27 May 2013

In Memory of the Soldiers I Descend From




From the 1600’s until World War I, many of my grandfathers fought to establish this country or to fight for the freedom of others.  I am proud to descend from these men and wish to honor them on this Memorial Day.

King Philip’s War – June 1675 to April 1678

Stephen Hosmer of Connecticut and Massachusetts

Joseph Richardson of Massachusetts

Blaise Vinton of Massachusetts 

French and Indian War – 1754 to 1763

Samuel Colvin of Rhode Island

John Gay of Pennsylvania

Revolutionary War – April 1775 to Sept 1783

Peter Larrance of Virginia

Vincent Tapp of Virginia

Benjamin Sprake/Sprague of Massachusetts

Nicholas Sprake/Sprague of Massachusetts

David Dailey of New York

Thomas Joslin of Rhode Island

Jacob Stotts of Maryland

George Hitler of Pennsylvania

Abraham Vanhise of New Jersey

Peter Livengood of Pennsylvania but enlisted in Virginia

War of 1812 – June 1812 to February 1815

George Parker of Ohio

Benjamin Basye of Virginia

John Sprague of Ohio

Jacob Stotts of Ohio

Griffin Winstead of Virginia

William Winstead of Virginia

Joshua Thomas of Pennsylvania

Civil War - April 1861 to May 1865

David Ludington of Indiana, enlisted in Illinois under his friend Captain Buell

Joseph Hitler of Ohio

John Mason Lawrence of Virginia

World War I  -  July 1914 to November 1918

Glen David Watts of Indiana

World War II – September 1939 to September 1945

Especially in my thoughts today is my great uncle, Bob Watts of Indiana

02 May 2013

Thinking of My Grandmother, Marjorie May Watts, on the Anniversary of Her 93rd Birthday


Mom Mom and me at Wolf Lake, Hammond, IN, 1960's

Ever since my grandmother, Marjorie Watts, passed away in June 2007, I feel like a part of my soul went with her.  Mom Mom, as I called her, was my mom's mother.  We were so close that she used to say we were joined at the hip.  She was the one person who I could always look to for wisdom, for comfort and to help me pick up the pieces of any situation.  When I became an adult, she looked to me for the same comfort and love.

For her memorial service, we were asked to write about our memories of her.  I'd like to share with you my thoughts that I wrote about for that service.

 Mom Mom come in Goldy O Beel

I guess it’s all my fault, really.  I called her Mom Mom (pronounced Mum Mum) not Grandma because as tiny tike, I could not say Grandma.  Somehow, Mom Mom stuck and it stuck to my cousins Jimmy, Pam and Dawn and down to all of our kids, too. 

“Mom Mom come in Goldy O Beel!”  Visits from Mom Mom in her sassy gold Oldsmobile were akin to Batman pulling up in the Batmobile to me.  There was always going to be some great adventure: whisking me off for a “just us 2 girls” weekend at her home in Chicago, driving to LaPorte to see Grandma Romine or Valparaiso to see Uncle Bob and Aunt Marie, picking apples or berries in the country…..no matter what we did, we were going to have the best time. 

Like any good Super Hero, Mom Mom had her Trusty Sidekick: Perky, that sweet half German Shepard/half Collie with one ear that just refused to stand up.  Perky had her own swimming pool in the yard and yes, Mom Mom trained her to poop in an old coffee can. (I STILL tell people that story).  Perky knew that when she and Mom Mom visited our house, a treat was in store for her.  We’d open the door to our black Volkswagen Beetle, crank open that sunroof and Perky would jump in, stick her head out the sunroof and we were off to Dairy Queen to get Perky a small ice cream cone. The sight of Mom Mom holding the cone with Perky licking away made everyone at the DQ laugh. 

The two of us were sneaky on those weekends I stayed in Chicago with her. Sometimes I thought Mom Mom’s goal in life was to get everything for me my mom said I couldn’t have. (We won’t even get into the Marge vs. Linda Pierced Ears War now).  Between shopping sprees on one of those Saturdays, we dropped by her place to drop off some packages then went off “sneaking” again.  When we got back, there was Perky, chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing some more. Then, we saw the living room floor: 10 packs of Wrigley Spearmint Gum all carefully chewed by a certain canine, wrappers and all.  

Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge.
Mom Mom presented me with so many firsts in my life:  my first kitten, Buster, my first trip on a jet to Oakland to see Uncle Art and Aunt Miko, my first swim in the Pacific Ocean and my first trip to Disneyland.  Disneyland.  Mom Mom was probably in her mid-40’s at the time and I was 5 but we both turned into pre-kindergarteners there…  laughing and soaking it all in.  Small World was our ride.  We couldn’t get enough of it. 



Mom Mom and my's viewpoint from the Small World boats at Disneyland
Living in Los Angeles, Disneyland is a place we frequent often.  Each time I’ve been on Small World, I become that 5 year old again with her Grandma.  There’s not been a time I ride it, that I don’t think of Mom Mom and how it felt to ride with her.  I try to hide it from my family but each time, tears fill my eyes.  I don’t think I’ll ride Small World again. I just want to keep the memory of riding it with my Super Hero.