Monday, January 27, 2014

2007 - Death of April in the Grand Canyon

Austin Graduating 8th grade
8th grade graduation
with Favorite teacher and best friend
In Washington DC
Austin's 8th grade trip to DC

Greg, Austin, Dixie and Emerson


2007 Card

Merry Christmas 2007

Dear Friends,

Those of you who received a card from Lynn Erickson last year have seen this poem but I loved it too much not to borrow it from her letter.

author unknown  (Since I have found this online - one says it was written by Helen Steiner Rice 1949 another says other people and most have the first verse the same but variations in the following)

I have a list of people I know
All Written in a book
And every year at Christmas Time
I go and take a look
And that is when I realize
a Christmas Poem
That those names are a part
Not of the book they're written in
But of my very heart

For each name stands for someone
Who has crossed my path some time
And in that meeting they've become
A treasured friend of mine
And once you've met some people
The years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word
Or of a friendly face

So when I send a Christmas Card
That is addressed to you
It's because you're on that list
Of folks I'm indebted to
And you are one of many folk who
In times past I've met
And happen to be one of those
I don't want to forget

And whether I have known you for 
Many years or few
In some way you have a part in
Shaping things I do
This, the spirit of Christmas, that
Forever and ever endures
May it leave its richest blessing
In the hearts of you and yours.

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Aunt April and Uncle Vince
starting the hike that she died on
2007 will go down in the history of our family as a year of change and sorrow as well as joy.  The overwhelming sorrow was, of course, the death of April.  Never again will the world be as safe or filled with certainty.  How can we express the changes that take place with the loss of the one person we knew who was always right?  I miss her.  Greg's sister, the boys' aunt, and I never realized how much she meant to me until she went into the Grand Canyon in May and died of heat exhaustion.  If I never realized, of course I never told her.  Every time I think I'm done crying. Surprise!  I'm not.  Even the sight of a "Grand Canyon State" license plate on a strange car can make me break down in tears.

The Start of the Hike in May 2007
Anyway, Life goes on, but maybe it doesn't have quite as many cookies at Christmas, or goofy cards during the rest of the year.  There have been other, less devastating losses, like my job at the Catholic School.  I am back subbing.  I love subbing more but miss the predictable, regular paycheck.  Greg also lost his extra class period so that was another $7,000 less a year.

Still, the good finds its way into our life with regularity as well.  We got a wonderful visit from Greg's brother Matt and his wife, Andrea and their daughter.  Remi is too magical to define in a few words and it was delightful to have a chance to fall in love with her all over again.  We visited my Mom and Lance and Brett's family.  I am so blessed by my nieces and nephews.  And THERE is the balance point.  For every person our family loses, we have also gained several more.  It never fills the empty places left behind but they create new places of their own and keep the supply of love running high.

Emerson in 8th grade
The boys grow into men.  Austin called for a ride from high school.  I saw two handsome young men in mariachi style tuxedo jackets.  One was my son but I drove past until he rapped on the van window.  All I can say is Wow!  I'm the only one in the family under six feet.

Greg's second year teaching in Brookings, Oregon.  Some days he seems to love it and others he barely makes it out of bed.  He feels so incompetent for all the things the job demands and I know losing his big sister didn't help.  His students love him and so do we.  Going back to Wyoming in August let him get together with the Goode's.  We're hoping they all come here for the 4th of July on the beach.

My mom and Lance are living with change too.  My brother Brett took a job that has him living back east instead of next door and he travels a lot.  We all hope he's happy and yet I know Mom and Lance miss him a lot.  Typical spread out American family I guess.

Emerson loves 8th grade.  He still rides at Fort Dick Stables.  He's playing his fiddle in the preparatory Orchestra.  He's on Math team.  He loves anything Star Wars or electronic.  He started going to dances and had to put up with Mom and Dad Chaperoning.  He did rafting and rock climbing at a middle school adventure camp in Suttle Lake by Sisters, Oregon and is very responsible with his grades.  He's kind of nerdy cool and has good friends.

Austin in 9th grade
     Austin traveled from here to D.C. in June with the graduating 8th graders from Redwood School.  Then football camp in Gold Beach, Then Suttle Lake Camp.  He's slimmed down, grown up, gotten a girlfriend (Help!!)  He made it into Stage Band (Audition Only) and concert band.  This fall Stage Band starts at 7:15 AM but football practice ended at 6:00 PM. He'd come home, fall asleep and I never seemed to see him - hence the recognition problem!

We went to Vince's in Salem for Thanksgiving. Here at home for Christmas.  We may go to the snow on Mt. Shasta around New Year's but that isn't for sure.  What is for sure is life is always taking us by surprise.  Sometimes that is good and sometimes it hurt like hell.  But I'm so grateful that I get to spend my life with Greg and my boys and I'm grateful that you continue to be a part of our lives.

Double visit to Spencer's Barbershop

Tide pools at Crescent City

Me and My boys

San Francisco field trip

At the zoo

Remi at Ocean World

Willie and I

Another picture Mom?

Up at Howard Prairie Lake

Cousins in Cody, WY


Up in the Beartooth Mountains in WY/MT

burying Austin beside the Smith River

Painting the church Youth room

Del Norte Warrior football

Riding lessons at Fort Dick Stables

Austin and Uncle Vince


Just me

Greyhounds at Christmas

Austin, center in Stage Band

Christmas at the Michiels

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2006 Suddenly in Caretaker Mode

Christmas 2006

I remember how quickly the younger son suddenly became taller than me.

page 1
Merry Christmas 2006

Dear Friends,

     Life for the Crescent City Goodes this year has been filled with growth and changes and periods of extreme togetherness followed by unwanted separation and then the joy of coming back together as a family.  Austin and Emerson have both grown in many ways, half a for in height and miles in independent and responsibility.  We've had moments of terror and tears of relief.  There has been laughter and hugs and the wonder of realizing that under the surface we are interconnected to so many truly extraordinary, ordinary people that we are never truly alone.  What Joy is that?  Thank you for filling our lives and hearts with your love and the gift of Knowing you.  I know this is a dreaded, "Form Letter" but I only send it to the people we love.
     When 2006 began we were just getting home to a flooded Crescent City where the fast food places had to close because the roads were covered in rock slides and no deliveries could get in.  Home from a trip to Wyoming during which we saw most of our parents, siblings and nieces and nephews.  We haven't however managed to see Greg's nephew Cody or to meet his wife and their year
page 2
old daughter Sadie Ann and their newborn son, Levi.  What's the point of having to think of yourself as a great-aunt if you don't get to wear a little baby slobber?
     February 5th the Steeler's won the Superbowl and we got to see it thanks to Sammy Hernandez and family allowing us to invite ourselves over.  We haven't had TV since October of 1982 but I would have had to pay for  hook up jut so I could sit with all my fingers crossed, my eyes locked, my breath held - until my Dad's team won the one for the thumb.
     February was also the month the boys participated in a 30 hour famine, while serving soup to the homeless.  They also blew us away at the annual talent show.  Those fighting matches with Greg over instrument practice have really paid off.  Unfortunately it was also the month my wonderful Mother-In-Law, Mimi, had to have back surgery.  She'd already begun losing weight before Christmas and the surgery didn't make it any easier as she began the month's long struggle to regain the health and vigor she's famous for.  For a long time, no-one would have bet on her being around for this Christmas and we are so very glad to know that she is once again squabbling with her husband over paying money for her wild feline cat rescue program.
     The year started with three of us spending large chunks of time at Pine Grove School, Austin Graduated from there and had moved on
page 3
ro Redwood for middle school but Greg taught classroom music and band there.  I was doing the yearbook and substitute teaching a lot, Emerson was in sixth grade there.  Many of or friends are there - but now none of us are.  In March, I started teaching full time at St. Joseph's Catholic School where I have ten, first and Second grade students.  It's fun and better pay than subbing but I sometimes miss the variety and the chance to spend time in Austin and Emerson's classrooms.  Emerson Graduated from Pine Grove on the ridiculous date of June 22 and even though we're in the Redwood School area, he wanted to go to Crescent Elk Middle School for several good reasons.  So the boys are now in two schools, 12 miles apart. Then Greg Changed his mind several times but finally said Good-by to Del Norte County Schools after 17 years of teaching Grade school music here and accepted a job 22 miles from home in Brookings, Oregon.  He is teaching High School Choir and Jr. High Choir and Drama. So . . .from years when all of us had the same days off, the same hours at school and could ride in the same car, to four different schools, in three different towns (If Fort Dick, Home of the Redwood Raiders, can be called a town?) In two different states, to different vacations, insurance policies and working hours.  For example, This Christmas, Greg's last Day is December 15, my last school day is December 20, and A and E go until December 22, then Greg goes back to work on January 3 but we don't go until January 8th.  We also have different spring breaks and I guess that is just the breaks, but after so many years, it's weird.
page 4
    June and July were killer!  After several stays in smaller hospitals, Greg's sister Wendy finally took Mimi to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on June 13th.  June 11 the boys were both baptized and confirmed in the Methodist Church after a year's study and a week at camp with the Bishop and our pastor.  June 14, Emerson played the wicked King Minos in Theseus and the Minotaur.  June 19, Austin went to Ashland for a week of fish camp with Tommy Michiels and skipped the last week of school here.  Emerson then had a lot of field trips and parties and graduated from 6th grade. Th minute school was out, we drove to Ashland, picked up Austin, and drove 1700 miles to Rochester where we checked into the Travelodge on June 30 and didn't check out until July 24th.  Every day the family was in our van, or a motel room or at Mimi's hospital room together.  It sounds horrid and parts of it were, like when the Dr. is asking Greg at 2:00 in the morning if they have a "Do Not Resuscitate" order on file.  But parts, bigger parts were wonderful.  We spent a lot of time with Mimi that we remember even though she doesn't.  We went through Custer State park, Saw the Missouri River, Rode the paddle wheeler, "LaCrosse Queen" and explored Niagara Falls Cave.  Saw a lot of the country that the boys had never seen before, watched fireworks at silver-lake park while chasing fireflies and they had never seen fireflies either.  We also went in two big Cabella's stores and those are an adventure in themselves.  The huge catfish in the aquariums and the dioramas are museum quality.  Then Once Mimi was stable and we got her home, (Oh my God!  I love you Mimi - but 700 miles, in 100 degree weather with you begging for the heater was not the high point of the summer.)
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     Then we made a quick visit to my family in Cody where Uncle Brett was Austin's new hero for taking him fishing up the Northfork.  I'm not mentioning Uncle Harv in Newcastle taking him fishing too, in a little boat with only a flashlight or letting him drive at 13. That DID NOT happen.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
     After Cody we spent a day recovering at one of our favorite spots in the universe. Lagoon. We still love the six acre water park and the boys now love the roller coasters and shows and amusement park junk food as much as we do.  For my PA, family, just think Kennywood and you know what I'm talking about.
     As soon as we got home on August 5th we went to the fair.  Then Greg and Austin did a week of Band Camp.  Austin started both playing and reefing at soccer games and Greg had to report to his new job on August 18th.  It has been the usual madhouse rush ever since then and there isn't a lot of indication that it will ever slow down.
Greg and April in Salem
Star Wars at OMSI
     We went to Salem for Thanksgiving with April and Vince, then into Portland to take Emerson to a really extensive Star Wars exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and industry (OMSI).  Emerson knows as much about Star Wars as the people who put on the two floor exhibit but the rest of us learned a lot.  The next goal is Austin trying to raise $1700 to go to Washington DC in June with his class and other 8th graders.
     This year would not be possible if not for the support of many friends.  The ones who pitched in and cared for out animals while we were out of town. Carla Bloyd, who has become Emerson's lifeline in nurturing him along with her own two and all the extra children she manages to have trailing her like baby ducks wherever she goes. So much love in our lives even with so much confusion in the world.  Pass on a little love!  We Love You.

Dixie, Greg, Austin and Emerson

(Then in hand written note)
On the sad side
our 17 year old
blue and gold macaw
was killed by a raccoon - now
we've trapped 7 here at the house
and our 100 year old apple tree
toppled over just after
Austin's class
pressed one last
large batch of cider
from this year's apples.

(Funny but it is now 2014 and that fallen tree still produces!)
Greg at South Beach

Ian and Zach and Austin at Lake Selmac

Dinner for Emerson's Birthday

Austin, Emerson and the Tall Ship

At The Old Mill in Newcastle, WY

Paddlewheel ride on Mississippi

Priscilla on Brett's Patio

Grandma Grace's Place and Grandpa Lawrence's truck

Austin playing soccer
Redwood Flag Football

My sunflowers

Austin and Emerson

Soccer Ref

At Beachfront park in Crescent City

Emerson, Dixie, Greg and Austin

Think it over Baby

Two homes for the holidays

Grandma Priscilla

Aunt Laura and Grandpa Harvey


Part of Confirmation Camp

6th grade graduation

At Mayo Clinic with Mimi

Riverboat queen


Youth Choir 

CCYC Ticket

Emerson and Sammy

Austin and Ransom

The fire pole at Uncle Harv's

Greg and his dad

at Grandpa Harvey's


My Nephew and his family

Austin, Emerson, Sammy and Greg at home

Christmas in Ashland