Happy Birthday, Dad

On this day, in 1924, a baby boy was born to Thomas M. Jewell, Sr and his wife Mary. There was a two-line front page notice of his birth on the front page of the Omaha World Herald, where he worked from 1952 until his retirement in 1988. He passed away from lung cancer in December, 1988. If he were still with us, he would be 99 years old today.!

As a kid, it was always fun relating the story about him being the first New Year’s baby in 1924. They didn’t give people a bunch of gifts back then, just a mention of the news. I think Grandma was about 30 when she had Dad. He was her first child. Others followed, and they were all healthy. Most people in those days had children younger than 30. Glad they were all ok, and Gram was, too.

Sometimes, I wish I could tell Dad all the stuff I’m going to do. I know he’d tell me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get there.” That was a lot of support. It’s what he told me when I told him I wanted to graduate from college. I was about 38 then, and it was just before he died. We had such wonderful talks then. He told me what good kids I had, and not to worry about them, they would turn out ok.

Hey, Dad. I named my Jewell Publishing LLC after you. It was a brilliant idea, seeing how you were a pressman at the local paper. When I was a little girl, I imagined working on the paper as a reporter. I thought it would be so cool to write some stories you would supervise the printing of. Kind of all in the family thing.

I would have to go to college and have a degree, even in 1970. Our family didn’t view college as necessary for a girl. Mom suggested I go to beauty school. I got married. No regrets. My kids were worth it. And I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management of Human Resources. Within a few years, I couldn’t work anymore. Disability. God laughs when we tell him our plans, doesn’t He?

I believe you would love the Babe as much as I do. You are both kind-hearted men. You were a kind man, but kept it under that fedora you wore. Tommy Bauer and I are friends on this invention called Facebook. He told me how you’d spread sand out at the bottom of the alley so the kids with sleds would naturally stop before they’d jet out into the heavy traffic of F Street. I love hearing things about you I didn’t know. Glad you taught us to problem solve like you did. We all come by it naturally. Lucky us!

I wish you were still here so I could teach you about the Internet and Kindles for books. I know you’d be interested in it all. And I’d be so proud to show you all about it. You’d be amazed at how many books you can have electronically. I know, I prefer print, too. It’s not the same, but has some benefits.

This bright, shiny New Year is unfolding before us. I will publish my book this year. A book for kids. It got lost in this thing called life. I will promote my blog, books, website, and other creativity. I’ve decided I’m going to schedule days for all the things I’m interested in. I need to do something different every day instead of finishing one thing, then go on to something else. My brain doesn’t work that way anymore.

Sometimes I feel guilty for living longer than you did. After working as hard as you did, you were robbed of the rest and relaxation you should have had in your retirement. I do believe we’ll all be together someday. And I can ask you all the questions I have. I could hear your stories and learn all I didn’t know about you.

I’m spending the day with wonderful thoughts of you, Dad. You were such a good father, son, brother, worker, employee, neighbor, and such a kind gentleman. I’ll always remember that about you. You’d love the Babe. In fact, you could have had a part in our lives crossing. I believe in divine intervention.

To all my friends, followers, relatives, fellow authors, humans, creative people, have a Happy New Year. 2023 is our year. Don’t look back. It’s going to be great. Let’s cheer each other on. Be kind. See you tomorrow!

Thoughtful Thursday

Good morning, from the Home Office of Jewell Publishing, LLC. It’s the home of Authors Kathy Raabe and Grandma Kathy. Isn’t this fun? Lexie, Chief of Security, is listening to music by Rick Tiger this morning. He tells some pretty wonderful stories with his lyrics and music. Real people’s stuff. It’s pretty quiet, just the sound of the music in the background and the keys making keyboard sounds. Once in a while, I hear Lexie snore, and I think of how wonderful this life really is.  

The Babe went off to accomplish some things at the VFW Post, and I have the time and freedom to write what’s in my heart today, that is until Goldie wakes up to play catch again. Spring is really greening up nicely. Even though it does every year, it’s still amazing to see it happen. We have the best seat in the house from either the patio or the deck. Ground level or second story treehouse view.

As the squirrels run their routes from branch to branch, tree to tree, the Blue Jays caw and frolic. They hang out all year. With the leaves coming in, they’re harder to see but easier to hear. I think the sound echoes as if in a canyon. The squirrels are pretty well hidden by the end of May. We feed the Finches, and a lively group dines frequently. Goldie loves to lie in the grass in the shade. It must be cool for her. What hair she doesn’t shed in the house covers her the rest of the time. And I’m sure it’s warm.

I’m thinking about what to plant this year. I do annuals in pots outside. I have some succulents to plant in pots and take in when summer is over. Hoping I get all that done before my back tells me to stop. There will be other days, too. Some to sit quietly and look for Baltimore Orioles after watering the pots every morning. Some to write as I’m doing now. It’s funny how certain habits span the years, isn’t it? I usually do those things in the mornings. Afternoons are for reading or hand sewing, embroidery, or something like that. Maybe a nap.

It reminds me of the days when I had small children and was a stay at home Mom. By 10 a.m. each day, the house was spotless, cleaned, dusted, vacuumed. I’d take the kids for a walk. I wore out a couple strollers. Not the umbrella kind, the old-fashioned heavier ones with the sunshade top. I never wanted those babies to get a sunburn. It was still in the era of baby oil suntans and no one knew about skin cancer. I had one great tan in my life; I wasn’t pasty Irish-white; I actually was a shade of tan. I worked at it. The summer before Frankie turned two, 1973. His dad was home from the Army and early afternoon, I let Frankie play in the baby pool I filled every morning. When he was ready for a nap, I dumped the pool out and put him to bed. He’d sleep a couple hours. I laid in the sun under his bedroom windows, so I’d hear him if he woke up. I was the only one home during the day, and it was safe.

Hot pants and halter tops were a big deal then, and I had both. I’d lost 40 pounds while his dad was in Germany. I kept it off for a while. Until I actually ate normal food again. Yo-Yo’s were common, and not healthy. I believe most of humanity does that; you know? We are so fortunate to have the food supply we have; no one should go hungry. No one should have an unhealthy diet. But being human, here we are. We think we “deserve” a treat. We do. Just not every day. It just takes a slide from healthy eating to start an avalanche of weight gain.

Back in October, after eating well and too much at home during the quarantine, we both gained weight. By October, I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t like whoever I was feeling like and asked our Internal Med Doc if Keto was safe for folks of our age and the Babe’s Ischemic Heart Disease. He said, “YES!”

Of course, men always lose weight faster than women do. The Babe did well, then has stalled now. I’ve lost 30 pounds and kind of stalled, too. I’m going to get back on track and we will see what the summer brings us. I’d love to lose another 30, but will be happy with 20. If the Babe loses more, he may be a candidate to reduce the type of meds he takes. Wouldn’t that be a bonus? I love when that happens!

Think on your wonderful memories today. Own up to your areas that need improvement. We all need to do that. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. We’re almost to the end of our COVID measures. A little longer. We will make it! Thank you for reading. We will see each other tomorrow. Have a beautiful outdoors day!

If Only . . .

Have you ever known someone who tried to “keep up with the Jones’?” It was a common phrase and phase of the 1960s and 1970s. Our parents, who survived the Depression, were all Patriots through the WWII era. They saw rationing of essential items during the war years for the good of the soldiers. Workers purchased Savings Bonds with their scant earnings, hoping to support the troops. Rarely, if ever would you find anti-war talk or demonstrations. People sacrificed and consumed less. Front porches were the social media of the time. People were bonded together by location and support of the country.

Our dads and some moms returned to their normal roles after WWII. Korea followed a few years later, and many essential soldiers were recalled to service. My dad was one of them. He worked with the medics in WWII, and that was essential. Once Dad returned in August, 1951, he met his oldest son, Thomas Anthony, and settled in to his new job as a Pressman Apprentice at the local newspaper. Unions were still strong, and it was a job he worked until he retired at 64.

During this time in America’s history, the economy was booming. Housing was cheap and small homes were readily available. Many families were able to have two cars. Some women also ventured into the working world, but not as many as in the 1970s. Two cars encouraged women to be shopping, stimulating the economy. I believe I was in high school before we purchased a second car. Mom used a wringer washer and still hung laundry in the basement or outside. Dad wasn’t exactly stingy, but he watched his money very carefully.

The Savings Bonds Mom gave me after his death were cashed in recently. It is funding my newly formed publishing company, Jewell Publishing, LLC. I know he’d be proud of my being frugal AND naming my company after his family. I’ve established a Facebook page for Jewell Publishing, LLC. Thanks to my friends, both on my personal FB page, Kathy Jewell Raabe, and my Author page, Kathy Raabe, Author, for giving this new page a like. I’ll try not to duplicate too much on postings. I appreciate your likes on all the pages. I may also will create one for my Children’s Books. I am liking the idea as naming “Grandma Kathy,” as an author. I’m plotting and planning a couple of new website pages, and will let you know when they are launched. Before June 1, 2021. I’m sure.

During my life, I’ve known people who place happiness on an event, a purchase, a date in the future, getting married, and a host of other things. The do not learn to live in the present. They do not know the riches of a life event, buying a new car, having kids, getting those kids all in school, are lost when they’re not used in every day life. It took many families a very long time to get on their feet. We grew up through that, and we didn’t ask for things our parents couldn’t afford. There were no dance lessons, but I took piano lessons. My brothers were in Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts. My older brother and I went to Catholic High Schools. Our parents focused on private school education. At that time, it was considered college prep. My brother started but didn’t finish, I started at the age of 28 and earned two certificates (Medical Secretary and Computer Programming). I also earned a Bachelors of Science degree, in Management of Human Resources.

To show you how life can alter your plans, although I wanted to earn a BS degree more than anything, after completing my program in August, 1995, I became very ill. I had surgery in December, 1995 for a benign but growing tumor in my spinal column. If I had placed all my happiness in achieving that degree, I could have been extremely disappointed. I had to alter my idea of when and how happiness would find me.

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

And find it I did. With deep gratitude comes a bigger world, a bigger heart, and bigger appreciation for everything. I had over six weeks of near complete bed rest. I could be up three times a day, 15 minutes at a time. It was the loneliest time of my then 42 years of life. My sons were in their own apartment. My daughter was home, in high school, and going through a sullen phase. It was awful. Very few people knew how ill I was, and how hard the recovery was.

I owe a lot to my niece, Terri Koziol Sorenson. She was my physical therapist, and still is, should I need a new area of concentration. She encouraged me like no one else could. The neurosurgeon insisted I go to her. She made all the difference in the world. I was estranged from my exes family and hadn’t seen her for years. It was a little awkward, but I soon became at ease. It was very comfortable. I love the woman she has become, and the other nieces and nephews in the family. I’m so lucky to know all these kids as adults. They are all important to me. What a gift! It makes me very happy.

When I least expected it, I met the Babe on a blind date. We’ve been together ever since. March 2, 1996. Another day that changed my life. He was always gracious about my recovery, what I’ve been plagued with physically due to the aftermath of the surgery, and showing me how wonderful life is. Despite my feelings of holding him back from things like water skiing and time spent at campgrounds, he’s never left me alone while he goes off on a fun weekend or vacation.

Create your happiness in the here and now. Don’t be the fool that thinks of “If only . . . !” Chances are, you’re going to miss out. Learn to appreciate, give thanks, be aware, and take your happiness moment by moment. Time and life is too short.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support so much. Be Safe. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be the Peace. And most of all, Be Happy. I’ll see you tomorrow!