Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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.)


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.


  • 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. 🙂


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.


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? 🙂


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.) 😛





A Gift from God

Ever notice how God sends things into our lives to trigger wonderful memories?

Yesterday, I went to my friend Cindy’s mother’s funeral. While we’re all sad to lose her, it was a celebration of her life and the joy we’d all received knowing her.

This morning, God sent the thing into my life.

The thing was a movie called, “The Beast with Five Fingers” starring Robert Alda

The Beast with Five Fingers

Image via Wikipedia

and Peter Lorre. I haven’t seen (or even heard of the movie) since I was in the sixth grade and stayed all night with Cindy for the first time.

Memories all but drowned me.

  • Cindy and I stayed up to watch the late, late show that night on a channel that was fuzzy with snow. (This was before the days of Cable and Satellite TV.)

Besides being scared to death that whole night, I remember my friend’s mom, Mavis, made me feel as if I were part of the family. I was never one to sit on pins and needles, but this woman went out of her way to be sure I felt at home.

  • The only fried egg sandwich of my life was made by Mavis.
  • Watching “Rebel Without a Cause” at a slumber party at Cindy’s house, with Mavis in the next room ignoring all the noise we made.
  • Mavis was the Worthy Advisor for our Rainbows for Girls chapter. That says a ton for the woman. Can you imagine dealing with a room full of teenaged girls? All the blooming hormones? The explosive emotions? 
  • After I was grown and married, she treated me as if I were a friend, not the daughter of a friend.
  • Working in the kitchen at Mavis’s son-in-law’s funeral dinner, she stopped long enough to tell me how right it looked for me to be there. Kind of like having my mother working there, in the old days.

I’ll miss seeing Mavis in my Small Town World, but I’ll cherish the memories she left there with me. They’re a gift from God. 



Wedding Week Wednesday

I might have I mentioned my son is getting married this week–probably only a few thousand times. In case you’re worried for me, I’m not quite as tense as I was.

I only woke up five times last night. *rolls eyes*

Yesterday was the hardest day yet. Yesterday, I went through pictures for the ones they’ll show at the wedding. It came home, yet again, just how much I miss my babies.

This is the baby who’s getting married. I found a pile of pictures of the boy that he can use, and I haven’t pulled the digital ones off the desk top computer yet. Or the ones from the surprise wedding.

The the best pictures, the ones I’ll never forget, are the ones etched on my heart–taking his first steps, his first day at preschool, the day the delivery girl carried him in from the car with blood streaming down his face and neck from a deep cut in his upper lip.

The night he kissed his first girl, his first piano lesson, the day we bought his sax and each time he played. How could I forget the joy he found when he could finally run the register at the pharmacy?

The look on his face the day I punished him by NOT letting him go to work.

Matt worked for the college while he was in school. At one time he made those phone calls to the alumnus (we all love to get those, don’t we?) and “met” a friend of mine from here in C-Town, and couldn’t wait to call and tell me about it.

I sometimes wonder how long his do-you-wanna-donate phone calls lasted. LOL! The kid has always been a people person. Must have gotten that from my mom.

  Who wouldn’t love that smile?


Wedding Wednesday

We have a wedding coming up in just about 30 days. (I. Can’t. Breathe.)

I don’t have a dress to wear.

I don’t have the rehearsal dinner planned.

I don’t know what I need to do or when I need to do it


Maybe there’s a place I can look it up online. Gulp. I hope. I always makes me wonder how Mom knew just what to do on any given occasion.


#1’s Mom

Wichita, Kansas Skyline during the winter snow

Image via Wikipedia

Is this a baby to melt your heart or what? (I’m talking about the one on the right, ladies. Get your heads right!!!)

He’s just a cutie patootie! And he’s #4’s #1 (grandchild.)

                                    This is Nicole, #1’s mom. (I have a Nicole and a Nikki who are about to join our family, but this is #4’s DIL.) Isn’t she adorable? It’s no wonder #1 is so cute!!! (Yes, his pop might have had something to do with his gorgeous looks. Maybe. 😉  )

She works with #4, who God didn’t give any daughters, either. This one looks enough like #4 to actually be her daughter. (Or her sister.) 


                                              Lisa and her #1 grandson–>


Even though Nicolehails from the big city of Wichita, she tucked right into our family like she’d been part of the group forever.

And no, she’s not a model, but she’s pretty enough to be one. She just a beautiful girl my nephew was smart enough to marry when he had the chance. That makes him a pretty smart guy if you ask me.

Hey, Wichita Girlie! C-Town loves y’all!


My Heroes have always been . . .

Approx. second half of 1880's poster showing A...

Image via Wikipedia


Does every little kid have them? I know I did.

Like most little girls, my first hero was my dad. Dad married Mom on his 19th birthday. Mom had just turned 18 two months earlier. Two-and-a-half years later, I was born. Daddy was practically a kid himself, but oh! What a great dad he was. (Still is.)

Maybe it was because he was so young, but my memories of him while I was a child are almost all happy ones. He’d carry us to the breakfast table on his shoulders, take us to work with him if we didn’t have school, sing along with Mom when we went just about anywhere in the car.

He was our champion, believed in each of his children and I only saw his temper flash once. That was when #4 and I were nearly run down by a car.

I thought Dad was going to snatch the man out of his car and whip him right there, but that anger came from his fright.

As a kid, my favorite library books were biographies that told mostly about the childhoods of famous people. I took several of them as my heroes. Will Rogers. Jane Addams (born to money, she opened day care centers so poor kids whose moms had to work didn’t have to be left home alone, where without supervision, they often got poisoned, burned or died.)

Annie Oakley, Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart were top favs. Annie, an inspiring legend yet she was real! Susan because she had a great name, and because she thought girls should have the same rights and opportunities as boys (I agreed with that, for sure!) and Amelia because she seemed so fearless.

My very favorite was Molly Pitcher. Molly’s real name was Mary Hays.

From Wikipedia: Mary Hays spent much of the early day carrying water to soldiers and artillerymen, often under heavy fire from British troops.

The weather was hot, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometime during the battle, William Hays collapsed next to his cannon.

Mary Hays took his place at the cannon. (I always imagined her stepping over him to take his place, more worried about the war than her wimpy spouse.) 

For the rest of the day, in the heat of battle, Mary continued to “swab and load” the cannon using her husband’s rammer.

I loved that story! (Still do!)

I soon found several Biblical heroes (besides Jesus) who I still claim– Deborah, who led the Israelites. Mary, who sat at Jesus’s feet even though her sister Martha tried to shame her into working. And the women who were brave enough to go to prepare Jesus’s body on the third day while the apostles and disciples were hiding and shaking in their boots sandels.

These heroic women were the first to know that Christ had risen!

My latest heroes are closer to home. Sister Amy, who suffered through terrible tragedy and loss, yet has a cheerful disposition every day.

My friend Becki, who heard God’s call and answered it.

My preach and his wife, who’ve been through so much and yet never falter in their walk.

My friend, Suezan, who suffered through breast and liver cancer and has now gone home to be with the Lord.

My friend, Marilyn, who takes the time and trouble to help other (ie: wannabe) writers. 

My husband, who’s lived with me all these years and still likes me! 🙂

And, of course, my dad. Guess you’d call him my forever hero. 

Were you a kid who had heroes? Care to share?