Saturday, March 26, 2011

One would assume that when you get a writing contract, it would be a piece of cake to sign.....well, this one is stressing big time.  I've gone over the contract with a fine tooth comb and it sounds great..... but I have questions.  Most of them are stupid, not that important, but still they are questions.

Also I'm thinking about the commitment.  That doesn't necessarily freak me out.  It doesn't.  I love to travel so going around for book signings won't be a problem.  I'm just worried that I'm not going to get the manuscript finished by my deadline.  Actually, it shouldn't be a problem. I work better under pressure.  It must be a Bowker thing.... although it might be a Rafferty thing.  I've got stubborn genes from both sets of parents, so that makes me doomed. 

I think I'm over-thinking this whole thing... which is quite funny because I normally just act before I think.  So i guess it's probably a good think I'm thinking at all.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Part 6

When Mom started going to high school, she was allowed to wear low cut oxford type shoes instead of the high top brown shoes she had worn all through her younger years. The look of the low cut oxfords were only slightly better and it still wasn't what everyone else was wearing at the time. Unfortunately, out of necessity, mom needed to wear shoes that helped her feet rather than shoes that looked good. My Mom tells of times when she had cut the sides of her brown shoes and tucked in the sides to make them look like the other kids. I think we often forget that it doesn't matter what era a person lived in, there were certain fashionable styles and most everyone wanted to look the part. My mom was no different.
When mom was starting her year sophmore year, her friend “Nancy Huse” and she went shopping for clothes for school. Nancy tried on a stylish pair of 'buck' which were all the rage at that time. The were similar to oxfords, but suede and the 'in' thing to have. Mom decided to try on a pair, and decided that she would get them. She convinced herself that she could wear them and they would be comfortable.
At home, Mom showed her parents the shoes and convinced them as well that she would be able to wear them. For two years Mom wore those shoes, even though her feet hurt more and more every day. She knew it was because of not wearing proper shoes, but she didn't want to because she was afraid of what they might say. She did her best keeping her secret until one Saturday right before her senior year. There was a family picnic at Sullivan's Monument with other families from a group that Grandma and Grandpa Rafferty belonged to. A group of them were playing softball and Mom really wanted to play as well. Everything was going ok until it was Mom's turn at the base. She hit the ball and started to run to first base but her feet were hurting so badly that she collapsed to the ground in tears. My Grandparents took one look at her swollen and red feet and got her into the new Guthrie Clinic in Sayre.
Soon after Mom had her last surgery when she was ten, Dr. Alben had retired and the Rafferty's hadn't found another Doctor that was as good and took as good care of Mom as the previous Dr. had. They were very thankful to find this doctor in Sayre. The new Doctor said that Mom absolutely had to have special shoes made for her. This was quite a concern for my Mom because she didn't want to have to wear ugly shoes again. The Dr. assured her that they had people right at Sayre who could make them look fashionable.
It was during one of these visits to Guthrie that the Doctor asked Mom what her plans after high school were. Mom said she wanted to be a nurse but the doctor said she could never do something that required her to be on her feet all the time. He suggested that she try something else in the Medical field like a Medical Secretary. She thought about it and decided she would give it a try.
It probably was presumptuous for Mom to even assume she was going to college, but it just never occurred to her that she wouldn't. Most of her classmates were planning on it, but looking back, Mom realizes that her parents had to have borrowed the $1000.oo that it took to send her that first year.
Mom went for her college interview but the man in admissions wondered why she wanted to go into the medical secretary program because she only had one typing class but had already taken 3 years of sciences and math. He told her she should take Medical technology and after a quick thought, she decided she would.

The week after graduation from High school my mom and 6 or 7 of her girlfriends were invited to a friends cottage on Keuka Lake for a week. They spent the week water skiing, swimming and enjoying being recent graduates. When Mom had been in school, she had never been boy crazy partly because she was very unsure of herself and didn't want to go out much. Mom doesn't think the guys disliked her, but no one ever asked her out and she is sure it had everything to do with her feet and how she looked. At one point while at the cottage, one of Mom's friends said that there was this guy across the lake whose parents had a cottage there. She said he was a good looker, but wasn't there often, but they took a ride over by the cottage, but nobody was there.
I will tell you the significance of this later.


Mom is in the second row from the bottom, third one in. Her sister Barb is in the Top row, first one. Her brother Bob is the last boy in the top row.


notice the brown high top shoes mom is wearing.... she is the one sticking out her tongue

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Part 3

In 1939 when my mom's first surgery was so tragically done, the depression was still trudging along albeit slowing a tiny bit. Yet, people all over America were weary from years of struggling with making ends meet and still not quite having enough. This stressful time caused much anguish for my Grandparents because it required them to leave my mom in the hospital in Binghamton NY for 3 months at a time. Most parents now-and-days couldn't imagine leaving their two year old child in a hospital alone for more than a few hours; Gladys and George didn't have a choice.
Dr. Alben was very distressed at what the previous surgeon had done to my mother. The infections and abscesses took a long time to heal and the removal of tendons had done more damage than good to her small legs. Dr. Alben knew it was going to take many surgeries and lots of hard work on the part of my mom to over come what had been done to her. After Mom was healed from the infections, the casting process was started. This required her to be put in casts, and every week portions would be cut out and her feet manipulated in a more normal position and then recast. After each repositioning, the pain was almost unbearable and the longing to be comforted by her mother was almost more than she could stand. Binghamton City Hospital was a sterile, cold place with bleak gray walls and sick children. The long days stretched into weeks then months until her legs and feet were repositioned enough to allow her to leave the Hospital for a small stretches of time. It never was long enough though.
Months became years and while the Depression had come to a close due to the war, WWII had become another stumbling block keeping my mom locked in her sterile castle when work needed to be done on her casts.
Because of the war, gas, and other household items were being rationed. Each household was given a certain amount of rations which didn't leave enough most weeks to have enough for my grandparents to get to Binghamton. Thankfully there were kind people who would save enough of theirs to give some to Grandma and Grandpa so they could go see Mom every two weeks or so.
Whether it was because of depression or an illness, my mom stopped eating. She remembers pushing her food around on the plate so the nurses would take the tray and even giving food to other kids so the nurses would stop telling her to eat. Hoping that it was because of her tonsils, the doctors asked my grandparents if they could take them out. Giving their permission, mom had her tonsils removed at the age of 4. When mom woke up, she yelled at my Grandmother that she hated her but then quickly fell back to sleep. When she woke up the next time, they were gone. Not because they wanted to leave, but they had to get back to the rest of the family and Grandpa George couldn't risk missing work and losing his job. He had already had to find work at a plant called Bendix because the Meat Market had gone under two years prior. It was hard for my mom to understand at that young age that her anger wasn't the reason why her parents weren't there when she woke up. Even after Grandma tried to assure her the next time she saw her. How could any child understand that? It wasn't long after her tonsillectomy that the doctors would figure out her eating problems weren't tonsil related. At the age of four, my mom was depressed.

When mom turned eight, she had her second surgery on her legs and feet. This time, under the guided hands of a skilled surgeon using proper equipment. During this surgery, a few more tendons in her legs were moved and part of her ankle bone was removed. Two years later, at the age of ten, her other foot would be operated on and because of the advancement in medicine, that foot has always been a little better for her. Memories from her hospital stays are quite vivid and she recalls the casting room where casts were put on her and other children as well. It was a cold room with tall pillars with bars in between. These bars would be used to tie kids down that needed to be casted because of displaced hips or to straighten their backs. When everyone was back in their rooms, mom would 'sneak' over to visit some of the kids who couldn't move because of their casts. Many times she would follow the nurses around in her wheel-chair to help tend to the other children. On a rare occasion, the nurses would take the kids up to the roof of the hospital so they could get some fresh air because like my mom, most of these kids were there for long periods of time.
Lice was a big problem for anyone staying in the hospitals back then. Mom recalls one time that her Dad came to visit and the Doctor happened to be there. The doctor let Mom go home with Grandpa on the train for the weekend and while she was home, Grandma realized that Mom had a very bad case of Lice. Unfortunately this meant that everyone in the house had to be treated with kerosene and sit for hours while Grandma picked eggs out of their hair.

No one was happy with Mom for that special “gift”. I'm wondering, if inside my mom was silently chuckling to herself that she got to share some of her grief from being kept away from everyone. After all, misery loves company.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Part 1

Springtime never came early enough back in those days, or so it seemed for the hard working people who lived in upstate New York during the depression. The Rafferty family was one of those families who waited not so patiently for the long days of winter to melt into Spring. The slightly warmer weather was a hopeful time; a time when mothers could push the kids outside for longer periods of time and the fathers could put the plow in the hands of their sons who had grown like weeds over the winter. The long cold winters grasp was finally beginning to lose it's hold and peoples spirits could once again see Gods greatness as the tiny buds of new life sprung from the ground. Hope was starting to have life in the hearts of the men who worked their fingers to the bone just to have enough for their family to get by. Kids no longer had to trudge through knee deep snow to the school house up the road and after school boys and girls would linger at the creek on the way home. No one was in a hurry to get back to chores after being cooped up inside for months.

George Rafferty had taken a job at the butcher shop in the next town over to make ends meet for his growing family.
He was a well respected man and most everyone who knew him would testify that he was an honest, hard worker with integrity. The slight limp in his walk wasn't noticed because George was also a proud man who held his head high and rarely showed defeat. These traits of a strong work ethic and stubborn pride were passed to his children which provided the foundational blocks of tenacity in trusting in Christ when challenges were faced. His wife, Gladys, was pregnant with their sixth child and ready to give birth in March.

By the time Bev Rafferty was born in March of 1937, the depression was in full swing. Times were tough everywhere and even the rural roads of North Chemung were not immune to the effects of that era. The jobs people had were held onto with iron fists and vacation time or time for the birth of a child was not a luxury that most would dare to take. There were many unemployed people willing to work and taking time off was viewed as a weakness which might result in losing your job. George was not willing to take that chance when Gladys went into labor.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pretty soon I'll be singing the Wedding day anthem in my head 24/7.    Why? you ask?  Because #2 is getting married.  Yes, that's right, my second oldest son, Jake is getting married to Manda!  I'm mixed with excitement and nervousness.  Mostly excitement.  She is one of the greatest people I know and she has fit in to our family and become apart of our family so easily.   Manda is also the second oldest in her family as well and she has three younger siblings so she knows how crazy it can get so maybe that is why she  seems so layed back.  Either way, she is pretty great. 
I'm slightly nervous, because, well, I just know that marriage is hard and I wish I could wave a magic wand and make things really easy for them.   I wish I could pay off his student loan debt so they could start out free and clear, I wish I could buy them all the furniture they will need to set up an apartment...... but I can't.... and even if I could it probably wouldn't be wise.  I'm sure they will learn to handle things and manage their finances just fine without dear ol mom butting her nose in.... 
It really is funny how things change when someone finds the person they are meant to be with.  
Jake was always my kid who was NEVER going to get married.  NEVER have kids and until a couple years ago I thought he probably would stick to that.  Then Manda came along and VOILA!  She melted his heart and in a matter of 7 months he is engaged!  Who'da thunk it?    
Now my biggest problem will be to try not to become a hovering mother-in-law that trys to take over......  control freakishness is one of my downfalls so I will need lots of prayer. =)