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    Toot's Roots A "short" account of my Missouri roots. 

LOCATION
Cape 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 HERE.

HERITAGE
My 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).

RELIGION/SCHOOL FOUNDATION
Privileged 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. 

"ACHIEVEMENTS"/INTERESTS:
Sewing
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.

Art
The 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.

Also, they 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.

In high 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
Girl 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.

SWIMMING
Mother 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.

FAMILY CHORES
We 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 well.

HARDSHIP
My Mother's Illness
Mother 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 deteriorated. 

My Brother's Death
1975
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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.

My Mother's Death
1977
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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. 


 

 

 

 

 

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   Location
   Heritage
   Religion/School
   Achievements:
    Sewing
    Art
   Scouting
   Swimming
   Chores
   Hardship/Sorrow:
    My Mother's Illness
    My Brother's Death
    My Mother's Death