Archive | July, 2012

September 30, 1991 Sybel’s Memories

31 Jul

3:55am CDT

Well it’s 5am back in Maine, but Al has been awake for two hours and urging me to leave since 3am.  Oh, my bones ache!

Lord give us journeying mercies this day as we are tired and nearing the end of our trip,

Keep us alert and awake.

Thank you.  Amen.


September 29, 1991 Sybel’s Memories

31 Jul

5:30 am

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul,

And all that is within me,

Bless his Holy name.

Bless the Lord oh my soul,And forget not all his benefits.

I heard a train whistle in the night, and 46 years ago I was on a train traveling to Maine.  Again, we were homeless.  We had left my home behind in Arkansas and Al was on leave from the Army.  He had reserved a room for us at 68 Camden Street, Rockland, a boarding house where his father lived.  Al slept most of the way on the train, having learned in the Army to sleep when and where he could.  I was too excited to sleep.  I wanted to see and experience everything.

I wonder about my great grandmother who lived in England over 100 years ago, and took her baby son and set off for Australia with her young husband.  Did she feel homeless?  Or, like me, was her home in her husband’s love, and where he was, was home to her.

And how about my grandma Floyd?  She was brought to America by her parents and settled in New Mexico.  She married my grandpa Floyd, and traveled to Oklahoma with him by wagon train, to homestead on a mountain 7 miles from the nearest town.

Econo Lodge 7:20 pm Central Daylight Time

Wow! What a long day—all the way through Virginia on I-81, and along I-40 through Tennessee, and a change from Eastern Daylight Time to Central daylight Time, clean through Dixon Tennessee beyond Nashville.  For Sunday we thought traffic would be slow but my, my, through Knoxville and Nashville it was as bad as Connecticut and double lines most of the way across Tennessee.  Ten more hours to go.

Toby is here in the room with us.  We didn’t ask, just brought him and his cat box and food in.  He has been complaining loud meows ever since.  Should have left him in the truck,  (Sometimes we forget and call him “her”, tho he is a neuter male Siamese).

As we drove along today, swapping the driving every two hours, I had time to think about my first trip to Maine.  I was almost twenty.  I had never been out of Oklahoma and Arkansas.  We took the Missouri_Pacific train out of Fort Smith.  It rocked and shook and rumbled and was packed with people.  GIs and girls and old people and babies, I watched them all.  When we got to St Louis we changed trains.  We had to sit a while in the depot.  There were hundreds of people coming and going.  I was amazed and didn’t see ONE PERSON I KNEW!  It was in St Louis I first heard a tomato called a to- mah- to.  I thought it was very elegant sounding.

We came to Maine in the late afternoon and evening on the Boston and Maine train.  I listened to the conductor as he called of the names of the Maine towns—Oqunquit, Kennebunk, York, Portland, Falmouth, Freeport, Topsham, Brunswick, Bath and Wiscasssett, Damariscotta, Waldoboro, Warren, Thomaston and Rockland.  That night I couldn’t understand one word he said.  Strange names in a strange accent.

We walked through the train station carrying our luggage, to the Rockland Hotel on Park Street and called a taxi to take us home.

Mr Mills, Al’s dad was living in a boarding house and he was waiting for us when we got there.  He put his arms around me and gave me a big hug and made me feel like I belonged right away.

Thank you Lord for Dad Mills who always loved me,  and I loved him too. He always treated me as if I were very special.  Amen.

September 28, 1991 Sybel’s Memories

27 Jul


I love you Lord, and I lift up my voice

To worship you, Oh my soul rejoice.

Take joy my heart, in all you hear,

May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.

Lord, thank you for today.  Be with us as we travel.  Help us to be alert and aware as we drive.  Amen.


It’s been a long day – leaving Portsmouth, NH at 6:45am and driving down I-495 to I-90 to I-84 through Mass.,Conn., New York, and Penn. to I-81 south almost through Penn., but not quite.  Slow ‘n easy at 55MPH.  The traffic was heavy in places but not too bad. And we never got lost once! (We’ve been this way so many times we hardly need a map!)  We stopped at two motels tonight and neither one would let us bring Tobey in.  Finally at the Econo Lodge we stopped, promising to leave Toby in the car.  Tobey cried and Papa and I nearly cried too, but we were too tired to go hunt another motel.  (Tobey is our Siamese cat.)

We ate most of the peanut butter cookies Laurie baked for us.  Only two left for tomorrow.  I told Papa tonight that “we are homeless”.  We keep signing at the motels with our Rockport address Even tho it is no longer ours.

The wind blew my red sheepskin cover off my bike and it is lost.

Lord, this has been a long day aand a tiring one, but we are greatful for your watch care over us and safety in traveling.

Keep Toby safe tonight, please.  Amen.


September 27, 1991 Sybel’s Memories

25 Jul

“parting is such sweet sorrow”

The Port Inn, Portsmouth, NH 7:15pm

“This is the day which the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.”

The Lord is good when you have things to face…saying goodbye to family and friends.  He keeps you so busy that the goodbyes are said almost casually, as if you were going away for a day.

Today we left Maine to begin retirement living in Arkansas, where I am from.   I need to look back and see where I came from that brought me to this day.

I was born in Quinton, Oklahoma, a town of 1000 population, in 1925.  There I lived and went to school through the great depression, and the fourth grade.  We moved to Arkansas in 1935 or 1936. I have three sisters and two brothers, all younger than me.  I graduated from High School.acceped jesus as my savior, and was baptised and became a member of the Bailey Hii Baptist Church on Bluff Avenue in Fort Smith.

I met all who was a GI stationed at Camp Chaffee, and after dating for 6 months we became engaged.  Al embarked for the European Theater in January 1945 and returned in September that same year, after WWII was over.

On September 20, 1945 after Al returned from  Europe, we were married by Rev. Al G. Escott paster of Bailey Hill Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

October 1, 1945, we arrived in Maine.  On October1, 1999 we would have been in Maine 46 years  By October first we should be in Fort Smith, Arkansas, returning after 46 years.

During the 46 years in  Maine we were members at First Baptist Church on Main Street in Rockland for 37 years.  During that time we had three sons:

David Albert m Karen Kvorjak(1) and Laurie Simmons(2)

Daniel Butler Mills m Brenda Mcginnis(1)and Joan Abbot Coyne(2)

Paul Francis Mills m Linda Fish

We had fifteen grandchildren:

Albert David                    Christopher Glen                  Amy Ruth

Mathew Paul                   Abraham Lincoln                  Jonothon

Patrick Michael                Jason                                   Paul Benjamin

Christopher Sean             Benjamin Daniel

Miranda Simmons            Jarrod (Chad)

Christopher Simmons

Samantha Alise

and one great grandchild. Miranda Robinson, Mathews daughter.

Al worked st the Dragon cement plant in Thomaston for 37 years, then at Ames department store part tiime for 5 years, and janitor at the West Rockort Baptist two years.      I worked at Senter Crane department store, W.T. Grant (where Pennys is now) Crie Hardware,  Rockland public Library and Coffins mens store (not all at the same time)  I also worked 1 year for SAD#5, when I worked in their libraries and read stories to kids.  I loved that!

When I was 34 years old I had osyomy surgery at Maine Medical Center in Portlaand, which left me with a lot of scars and an ostomy pouch stuck my skin to collect bodily wastes.  That was 32 years ago and the Lord has been good to me, restoring my health and giving me opportunity to help others who have had ostomy surgery.

Al and I have worked in the churches we have belonged to, in teaching,planning,youth groups and committees all our married life…We love God and are pleased to serve him.

Today Laurie and Sammie came to spend part of our last day of living in Maine with us.  They brought Al and me each a book to wrpte in  Sammie helped Papa pack the truck by passing him ropes and bunjy cords and keeping up a sunny chatter.  She kept saying “I’m going with you ” and “are you going to live where uncle Orville and aunt Iva lived?”  She was really taken by uncle Orville when they visited  that week, becouse he spent time with her.

Our friends Bob and Millicent came by and Bob helped Al put the bikes on top of the truck and they got to meet Laurie and Sammie.

After they left and the truck was packed , we piled i Laurie”s car and went to the Chinese restaurant in Rockland for lunch.  Sammie was too excited to eat and chattered constantly.  They said “goodbye” and left for Camden.

Papa and I rested awhile and then took our last load to the dump and the drove down to the Public landing in Rockland to soak up the view ’till time to go and sign the papers and take care of busuness.  We left Rockland at3:18 pm to busy to realize that tis was the end of one phase of our lives and the beginning of another.

A friend, Jack Norton once told us “There is no growth without change.”

Dear Lord bless us as we grow and change.        Amen

September 27, 1991 Sybel’s Memories

24 Jul

This journal was for Laurie (her daughter in law) and Sammie (her grand daughter) who gave it to me the day Al and I moved from Maine to Arkansas.  I want Sammie to know the kind of person I am, Tho I am far away from her.  I will try to be honest and true in my writings, sharing my favorite things, my memories, and my Day to day happenings as I near the age of sixty six and following.

So let the book begin.

(Sybel was beginning to realize that she was slowly losing her memory.  She wanted to leave an historical accounting of her life for all the grandchildren and their spouses and their great-grandchildren to be.)


During the next few days and weeks this blog will explore nearly eighty-five years of Sybel’s life.

Conflict: Sybel’s Memories

22 Jul

My dad seamed to think he had to know all about any boys his daughters dated.  In the wild west of Oklahoma real men ran boyfriends off with a shot-gun, and daddy would have been right there with his, if he’d still had one.

I was sixteen years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed and the war with Japan erupted.  Thousands of soldiers trained at Camp Chaffee but daddy refused his four daughters permission to date them.  “Those boys would just throw you in the bushes and rape you!  I know, I lived near Fort Sill during WWI.”  That talk worked with my sisters, but not with me.

Some GIs began coming to Bailey Hill Baptist Church when they were off duty.  Occasionally one would walk me home from church and say “good night” outside.  One night daddy stepped out on the porch and said “Sybel, get in the house!”  My escort turned and ran!

Our church women provided refreshments at the Baptist Soldier’s Center down on 9th and Rogers but daddy refused to let us girls go.

The Sunday came when I saw Al at church.  I flirted a little bit with my eyes and then after the service made an opportunity to meet him.  I liked him very much from the beginning.

The Sunday afternoon singing convention, held at a church on Dodson, gave me an excuse to get out of the house.  My three sisters formed a trio and I played the piano for them.  After the service ended they headed home and I walked downtown to the center and met Al there.

Daddy ranted and raved to mamma and the girls about what he’d do to me when I got home, and my sister Lorene always told me what he said.  For some reason he never said anything about it to me.

As we continued to date, Al began coming to the house to get me.  Daddy, refusing to speak to him, left the room.  I don’t believe he ever spoke to Al before he left Chaffee to go overseas.  Perhaps he hoped that would be the end of the relationship.

Al asked that I announce our engagement, along with my picture, in the Fort Smith paper, and also send a picture to his dad to announce it in the Maine paper,which I did.

I tried to show daddy my engagement ring but he brushed it off.  He was hopping mad when a fellow worker saw my picture in the paper and asked him about it.

“Nobody told me!” he said.

Al left for Europe and we faithfully wrote to each other.  He returned in September 1945.  After the three day wait, declared by law, we repeated our vows that made us man and wife, at Bro. Wescott’s home, with my mother and sisters, while dad sat out in the car.

Daddy used the excuse that he hadn’t gone to Sybel and Al’s wedding to get out of going to all of the other girl’s weddings. I was told that years later daddy said “Al is the finest son-in-law I’ve got”. I hope he didn’t say it in front of the other girls.

This has been a difficult story to write.  My dad loved each one of us in his own way, but he had a hard time showing that love.

The way it was: Thoughts about WWII

21 Jul

The war years were very scary for everybody,  especially for those of us who lived on the coast.  German submarines were seen in the Mussell Ridge channel.  Raymond Rackliff saw one and he said that one came up beside him and wanted some lobsters, and gave him some vodka in exchange.

One went aground on Frenchman’s Bay and they had to abandon it.  These people were captured but I don’t remember the circumstances.  This was all very “hush-hush” anyway. “Don’t frighten people”.

Knox County Airport was built to train aviatiors for landing on aircraft carriers.  There were barracks put up to house these men, and the whole area was off limits to everybody except those who had the proper identification.  Planes flew aalmost non-stop, and with a south west wind, came right over our house.  Sometimes a little low for comfort.

Papa got a job over there and when he got his first pay he was so happy to see all that green money he tossed it all over the kitchen.  Don’t forget this wasn’t too long after the great depression when nobody had any money at all.

Weston got a job in Fairfield Conn. in an aircraft factory but couldn’t find any place for a garden.

When we had been married 1 1/2 years, and our baby was due we had saved the thirty five dollars for the home delivery, a Sears Roebuck washing machine and a very cheap car that had been involved in an accident.

So even today I watch my social security money closely.  I don’t buy anything I can’t afford or can’t pay for.

Another little note of interest is the fact that Joe Baum, our local grocer, carried many people on the books all winter until lobstering etc. picked up in the Spring.  My mother wouldn’t let her bill get above $50.00 but some people were up to $200.00.  Those were the ones who didn’t have cows, chickens or gardens.  Nobody ate lavishly.

The town couldn’t pay the teachers one year and borrowed from Joe Baum to pay them.  My mother boarded the school teacher, who paid her board with the money she received, who in turn paid Joe Baum.

I don’t know who wrote this story, nor even where I got it from.  I found it among my papers I have been saving to help write my stories.

Sybel Mills