Kinda Wordless Wednesday: Grandparents Were Young, Too

Kinda Wordless Wednesday: Grandparents Were Young, Too

It’s wordless, yes, but I have to say SOMETHING about it.

This picture is of my grandparents and my great uncle in 1947. They opened their jewelry store in Fort Valley in 1945. This picture was taken two years later.

My grandmother, Mimi, was my age in this picture. 36. She’s also very likely pregnant with my dad in this picture.

While I feel really old some days, this picture reminds me that it’s all relative. I never thought of my grandparents as being “my age” you know? But here they are.

You mean I have to do WHAT?

You mean I have to do WHAT?

Eight years ago, one of my very best friends in the whole wide universe and I were  pregnant at the same time.

She was much cuter, wearing her baby all in her tummy like a perfect little basketball.

I, however, was wearing mine all over. Like a damn muumuu. It’s was offensive. Seriously. Face, hips, butt, arms, butt, belly, butt…

Amy and I were born 6 weeks apart, me being the oldest. We celebrated birthdays together – including our first ones.

Amy: white dress with her hand in her mouth. Me: blue Holly Hobby looking dress (it's 1976, y'all)

Our babies would end up being born 7 weeks apart, her Meg being older than my Charlie.

They were destined to be together. We had big plans for the two of them. They would be in the same class at school, go to the prom together, go to Auburn or Georgia and get engaged. We would be related and it would be GREAT! But we all know how those plans got smashed to bits when Charlie died.

This story isn’t really about all that, though.

When Amy went into labor, she had a very easy one bitch thank goodness. Meg was born sometime in the morning, I don’t remember exactly when. Amy called me immediately. And I mean IMMEDIATELY. She was still being “fixed up” down there and all, too. THAT’s how good a friend she is. She’ll call me when her hooha’s getting stitched up. (This story’s also not about her girly parts, so get your mind back on the subject at hand.)

I was at work, standing by my mom’s desk with tears streaming down my face. My baby was kicking up a storm and I could hear the loudest, angriest, put-me-back-in-there cry from sweet little Meg. Amy told me about how fast it was, that they almost didn’t get to the hospital in time and all this stuff that I was so excited to hear (only to hate her for it 7 weeks later when I labored for nine hundred million hours with Charlie).

And then. Silence.

*chirp* *chirp* *chirp*

*chirp**chirp* *chirp*

I think she may have fallen asleep. I’m not sure, but I’d put my money on it. For about 30 seconds there was just silence. (Except Meg’s incessant screaming – I mean, it’s cold out there and she was naked and all)

Then Amy says to me, and I quote (because I will NEVER forget it in my life), “Oh my gosh, Jana, does this mean I have to take her home with me and take CARE of her forever?

I’m pretty sure at that point, Newt got the phone and the conversation was over. Obviously she wasn’t in her right mind!

For some reason this conversation hit me yesterday. The memories flooded back. I could hear her saying it to me and now, in hindsight, it’s a totally valid question.

We are trusted with such precious little lives. Lives that depend on us – emotionally, financially, physically. Lives that will be the future of this world. Lives that may find the cure for cancer. Lives that will probably be someone’s mother or father, spouse or life partner, sister or brother. These little lives will one day make the decision of what nursing home to put us in.

These lives will hopefully one day aim to be the same kind of parents they had growing up.

I hope one day Meg and Henry and their son Russ, remember growing up in loving families and when they think about it, a big smile gets plastered on their faces. I hope they want to be even better parents than we could ever dream of being. I hope they are still friends with each other, no matter where their lives take them.

I hope, above all else, that they all know how much they’re loved every single day.

********************************************

Spoiler Alert:

Amy DID in fact take Meg home. She was precious in all her fuzzy headed glory.

Meg, 4 months old. Newt and Amy, age undisclosed.

A few weeks after they brought home Meg, we brought home Charlie.

Charlie: 2 days old, May 2003

Less than two years after this, Henry came home with us.

Henry: 2 days old, Nov 2004

Three years after Meg was born, Newt & Amy brought Russ home from the hospital.

Newt & Russ

My parents and Amy’s parents have been friends for years. Amy and I have, too. Newt and Jason were added in there and became fast friends (even though they knew each other casually). Our families are more than likely complete (they ARE complete, but you never know what might happen) and our friendship is one that will last until the end of time.

We may not talk all the time or see each other every week, but our relationships will last until the sunsets of our lives.

I hope theirs will, too.

 

SOC Sunday: Handing Over the Keys

The five minute timer is set… uncut and unedited writing to commence.

Friday we handed over the keys. Jason and I drove to Warner Robins to sit in an attorney’s office and sign our house over to its new owners. This was the first time we had met them. Sue and Ray. What a lovely couple!

The closing was light and funny and OMG quick. Checks were passed around, signatures were scribbled, jokes were made, and we were done. The keys were passed.

We finished before Sue and Ray did. We headed to the bank (woohoo!!) and then met them at the house. Good thing they got there first because, well, we had no keys. We had offered to walk through the house and tell them about all the special little features that they may have been unaware of.

We showed them everything, chatted, learned more about them. They have been stationed in Utah for 18 years with the Air Force. He’s retired. Their two children are both military families and have served our country for years themselves. I got to thank them for doing what they do. He has a contractor job at the base and this will be “home” to them in their retirement. It’s in between their kids and will be convenient for all of them.

We got to meet one of their children and their family. We got to meet his (or her) brother. I can’t remember. A lovely family through and through. But the best part is that the house is no longer an Auburn-Georgia house, it’s an Auburn-Alabama house!!!!

As we left, keyless, we got hugs from all of them, like we were their family now. Sue looked at me and said, “We’ll take good care of your house and love it like you do.” And that is all I want. I want somebody to love it and take care of it. And I know they will.

*time’s up*

Want to join in for Stream of Consciousness Sunday? Head over to all.things.fadra to link up and get instructions.

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Wound Up But Sappy

Wound Up But Sappy

I’m slap full of anxiety. You know when you pull back one of those pull-back race cars to the point that it won’t pull-back anymore? You’re building up the energy for it to GO. Then you put it on the table and let go. That car zooms off and uses up all that energy as fast as it got it built up.

That’s how I feel. I feel like somebody has pulled me back as far as I can go and on Friday at 10am, they’ll let me go. But not until then. I have so much built up energy and anxiety about this closing it’s smothering me.

Nineteen months. For nineteen months we have had two housing payments. Jason was in St. Louis for 6 of those months. Then he moved to Atlanta. Then WE moved to Atlanta. The whole time paying for two households. And paying (somehow) on time. It’s been hard. Very hard. For all of us.

The closing will happen. The buyers are in town from Utah, doing their walk-through tomorrow and we’ll see them at the closing on Friday. At this point, it’s going to happen. I know that in my head but subconsciously I can’t help but be anxious about it all.

On top of that, the bottom line is that I’m going to miss our house. We spent so much time and energy building it.

We burned the land. Yes, I lit that fire and burned 10 acres of undergrowth.

We cleared the land

The house went up.

Henry was very helpful (3 months old)

Walls went up

Sheetrock was put in and prepped to paint

The stone was installed

Walls were painted and Scout helped out.

Porches, siding, windows and doors are installed

Cabinetry was installed

Appliances were installed, utilities were hooked up, final inspections were passed.

And then we moved in...

We celebrated birthdays and Christmases. We had parties and entertained. We gardened and had chickens. We laughed, we cried, we lived.

Snow. Feb 2010

For five years, this was our home.

But as the sun sets on this chapter in our lives, we realize that home isn’t sticks and bricks… it’s family and togetherness. Where the three of us are, that is where our home will forever be.

The picture that will live in my memory.

Something’s Been Missing

I think it hit me today why I’m not really feeling the holiday spirit. Until today, we had done NO shopping. None. Jason and I started and completed it in about 4 hours today while Henry was home with a sitter.

Sure, it’s been cold. And it’s even snowed!

Yes, I’ve been listening to Christmas music.

I’ve made a few Christmas-y recipes.

But something’s missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it until today.

And then it hit me.

I miss our jewelry store.

I miss selling people beautiful things for their loved ones and making other people’s holidays sparkly and bright.


For those of you who are new, my parents closed the jewelry store my grandparents started in 1945 earlier this year. They decided to retire. My dad has never known anything other than working in that store (it opened 2 years before he was born). My mom has worked there full time since the early 80’s (after my sister and I were in school). You can read more about the retirement here. I have worked every Christmas season since I was small. I worked when it was probably considered child labor just making bows, wrapping presents and just being an extra body in the store.

I worked in the store full-time from 2000 until Henry was born, only taking a few months off when Charlie was born and after he died. I think part of my sanity after his death was being back around people all the time. After Henry was born, I’ve still worked Christmases, getting babysitters and usually paying out more than I was making. But it was helping my parents and heck, I enjoyed it!

There’s something special about knowing that you helped someone pick out just the right item for their spouse, partner, daughter, son, mother, teacher or friend and that they would give it to them with pride. And knowing that the person receiving the gift would be so excited to have a Herbert Jewelers box under their tree.

It’s neat to think about the variety of customers who shopped with us. There were the ones who could walk in, find the right thing, decide to buy it and THEN ask how much it was – not blinking when you tell them it’s $6500. There were the ones who had scraped together $100 to spend and very very carefully chose the PERFECT item that meant something to both the giver and receiver. There was the son who had $20 in change who wanted a silver charm that said “I love you, Mom” on it because his mother meant the world to him. A few customers, even though they needed nothing else in this world, bought a little trinket to simply have a Herbert Jewelers box in the stocking. Every now and then, there was the older man or woman who knew this was their last Christmas and chose extremely special gifts for every member of their family. Those were always heartbreaking and you normally didn’t know that’s what they were doing until they died shortly after Christmas.

There are too many types of customers out there to describe… most of them good. Some, eh, notsomuch. But that’s just retail. When you work with the general public, things aren’t always rosy. But when you treat customers with respect, you tend to get respect in return. We’ve been very fortunate over the 65 years of our store’s history, that our customers have been very loyal and very respectful.

My parents, even though they haven’t said anything, have to be feeling out of sorts. Typically on this day, 6 days before Christmas, they would be at the store for 16-18 hours working to make sure everybody’s items were repaired, custom made, wrapped and ready to deliver. They would have worked all day on this Sunday, skipping one of the most beautiful church services to engrave a few more bracelets, charms or Jefferson cups. They would have been restocking the shelves and doing paperwork to be ready for the next morning.

But this year they are piddling. They are still in the store some, cleaning out 65 years of memories and uh, for lack of better terms, junk! My dad is preparing for surgery in January for prostate cancer. It’s probably good that he’s NOT in the store this holiday because the added stress may not be good for him and he’s just tired. (FYI: The cancer should be able to be taken care of with the surgery and no treatments should be needed… more on that later, but you can keep him and my mom in your thoughts and prayers)

We miss our customers. Well, I know I do. I miss the interaction, hearing what you’re getting your kids, where you’re traveling, what you’d love to get and how thankful you are to be here for another Christmas. I miss the excitement of selling the engagement ring to the nervous young man who is planning to pop the question at his girlfriend’s parents house on Christmas Eve. I miss those little kiddos who buy their mama a little trinket.

I mostly miss the excitement of Christmas Eve… where any man who walks in the door with a panicked look on his face will buy ANYTHING you put in front of him (typically in spite of the price).

Most of all, I miss the fact that being around people who are in the holiday spirit, tends to put others in the holiday spirit.

This week, I plan to channel all the energy from Herbert Jewelers Christmases past to get myself in the holiday spirit.

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