Friday, December 3, 2010

Janet's image in the mirror

Dealing with grieve during the holidays.

Grieving for the loss of loved ones is always an emotionally and painful condition but there is something about this time of year during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that brings it even more to the forefront.

When my wonderful wife Louise ( Bubba ) Jackson passed away in March of 1998 my daughter Martha, son-in-law Jimmy and granddaughter Jessica were living with us at the time. That year was tough on us but when Thanksgiving and Christmas were approaching it was even worse. So much so that we didn't even decorate or do any thing special for Christmas. As they say hindsight is 20-20 and looking back now I think that was a mistake.

Thanks giving and Christmas were Bubba's favorite holidays and I now believe she was probably disappointed that we didn't celebrate them.

As most of you know the Good Lord looked out for me and led me to meet my beautiful wife Joan. She also loves the holidays. Well lo and behold on Christmas Eve 2002 her beautiful daughter Janet, her son Christopher and Christopher's father Chris were going up to Apoka to spend Christmas Eve with the other grand parents, Marion and Glifford and coming back Christmas morning to spend Christmas with us. They stopped by the house to pick up some gifts. Janet who also loved Christmas was so excited and happy. As she was leaving, she said bye Mom & Joe, I love you, Merry Christmas, she gave us a kiss and one hour later she was dead due to a tragic accident on the Florida Turnpike.

These holidays are clearly some of the roughest times we can go through after losing people we love so much. The ways we deal with them are as individual as we are. In Joan's case the next Christmas after Janet's death I said to her I don't know how you do it , although I can't read your heart and mind you seem to be able to handle this time of the year very well. You seem to have the same enthusiasm for Christmas as you always have. She said Joe I still have you, I have another daughter, I have a grandson, I have other family and friends that I love very much and I can't let my loss cause me to drag every ones Christmas spirit down. She then said that Janet would be very upset with her if she let that happen, as she loved Christmas and every thing associated with it and would want us all to celebrate it has we always had.

Holidays can be sad, but think about the person you are mourning for and ask yourself how would they feel if you did not allow yourself to go on and continue to celebrate Christmas the same way you did when they were alive. In most cases I bet they would want you to enjoy family, friends and the joy of the season as you did when they were here.

I came across this old picture with Janet's image showing in the mirror and this is how I think it is now, her image is always with us, and she will only be having a good time if her family and friends are having a good time.

Janet we miss you so much and we love you dearly but in your honor we are going to celebrate just as if you were still with us, because we know that is what you would want us to do.

Take the time to view this video, it will also show you why you should continue to celebrate the holidays and not feel guilty about having fun.

Merry Christmas to all our dear family and friends, may you and yours have a wonderful Christmas filled with happiness and love.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nana & Papa's wonderful weekend with Carter and Griffin.

Wow, it was a wonderful weekend for sure. When Joan sent out the invitations to my birthday party she said no presents, just your  presence will be gift enough. But I got presents any way. One was a gift certificate from The Reef Grill, in Juno Beach, a great seafood place from great friends. Friday night is usually our date night so we used the certificate to go there. Their seafood is wonderful, so the weekend got off to a great start.

Saturday morning as has been the case the past few Saturday's we went to Carter's soccer game. We just love his games and he has been showing steady improvement week after week. The Saturday before he got hurt twice, took a soccer ball right flush to the face and also got kicked in the leg. We didn't know if he would be gun shy Saturday or not, but he played his best game ever and scored his first goal. He was so excited, but so was his rooting section, his Mommie, Nana, Papa Joe, Papa Bill, & Aunt Didi, his Dad had to work so he called him on the phone to tell him and also called Mimi, grandma Maynard, as she was working also.

Carter & Griffin came home with us after the game to spend the rest of the day, Saturday night, and most of the day Sunday. We all had a great time Saturday afternoon and evening.

Sunday morning after Nana fixed us all a wonderful breakfast we went to the park in North Palm Beach by the intercostal waterway. As you will see from the pictures we all had a great time, lots of fun and laughter. There was a cute little girl there with her Mom & Dad and she joined in with Cater & Griffin just like she knew them and they all had a lot of fun together.

And as the saying goes all good things have to come to and end and we met their Dad and he took them home. Papa & Nana were tired  but it was a good tired because of all the fun we had.

I must say for two 70 year olds, nan & Papa held our own with them, can't wait until we do it again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 18, 1940 until September 18, 2010, an amazing journey.

I wrote on my BLOG a little bit about my life in West Virginia and Maryland and said I was going to cover the Florida years. Well I have been in Florida for 37 years now and I just got overwhelmed with every thing that has happened just since I have been in Florida, add on the 33 years prior to moving to Florida and it is just to much to try to put in a BLOG.

As any one that has reached this age in their life I have had my share of tragedies in my life, my Dad passed away when I was 12, my wonderful wife Bubba had a lot of heath problems and passed away at the very young age of 55, Joan's beautiful daughter Janet was killed in an automobile accident much too young leaving behind a 6 year old son, my daughter Martha had a major stroke almost 6 years ago and life has been a struggle for her, just try to imagine not being able to talk for almost 6 years. I only point these things out to show that in going back over my life with pictures, reminising with family and friends, and just spending the past few months reliving the 70 years I have realized just what a great life I have had in spite of the set backs.

I have done so much, seen so much, had so much fun, been surrounded with wonderful family and friends, full filled a lot of dreams that some times when I am talking to people I hope they   they don't think I am bragging, I just try to convey how very lucky I have been and how grateful I am for the wonderful things that have happened to me.

What a ride it has been for that country boy that left the mountains of West Virginia when he was 13 years old.

When Joan's daughter was taken from us so suddenly after a long period of mourning  we decided to just live each day to the fullest, have lots of fun, laugh a lot, spend time with cheerful people, aviod the grouches, LOL and thats  what we do, .

I have lost a lot of family and friends over the past few years and the one thing I have noticed is that the people the most afraid of dying were the people that have never lived much, with the help of all you great family and friends I hope to LIVE UNTIL I DIE.


After the amazing life I have been through I can't tell you how some thing like this means so much to me in my life. Carter and Griffin continue to keep your old Papa young. LOL

Dancing with my daughter Martha at my 50 TH surprise birthday party, now coming up on the big 70 time flies when you are having fun.LOl
Joan and I went on a cruise for our honey moon in 2001 and have been on several cruises since then, so much fun, such great memories, a great way to vacation, another one coming up in November for our ninth anniversary.
On July 5, 1980 our daughter married a wonderful young man named Jimmy Chavez. The wedding was wonderful but the reception was spectacular, LOL Seriously though Bubba always said Martha could never have found a better man to marry than Jimmy. Since Martha had her stroke he along with his Mom Anita and their daughter Jessica have been a God send taking care of her and making her life as well as can be under the circumstances. God Bless you Jimmy, Love You Much.

Bubba and I went on a great trip to Hawaii with Shell Dealers from all across the country. What a trip. In addition to all the great activities we met a couple and became friends with them and remain friends to this day with Mike & Marjean. Bubba and I were standing on the street in Honolulu and saying to each other can you believe an old country boy from West Virginia and a small town girl from Maryland are here in this paradise.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Working my way toward September 18, the day I will hit the big 70.

I would hope that some of you might enjoy taking this trip with me down memory lane but just taking this trip form September 18, 1940 until the present time has been such a CATHARSIS for me that if it turns out that I am the only one who reads it, LOL it will be worth the time and the effort to put it all together.

I have taken you through the West Virginia , and the Maryland years so just a warning the Florida years are yet to come. LOL

A lot of you know the story of how Joan and I met but for those of you that don't
I will tell you my story. The first year you lose someone you love is the hardest,
the first December I was having a hard time as Christmas was always Bubba's
favorite time of the year, my daughter Martha, my son-in-law Jimmy and my
granddaughter Jessica were living with me at the time and we had no Christmas
spirit, we didn't even decorate or plan any thing special.

I went to the cemetery one day and I said Bubba I am having a hard time
adjusting to you being gone. I said I have prayed, I have talked to family and friends
but it is still tough. I said I know God is very busy but if you get a chance to talk
to him ask him if there is any thing he can do to help a lost soul down here on earth. 

About a week after that I got a Christmas card from Joan, Joan and Bubba had been friends
for many years and had bowled together, I was really surprised that her being Joan's friend
and Bubba had passed that she had not scratched me off her card list as I had only
met here a few times through Bubba. That was on a Saturday, I thought about it all weekend
and on Monday I looked in Bubba's old address book and Joan's phone number was in there,
I called her to thank her for the card and we talked for an hour. Joan had lost her husband
at a young age also when her daughters were 17 and 13 so I knew she had been through
the loss of a spouse. When we hung up I said WOW you did not tell me any thing I probably have
not heard from lots of other people but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I said this is the best
I have felt since Bubba died, can I call you again some time and she said yes you can.

I waited about a week and called her again, another hour just flew by, I said I have a friend in the hospital
in West Palm Beach, I was living in Lake Placid, Florida at the time I asked her if we could continue our conversation over dinner and she said yes.

Now as Paul Harvey use to say, now here is the rest of the story. LOL:

I called her a couple of times to confirm us going out to dinner and got nervous and hung up. I said to myself you dummy if she has caller ID she is going to think you are nuts so I finally made the call to confirm. We were going out on a Saturday evening so I came over on Friday and stayed with some friends. When I got up Saturday morning my friend said Joe how did you sleep, I said do you really want to know or are you asking just to be polite, he said of course I want to know and I said well the truth of the matter I didn't sleep hardly at all. I told him I was to nervous to sleep and I said as a matter of fact I am really nervous now. He assured me every thing would be alright . I showered and put on my best cologne and headed over to her house. I was so nervous that I drove around the block a couple of times before I had the nerve to pull in her driveway. LOL I knocked on the door and she opened and I went in. We were standing in her foyer talking and she asked me if there was something wrong with my ear, I said I don't think so WHY, she said I was just wondering as you have a Q-tip sticking out of your ear. LMAO  What an impression that was, any way we went to dinner, talked a lot and when I took her home she said it is a holiday weekend and she had something planned for Sunday but if I was going to be around on Monday she would be off work and maybe we could do something. Well I have to tell you what a relief that was as I thought well maybe she doesn't thing I am a complete idiot. LOL

Long story short that was a start of a wonderful relastionship that ended up with us getting married on November 10, 2002. 

God needed Bubba for one of his Angels and in looking out for me replaced her with another Angel, and I thank him for that every day. 

Bubba and I had a dream for many years to build a log home,
we spent years looking and planning for it and she got to live in it
for about four years before she passed away and loved every
minute she spent there. When our dear friends, Butch, Bernadine, Margaret
and Jimmy were coming for a visit we always planned funny ways to
greet them and when they were coming to the log home we dresses the part.
We hung up a sign that said go away, When they pulled up I came out
on the porch and said Ma we have company, she said Pa
can't they read the damn sign and every one had a great laugh.

A great daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother to Jessica,
and a dear and devoted friend to so many

Bubba was one of the funniest persons I have ever known,
she was funny without trying to be, she probably had less then ten drinks
in her life and never did an illegal drug and was a prime example you didn't have
to be high to be funny. When I had her friends do their memories of
her on the 10 TH anniversary of her death so many of them
said she was crazy, but they meant it as a compliment not
in a bad way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Maryland Years

In my first BLOG about my trip from birth to 70 years old I said my life was like in three segments, the West Virginia Years, The Maryland Years, and The Florida Years. As I started writing about my journey to 70 years old, going through old pictures, just reliving my life in memories I realized you can't cover as much as I have done and seen in my trip through my life in a couple of BLOG's, actually I could right a book but then probably no one would read it. LOL

A few memories from my 20 years living in Maryland. My Father died in 1952 when I was 12 years old. The town I grew up in Cass, West Virginia as I said in my first BLOG was a lumber town and the mill was going out of business so my Mom said we were going to move to Maryland as she had a couple of Brother's that lived there and she would be able to get a job there. I really did not want to leave West Virginia but in hindsight it probably was the best thing that ever happend to me.

A lot of thing happened in my 20 years in Maryland. One of the great things was growing up there in the  fabulous fifties, what a great decade. A really fun time in our history to be a teenager.

A lot of things happened to me that shaped the rest of my life, I met my brother Butch Lichlier, he actually is my best friend but we could not have been closer if we were real brothers and still are till this day. My best friend met a beautiful girl named Bernadine Curci, he introduced me to her best friend Louise Creamer who became my wife and the mother of my child..

I started my business career in Maryland with my first gas station and went on to make my living as a service station operator for 32 years. 8 years in Maryland and 24 years in Florida.

As I said about West Virginia I can say the same thing about Maryland, I have nothing but great memories from my years there and although I have been gone from there for 37 years some of the people I still regard as my best friends are friends that I made there.

History has said that the fifties were the best time our country ever had and I feel very lucky to have been a part of those great times.

A product of the wonderful fifties,
what a great decade they were.
That's me in the middle, check
out the leather jacket.

-With one of my first cars.

With the cap and gown.

My best friend Butch on the left, Jimmy and Me,
the three musketeers.

My graduation night from high school.
My beautiful bride on our wedding day
A kid being the Farther of a kid.
18 years 4 months old when I became a Dad

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Count Down To The Big 70

Well I have started my count down to my 70 TH birthday, wow can you believe? My life has been in like three segments the West Virginia years, 13 of them, the Maryland years, 20 of them, and as of May of 2010 I have been in Florida 37 years. I am taking a little trip down memory lane,  if  you are interested hang on and come along. About 4 or 5 years ago a man was writing a book about my home town of Cass, West Virginia and he asked me if I would write about my years living in Cass and I wrote 9 pages, I can't do that for my BLOG so I will try to give you the condensed version. LOL

I was born in Cass on September 18, 1940 delivered at home by Dr. Hanna, he told my parents Sam and Margaret I was the prettiest baby he had ever delivered, LOL Maybe they believed him and decided not to try to improve on perfection, LOL so any way I was an only child.

For any of you that have ever watched the Andy Griffith show growing up in Cass was just like growing up in Mayberry. Cass was a saw mill town and logging town owned by a company The Mower Lumber Company. Most of the people worked for the company, rented their homes from the company, and bought just about every thing they owned from the company store. Tennessee Ernie Ford had a song called I Owe My Soul To The Company Store and that's what most of the people in town did.

Our jail had two cells, our town cop did not carry a weapon, our fire truck was a two wheel trailer pulled by the firemen and they would hook the hose to fire hydrants scattered around town. LOL Luckily we didn't have many fires. The nearest hospital was about 30 miles away.

Spanking was allowed in school and I can remember at least three times having it happen to me. LOL.

We had no TV, families sat around the radio and listened to shows like The Lone Ranger, Amos & Andy, even the soap operas were on the radio. Not a lot of excitement in our little town but when we were not in school we were outside until dark and sometimes later, it was safe to be out back then. Except for my Dad dying when I was 12 tears old I have nothing but great memories growing up in our small town. No organized sports but we played all the sports sandlot style and lots of time at  the old swimming hole. Oh we did have a movie theatre, open on Friday and Saturday. About 20 miles away we did have a drive-in movie that was open 7 days, we didn't own a car until I was about eight so we bummed a lot of rides, when we would go visit family we would go by train or bus.

Will try to get my thoughts in order about the Maryland years.
3 Months Old, check out the smile.
They don't make strollers like that any more. LOL
My Dad and my first dog Pat
Women always like a man in a uniform, my Uncle came home on leave from the Navy and brought me that suit.
Always had an eye for the pretty girls.
Such an innocent kid
That's me in the middle, a real hillbilly kid. LOL
Every kids dream to get a bicycle for his birthday
Until I moved to Maryland when I was 13 years old I had swam in a real swimming pool maybe twice in my life. Good old swimming hole.
Not saying I'm old but the helmet is made out of leather LOL
Pretty spiffy for a hillbilly boy LOL

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Watching Carter Grow

Wow, Monday August 16, 2010 my little buddy Carter will be starting kindergarten, just another milestone in his young life and he has had so many already.As most of you know that read my BLOG I get a lot of ideas about what I want to write about from listening to music. Unless you are of an advanced age you probably have never heard of a singer named Bobby Goldsboro but he wrote a song many years ago about his son called Watching Scotty Grow. I heard that song played the other day and it made me think about what it has been like watching Carter grow.

I was at the hospital about an hour after he was born on February 1, 2005 and the first time I held him I just knew it was going to be a very special Papa, Grandson, relationship and it surely has been. He has brought so much joy to my life I get get emotional just thinking how special it has been. We have had so many great times together, especially our one on one times when we we have gone to the park,when he has went with me when I do my part time job, the wonderful times we have spent together at McDonalds, the times I have kept him when Mommie and Nana have had things to do, and the list just goes on and on.

He is such a great kid, so polite, so caring, so helpful, always happy, always smiling and so out going. He has had such great guideance from Brett, Barbara, Bill and Susan the other grandparents, Nana and hopefully from his Papa also.

And now he is doing the part of being a great big brother to his brother Griffin.

I am posting just a few of the hundreds of pictures I have him, LOL so you can see a few stages of his life.

Carter your Papa loves you so much and he knows that kindergarten is just going to be the first step to a wonderful future for you and he hopes he can be around a long time to share some of it with you.