Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Leave a comment

Sunday Giggling

The best thing happened to me after church yesterday. My dad gave me a watermelon at church. (No, it wasn’t a bribe to get me to go to church. I really love going! Honest!!!)

After that, I went to the grocery store and bought several bags of groceries.

So when I pulled into my driveway, I called G-Man and asked him to carry in the melon for me. After we disconnected, I stuck the phone in my shirt and started loading up bags of munchies.

In a few moments, I started hearing the most delightful voices. They were happy, chipper, sweet and full of giggles and laughter.

At first I thought I’d hit some cartoon video on my phone. But I kept hearing the same words again and again–“Hello? Aunt SueSue?” And lots of giggling.

Finally, I got where I could put down my packages and pulled out my phone. I’d accidentally FaceTimed my niece Ashley and her oldest daughter answered the phone.

1172913_227626090759855_1846749440_n

This is one of the gigglers, Ashley’s middle daughter. She’s a doll!

Okay, I FaceTimed, for them it was more of a  . . . well . . . chest time. Oy!

spess-crew-ashley

When I pulled out my phone, the girls all were still giggling and having a great time, so maybe they weren’t too traumatized by the experience.

ashley's daughter

Ashley’s oldest giggling daughter a few years ago at Thanksgiving.

The funny thing is, they couldn’t hear what I was saying, but I could hear them perfectly. I just hope they could read my lips when I said, “I love you, too!”

10400038_10203801718075639_4906752814064437375_nAshley and her youngest giggler.

So if you couldn’t read my lips, I do, too, guys!


2 Comments

Father’s Day–a Great Way to Spend a Weekend!

Wasn’t this a great weekend?

On Friday, my critique group came to C-Town to have a yummy lunch (Dari Diner–oh, so good!) I love having them come to my stomping grounds. Fun!

Then Saturday, a couple of friends I’ve known all their lives (literally) got married. I borrowed this pic from their Facebook page.

10466893_10201967561261164_1336497916_nAren’t they adorable? I love it when people who should be together finally get together! Best wishes, Ronnie and Jana Kay!

Then my kiddos came out to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day. While we were getting ready for them, I found this

tiny-giftsI know it’s only a toadstool, but the bright color in the middle of those dead leaves grabbed me. Beautiful!

I warned the kids I wanted a family picture while they were here, so I took this picture of Minerva as a test shot.

Minerva's-tea-partyAlthough they weren’t thrilled to get to do it, I got several group pics. (I doubt I’ll get another one right away.)

This one is what I’ll probably finally have framed to hang over my fireplace.

fam-big-picAfter a little work with some Adobe help. ;)

But this one is my favorite. (It might end up over the fireplace.)

family-stairs

We had a wonderful dinner from Joseph’s in Drumright, Oklahoma. Then we played a game that had us all laughing so hard! I don’t remember the name of it, but DIL#1 and #2 got headaches from laughing so hard.

Not sure what that’s a sign of, but I think we need to play more games.

:)

Then on Sunday after church, we went to Deb’s (She’s the perfect hostess!) for chicken and noodles. One of Dad’s favorite meals.

Another-dollThis is Deb’s youngest granddaughter. She’s SO cute! (Love the way she says my name.)

Canaan-DollyThis is Melanie’s older daughter. Aren’t they adorable? This one sang me a song about being a scarecrow.

love-that-face!Don’t you love that face? (This was right after she yelled, BOO!)

dad-and-jeff

And here’s my final Father’s Day celebration of the year. Dad and Brother Jeffrey. Handsome dudes, aren’t they?

I gave Dad a card for Father’s Day. It says he could write a book about raising perfect children. LOL!

And then, I had to have a picture of them with Deb who’s so good to have us in her home.

dad,-deb-and-jeffDad, Deb and Jeffrey.

A dad is so important in a person’s life. Whether they’re biological fathers, steps, adopted or borrowed, everyone needs someone to teach them how to live life the right way.

My dad, Carol Spess, made it easy to understand how our Father in Heaven loves us unconditionally, because he loves his children that way. He says his dad taught him, so maybe it’s genetic. Or it could be a learned thing, passed from generation to generation.

For some people, it has to be learned by watching someone not so perfect and seeing what not to do. But where there’s a will . . .

A good parent (mother and/or father) is essential. And, luckily, I had both!

So, how did you celebrate your dad?

 


2 Comments

Hap-Hap-Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day. CELEBRATE! (LOL)

My boys have always been wonderful MD observers. But one of them didn’t always celebrate MY motherhood, as I mentioned in this Mother’s Day Post.  ;)

When I was born, my folks lived in an old two story house in the Basin near Old ‘Ford. They always called it, “Aunt Sarah’s House.” For a long time, I didn’t know I had an Aunt Sarah.

Aunt-Sarah

This is Aunt Sarah, who really wasn’t an aunt at all. She was my g-g-granddad’s 2nd wife. She had 357 kids with g-g-granddad Okay, not that many. Actually, it was twelve, but with his three kids from his first marriage, I’m sure it seemed like 357 on some days!

Aunt Sarah was 17 years younger than Grandpa Joe. I’m not sure when Sarah and Joe married, but Mary died in 1881 and Sarah and Joe had their first child in 1883.

They had their last child together in 1901, and Grandpa Joe died in 1903. Sarah then remarried and had another child in 1908. If all her children and step-children had lived (they didn’t) imagine the Mother’s Days Sarah would have had! She should have cleaned up!

EXCEPT: Mother’s Day didn’t start until 1908. Poor woman raised sixteen children with no Mother’s Days to compensate her.

Aunt Sarah’s house had three bedrooms upstairs and one down. I’m not sure where they put everyone. How many kids can sleep in one bed?

No. Running. Water. And yes, the bathroom was outside. Imagine that many people waiting to go! LOL.

 

great-great-grandparentsIn case you’re wondering about her, this Great-Great-Grandma Mary, who died at age 30 before Grandpa Joe came to OkieLand.

When you compare 12 or 15, counting step-children, to only 6, my mama didn’t have that many kiddos. And since I only had three, I’m a real piker! :)

I’ve had people ask how a woman could divide her love enough for so many kids.

The answer is, it doesn’t divide. It multiplies. (I learned that at my Mama’s knee!)

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day? Flowers? Lavish gifts? A good book? (I have a suggestion if you need one. *wink*) Inquiring minds!


4 Comments

Saw Mills and Cotton Gins

Allene, this one’s for you!

great-great-granddad-JosephMeet Joe.

That’s really a copy-machine copy of a picture, so it’s not very good, but it’s the best I’ve got. And really, I’m lucky to have it.

Joe was my Grandmother Ruby’s Granddad, which makes him my great-great-granddad. (Is that cool or what?) His name was Josephus (really!) C. Mitchell, and he was born in North Carolina.

He lived in Illinois in 1875 and had moved to West Plains, Missouri by 1881.

I don’t believe Joe came to Oklahoma for the opening of the Cherokee Strip, at least he didn’t get land in the rush. But not long afterward, he owned a saw mill and cotton gin in the Basin–in the spot where the house was that my parents lived in when I was born.

They always called it Aunt Sarah’s house. Now I know why. (Being his step-mother, Granddad Mitchell called her “Aunt” instead of mother.)

lumber-mill-and-cotton-ginThis picture has stacks of lumber and bales of cotton as well as several people standing around. (The man in the black hat is standing on a bale of cotton.)

Two of those people are my great-granddad and my great-great-granddad. GGG also had a post office and general store in that area, too.

great-great-grandparents

This is another picture of great and great great. The baby is my g-granddad.

The woman is Josephus’s first wife (and my g-g-grandmother) Mary. (Looks irritated, doesn’t she? I might have had that look a time or two in my life.)

Mary died at the age of 30 in West Plains, after having three children. The oldest was six, the youngest two, so old Joe remarried.

2nd-great-granddad-Joe's-1s

This is Mary’s headstone. The note that came with the picture says that Mary’s son, G-Granddad N. S., quarried the stone himself. Since Granddad was only about six when she died, he must have done it some years later.

Aunt-Sarah

Aunt Sarah

This is Sarah, Joe’s second wife. He married her eight months after Mary died, while they were still in Missouri. She was 17 years younger than him. She and Joe would go on to have twelve children together. (They named one Okla Homer. Don’t you love it?)

Some of the children died at birth or soon after, and at least two died by the time they were three. Hurts your heart to think about, doesn’t it?

After 21 years of marriage to Sarah, Joe died. Sarah married a man named Johnson and had yet another child. (She was one busy woman!)

Being Terminally Curious, I really wish I knew the story behind their lives. How did they happen to come to the Mannford area? How and why did Joe die? How did Sarah feel when Joe died, leaving her with all those children to raise?

Did Joe make his wives happy? Or were they too busy keeping all those kids fed to notice?

Sarah’s two youngest were five and two when their daddy died. The two-year-old, Jimmie, would die the next year. Doesn’t that just break your heart?

The first time I heard of Joe, I read about him in a book called Cherokee Strip Fever  by Zola Sample. She only mentions him in passing as the store owner in the Basin, but it was a thrill to see my family mentioned in that book.

I think I’ll have to read it again one of these days. :)

SPESS FAMILY MINUS CAROL


6 Comments

Family Tree and History

Ever hear the saying, “What goes around comes around?” Usually when I hear it, someone is threatening someone else. (The threatenee is often me.) “It’ll come back and bite you on the hinny.”

But not always. Sometimes, it’s family history.

I think I’ve mentioned I’m climbing the Family Tree. Wow. Want to get confused, just start that little project! But it’s interesting. I’ve “met” a bunch of shirttail relatives through it. And most of them know way more about my family than I do! :)

SPESS FAMILY MINUS CAROLMeet Ray and Ruby Spess, my dad’s parents. They’re standing in front of their first home with their two oldest children, Frank and Paul.

What I love best about this picture is probably what Grandmother hated. See? On the left hand side of the photo? Her laundry is hanging on the line. :)

Seeing Uncle Frank look like a shy little boy is pretty cool, too. ;)

Their house was built on land in the Basin, which Granddad’s father got in the land run of 1893, the opening of the Cherokee Strip.

family-spessThe mustached man with the hat is my great-granddad, who made the run. On his right (with one hand on her hip) is his wife, Louisa. One of the two little girls in front of him is my granddad (the one on the left) and the other is his twin sister.

Message to my kiddos–I love family pictures for a reason! It’s genetic!!!

Anyway, the picture is almost the entire family of ten kids–only one person missing.

I believe the reason one person is missing from this pic is that Granddad had a brother named Theodore who died the year Granddad was born (at least that’s what I found on another tree) so it’s likely Theo that’s missing.

The house was probably built out of lumber milled at Grandmother’s grandfather’s lumber mill, there in the Basin.

One more picture–dad and sparkyThat’s Dad riding Sparky. Now look behind him. See that barn? Even after my grandparents moved into Old ‘Ford, they farmed in the Basin. They had a sow and her piglets living in that barn. This particular year, they raised a bumper crop of corn and stored that corn in the loft of the barn.

As I said, the corn was a bumper crop. And one morning they got to the farm and found  . . . you’re ahead of me, aren’t you?

Yep. You guessed it. That barn loft cratered under the weight of the corn and buried the sow and her babies.

Did it kill the pigs?

Nope.

Did they let the sow eat her way out?

Nope, again.

They rescued the pigs, and stored the corn someplace else.

Now back to going and coming around.

Fast forward to 2014–just about 110 years after that family picture was taken. My dad (the kid on the horse) lives very near where that family picture was taken, and not far from where Grandmother and Granddad had their first house, where the sow was buried in the corn.

Today, Dad raises a huge garden that gets bigger every year. He has chickens, raises his own beef (Brother Jeffrey’s bailiwick) and now he’s planning to get a sow and start raising his own pork.

Sounds a whole lot like what his grandfather must have done to get his family raised, even though Dad never knew that grandfather.

I love it that he’s repeating history that way.

Have you studied your family tree? Any surprises pop up for you?


3 Comments

Happy birthday, Little Lulu

Do you remember the cartoon, Little Lulu? I’m not talking about her today.

Today is my sister Cindy’s birthday. Her nickname is Lulu.

cindySome of my favorite Lulu memories–

  • I made her a (paper) birthday cake on the day she was born with one candle on it. I even put the sticker I earned that day on the back, and sent it to her while she was still at the hospital. (She must not have liked it much because she didn’t bring it home.)
  • bow-tie-cindy
  • She told one of the teachers most of us had for second grade that an upcoming sibling was “different.” (She was right, too! We’re all different!) ;)
  • Cindy and Deegan

Baby Deegan and his Grandmommy

  • When she was nine years old, Omega was born. Mom said she rarely had to get up for middle-of-the-night feedings, because Cindy got there with a warmed bottle first. (Cindy is a great mom! We learned from the best.)

33643_1663053342269_2314250_n

Not quite all of Lulu’s Crew. (Two babies missing.)

  • People get Cindy and Debbie mixed up a lot. Debbie always wanted to be twins.

cindy-sis

  • People get Debbie and me mixed up once in a while. Triplets? (Dreaming here. Sigh.)
  • hope, kyla, faith, eric and deb
  • Cindy has five (count ’em. F-I-V-E!!!) children.  Only two of these are them. :)

lulu-kids

Here’s a couple more and one from above. (Clean up well, don’t they?)

  • Another favorite memory . . . when I was pregnant with #1 Son, G-Man was on 24 hour call so Lulu attended Lamaze classes with me. Not exactly fun, but sweet.

lulu

Saturdays when we were kids was when Mama rolled our hair for Sunday.

  • When I had #1 and no one could (or would) figure out how to help me breast feed him, I told Lulu that when she became a nurse to never let a mama go home without helping her figure it out. Today she’s a certified Lactation Consultant–or something like that. Anyway, her job is to help mamas figure out how to breast feed their babies before they go home. She minds well, doesn’t she? :)

bride's-mama

Lulu at her oldest daughter’s wedding. Beautiful, isn’t she?

So . . . why do we call her Lulu? I’ll let you guess. (If you know the answer, make up a better one and post it here.) :P

 

 


Leave a comment

Kathy

While shortening Luke’s piece about his mother yesterday, I inadvertently left out an important portion. I’m so sorry for the omission, Luke!

Here it is–

From Luke: Around the time I was finishing my Master’s at OSU, Mom got double pneumonia. I knew in my heart I had to help her and take care of her, so I would go with her to school. As she put it, she was the brains and I was the brawn. And together, we got her work done.

She got over the pneumonia, but her rheumatoid arthritis flared up and started ravaging her body. But Mom was strong and she was stubborn and she would not let the arthritis rob her of her life.

She continued to work through much pain and difficulty because she loved the kids. I would go up to Frontier and volunteer in the library so I could help her. We kept that routine up, until about five years ago.

kathy3

I just want God to show me one  (a wife) with a heart for others as big as Mom’s. In spite of all the difficulty and suffering we went through, I would gladly give up everything for another ten years to be able to honor her and take care of her.

I am so thankful to God for providing me a mom who modeled love, goodness, dedication, selflessness, and compassion.

I have to tell you, Luke Bell is an awesome young man. I’ve heard from his Uncle Rick that he’s not only thoughtful and considerate, but extremely smart, too.

Thank you, Luke, for sharing your heart with us. I know how proud your parents are of you. I truly appreciate your sharing a bit of Kathy’s life.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,008 other followers