Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Wonder World


I think I mentioned I walk as often as possible with one of my friends at work. (We invite the others but they never take us up on it.)

We used to walk at the cemetery but now we’ve taken to the streets. Carollea says she enjoys hearing my who-lived-where stories as we amble around our Small Town World. (But since I’m the boss’s daughter, she might feel weird screaming, “Shut up! I’m tired of hearing about Wonder World!” LOL. She’s very nice.)

Remembering what my Small Town World was like when I was a kid, sometimes I think of it as Wonder World. It was a storybook kind of childhood.

Monday evening I took her through my old neighborhood. Past the house where I grew up, the Lunsford’s house and Mary Lou and Eugene Williams’ house.

Ours were the first three homes I remember being built in Hillside Gardens. (Aka “the new addition” a long time ago.) All three houses had two parents (none of them ever divorced. Amazing!) and kids to play with. 

This afternoon we’ll be celebrating one of those parent’s life–Eugene Williams. He went Home to be with the Lord (and Mom and Tom and Jane Lunsford) early Sunday morning. Gene and Mary Lou had three children. Marsha–my age. Mark–Deb’s age. And Janet–Cindy’s age. Mom (Mary Sue) and Mary Lou played Bridge together and were great friends.

So many of my memories have Williams as part of them. 

Such as one of my sisters (Cindy–#3, I think) calling him Blue-Gene from the time she started talking. Our family still calls him that, while most of the world calls him Gene-Dad.

And the time the three ring circus came to town, so Dad and Gene took us kids while Mom and Mary Lou stayed home with the babies. It started raining HARD, we looked up and there was Mary Lou, coming right down the middle of the three rings to make us go home. (Both moms got nervous in bad weather as did the person who blew the tornado siren in C-Town! Mary Lou didn’t drive, so Mom stayed in the car with the babies.)

Christmas at the Williams was amazing with only three kids and two sets of grandparents who had only those grandkids, so most the floor was covered with gifts. And they didn’t chop down a cedar tree; they usually bought a beautiful flocked tree.

This is a picture his youngest daughter posted on Facebook of her last fishing trip with her dad.

He had a great smile! He love to fish and hunt and was a wonderful Christian man. I look forward to seeing him again one of these days. 😉

It’s times like these that I realize the true meaning of the sweet by and by.


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

8 thoughts on “Wonder World

  1. I remember so well the William’s when we lived in Cleveland. They were one of the first families we were around as kids. I was four or five and we went to the Baptist church with them. My mom was/is a good friend of Mary Lou’s too. But we moved to Hominy and they did also and we all attended the Baptist church there. Then we started going to a new church that Gene and MaryLou had started with the Clemishire’s and Newhouse’s, Calvary Worship Center. We went there for 13 years together. Just these last few years Gene and Mary Lou and Mark and Vicki have been at the Wynona Assembly with us. I was two years younger than Mark and one year older than Janet. I love them dearly. Gene-dad as he was known to all our children and we called him that too. He was the kindest, most compassionate man I have ever known. Always smiling. He was not ashamed of the Gospel. I remember as a child and as a young adult being in his store Otasco and hearing him asking customer’s if they knew Jesus. I love Mary Lou as well. She taught me that JOY means Jesus, Others, then You. Her mother taught her that.

    • It’s so funny I don’t remember you when you lived here in Cleveland. I really should! That makes you a year older than my sister Cindy, too.
      It was good to see you, Eddie and your GD today. I couldn’t see you during the worship service.
      Fantastic service!!!

      • You mean you didn’t notice when I came down off the stage carrying Lola and went out the doors dropping Lola’s juice bottle? I was trying to be unnoticeable but I had to change her diaper. She had wet through to my dress. It was her usual nap time and she was asleep when we got there but she woke up and started talking so I knew I couldn’t stay on the stage and play the keyboard. I only got through the first two songs. Didn’t you see me holding her as I played? Ha ha.

        • And it was fantastic to see you and your sisters and brother and your dad. Pretty awesome that you all were able to come.

        • I didn’t see any of that, Terri. You were very good at getting off the stage with no problem. I was far enough in the row and tall people sat in front of me. I could see the two singers behind the podium and the woman who lead the singing and that was it. LOL. Wish I’d seen the bottle trick. Sounds like a good one. LOL.

  2. Caution when you mention my name around Carollea. 🙂 Tell her hello from us.

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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