Girardeau, Mo: Two story home (4 bedroom, 2 bath, full basement, coal heated house).
The house was/is on a corner lot of a busy
street on which a train traveled once a day or so. Cape
Girardeau is about 120 miles south of St. Louis Mo. and is on the
Mississippi River. You can read more about Cape
mom grew up in Bonne Terre, Mo., south of St. Louis. She came to
Cape to attend college after leaving a convent school in Arcadia,
Mo. She met my dad who grew up in Cape, and the rest is history. You
can read more about my mom and dad's family roots under OUR
HERITAGE (it opens a new window).
to grow up in a family with 3 brothers and 3 sisters, plus my
mother and father, I always liked being in a large family. I never
attended kindergarten as my older brothers and sisters did, but
attended Catholic grade school (St. Mary's Grade
School) and high
school (Notre Dame High
School), along with my brothers and
sisters. Girls had to wear dresses, and the school had no
uniforms. We were raised as practicing Catholics. My
brothers were altar boys and the girls were in the choir when we
were old enough. The
Catholic school backdrop and community integration of my childhood
was a disciplined and stabilizing factor of my foundational years.
In spite of down sides, to me it provided a foundation of a focus
on acknowledgement of God, ethics, integrity and discipline
- in conjunction with the upbringing by my parents.
When I was 8 years
old I asked my Mother to teach me to sew on her Necchi sewing
machine. She did! I was intently interested in sewing doll clothes
for my dolls, and learning to do it the right way. In time I was
becoming better and better. By the sixth grade I had made my first
dress - a denim shift (simple). By the seventh grade I was making
matched plaid outfits with box pleats and zippers and buttons. By
the time high school rolled around I was making many of my
dresses, tops and finally lined jackets and swimming suits. The $
for fabric I would earn by baby sitting. I am very thankful to my
mom for letting me use her sewing machine, monopolize the dining
room to lay out the fabric and cut the patterns. I loved to sew.
other love of my time was to draw and do crafts. When I was just
out of grade school the priest from the school and church I
attended asked me to draw a picture of the church so they could
publish it on the weekly church bulletin. So I did. Click on the
icon to see a larger picture.
asked me to reproduce the bishop's coat of arms on a stained wood
plaque. So I did. Then it was presented to the bishop in a
concelebrated mass in St. Mary's Cathedral. Click on the icon to
see a larger picture.
school I found myself designing covers for the musicals the school
produced, plus drawing for the school newspaper. I guess they
didn't have clip art like we have today. I also drew a picture of
a tree and entered it in the local art show the newspaper
sponsored. Someone actually bought it at the steep price that I
had put on it of 6 whole dollars - ha. Anyway, I may put a
separate art page on this web site at some time.
Scouting was very popular all through grade school. Because some
sacrificing souls were willing to be Girl Scout Leaders, I enjoyed
the camaraderie, structure, ethics and recreational benefits that
scouting offered. In the summer I attended Day Camps, and
occasionally we attended days or weeks at summer camps, sleeping
in tents or cabins. I particularly enjoyed crafts of all kinds. We
did a variety of things to earn as many badges as possible. From
time to time I enjoyed being the troop leader, as a new one was
voted on each month.
considered it very important to know how to swim. Every
summer all the kids in our family had to go to swimming lessons at
the public pool. That was when girls had to wear swim caps. Every
year I earned my card of completion and graduation to the next
level. Swimming was always a highlight of the summer months. I'm
thankful my mom had us learn.
all had to carry the responsibilities that my very ill mother
could not. So we weekly washed and changed the sheets on all the
beds in the house, cleaned both bathrooms once and twice, dusted
the furniture, swept, vacuumed, dusted, and mopped the floors,
ironed all the clothes (we had 2 irons and 2 ironing boards so it
would all get done in one day, which was every Tuesday after
school), laundry about 3 days a week, the usual tasks setting the
table, cleaning up, the dishes, etc. Plus the more oddball jobs of
washing the car, raking leaves, and so on and so forth. I'm
actually very thankful that we were made to carry out these jobs
became very sick with Hepatitis when I was in about the first or
second grade. She had been working part time for a doctor, mostly
from home, editing a medical publication. But it was from her
association with the doctor's office that she became sick. Over
the years to come, more and more health problems developed from
the hepatitis, including cirrhosis of the liver. She had to undergo about 3 surgeries, and one
in particular was quite major. For this one she had to go to St.
Louis as they completely rerouted some main arteries. She also had
95% of her stomach removed. In spite of it all, she had always
tried to do some healthy things. In the afternoons she would try
to take a walk down the street if she could. She did what she
could in meal preparation and household chores, having to leave
more and more to the rest of the family to accomplish. Later, I
can remember seeing her hauled away in an ambulance. There are
many sorrows that are better left unsaid as her condition
I was grown, married and 7 months pregnant with my
second child when my younger brother, Peter, was killed in an auto
accident. I was 24 and he would have been 23 in only one week. It
was a heart and gut-wrenching time for myself and the rest of the
family. I opted to not travel
from California to Mo. for the funeral as I felt it would be too emotionally upsetting, so as to risk
the health of my unborn child. The family and community were in
shock and much grief.
Mother passed away on Thanksgiving Day in a convalescent
home at the age of 57. She had been in the convalescent home for
some time, and slipped into a hepatic coma and on into eternity. I
attended her funeral on a very cold November day in Mo.