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 Category:  Biographical Non-Fiction
  Posted: October 31, 2020      Views: 75
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BethShelby is retired from the printing and commercial art field. She is married and has four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband presently live in Tennessee.

Painting, photography, and writing are her passion. She has ha - more...

She is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #5 spot on the rankings.

She is an accomplished poet and is currently at the #42 spot on this years rankings.

She is also an active reviewer and is holding the #14 spot on the top ranked reviewer list.

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Chapter 74 of the book Remembering Yesterday
Up and down of family members.
"All About Family" by BethShelby

This chapter deals with things happening within our immediate family during 1978. School days, talents, home, work, and attitudes make up most of this chapter.

Carol celebrated her seventeenth birthday in February of 1978. The twins had their fifteenth birthday two months earlier, in December. We celebrated most birthdays as family only parties these days. The children liked Mexican food, and there was a favorite local restaurant which they often chose for their special occasions. I always made sure they had cake and ice cream at home. Christi's and Don's brithday was so close to Christmas that their cake was usually trimmed in red and green.

Carol was taking bookkeeping in school and we decided to turn our checkbook over to her and let her learn by keeping up with the bills for us. When the mail arrived, we would give it to her and ask her to make sure the bills were paid several days before the due date. She was doing a good job, and I was very proud of her. Somehow a bill was misplaced, and when it didn’t get paid, our electricity was cut off. Carol felt it was her fault, and she didn’t want to do the bills any more.

You decided you would take over the books, instead of me. Since you sometimes wrote checks and forgot to tell me, I had devised a way of keeping more in the account than showed. That way I could make sure we didn’t bounce checks. You didn’t like not knowing exactly how much was there. I kept a separate account of money I earned, so I was happy to let you deal with the main household account. I would buy the groceries, family clothes, and presents with my money.

It was my job to do the income tax. You had never done it, and you thought I knew what I was doing. I hated doing it and would put it off as long as possible. Every year, there were changes in the law, and I’d need to read through the whole book again. I was used to working under pressure, but waiting until the last minute made you nervous, so you would bug me until I did it. You printed beautifully, so you always recopied my work before you mailed it. There were many times when you sped to the post office just before mid-night on April 15th. We had nothing to worry about, because we always had money coming back. They couldn’t put a penalty on money they owed us, but the law said file by April 15th so you insisted on having it there by then.

Don was making passing grades in school, but he had such terrible handwriting and spelling skills, it amazed me that he did as well as he did. He apparently had the ability to compose a good story. His English teacher had the students write stories as daily assignments. Don always wrote personal stories that had an amusing twist. Some were embarrassing for the family, but they delighted his teacher. She told him he could be a writer if he would just learn to spell and type. I tried to get him to take typing, but he couldn’t seem to get his fingers to cooperate. They worked just fine on guitar strings but not a typewriter.

Christi and Don both had excellent singing voices, and they were often called on to sing duets in church. They were asked to sing at weddings, as well. Carol had a good singing voice also, but she didn’t like to sing in public unless it was with a group.

Carol had a special gift for doing pencil portraits. She also did other art work in colored pencils and in oil. In art class, she did a picture of sheep on a hillside. That one hangs in my bedroom. She also did a large portrait in oil of a Greek Orthodox priest sitting and reading from a large Bible. There was a window above him overlooking a hillside.

The Shah of Iran had been recently overthrown and was in exile. He looked much like the man in the painting, so everyone thought she had painted his portrait. In reality, she got the idea from a National Geographic magazine. She gave it to my mom for Christmas that year. Carol didn’t seem to treasure her work and always gave it to anyone who wanted it.

Christi and Don were also talented in art, and in time Connie would be. as well. Their styles differed. Christi liked crafts and decorating. Don was more of a perfectionist, which is much like you. Your precise way of working was right for doing the drafting work. 

As for me, I liked to do a painting in one session. I worked in water color and oil, but I was very messy. It wasn’t unusual for me to get oil paint all over myself. When you critiqued my work, especially when I was painting animals, your suggestions for improvement kept me redoing details until you approved. I liked painting landscapes and seascapes and things that didn’t involve a lot of detail. I only painted occasionally after college. The commercial art I did at work was quite different from the fine art courses I took in college. Most of that involved arranging ads and drawings were usually pen and ink. If color was involved it was done with overlays.

When the school year ended in May of that year, I encouraged Carol to find a summer job. She was reluctant to go on interviews, and I'm sure she thought I was nagging her. I guess I was to an extent, but Carol would stay in her room and become a hermit if I didn't push her a bit. She did reluctantly go looking for something. She worked with a temporary agency as a file clerk, and then she got a permanent job working at a doughnut shop. The experience was good for her, and she was well liked by her co-workers. For the first time in her life, she was earning her own money, and the tips weren’t that bad either. The down side was that she brought a bag of day-old doughnuts home each night, which put too much sugar into our diets and interfered with our waistlines. For some reason, we never insisted she not do it.

Some incidences did occur there which were sad. One of the regular customers, who Carol knew well, died of a heart attack. Then two of her co-workers died tragically
. They were both cutters, who actually made the doughnuts. The first one who died was married but cheating on his wife. He was on the highway with his girlfriend, when they came upon an auto accident. He got out of his car to investigate and was hit by another car and killed.

The other death was more tramatic for her. He was a young guy, not much older than she was. He was a special friend. She admitted that she had a crush on him in spite of the fact he was hooked on drugs. He lived in a house-trailer, and one night, it caught fire, and he was unable to get out. Everyone believed that he was likely smoking pot and too high to escape. She seemed very sad for a long while after that.

You were going through a rough spot in your life, where you were concerned about what to do with our country place. You were hoping to be able to retire early and return to a less hectic lifestyle, where you could raise cattle and sell timber and not have to worry about dealing with the public.

When you tried to talk to me about it, I found I had a blind spot when it came to the farm. It was a great place to get away for a few days, but the children and I didn’t want to live there. I couldn’t give you the answers you wanted. When the subject came up, we were at an impasse.

When you didn’t get answers from me, you would take Carol to the levee and try to talk to her about it. I could feel you withdrawing from me. Because you weren’t happy, I had my moments of shedding a few tears as well. You and I both knew, that with four children to try to get through college, and three of them in the near future, our expenses would be great. It wasn’t something we could swing without your salary. This was one dilemma that would plague us for t
he next few years.

The book continues with First Bird to Leave the Nest. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I'm continuing to recall memories of life with my deceased husband as if I am talking aloud to him. I'm doing this because I want my children to know us as we knew each other and not just as their parents.
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