Blog: Women...God Bless 'em! (Part I)

A loving ode to the female friends who helped me along the path of life.

The jarring cacophony that surrounded the Blog entitled "Men...God Bless 'em!" has subsided (if only in my mind); hence, it seems fitting, and the right time to heap more than faint and hardly damning praise on those unforgettable women who have (1) made indelible imprints upon my happily aging rites of passage and (2) sought to turn me away from that ever-beckoning, sometimes irresistible Primrose Path on my relevant and sometimes irreverent road to this day's maturity....intervention, always "in-ter-est-ing!"

To be sure, this is going to be the most fraught-filled (omission of names is ranked right up there with plagiarism and misuse of the comma) undertaking of any blogging material known to wordsmiths, but, for me, it has to be done...now! 

For those of you whose names are not included in this Blog of Revelations, rest assured it is only due to lack of Cyberspace, for you are legend.  For those of you who are a bit fearful to read on because your name may be included...what can I say!   It's what all Bloggers live for...emotional "pay back" on a level that casual conversation can't begin to touch, from the soul and by the seat of my blue jeans.

A Subway Footlong prior to a good "chick" movie can go just so far in repayment to those who were "there for me when I needed them" and, besides, this random act of acknowledging "feelings" may lean them toward being even more receptive to my cries of "Help!" in the days to come.   

Those longstanding individual slates of "indebtedness" will never be wiped clean but this is a start: hopefully, you will come to know and really like (as Sally Fields said so memorably years ago as she accepted the coveted "Oscar")...The Women! 

The "Tea/Coffee Cup Award" (in keeping with this season of tribute that surrounds us in the Hollywood area) or as it shall henceforth be called, The "T/CCA," is not bestowed lightly, is highly deserved, and acceptance speeches are eagerly anticipated in the form of "comments" at the end of this Blog, a requirement by arcadia.patch.com.  It is also called "building circulation" in the Cyberspace World.

Ok, let's do this...Seth, move over!


June Marie Wright (Johnson), now of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and I first met at a neighborhood potluck shortly after her birth on May 20, 1925.  I had previously made my appearance a month earlier and sharing that soft blanket on the floor would be typical of all the days of sharing and "crying over many a bottle of spilt milk" growing up in Buck Town, USA. 

If ever two little girls were "cloned" in a non-scientific way, we were.  Together from morn 'til dusk, the Kindergarten through the twelve grades of school, it was to June's house I ran when the news came over the radio that World War II was over and the brothers would be coming home! 

Along the way came the two who completed our "pack of four" - Shirley Woolsey (Chisman) (whose neighbors Art and Myrtle Wright - no relation to June) had a onery parrot on the front porch of their tiny grocery store on Birch Street) and Twila Parrot (Worthington) who was President of the Girls Athletic Association her senior year in high school and carpooled to nearby Carroll on the week-ends to jitterbug until curfew hours.  

Shirley, June and I lived vicariously on Twila's weekly renditions for many a month.  I did not become a better dancer, of course, but it finally dawned on me a couple of years ago that if I wanted to "dance"  I needed to just "do it"...which is why you are reading this Blog.

Fondest memory:  four teen-age girls, arm-in-arm, singing at a level that would not be called a "nuisance" by the local sheriff (my cousin) "Little Sir Echo" as we strolled by the local Beer Joint on Fourth Street, wending our way home from High School at four o'clock, Monday through Friday.  (I am sure someone sitting several hours on a comfortable bar stool knew it was time to head for home when he heard our lilting noise.) 

"How to Never Say Goodbye" is my Blog tribute to Janice Ruth Clithero (Williams) who became the dearest of friends long after High School, though we were both members of the Class of 1943 and in the same homeroom.  Life certainly does have a way of happening...she spiced up many a Class Reunion with a laugh that turned heads and a loving heart that made sure this "Agnes" smiles just at the very thought of her...

Previous Blogs have filled in the faithful reader on the workplace I entered right out of High School, Met.Life/Farm Management on Fourth Street across the alley from the Beer Joint.  (It's a small town!) 

Besides the $17.00 a week salary less taxes, their New York office delivered every Friday to my desk, I picked up friends who have lifted my spirit, fed me home-cooked meals during vacations, sent tons of cards and letters to my Arcadia address throughout the years and have never said, "I am telling you this for your own good, and you know how much I love you, right?"

Well, they have said that last part, which is why I am awarding them the "T/CCA," all but two posthumously.

Keeping me current with hometown news is Nelda (Mrs. Johnie) Ruhr's favorite extra-curricular activity from the kitchen table of her home on Palm, next to the County Fair Grounds and Sunnyside Park as you leave Atlantic going west on 10th Street.

When we have tea/coffee at that lace-covered table these days during a visit to Atlantic, Nelda and I will laugh and, yes, tear up a bit at those days when Iva Mae Chaffee (Auerbach), Louise Krogman, Dorothy Christensen (Cheney) (who happily replaced that stern Office Manager of another post), Ardythe Anderson  (Hanson) and I would sit at our desks, typing away for all the mud-caked-bootscooting Field Representatives, looking forward to the mid-morning donut-break at Conklin's Bakery on Main Street, across the alley from the Beer Joint and Met.Life/Farm Management.  The raised Twists were to die-for, and it is a habit I have yet to break!

Leah Mae Namanny of Marne (a village of 149, soaking wet) came into my life as the bride-to-be of Clifford Berry who sometimes rode his pony to country school alongside the Del who bravely began to share his last name with me in September of 1946.

Not the most important thing about Leah Mae, of course, but one attribute that does stand out about Leah Mae that made me covetous is this:  she loved taking pictures of their trips, immediately had them developed at the local drug store and promptly put them into Albums...names, dates, the whole ball of wax, and then shared them (my face muscles hardly twitched) when we dropped by for dinner and dessert every summer.  I so wanted Albums like Leah's...and no, I don't have them, yet. 

We had a standing date on our trips home and this went on for years:  the first Wednesday evening we were in Atlantic would be spent chatting over a most delicious chicken dinner at that place on the main road in Elk Horn, a Danish community just a few miles to the north of our hometown. You know the one...

Again...cards, letters, telephone calls during all these years since our move to the land of Disney and other award-winning movie-makers.  Cards, letters and telephone calls ceased on July 5, 2011...

If ever the coveted "Tea/Coffee Cup Awards" deserved to be rimmed with 24 carat gold, it would be these; and I am saying this, of my friends, because "you know how much I love you, right?"

These Women are the very essence of my CountryGal years.  Their friendships prepared me for a life that would become mine in January of 1948, one in which new friendships would be formed and forged, all based on what these precious ladies taught, lived and gave me for the first twenty-three years of my long life. 

Look around...I am betting you a donut that there are plenty of "T/CCA" awards you can hand out...or make up your own special "award" ... let me know, I am truly interested!

Soon, you will come to know the ladies who turned that CountryGal into this CityWoman, for better or worse. They live close by or in driving distance so I am choosing my words even more carefully than those above...all are precious in my sight, and I intend to make sure I am still in their Address Book or Facebook once this series of two is completed....I didn't fall off just ANY Turnip Truck you know!'

Til the next time, 


Update:  Bryan Cranston has been a bit busy these days, what with his televison series and making movies and bringing home an Oscar to Ben Affleck so, NO, I have not heard one word from him about that search for my missing uncle so long ago, like in 1802, but one day...he WILL call!  You have my word...

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