Saturday, February 25, 2012

"This is Central Lutheran Church. Can I help you?"

Back in approximately 1978 to 1980s I got a job at the downtown Mpls church, Central Lutheran. I was secretary to the Business Administrator, Clayton Spranger and I ran the information booth which was my office. Transients would come asking for money, meal tickets or clothes. We did what we could to help them. At that time the Curtis Hotel was still in existence so many times we would send them over there. They had 3 or 4 pastors that would come and go throughout the day. They would check in and out with me so that I could pass telephone messages for people looking for them. I enjoyed working there. I had my own little office, my lunch hours were spent enjoying the grand piano in the sanctuary, and because it was and still is a beautiful church the effect was very pleasing.
Clayton Spranger, my boss
When my boss would make deposits at the TCF bank and get free gifts back he would sometimes offer them to me. I remember once getting a radio with all kinds of CB bands and bells and whistles on it which probably is why even today I love to listen to far away stations, except now I live-stream them through the internet so I can go even farther than that radio sent me. I remember once shortly after I got married when an elderly lady called and wanted to donate a very large couch to the church. Clayton came to me later and asked if I wanted it since Michael and I were newly married with not alot of furniture to speak of. I asked him about the lady's desire to donate it to the church. He said it was firehouse red and would never fit in except maybe in a brothel. We took it. It was very comfortable and the color never bothered me in the least.
One lovely memory was when we got together once a month as a staff and had brunch in the kitchen. One of the pastors had his own recipe for pancake syrup (lemon juice, brown sugar and a banana mixed together) and we would spread it over our pancakes. Another memory was when the pastors found out that I was engaged to a Catholic boy. They tried to talk me out of it (in a very non-threatening way) and I had some fun with them about that but of course the rest is history and it will be 32 years come this April. Their happiness for me came in the form of a much needed vacuum cleaner as a wedding present from all of them. Eventually life moved on and I left that job to pursue other interests like raising kids, etc. but will always remember my time at Central.

Some of the staff with me

Thursday, February 16, 2012

retreat or re-treat

Haven't been on a womans retreat for quite awhile but was able to take some time this past weekend to enjoy the north woods on a retreat with a friend. Even though there was no snow to speak of there was lots of hot coffee, games and great down time playing a new game that I came to love and plan to buy called Qwirkle. It was too cold to take any long walks (10 degrees above 0)so we filled our time just enjoying our time away. They had a speaker who was pretty good even though I would rather curl up with a good book or stare at the lake front (how often can we do that at home??). Here some pics to show that snow never stops us from having a good time.
Indoor games like Qwerkle
Lots of fun painting fingernails!

Finished product!
A little broomball; after all we're Minnesotans! These were the young people that come from different church youth groups that help with cleaning and cooking around camp on various weekends. You didn't think I was out there, did ya!
The highlight; Saturday evening candlelight dinner.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's All In The Eyes

Thought I'd post a short note about my health which I don't think I've ever done. Had cataract surgery on both eyes. Yesterday was the 2nd surgery and it went well. I'm glad I don't have more than two eyes since it really isn't that pleasant and during the second surgery I think the anesthesia wore off because I started to feel him working on me. He kept saying "keep breathing, I'm almost done" I thought "are you kidding!!!!!!!" so I thought about being in labor and how we are suppose to breath. Made it through. Doc said in the postop visit I'm 20/40 which is legal for driving so I'm heading up to a retreat toward Alexandria MN tomorrow with a friend. Get some "readers" when my eyes totally heal in about 3 weeks. I've worn glasses since I was 11 yrs old so maybe get a new hairdo to complement my face without them.
(I'm not a cat person but couldn't resist posting this pic)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Growing Up on Xerxes

If you have ever watched the show Wonder Years it pretty much sums up what it‘s like to grow up in the 60s. Moms were more involved with “coffee clutches” rather than a job outside the home. Day care was basically non-existent and every afternoon you could hear the sound of mothers calling the kids in for not only dinner but lunch as well. There were no locks on doors, seatbelts, car seats or bike helmets. No bacitracin back then, only that terrible red stuff called Mecuricome (which had mercury in it!) that moms would splash on your knee when you skinned it. Every summer they tarred the alley behind my house and we all would go out their to autograph it with our thumb print. Outside of TV I never was in the house. I still don't enjoy TV that much. I'd rather be moving. Two of my favorite games as a kid were "Moonlight, Starlight, Hope to See the Ghost Tonight" which was a game we played in the dark of night where one person ran thru the neighborhood while we all tried to get back to someone's designated front step (the safe spot) before they were tagged (there were 14 children on my block including across the alley. It was great!) The other favorite was "Annie, Annie, Over" which consisted of someone throwing a red rubber ball over the house and then everyone running to the other side while the person hiding the ball under their shirt would tag someone. You didn't know who had caught it so you avoided being tagged by the group that had the ball thrown to them. Hard to explain but hopefully the game is played in heaven where I plan to play it again, It was THAT great.
Anyway, I was going thru some old snapshots (that’s what we called them back then) and thought I’d share a few choice ones.
The first one is of me in front of the house we bought, a little Cape-Cod job that my dad bought back in 1951 for $25,000. It was a block from Southdale which was just built. This one's from 1952. Don't know why the indian head-dress. I was a tom-boy from day one, I guess.
My folks bought us a dog shortly after moving in. His name was Smokey. He was never spayed so he would always run at night and then get caught by the dog catcher. My folks told the dog catcher they were tired of paying to get him back and to find a home for him. I never knew about it until the pound called and told me to let my folks know that they found a farm family to give him to. Maybe that's why I'm so sensitive around the care of dogs. He was a great dog and I miss him even today.
We had a cat too. She had 7 toes on eacxh front foot - a "mouser". My dad hated her because she would hide behind the furniture and then jump out and nail my dad in the ankles. For some reason she loved my brother though.
This was my little family out in front of the house.
Then there is the one when I'm leaving for Girl Scout camp with my sleeping bag and gigantic box suitcase. I remember the hat. It had feet on it and it said "don't tread on me" (my kind of humor, I guess).
My childhood consisted of numerous birthday parties just about every year complete with party hats, decorations and lunch with friends. Same as today except they were always held at the house and nothing elaborate. No Chuckie Cheese or McDonalds. Pin the Tail on the Donkey was definitely part of the fun.
I took dancking lessons for 9 years. This pic is of my brother and I (he only took for one year). I was 3 at the time and this was my first recital. I forced my mom to let me quit in 7th grade. Sometimes I regret that I did. Especially when I see the Nutcracker on TV.
Besides dancing I was in an accordian band (yes, they had those back then). Funny to think that my daughter Karen has two accordians.
The last two show the sign of the times. One is when my dad put me on top of his 53' Buick (kind of looks like "Doc" from the movie Cars) and the other one is me with my Betty Crocker Bake Set. No plastic back then! I'm wearing a Mickey Mouse Club sweatshirt. Besides some cartoons, Sky King and Rin Tin Tin life wasn't complete without seeing that show every afternoon. Btw, the table I'm sitting at is in my basement. I sort laundry on it. Life goes on, I guess.
We moved out of the neighborhood in 1964. To this day I don't know why. I don't even remember it happening but I will always cherish my growing up years on Xerxes.