Monday, September 22, 2008
I guess it's time for the male side of the family to be heard from.
My son was born in 1960. We were very happy now that we had one of each. It just seemed right. You know how newborns' features change so quickly day to day at first. As we were leaving the hospital, me in the wheelchair holding the baby, and Ralph walking beside us, a nurse saw us and started laughing. She said, "Well, there's no doubt whose baby that is!" It was so true. His little face was the picture of his father's.
A month later we took him down to Pennsylvania to meet his Grandmother. We never had any trouble traveling with the children, and we were frequently on the road. Joe always slept the whole time in the car. There was no carseat requirement for children back then, which may have been a good thing for us, having three in three years. Where would we have put them all?
Here they are a few months later, getting ready for Halloween.
We didn't try to put Joe into a costume, but we gave him a Robinhood hat. Even that didn't stay on very long. He wasn't very tolerant of such things. He was perpetual motion. His sister loved dressing up, so she became the little Dutch girl.
I don't think we ever bought costumes. I always managed to put something together. Of course, in 1960 they were too little to care what they wore. And we never bought a TV until Ruth was five, and her kindergarten teacher asked that they watch certain programs, so they didn't ask to be dressed like any cartoon characters
By this time, my mother was living in Delaware, keeping house for her brother, whose wife had died. We visited them on the farm frequently.
Joe was always Daddy's boy. After all, he had all those sisters, and me, to contend with, so I guess that was pretty natural. Please excuse the informality of the dress in this photo. I had to include it because I love the way they are just enjoying one another so much.
Have to show you this one. Our neighbors had a kiddie pool in their yard. This is Joe and Ruth and a couple of friends. My neighbor, Pat, and I were sitting in lawn chairs on the other side of the pool, chatting. How quickly things can happen, and how important it is to watch your children every minute! We thought we were doing that. We must have taken our eyes off them for a few seconds, because when I looked up, Joe had gone missing. Thank heaven, it was only a few seconds. He was floating, face down in the pool. The little girl and boy you see there, were just staring at him, never saying a word. Joe was fine, and wanted to get back in. I don't remember where Ruth was, but she wasn't saying anything either if she knew about it.
Joe was the happiest little kid I ever knew. Nothing bothered him much. On a few occasions he did throw a temper tantrum - which was always a surprise and seemed all the worse because it happened so seldom. Mostly he was just happy-go-lucky. He was never any trouble. He even took naps without a fuss. In fact, he would stop playing sometimes and announce that he was tired, and he'd go to bed. As he got a little older, he kind of drove me crazy being so good. We told the children not to leave the yard without telling us where they were going. He would go a step farther, and run home to tell me he was going to Tony's house when he had been playing at Nickie's house. Tony and Nickie lived next door to one another, a few door away from us. I could see their yards from our house. He never gave me any trouble - until after he graduated high school.
This is a picture of all four of the children in 1971. Kitty is sitting in "the Trojan Horse", which was given to Ruth on her first birthday, and saw hard use by all four. It got its name because one of them (Ruth, I think) at some point was in a school play, and they needed a horse for the little soldiers to drag across the stage. At present, it is in Joe's tool shed, waiting for re-painting after a little repair. But I don't know when Joe will get to it. He's a pretty busy guy. - Or maybe he's gone fishing. This is the one picture you don't want to click to enlarge. It's so old and beat up that enlarging only makes it worse.
Joe is very much like his dad in so many ways. I am so proud of him for more reasons than I can express. He is definitely one of the Good Guys in this world. Ralph would be very proud to see what his son has become. And why shouldn't he be like that? Ralph taught him just about everything he knew, and showed him how to live.
I wish that I could show you pictures of my handsome son as an adult, with his wife and step-children, and even his grandson. (I guess that makes me a step-greatgrandmom) But Joe does not trust the internet, and has asked that none of us put him or his family in our blogs, so I can't do that. The closest I can come is this picture taken in 1974. It's a pretty awful photo, taken by a neighbor with an old Polaroid camera. It was a rush job because at the last minute, Kitty told us her kindergarten assignment was to have a picture of her whole family, so we dragged out the kids and the dog (He's standing on hind feet, in front of me), all of whom were less than willing. Rita's hiding behind Ruth because her clothes weren't deemed suitable or something. But it's the last picture of all of us together, and for that reason, one that I love.