Sybel’s Memories December9,1991

21 Feb

Oh, Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the things thy hand hath wrought. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed… Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee… How great thou art! How great thou art!

Saturday night was a special night. We had invited four young couples from our church for a potluck supper. Al helped me get ready for it. I baked lasagna from Sam’s. One brought a salad, another desert and another garlic bread, and another ice and cold drinks. Three children came. Jo’s baby, and Ashley and Elizabeth. We ate and laughed and talked. After supper I asked that we go around the table in each tell where he was born. Only one girl was born in Barling of the 12 of us (three children were born in Ft. Smith hospitals.) Then each of us she had the story of our lives. It was a story of alcoholic families and hurting children, and the longing for love and acceptance. We wept together. Because of David and Lorrie our hearts were tender to all the stories. Each had not known the other story. We drew closer in bonds of love and caring. And when they went home we promised to do it again. There were hugs all around. One man said “I told my wife to call up someone to come over and visit, and we didn’t know anyone to call.” I said “call us, will come.” They were so lonely, so needy just for friendship.

Thank you Lord, for all the experiences of our life that prepared us for this. Without the agony of alcoholism in our family, and of divorces and step grandchildren we would have had no idea of the agony these young people have been through. Three of the young couples have gone through divorce and the agony of that.

Lord, I pray you will use Al and me here in this place however you will. Amen

Thank you Lord. For David and Lorrie, for they have taught me to have compassion on those that hurt to the agony of alcoholism.

Thank you Lord, Ferdinand and Joan for they have taught me much about loving and caring for children.

Thank you God for Paul and Linda, for they have taught me much about giving themselves to help the poor and needy.

Thank you God, from my wonderful, lovely grandchildren so they are love! Amen.

The end.


This is the end of sybel’s memories for 1991, her first year back in Arkansas. I will continue in the future to relate other stories and memories of Sybil.


Sybel’s Memories December 6,1991

20 Feb

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor. All week there have been stories about where people were when it happened.. Well, those of us who are 40 or over were somewhere. I remember it was Sunday and my sisters and I had gone to Bailey Hill Baptist Church to practice for the Christmas program. I was 16, still schoolgirl. As we sat and laughed and talked and waited for the leader to begin, our pastor Al G Escott came in and told us the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I remember the shock! That day our whole world changed. We went home and told daddy and mama and they put the radio on so we could listen to the horror of it all.

The Army came to Camp Chaffee, the sixth armored the 14th armored and finally the 16th armored. They all came to train, to flood our town with uniforms, crowd our houses and apartments, worship in our churches, and drive their jeeps up and down our highways.

There were military parades on Garrison Avenue complete with guns, tanks, jeeps, and marching soldiers. They transformed our sleepy Western city into a military showplace.

“Louise on the ball” was the theme of an army store here and all the GIs who trained here knew about “Louise.”

Because of World War II Al was sent to train at Fort Chaffee. Because he was a Christian he went to church regularly. Because he went to church, we met. And that truly changed my life, because we loved each other enough to marry, and I loved him enough to go to Maine and live happily for 46 years.

Sybel’s Memories December 4, 1991

19 Feb

The year is almost over and what an exciting and stressful time it has been. I have been having some at tachycardia spells, first I have had in years. It is the stress.

Paul, Linda, Amy, Jon and Ben came for Thanksgiving. What a blessing! And what fun to have them as guests in our new home.

Our family, about 40 of us, met in the United auto workers union hall. Doris, Lorene and I went on Wednesday and set up tables and chairs and swept the floor. We put sheets on the tables for tablecloths, and use autumn centerpieces and gourds and leaves. It looks really pretty.

We had 10 foot table just to the food, plus a 4 x 4′ table just for the desserts. Wow!
Turkey, and then barbecue, broccoli casserole, broccoli cornbread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, bread, roles and I forget what else. Pies, cakes, pumpkin roll, pecan tarts and fudge made with black walnuts. Paul brought me two sacks of black walnuts. Ben said he had to gather them. And they brought a bowl full of pecans.

After we ate until we were stuffed we had music. Ruthie sang, Mary sang, Vera sang. Even Iva sang Mairsey Doats. Paul and Linda with their kids sang. Then we all told jokes and laughed and talked. Paul played his guitar for a sing-along. At last we sang” Allel” . With one side standing up on the alleluisas and the other side standing up on the praise the Lord. It all ended in the gale of laughter.

I thought of Thanksgiving last year when David in Dan’s families along with Al and me were up at  David’s house in Appleton. Miranda made menus for us, rolled up and tied with a ribbon and David read to us from a silly book is boys and give them about “what dads are like.” The big boys ate in the rumpus room downstairs while we ate in the dining room Lori’s mother was there to. The small children ate at a small table in the dining room. Later Tina came and brought  Mathews’s baby, baby Miranda our first great grandchild. That was the first time Dan and Joan had seen her.

On Friday after Thanksgiving Paul and Linda took Amy up to silo on springs to Jon Brown University. Maybe she’ll go there and we’ll get to see her a lot. Now

We have been very lucky to be able to see all our grandchildren a lot as they grew up. Even as Paul moved away we arrange to see the kids quite frequently. Once Amy and Jon stayed with us all summer and Linda was sick. And in Maine we had frequent contact with the others. We tried to make our house a place where our grandchildren could come and meet each other and play together, so that they would have a strong sense of family, of family gatherings and good times, as I remember from my childhood with my cousins.

I think that we’ve succeeded, when I see Amy, abe, and Pat feel really close to each other. Jon and Chris played together, and all the daddies and mamas and Poppa together with the kids they play basketball in our driveway all went to the North school to play softball together I remember one day the kids came home so excited because Jon struck papa out. No grandchild never done that before. Papa told me it was easy.

I remember Papa arm wrestling with the grandsons as they grew up in fact, I believe Dan told Chris that when he could beat Papa Arm wrestling, he could stay out all night. Chris still can’t stay out all night!

I remember Papa playing ping-pong with Benji at the shore Benji beat. But when Jason or Dan played Papa that was a different story. Papa beat.

I remember the good times our family had together once on Chris’s birthday we went to dan’s and they had a sliding party at the golf course so Papa and I took turns sliding down the hill in the deep snow and turning over a snow bank

I remember a special “wingding” at the red Apple in the New Hampshire when we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with Doug and Margie (Al’s brother and his wife) celebrating their 40th also and Joe and Barb celebrating their 35th what a wonderful time we had for the weekend as we feasted and cut the wedding cake as the grandchildren rehearsed and put on a show force that night. Tears ran down my cheeks and my heart swelled with pride.

We played games in visited and enjoyed each other being together what wonderful children and grandchildren we have.

I remember going to the lobster Festival parade so many times with them Paul was Jonah and the huge whale one year, the boys marched with the Rockland high school bands several times. Friends of ours were queen candidates, and last year Patrick and Davey were in King Neptune’s court, nearly every year we had children and grandchildren with us at the parade.

One year I bought several tops in the Baptist bookstore I gave them to the grandsons and Amy, Abe and Pat sat down on the sidewalk and spun that tops while the crowd went around them on both sides A photographer stopped to take that picture. They were five years old then.

Sybel’s Memories November 14, 1991

18 Feb

Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits. Bless the Lord O my soul, bless his holy name.

The driver’s license test was taken and passed. We have our new Arkansas driver’s licenses.

Yesterday we were planting crêpe myrtle, forsythia and lilac shrubs that we bought. They brought memories of home in Maine. We have had lilacs in our yard all our married life, and forsythia for the last 30 years. The man from the Fort Smith garden center asked Al how he liked living here, and I heard him say “I love it here!”

While we were planting Jo Jean came by, pushing the carriage with the twins hanging on the sides. Nothing would do but they should stop and watch papa plant. They were too busy little girls. Al took them to the garage to get a rake and hoe so they could rake the dirt smooth. They said “Canna we go inna the house?” And Jo said “no, we have to go home.” Papa promised they could come on a rainy day and go in the house. I gave them cookies to eat on the way home.

God is good. We have no grandchildren here, and they have no grandparents around either. Jo is lonely to. Dennis has been in the field doing “wargames” at Chaffee and not able to come home at night for two weeks. Like me, she finds people here already have their friends.

I told her I found that at West Rockport. So I made friends with other new people that came, not that people weren’t friendly, they were, but most of them were interrelated or had gone to school together. So my friends were the Whitesell’s, the Rackliffes’s, the van Barneveld’s and Ruth Farley. All newcomers.

Jo is thrilled. The house next door to her has been rented. The movers have come and there is a bicycle with a child seat on it, and there are Tennessee plates on the car. Jo and Dennis have bikes with child seats on the. Maybe we can watch baby Melinda so they can ride together.

Lisa, across the street, is jobhunting and her two little boys will have to go to daycare. These little boys are in the window a lot and waved to us every time we go out.

Lord here I am. Use me however you will in my community. Thank you for our new friends. Amen.

Sybel’s Memories November 12, 1991

17 Feb

In how excellent is thy name o Lord. My heart praises you for you are my light and my salvation.

Today I invited Lisa files and her sons Jason and Cody to my house for coffee. I also asked Joe Ray Roy from K St. and her 3 girls.  Lisa moved here October 1 from South Carolina and Joe moved here in May from Alaska. Both are home all day with small children and are bored and lonely.

I relate to that. When we did in terms of our boys were preschoolers I was very lonely. I told Al some weeks went by and the only person I saw besides my family was a clerk at the grocery store and the paper boy. I look forward to the days I packed up the boys and took the bus to Rockland to spend the day with Blanche on Muriel. Or the day they took the bus to spend the day with me. Funny, I am always nervous when I am  having company. It would be easier not to have any. My stomach knots up and my hands tremble. Once a company arrives I’m okay. When I see how eager People are for friendship and fellowship I know it is worth it all.

Al was of two minds whether to say home or go to the center. He decided to stay home . The little kids loved him. They crawl all over him and looked at brooks and sat nearly all morning in his lap. There was Jason, 3 1/2, Cody 15 months, Alisha and Virginia three-year-old Indian twins that Joe and Roy adopted in Alaska . We kept  Baby Melinda in the kitchen and each got a chance to hold her.

Al showed Alisha and Virginia his Indian picture when they visited Sunday, and today they wanted to see it again. They kiss it every time they come to visit. Joe brought me a bag of toys to keep for  the kids to play with because I left mine in Maine.

Today we took our written test driver’s license and I failed.
Al passed! I missed the distances mostly so I will take it again tomorrow.

I remember the first car Al and I had. A 1931 Plymouth. What a thrill!  Al got his driver’s license but I just had a permit he never seemed to have time to take me out to drive, so I got Ruth Wooster and May Newbert to take me out. I remember one day Al was shaving and I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub watching him. I said “I’m going to send into my drivers test because my permit is almost up.” Al said “you are not ready. You won’t pass it!”

I bullied up and said “I don’t care if I’m ready or not, I’m going to try!”

So he said “okay but you have to get a lot more practice.” So then he started taking me out more I won’t mention the time I took the car to fast and nearly had a fire hydrant and scared  the boys half to the death. I was so nervous when I took my test, but I passed. Al was afraid if I got my drivers license I would never stay home. Well, with one car needed for transportation to work I never did much running around. I never was one to get in the car and ride around aimlessly.

So here I am 35 years later, taking the test. Thank you Lord for 35 years of safe driving… From Maine to California, even though I don’t know how many feet from an approaching car I need to dim the headlights. Thank you also that I don’t have to take another road test. Al said he even he is glad he didn’t have to do that.

Sybel’s Memories November 9,1991

16 Feb

This is been a hectic 12 days. The movers came, the furniture van came, all on Tuesday, and we got the furniture set up and in place. Then followed days of unpacking boxes and putting things away.There was the telephone, electric and water companies to notify.

Two or three days Al spent putting together furniture to our house our TV and video players and one to house our record player and radio and we put the boat grampy Mills built on top of that one.

They were days of going from store to store to get kitchen supplies, groceries, air conditioner filters and picture hangers.

One day it got a bit much for me and I had two panic attacks. My heart pounded and I felt like I was going to faint or throw up. Once was in venture when we were buying brooms and mops and such, and once in the grocery store when I had to wait for my check to be approved. I came home and laid on the floor until it went away Al put the groceries away. We’ve tried to slow down some, but I don’t know when to say “stop”, Al says “I quit”, that’s all I’m going to do today and he quits. Smart man. I grew up on the old adage “man may work from Son to son but a woman’s work is never done.” Al has tried for 46 years to teach me to pace myself, that what doesn’t get done today doesn’t have to be done right away!

Two days this week we spent buying a washer and dryer and installing them. Then it took half a day to get the washing and drying done. Today I am washing and drying again, four loads, some of it bedding just unpacked and left in the garage. After this I plan to do one load when the basket is full and not wait a week.

Thank you Lord, that the washer and dryer are right here in the kitchen, handy. No stairs to climb up and down for each load, and no clothes basket to carry upstairs.

On Saturday, November 2 we had an open house for the Butler family. Only 14 came but all were invited. And Friday night November 8 we had our gang here. Charlie and his wife Doris, my sister Vera and her husband Buddy, my sister Iva and her husband Orville, after that we ate. My sister Lorene Nelke was invited but she had company and couldn’t come. We cleared the table, set out coasters and coax and played “chicken foot dominoes.” We had a wild time, laughing and joking and teasing. Orville was a bit reluctant to play so he watched until he got the hang of it and then he joined in also. It was 11 when we finally called a halt. Toby came out at 930 and meowed loudly that it was bedtime. He protested so long that I shut them in the bedroom!

Thursday the TV cabling man came and set us up with the TV in the living room and bedroom also a connection on the patio which one we never use. He was entranced with Doug’s bird carvings which have been displayed on the mantle and he stayed a while to talk.

I met a gal at 806 J St. across the street from us, and her husband Kurt, two little boys, Jason and Cody, from North Carolina I invited them to church with us and she acted like she might come.

Al had an eye checkup November 8 with Dr. Felker he said he saw some beginning of deterioration in his eye and he needed to watch it. That brings up the specter of blindness again. We will do the best we can to take care of it and leave the rest of the Lord.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are playing football this afternoon and I need to go help Al watch them.

I got my library card. All is well!

Sybel’s Memories October 21, 1991 continued

11 Feb

She said “you are going to be operated on.” I lay there in bed after she left and I knew I was dying, else they would have waited till morning. I felt such immense peace. I felt the presence of the Lord in my room. I felt if I just put out my hand I could just step over Jordan with my hand in his. It was so real to me

When Al got there I asked “what are they going to do to me?” He had been briefed by the doctors though I had not seen them.

“They are going to cut a hole in your side so you can go to the bathroom that way, “thus I was prepared for ostomy surgery. I never had heard of it before and had no idea what it was. Then as I held his hands I told him “I am not afraid. Whatever happens, I am not afraid” and I wasn’t. Once during those weeks I had to undergo emergency surgery again and Al didn’t get there before I went to surgery Rev. Bob Bell, a friend of ours, was there and walked down the hall with me beside my stretcher I asked them to pray for Al because I knew he was coming and I was afraid he might be speeding and get into an accident it was about 90 miles from Thomas in the Portland. Her

I remember the next morning after the first surgery when I first woke up in special care and look down at thick ugly, rubber bag glued to my side. I cried. I remember when I told the nurse I don’t want my husband to see me like this we always been naked and unashamed of each other.
She answered “if he really loves you he won’t mind”.

One morning I woke up to see to doctors at the foot of my bed I heard my doctor say, “she was very low last night, we almost lost her, but she still here!” I open my eyes and said “they won’t leave you alone any longer have to die,” and they laughed, and my doctor squeezed my toes.

I has surgery four times that summer, innumerable transfusions, and three times I get up to lend to walk again, ending back in surgery.

For a while I was totally absorbed in pain and fighting to live. One day a crib was pushed in by my door carrying a small child on this with the operating room. I started to cry and I said to the nurse “I had three little boys. Not long ago I follow the crib down the hall of a hospital as my son Paul had eye surgery.” Those first thing that broke through my wall of pain.

Marjorie Mills, Muriel Thurston, and Blanche Gardner took care of my three boys many, many times that year while Al came to see me. I owe them a debt of gratitude I can never repay. The hospital wouldn’t allow the boys in to see me but one Sunday afternoon Al brought them and they sneaked in. I was sitting on the side of my bed and when they came to the door I slid down off the bed to go to them and my legs crumpled island down on the floor, and had to be lifted backup. I remember that Paul, who was about seven, had his shoes untied and it seemed all the nurses wanted to be the ones to tie his shoes. Oh how wonderful my boys looked to me that day!

It was a hard time for all of us, for Al, never knowing from one visit to the next if I would survive. For the boys, so young, caught up in the drama and tries you they could understand. Paragraph David told me years later that he was sitting in the school steps crying when the teacher came out to comfort him.

Before I forget I want to tell some more about my childhood in Oklahoma. This let me say everyone was poor like us. And even though we had a few of this world’s goods we were happy family and had lots of good times since. Since there was no TV, and we had no books, newspapers and radio, we made our own entertainment.

I remember one night several neighbors gathered in our yard, sitting around in the grass, laughing and talking and telling stories. We kids and their kids played hide and seek as it began to get dark we ran laughed and played and soon the fireflies came out as it began to get dark. We ran and laughed and played and soon the fireflies came out as it began to get dark mama gave us some glass jars and with caught fireflies and put them in the jar to watch and blink on and off.

When company came they were always welcome. There was laughter and teasing and storytelling. My dad was very good at the brief anecdote with a punch line.

Although we had a few store-bought toys we had plenty of things to play with. Script that he made us a tire swing in a big tree. He made us a flying Jenny, which was a long board with cross pieces near each end like a seesaw and it was mounted on a big stump of a long spike. We kids got on the Jenny and daddy push us around and around and then let go and we all whirl around until “the old cat died.”.

He made us sticks with cross pieces near the end and found some old rusty barrel hoops. The trick was to start role in the hoop and chase it with his stick and keep it rolling and see who could only hope the farthest.

He mane us stilts to walk on, and tin cans cells. He played ball with us, and taught us to play one eyed cat which was a ball game played with a flat board for bad a rubber ball and room to Mac on some basis. Any number could play as long as you had a picture in the better. After that you could have batter, first and second base, and all the rest were outfielders.

The pitcher pitch to the batter and when he was out on our on-base the catcher moved up to be the hitter and the pitcher moved on as the catcher and the first basin became the pitcher and on until all of us have had a chance to bat. We never had enough the two teams, so that worked out fine for us. With six kids in our family and several neighbors friends we always had someone to play with.

Yesterday were held to my sister Ida’s house after we ate out at Peking Palace, a lovely place to have a birthday supper. Orville gave me a sack of  hickory nuts that he and Iva picked up at the Nancy’s in Tennessee.

Mama and ask, and Ms. Higgins and her kids when hickory now hunting in the hills there home and Quentin. We had tow sacks and we travel through the woods and searched in the leaves under the hickory trees for the nuts. As usual it was a holiday spirit that we gathered nuts.

The nuts were stored in the toe sac in the smokehouse in the back of our house that was where we cracked are hickory nuts with as hammer on another rock many times mama sent us to crack nuts when she wanted some for cooking.