Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Can I just say how shitty it is when your elderly parents are in crisis and you have to jump in and coordinate care for them, schedule doc appts., clean their home and do their laundry and make their meals?  I know many of you have gone through this yourself. 

How can this mess be managed in a better way?  I have no answers.  I just want some social services support to do the heavy lifting. 

My dad's heart is giving out.  He can no longer to the physical work of caring for mom.  This is difficult for so many reasons, the main one being that he has been "in charge" for decades and has trouble letting anyone else be in charge.  He was scared enough after his hospital stay to accept in home support and care for mother.  Even someone to be there overnight to help mother to the bathroom.  That's BIG for my dad.

They have health insurance to cover this care.  They planned ahead.  They have resources to pay for caregivers even if they didn't have insurance.  Smart and lucky.

I love them so much, and have been very worried about dad dying.  My husband is concerned about my health when I am helping them and wants me to back away now that we've arranged for caregivers.  He's right.  After spending the entire weekend plus taking care of mom, my blood sugars and sky high and I feel like road kill.

And there are people all over the land who are doing the same, and more, for their elderly parents.  For their disabled children, or other relative.  I'm not made of very sturdy stuff, me thinks.  I'm laid low by the tasks demanded of me.  I don't know how anybody does it.

In the middle of all of this, we sold our beautiful home on Sunday.  It went on the market Thursday.  We are now able to move to University Retirement Community (URC).  I'm thinking of renaming it Universal Rastafarian Consciousness.  Better than "Old Folks Home" or "The Home" or whatever.  Better, I suppose than some names for care facilities, like "Sunset Villas" or "The Last Fucking Place You Will Ever Live."

I cannot comprehend living in one place for the next couple of decades.  It will be a wholly new experience for me.  No doubt I will encounter myself again and again while there, coming to terms with this arrangement.  No doubt I shall share my experience with you, dear Reader.  Hopefully, and almost certainly, I will find abundant humor in my situation.

Please stay tuned....

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Ancestors - final chapter of Aunt Lois' Accounts

Neither the children nor I had been near a railroad nor a store since we went out in April of 1914.  When Clyde got home he felt somewhat better.

Clyde's uncle and aunt, both dentist in Sioux City had urged me to come to them to have my dental work done.  Aunt Clara did children.  I was all ready when Clyde got home, so he took Mildred and me to the train right away.  Uncle Will did my work and I spent two or three hours every day in his dental chair.  They were taking care of their two little grandchildren, so had a good baby sitter who also took care of Mildred while I had to leave for my appointments.  It was very hot in the city, but after dinner Uncle Will took us all for a ride in his big Cadillac to cool off.  Both he and Aunt Clara were just wonderful to me and my baby, but as soon as my work was finished I felt that I must go down to Kansas and get Ruth and Richard and take them home.

The children were so glad to see me -- they had never been away from us for so long and seemed to me to have grown in the month that they had been with their grandparents.

Grandpa Decided to go home with me, which was a pleasant surprise.  Clyde had been lonesome while we were gone and didn't seem at all well.  He and his father did a lot of talking and I knew they were discussing perhaps selling our home, cattle and all.  It had taken so much work and planning to get where we were that I could hardly bear to think of leaving it now.  But our country was into the war, and beef cattle were higher now than they ever had been.  We had several offers for our section as soon as people heard that we were thinking of selling.

That fall is kind of a blur to me.  I think that when one survives something that hurts badly, he or she tends to try to forget.  That place had meant our own home and independence to me and I loved it.  First we sold the cattle, then the horses.  I so hated to see the little grey team that Clyde bought the year before we were married, leave the place.  They seemed to know they were leaving when I went out to tell them good-bye.  Clyde hated to part with Chap, his good saddle horse.  We even sold our house goods.   But we did keep Beauty.  Clyde crated her and shipped her, express, to his father, who was to care for her until we got back home.  I don't like to remember how I felt, leaving that place in the Grant car that Clyde had bought.  We stopped at Grand Island for a day or so to visit the Corls and Rosses, who were busy with their new "Basket Grocery Stores."  I bought a few clothes while there and we went to our first good picture show -- "The Birth of a Nation."

I had decided to go back to Illinois to visit my parents and sister who had recently moved back there.  It was really like going home to me, for I had spent my grade school years in a suburb of Peoria, Illinois.  My folks were on a farm across the Illinois river from Peoria and my sister and her family in the little town of Washington, 10 miles east.

The Breakup of the Family

Clyde was tired and thin when we got back to Kansas, but seemed happy to be home where he was born and raised.  I went to visit my family very soon after returning to Kansas; Ruth went to the country school for a few weeks and got sort of regulated.  The teacher put her in the fifth grade and she did very well.  Her teacher thought she was a very bright little girl -- she was so interested in everything.

The new home in Marysville

Clyde came back at Christmas time to take us back home.  Oscar (Tara's note: my great grandfather, paternal side) and his family had moved to Marysville so there was an empty house for us. We had left the best of our furniture stored in the barn loft when we went out to the homestead so we didn't have to buy everything.  Clyde was much better and had promised his father that he would stay to him until they got the new house built that Grandma had wanted for so long.  It hadn't been very noticeable but as spring came on and the work on the new house was begun, Grandpa didn't seem as well as usual.  He tried to cover it up -- a mean cough had developed and he got tired so easily.  He was only 60 years old and had never been sick and wouldn't acknowledge that he was sick until the middle of the summer.  Clyde's sister had come home from her music teaching in Chicago to help plan the house and influenced her parents to build a much more elaborate house than they needed.  When it was finished Grandpa was much too ill to enjoy it.  He died two weeks after they moved in.  It was a hard blow to the family.  Pearle had a floral piece made for the funeral that symbolized the effect it had on the family.  It was in the form of a wheel with spokes but no hub in the center.

First Grandma decided to go home with Myra, the older half-sister of the other three.  Then Pearle went down to Kansas University to take a years work that she expected to use.  Oscar hadn't done too well with his garage in Marysville and decided to go to California where Ada's parents and sister had settled.  It left us to take care of the home and stock until the family members had time to decide what they wanted to do.  It really took two years, but they finally made up their minds to sell everything and each go his own way.

Clyde also had the automobile bug and wanted to try his hand at working on them.  I have always thought the the automobile ruined two well-trained farmers and stock men.  Neither one of them were geared to the tough competition of the city.  They had grown up in a sharing, uncompetitive life among relatives and friends.

We moved to Sioux City, Iowa, and Clyde went to work for a big Dodge dealer.  He handled men well and always was made foreman wherever he worked.

Clyde Ray Tilley
Graveside service for Clyde Ray Tilley, a resident of Portland for the past 40 years, will be at 1 p.m. Monday in Lincoln Memorial Park.  Mr. Tilley, born October 8, 1884, in Frankfort, and died June 17 in a local hospital.  He was retired from Billingsley Pontiac Co., where he had been body shop manager.

Lois Elizabeth Tilley
Born January 20, 1890 in Peoria, Illinois, was one of four children of Arthur and Nellie Patee.  The family moved to a farm in Kansas about 1896.  At 17 years of age Lois attended Teacher's Institute and for a year taught in a one room school house before marrying Cyde Tilley, the son of a neighboring farmer.

In 1914 they set out with two small children for a great and challenging adventure as homesteaders -- a rich source of many stories she wrote in later years.  They stayed for four years, one year more than required to prove their claim.

By 1922 there were four children, Ruth, Richard, Mildred and Frances.  They moved to Iowa, New Mexico, and finally to the Pacific Northwest where they remained.

Lois died January 10, 1987 and is survived by a son, Richard, and a daughter, Francis.  She was a loving grandmother of nine, great grandmother of thirteen and great-great grandmother of two.

Friday, February 16, 2018


What a difference a week makes!  An apartment came open for us and we have put our home on the market.  (Head spin)  The apartment is - gulp - across the hall from my parents.  It is a stop-gap move just until the floor plan we want comes open.  We've put in our bid for a corner place so we can have more natural light and two patios.  Those are highly desirable and limited, so by moving in, we move to the top of the wait list for one.

I had a good conversation with my folks about boundaries and avoiding conflicts (you know how it is when you're too close).  They are on the same page as us, and they want us to forge our own friendships among residents.  We'll have the occasional meal with them, but not required on a regular basis.

THIS IS JUST SO WEIRD.  Never would I have thought to move into a retirement community at age 60, but it makes so much sense in many ways, that we are forging ahead.  I'd be lying if I said it is not stressful: my blood sugars are up and I'm have respiratory problems.  We just have so much to do.  We must dispose of many items, some by yard sale, others by Internet sites.  It'll get done, I know.  I'm trying to not spin out, to stay present, but jeez Louise this is going to take some doing.

After all, this stress is better than the stress of being a homeless lady, right?  Too right.

Here's to new adventures with the man I love!  I feel lucky to have him in my life and he is most understanding about my current stress level.  He's feeling stress, too, he just doesn't have a panic disorder like I do.

We'll get 'er done, folks, yes we will.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Ancestors, Part 20 & 21

Our third Christmas was spent with the Corl family and Possum Ross.  Mrs. Ross (Rossie) the children called her, had been called back east to be with her daughter who was very ill.  Possum got us a real Christmas tree that year.  We drove up to their place the day before Christmas, which happened to be Sunday, so we stopped at the school house for Sunday school on the way to the Corls. We took the children's gifts and the xmas decorations my mother had sent the first year and spent a wonderful Christmas eve, and the next day together.  During the we had a beautiful white frost the decorated every building, every fencepost, even the ugly barbed wire.  I never had seen such a thick white frost before.  It just transformed everything.  Clyde had to go back home Christmas to take care of the animals, but came back early.  The children had a wonderful holiday and we had lots of music.  Christmas night the musicians played for a dance in Arthur.  I stayed with the kids and had a tooth-ache.  I had had a good deal of that ever since Mildred was born, but we were 45 miles from a dentist and it didn't seem possible to make the long trip.  Fortunately we didn't have much candy to promote the pain.  I had started out with such good teeth, but lack of dental care and probably not the proper good care during pregnancy.

Clyde bought a young pig each fall to feed and butcher soon after the holidays.  We made a smoke house out of a big box and smoked our Bacon and hams, made sausage.  We also made sauerkraut.  We had learned home to make craut from Clyde's mother.  It tasted especially good out there.

We named our pigs Tipperary from the wartime song.  The children always made pets of them and it was hard for them to lose them when we butchered.  I had to help with the dressing of the animal the first time we butchered, because Gene Wilson didn't show up when Clyde was ready for him.  A hog has to be scaled and scraped and after the processed is started, it has to proceed.

I didn't want the children to watch us and had them settled on the other side of the house, but we got so busy that I didn't see them watching.   When we finished, there they were, having cried while the watch the whole process, but not loud enough for us to to hear them.  Children on the farm have to learn some hard lessons.  I am surprised now that they seemed to forget them as they grew older.

Clyde often cam in on winter afternoons and and, "If you will stir up some doughnuts, I'll fry them" and while I fried the doughnuts, the children waited for the little round balls that were the holes.  We read a good many books.  Clyde like to read Zane Grey.  He hadn't read very much as a boy and I liked to have him do it.

Ruth learned to play my guitar that I never mastered.  She couldn't reach around the neck of the instrument, so she laid it flat in her lap and pressed the strings down in the right positions.  Clyde show the chords and she was able to play with  him.  We knew that she needed a piano at that age, but it wasn't possible at that time.  Clyde made a diagram of the key board of the piano, so she could learn the names and positions of notes.  By the time that we did get a piano she was really ready for a teacher.

This country was really into the war by the summer 1917. Grandpa wrote that the oldest grandson had enlisted in the navy and that government buyers had commandeered several of the big black walnut trees for the manufacture of gun stocks.  It wasn’t long until the army discovered our big mules. 

Clyde didn’t want to give them up, but finally did, so we had to buy a team of horses.  We were becoming more aware of what the war was doing to our country.  Prices were going up on everything and there was a grim shadow spreading over the entire country, even penetrating our isolated position.

Floyd Corl decided to go back to Grand Island, Neb., his original home, to go into the grocery business with his brother.  The Rosses also decided to move to Grand Island.  We had had an opportunity to buy a section of wet valley (land that was low enough to be covered with water in the spring but was dry by fall) and would cut hay enough for winter feed for about as many cattle as we planned to run for the next four or five years.

I had an uncle in Waterville, Kansas, who had money and whom I knew would loan us the cash to buy the section.  He even sent the money out to the Keystone bank, but the rancher suddenly changed his mind at the last minute; he found out that we were kinkaiders and he had been mad at the government for opening up the land to homesteaders, so he wouldn’t sell to us.  We had to send the money back to Uncle Will.  Clyde was so disappointed that it really made him sick, I think.  He didn’t try to get others to play music with him after the Corls and Rosses left in the early fall, and had lost weight so the first time he went to Keystone he went to a doctor who told him that though he might have T.B.  That really scared us.  T.B. was not controlled at that time and Clyde’s older sister Myra, had developed it several years before.  He decided to go back home to the doctors there that he knew and trusted.  I had been planning to go to Sioux City, Iowa to have my teeth taken care of so Clyde decided to take Ruth and Richard with him to stay with his folks.  He would find out what was the matter with him, come back to the sand hills alone, then I would go to Sioux City, have my work done, taking Mildred with me and go down to Frankfort, pick the children up and come back home.  That way one of us was there to take care of the stock all of the time

Friday, February 9, 2018


We've had the most glorious weather all week.  Balmy, sunshine and gentle breezes.  It's grand, but it's not right.

I have had a week of enjoying friends, getting out and about, eating at a new (for us) restaurant in Sacramento called "Mother."  It vegetarian and vegan, and the three of us were thrilled with our food.

The hubs and I are in motion to move within the next year into a retirement community.  So many reasons why, and yet I'm sad to leave this house that we have loved so much.  Yesterday I got out the hammock and my darling took a little snooze in it.  That hammock, under those trees, has been my 'happy place' for more than 3 years now.  It is perfect for reading, writing, and sleeping.  I've had the most delicious naps under those trees.  My grandson calls the hammock "the tree bed."  We won't have a place to hang it when we move.  I may decide to leave it with whatever new owners move into our house.  With a note, "Use liberally."

Aloha, friends.