Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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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.


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.



I’ve always loved books. One of my earliest memories from moving to C-Town is sitting in my little green rocking chair, surrounded by my books, and wishing Mom would stop what she was doing (unpacking) and read to me.

She did. 🙂

Most children think the world started when they were born, but I was a little different. I thought a love for the written word started with me. After all, about the only time I saw one of my parents read, it was them reading a book to me or one of my sibs. Why would I believe otherwise?

As soon as my brother or sisters learned to read, I loved to take them downtown to get their first library card.

So this weekend, while cleaning out a file cabinet in my office, I rediscovered something I found when I lived in Grandmother’s house. First, I found this.

I took it to Dad and asked who it had belonged to, and he said it had been his. I don’t know if you can read in the picture, but it says, BOOK TWO, (The First Reader). BTW: The copyright is 1925.

Dad’s first grade book! And probably a school book, not from church.

It has stories with names such as, “Jesus Growing Up,” and “God Speaking to a Little Boy.” Try putting that in a public school reader today!

Not long later, I found two more books.



 NATIONAL VELVET’S copyright page.

Written in 1935 by Enid Bagnold

This edition was published in 1942, when Dad was 12 years old. I have to think he read it when he was in 6th grade. How do I know they’re his?

Because he wasn’t shy about writing his name in his books. I don’t know if he bought and read them because he just like reading or if they were class assignments. I’ll try to remember to ask him.

WEE WILLIE WINKIE, by Rudyard Kipling, has some interesting story titles.

Can you read that very last story title? “In an Opium Factory”! Kind of eye opening, isn’t it. At least it got my attention. I’ll have to read it (carefully, so I don’t rip any of the brittle pages) and see what it’s all about. I’ll let you know. 🙂

Not long ago, Sister Cindy boxed up Dad’s books and sent them to the office. I knew they were coming and figured they’d be about geology. Some were. Some were religious books, and some were books he just enjoyed reading.

The boxes, stacked full of books, lined the hallway for about twenty feet.

Where are they now? Going into my office, of course!.

I love having things my dad has enjoyed.

I love knowing a book I read (and cried over) when I was a kid is one he read, too.

And I love knowing I come by my love for reading from my dad as well as my mom.