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 Category:  Biographical Non-Fiction
  Posted: November 10, 2020      Views: 89
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 ABOUT
BETHSHELBY 

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...

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She is an accomplished poet and is currently at the #39 spot on this years rankings.

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Chapter 77 of the book Remembering Yesterday
Three of the children will be away for the school year.
"A Shrinking Household" by BethShelby

Background
My oldest daughter will be going away to college and the twins will be going to a boarding academy for their senior year. My baby, Connie, well be in first grade. My husband and I continue working.


For new readers, who may not have read my author notes, this is written in a conversational way as I talk to my deceased husband. When I refer to someone just as "you" this means I am addressing my husband, Evan.

Early in 1979, Carol’s fascination with John Denver and Country music evaporated, and she entered a new stage in her life. She had always been interested in religion and God. She had been baptized at an early age, but lately she had become almost obsessive in her beliefs. She decided the music which we listened to was something contrary to a Christian life.
 
I came home from work one day to find her and Connie sitting in the middle of the floor with a stack of my records, which they were in the process of destroying. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the black shards of some of my favorite albums broken into tiny jagged pieces. I’m ashamed to say that I let my frustration get the best of me. I lost my temper and informed her, in harsh tones, that the records she was breaking weren’t hers to break. A new one, which I had recently bought of the Singing Nun, who was popular at the time, was among those lost. I was able to salvage a few records which she hadn’t gotten to yet. She seemed surprised at my reaction. She got up with tears in her eyes and went to her room.

Carol had continued to work at the doughnut shop after she finished school, until it was time to go through the graduation ceremony with the rest of her class. In late May, Mom and Dad came down for the ceremony and they brought your mom along with them. Carol’s high school class was so large that the graduation was held in the city auditorium. The ceremony was long and boring, and everyone was relieved when it finally ended. 
  
Don was back home from Ozark, and although his grades were passing, they were disappointing. It was apparent that he was going to miss his little girlfriend. They had parted thinking they would rekindle their relationship after the summer break. He and his roommate, Lowell, had become close friends and they would  miss each other as well.  You and I decided that we would not be sending him so far away from home again. The parents of his friend, David, felt the same way that we did about the school being too far away. They assured us that David wouldn’t be going back to Ozark either.

Now that school was out for the summer, Don didn't know what to do with himself. He and Christi applied for work at some restaurants, and he managed to get a job as a busboy at a popular local restaurant. Christi was hired there as a waitress, but she was apprantly too slow at catching on, because she only worked there a couple of weeks before they let her go. She tried another waitress job with the same result. Apparently it wasn't her calling.
 
Don had a new hobby.  Macrame was popular, and he became very good at making hanging baskets and other projects.  He kept buying books with new designs and using a lot of colored cord and hemp twine. Soon Mother and I had more macrame baskets and wall hangings than we knew what to do with. 
 
In June, Connie's sixth birthday was celebrated with just family. I didn't want to go through the embarrassment of having no one show up, like her last birthday.

Her friend Lesley was taking dance lessons and Connie mentioned that maybe she would like to take dancing. There were beginner gymnastic classes starting at the Johnny Bright playground, and we suggested  that  she might like to do that instead. After watching the summer Olympics, Don and Christi were getting interested in gymnastics, and Connie wanted to do everything they did, so we signed her up for those classes.
 
Carol and her friend, Carmen, from church, decided they wanted to go to a Bible based college in Keene, Texas near Fort Worth. Carmen hadn’t quite finished high school. She had fallen behind because she'd had to learn English after she moved to Metairie from El Salvador. She was old enough to take a GED, so she did and was able to get the high school equivalency diploma. Now, they could both enroll as freshmen and be roommates. Carol and Carmen spent hours shopping for clothes and deciding how they wanted to decorate their dorm room. They bought matching spreads and bedding for the twin beds which would be in their room. 

I talked to Carol about what she might be interested in doing after she got out of college, but she had no idea. Since she was skilled in math, I suggested that field might be something she was suited for. I thought she might consider engineering, or some other job where math skills would be an asset. She said she would take mostly basic courses the first year, but she might try an advanced math class to see if she'd like it.
    
In late August, we drove Carol to Keene because we wanted to see the campus of the college she would attend. All the children came with us. Carol's roommate came separately with her sister and brother-in-law. 
The campus was lovely and her room was spacious.

I was shocked that the Texas weather was so hot in August. The temperature was  a 104
° F, but it wasn't as humid there as it was back in New Orleans. It didn't feel uncomfortable, until we had lugged suitcases and other boxes up the stairs to her freshman dorm room.  We said our goodbyes, and after spending one night in a motel, we drove back to Metaire to deal with getting the other two ready to go away as well.
 
A recruiter for a Christian academy in Mississippi had been by and talked to us, and to David's parents, about sending our children there for their senior year. The man saw some of Don's macrame and was impressed. He told Don that for his school job, he would be paid for making macrame hangings to decorate the admistration building and the dorm lobbies. Christi's job would be to work in a campus based factory which made easels for floral wreaths. 

We decided to let the twins go there, because the school was only about an hour's drive from Metairie
It was in a town which we had to go through on our trips back to visit our parents and check on our country place, so we would be able to see them often.

We drove them to school and met their roommates. Christi would be rooming with a freshman. The girl went by the name of Sunshine, and she lived up to her name. She appeared to be very upbeat and excited about being there.
 
Now, our house seemed very empty. Connie was the only child we had left. She began first grade at Alice Birney Elementary school, the same school where she had attented kindergarden. Diane, my neighbor, who had kept Connie after school last year would be keeping her for me again.

Connie was like an only child now, with her siblings all away at school. It was hard to keep her at home, because she wanted to spend all her time playing with Diane’s daughter, Lesley, and her other neighborhood playmates. She missed her siblings and wasn't used to being with only adults.

 

Recognized

The book continues with Long Distance Parenting. 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, Evan, 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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