Altamont, Oct. 17, 2013
Some readers are going to smile when they hear what I am about to say. Not because it is humorous, but because either they have been in the same situation or they know someone else who has been there. The thought never really entered my mind until a recent visit to see my sister in North Carolina.
Anyway, here goes. When I got up this morning and looked in the mirror I thought, that’s not me. That’s my mother! That’s when I realized how many times I had heard other friends talk about the same thing, turning into their mother.
The visits to my sister’s have always been semi-annually. Nancy, my sister, is almost six years older than me. The difference in age made it difficult for us to be very close as children. I am sure that you know what I mean. She was in high school while I was still in elementary school. I was the little sister in pigtails who did not fit in with the older kids.
Now we see each other one or two times a year and really cherish our visits. During our most recent visit; my brother-in-law mentioned that he thought Nancy looked a lot like my mother.
Our story is similar to many others who grew up as post World War II kids. We were affected by the Korean Conflict because the GI Bill was just beginning to kick in.
The GI Bill, formally called The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, was a law that provided benefits for returning World War II veterans. Those benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation.
My father-in-law took advantage of both the low cost mortgage; he used the Bill to purchase his home in West Hartford, Conn., and to receive his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Hartford in Conn.
It was a wonderful bill that passed through Congress rapidly in 1944. Actually it passed both Houses on the same day. The speed was because politicians wanted to avoid the postwar confusion about veterans' benefits that became a political football in the 1920s and 1930s.
My father was a veteran of WWI and became active in the American Legion when he got home. I remember how proud I was as he marched by with his buddies in the Memorial Day parade.
He never spoke about what he did in the service or where he was stationed. He never had or used any benefits, but always remained a proud American.
My Uncle was also in the Army. I do not know where he served, but he had service related injuries that landed him in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Mass. That is where he spent his last days.
When that program ended in 1956, approximately 2.2 million veterans had used the G.I. Bill education benefits in order to attend colleges or universities, and an additional 6.6 million used these benefits for some kind of training program.
As I started to say, everyone who was able to work was working. My father worked in New Bedford, Mass. as the business manager of the US Rubber Company and my mother worked at Lloyd's, a fashionable dress store also in New Bedford. That left my sister and me pretty much as latchkey kids. I learned as an adult what it meant to be a latch key kid.
After my sister graduated from high school, she went to a two year college and got a job working for the government, then went to Germany, met a young soldier and got married shortly after they both returned to the United States.
While Nancy was doing all of the things that she had selected for her life’s path, I graduated from high school, went to a college in Boston and after graduation worked in Hartford, Conn. That is where I met the love of my life, Jim, my husband.
Over the years Nancy and I worked, had babies, volunteered our time and had wonderful lives, different but wonderful.
After our family traveled to North Carolina to see Nancy and her family we would talk about a million things. We would almost always talk about how much Nancy resembled our mother. Several years ago our mother died in a nursing home at the age of 91. She had Alzheimer’s and was suffering with it for many years.
Now when Nancy and I get together we spend a great deal of time discussing medical care. Part of the reason for that is because Nancy’s oldest son Steve is a pharmacist. Two of his children are either registered nurses or they are going to school to become registered nurses.
We also get into some heated conversations about the cost of medicine, the availability of good medicine and good doctors. We noted that as we get older we don’t move as quickly as we did when we were younger. We also seem to forget more often than before. The list could go on.
Mom and dad are gone. Jim’s mom, dad and sister are gone. However, my sister and her family are still with us. Also our three daughters are still with us and we are living that great life that we have lived for years.
Nancy and I have a lot to talk about. Even if we do not see each other often, we still call each other once a week. We cover family, weather, news, common complaints, and the hopes to see our pictures on the Smuckers piece on the Today Show, hosted by Willard Scott. After I finished my phone chat with Nancy, I closed my phone, turned to Jim and asked, “Do I look like my mother?”
In a recent newsletter from Peter Brabant, school principal there was a request for parents to update their contact information as well as critical medical information relative to their children. It has been requested that all updates be completed by but no later than Sept. 20.
The above request has also been made by the Guilderland School District. The update request is for your child's contact and medical information for the new school year. Parents are asked to visit the districts online update at http://www.guilderlandschool.org/district/health/cards.cfm.
For more information contact Kim TenEyck at the GCS District office at 456-6200, ext. 3123.
The first Friday of each month, students and staff at the Altamont Elementary School wear red to show their school spirit.
On Oct. 26, the Guilderland School District will hold a recycling event at the Farnsworth Middle School from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This event is open to the general public; both residents and non-residents of the school district.
Acceptable items include: old bicycles, lawn mowers, patio furniture, swing sets, grills, and even refrigerators, clothing, shoes, rags, towels, pocketbooks, sheets, blankets and comforters. Other acceptable items include old phone books, catalogs and magazines.
Not acceptable are blueprints, carbon papers and egg cartons.
Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:
— Diana and Harvey Levin who will celebrate their 45th anniversary on Oct. 19;
— Cristen and Josh Lear on Oct. 22; and
— Kathy and Bill Johnson and Jackie and Joe Perry on Oct. 24.
Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:
— Rita Staub on Oct. 18;
— Barbara Ferraioli, Mark Greenwald, Jill Reed, and Eileen Margaret on Oct.19;
— Scott Harris and Joe Perry on Oct. 20;
— Michael Buchanan and Kort Schager on Oct. 21;
— Abby Levin on Oct. 22;
— Keith Smith and Cameron Alexis Zounes on Oct. 24; and
— Walter Best and Lisa(Fidler) Rittner on Oct. 25.