I Was Thrilled, I Had A Visitor

Being a Grandma was not always my highlight of traits. I love my Grandkids but I was not nor am I still the babysitting granny.

I can’t really blame anyone but myself I guess when it comes to visits or calls from any of them. I was never the one who called my kids begging to take care of the cuties.  I can’t fix it because I can not fix who I am deep down inside. I always tell myself that the reason I don’t like to baby sit is because I have had to do it since I was 10 years old.

Every day I didn’t have school I had to watch my sister. I had my first child at the age of 19. I feel so much guilt that I am not like other grandparents. I am the oddball, but when and if they come to visit, I am thrilled.

In fact one of my granddaughters came to visit me today to show me her costumes for trick-or-treating. She also brought me her very first school photo. I enjoyed this visit. It was wonderful. I gave her a big hug when she left and told her to come back. You don’t realize this, but she looks so much like I did when I was little. She and my daughter and one son look more like me, even if they don’t want to admit it. Really, it is a compliment as I was quite a looker when I was young.terry when she was little This is me and the next ones are her.

Hanna at Halloweenhanna at halloween 2hanna school photo

God’s Little Miracle

Grandma stayed to herself. She had raised her family and when the time came she took care of her husband. Her children were grown and lived miles a way from her. Oh they paid visits. Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthdays. Once in a while they would call on the telephone, but Grandma became frustrating to callers as she refused to wear her new hearing aid.

Soon the house became quiet. The telephone didn’t ring. The visits became more yearly with a card being sent at birthdays. Grandma had her fifteen year old cat, Sam for company.

Each week the closest neighbor and friend came to help Grandma fill her medicine box. Sara took Grandma to the grocery store when she went. Through the week days Grandma could be seen by neighbors using her cane and walking to get the mail.

If anyone was about she would stop them and ask them if they would like to come in for a quick visit; but kids are scared or unfamiliar with elderly so the answer was always no. The mail lady would chat with Grandma for a few moments but that was about the high light of her day as far as conversations go.

One day it was a beautiful fall day. Grandma wanted to sit outside in her back yard and watch the colorful leaves fall to the ground. She went through her back door and grabbed her lawn chair and scooted it to the precise point she thought she could get a good view.

She was enjoying herself. The breezes were nice. The air was warm but not humid. All she needed on was her cream-colored sweater. A gift from one of her children one Christmas.

She caught herself dozing off and soon decided she better get inside. Sam was going to be expecting his dinner and she needed to think about getting a bite to eat for herself also. When she tried to stand up she realized she had sat too long. Rising from the chair was not as easy as sitting down was.

The last time she rose the chair went with her. She lost her balance and fell to the ground with the lounge chair toppling over her. She caught her breath and  felt a small pain in her left hip.

She tried pushing the chair off of her and with great effort finally got it to lay on the side of her. When she tried to roll herself over to make an effort to try to stand the pain in her hip kept her frozen in spot.

She immediately looked around but this time there were no kids to be seen riding by. She was in her back yard. The sun was showing that it must be around four in the afternoon. She tried scooting herself but the pain was too great.

She lay there praying. “Dear God, please send someone to help me. Let someone see me laying here.” Minutes turned into hours. Shadows began to show on the branches of the tree.

She began to weep. Fear started creeping in. No one was going to find her. No one knew she was here. She lay there still and kept praying.

Someone was watching her though. From inside the house sitting on the window sill was Sam. Sam knew his master was in trouble. He mewed and flipped his tail. He jumped from the sill and went to the back door. He could see her but he could do nothing but howl.

Sam went from window to window. When he could jump on the sill he would and sit there howling. When he realized nothing was happening he repeated his steps, stopping to look out at his master.

On one of his stops he noticed that the window was open. He jumped up on the sill and sat there staring out the window. Soon he saw kids, the familiar kids that Grandma spoke to often.

He mewed and cried but they didn’t hear him. He rearranged his body and from the depth of his soul he howled like a lioness high on a mountain. Here are the wild cries the kids heard.

The kids came over to the window and were taken aback by the wildness in Sam’s voice. They got off of their bikes and crept a little closer. Sam jumped down and ran to the window where he could see his master. No kids came with him.

He ran back to the window where the kids were.cat He mewed again as loud as he could and then jumped back down and went to the other window.

After doing this three or four times the kids finally decided to follow the cat.

When they arrived they saw Grandma laying on the ground.

They reached  her and kneeling down saw her look into their eyes.

” Are you ok lady? Are you hurt?”

” My hip hurts a little. Can you go and get some help please?”

The boys stood up and raced to the front of the house. They got on their bikes and flew home as fast as their pedals would move.kids_on_diamondback_bicycles They ran into the house screaming at their mom that the lady down the street needed help.

The ambulance came quick. People gathered to see what was happening. The boys stayed near by to make sure the lady would be alright.

Grandma was treated and released back to her home with only bruises and mild pain. She was a little sore but God had answered her prayer. Nothing was broken and she was safe inside her house once again.

The beauty of this story is that within a week’s time Grandma met the mail lady and chatted a few moments before watching her leave. She saw the boys who had saved her life. She asked them the familiar question. ” Would you boys care to come in and have some cookies and milk?”

” Yes, mam, we sure would. We were just saying to each other we were hungry.”

Grandma smiled as the boys surrounded her walking back inside together. They all sat at the table smiling and laughing. The kids made Grandma feel young again. The boys felt like they had a second grandma.


Seeing Al today at the facility brought  old memories for him and none for me. When I walked down the long haul I could see him immediately at the dining table. He looked exactly like I never wished him to look. A stare across his face, head bent down and frozen somewhere in time.

When I approached his table he barely looked up at me. Once I got our food settled that is when he began to cry. I asked his nurse how he had been all morning, and of course I already knew she would say, fine, just fine, no problems.

I wanted to run a way but I cemented myself to the chair. I was feeling like I am the one who makes him cry. I am family and this brings back memories for him. He was back in time. While I was living a married life, I do remember Al getting the opportunity to go down to Indianapolis, Indiana to the big Memorial Day races.

I have been told by him several times  in the past about the fun he had going to these. When our Uncle Jim was still alive, he had as much patience with Al as our Granddad did. There was always a bond between these two men and Al.

I believe in my heart that these two men saw clearly that our own Father was not being the best he could with Al. They took many times and fit Al into their fun schedules.

Today, Al cried the two hours I was there. He spoke of the race, but he could remember very little of it. What I remember from earlier years of him telling me about it; is that they chattered all the way down to Indy, a three-hour trip. They left at 4:30am, and Al always says, he didn’t have a problem getting up that early, it was worth it.

They filled up on hot dogs and sodas. They saw wrecks. Al told me of the speeds of the cars and who was driving what cars. Today all he could remember is that he went with Uncle Jim. It broke my heart, it really did.

There was a time when Uncle Jim and his wife moved to Florida. They went there because one of their children had Cystic Fibrosis. The air was to be better for him. Although Al had never gone anywhere alone, after graduation of high school, Uncle Jim arranged through the airlines for Al to come down for a visit.

All arrangements had been made with the stewards and gate crew to keep a good eye out on Al without Al realizing it. He made the trip with flying colors. He always said he had a good time.

For years life seemed to be monotone for our family. I was raising mine and Al remained at home. He helped in the gardens in the summer, shoveled snow in the winters. He worked from job to job and then finally landed a job where he worked for nine years before he had his heart attack.

Al and Dad kept their distance or when they were together it was pure hell. Dad would yell and scream and threaten. Al’s face would turn beet red and his fist doubled up, his body tense and ready to attack.

Nothing ever changed. Different family members and friends tried so many times to help Dad see the damage he was doing to Al but Dad brushed them all off. I am going to add my own personal opinion at this point.

Our non-blood Grandma and Granddad and our Uncle Jim and his wife, were not directly related to us, but they were the best back in those days. They all spent great qualities of time with Al. Helping to nurture him and grow into a man. I used to hear from my Dad’s sister how she used to have to help take care of us when we were brought home from the kidnapping days.

I will call her T.  T said that she used to give me a bath quite often. I don’t know how old she was, but evidently a teen. She told me of the day she scalded me and how bad she felt about it. I am sure it did bother her and I hoped she moved past that. I never remember words of anyone speaking about the care Al got. The only times I can recall any talk about Al is when he had to be taken to the Children’s Hospital for rickets and undernourished.

When I became a teen I was alert enough to realize that there is a word called fake. You can have family members. They can say all sorts of nice things, but when you aren’t in the room, you can eavesdrop in on the truth.

Cousins used to laugh at Al. He was mildly mentally handicapped. He wanted to fit in. He wanted to laugh with others, speak and carry on with everyone.Usually, the only one laughing out of innocence was Al. The others were laughing at him. It always hurt my feelings because I believed that we were all family, and this was a bad behavior. I noticed that Al was left out of a lot of things.

When there were reunions or family dinners, Al was placed at the kids tables. When everyone was playing Badminton, or croquet, Al was not asked. Card games, he was in the room watching television. I always wondered if he realized he was being left out.

I sure wish I could put a photo up of my brother from early days, but I have never seen even one tiny photo of him. The ones I post on here for you to see, look to me like he is maybe five. I wonder why no photos were taken or if they were where are they.

Before our real grandmother passed she handed out all her photos. Anything that had to do with our family I got the pictures, but none of Al. I have my baby picture but I gave it to my daughter. Maybe we didn’t really exist in people’s minds until my Dad and Stepmom got married. Maybe we were the kids who were in the way, or the two that were from a broken home, or maybe the two who were kidnapped. Something happened. Photos show pride and there are no photos of Al or me except the one baby picture of me until after my new Mom came into our lives.


Chapter 9

Al started spending more and more time at Grandmas. She lived on the same property as Mom and Dad did. In fact, the property was large enough that it held three houses and each house had a family member in it.

When Granddad passed away, Al was asked to go down and spend the nights with Grandma for a while to help ease her pain. He had no trouble with this request. He loved Grandma very much.

It didn’t take long before a routine developed. He would go to work each work day and then he would go home and shower and then head to her house and the two would eat supper together.

Suppers at our own house were never pleasant that I can remember. I can understand why Al went the other direction. At our house I could never put my finger on the problem. I know it really wasn’t us kids directly, but maybe it was and we didn’t realize it.

There was always tension, so thick you could cut it with a knife. If I wasn’t being forked in the elbow for bad manners, Dad was picking on Al for anything that came to his mind. I never remember Dad ever saying, good job Al, I know you did your best.

What I remember is, why can’t you ever do anything right? I tell you and tell you over and over. Do you have something wrong with your brain? Are you just plain stupid? I may as well have done it myself.

Through the years that I lived there when I was still growing up or even when I would drop over for a visit and end up eating a meal with them, this never changed. I used to say to myself, Well why don’t you just do it yourself then and leave him alone.

Mom would get all tense and nervous through these meals. Mom had a great outlook on life but Dad always ended up tearing it down. I don’t know if Dad meant to or even knew the stress he was causing.

I knew they had arguments behind bedroom doors. I hate to think that Dad was intentionally being mean. I think he felt so insecure about his own self he couldn’t stop it. Back then you didn’t run to the therapist for every problem. You fixed it or lived with it.

Mom worked the 8-5 job and although I cooked a lot of meals and tried my hardest to keep the house cleaned, it was never enough once we all sat down at the dining table. Our half-sister was the adorable one. She talked about school and what activities she was in. Conversations quickly turned to her to escape even more fog.

When I graduated from high school Mom and I weren’t the closest. I always knew that she and I had never bonded like moms and daughters should. I loved her the best I knew how, but she hurt me.

I pondered on what it would be like to have a Mom who really loved me and wanted me. I am not ever going to say that I didn’t cause grief for her. I think  most kids cause grief for their parents.

I moved out of the house and got to be one of those bratty kids according to my Mom because I didn’t remain at home. My Mom worked up town and I would sit across from her office on the courthouse lawn and watch her through the window.

Why did I do that, I don’t know for sure. I think now when I look back I wanted her to notice me. I wanted to make her feel as uncomfortable as she had made me feel. One summer day I was sitting on my favorite bench and I walked over to say hello to her when she got off of work.

I walked with her to the back alley where her car was parked. I don’t remember what transpired between her and I but I do remember those cutting words even today. I don’t know why you can’t be like your half-sister. She never gives me trouble like you do. But of course I could never love you as much as I do her. She is my only child.

Wow, what a blow to me that was. I think deep inside my gut I knew that was the way she felt about me but to hear the words. I wanted to run and hide under a big rock, I wanted to die right there on the spot.

I tried for years to forgive myself for ruining her life. It never worked. Then I blamed her thinking, Well no one forced you to marry into a ready-made family. Don’t blame me for this.

I wonder now as I write this if Al understood enough and felt the way I did. We were the extras. We were the baggage that came along. If she wanted to marry our Dad she  had to take us in to.

Mom told me one time a few years before she died, You understand Terry, why I could never adopt you and Al and legally be your Mom. I was always afraid of your real Mother coming back for you if she read or heard about it.

I can remember looking at my brother Al, and in my heart telling him, It’s not our fault bud. We didn’t ask for this. You and me, we belong together, we are real brother and sister. I love you bud.

Life for me became more dismal after she said that remark. It sliced so hard and deep that I still haven’t gotten over it today. While I am writing this, the pain instantly re-surfaces and I feel the deep ache of wanting to belong.

I have to believe that inside Al’s head today is masses of memories too difficult to deal with. They remain hidden and buried so deep that even  with all of the professional counselors I have had him to, nothing works.

Counselors do alright until they touch the subject of parents and Al flips out. I don’t mean slightly, I refer to him as a tornado. Dark and huge coming at you with daggers so sharp they would kill you.

The topic was always dropped when the professionals saw this. They usually dismissed him as a client also. We went through five therapists. The last one specialized in Adult Disabilities and she just knew she could help Al. But once again, when she approached the parent topic after having seen Al for one month, he exploded.

I never tried again after he was so outraged that the police were called and they had to calm him down by force. When I hear the word therapist today, I use every block I have within me to keep Al safe.

I know that he should get it out of his head, but I refuse to put him through hell ever again. God will deal with Al. God will protect him in the perfect way.  I do not have what it takes to approach this subject matter. When the nursing home came to me with the idea of someone speaking to Al, I stood tall like a fence and said

Bye granddad....



Blood That Follows

In my family Al and I had very few blood relatives. I know that to some this isn’t very Blue_candleimportant. To me it was, because I liked knowing that I belonged somewhere.

Al and I had our dad and my dad’s one sister and my dad’s mother.

I had stored a bowl that was left to me by my grandma and I received it this weekend. I also have photos of my family. I thought I would share with you. It also gives you a little bit more insight as to why my brother means so very much to me. He and I are real brother and sister.

grandma's bowlThis belonged to my grandma’s side of the family. I will treasure it always.

alvin and meThis is Al and me after we started our new life with our dad and stepmom.

alvin graduation pictureThis is Al on his graduation day.

dad's dadThis is my dad’s dad.

grandma and grandpa taylorThis is my grandma and my real grandpa.

four generation picThis is a generation picture. My dad is the baby in the photo.

my mom and dadThis is my stepmom and my dad about five years before they passed a way.

my kids when they were youngThese are my kids when they were young.