church. I also attended the Methodist Youth Fellowship during high school days. I started playing piano for the singing of hymns for the Junior Department of Sunday School when I was about 12 years old. When I was 14 I started playing piano for church. Our church had no organ at that time. I played piano for choir practice and for church all four years that I was in high school.

Did your family say grace? Did you sit down at the table together for every meal?

Our family said grace before every meal. We children were taught grace in Swedish and said that grace before every meal.

Did your family take vacations? Did you go to the same place every year; a summer house or resort?

I grew up during the depression. We couldn't afford to take vacations. However, very few others in our town could afford vacations either so we didn't feel very different from the others. My father had a jewelry and music store and those things were luxuries so people didn't buy them. He had to close the jewelry store and took up painting and paper hanging. Houses still needed to be painted.

What was your relationship with your parents like? Would you describe it as warm? Formal? Loving? Stern? Demonstrative?

My parents were very concerned with their children. They always knew where we were and knew the parents of the children we played with. Education was very important and we were expected to excel at school. There were always reading materials available. We lived 2 blocks from the local Carnegie Library.

Did your family ever have a reunion? What were some of the best reunions and why?

Until Aunt Nellie died, the Hendricks relatives came every year to the house in Ashland to have Thanksgiving dinner together. Uncle Bert bought the bird and my mother cooked it. Usually it was a turkey but occasionally it was a goose. Other members of the family who lived in the Ashland-Lincoln-Wahoo area came and brought other food for the dinner. One of my photographs shows the family gathered for Thanksgiving. Aunt Nellie died when I was 14 and the house was sold and the money divided between the remaining children. My family moved to an apartment in the building that my father owned and we didn't have room for the family gathering after that.

Can you remember any stories you heard about your grandparents when they were children? Do you feel as if you knew much about their lives?

My grandparents were all dead before I was born so I had no relationship with them. I was the youngest in our family and my mother was the youngest in her family and my father was 10 years older than my mother so I was the youngest of the cousins and had little in common with the cousins .

Did anyone in your family do handiwork? Needlework? Wood work? Was anyone particularly mechanical or artistic?

My father was a fine artist. He attended the Chicago Art Institute. But I think he felt he couldn't make a living at it and he didn't want to be a starving artist. He also had a wood working shop in the barn where he had a lathe and other tools. He made bird houses and did repair work on the house as needed. My mother sewed and made many of our clothes. She often made over clothes that were passed on from the family into clothes for the children.

What did your dad do for a living? Your mom? Your grandparents?

My dad owned a jewelry and music store in Ashland. It did well and he built a larger store. But when the depression hit jewelry, phonographs, and pianos did not sell well because people didn't have money for luxuries and my dad had to close the store. He rented the building out for a number of years to the Nebraska Public Power. He took up painting and paperhanging to make a living. My mother taught school until she got married. She also worked as a reporter for the local weekly newspaper. After I graduated from high school my parents moved to Lincoln so that I could attend the University of Nebraska. We all got jobs at the State Home for Children. My mother finally ended up as Assistant Superintendent of the Home. She also worked for the Lincoln Action Program and was recognized with a special national award for her work with senior citizens.

Were you considered rich, poor, or middle class? Were times ever tough for all of you, or was it always smooth sailing? Did you have to go without things that your friends had?

I suppose we were poor but we didn't know it! I never felt that others had more than we did. By comparison with my children's Christmases, ours was pretty meager. My Mother always managed a couple of packages each under the Christmas tree. One was probably clothes that we needed. We didn't have a car but gasoline and tires were not available during World War II and so farm families were the only ones who had access to gasoline anyway. I remember being asked by a boy from a farm to go to a basketball game in a neighboring town when I was in high school. We had 3 flat tires on the way home. The boys had patches to mend the tires with but it was cold and it took time to keep changing the tires so we were late getting home.

How did the Great Depression affect your family?

The Great Depression affected my family deeply. My father was doing very well in his jewelry and music business when the depression hit. He moved from his first location to a larger store on the main street of Ashland. He did beautiful engraving. His customers had jewelry engraved by him and souvenir spoons were popular. I have a spoon with the Ashland High School engraved on it which was sold at his store. But he sold jewelry, pianos, and phonographs and those were all luxury items and people didn't spend money on them during a depression so he was forced to close his store. He took up painting and paper hanging. Even that didn't make a great living because people didn't have the money to pay for having it done.

Can you describe your paternal and maternal family history in a page or less?

My paternal family came to America from Sweden on the sailing ship, Argo, sailing out of Bremen, Germany. They came with 4 children and another on the way. My grandfather had reached the age where he either had to serve in the military or leave the country. He had a family and he did not feel he could support them if he went to the military. So they came to America to avoid military service in Sweden. They came to Mt. Carroll, Illinois where there was a settlement of Swedish farmers. My grandfather bought land there. My father was born there. I don't know why they left Mt. Carroll. Perhaps it was news of more or better land. They sold their farmland in Illinois and bought land in Memphis, Nebraska which is near Ashland.
My maternal grandparents came to the United States much earlier and settled in a sizeable Pennsylvania Dutch settlement. Census reports indicate that there were many Hendricks families in Pennsylvania. However, my grandfather's family moved on to Ohio and owned land in Columbiana County, Ohio. My grandfather fought in the Civil War with a unit from Ohio. He was very proud of his Civil War service. He and his wife and children moved from Ohio to Fillmore, Missouri. He had taught school in Ohio but he farmed in Missouri. My mother was born in Fillmore.

The House of Your Growing Up

Do you have warm feelings about the childhood home that you remember the most?

I remember the house on Clay Street in Ashland as
being "home." The property had a house and a coal shed and a barn. The property had a full quarter of a block of land. We had a large lawn and a large garden. My parents raised most of the food we ate. One of the bankers lived in a large Victorian house across the street from us. He had three quarters of a block in land around his house. One quarter of his land was used as an orchard, one quarter was lawn and he let my family garden the other one quarter which he did not care to use. I can remember helping to plant the garden and shelling peas, snapping beans, and shucking corn. My mother canned the produce from the garden that we couldn't eat fresh. She dried corn. She would cut the corn from the cob, spread it evenly over cookie sheets, cover the corn lightly with cheese cloth to keep the bugs off and let it dry out in the sun for days, stirring it from time to time to make sure it dried. When this was dried it was stored in a cotton bag. It was not as good as fresh corn on the cob but it was edible. I don't know whether some ancestor learned this from the Indians but at any rate I assume it was passed down from previous generations. There was no air conditioning. Mother's canning was done by the hot water bath method. In Nebraska with temperatures often in the 90s and 100s, you can imagine what it must have been like in that kitchen! In addition, she cooked on a cooking range that was fueled by wood or coal so that heat was added to the hot temperature from outside. My mother did not lead an easy life.

What did your home look like? Apartment, walk-up, condominium, or house? What was the color? Was it stone, wood - other? One story or two?

The house that I was born in and lived in until I was 14 years old was a white, wood house. It was 2 stories and had a parlor, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and bath downstairs. Upstairs there were 3 bedrooms.

Can you remember the pictures that hung, wallpaper, carpeting, etc.? Can you remember your telephone number and address?

I remember three pictures that hung on the wall in the house where I grew up. All of them were painted by my father. My father took an art class at Nebraska Wesleyan University. While there he painted in oils a copy of the painting "Aurora". There were also two pictures done in pastels that my father painted for my mother. One was a spring landscape and the other was a winter landscape. My father attended the Chicago Art Institute and also an engraving school in Kansas City.

What did you do to make your room your own? Did you sleep with a stuffed animal or doll? What was your animal or doll's name?

As a child I slept with a stuffed dog. It was made for me by my Aunt Orla. I called him Bonzo. My mother saved it for me and gave it to me when I had my first baby. I loved my Aunt Orla. She was my favorite aunt. The last doll I received I named Elizabeth because Elizabeth was Aunt Orla's daughter and I named my doll Elizabeth so that I could be Aunt Orla. But in spite of my appreciation for Aunt Orla, I took one look at that dingy stuffed dog and threw it away. I wasn't going to have my clean baby playing with that dirty dog!

Was security an issue? Did your parents keep the door locked or did family and friends come and go with the door unlocked?

My parents did lock the doors at night and when they were away from home but the key was a skeleton key which could probably have been purchased at any hardware store. There was no police in the town, nor a sheriff that I remember. We did have "tramps" who came asking for food. They probably came into town by riding the railroad. This was the depression and my mother always fed them. I remember one came on Christmas Day one year and my mother gave him a Christmas dinner--turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, probably pumpkin pie. Even though she always fed them she never invited them into the house. She handed them a plate and told them they could eat on the back porch and she hooked the screen door after she gave them the plate of food.

How old were you when you were first trusted with a key?

I think we only had one key for the house. Mother was usually there when we came home but if she was not going to be there, she left the key under a gas can on the back porch!

Did your family eat at the kitchen table or in the dining room? What food conjures up the best childhood memories for you?

Our family ate at the kitchen table sometimes and at the dining room table other times. On Sundays we usually ate in the dining room. Also the temperature sometimes determined where we ate. My mother cooked on a range fueled by wood and it was sometimes too hot to eat in the kitchen.

Was there much music in your house or was it relatively quiet? What type of music, if so? Did you play a Victrola, radio, record player, boom box, CDs?

There was lots of music in our home. We had a piano and we made the music ourselves. My sisters and I all played the piano. Sometimes we had a radio that worked. We didn't have a victrola but when concerts were broadcast on the radio we listened to them.

Was there a lot of talking going on? Did you feel part of the adult conversation?

When I was growing up there was no TV and so there was lots of talking. We listened to certain favorite programs on the radio. I particularly remember I Love a Mystery, Fibber MeGee and Molly, Jack Benny, and Bob Hope. We listened to these together as a family. My mother listened to some soap operas while she worked during the daytime.

Did you have a lawn? Have to mow it? Did you have gardens of flowers, vegetables or herbs? Did you help care for them?

We had a large area in our yard where we set up a croquet set. Although I never knew my grandfather, my mother told about the family coming to Ashland for Thanksgiving dinner and said that Grandpa always hoped it would be warm enough for a croquet game on Thanksgiving Day. My mother continued to invite the family for Thanksgiving dinner after the grandparents were gone. Uncle Bert would always buy the bird but Mother cooked it and everyone brought food. Usually the bird was a turkey but sometimes it would be a goose. The last time my mother cooked Thanksgiving dinner in that house there were 27 of us there to eat it. Mother put all the leaves in the oak dining table and some of us "kids" ate at a card table placed in the downstairs bedroom.

What kind of chores were you required to do for the family?

My job in keeping up the house was to dust the "what-nots" and the shelf once a week. I was also expected to go to town to get items for my mother and I helped with gardening and preparing produce for eating. Sometimes I helped with ironing but I think Mother thought I wasn't able to iron anything very complicated!

What was your favorite season at your house? Do you remember summer as too hot or exhilarating and perfect? Did you swim a lot in the summer? Did you ski or do winter sports in the cold weather?

Spring and Fall are the choice seasons in Nebraska. But there was no school in the summer and we played outside until it got dark. One of our favorite games was Kick the Can. We played this with neighborhood children. There was no air conditioning and we sat outside every evening of the summer. Our parents sat out, too. We looked at the stars and talked. We looked for constellations. At certain times there would be shooting stars and we would watch for these comets. We had the custom of saying,"Money, money, money" when we saw a shooting star and the superstition was that if we could say that before the star disappeared, we would get some money! Occasionally when conditions were just right we could also see the Northern Lights.
The only place we had to swim was Linoma Beach because Ashland didn't have a swimming pool until many years later. We didn't have transportation to go to Linoma Beach or South Bend. I did get a terrible sun burn at South Bend with a group of Camp Fire Girls when I was in fifth or sixth grade.
One of the winters that we had the most fun happened when I was in about the sixth grade. The ground had frozen and then we had a big snow. It warmed up and the snow melted but because the ground was frozen so hard the water from the melted snow did not sink into the ground. It made a lake in our yard and then it froze and we had our own private ice skating rink! The folks had some ice skates that fastened on to our shoes and they were adjustable so we could use them to skate. Dorothy and I had so much fun skating. Then another snow came and covered up our skating rink. Dorothy wanted to continue to skate so she shoveled the snow off the rink so that we could continue to skate. She had a "job" where she sold magazines for premiums. One of the premiums was a pair of shoe skates so she earned a pair of shoe skates. I can't remember that Marge ever skated with us. I guess she was too busy with her friends. Dorothy and I had a ball that winter. Conditions were never right for forming a little lake in our yard any other year but Dorothy and I certainly have happy memories of the fun we had that winter.

Were there books in evidence around your house? Was there a special room in the house considered the "library"? Which of your parents' books and magazines do you remember reading?

We had lots of books and magazines in our house. We had 2 book cases with glass doors and they were both filled with
books. My Dad was interested in history and we could not bring a history book home from school without my Dad's picking it up and reading from it. We also lived 3 blocks from the city library so books were very available to us.

Where were the telephones in your home? Were you allowed to stay on the phone as long as you wanted or was there a time limit?

The telephone in our home was in the dining room. I don't remember being restricted in my use of the telephone but it was looked upon as something for business. One of my best friends in high school lived out in the country and I remember calling her. Her country area was on a "party line" and everyone in the area could listen in on your conversation so that was not conducive to visiting very long. Even after I was grown and married my mother's attitude toward the phone was that it was for important things. I can remember calling her on her birthday and she never wanted to talk very long because she viewed the phone as only for emergencies and important things. When she grew older I used to call her every day just to make sure she was all right and she began to enjoy visiting on the phone. Now, we use the phone and e-mail to keep in touch with family and friends.

If you could now move back into the house you grew up in, just the way it was then, would you? Why or why not?

Although the house I grew up in is the one I remember as home, I wouldn't want to move back into it. Every house and apartment we have lived in during our married life has been much nicer and the house we lived in 40 years and raised our family in has replaced the one I was born in as home.


Who were your best friends in your neighborhood? Do you still know them or know what happened to them?

When you live in a small town, the whole town is your neighborhood and you know everyone your age. I played with friends in my home and in theirs. Although I no longer live in that small town, it is only 25 miles away and I see some of these friends from time to time and enjoy getting together with some of them for lunch and a good visit several times a year.

Did you play at your home, theirs or mostly in playgrounds, the streets, fields?

During my younger days I played lots with a girl who lived next door, across the alley from our house. She was two years younger than I. Her father was our doctor. We played in our homes and yards. I remember once when they had invited me to stay for dinner. They had roast chicken.
Dr. Clark served the food and since I was the only guest, he asked me first what piece I'd like. I told them that I'd like the neck because Marjorie always ate the neck at our house. They all laughed and Dr. Clark said he didn't think anyone would fight with me over that piece.

What do you remember about your friends' houses and families?

I remember the floor plan of the Clark's house. They had a music room. I remember that Santa always came and put up the Christmas tree and decorated it on Christmas Eve after the children went to bed. They didn't wrap any of the gifts but just put them under the tree. I can remember thinking after I had children of my own about what a hectic Christmas Eve those parents must have had!

What sidewalk games did you play? Did you collect anything (bugs, baseball cards, marbles, etc.)?

There was no television for us to watch nor video games to play which must seem strange to my children. We played hop scotch, we jumped rope, we played jacks. I had marbles but I don't think we played with them often. I think we considered it a boys game. I collected wild flowers and leaves that I pressed and mounted in a scrap book. I also collected paper dolls and played with them a lot. The Sunday newspaper had a paper doll and clothes every week. I collected those, mounted the dolls on brown paper to give them more body and cut out their clothes and also drew new clothes for the dolls to wear. They were some of our favorite things to play with.

Did you have pets? What were their names? Were they usually strays? How did you acquire them?

While growing up I almost always had a cat. Jupiter was one of my favorites. He was a short haired yellow cat. We called him Jupie. A cousin who worked for a farmer gave him to us and he was neutered when we got him. He was an ideal pet for a child because he loved to be petted and played with. I would dress him up in doll clothes and push him around in a doll buggy. As long as he was getting all that lovin' he tolerated it all! After we had Jupie for several years we had an opportunity to get a beautiful silver-grey persian cat whose owner wanted a good home for him. His name was Silver. Although he was beautiful, he never reached the loving status in my eyes that Jupie attained. We also had a cat named Boots who came to us from a neighbor.

We also had a dog which we never claimed as ours but he claimed us. We had a neighbor who was going on a trip and they asked us to take care of their dog while they were gone. He was a mixed breed dog, probably partly black Labrador. His name was Tuffy. After the two weeks of living at our house he never wanted to go back home again. We wouldn't feed him any more because we didn't want the neighbors to think we were trying to take their dog so he went home to eat every day and spent the rest of the time at our house. I remember that he and Jupie would lie side by side sleeping in front of the stove during the cold weather.

My mother would send us to the grocery store to get a few items she needed. Tuffie was not supposed to be allowed to go down town. He always liked to follow us but we scolded him and sent him back home. He would go back when we scolded him but he would go around many blocks and end up ahead of us grinning from ear to ear and wagging his whole rear end as though to say,"Ha, Ha, I beat you!"
One of my photographs taken of the family gathered at home for Thanksgiving shows Tuffie sitting off to one side. As I said, "Tuffie claimed us." He was one of the family.

Do you remember having the chicken pox, mumps or other childhood diseases? Were you ever seriously ill as a child? Who took care of you?

I remember having chicken pox, measles, German measles, and tonsilitus as a child. I particularly remember having chicken pox because I had it in December when activities for Christmas were happening. In the town of Ashland the merchants sponsored "Santa Claus" coming to town. On a Saturday before Christmas a little house for Santa was erected on the main street (Silver Street) and all the children could be greeted by Santa and they were each given a sack of candy. The year that I had chicken pox there were so many children sick with chicken pox that they drove Santa around to each house where there was a sick child and gave those children a sack of candy. In those days children who had a communicable disease were quarantined so Santa had no trouble finding those with chicken pox because a red quarantine sign was placed on each house. Children didn't have candy as often as they do today. The sack of candy from the town Santa Claus and a sack of candy from the church Santa Claus and candy Easter Eggs was probably all the candy we had in a year. I remember that my sister, Marjorie, used to try to make her Christmas candy last until Easter.
I was in first grade when I had chicken pox. My quarantine was over the last day of school before Christmas vacation but I didn't go back. When school started again after New Year's Day the teacher asked me why I didn't come back the last day of school. She said I could have seen the Christmas program. I'm sure that is exactly why I didn't go back. I hadn't been there for rehearsals so I couldn't be in the program and if I couldn't be in the program, I didn't want to go.
The most serious illness I had as a child was tonsilitus. I must have missed a week or two of school when I had that. Our Episcopal priest friend from Omaha came down from Omaha to see me during that illness. There were no antibiotics then so illnesses were more severe.

How did you go downtown and get back home? Trolley, bus, car, horseback, walk? Can you remember your first trip? Why did you usually go?

One of the first things I remember was the chickens that we raised. Dad built a chicken coop next to the shed, using one side of the shed as a side of the coop. My oldest sister, Marge, had a Saturday Evening Post route. She delivered them to the doors of people that she could persuade to subscribe. She took some of her profits from the magazine route and bought some baby chicks. Although I'm sure Mother looked upon those chicks as dinners, each of my sisters and I chose a chick as a pet and named it. When we chose them they were still little balls of down so we didn't know what color they would be but we must have taken a long time to decide on names because I called mine Smokey because when it began to feather out she was a white hen with a few "smokey" feathers. Dorothy called hers Cinnamon for its brownish-reddish feathers. Marjorie couldn't think of a name for hers and she ended up calling him MyChickie. MyChickie must have come from a line of fighters. Whenever Dad would go out to the shed to get wood MyChickie would fly up at him and he would "fight back" with his hand in his work glove. When I would play outside and the chickens were out scratching around for food, MyChickie would come up to me and put his wing down toward me like he was daring me and going to attack. My dad thought that was funny and he began to egg MyChickie on. It got to the place that Mother's friends were afraid to come to our house because that rooster tried to chase everybody off. He was better than a watch dog. Dorothy got so mad at that rooster that when Mother sent her to the store to get something she would take a broom and shoo the chicken away as she left home. Then she would leave the broom down by the barn at the end of the property so that she would have it to fend off MyChickie when she returned.
We had a fence that ran across the property beside the side walk. It had an opening at the front door and another opening where the drive ran to the barn. I remember coming home from kindergarten and having MyChickie come running to dare me to enter. I would go back and forth from one opening in the fence to the other with me on one side of the fence and MyChickie on the other trying to out run that rooster. Finally I would yell, "Mother, MyChickie's after me" and Mother would come and chase him away so that I could come in the house.
Eventually all those chickens made dinners for us and in the meantime the hens provided eggs, too. I'm sure I was glad to eat "MyChickie" because I hated that rooster. I always liked to go and watch when Dad killed a chicken. He didn't wring its neck like some people did. He put the chicken's head down on a chopping block and cut off its head with an axe. The reason I liked to watch was because the chicken always ran around with its head off and I thought that was funny. In an old scrapbook from my childhood I found some feathers from my chicken, Smokey, along with a notation that we ate her for dinner on New Year's Day. Not a great start for the new year for Smokey, was it?

What were your favorite board games?

My mother thought playing games was good for us and favorite gifts to us were various games. We played them with the family and also with our friends who came home with us from school to play. We played dominos, Parchesi, Monopoly, Chinese Checkers, various games that could be played with a Rook deck. Mother taught us to take care of the games and put them away carefully so that we had the games when we wanted to play with them.

What did you ever do that got you into trouble with your parents? At school? What were the punishments?

The only time I was ever punished at school was in the fifth grade and by my favorite teacher. Someone in the class started throwing paper wads and most everyone joined in. The teacher didn't see them at first and we all got bolder. Then she saw a paper wad and asked who threw that. I raised my hand. You could just see the surprise and shock on her face. I can remember crying on the way home for lunch because I was so sorry I had let my favorite teacher down. Her punishment was for me to stay after school every night for a week. That was no punishment at all for me because I got to spend that extra time with this wonderful teacher. The punishment for me was that I looked a little less perfect in that teacher's eyes.

Was your neighborhood a good, safe place in which to take walks? Do you remember any incidences?

We walked everywhere in Ashland. It was only 4-5 blocks to town and Mother often sent us on errands to the grocery store to get some item that she needed. There were also areas around Ashland that we called the seven hollows. These made nice hike destinations, especially in the spring when the wild flowers were blooming. My mother and I used to take walks on a Sunday afternoon. Mother would never let my friends and I take these hikes alone but she would let us go if my sister, Dorothy, went with us. Dorothy was 5 years older but she usually was very willing to go with us.

Elementary School Years

What was the name of your school? How big was it? What did it look like? Was it a private or public school?

I attended the Ashland Public School. Kindergarten and all eight grades plus high school were housed in one building. It was a brick building and was relatively new. My mother had attended school in the old building.

Did you ride a bus to school? If so, did you like riding the bus? Do you remember anything that happened on that bus?

We walked to school. For me it was 5 blocks. The school had no buses. It didn't have a lunch program either. I walked home for lunch every day. If we had to stay for lunch, we brought lunch from home in a paper sack. When there was lots of snow the father of a friend who lived a half block away picked me up and gave me a ride to school.

What did you learn in school that you still use to this day?

Looking back on my schooling and comparing notes with other friends who attended bigger school districts, I feel that I got a good education at Ashland. I had an outstanding teacher of English in the seventh and eighth grade. She taught us about grammar. We learned parts of speech, we diagramed sentences, and we wrote. We also had an excellent teacher of mathematics in high school. We had a trained music teacher who initiated many small groups, as well as choir and girl's glee club. We also had a band and an orchestra. I took part in most of the musical offerings. I sang in the chorus and girl's glee club and was chosen for participation in most of the small music groups including girl's trio, girl's sextet, girl's octet, and madrigal group. I learned to read vocal music in grade school and used that in my career as a music teacher. I would probably still be using it today, at least for my own pleasure, if Parkinson's disease hadn't taken its toll and ruined my voice. If I try to sing now I lose my voice entirely and can't talk.

Did you like physical education / gym class? Did you feel you were good at sports? Were you picked first or last for the teams?

Phys ed was not offered at my school in the elementary grades. I do remember one teacher who organized teams and supervised our playing soft ball. I was pretty good at hitting the ball but I never considered myself good at athletics. I was picked neither first nor last at games. It was not particularly encouraged by my mother. She encouraged more feminine past times. Phys ed was first offered when I was in high school but I was in band, orchestra, chorus, girl's glee club, several small vocal groups and I really didn't have time for anything more.

Do you remember shopping for school clothes? Getting excited at what you would wear the first few weeks? Did you ever go to school where you wore a uniform?

I never shopped for school clothes. My mother sewed and family members handed down clothes for us. I don't remember disliking wearing "hand-me-downs" and I loved the dresses that my mother made for me.

Did you eat lunch at school or go home? Did you bring your own lunch? Did you have a lunchbox? If so, what did it look like?

Our school did not have a lunch program. Children who lived too far to go home for lunch brought their lunch with them. I lived just 5 blocks from school. The few times I needed to stay were probably because my mother had some other duty, like a Missionary Society meeting. I took my lunch in a paper sack if I needed to stay for lunch. I don't remember anybody having a lunch box.

How did you get to school...walk alone, with friends, bus, parent, neighbor?

Most of the time I walked to school. Sometimes I went with my sister or a friend and sometimes I walked alone.

What did you do in the summertime when there was no school?

I played with neighbor children, helped in the garden, read books and played games. I remember making clothes for small dolls using leaves from flowers and bushes. The library was just 2 blocks from our house and we could go there whenever we wished.

What was your first grade teacher's name? Were you in awe of her? How about your second grade teacher or third grade teacher...or others?

My Kindergarten teacher's name was Miss Almy. I started kindergarten at the age of 5 years. I already knew how to read. Therefore, the kindergarten teacher would have me help a little boy who was having trouble learning while she worked with the rest of the class. This little boy was not very clean and certainly not an apt pupil and I would have much preferred to be with the rest of the class. Poor kid! He had two strikes against him without having a reluctant teacher.

In first grade we found an injured or sick cat on the play ground at school. That wonderful teacher let us bring that poor cat into the class room for the afternoon and got a message to my sister to come to the first grade room after school. We carried the cat home with us. We must have been sure that Mother would let us keep him because I don't remember having any doubts about that. We may not have had a telephone at that point so we couldn't have called Mother to get permission. Mother made a bed for the cat behind the pot bellied stove that heated the house and the cat stayed there. But, unfortunately, the cat was too far gone and he died during the night. I always felt grateful for that teacher who let us try to save that poor cat. I just took it for granted that Mother would take the cat in.

Except for kindergarten where we were divided into a morning class and an afternoon class, we were in class with the same children every year except for the few who moved in or out. There were only enough children for one section of each grade. We got to know those children who were in class with us pretty well after 13 years of school together. Some of the women from my class still get together several times a year. Even though we have been out of high school for more than 60 years we still remember and enjoy each other. I think my children, who have grown up in a much more mobile society, cannot imagine what we find to visit about but our lunches usually stretch out to three or four hours which we all thoroughly enjoy.

I often invited a friend home to play after school, or was invited by a friend to their house. I don't think any of us had an abundance of toys but the toys at someone else's house were at least different than what we had at home. My mother was fond of games and thought they were good for us and we had a marvelous coolection of games. Among them were Authors, Rook, Countries & Continents (an educational game), Dominos, and Monopoly. Mother taught us to take care of the games so that pieces were not lost. We played them as a family and with our friends. I don't remember my dad every playing games with us except for dominos. He would not play with playing cards or dice because he said they were gambling devices but he let us play with them. However, he loved dominos and I remember playing dominos with Mother and Dad when I was too young to add up the spots. Wasn't it originally a gambling game?

In third grade we learned cursive writing. There were no ball point pens then. We had inkwells and dip pens which were hard enough for a skilled writer to use and terrible for none too well coordinated children. I remember our fourth grade teacher as being a stickler for the Palmer method of writing. We did writing exercises with rows of circles and up and down flourishes and then we were to write the alphabet and put a clear celluloid strip over our writing and see if our alphabet was exactly like the one on the celluloid strip. Up to this time I was not aware of my writing being either especially bad or especially good. When left to my own choice, my writing was small. Now I had to try to match the Palmer method writing which changed my whole style of writing. Later, schools quit using the Palmer method and let students write in their own style. Writing fast enought to keep up with the lecturer in college didn't help my hand writing. Later when I had children of my own learning to write cursive writing, they would complain that they couldn't read my writing. I must confess that it has only gotten worse as I have aged. Thank goodness for the computer which I now use for all my letters.

Do you remember any field trips your class took? If you lived in the city, did you go to a farm, factory, big museum?

The only field trip I remember taking in grade school was to a dairy farm. We were in the fifth grade. I don't remember what transportation we took. The school didn't own a bus.

Did you say the "Pledge of Allegiance" to start the day? Did you say a prayer? How did you feel about those topics as a child?

We said the "Pledge of Allegiance" each morning but I do not remember our saying a prayer. Our Christmas programs were very religious. When I was in high school I was chosen as one of the two speakers. We read the Christmas story from the New Testament and the choir sang Christmas anthems. No one ever questioned the Christian content of the programs.

Were you in a scout troop or any other organization? Do you remember the leader? Any projects? Any impressions?

I was in a Camp Fire Group. Two of our best teachers led the group. I remember earning honors, decorating a cerimonial gown and going to Lincoln for a Grand Council Fire.

Who was the principal at your elementary school? Were you ever called to the principal's office? If so, why?

The principal of our elementary school was also the high school principal. I was never sent to the principal's office. In fact, I don't think anyone was ever sent to the principal's office. I don't remember there being many instances of misbehavior in school. I think the teacher was expected to handle any cases of misbehavior herself. I imagine misbehavior was handled more severly in the homes of the children. We were just expected to behave!

What was your attitude about school? Were you excited about it, bored or just tolerated it?

I loved school and usually did well at school. I do remember my mother coming to visit my kindergarten class. The teacher had a project that day where she gave us a sheet of red paper and a sheet of green paper. We were to fold the green paper and cut a Christmas tree out of the folded paper. The teacher cautioned us to cut on the open side of the paper not on the folded side. I probably was more interested in my mother's visit than listening carefully to the teacher's instructions. I cut on the wrong side and thereby cut my tree in half. We were to paste the tree on to the red paper background. The teacher gave me another piece of green paper and so I got the chance to try again and get the tree right. However, the teacher made the other kids who cut their trees on the wrong side paste their trees together. I still remember that after 60 years!

Life in a Small Town

What was the name, state and population of your town?

The town I grew up in was Ashland, Nebraska. At that time the population was about 1800.

What was the main source of the town's income?

Ashland was and is primarily a farming community. Increasingly it is becoming a bedroom community for people working in Lincoln and Omaha.

What types of food were generally considered for dinner time? Have you raised your family with the same types of foods?

We ate lots of chicken and cheaper cuts of beef and pork. Mother always made Sunday dinner a little more special than dinner on other days of the week. I was able to have a bigger variety of fresh foods than my mother had served because fresh foods were available only in season whereas today we have available a large selection of fresh foods year round. The noon meal was dinner when I was growing up and the evening meal was lighter and called supper. When I raised my family, the evening meal was dinner because the children had limited time for lunch or were at school for lunch and the husband was at work.

Did you ever dream of leaving your small town?

My mother encouraged all of us to get as much education as possible. My sisters had both attended the University of Nebraska but neither had graduated. When I graduated from high school my mother got us all jobs at the State Home for Children in Lincoln so that I could live at home and go to college. It was just assumed that after I went to college I would not go back to Ashland because there were no jobs there. I loved growing up in Ashland but didn't see it as the place for my future.

What invention came last to rural areas from the cities?

Public transportation was probably the last invention to come to small towns. For the most part towns could not afford to have public transportation. There were buses that went from Lincoln to Omaha and back and ran about every 2 hours. During World War II gasoline was rationed and very little was available. Tires were not available either. Lincoln did have a good bus system. But when the War was over and automobiles became more available bus lines ran less frequently and people relied more and more on private automobiles for transportation.

What are some of the biggest differences between living in a small town and a big city? Pros and cons?

A small town is a wonderful place to grow up. We could walk any place in the town and therefore could go to a variety of friend's homes to play. I knew my friends better than my children did theirs because I played with them year after year. I think it gave me practice in building relationships. In a city one has more opportunities in the arts but transportation to music lessons, etc. can be limiting.

Holidays and Celebrations

Do you like your birthday or dread it? What birthday do you remember the most?

Our family always celebrated our birthdays. We always received a gift from our parents and had cake with candles.

Did you get to choose the meal on your birthday? Were birthdays considered a "big deal" when you were young? Did you raise your children to think they were a big deal?

The birthday girl or boy definitely felt honored on his or her birthday. Some years the birthday dinner was just with the family. But I remember mother having parties for us with our friends some years. I did the same with my family.

Did your family make birthday cakes or did you buy them? What were the favorite flavors? What kind of birthday parties did you give for your children?

My mother always made the birthday cake we had. Angel food cake was always my favorite. I made the birthday cakes for my children when they were small but I bought them as they got older, especially for Dave because his birthday was December 26 and I was tired after fixing holiday meals on December 24 and 25.

What were the most important religious holidays you celebrated throughout the year? What was the significance of the holiday (i.e., why were you celebrating it)?

The religious holidays we celebrated were Easter and Christmas. I felt it was part of my job as a mother to try to make holidays fun for my children. At Eastertime my mother had candy eggs for us in papier-mache eggs which are now considered antiques. I dyed Easter eggs with my children and they hunted candy eggs hidden around the house. At Christmas time we made Christmas cookies and the children decorated them. The children all attended Sunday School regularly and knew the significance of the religious holidays. We always had a Christmas program at the church which ended with Santa coming and giving sacks of candy to all the children. The church played a big part in the social life of the community.

How did you celebrate each major holiday?

We never celebrated the Fourth of July. We certainly didn't have money to burn. Occasionally I would have some money saved and would buy a few fire crackers - - - little ones (lady fingers) that were intended to be shot off the whole package at a time. I would separate these and shoot them off one at a time to make them last longer. One year I got a book from the library that told how to make parachutes. A neighbor girl and I made some parachutes and climbed up on the barn roof and tossed them off the roof. I think this was when I decided that I would try to make holidays fun for my kids. I do think my children look back on the Fourth of July as a fun time. We got together with a neighbor family that our children played with and pooled our money for fire works and had dinner together, alternating homes each year. The men shot off most of the fireworks. The children were too small for some of them. We did let the children have sparklers. Now that I know how hot the wires of a sparkler get, I'm thankful that we never had any accidents with fireworks.

What holiday did you especially like? Which holiday was really not much fun for you?

Christmas was my favorite holiday. When my children were small my mother and I took the children down town to see Santa and have lunch on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. We started choosing a new decoration for our Christmas tree each year on this occasion. I told my children that Santa was the spirit of giving and that we all could have that spirit. This trip usually included putting some money into the Salvation Army buckets. I hoped that would be seen as the spirit of giving. The children were always given the opportunity to help decorate the Christmas tree. I used to complain that everybody wanted to help put the tree up but no one wanted to help take it down. However, now I have the tree up before the family gets here and Phil is very good to help, both with putting the tree up and taking it down.

What were some of the best memories from any of the holidays you celebrated?

When I was growing up times were really hard and we had very little money to spend celebrating Christmas. Mother always saw to it that we each had a package under the tree. Lots of times we received clothing that we needed anyway. But I think there was usually a toy, book, or game, too. We had a small, scrawny, artificial store left as a display item from my Dad's jewelry store. I discovered that the teachers bought trees for the school rooms and many had families elsewhere in Nebraska so when the school closed for Christmas vacation they discarded those trees. I found that if I asked first I could have the tree to take home and we would have a real tree rather than the artificial one. Several years I got a tree that way. That meant that we couldn't put it up until school was out, usually a couple of days before Christmas. I would go to the teacher after school that last day and drag the tree home for us to put up.

Did you have a shower for a wedding or baby? Do you have special memories of these events? Who was there?

I was honored at three showers when I got married. One group was friends that I had met in the School of Music at the University of Nebraska. Another shower was given by friends I met in graduate school at the University of Nebraska. One was given by friends in a church youth group.

How did you celebrate New Year's Day?

We might have had a special dinner on New Year's Day, perhaps a roast chicken. My parents never went out socially. We were never left with a baby sitter. Our parents never gave parties.

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Did you and your schoolmates exchange Valentine's in elementary school? What was the best Valentine's Day for you and why?

Each classroom at school had a valentine box for us to put valentines in. My mother had materials at home that we could use to make valentines. We made all our own valentines. My mother insisted that we give a valentine to every child in the room. We started making them in the evenings weeks before Valentine's Day. Mother had some beautiful antique valentines that her students had given her when she was teaching school. She would put them in an envelope and have one of my sisters go in and put the valentine in the box for me. This started my collection of antique valentines.

Labor Day signified the end of summer. What were some of the best Labor Day weekends you experienced?

School usually started the day after Labor Day and I always liked school so Labor Day was a day to look forward to.

Do you like Halloween? What have you gone dressed up as? Did your parents make your costume or did they buy them? What was Halloween like growing up? Do you remember the pals you Trick-Or-Treated with?

When I was a child we dressed up and went to a few friends and neighbor's houses with a papier-mache Jack-O-Lantern. The custom of going Trick-Or-Treating had not started, at least not in our little town. My mother would rig up some kind of costume for us, probably usually a ghost because an old sheet and a mask is all we needed.

What did you usually do on Thanksgiving in your youth? What do you do now?

Our Thanksgiving was celebrated at our house (my grandfather's) with my mother's family. It was a day for visiting and there was usually a football game that the men listened to on the radio. When our children were small we took turns going to my mother's house and to Phil's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Later we had Thanksgiving Dinner at our house with my Mother attending. When we had only one child left at home we began to go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner and now we have dinner at our retirement home.

High School

Where did you go to high school? What was your mascot? What were your school colors? Do you remember any of the cheers? What was your favorite song during high school? What type of music was popular?

I attended high school at the Ashland Public School. Our mascot was the blue jay and our colors were blue and white.
Each week a favorite radio program was the Hit Parade. It presented from 10 to 1 the most popular songs each week. It was a "must listen" program for teens.

Who were your friends? What did you like about them? Who were your favorite teachers?

My friends were the same ones I played with in grade school. Marilyn Jo, Lorraine, Merna, Carolyn, Barbara were close friends. The vocal music teacher and the English teacher were favorites.

Were you ever honored at school? Varsity letter? Homecoming court? Valedictorian? Do you remember the students who were?

I was always on the honor roll at school. I graduated as class Salutatarian (second in class). I lettered in band and was on the student council.

Did you have hobbies, read a lot, enjoy political debates, bands, or just hanging out with your friends? Did you have a part time job? Did you babysit? Did you do volunteer your time?

I read and played the piano a lot. I played clarinet in the school band and orchestra. I took piano lessons. I started playing the piano for church services when I was 14 and played for choir practice and church all 4 years of high school. My first job was baby sitting for the couple who owned and published the newspaper, The Ashland Gazette. I did this the summer after my freshman year. For this I received fifty cents a day. Occasionally I was asked to do some ironing for which they paid me extra. I sat down and supervised the child's piano practicing every day. This was a musical family and they wanted me to work again the next summer and offered to pay more but I had already agreed to clerk at the local dime store and I was eager to do something that I thought would interact with adults more.

Were you popular? If not, did it bother you? Did you buy a class ring? Was it a big expense for you?

I guess I would have been called "popular". I was certainly involved in many activities. No, I did not buy a class ring. It would have been a big expense and my Mother convinced me that I would not wear it after high school. In later years I observed that my Mother was right. Very few of my classmates wore their class rings after a few years.

Were you philosophical - a deep thinker?

I would not have suggested the word "philosophical" to describe myself but I did like discussions in Sunday School, Youth Fellowship, and English literature and social studies classes. Even today one of my favorite activities is reading and discussing books.

Have you ever attended a high school reunion? What truths did you learn about your classmates, if you attended? What truths about your community that you might not have thought about before?

My high school class had its first reunion five years after graduation. I did not attend it because we were not living in Nebraska at the time. I did attend the reunion after ten years. I came home feeling that the class had done very well. Some who were very shy in high school had blossomed. I felt the school had done a good job of preparing us for the world.


If you went to college, where did you go? Why did you choose that school? How much was tuition? Was it difficult to afford? Did you receive financial assistance or a scholarship? A loan? Was your school large or small? What was it known for?

I went to the University of Nebraska. My parents moved to Lincoln after I graduated from high school so that I could attend college and live at home. I had scholarships throughout my college days. I also had jobs to help pay my tuition. I worked at The State Home for Children. My first summer out of high school I worked in the nursery. When school started in the fall I had a part time job giving piano lessons to children living in the State Home for Children. I worked as a reader for the music theory department in the School of Music, grading papers and teaching ear training class. I had a summer job at the Nebraska State Capitol doing proof reading of Nebraska Statutes and Supreme Court Reports. I borrowed money from my parents to help pay for tuition and books and I paid that back to my parents after I started teaching.

I was active in Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women, Alpha Lambda Delta, a freshman honorary society, Pi Lambda Theta, a teacher's college honorary, Pi Kappa Lambda, a music honorary, and Towne Club, a social sorority for women living in Lincoln.

What was your living situation? Did you live in a dorm or a room off campus? Who was your roommate? Did you get along? How did you decorate your place? Were you comfortable there?

I lived at home. Since I was enrolled in the School of Music, getting acquainted was not a problem. We were like a family within the School of Music and I made many friends there. I'm sure it was easier for me to study at home than it is for young people living in the dorm where noise and social activities interfere.

What was your major? Why did you pick it? Were you ever able to use anything you learned in college in real life? Did you change colleges or majors partway through? Why?

I majored in music education. I chose that field because I had enjoyed participating in musical activities in high school. I took private music lessons in college in voice, piano, and organ. I used the music I learned in teaching in high school and grade school. I also used the music I learned in college to guide and supervise my own children's musical education and I enjoyed this very much. I did not change colleges or majors. College students didn't seem to have as much money as they do today. There were many requirements in Music Education and I can remember that my Music School friends and I thought students who changed majors or decided on a major late in our education were foolish because there was a music theory course required at each class level and each course was a requirement for the following course so if you did not enroll in sequence, it meant having to stay in school another year and that meant extra money spent on tuition.

Did you join a sorority or fraternity? Was it important to you?

I joined Sigma Alpha Iota ( a professional music fraternity for women )and several honorary sororities including Alpha Lambda Delta (freshman scholastic sorority), Pi Lambda Theta (teachers college). My senior year I joined Towne Club, a social sorority for girls who lived in Lincoln. Many of the girls in the organization already knew each other because they had graduated from hish school together. Two of my best friends were also in Towne Club. They, like I, had graduated from high school from small towns in Nebraska and then moved to Lincoln with their families. I would have gotten more out of the organization if I had joined as a freshman so that I would have gotten better acquainted with the girls.

Was there any professor who made a special impression on you? Good or bad? What subject did he or she teach? Were you able to take more than one class from this person? Did he or she ever make a comment about your work that stuck in your memory?

The professor who probably made the biggest impact on me was William Hall. He taught in Teacher's College. I had undergraduate education classes under his tutelage and was chosen to be counselor of freshmen students. It was largely due to his guidance that I decided to work on a Master's degree in counseling and guidance.
Other professors who were important to me were J. Dayton Smith who taught voice lessons, Mary Louise Boehm, a teacher of piano, and Karl Arndt, a teacher of Economics and Social Studies.
Dr. Hall made the comment after reading my thesis that he wished all his graduate students wrote as well as I did. I have sometimes wished I had done more with that.
J. Dayton Smith told me he had only had one other student who memorized as quickly as I did.

Why was it important for you to go to college? Was it an expected step in your community, or were you the first in your family to go for a degree? What motivated you most? Love of learning, or just getting through?

My mother was the principal motivater for my going to college. Both her parents had been teachers. She had been a teacher and had attended Nebraska Wesleyan University. All three of her brothers and one sister were graduates of the University of Nebraska. Her family moved from Fillmore, Missouri to Ashland, Nebraska so that she could go to high school. Both my sisters had attended the University of Nebraska but at that time they hadn't graduated. They had worked and earned the money to go to school but it was hard to go to school long enough to earn a degree. She wanted me to have the opportunity to earn a degree. Growing up, I just assumed that I would go to college.

Did you remain friendly with anyone you met at college? Did you visit each other over the years? Did you keep in touch by letter before affordable long distance and e-mail?

Yes, I have remained friendly with friends I met in college. One friend became my sister-in-law. We visited some friends over the years and we kept in touch by letter. Some returned to Lincoln and we see them from time to time.

Did you have a number of casual love interests or one special person throughout college? How did this experience change you?

I dated Ted Sorenson during my freshman year of college. The veterans were not home from the war yet so there weren't many men around until the following year, 1946, when the war was over and the veterans began coming back to school. I met Phil James in 1946 and married him in 1951

Was your class work difficult or easy for you? What were your study habits? Did you pull all-nighters? Did you cram with friends, or work alone?

Class work was easy for me and enjoyable, too. I liked to study. I studied alone. One of the things about being a music major in college is that your work is never done. It's just not possible to practice as many hours as you need to and then you have all your other classwork to do, too.

Did you have a part-time job while you were in school? If yes, what did you do? If no, why not?

I had various jobs while I was in school. I worked at the State Home for Children during the summer before I started my freshman year. In the fall after school started I had a job teaching piano lessons to children at the State Home for Children.

Do you think you made the most of your college years, or would it have been more advantageous for you to have gone to school later on?

I was ready for college at the time I enrolled. I was on the honor roll every year that I was in college. I graduated with distinction and was a senior scholar.


What changes were there in everyday life during wartime? Was gas rationing difficult for you? Did you save aluminum foil? Did you shop differently? Was there a certain sadness and fear that you felt in the streets?

We had food rationing which was a very slight inconvenience. We were allowed a certain number of stamps which we had to give to the grocer in order to buy certain items. The rationing was not very stringent. Sugar was one of the items that was rationed and I can remember my Mother telling us that she had an abundance of sugar stamps and we could make fudge if we liked. We couldn't go to basketball games in neighboring towns because only the farmers had gas. Even the farmers didn't have tires and I remember going to a basketball game with some farm kids and having 2 flat tires on the way home which the boys had to repair to get us home.

Did any of your friends lose anyone in the war?

I didn't know my husband-to-be until he came home from service in the Navy but he lost a brother during the war. He was a pilot stationed in England.

What were your feelings about your country's position in the war? Did your feelings about war then color your feelings about war now?

The country was very united in its support of the military during World War II. All able young men were in the service. Because the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Americans generally felt that we had to defend ourselves. During World War II I felt we needed to fight and help Britain and the Allies to put an end to the destruction of Jews and the rule of Hitler. However, now I feel that very few wars have done any good. For America the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II probably accomplished some good. But I don't feel that we can tell all the countries in the world how to run their governments and I think we would resent other countries telling us how to run our country. I think we may need to defend ourselves and to help others when possible but sending our young men off to fight a foreign war is not good for our country or for its young men and women.

What was it like in your city on the day the war ended?

The buses quit running and people celebrated in the streets down town. Of course, everyone was glad that the war was over. I was glad I was home before the celebrating began because it would have been a long walk home!


What was your favorite radio or television show growing up?

There was no TV when I was growing up. However, the family did listen to many radio programs. I remember I Love a Mystery, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Jack Benny, the Hit Parade, Fibber McGee and Molly, George Burns and Gracie Allen, The FBI at War and Peace. My mother listened to soap operas while she did her house work.

Did you ever go to see your favorite performers in concert when you were young? Who were they?

No, I didn't go to see any performers in concert when I was young. My four years of high school were during World War II. I lived in a small town and there were no performances there. No one had gas or tires to go to a larger city. The depression was not over until after the U.S. entered the War so no one had the money to go to concerts.

What radio stations do you listen to now? What talk radio shows do you like? Have you ever called a talk-radio host and had your voice go on the air?

The only radio station I listen to now is KUCV (Nebraska Public Radio). I listen to it because they play classical music. I listen to this whenever I drive or ride in the car. Occasionally I listen to this in our apartment. I like the variety it provides. I can hear selections that I do not have on CD.

What television programs do you watch now? What are the shows that you really enjoyed through the years?

I enjoy watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on TV. I also watch the news two or three times a day. I enjoy Antique Roadshow, Commander in chief (I find the idea of a woman president fascinating and perhaps prophetic.), The West Wing, NCI, and Law and Order. I am sorry that TV no longer carries programs that are suitable for family viewing. When my children were growing up there were many shows that were situation comedies that the whole family could enjoy together. I'm sorry such shows are no longer available.

What kinds of artistic outlets have your undertaken in your life? Poetry writing? Photography? Painting? Piano playing? Ballet?

I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old. When I was in Junior High I started playing the alto horn in the high school band. This was an instrument that belonged to the school. Because it was not an instrument that played the melody, most parents would not buy it for their children to play. My sister had been playing it in the band and she graduated from high school and so I was able to use it. After a year or two of playing it, my mother thought I should have a more interesting instrument and she got me a clarinet. I played it through high school. I played in a clarinet quartet and also in the high school band and orchestra. I sang in the high school chorus and girl's glee club and in various small vocal groups, girl's trio, girl's sextet, girl's octet, and madrigal. I played the piano for church all through high school. I took piano, voice, and organ lessons during college. I also enjoyed drawing but our school did not have an art teacher and so I didn't have an opportunity to get an education in art like I had in music.

What is your preference in music? Do you follow current music or do you prefer the old? Do you like music on in the house or silence? What are your most favorite songs? Make the list as long or as short as you would like!

My preference in music is classical. I dislike Rock and Roll with a passion. I attend concerts of the Lincoln Symphony. I enjoy having music on in the house if it is Classical or perhaps musical theater, but I enjoy silence most of the time.

Are you a theatergoer? Do you go in your hometown or only when you visit a big city? What are your favorite plays?

We were theatergoers when we were younger. We were patrons of the Lincoln Community Theater and attended all their performances. At one time we also attended Broadway productions of shows, especially musicales. We no longer attend these because my husband's hearing is so bad that he no longer can enjoy these. My hearing is not as good as it once was and I find that many actors are not trained to enunciate as they once were. Our oldest daughter is a musical director and keyboard player at theaters in Chicago and we have usually gone to Chicago a couple of times a year to see shows when she was the musical director.

What movie affected you most in your life? Do you remember the way the movie looked mostly, or was it the story line? Who were the stars? Was there music in the movie that you remember? What movies have you wanted to see more than once? What was the last movie you saw? What was the first movie you saw?

We didn't go to movies often when I was a child. When I was in high school the local theater offered B rated movies on Wednesday nights for 10 cents. It was the favorite dating night for the high school crowd. But none of the movies were memorable. I remember going to Tom Sawyer as a family. I saw quite a few movies in college. It was a favorite dating activity. The last movie I saw was an oldie on TV, The Christmas Carol. I don't remember what the first movie I saw was. I saw most of the Shirley Temple movies and lots of musical movies.

Did your parents read to you? Did you read to your children? Are you a big reader? How important is reading to you? Do you have an author whom you follow? What are your favorite books? Make your list as long or as short as you'd like!

My mother read to me when I was small. Reading was always important in our family. There were always magazines and newspapers available. Reading is very important to me. I belong to a book discussion group which I organized. We read one book a month and discuss it at our monthly meeting. I like all kinds of books--historical novels, fiction, non-fiction, etc. I also love the discussions with the members of The Page Turners book discussion group. I think it is fascinating the different points of view that members bring forth in our discussions. It enriches the book when we hear points of view that we hadn't thought of.

What are your most treasured "artifacts" or pieces of art that you have picked up along your path?

I love visiting art museums and have enjoyed them in various cities and appreciate the galleries in Lincoln and Omaha. I am not a collector, although if there was anything I might wish to collect if I could afford it, it would be art. I have a few small paintings that I have purchased from Lincoln Artist Guild shows and from places I have vacationed. I have hung these in groupings and I enjoy them very much. I also have a pastel landscape done by my father which I treasure.


What was your first real job? Did you start out in an after-school job that had any relation to what you ended up doing?

My first job was a summer job when I was 14 years old. I babysat for the editor of the Ashland Gazette's daughter. I took care of her 5 days a week while both parents worked on the newspaper. I supervised her piano practice which her parents liked. For her it was like having a piano lesson every day. They wanted me to take the job again the next summer but I had already applied for and been promised a job clerking at the local dime store. Actually, this first job did relate to my future jobs because I taught music and raised my children.

Describe your career.

My chosen career was in public school vocal music. I taught high school vocal music and English in Pawnee City, Nebraska after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. I had been involved in counseling during my senior year of college and decided to go back and get a Master's Degree in Counseling and Guidance at the University of Nebraska. After I got married in August of 1951 we moved to Philadelphia where I taught grade school vocal music. In 1954 we returned to Lincoln where Phil taught in the business college and we started our family. My family was definitely my career. In those days, especially in the midwest, women had the choice of being a teacher or a nurse or a secretary. I didn't feel that society was forcing me into its mold. I loved teaching children to read music vocally. But we wanted to have a family. Shortly after our first child was born I was called by the head of the Educational Psychology department and offered a part time job teaching the introductory course in History and Principles of Education but I turned it down. Actually, I never really considered it.

What career would you have chosen If you didn't have to think about money or education (just assuming both were taken care of)?

I really enjoyed teaching children to read music vocally. High school children who have not been taught to read music have to learn all the music by rote and this is time consuming and less interesting than reading the music. In teaching grade school children you start learning songs by rote and in about 4th grade children are ready to learn to read. They can then learn more songs because it takes less time to learn them when students can read the music than when they have to learn by rote. I also liked to have my music training to use with my own children as they were growing up. However, if I were starting out today I don't think I would major in music. My playing the piano for church was a service to the church but I had to get music ready for each Sunday and I would have profited more as a musician if I had spent that time practicing on music which would have advanced my playing ability. I feel now that I would have been better in English and writing. I think probably it never occurred to me that I might make a living at writing or some other field. It wasn't until I was in graduate school and writing my thesis that my advisor told me he wished all his graduate students could write as well as I did that it occurred to me that I might do something in writing.

Were you friendly with your coworkers? Is there one you particularly remember?

I enjoyed the companionship of other workers in every job I held. I think relating to co-workers increases one's enjoyment on the job and helps one to do a better job. I particularly liked the teachers I taught with in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. A special friend was Louise Maslin. I taught with her at Garretford School. We were both newly weds. I had taught before but it was Louise's first year of teaching. Phil and I became friends with Louise and her husband, John, and we still keep in touch.

Gallup Organization Questions on Leadership

Let's identify some early role models of yours. How would you describe the parenting style of your mother (father)?

My early role models were my parents and my teachers. My mother emphasized the importance of education and encouraged us to do well in school and to continue our education. My father was loving and supportive. Several teachers were great role models. My fifth grade teacher was outstanding and I remember several music teachers who were particularly supportive and encouraged me in a field that I ended up pursuing.

While growing up, who did you consider your role model in terms of your family? What impact did your role model have on your development?

I'm sure I considered my mother as my role model. As I think back to my childhood I remember my mother as being involved in teaching Sunday School, being interested in the Missionary Society and always seeing that we attended Sunday School and church. I started my service for the church when I was in Junior High when I played the piano for opening exercises for Sunday School. When I was 14 years old I started playing the piano for church. This meant preparing a prelude, offertory, and postlude every Sunday and practicing with the choir and accompanying them on Sunday. I sang in a choir all through college, taught Sunday School to young high school aged women and was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship during high school and college. This participation must have helped develop my leadership skills.

While growing up, who did you consider your role model in terms of individuals outside your family? What impact did your role model have on your development?

Rev. Vernon W. Lane was a strong influence on me when I was growing up. The Episcopal Church in Ashland had too small a congregation to support their little church. Father Lane had a congregation in Omaha. One summer when I was about nine years old I was walking down town with my friend, Marilyn Clark. Father Lane was spending his vacation time doing some writing at the Episcopal parsonage in Ashland. Father Lane was very fond of children and he came walking behind Marilyn and I, listening to our conversation. We didn't realize that he was there, so when we saw him, we were startled. Marilyn's parents were Episcopalians so Father Lane, not wanting to leave us with a startled experience, called the Clark's and invited us to come and let him photograph us.
One of his hobbies was photography. That is how I met Father Lane. Father Lane had been interested in starting a home for boys, but because Boy's Town was so well established in Omaha he couldn't get a start there because boys needing a home were referred by the court to Boy's Town. Father Lane became my special friend. I was special to him and I adored him. When he came to Ashland to have an evening service in the Ashland Episcopal Church he always came to our house to see me. He drove a Pierce Arrow convertible and took me and my friends or my sisters to places like the Gretna Fish Hatchery and the Lincoln Water Works--places of interest in Ashland surroundings that were too far to walk but that we would enjoy visiting. His car had a rumble seat and we thought it was fun to ride in it. Once when I was ill with a respiratory illness he came down from Omaha to see me. He said I was one of his parishioners and he came to call to say, "Get Well." Eventually he received a call from a church in Memphis, Tennessee and accepted that call. The summer that I was 11 years old he invited me to come to Memphis to visit him with the organist from his church in Omaha, Alice Oglebay. It was my first ride on a train and my first time away from my parents for several days. Father Lane, being the magnet for kids that he was, had lots of neighborhood kids for me to play with. Later, he did establish a home for boys. It was called Gailor Hall -- Just a House Full of Boys. My relationship with Father Lane was very meaningful to me and probably contributed greatly to my belief that God is Love. It was a powerful experience for a child to have an adult friend who considered me special.

Think back during high school or before and describe someone who had a profoundly positive impact on your development? What did that person do? Who was that person?

My piano teacher was an important influence in my life. It is unusual for a child to have such a close impact from an adult outside the family. She used to tell me that if a person couldn't get along with me, they couldn't get along with anyone. She thought I was unusual in my ability to get along with others and I'm sure the fact that she complimented me on that influenced my ability to get along with others.

How would you describe your mother (or guardian) as your leader?

My mother was a very strict leader who wanted most of all for her children to have an education. Both my sisters attended the University of Nebraska but did not graduate. Just as her parents had moved to Ashland so that she could go to high school, she engineered our moving to Lincoln so that I could go to college and graduate. There was no question about it, I grew up knowing that I would go to college.
She also read to me and provided art materials and encouraged reading and artistic endeavors. Whatever educational opportunities came our way were encouraged and often engineered by my Mother.

How would you describe your father (or guardian) as your leader?

My father was loving and pretty much thought that the guidance of the children was the province of the mother, as was the view of society at the time. He worked very hard to support his family after having to close his jewelry and music store because of the Great Depression. He was good at art and all kinds of creative work. He built us a swing, made us a sand box, and played croquet with us. I don't remember his ever expressing a cross word to my sisters or me but he was always proud of our achievements.

Who has had the most profound impact on your development as an individual during your adult years? Describe how that person has impacted you and who they were in your life?

Undoubtedly the person who has had the most profound impact on me during my adult life is my husband, Philip S. James. We met when he came home from the Navy after World War II. I was a sophomore in college. We celebrated our 54th Wedding Anniversary this year and we had known each other for 5 years when we married. He has been a wonderful husband. He has always been loyal. He wanted us to move back to Lincoln so that I could be near my widowed mother. After we had a child and I was no longer employed as a teacher, he always made me feel that our money was OUR money, not HIS money. We never had any fights over how to spend our money. If he had to, he would skimp on something for himself but he never skimped on something for me. We have lived in The Landing, a retirement home for a little over a year. We decided to move in because I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and I was having trouble with the stairs and needed to be all on one floor. Phil's mother was crippled with Rheumatoid Arthritis and she couldn't walk from the time he was in high school until her death. It just doesn't seem fair that he has to have a crippled wife, too. But he has been wonderful at making the move. It's not easy to face having an incurable disease when you don't know how it will progress but he is always supportive and we are happy at The Landing and think we made the right decision in moving when we did. We are also appreciative of the support of our children. It's no longer possible for us to do the driving that we formerly did to visit our children and we appreciate their coming to visit us here and know that it's not always easy for them with their families and careers. In spite of our physical debilities, we are happy. I think often about my father-in-law, Walter D. James, and I appreciate the example he set for his sons while taking care of his wife. I am so grateful for the life we have enjoyed and are still enjoying.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in a leadership role?

I have accepted leadership roles in most of the organizations that I have been involved in. This includes church, Sigma Alpha Iota, Camp Fire Girls, etc. However, I consider the raising of our children as my greatest accomplishment in a leadership role. From my observation of them I think my children learned dependability from my example and I hope I may have helped them to know the joy of treating other people with kindness and concern.

How have you changed since high school in terms of your philosophy of leading and influencing others?

While I did not hold a paying job after my children were born, I was active and numerous organizations and took a leadership role in many of them. Together, my husband and I taught a Sunday School class of young marrried couples for 10 years. This class also sponsored a social life for its members. We later taught a children's Sunday School class for 2 years. I was active as an alumnae of Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women and served a term as president during my college days and also served 4 terms as president of the Alumnae Chapter. I was on the board that helped establish SAIL Music Camp and designed the logo and helped with the camp numerous years. I was leader for Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girls groups for both my daughters and was District 3 Leader's association Chairman for Camp Fire and also candy sale chairman. I was a member of Chapter DX, P.E.O. and served as various officers and as president for 2 years.

During graduate school my advisor was William E. Hall. I worked on a leadership program started by Dr. Hall which emphasized the Positive Approach for developing leaders. This same philosophy was used and further developed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton of the Gallup Organization.

Romance and Relationships

Do you remember your first kiss?

I honestly don't remember my first kiss. I dated from the time I was a sophomore in high school. I think probably the first person I kissed was Wayne Wells. He was a high school boy friend. He was a year ahead of me in school and was really into speech and debate.

What kind of dating did you do in high school? What is your favorite kind of date - even now?

Most of my dating in high school consisted of going to movies or to school parties. For about a year I was in a group that played pinochle once a month. We rarely go to movies now. My favorite kind of date now would be a dinner date with old friends or new -- a small group 4 to 6 so that everyone can be included in the conversation.

Were you always attracted to the same type of person? Did you like the strong, silent type, the bouncy blonde?

I was attracted to intelligence! I think I was looking for the father of my children! Sense of humor and good conversation were important, too.

Who was your first love? Did you think it was going to last? Who broke whose heart?

My first love was Max Armstrong. He broke my heart because he was invited by a former girl friend to a party on New Year's Eve and the pinochle club we played in together had a party on New Year's Eve and he went to her party instead of the pinochle club with me.

Do you believe you can be in love more than once?

Yes. I don't believe that there's just one person meant for you. I think there are a variety of people with whom you could have a meaningful relationship. I think you need to get very well acquainted with a person in order to know whether marriage will work with an individual.

Did you know when you very first met your mate that this would be your life's partner? Did he/she know it?

No. I had met Phil's sister at the University of Nebraska and we had become friends. When Phil came home from the Navy his sister had picked me out for him. I was having no part of it. However, when he called me for our first date, he asked for a date for every week. I guess he thought he'd "sew up" those dates from the very start. So I guess he felt from the start that I should be his life partner. However, my mother didn't want me to marry and that made a decision much harder for me.

Describe your wedding, your outfit, your spouse's, your Mom's, your Dad's, the bridal party, the church or hall, the reception, the food. If more than one wedding - tell all!

We were married at Grace United Methodist Church. I was so busy finishing my work for a Master's degree in Counseling and Guidance that I could scarcely find time to look for a wedding dress. My mother went with me to pick it out. I bought it at Miller & Paine and it was a dress that had been featured in Bride's Magazine. It had short sleeves and mitts that matched the dress. I paid for it myself. Our daughter, Barb, also wore it when she got married.

My sister, Dorothy, was my Matron of Honor, and my friend, Ginny Lange, was bridesmaid. Phil's best man was Bill Sorenson. His ushers were

What do/did you like best about your mate? (A physical attribute, his/her being, his/her laughter, his/her smile, his/her mind.) What term of endearment do/did you call your mate?

The thing I like best about my mate is his loyalty. I know he's always going to be supportive. I also like his intelligence and his sense of humor. We have always enjoyed being together. I occasionally have called my mate "honey" but most of the time I call him "Phil."

What were the hardest times of your relationship? Was there ever a time that you thought it might really be over?

The hardest times of our relationship were probably during our courtship. We were engaged three times. Each time I broke it off because I wasn't sure it was what I should do. All this time my mother is fighting against my getting married. Phil took the original engagement ring back to the jewelery store and took a tremendous loss on it and I still feel guilty about that. When we were engaged the second time, he bought a new ring. When I gave that back to him, I told him not to get rid of it. The third time was a charm and we made plans to marry. My mother may have opposed the marriage partly because Phil was Catholic and I was not. However, he joined the Methodist church before we were married and we have never had a conflict about religion. If Phil hadn't been so insistent, it really might have been over. I'm really glad he was so persistent because we have had a wonderful life.

Who were the biggest crushes in your life? Name your other heartthrobs through the years.

My freshman year of college I dated Ted Sorensen. We met in an English class. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years I met Phil James when he came home from the Navy after World War II. We dated for five years. He took a large load of subjects and went to summer school so that he could graduate at the same time that I did. I graduated with distinction. We both graduated in 1949 as Chancellor's Scholars, those who had been listed on the Honor Roll each semester.

What song do you consider the most romantic?

Phil and I always considered "Stardust" our song.

Everybody has bad habits -- what drives you craziest about your mate?

Phil's worst habit was smoking. He tried several times to quit and he finally was able to kick the habit and our house has been smoke free for about 40 years. Unfortunately, our daughter, Margaret, took up the habit. She was the one who bugged Phil into quitting and when I found out that she smoked I said,"Peg, how could you?" She is trying to quit but is addicted to nicotine gum which may be better than smoking but surely can't be good for you.

If you had to do it all over again, what qualities would you choose in a mate now?

If I had it to do all over again I would choose honesty, loyalty, and intelligence--the same qualities that I found in Phil.

Did you have an engagement ring? What does/did your wedding ring look like? Would you trade it for a bigger, shinier one? Do you wear both rings? Are they inscribed inside?

Phil gave me an engagement ring my senior year the night of the Towne Club formal. However, my mother didn't want me to marry. She had arranged our lives so that I could earn a degree and she wanted me to have a career. Because of the pressure from my mother, I felt that I had to earn some money so that I could pay back what I had borrowed from my parents. So I took a job teaching Vocal Music and English in Pawnee City, Nebraska. I taught there one year and then came back to the University of Nebraska where I earned a M.A. in educational psychology while Phil earned a M.A. in economics.

Where did you go on your honeymoon? Did you ever take a second honeymoon?

We went to Denver and the Rocky Mountains on our honeymoon. Phil's Dad let him take his car to go on the honeymoon. We went to the zoo in Denver and drove up Look Out Mountain and saw Buffalo Bill's grave. We took a lunch fixed for us by the hotel and drove up into the mountains and ate our lunch beside a mountain stream and dreamed of someday having a cabin in such a place.


As a woman, do you remember telling your mate that you were pregnant? As a man, what did you think when she told you she was pregnant? Was it a surprise, or a long-planned for event? Do you remember telling your parents?

When we moved back to Lincoln and Phil took a job teaching in the business administration department of the University of Nebraska, we decided that we would start our family. When I didn't get pregnant for several months I went to a gynecologist who suggested that I keep a chart of my temperature every morning to try to determine my most fertile times. After about 16 months of trying, I became pregnant.

Question for the women: What did your maternity clothes look like? Did you share with your friends? Did you suffer from morning sickness or have other problems?

My first maternity outfit was a skirt and blouse purchased for me by my mother-in-law. I also had pants and tops which I wore casually. During three pregnancies I only vomited once but I felt nausea occasionally.

What are the names and birthdates of your children? What are the names and birthdates of your grandchildren and their parents? Name some of their idiosyncrasies.

Our first child was Margaret Ann James. She was born September 3, 1955. We named her after a friend and neighbor we knew in Philadelphia. We called her by the nickname Peggy. She always had a cheery, bubbly personality who was friendly and outgoing.
Our second child was Barbara Louise James. She was born
October 4, 1958. We wanted Peggy to consider this child a member of her family so we decided to let her choose the name from a list that we gave her. She choose Barbara and through the years she was called Barbie and then Barb. The Louise came from our friend, Louise Maslin, and from her paternal grandmother, Louise James. Barb had the most easy going personality and was always the easiest child to take care of. She was always pleasant to be around. Our third and last child was David Edward James. He was born December 26, 1960. David was a name I had chosen years earlier after reading the novel "Just David". The Edward was named for Edward B. Schmidt, a friend that Phil taught with at the University of Nebraska. David was shy but creative and an excellent student. Each child had a unique personality and we feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful family. They are the reason for my writing this autobiography. There are many things about my mother's family that I would like to know and she's no longer here to tell them. I hope these memoirs will help my children to understand what their parents lives were like.

We have six grandchildren. Barb and Paul Kelter's children are Seth Benjamin Kelter, born November 27, 1987, and Aaron Philip Kelter, born September 11, 1990.
David and Barbara James' children are Michael Philip James, born April 14, 1991, Clare Margaret James, born January 12, 1993, Katherine Mary James, born September 18, l995, and Teresa Elizabeth James, born August 9, 1999.

Which hospital did you deliver in? Do you remember the ride there?

Our first child, Margaret, was born at Lincoln General Hospital. It has now been taken over by Bryan Memorial Hospital and is called Bryan Memorial hospital West. They no longer deliver babies at that facility. I remember her birth vividly. It was on a Saturday morning and I got up and went to the bathroom and my water broke. We went to the hospital and she was born within the hour. My gynecoligist, Dr. Garlinghouse, came and asked me if I was hungry and he had them bring a light breakfast and he said "Just call her 'never miss a meal James'.

How much weight did you gain each time? Was it difficult getting back in shape?

My doctor was very strict about controlling one's weight. Once when I was in his office waiting my turn to see him he came out to the waiting room following a patient and scolding her all the way about gaining too much weight. I certainly didn't want that to happen to me. I'm not sure but I think he allowed 2 pounds gain per month. I stuck with this. I nursed my babies and ended up weighing less a few months after the birth than I had weighed before.

Were you afraid to become a parent? Why, or why not?

Probably every parent has moments of doubt. It seems like such a huge responsibility. I do remember the hospital had a bath demonstration for the new mothers. Until then I had no qualms but the nurse was so unflexible and insisted that we give the bath just exactly as she demonstrated and I felt completely overwhelmed. When Phil came to the hospital that evening, I cried and told him I didn't see how I was going to bathe that baby. He went out to his parent's house and borrowed a bathinette that his sister had but was not currently using and calmed my fears. Actually, it was more bother to drag that bathinette from the nursery to the kitchen than it was helpful to have the bathinette and after a few months I returned the bathinette to my sister-in-law and all the rest of the babies were bathed in the kitchen sink.

What was the transition like when you went from being someone's child to someone's parent?

I was 28 years old before I had my first child. We had been married 4 years and I had taught and held other jobs. Together, Phil and I were self supporting. We were adults. We were ready to have a family.

What pet name did you use for your children when they were babies? Did you keep using them, even when the children grew older?

We called our first child Peggy. We named her Margaret Ann. She used the Peggy or Peg name through high school and beyond. When she started working as a music director of musicales in Chicago she started using Margaret James as her professional name. Everyone who knows her in Chicago calls her Margaret. We call her Peg in the family. We deliberately gave the children names that could be changed into nick names, probably partly because I had felt saddled with the name Ila Faye.

Our second child was named Barbara Louise. The Louise was Phil's mother's name and also the name of a teacher friend that I taught with in Philadelphia. We called her "Barbie" and later "Barb." We still call her Barb today.

Our last child was named David. I had picked the name David from the time I was in high school. I read the novel "Just David" and loved the book so much that I was determined to name my child David. Fortunately, Phil didn't object. When he was small we called him Davy and when he got older we called him Dave. We still call him Dave.

Did any of your kids have an imaginary friend growing up? Were they afraid of the boogeyman or the monster under the bed? What was your children's favorite bedtime story or poem?

Reading to the children was always a part of our bedtime routine. Nursery rhymes were favorites when they were young. I remember that the first book I bought for Peggy was a Little Golden book of Christmas carols. I rocked her and sang the songs to her. Her birthday was in September and I'm sure I sang them with the idea that Christmas was coming so she had to be 2 to 4 months old.

What are some of the memorable things that each child said? Some things that amused or pleased you, or still sticks in your mind?

I remember a day when Barb and I were home alone. It was Sunday and we would ordinarily have all been at Sunday School. But Barbie was sick that morning. Phil and I were teaching an adult Sunday School class and we shared the teaching. Evidently Phil had prepared the lesson that day because he and Peggy and David went off to Sunday School and Barbie and I stayed home. We were sitting out on the front steps watching the birds fly by and Barbie said, "When I was a bird, could I fly?" She was about 3 or 4 years old. What could have made her think she had been a bird?

Could you share some free-flowing memories of those eighteen years? Just let it flow, perhaps starting this section with I remember ...

The 18 years that we were raising our children were very busy ones. The girls were in Camp Fire groups and I was the leader for both of them. Of course, David had to go along when the girls went to activities and when it came time for him, he didn't care to participate. I guess he'd had enough of activities. I was also District III Leader's Association Chairman and District III Candy Sale Chairman.
The girls took ballet and tap lessons and all three children took piano lessons. Peggy took oboe lessons, Barbie took viola lessons, and Dave took violin lessons. I played piano and violin and we played chamber music of a sort and almost always played together at Christmastime. I arranged music that we could play together, especially at Christmas time. I felt that making music together was fun for us and also kept the children's interest up.

How did you decide which school to send your children to? Public, private or parochial school? Why?

This was not a difficult decision at all. I grew up in a town that had only a public school system. There were no private schools. I went to the public school and I still think I got a good education there. But there were no choices. My husband had attended a parochial school in McCook, NE through the 8th grade and he refused to go to it any more and entered the McCook public schools in the 9th grade and graduated from high school there.

Did you use any parenting books when you were raising your children? What was your greatest concern or worry when you were a parent? What were your greatest hopes for your children? What was the scariest moment in parenting? The toughest? What was the moment that made you most proud?

Dr. Spock's book was our "bible" when it came to questions regarding the children, especially when the questions were concerning health and medical questions. With Peg, I worried about her being too friendly! She was by nature an outgoing, enthusiastic person. I wondered how I could warn her not to talk to strangers and yet not squelch that delightful enthusiasm. I walked with her to school several times to make sure she knew the way. I instructed her to go on the route I had taught her. And she was very good about minding that instruction. One day she was walking home with a friend and the friend wanted her to go on a different path than what I had taught her. Peggy refused to go that way. Later the friend's mother told me, "I wish Holly (the friend) would mind as well as Peggy does." Thus I learned that she was following my instructions.
All of our children walked to and from school except when they had to be chauffered for some activity. I wonder if I would feel safe today sending children to school by themselves. Reports of child molesting on the TV cause me to wonder if that would be safe but we had no problems then.

Which child needed the most discipline? If you could do it all over again, what would you have done differently to discipline your child?

I'm not sure that she needed it, but our first child got the most discipline. I think it was our inexperience rather than her needing more discipline. We did feel it was important that she learn not to run into the street bacause we didn't want her to be run over. We occasionally used a switch on her legs or a slap on her hand. I don't remember doing that with either of the other children so I assume it was our inexperience rather than any greater need for discipline for her. I do think it's important to enforce what you have asked a child to do but I would not use physical force on a child again.

What did your children call you? Basic "Mommy" and "Daddy" or something more unusual?

Our children called us "Mommy" and "Daddy".

Did your kids play in the back yards in the neighborhood or did you take them to a park? What did your kids love to do for fun? What did you love to do with your kids?

Our children played in the neighborhood with neighborhood children. We lived in the Holly Road neighborhood which was a newly developed neighborhood with lots of chilren. We lived there for 8 years before moving to a larger home. I loved to read to my children. They played in a sand box their Daddy made for them. We went to the Children's Zoo occasionally and to the library regularly.

What TV shows do you remember your children watching? Did you watch TV with them?

I think my children's favorite TV program was Captain Kangaroo. I often watched it with them. Sometimes I only listened from the kitchen. They also liked The Mickey Mouse Club.

What was the best part of being a parent? What was the worst part of being a parent?

The best part of being a parent was the opportunity to encourage their creativity and to try to show them how much we loved them. The worst part of being a parent was the extreme fatigue. You are on duty 24 hours a day and it is a very tiring job. As they got older the physical fatigue lessened.

If you could be anonymous, would you praise parenthood?

I think some people probably shouldn't be parents but I feel that parenting was the most important thing I did in my life. There are things that I wish I could do over and would do differently but generally, I think we can be proud of our parenting.

What one thing would you do differently if you could live your parenting years over?

I think I was too serious about parenthood. If I had it to do over I would be more relaxed and try to get across the idea that life is fun. I would try to make it more fun for them. I did do some of that. I always tried to make holidays fun for the kids. But generally, I think I was overwhelmed by the seriousness of doing my job and if I had it to do over, I would lighten up a bit.

The House You Raised Your Family In

Was the house you raised your family in big enough for all of you? Did your kids share a room?

Our first child was born when we lived at 4122 Holly Road in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a new house built by a developer. All the houses on the street had the same floor plan. It was a two bedroom house with a kitchen and a bath room. Phil's parents gave us a crib for the new baby. In 1958 when Barb was born, we bought a new bed and Peggy graduated from the crib to her new "big girl" bed, making room for Barb in the crib. In 1960 when David was born we moved the single bed to the basement and bought a double bed which Peg and Barb shared and Dave inherited the crib. My niece, Shari Colton was staying with my mother while she worked on a degree in Pre-Med but she found that she was allergic to cats. She suffered from asthma and could not live in a house with a cat. Phil finished off the basement of our little house and made it a place for my niece to sleep and a recreation room for our children. We were bursting at the seams and so we decided we would have to look for a bigger house. After much looking we decided to have a new four bedroom house built. We put my niece, Shari into a room. She was soon due to graduate from the University and then each child got his/her own room. This is the house that felt like home. We moved into it when Peg was in third grade, Barb was in Kindergarten, and Dave was three years old. We lived in it for forty years--until we sold it to move into a retirement home.

Did you ever move? Was that particularly hard on anyone?

The move was probably the hardest on Peg. She was (and is) a vivacious person and had been very popular in her class. We moved into a brand new school where all the children were"jockeying" for status. She was accustomed to being the center of attention among her classmates. Barb had only had one semester of Kindergarten when we moved to the new house and entering the new school was just a matter of adjusting to the school, classmates and teacher.

What was your address? What was your phone number? What color was the house? Was your house a one-story or two-story, stone, wood or brick? Did you have a garage? What was the floor plan? Can you envision each room and certain things that went on there? What was the view out your front window?

The house on Cottonwood Drive was a combination of brick and wood siding. It had 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen with eating space, fireplace and eventually a recreation /computer room. It was two stories with an attached two car garage. It had a porch on which the children played. The porch was on the west side of the house and there was a lovely red bud tree in front of the house so that the porch was shaded both morning and evening. Phil and I frequently ate lunch on that porch.

Was your neighborhood that of single family homes, apartments or rural? Were you friendly with your neighbors? Did you ever have a quirky neighbor? Explain.

Our house was in a neighborhood of single family homes. The area had been developed around the new school and there were lots of children for ours to play with.

Was everyone in and out of each others' homes? How did you pick the neighborhood? Was this your or your spouse's childhood community?

We picked the house because of the location. It was a block and a half from Ruth Pyrtle Elementary school. It was about one half mile from the new East High school and the Junior High was housed in the same building as the high school. This area had been farm land before being developed as a residential area. It was on the far East side of Lincoln and was an ideal place to raise children.

Did anyone, except you, do chores for the upkeep of the household? Did you insist everyone make their own beds everyday?

The children were asked to put away their toys and were encouraged to make their beds. However, one has to be realistic! After neighborhood children had been there playing while the mothers had coffee, they simply had to have some help in picking up.

Where did the homework take place? Did you help any child with big projects?

Each of the children had a desk in his/her room. However, most of the home work was done on the kitchen table. The children did not have great amounts of home work. All three children took piano lessons. Peg took oboe lessons, Barb took viola lessons, and Dave took violin lessons. Peg and Barb took dancing lessons--ballet and tap. They had to be encouraged to practice. Peg would usually practice on her own but she and I played lots of piano duets to encourage her practice. I played clarinet(which I had played in high school) while Peg played oboe, as a motivational technique. One thing I learned from having children practice on musical instruments was that playing the oboe requires more than musical skills. An oboe player must learn to make reeds to be successful and a person talented musically may not be talented at making oboe reeds!

Did you ever undertake a big remodeling job? If you had a basement, what was it used for? If you had an attic, what was it used for?

I did painting and paper hanging in our house. After my niece, Shari, left I let each child help to choose wall paper and I redecorated their rooms. I wall papered one wall of their bedroom and painted the other three to coordinate. The girls got new furniture and I antiqued Dave's furniture with blue paint and antiquing to go with his red, white, and blue wallpaper. Phil put paneling on the basement so that it could be used as a recreation room. Later when the children were grown and we got a computer we used that room as a computer office as well as a recreation room.

Was your house a gathering place for your children's friends?

I served as leader for Blue Bird and Camp Fire groups for Peg and Barb. These groups met in our home every week. When it came time for Dave to participate in such groups, he wasn't interested. He did, however, go to Indian Guides, a program of the YMCA with his Dad. I think he was afraid he'd hurt his dad's feelings if he didn't particpate because this is a father-son organization.

What types of food were regularly eaten? (i.e., organic, vegetarian, fast food, meat, restaurants, cuisine from around the world)

I tried to serve my family nutritiious meals. When they were growing up, breakfast usually consisted of cold cereal and orange juice or other fruit juice. I sometimes made pancakes for breakfast on Saturdays. Lunch was a sandwich and milk and, perhaps fruit. Dinner usually included meat or a pasta entree, vegetable, milk, a fruit or vegetable salad, We went to a fast food restaurant occasionally, especially on a day when the Camp Fire Group met and left the house in a mess. We did eat breakfast and dinner together as a family most of the time. Phil did have to do some traveling and so he wasn't there for those dinners but the majority of the time it was a family dinner at home. I liked to try various recipes and the ones the family liked became favorites. After our children were grown we did decide to become vegetarians because we wanted to lose weight. We each lost 20 or more pounds and only quit the vegetarian diet because we were moving into a retirement home and couldn't maintain the vegetarian diet from their menu.

Did you have a garden and what was grown?

When we first moved to the house on Cottonwood, we had a swing set and play area for the children. When they outgrew that we planted a garden in that area. We planted a variety of vegetables, depending on what did well. We planted lots of green beans. The family liked them and they did well. I canned green beans because we grew more than we could use. We finally quit planting them because it hurt our legs and backs to pick them. We always planted tomatoes. You can't buy at the store a tomato that is as good as home grown Nebraska tomatoes. We planted burpless cucumbers, zucchini, and garlic. At various times we tried brocolli (too subject to worms), carrots, parsley, and corn.
We planted a white corn that was delicious but the squirrels ate it right before it was quite ready to harvest, so we gave that up. The rabbits were also very hard on the garden. We liked sweet peppers but the rabbits would eat the blossoms off the pepper plants and then, without blossoms, there would be no peppers ! The retirement home where we live has some garden plots that residents can sign up to use but getting up and down to work on the garden is so hard for me that I was ready to give up gardening. Phil also decided that he had enough gardening.

Tell us about the pets that lived with you.

I had the children with me when we passed a pet shop and they had kittens in the window. They immediately wanted a kitten. They added up the amount of allowance each had left and figured that if they pooled their money, they could buy a kitten. Unfortunately, the kittens were sick and when I took it to a veteranarian, he recommended having it put to sleep. He gave me the name of some people who had some kittens and we went there and they gave us the one kitten they had left. The kids named him "Lucky", Lucky loved to hunt at night out in the field behind our house. He often left shrews on the door mat in front of our front door--a gift from the cat. He also brought a baby rabbit into the house one night and dropped it in the front hall. Phil thought it was dead so he got a dust pan and brush and started to sweep it up. The bunny recovered in a hurry and was set free in the back yard by Phil. My mother decided that she wanted a cat and the children and I took her around to see the cats that were offered in the newspaper. She found one that might have been a purebred but the mother cat had gotten out so they were giving it away. She was a beautiful cat and great company for my mother. After several years it was necessary for Mother to go into a nursing home so I took the cat. My mother had never let her out of the house because she had a cat that was run over by a car and she didn't want that to happen again. I had her declawed because she scratched the furniture so badly. She had never been outside and she was a great house pet. Our children suggested that she name her Cutie Pie and that is the name she chose. She lived to be 18 years old.

Did you ever have the house to yourself? Did you enjoy it or did it feel lonely or empty?

I loved the house on Cottonwood Drive. It never felt lonely or empty. It felt like home.

What was it like the day you moved in? What was it like the day you moved out?

The day we moved into the Cottonwood house was a cold day in January, 1963. We were excited to have the room that this house had. Phil and I moved out June 4, 2003. We were excited about this move, too. It was a new phase of our lives and we were looking forward to the enjoyment of this phase.


What is your favorite candy bar? Where do you usually buy it? Grocery? Drug store? Gas station? Airport?

I seldom eat a candy bar. To hand out for Halloween I bought Snickers or Milky Ways. I like candy but would never think of buying a candy bar to eat!

What is your favorite birthday cake? Do you buy it in a store or does some you love bake it? What ice cream do you like? Do you get it at an ice cream parlor or in the freezer section of a store?

My favorite birthday cake was angel food. My mother used to make them for me. I also like white cake with white frosting like wedding cake. When our children were growing up Grandma (my mother) used to invite the family over for the children's birthday dinner. When my mother was 82 she was out calling on senior citizens and fell on a step which she didn't see. I called an ambulance to take her to the hospital and then drove my car to the hospital so that I would have a way to get home. The Sunday after Mother's accident was my daughter, Barb's birthday. When I saw Mother in the hospital she told me she had a birthday cake in the freezer for Barb's birthday and since she would not be able to cook the birthday dinner for Barb, she wanted me to be sure to get the cake -- Barb's favorite, chocolate.
During my children's younger days I baked and decorated the cakes for their birthdays but as they got older and I got busier I ordered them from the grocery store bakery.

What's your favorite dessert? Can you prepare it yourself?

My favorite dessert is pecan pie. Grasshopped pie (Creme de menthe) would be a close second. Although I have recipes for both pies, I no longer make them because we can't afford to eat those calories. The Landing does serve them sometimes and I usually break my resolution restricting all desserts and eat my favorite on those days.

What is your favorite cartoon character or comic strip? Which comics do you remember reading when you were growing up?

I remember reading The Katzenjamer Kids, Little Orphan Annie, Steve Canyon, Mary Worth, Tarzan, Blondie and Dagwood plus other cartoon strips when I was growing up.

What is your favorite perfume or cologne? What fragrance gives you the nicest childhood memories and which one gives you the best adult memories?

I don't wear cologne or perfume. At one time I wore it every day but I had sinus allergies and had to have surgery to remove polyps and I noticed that every time I put perfume on, I would sneeze. Something had caused those polyps and I decided I wouldn't risk having more by wearing some scent. I haven't worn perfume since and find that other people wearing a strong scent bothers me.

Name your favorite books.

Reading is one of my favorite activities but my favorite books vary from time to time. I usually like historical novels. I like novels set in World War II. I like books written by Willa Cather, by Mari Sandoz, and by Bess Streeter Aldrich. I enjoy nonfiction as well as fiction.

What is your favorite rock group?

I dislike rock music with a passion. My favorite rock group would be no rock music at all!

Do you have a favorite bar? Have you ever had one too many?

I seldom patronize bars. I do enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner or an occasional margarita or creme deminth. I find consumption of alcoholic beverages is less and less as we grow older. We have a bridge club which used to serve liquor but now serves mostly a little wine. I find that wine is not good for one's bridge playing so I prefer to abstain when playing bridge. At my age it's hard enough to remember what cards have been played without making the problem greater with alcohol.

What foods do you look forward to eating in the summer? Autumn?

I enjoy eating watermelon in the summer. When I was growing up we were able to get seasonal foods only in season. I often marvel at the wonderful array of foods that are available in our grocery stores all year around. Since we raised most of the food we ate, we had little or no out of season foods. We didn't have a freezer when I was growing up so we ate the vegetables that my mother had canned.

What is your favorite sports team? Did you ever have a sports figure that was particularly important to you? Do you attend games or watch on T.V.?

I'm not much of a sports fan. I didn't even go to the football games when I was in college. I think there is entirely too much emphasis on sports in college. Lately I have been watching some of the University of Nebraska's games when they are shown on TV. The residents of the retirement home are such fans that it is contagious and some of the games lately have been so exciting that I have enjoyed them.

Do you have a favorite Broadway show or musical? Who is your favorite author or literary figure? Who are your favorite movie stars? Who are your favorite TV stars?

I enjoy most Broadway shows. The music is melodic and can leave one humming the tunes. I like shows written by the Broadway greats like Hart, Hammerstein, Cohan, Meredith Wilson, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Lerner & Lowe. I do not like Rock and Roll, Rap, nor songs that are more like yelling than singing. Our daughter does musical directing of musicals in Chicago and we enjoy seeing her shows from time to time.
When I was high school and college age movies were based on the star system and I liked Spencer Tracy, Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple and various other stars. However, I'm not a big movie fan and I don't even know the names of most of the actors on TV today.

Different times of life are satisfying for different reasons. Which has been the most satisfying for you? (i.e., Three kids and station wagon stage, when you became the boss, when you were pursuing your education? The least satisfying?)

Amazingly enough I have found all phases of life satisfying! I've thought a lot about this question and I can't pick out a favorite. I can remember going to bed at night and lying there thinking how great life was. And I still do that, even with the physical problems I have. Life is still good. We like living at The Landing and especially like the people who live there. I think Phil is enjoying life, too. There may come a time when the physical is so daunting that I will not feel that way but we haven't reached that place yet.
I think the least satisfying time was when my children were infants. I enjoy children more when they begin to learn. I enjoy teaching them, reading to them, seeing them develop as individuals so I think, loveable as the children were, their infancy was my least favorite time.

Who are your best friends? Why are they your best friends? How long have you know each of them?

I find it very hard to answer this question lest I accidently leave someone out. I have always been the kind of person who has a few good friends. I think one has to spend time in order to keep a friendship going and therefore I think you only have time for a few good friends because you have to have time to maintain that friendship. In our mobile society we are often forced to move or the friend moves and it is hard to maintain the friendship when we can no longer see the individual. I am very grateful for the friends I have had over the years who have enriched my life with their friendship.

What is your favorite holiday? Where do you celebrate it? Where did you celebrate it when growing up

My favorite holiday is Christmas. We celebrate it at home usually with the Kelter family present. Our oldest grandchild will graduate from high school this spring and I know I can't expect them to be here for every Christmas. But their presence has made Christmas for us and we do appreciate their coming. Even at ages 18 and 15 they make me feel that they want to be here and we are so glad to see them come. When I was growing up I celebrated Christmas at home with my parents. The first year that we were married we flew home for Christmas. The second year we were married we felt that we couldn't afford the air fare to go home. My brother-in-law, George Hodges and my sister Dorothy were living in Baltimore and we took a bus from Philadelphia to Baltimore to celebrate Christmas with them. That was the first time I had not been at home with my parents for Christmas.

What is your favorite flower? Favorite color?

My favorite flower is the daffodil. I wish the blossoms had a longer life span! My favorite color is blue.

What is your favorite time of day? Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I am a morning person. I do not stay up late at night.

What sense would you regret losing the most?

I would regret losing my sight most of all because I love to read. There are so many things available to help the blind person and I think that would help. Losing my sight is a real possibility because I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration.

What were some of the best days of your life?

Some of the best days of my life were when we were raising our children. We had activities that we did with the children. We had friends we enjoyed. We were involved in teaching an adult Sunday School class which gave us mental stimulation. We were busy and life was good.

My college days were also some of the best days.


What do you prefer for breakfast on a weekend as opposed to during the week?

During the week I prefer cold cereal for breakfast but on week-ends or other special days I prefer scrambled eggs and hash brown potatoes. I never eat doughnuts or pancakes or waffles. I seldom eat pastries or cinnamon rolls. I cannot afford the calories of such a sweet breakfast.

What are your favorite restaurants?

My favorite restaurant is The Melting Pot in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is a fondue restaurant and we used to go there when our daughter, Barb, son-in-law, Paul, and grandsons Seth & Aaron Kelter lived in Greensboro. We enjoyed the food there plus it was a great place for a visit because the time that it took to cook the food in the fondue pot made it ideal for having a great visit while the food cooked.

What recipe are you famous for? Did anyone ever insult you regarding your cooking skills? What dish you usually bring to a pot luck or picnic?

Now I suppose I'm best known for my Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal cookies. They are favorites of my family. I'm also famous for Grandma's Meat Loaf and at Christmas time for my peanut brittle.

When were you first introduced to coffee? How do you take your coffee? Do you have a favorite mug?

I was first introduced to coffee as a toddler. A piece of bread or toast was dunked into my parent's coffee and I was allowed to eat it. My parents told a story about my sister Marjorie's enjoying coffee. She would hand them a slice of bread and say, "butter on, cockie in". When I was in high school I was allowed to have coffee if I drank my milk first. We were all introduced to coffee at a young age. While in college I drank about 10 cups of coffee a day. I used to say that if anyone said coffee kept them awake, it was all in their head. Alas, when I got a few years older, I had to eat those words. However, today I seldom drink coffee. I just don't like the taste of it any more.

Do you follow any nutritional "rules" such as strictly vegetarian, kosher, organic, etc.?

We followed a vegetarian diet for several years. We started this because we wanted to lose weight. It was successful, too. We both lost 10 to 15 pounds. However, now that we live in a retirement home where the food is provided, we cannot adhere to that diet and unfortunately we have both regained our previous weight loss.

What personal staples are always and always in your kitchen or refrigerator?

A couple of varieties of cold health food cereal, some soy milk, and usually some kind of fruit are always on hand in my kitchen.

What's the best snack? What's the best dinner? What do you usually have for lunch?

My favorite food for lunch is pears from Harry & David's. We have been buying these for gifts for family and friends since the 1950s. These pears are raised in Medford, Oregon and are the most delicious fruit I can think of. My favorite entre' is salmon. Lunch is usually a cup of health soup or a half a sandwich (sliced turkey or ham, perhaps with cheese.)

Do you have a favorite cookbook? What cookbook do you remember your family using?

My favorite cook book is the original edition of Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker. This was given to me as a wedding gift and I learned to cook from it. I still have it and occasionally refer to it. It is well worn because it has been used so much. I had it rebound a few years ago because the cover was torn loose and I didn't want to lose it. When we got ready to move into a retirement home I could not take all my cook books along but Joy of Cooking was one that I kept. I probably had 20 or 30 cook books. When I cleaned out my mother's house after she died, she had 2 cook books!

Are you allergic to any food? Anything you cannot stand and will not eat?

I cannot stand and will not eat oatmeal. I can remember my parents feeding me oatmeal to get me to eat it when I was far too old to be fed. My Dad loved oatmeal and it was probably the cheapest cereal on the market so my mother served it often. My husband, Phil, also likes it and so does our daughter, Peg. My sister, Dorothy, feels very much like I do about oatmeal. We laughed when talking about our childhood feelings about oatmeal because they were so similar. We neither one had discussed oatmeal with our sister, Marjorie, so we don't know whether she felt the same. Dorothy remembers Mother telling her that if she didn't eat her oatmeal she couldn't go to school. Dorothy wanted to go to school so she ate the oatmeal even if it gagged her with every mouthful!

What is your weakness? Sweets?

I love peppermint and chocolate. Any other candy I can pass up easily.

What do you consider the best pizza? What's your favorite Chinese dish? What other ethnic foods do you like?

I wouldn't be unhappy if I never had another slice of pizza or a helping of Chinese food. I don't think they are very healthy and to me, they are not worth the calories they contain.

What's the most delicious meal you've ever had?

Probably the most delicious meals I've ever had were at the Renaissance Room at the Cornhusker. Unfortunately, this restaurant closed a few years ago. It was the finest dining in Lincoln. It was expensive so we only went there on special days like our anniversary or my birthday.

Moments From Your Adult Life

Did you and your mate often go dancing? Where? What music did you dance to? Did you and your mate have "our song"? Which dances were popular?

Phil and I went dancing occasionally--but only to special dances. We didn't dance enough to be good at it.
We danced to the popular music of the era--Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Kay Keiser, etc. "Our song" was Stardust. The big band sound was popular.

What kind of movies do you find yourself drawn to....adventure, epic, violent, comedy? Do you go to movies now as much as you used to? Why or why not?

Going to the movies was our favorite date. I liked musicals, romances, and comedies. Phil liked adventure but we went to whatever was showing. We rarely go to movies now. We can play tapes or DVDs but we seldom do because we can't find anything that we want to see. We have certain TV programs that we like and watch when we are in our apartment but we don't tape them if we decide to go to a program or somewhere else.

What books do you like to read? Novels, biographies, romance, science fiction? Do you have a specific part of the house for books? What is the last book you read? Why did you choose that one? Where were you sitting when you read it?

I like historical novels, biographies, memoirs. I just like to read. I don't like science fiction or murder mysteries as well as other novels. We had large built-in book cases for books in our living room and other book cases in two of the bedrooms but when we had to downsize to move into a retirement home we had to get rid of most of those books. We have an entertainment center which holds our TV, CD and tape player and some books but we are reading more from the library instead of buying so many books because we just don't have room for many books. I am
currently reading "The Forest" by Edward Rutherford. I chose it from The Landing library on the recommendation of a friend. I was sitting in my favorite chair, a platform rocker, when reading most of it.

Are you friendly with your neighbors? Do you sit down for an evening together on the porch or patio or are you merely cordial with them, nodding acquaintances? Have you ever had a neighbor whom you've loved and lost? Were you close to a family that later moved away?

Having a neighbor whom we loved and lost is the story of our lives. I guess it shows how mobile our society is. We had many friends with children the same ages as our when we lived on Holly Road. Parents and children were both friendly. Our children would make friends at school and I would encourage these friendships, only to have them move away and leave a void in the child's life.

Are you a member of any club or social group? Have you ever spent time doing charitable work? If so, why was the charity important to you?

I have been a long time member of Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity for Women. I was president of Kappa chapter while I was in college and served the Lincoln Alumnae Chapter as president four years. I worked for Camp Fire Girls, having been group leader for both my girl's groups. I was also Lincoln District III director and District III candy sale chairman. I thought the Camp Fire program helped girls form relationships and I liked the smaller group experience (as opposed to the large troups in the Girl Scout program) because I thought it helped girls learn to make friends. I also did many church activities, including 10 years of co-teaching an adult Sunday School class with my husband as co-teacher. Taking part in these groups not only filled a need in the community but also gave me an intellectual challenge in a child centered world.

Is there anything you need that you don't have?

At the present time there is really nothing that I need that I don't have. We live in a lovely retirement home. It is beautiful. The other tenants are interesting and friendly and concerned about others. My husband is here living with me and helping me when I need it. We have a wonderful exercise facility including an indoor pool. We are served two meals a day and all the cooking I need to do is fix a sandwich or some soup for our lunch. My children keep in touch and come to visit as often as possible (once a year or oftener). I am having regularly recurring pain in my upper legs and have trouble walking. I am often in extreme pain especially when I first get up and try to walk.
Since I have Parkinson's Disease and it affects people in a variety of ways I don't always know whether there is something that might help me. I am grateful that I do not have the trembling that is so common in Parkinson's patients. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful life. My husband has been so great and I'm determined to make life as pleasant as possible for both of us.

Do you take a little respite for yourself everyday? For example, a drink before dinner, a walk before dark, or a quiet moment in a spot where you're all alone to collect your thoughts?

I often take a short nap or rest in the afternoon. I do tire more easily than I once did. My husband and I often have a glass of wine before dinner while we watch the day's news and Jeopardy.

How do / did you exercise?

My husband and I were avid walkers. We walked 1 1/2 to 2 miles each day, five days a week for more than 20 years. That is the most serious handicap that Parkinson's disease has given me. I cannot walk more than short distances. I use the motorized cart at the grocery store. I cannot go shopping without using a wheel chair. I do the Stretch class that is offered each morning here at the Landing. There are other classes offered but I have not been able to keep up a regular schedule of any of the other classes.

What do / did you do for fun?

We enjoy getting together with friends and family. This is often for dinner where we have a chance to visit and relate to others. We are still able to do that at the Landing and we enjoy the new friends we have made since we have lived here. We enjoy it when our children and grandchildren are able to come and visit us because long trips are impossible for us now and we love having an opportunity to catch up with their lives.

Politics and History

Who was the best president of any country ever? Who was the worst president? Which president of the United States did you admire most? Did you ever meet a famous politician? What happened?

I think Abraham Lincoln was probably the best president. He was in office at a very difficult time and I'm sure my feelings about him are colored by the fact that he was assisinated while in office. Slavery was a terrible thing to do to any human being and I think it is amazing that we as a country were able to get rid of it and still hold the country together as a nation.

Do you have a strong political party alliance? Have you ever worked on a campaign? Have you ever worked at a polling place?

I do not have a strong political party alliance. Although I am a registered Republican, I no longer feel that the Republican party represents me. I have left my registration as Republican because if I register as an Independent I will not be able to vote in the primaries. I feel that many politicians place the party above the good of the country. I would like to see less emphasis on what is good for the party and more emphasis on statesmanship and what is good for the country.

I walked door to door to campaign for Charlie Thoene the first time he ran for Congress. I have written my senator numerous times on issues that I felt were important.

Which domestic problems are most important in your town today? In your country? In the world?

I think peace is the most important issue in the world today. There is so much turmoil in the Middle East and it is escalating into the rest of the world. I think that war is not the answer to anything but I'm not sure that there is any leadership that is wise enough and strong enough to solve this problem.

Have you ever gone against popular opinion or beliefs and, if so, has this caused any problems?

I have gone against popular opinion and beliefs as far as religion is concerned. I have kept my beliefs to myself but I am going to try to explain them in this document because I want to tell them to my children and I think this is a good opportunity to do that.

Have you seen racial injustice first hand? Have you ever been the target of prejudice?

One cannot live in this country without seeing racial injustice. I have not been a target of prejudice because I am not black. However, having lived most of my life in Nebraska, there has been little opportunity to relate to blacks. Many of the small towns have never had a black family living there. The town I lived in had one black man and his son living there. After a few years, they moved away. There were no incidents of prejudice that I know of but I suspect there may have been incidents that I don't know about. Lincoln, the town that I have spent over 50 years of my life in, has attracted many more ethnic groups in the last 15 to 20 years. English as a second language is taught regularly in the schools. There are many more nationalities than previously lived here. A large increase in people from Mexico, Afghanistan, Japan, China, Africa and countries in the Middle East have settled here.

How do you feel about the United Nations?

I think we need an organization to help the various nations of the world to live together peacefully. Sometimes we are disturbed by the actions of the United Nations and tend to want to give up on it because it is not perfect. But it is better than nothing and I think we have to keep working to make it better.

Do you think the welfare system is run correctly?

It sometimes seems that the welfare system is favoring those people who are lazy and will not help themselves. Honest, hard working citizens sometimes feel that their efforts to support themselves are not rewarded. It is very hard to have a system that is fair to everyone. When we read about welfare scams it sometimes seems unfair. But some kind of help is needed and we can hope that our representatives will do a fair job of administration.

Your Community

Some people prefer to describe the community in which they lived most of their years rather than where they are living now. What is the name of the community you would like to describe in the following series of questions? In what city, state and country is it located? What are the dates you lived there?

I was born and graduated from high school in Ashland, Nebraska. However, I have lived more than 50 years in Lincoln, Nebraska, the capital of the state. I have lived in Lincoln from June, 1945 to the present date, February, 2006.

What were the big businesses? Did you know any of the community leaders? Did you become one?

There were numerous insurance companies headquartered in Lincoln. Dorsey labs were important to the business community and it was bought by other pharmaceutical houses and operated under several different names. The University of Nebraska is important to the city. Kawasaki, manufacturer of motorcycles is an important manufacturer in the city.

Were there major highways going through your town? What and how far is the next largest city? What is the nearest airport? How do people get to the airport in your town? Cab? Shuttle? Good friends?

The major highway going through Lincoln is Interstate 80. Highway 2 and Highway 77 are state highways of significance. The nearest airport is the Lincoln Airport. There are some cabs in Lincoln, however, cabs are seldom in great supply at the airport. There have been shuttles from time to time but they don't seem to be able to make a profitable business of it. Your best bet on transportation to and from the air port is to drive yourself and leave your car in the parking garage or parking lot or to rely on friends.

Which public buildings do you use? The library? The municipal swimming pool? Town tennis courts? What is your local newspaper? Has you name ever been mentioned in one? Has your picture ever appeared?

Lincoln has a wonderful library system and we use it often. It also has swimming pools and tennis courts but we do not use them. We used the swimming pools when our children were small. We have a wonderful parks and recreation department which provides recreational programs for the city. Our local newspaper is The Lincoln Journal Star. My name and picture was in the paper concerning this life story on which I am working.

Which buildings come to mind when you think of your downtown? How would you describe your skyline?

Lincoln's skyline is characterized by the state capital building which is unique and beautiful in its architecture.

Was there ever a crime spree in your town that you remember particularly well? Was the criminal caught? How did the community react? Is there much homelessness in your town? Is your community safe to walk through in the evening?

A young man by the name of Charlie Starkweather went on a shooting spree with his girlfriend, Caril Fugate. He killed about 5 people and was finally caught by a highway patrolman in Wyoming. He was put to death in the electric chair. She served a sentence and was allowed to move to another state and start a new life with a new name. The community reacted with great panic. I remember that a neighbor of ours brought us a gun to use in case Starkweather came to our house. I was not happy about having a gun in the house so we put it high on a closet shelf and returned it when Starkweather was caught.

When I first moved to Lincoln there was very little homelessness but now there is quite a lot. The Lincoln City Mission houses many homeless people. When I first moved to Lincoln the homeless housed in the city mission were all men but now women and children are housed there, too. Probably Lincoln is just as safe and maybe more safe than many other cities but we read in the newspapers about crimes committed, many of which are motivated by drugs and I would not feel safe walking around Lincoln at night.

Is there a most popular park in your town? Do/did you go there?

Lincoln has beautiful parks and an excellent parks and recreation department that provides excellent recreational programs for children. The major parks are Antelope, Pioneers, and Holmes. There are public swimming pools, golf courses, and a children's zoo. We used all these when our children were growing up.

What's the best school system in your community? What are the most popular sports? Does your town have a famous statue or sculpture? When out-of-towners think of your town - what is the attraction?

The Lincoln Public Schools provides an excellent education for Lincoln children. When I moved here the Lincoln Public Schools and the Catholic Parochial schools were the only schools in town. Now there are also Lutheran schools, Christian Schools, and a Seventh Day Adventist school. The University of Nebraska is located in Lincoln and Wesleyan College, Union College, the Southeast Community College, Hamilton Business College, and branches of Doane College, and the College of St. Mary's offer classes, too.

Is your family buried in your town? What are the names and dates of tombstones that can be found?

My Mother and Father, Aunt Ina and Uncle Elmer, Aunt Nettie, and cousin Hazel Scott are all buried in Wyuka Cemetery.

Your House Now

Some people prefer to describe the home in which they lived most of their years rather than the home in which they are living now. What is the address of the home you would like to describe in the following series of questions? What are the dates you lived there?

We lived in the house at 1200 Cottonwood Drive for more than 40 years. We moved from a small 2 bedroom brick house on 4122 Holly Road to the house on Cottonwood Drive in January of 1964. We sold the Cottonwood Drive house and moved into The Landing, a retirement home on June 4,2004.

Why do you like your home? What do you dislike about your home? Do you have an attic? If so, what is in it?

Our home was a great place to raise children. We had three children and the house had four bedrooms. It could be described as Early American. We had the four bedrooms upstairs and 2 bathrooms. On the main floor we had a kitchen with eating space, living room with fireplace and half bath. We spent lots of time in the living room because we didn't have a family room. Eventually we divided off the basement into a recreation room, laundry, storage, and eventually computer room.

What is the most comfortable room in your home? What is your favorite chair? Favorite place to read? Where do you usually sit to talk on the phone? Where do you usually do your computer work?

We really lived in our living room. One wall was filled with built-in book shelves and cabinets. The TV fit in those shelves and a CD and tape player. At the time that we were raising our children there were many TV programs that were situation comedies and suitable programming for children and we watched many of these as a family. The living room was also a cozy place to read especially with the fireplace going on a cold night.

My favorite place to talk on the phone was the kitchen. The children also did most of their home work on the kitchen table.

We did not have a computer until the children were grown. They helped us get started on the computer and we often comunicated with them by e-mail. Eventually, we had two computers and one printer. I like to work with graphics and made many computer generated greeting cards.

Do you have the same furniture as when you were raising your children? Do you have the kitchen you want? How would you change it? Enough room for books? How would you change your current home if you decided not to move? What addition would you make to your house now if you could?

We now live in an apartment in a retirement home. Some of our furniture is from the home that we raised our family in. Our bedroom furniture was from our home and a coffee table, dining table and chairs, and buffet were also from our home. We lost all that shelf space when we moved to the retirement home so we bought an entertainment center that houses our TV, CD, and tape player, CDs, and books. We had to get rid of most of our books because we didn't have room for them but the retirement home has a library which, along with the wonderful Lincoln City Libraries helps fill the need for books.

What type of trees grow on your property? Describe what your garden looks like each year and what is in it.

When we moved into the house on Cottonwood Drive, it was a new area. The developer planted a different tree on each street. We lived on a corner lot so we got two trees, one for each street. One tree was a locust. It soon grew big enough to start shedding seed pods which were a big bother to clean up and so we had that tree cut down. The other tree on our lot was a Linden. We really liked trees so we planted a pin oak, a red oak, 2 maples, a red bud tree, and 4 flowering crab apples. We discovered as the trees grew that we had too much shade because we were limited in what other flowers and vegetables we could grow because they needed more sun. We cut down the flowering crabs so the garden would do better. We also cut down one of the maple trees because it was split by a storm. We converted the area where we had a swingset and slide for our children into a garden when the children grew older and no longer used the swings. We tried a variety of vegetables in our garden but our favorites were tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, and garlic. We loved to plant sweet corn but had to give it up because some animals (squirrels? raccoons? deer?) would eat all the corn just before it was ready to pick. We also had a continuing battle with rabbits and had to fence in certain vegetables so the rabbits wouldn't eat them off. The rabbits loved the sweet peppers and would eat the blossoms off and then no peppers would form. We also had beds of flowers and a small rose garden. Our garden was small but we got a great deal of pleasure from it.

What do you see from your kitchen window?

I had a bird feeder outside my kitchen window and my husband and children got me a bird bath for Mother's Day one year. This gave me great pleasure to work at the sink and watch the birds that came.

Tell us about your dream home. Where is it located? What does it look like? What is special about it?

I think the house on Cottonwood Drive comes as close to my dream home as anything I can think of. I can remember lying on the bed and thinking how great it was to be there.
Interestingly enough when I was in college I wanted a modern style house, all on one floor but when it came time to buy we couldn't get the space we wanted for the price we could afford in a house all on one floor. When I think about home, my thoughts are of the house on Cottonwood Drive. It was a great family home. The family who bought it told us how much they liked it. They have 3 children. I hope they enjoy raising their children in that house as much as we did.

Everyday Life

Is there someone you talk with everyday?

Before my mother died I talked to her on the telephone every day. I did this partly for safety, to make sure she was all right, and partly so she wouldn't be lonely. One night I tried to call her several times on the telephone but got no answer. So I called the minister of her church, Grace United Methodist, and asked if there was anything going on at church that she might be attending. He said there was not. It was with trepidation that Phil and I got ready to go over to see her. In the meantime her pastor drove over to her house to see if she was all right. She was sitting in her favorite chair, reading the newspaper. There was something wrong with her telephone and it wouldn't ring and that's why she didn't answer it. She thought that lots of people were watching out for her that night!

I think it is important to keep in touch with the family. When we lived in Philadelphia I wrote a letter to my mother every week. Before we got a computer I wrote a letter to our children every week. After we got the computer I e-mailed our children often.

Now I talk to Barb and Dave every week and Peg and I exchange e-mail almost every day.

After my sister, Dorothy's, husband died I started calling her every week. I was trying to help her with her grief. At first we both ended up crying every week but gradually we began to visit and reminisce. I still call her every week and we both thoroughly enjoy the visit. It's almost as good as seeing each other in person.

Talk about getting older. Do you ever feel slowed by age? When did you start feeling this?

I noticed that age was taking its toll on me after I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease three years ago in 2003. Phil and I had walked about 2 1/2 to 3 miles per day for exercise for more than 20 years. This gave us exercise and also kept our weight under control. It is impossible for me to do that much exercise now. In fact, I cannot do any shopping because I cannot walk enough to look at the merchandise. When we go to the grocery store, I use one of their electric carts. My legs hurt so much that I cannot walk the distance of a city block.


Are you usually late or early?

I am usually early. It is part of my feeling of the importance of dependability. If I tell someone I will do something, you may be sure that I will do it. It is a part of who I am.

Are you more comfortable speaking or writing? Do you enjoy talking on the phone more than writing letters?

I enjoy speaking and writing. However, I think I write better now than I speak. Age has taken some of the facility that I had in speaking. I often can think of a word that I want to use or a topic that I want to tell someone about and I cannot bring forth the word. I may even be able to tell a definition of the word but can't come forth with the word that I want to use. I enjoy talking on the phone to my family but I sometimes spend more time writing e-mail messages because that fits into some of the family's life style better. They can find time to write a few lines on the computer whereas they would not have time to write a whole letter.

Do you have certain days of the week you do certain chores?

I do have certain days when I do certain chores, although that is less so than when I had a family at home to take care of. In those days I had a day that I made out my grocery list, a day that I went to the grocery store, a day that I washed sheets and towels, a day that I washed dark colored clothes, and a day that I washed light colored clothes. Everything was organized. Now I still change and wash the sheets and towels on Mondays but everything else is done when I think it's ready!

Do you have a habit you'd like to break?

The main habit that I would like to break is that of gaining weight. I have tried several diets and I lost weight on all of them but I couldn't keep it off. The most successful diet I was on was simply being a vegetarian. Both Phil and I lost weight on that and we didn't gain it back until we moved into The Landing where we could not maintain a vegetarian diet. I am now trying to lose some of the weight I've put on since living in The Landing. I've lost three pounds in two weeks just by skipping dessert, ordering half portions, and avoiding starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, and pasta.

Have you ever smoked cigarettes?

I have never smoked cigarettes.

Are you a list maker?

I am definitely a list maker and I don't consider that a bad thing. It is part of being organized, being dependable.

Do you do crossword puzzles most every day?

I started doing crossword puzzles when we were first married and lived in Philadelphia. We took the Philadelphia Bulletin and doing the crossword puzzle was my daily recreation. My favorite crossword puzzle now is in the New York magazine. I find that I do not work them every day. I seem to be so busy that I do not have time to do them. I like doing them with my grandson, Aaron. He has a good vocabulary and we have fun when he comes to vist doing the crossword puzzles together.


Describe what you look like now. Have you been happy with the way you look? What did you look like as a teenager? As a young child? If you had to name a famous person whom you looked like, who would it be? Who would you most like to look like?

I look like a 70 something woman. I have white hair with grey through it which I wear cut short and curled. As a child I was told I looked like Shirley Temple. As a teenager I was attractive. I observed from living in this world that attractive people have more opportunities. It hardly seems fair to give people opportunities because of their looks but I've observed that happening. I feel that all of my children are attractive and that is a blessing that they were given.

Has your appearance played an important part in your getting along in the world? Do you think it's been detrimental or beneficial?

I think my appearance has played an important part in my getting along in the world. Except for grooming, a person can't do much about their appearance. My appearance has been beneficial to me. However, now I feel that age is taking its toll and that I am not as attractive as I once was.

What would you change about your appearance? Do you wish you were taller or shorter?

The most important thing I would change about my appearance is my weight. Living in a place where the food is delicious, is all prepared for you, where you don't have to clean up after the meal is a real blessing but I have gained about 20 pounds and it is very difficult to take it off. Losing that would certainly improve my appearance.

Is there something you remember particularly well that you wore in high school or college?

Women did not wear slacks much when I was in high school and college. They NEVER wore jeans. I wore mostly skirts and sweaters during high school and college. I tried to talk my mother into wearing slacks but she would not. I thought slacks would be more comfortable for her but she always wore dresses.


Where were you when your child told you that you were going to be a grandparent? What were your first words?

I don't remember where I was when Barb told me we were going to be grandparents but I know we welcomed all the grandchildren and loved it when we had opportunities to get acquainted with the grandchildren and relate to them. Seth Kelter was our first grandchild. He was born November 27, 1987. He was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and we made many trips to Wisconsin to see him. We all spent Christmas in Wisconsin in 1987, Peg, and Dave went, too, and we played "pass the baby"!

Who called you from the hospital to tell you your first grandchild was born? What time was it? Who was the first person you called?

Paul Kelter called us and told us their baby was born. We got ready and went to Wisconsin immediately and were there to see the baby in the hospital and then go home with the Kelters as they got acquainted with their new son.

What did you think the first time you held your grandchild?

It was great to have this new member of the family. We looked forward to seeing him grow up and becomehis own individual.

Were you able to go over to the house much and help out with the new baby? Did you cook dinner for the new family for awhile or bathe the baby? Did you stay over or come and go in the mornings and evenings? When did your grandchild first say your name? Were you at your house or at the child's house? What do you grandchildren call you?

We stayed a week to help Barb with the new baby. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel and went over to help Barb every day. That worked well for us because Barb and Paul could have some time alone and we could also get a good night's sleep which we needed. When Barb and Paul moved to Lincoln we saw Seth and Aaron often. We enjoyed their seeing us enough so that they were comfortable with us and enjoyed coming to our house. Seth and Aaron call me Grandma Faye.
Michael, Clare, Kat, and Tess call us Grandma and Grandpa James.

Did you ever make anything by hand for your grandchild? A needlepoint pillow? A wooden toy? A quilt?

I knit a Christmas sweater vest for Seth.

Did you buy things for the baby often? Did you baby-sit often? What toys do/did you keep for the grandchild in your own home? Do you enjoy taking your grandchildren out for dinner? Were they monsters or angels?

We bought things for the grandchildren at Christmas and
birthdays. We would baby-sit with Seth and Aaron probably about once a week when they lived in Lincoln. This was wonderful because the boys were so comfortable with us because we saw them so often. Phil baby-sat with Aaron twice a month so that Barb could go to a P.E.O. meeting. Everyone enjoyed that--Aaron because he had time with Grandpa Phil, Phil because he played video games with Aaron, and Barb because she had an opportunity to go to P.E.O.! Barb and Paul were not eager for the kids to have video games in their home so we asked if they would mind if we got video games for the kids to play at our house. They thought that would be good so we bought them. It worked perfectly. The boys had a chance to play video games, they always wanted to come to Grandma Faye's and Grandpa Phil's so that they could play video games. It was a great solution. But when they moved from Lincoln, Barb and Paul had to buy the boys video games to make up for them having to move away.
We enjoyed baby sitting with Seth and Aaron and we enjoyed taking the whole family out for dinner. We were always proud of their behavior when we went out for dinner.

Have you ever taken your grandchild on a trip with you? Were you satisfied with the way this trip turned out? Do you bring souvenirs to your grandchildren when you travel without them?

The Kelter family went on a cruise to Alaska with us and it was wonderful. We had side by side state rooms and Barb and Paul took Seth in their state room and Phil and I took Aaron in ours. There were movies the boys could check out and watch at night and we all enjoyed the glaciers and shore excursions. Seth particularly enjoyed the fine dining and he was venturesome and even tried the caviar!

How would you discipline your grandchildren differently from the way their parents do? What do they do that drives you crazy? How will / would you have fixed that?

I think our children are very good parents. Because we are different people, raising children at a different time we do not always handle things in the same way. There are a few things that I would do differently, however, that is not to say that my way was better. Some things I think they handled better that we did. An example of things they did with their children that I admired was the way Dave handled the starting of a new private school in his town.
His two older children were invited to attend the new school and some of Michael's friends were going to it. Dave put down his foot and said "no" and he kept them in the public school that they started in. He said that it would be too big an adjustment when they went back to public schoool in Junior High. This was a great decision for a father to make.
I've always admired the way Barb and Paul kept their boys exercising. They exercised with them and certainly gave them the understanding that exercise was important.
I think both sets of parents can be very proud of their job of parenting.
I guess the only thing I would change is their handling of bed time. For the most part I think the grandchildren didn't get enough sleep. If that's the only thing I can think of to change, they've got to be super-parents, don't you think?

Do your grandchildren ever come to spend the night with you? How do you spend those evenings?

Seth and Aaron came to spend the night with us frequently shen they lived in Lincoln. I'm very thankful for those five years we had and the frequent visits it enabled us to enjoy. We usually planed games, either video games or other games. I also read to them and Aaron read to me almost every night before bedtime.

Travels and Leisure Time

To what cities in the United States have you traveled? Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Our favorite vacation spot as a family was Estes Park, Colorado. We liked the beauty of the mountains and enjoyed hiking. It was a short enough trip that we could travel it in one day, although it was a hard day's drive. We started going there when the children were small and we needed a trip that was not too long for them to tolerate. As the children grew up, the word Estes was synonimous with vacation. I prefer traveling to a city that has a good art museum. However, now walking is such a problem for me that I cannot enjoy art gallaries unless a wheel chair is available.


What are you driving now? How many years have you had this vehicle?

We are driving an Alero which is about four years old.

When did you get your first car? Did you buy it yourself or did your parents help you?

Phil and I bought a Chevrolet in 1952 when I got a teaching job in suburban Philadelphia and needed a car to get to work. I had gone to work with a fellow teacher the year before and had gone by public transportation the year before that. I had filled a job in the Upper Darby schools that was previously filled by a woman who was on maternity leave. No one expected her to return to her job but the baby came and she wanted her job back and so the school offered me a job teaching elementary school music in some other schools in the district. I needed a car to get to those schools and so we bought our first car.

If you paid for your first car yourself, how did you earn the money? Were you in love with the car?

Phil had a fellowship to work on his Ph.D. and he received a monthly stipend for that and I taught school. We bought the cheapest new car that we could buy. It didn't have any fancy additions but it got me to my job and back. We were happy to have a car because we needed it but we were not "in love" with it.

What was your absolute most favorite vehicle purchase?

When the children were growing up we had a station wagon several times. Our last station wagon was a nine passenger Chevrolet. I had Camp Fire Girls which I hauled around and the station wagon was useful and practical for that. The only car I can remember feeling was really mine was a little Honda with a stick shift. We bought that when Dave graduated from college and Phil was driving a company car and so I really felt like I owned a car myself. I don't really like driving a stick shift. Phil still drives a little Ford stick shift but he only drives it to the golf course to play golf.
We are now at the point where we realize that some day we will have to quit driving and that is a very difficult thing to contemplate.

What color was your first bike? When did you get it? Who taught you to ride a bike?

My only bike was black and silver. It was a boy's bike. I was the only one in the family who had a bike. My oldest sister, Marge, bought it for me for my birthday. She was working at the bank at Ashland and living at home and saving money. I'm sure she always wanted a bike and my parents felt they could not afford to get one. She got a boy's bike because that was what she would have liked. I don't think anybody taught me to ride. I was in Junior High when she got me the bike and I just learned on my own.

Who taught you to drive? Did you learn on a stick shift?

Phil and our neighbor, Peg Heiligman taught me to drive. I had to be able to drive the car to work when school started in the fall. I remember going down to the neighborhood A & P store to practice driving the car in the evening when there were no other cars there. Grocery stores didn't stay open at night in those days. I was scheduled to take my driver's test the next day and I got nervous about it and went to practice the night before I took the test. Our first car was an automatic shift but later I learned to shift and we had several cars over the years that were stick shifts.

What do you listen to when in your car? Radio, tapes, CDs....want quiet?

I listen to Public Radio when I drive. I also listen to tapes and CDs. I prefer Public Radio because they play classical music and I don't have to fiddle with anything to play it. If Phil is driving and I'm the passenger we often listen to tapes or CDs because I am free to change the music. If I am driving I do not want to be distracted by changing the music source.

Do you feel you're a good driver? Are you an aggressive or a defensive driver?

I think I am a good driver. I've never had an accident. I am a defensive driver. I taught all our children to drive.
However, as I get older I am more cautious and do not like to drive in heavy traffic.

Do you have problems driving in the winter? Have you ever been in an accident? What is the fastest you have ever driven?

I do not like to drive on snow and ice and as I grow older, I like it less and less. I never exceed the speed limit.

Do you eat while driving? Talk on the phone? What other tasks do you perform while driving?

I do not eat while driving. I don't talk on the phone. I don't drink coffee. I don't put on make-up or comb my hair. I feel all these things are dangerous. Driving a car takes one's complete attention.

Do you enjoy road trips? If so, tell about some good times!

Our children have lived in nearby states and we have made many trips to visit them. We have enjoyed these trips. We have gone to Chicago to visit our oldest daughter and have seen musical shows which she as musical directed. Our second daughter lived in Wisconsin when her children were young and we enjoyed visiting them there. We tried cutting our driving shorter on some of these trips and stopping early enough that we could play nine holes of golf before it got dark. This broke up the drive and made the trip more pleasant. We chose Estes Park as our favorite vacation spot when the children were small so that the drive wouldn't be too long for them.

Moods, Attitudes and Philosophies

Do you like rainy days? What do you do on them?

Living in Nebraska encourages one to like rainy days because we need the moisture for our major business, farming. I like to read or listen to music on rainy days and before Parkinson's Disease took its toll I liked to play the piano. Now my ability has declined so much that it's only frustrating because I cannot play the things that I used to play well.

As an old dog, have you learned new tricks?

Yes, as an old dog, I have learned new tricks. The formost of these is learning to use the computer. I wanted to learn to use graphics and make greeting cards and I have done that. I must have been in my 60s when I learned that.
I also took up golf when I was past 50 and I started violin lessons when I was about 50. Using the computer is the only skill that I started late in life that I still perform fairly well. The other skills suffered negatively after I developed Parkinson's Disease and I have given up trying to do them.

Would you say you're a doer or a procrastinator?

I most definitely am a doer, not a procrastinator. I am still working on my Remembering Site story and being a doer is what keeps me going!

Would you say you're blessed? How so?

I certainly feel that I'm blessed! I love life. I have enjoyed every age and am so grateful for the many opportunities I have had. Most of all, Phil and I enjoy being together and enjoy each other's company. We like the retirement home where we live and enjoy the other residents. I often feel how could I be so lucky!

What are you like when you're sick? Do you like being taken care of or left alone? Have you ever had a bad diagnosis?

I have been very fortunate to have mostly good health. Other than the usual childhood diseases I was rarely ill. I have never had a broken bone. I probably had 2 or 3 colds during a year. Until I received the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, I had always had excellent health. I knew nothing about Parkinson's disease when I was told that I had it. Since then I have read news letters from various Parkinson's disease foundations and news letters and have tried to educate myself by going to educational meetings given by the local hospitals. Reading about how Parkinson's disease affects other patients can be depressing but, fortunately, the disease is progressing slowly for me. I do have lots of pain in my legs and buttocks. If that pain was constant, it would be very hard for me to bear, but I can sit in a chair and be free of pain and I can lie down and be relatively free and so I can put up with the pain because I can relieve it by sitting or lying down and so it is bearable.

What's your pet peeve?

My pet peeve is people who look on the negative side of everything. One doesn't have to look far to find people who are much worse off than they are. I think happiness is a habit and I think it is one that we should cultivate, both for the benefit of ourselves and also for thebenefit of those around us.

Do you consider yourself hard working or lazy? Are you patient or impatient? Do you consider yourself a Type A or more kicked back personality? How has your personality and temperament changed through the years? Any special circumstances where you changed because something dawned on you?

I consider mayself hard working. If I have agreed to do a job, I will usually have it completed ahead of time. I do not like to have a job hanging over my head. I want to get it done so that the deadline is met.

Are you a jealous person?

No, I'm not a jealous person and I give my mother credit for that. I can remember growing up and when I went to the houses of my friends and they had toys that I did not have, I never felt envious because I asked myself if I would want to trade places with that person and have everything that person had and look like that person--in essence would I like to become that person? I never felt that I would want that. I never felt that I would want to trade places with anyone. I think my mother must have suggested this idea to me.

Do you have a tendency get the blues? Did anyone else in your family? Does there seem to be a dominant personality trait in your family? Worriers? Hypochondriacs? Constantly happy?

I usually view life in a positive way. I am happy most of the time, although I am serious, especially about serious subjects. But I enjoy a good joke, too.

Are you easy or difficult to get along with?

My piano teacher used to tell me that if a person couldn't get along with me, they couldn't get along with anybody.

Would you rather live near the mountains or lakes? Are you a city mouse or country mouse? Do you like to be alone?

I would much prefer to live near mountains than near lakes. I do not care for big cities. I enjoy the company of interesting people. I love a good discussion. I do like to be alone to read or listen to music but I also like seeing other people. I think that is why the retirement home works so well for me.

How private are you? Do you live with an open door policy or is your home your private sanctuary?

I like my privacy but I like the company of my husband and children any time.

Do your friends call before they stop by? Should they?

Yes, friends call before they stop by. This is a courteous thing to do but also practical if you are from out of town and the friend wants to make sure you'll be home.

Do you believe in God or another higher power? Do you pray? Where do you do your worshipping?

Yes, I believe in God but probably not in the same way that most others do. When I think about the universe and the fact that if the sun were just a little closer to the earth than it is we could not live on the earth because we would burn up, I have to believe in a higher power because I cannot believe that this could just happen by accident. Then I think about what would happen if the earth was farther away from the sun so that we would not be able to live here because the earth would be too cold.

It all seems so amazing that I have to believe it was designed by a higher power. On the other hand I can't believe in a God who wants us to kill other people. God is Love and through love we can all express God. I have worked in a church for most of my life and have felt that it was meaningful but I cannot believe that God wants us to deny others freedom of religion.

At one time I worked in the psychological clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. There was a very good play therapist there and a little girl who was a client adored her. The little girl had been taught that if you did not believe in Jesus, you would go to hell. She was terribly upset when she learned that her beloved play therapist was Jewish. I could not teach my child or any other child that this was a fact. I have trouble with a church that wants its members to take communion. I think it is barbaric. I don't think that an all-powerful, loving, good God can let his son be killed. I've always considered myself a Christian but communion has always bothered me. The passages in the bible that indicate that Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son have never seemed like the edicts of a loving God. I would prefer to think of God as a God of Love and try to express respect for all people.
We saw to it that our children attended Sunday School and participated in church affairs but I would like them to feel free to believe in the way their consciences lead them and I hope our choice of leadership in this matter will enable them to do that.

Do you seek to know more about the afterlife? What do you think it is like?

I don't know whether there is a life after this one on earth. I think it is important to treat others with kindness. We would like to believe that we will see our loved ones after death but we don't have any proof that it will happen. But I don't think that a good, kind, loving God is going to condemn us to hell. Perhaps our hell is right here on earth.

Do you read your horoscope in the paper? Have you ever gone to a psychic?

No, I don't read my horoscope in the paper and I've never gone to a psychic. I did at one time read lots of books about Edgar Cayce and other modern day prophets and I no longer have an interest in them.

Whom do you confide in, or do you keep your troubles to yourself? Whom do you call for comfort?

My principal confidant is my husband, Phil. Over the years I've had various friends that I have felt close to and these have varied mostly by their circumstances or mine.
Now that we are in a retirement home Phil is the person I confide in and rely on most. Since I have no family in this area, I communicate with my children by e-mail and telephone (at least once a week). I talk to my sister, Dorothy, every Sunday. There are many people living in the retirement home who would be glad to communicate if I needed to.

Looking Back or 20/20 Hindsight

What were your favorite years? What were your favorite ages?

I just enjoyed every age. Age never seemed like a big thing to me. Each age brought it's own pleasures and rewards.

What are the important dates in your personal history?

Important dates in my life include my marriage (1951),the birth of our children (1955, 1958, 1960). The death of my parents (1952, 1981) and the birth of my grandchildren (19

What was the hardest thing that you ever had to do?

At this point, probably the most difficult thing I've had to do was the care of my Mother during her last year of life and the disposal of her belongings after she died.

What was the first funeral you attended? How did it affect you? What was the last one you went to? Are they getting easier or harder?

The first funeral I remember attending was that of my Aunt Nellie.Because she lived with us summers I was close to her. It also was hard because the house we lived in was my Grandparent's house and they left it to Aunt Nellie with the stipulation that it was to be sold and the money divided among the other children. Therefore, my family's life style changed. My Dad built an apartment upstairs in the business building that my Dad owned and we moved there. I was 14 years old and a freshman in hish school. Both my sisters were away at college or working.
We attend many more funerals now because we are of the ages that our friends are dying. My attitude is different because my beliefs are much different. When I was 14 I really didn't know what I believed. I knew what the church taught but I was not sure that there was an afterlife. Now I think a funeral is important to express appreciation for the life of the individual. A funeral is to express one's love for an individual. I don't know whether there is an after life. If there is, I will try to progress in it. If there is not, I'm sure it is not the hell-fire and brimstone kind of event that some religions depict. If my belief that God is love is true, then He will take care of us. Whether we will see our loved ones in the after life, I don't know. But I think the important thing is that we loved those families and friends.

When do you first remember feeling like an adult? Did it come early or late in life?

I think I first felt like an adult when I went out for my first teaching job in Pawnee City, Nebraska. I was 22 years old. I rented a room from a woman who was the mother of a girl I had known in college. She was also a teacher and I was not as lonely as I might have been in other circumstances. I remember one of my children saying, "Oh, Mom, You've led such a protected life." And that is probably true. And now that I am in a retirement home where so much is done for me and Phil is so helpful and concerned about my welfare, I am doubly thankful for the caring concern that I have been the recipient of.

Hard Questions

Who did you trust and / or respect most in your life?

I respected my parents, my husband, and our children most. I think it doesn't matter what other accomplishments one achieves in life if we haven't treated our family with respect. I'm sure every parent agonizes within himself about things they wish that they had done differently. I hope this story of my life makes my children realize how much we love them.

Would you prefer a burial, cremation, mausoleum, Viking funeral, or something else?

We have already decided that we will give our bodies to the University of Nebraska Medical School. After they use them, they will be cremated. We are both graduates of the University of Nebraska and our son, David, got his dental education there.

Phil says he wants his funeral to be a party. We both want the service to be a celebration of our lives. We would like some nice music and an expression of appreciation for our lives.

What has held your emotional stability together through the years?

I think I was fortunate to have inborn stability. I was always dependable. People could count on me. I think I was given positions of responsibility in all the organizations I participated in because people knew that the job would be done.

If you started an organization or business what would it be?

I make lots of greeting cards and other computer generated materials. I've had people tell me I should go into business. I didn't start learning to use the computer until I was past 50 years old. I think this is an area that I might have enjoyed pursuing.

If you could have designed your life from infancy up, how would it play?

If I were to design my life I would do some things differently, but many things I would do the same. I think life in a small town was a wonderful way to grow up. Children had much more freedom then than they do today because it was safe for them to have freedom. I was able to walk any place in Ashland, visit and play with friends, and have an ideal childhood experience. I missed out on traveling because my family could not afford it. But very few of my classmates experienced travel and vacation experiences either. Ideally, I would add travel experiences, visiting museums and art galleries to my life.

I feel it was important for me to have an education and I would want that to go at least to the Bachelor's degree. However, I don't think I would choose to major in music if I had it to do over. I also had strong interest in art but my grade and high school experience offered me no experience in art. Or something that would include more writing might also be a possibility. No wonder I have doubts about my field of study. At age 79, I still can't decide on the field I'd prefer!

I loved having the music training to use with my own family and I liked teaching music, especially teaching children to read vocal music, but I don't feel that I had as much ability in music as in some other fields. And when Parkinson's disease hit, it was so devastating to my music skills.

If you hold a fundamental truth or believe in a universal principle, what is it?

A fundamental truth that I would want to maintain is that people are the most important things in life. Regardless of the field that we pursue, honesty and kindness
are important in all areas and love needs to be expressed--love for our spouse, love for our children, love for our neighbors, love of life.

Heavy Questions

What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?

The happiest moment of my life came when my children were embarked on their choices of work and were happy with the way those choices were working out. I felt a satisfaction of a job done. This includes their launching of their guidance to their children. I got real joy out of seeing them do a good job of parenting and want them to know that I think they are doing a good job.

The saddest moment came when I had to put my mother in a nursing home because she had no use of her legs and I could not lift her. My mother's generation felt that the children should take care of their parents and she never made a happy adjustment to the care she needed. I'm trying to teach my children that a retirement home can offer the kind of care an aged parent needs.

How would you like to be remembered?

I'd like most to be remembered as a kind person. I'd also like to be remembered as a person who valued education and learning, one who likes to discuss ideas. But most of all kindness and honesty are important to me.

What memories would you like to remain with your children or grandchildren? What memories dwell in you?

I would like my children and grandchildren to remember times when the family was together and enjoying life. I'd like them to remember Christmases when we unwrapped the presents. These times were not lavish, but neither were they skimpy. They were times when we had fun together and expressed our love for each other. I'd like Seth and Aaron to remember raking leaves at our house on Cottonwood Drive, and Aaron to remember making a snowman with Grandma. I'd like Peg, Barb, and Dave to remember Sunday dinners with Grandma visiting us and the games we played on the kitchen table. I'd like Peg, Barb, and Dave to remember vacations in Estes and playing miniature golf at Tiny Town and visiting with Mr. Mitchell. I'd like my kids to remember our making music together, especially our playing Christmas Carols. These are memories that dwell in me and they are happy memories because they are of the family having fun and expressing love for each other.

What did you think of writing your life story with The Remembering Site?

Writing my life story with The Remembering Site gave me ideas for recording things that my children and grandchildren might enjoy reading about. It kept me motivated and working. I hope it answers the questions that you would like to know about me!

And, finally, what is the meaning of your life? What is the most important thing you've learned in life?

I think the meaning of my life is to help my family and friends to see that kindness and love of others is the most important thing in life. I hope you all enjoy reading my memoirs and that they somehow speak to you to tell you about me and what growing up in Nebraska was like.