Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Remember Dad and Many Others by Edna Ruth Mitchem (my aunt)

Today is the Bday of my Dad Floyd Farley. He was born in 1905. Dad would've been 107 yrs old had he lived. He died of a massive heart attack 9-11-69 @ the age of 64. May he R.I.P. When growing up this day, was always a big ocassion. It meant a big dinner for family & friends, outside with all of Dad's friends from down-town Logan invited up on the farm, 15 miles south of Logan. Mom would have tables set up out in under the huge maple tree in our front yard. The farm was located @ the foot of Mountain View Inn, on the Logan side on route 119 then, Rt 44 now. We moved there the summer that I went into the 4th grade @ Omar. One yr, I remember Mom bought dresses for her & us 3 girls alike for the event. They were a small black & white check with red trim. We all wore aprons, & helped carry the food outside to the tables. I remember some of the guest were Carson Browning, his wife, & secretary. The reason they stood out in my memories was they would bring big trucks with their horses. I'd watch them saddle up. Their clothing was different. They wore riding clothing like in the old-time movies. The riding pants fit real loose in the thigh area & tight on the lower leg. They would eat, & ride horses up Bannister Holler that went up by our house. Dad had a lease that was 365 acres that he leased from US Steel for $15.00/yr. Other guest was Carson's brother, John R. Browning. He was a preacher & a politician. My Dad's job was political. He was a police officer for 16yrs under Ray Watts, Okey Justice, & Grover Combs to mention 3 of the Sheriff's. Dad was a Deputy Sheriff. All of the officers & their families were invited. I also remember Mr & Mrs Harris that owned the funeral home in Logan, now known as Honaker. It used to be the Harris Funeral Home. The McCormick's of The McCormick's Store that is still in Logan. Nick from the Greek Resturant that we had in Logan by the same name, Nick's. I know there was a Afro American preacher that lived up Crystal Block holler that always said the Blessing's @ the dinners, a friend of ours. We called him colored. That was the proper term to call people of color in those days. We have always had friends of color even before segregation. They lived in their coal camps, had their own schools, & churches. They sat in the balconey in the movie theatre, went to the back part of the Omar Y to eat, but @ lunch time the school kids ate in the back of the "Y" also.

Another strange occurance I remember. When my Dad was a police officer he would take prisoners to Moundsville. When he took males, he would take my Uncle Bernie Saunders, my Mom's 1/2 brother, & Mom's sister Edna when he took female prisoners. His car wasn't equipped to transport prisoners like they are now. Infact, they drove their own personal cars. The only way you could tell it was a police car was the large antenna on the backs of their cars. There was not a light or any markings. Dad did have a siren & a CB. Dad's call letters were: KA6967. I was told his car was souped up, that I'm not sure, but it sure did move when I'd provoked people into racing me, when I was driving. LOL Back to my story. Dad was on his way back from Moundville where he had taken male prisoners & therefore had Bernie with him. Bernie spotted Mom's Dad sitting on a porch. He told my Dad, "Floyd that's Mike back there sitting on that porch." Dad ask, "Are you sure Bernie?" Bernie assured Dad by saying, "I'm positive." Bernie was 12yrs old when Mom's Dad disappeared. Mom was 3yrs old & was always told he was killed in the coal mines. Edna Mom's sister was 1yr old. Dad went back to the house. My dad was 6ft 4 inches tall, a big man in a uniform. He approached the short man asking, "are you Mike Mondah?" The man shook his head No. Dad ask, "Do you have a daughter named Ann?" He shook his head No again. Bernie spoke up saying, "Mike I know that's you, I'm Bernie & I know that's you." Dad had gotten Mom's photograph out of his billfold & handed it to him, & ask again, "are you sure you don't know her, this is Ann?" He took the pic & placed it on his chest & began to cry, saying over & over "My Anna, My Anna." He didn't pronounce Anna the way we do. Mom always went by her Mothers maiden name Saunders, as did Bernie. Mom went by Ann instead of Anna. Seems my Grandpa had come to the US in 1919 from Yugoslavia & worked in the coal mines during the mining wars in WV. He got scared in a new country & ran off, leaving people to think he had been killed in the mines. Mom was born in 1920 just 1yr after he come to this country. Dad called Mom & told her what happened. Mom called Edna & told her & they began to make plans right away to go see their Dad, in Rivesville Wv up near the Pennsylvania line. Mom & Edna's Mom died durng child-birth when Mom was 7 & Edna was 5. They were raised as orphans. Mom was a Mother figure to Edna. The Big Day finally came, Mom & Edna went to see their Dad for the 1st time. Little did they know, there was another surprise yet in store for them. Mike Mondah they thought was Mike Mandish. He told them he was NOT Edna's father. You know the 2 brothers I told you abt that came to my Dad's Bday party, Carson & John R. Browning, well..........seems they have another brother called Dewey Browning, that is Edna's Dad. To make a long story short, Edna re-united with Dewey & they added many yrs of joy to both of their lives. He used to come to the Mtchem/Farley Reunions I had on Thanksgiving Day for yrs, up @ the Scout Hall @ Omar, till it burned down. Dewey & Don loved playing checkers together. They were both very good players. Mike Mom's Dad, had married a woman with 5 children, but my Mom was his 1 & only child. He continued to live up near his step children, but did come to visit us for a wk @ a time. We visited him a few times. Mom was 32yrs old when Dad & Bernie found Grandpa. He bought me & Don the 1st electric skillet , I'd ever seen for a wedding gift when we got married in 1957. He died in the mid 60's.

My Aunt Edna

If I won the lottery I would open a no kill shelter in southern West Virginia

These babies are available at the shelter now. Call 304-752-1876. After I have my surgery I will start fostering the mommy cats and kittens.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Remember Playing with Mercury When You Were In Grade School?

I remember doing a 4th. grade (1972) science experiment and playing with the mercury. We had a ball touching the little balls and watching them skitter across the container that the teacher had it in. I don't remember how long we played in it but I do remember that we would break thermometers to play with it after that.

Now if a drop of mercury is spilled there is a hazmat team called out for an industrial cleanup.

Boy, have times changed.

June Good Deed Alert

My aunt and uncle cleaned out their freezers again today. They gave me the food and I gave food to 10 different people in the building.

It does my heart good to see Sam and Art in their motorized wheelchairs. Both chairs were donated to them. I used to watch Sam struggle with every step he took to get from his apartment to the bench downstairs or even to go to Rite Aid across the street. This has gone on for the past year. I watched Art go everywhere he wanted to go in a regular wheelchair. (Art has no legs). He never let it stop him. He pushed on and did anything he wanted to do. Now they both have complete freedom in motorized wheelchairs and to see how it has changed their lives is a wonderful thing.

My aunt and uncle have also donated so many clothes and had relatives and friends donate clothes to people in the building. (including Art and Sam) that everywhere I look now I see clothes that they are responsible for donating and it didn't cost anybody anything. Actually it cost my aunt and uncle money because they would go pick up the clothes and in many cases give me gas money to come to their house to pick them up.

My uncle also gave me a whole computer complete with printer and scanner. He also gave his cousin Dorothy Jean a computer. In turn Dorothy Jean has donated some of the most beautiful clothes to people in the building as well as a 19 inch television that I gave to Sam.

All you have to do is go through your closets and give things you don't want anymore to people in need. I have also taken shoes to the battered women's shelter. They needed them so bad that I was almost mobbed. Those women leave home with just the clothes on their backs and on their kid's backs.

It doesn't take money to help people out.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One more thing to watch for in the pool

We've all watched small children play and marveled at their boundless energy. They can run in circles for what seems like hours and never rest. It is the same way when they are in the pool. They can swim forever and have a wonderful time. The problem comes when they get tired. They have no way to gauge when they are getting tired they just get tired and they need to stop. Unfortunately if they need to stop and the water is over their heads they just go under.

There is no warning.

There is no sound.

This is one reason public pools require children to rest for 15 minutes out of every hour. Also it gives them a chance for a bathroom break instead of peeing in the pool.

The best part is that they don't require adults to get out of the water. It is a time of peace for me and I love it. I don't have to dodge crazed children as they go about their play with no concern for who they are running over.

It also gives me a chance to float in peace. The one advantage to being fat is that I can float endlessly in the pool. I can't tell you how many kids come to me at the end of the break and want to learn to float. I do my best to teach them but I also explain to them that "fat floats"

When I was a kid I used to try to float with no success. I was so jealous of my dad who could float forever and he tried more than once to teach me. I had zero body fat when I was a kid. No I can float just like he did. The problem is all my weight is concentrated in my ASS! It wants to float to the top. Unfortunately I can't breathe through that blowhole!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drowning is a Quiet Affair.

People think that when someone is drowning there is a lot of splashing and screaming. This is not usually the case. I've been present when a couple of lives were saved and each time there was very little if any noise or action of note.

Once I was laying in the sun when I lived in Florida. We lived at one of those apt. complexes with a pool and people were always sending their kids down to swim unsupervised. There was a little girl playing alone and one other lady lying in the sun as well. I was half asleep when I heard a noise.

I was drowsing back off when I heard a distinct "gurgle" again. Since I was half asleep I just wondered to myself what that sound could be. Then I heard the "gurgle" again. I realized that it was the little girl and I jumped up. I guess the other woman realized what was happening at the same time I did because she was already diving in the water as I stood up. She had to go down to the bottom of the pool to get the little girl. It was a good thing we were there. The girl would have been dead otherwise.

Another time my husband and I were swimming in the same pool. It was very crowded that day. We decided to leave. As I started to climb the stairs out of the pool I looked down to see a toddler laying face up about 2 inches under the surface of the water. She wasn't struggling. She was just laying quietly.

I grabbed her and stood her by the pool and she started to cough and sputter. She was gasping for air and her stupid mother just stood there screaming for her daughter to get back over here instead of trying to find out why my husband and I were trying to help her breathe. She had no idea that her child was close to drowning and even when we told her how we found her baby all she said was that she had just seen her playing on the steps only seconds before that.

In neither case did the child splash and scream or any of the other stuff you would think people do when they are drowning.

Last year I was at the pool and a little girl jumped in the deep end and it was obvious she had no business being there as she struggled to get back to the edge of the pool. I watched her like a hawk but I didn't assist her because she needed to realize the position she put herself in. The lifeguard came over and watched her as well but he let her struggle to the side too. Once she made it he asked me what I thought.

I told him to make her go back to the kiddie side of the pool. I had no interest in diving to the bottom and pulling her out. He told her to to to the the other side and she argued with him for at least 10 minutes. I was wondering where her parents were the whole time. They were there. They were at the kiddie end of the pool. They watched their daughter argue with the lifeguard the whole time. They did NOTHING.

That child was an accident waiting to happen and her parents had no interest in teaching her water safety or to respect the lifeguard. Hopefully that was their only trip to the pool last year.

I Almost Drowned When I Was a Kid

I was 5 years old and I went out with my dad to catch crawdads. We were at Bluestone Lake in WV. The last thing my mom told me before we left was not to get my pajamas wet which wasn't a problem since we were wading. I followed my dad holding a plastic bowl and my dad was seining for crawdads. When he would catch them he would put them in my bowl. We were going to use them to go fishing.

We were on our way back to the camp and we were almost at the bank and the next thing I know I was under water. I was not scared. I remember watching the crawdads float around me as they left the bowl I was carrying. I had no idea that I was in any danger. I was just floating in the water. I did not know how to swim and I didn't even realized that I needed to swim!

The next thing I know my dad is carrying me to the bank and my mom is screaming and going crazy and she grabed me and started hugging me and checking me over. I thought I was in trouble because I got my pajamas wet! I had no idea what had just happened to me.

It turned out that she was the one who saw me go under. My dad had been leading the way because he was taking me around the deeper pools of water. I just took one wrong step and went under my mom said. My dad turned to me when my mom started screaming and he had to reach down in the water and he pulled me out by my foot. I was very lucky!

We never went back to Bluestone Lake again. I have heard that many people have drowned in that area. After that we were never allowed near water without a life jacket - except for supervised swimming pools of course.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Saw An Angel

When my dad was at his worst in the hospital, I was busy trying to work, trying to prepare a new house for him and all the medical equipment he would need, and move all at the same time. I had spoken to my brother at length before I started making preparations to take care of our dad because I knew from watching my mom care for her mother that it was a job that could not be done alone. My brother assured me he would be there to help in any way necessary - all he wanted was for daddy to live.

However as I moved along with the process I found myself to be the only one who seemed to have time for our dad. Billy always had an excuse for why he wasn't available - except for a little token lip service or to criticize something I had done.

One day Billy called me to tell me he had a U Haul for me to use. I thanked him profusely. Then he told me that I had to use it that very afternoon. At that point in time my dad could not even feed himself and I had been around the hospital enough to see that if I didn't feed him then no one would. The nurse would just come and take the untouched tray away. If I was there I would wake him to eat. Of course he was a fully grown man who would have no part of me feeding him, but he was also blind and out of his mind. He did not realize that even though he had the food on his fork that it was not reaching his mouth. He would deposit the empty fork in his mouth and chew and swallow - what he was swallowing was thin air. I would stand beside him and as the fork got to his lips I would drop little bites of food on it and viola! He would eat. He had no idea that I was doing this. At least the nourishment made it to his body instead of covering him and his bed and the floor.

I asked Billy to come for lunch to feed daddy. He said no. I asked him to come for dinner to feed daddy. He said no. When I told him that daddy needed someone to feed him he said the nurses would do it. As I said, I had witnessed enough to know that they would not. I sit there wondering what to do because daddy was so weak that he didn't need to miss a meal.

I looked up to see an angel in the doorway.

I blinked. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Standing there smiling at me was my cousin, Sheila. I could even see a aura around her as she walked in and hugged me and my dad. It turns out that my great uncle, Wallace, was in the hospital at the same time and she was staying with him.

We laughed and talked and most importantly she laughed and talked with daddy. She even gave him a massage to calm him which worked wonders. I told her about needing to move and needing to feed daddy and she offered to help. She would feed daddy while I did what I had to do. She thought I was wrong about the nurses not helping him to eat but she promised to take care of things.

Late that night when I got back, she told me that I was right. She came to check on my dad at lunch and no one was there to help him eat, so she fed him. The same thing happened at dinner. Over the next few days she stepped in to help my dad every time I needed to be somewhere else.

Now Sheila is in a battle of her own with breast cancer. I want her to know she has all my love and support and if there is anything I can do for her then I will. She is an Angel.

Happy News: I am happy to report that Sheila beat breast cancer and is now cancer free for 2 years.