Archive for the ‘children’ Category

WITH LOVE, . . . Whatever I Was

June 20, 2017

Nurse Dandi

I just ran across this photo yesterday. (And I probably should have kept running.) It’s funny because last week Joe (my wonderful husband) asked me if I ever wanted to be a nurse or doctor like my parents. I said no. I always wanted to be a horse trainer or a writer. And yet, here I am, nursing a bandaged doll. But I didn’t play with dolls. I preferred plastic horses. My big sister, Maureen, wanted to be a nurse from the moment she was born . . . until her biology class had to pith a frog. She loved to play hospital with her dolls. So I’m guessing she made me do it.

WITH LOVE . . . TO MY SISTER

June 12, 2017

Maureen and Dandi

The cute blonde is my sister–my older sister by 3 years–Maureen Mae Daley (now Pento). Growing up in our little town of Hamilton, MO, I think we were best friends. We rode our horses bareback, swam in the pond, played with our dogs, cats, ducks, birds. We built forts in the summer and igloos and snowmen in the winter. At night, we slept in our bunk beds and whispered in the dark. When we both got the measles at the same time, we shared glorious days missing school and reading books and comic books together.

Maureen is still my best friend. She’s been more exited about WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE than I have, and she’s done more marketing and publicity too. If you’ve read the book, you have an idea where Maureen got her name. Everybody loves Maureen, especially her sister.

BOOK SALE–BACKYARD HORSES

June 5, 2017

Horse Dreams

Every now and then, my publisher puts a book on sale for a few days or a month. I love that! But I confess I dropped the ball on this one, since we’re already into June. (How did that happen?) For the month of June, wherever they sell books, the first e-book in BACKYARD HORSES,  a series of juvenile novels, is $1.99 (which always sounds better than $2). It’s set in Hamilton, MO, where I grew up, where I rode our “backyard horses,” un-fancy horses boarded in our backyard or a near pasture–definitely not in a fancy stable.

DAD & DANDI

May 31, 2017
Dad and Dandi


Hamilton, Missouri

Since my last blog featured Mom (Helen) and my big sister, Maureen, I decided to share these photos of Dad (Frank) and me, taken in the home where I grew up, the first and last house my parents owned. I loved growing up in a small town (population 1,701, before the shoe factory closed).

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you know from the letters he wrote that Frank was a very good writer. Being a doctor, however, did get in the way of becoming an author. Still, the American Medical Association kept electing him secretary because they loved to read his witty versions of their boring meetings. Once, he had a cartoon in Reader’s Digest. And during a time before the Vietnam war became unpopular, he wrote an anti-war editorial for the Kansas City Star. I can still remember defending my dad’s stance when I went to school the day after the article came out, although none of us had a clue about Vietnam or war.

May 26, 2017

sillouettes

If all goes as expected, I should be arriving in Hamilton tonight, after a 2-day drive with Joe and Ellie and Cassie, ages 6 and 9. Then tomorrow we’ll all be at the public library/J.C. Penney Museum for two talks/readings/book signings. At 10, I get to talk mainly to kids. At 11, I’ll talk about the stories and letters behind WITH LOVE WHEREVER YOU ARE.

My roots are deep in Hamilton, and this picture is of my family. Dad was the family photographer, but Mom created these silhouettes. I remember sitting behind a sheet while lights and camera clicked on the other side of the sheet. In case you can’t guess, Mom and Dad are on top. Then Maureen (left) and Dandi. And last, Susie, our Dalmatian. Apparently, my first word was “Susie.”sillouettes (2)

I tried to lighten the silhouettes, but I’m not sure if these are better or worse. So, I’m including both. Sorry!

MOM & MAUREEN

May 23, 2017

Maureen and Mom (3)

Helen Eberhart Daley and Maureen Mae Daley

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you might remember what Nurse Helen wanted to name their first baby. Things didn’t work out as planned. But after sadness and struggles, came Maureen, born in Washington D.C. She might not have come safely into the world if her dad, Dr. Frank Daley, hadn’t read recent articles about Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian-American, who had won a Nobel prize in 1930 for discovering that all human blood wasn’t the same. He saw that humans have “types” of blood, which he categorized as A, B, and C (later called O). In 1940, Landsteiner discovered another property of blood, a blood factor antigen, known as Rh factor. Soon, married couples had to take blood tests. And if an RH negative mother-to-be had an RH positive husband, pregnancy meant danger for baby and mother.

That was the dilemma Frank and Helen Daley faced soon after their return from the war. Frank researched until he found a doctor who would agree to treat Helen with a new (and not approved) immunization to offset the RH factor. And Baby Maureen Daley was born, though not without incident. The birth was hard, and Helen only glimpsed her baby before the nurse took her away. But Helen, still a nurse herself, had seen enough to know her daughter was a “blue baby,” lacking needed oxygen. She waited and waited. Finally, a nurse stood by her bed and said, “I’m so sorry to tell you that Baby Maureen Daley didn’t make it.” They nurse left Helen in tears. Then a different nurse came in, carrying a baby girl. This was Helen’s Baby Maureen Daley. The woman across the hall, named “Mrs. Daily,” had named her stillborn baby Maureen.

If you know my sister, Maureen Daley Pento, you understand what a gift she was and is.

WITH LOVE–Hamilton, Missouri

May 11, 2017

In about 2 weeks, I’m going “home” to Hamilton, Missouri. I grew up in this small town, where we rode horses bareback, never locked our doors, and left the keys in the car. (Yes, I do realize times have changed.) Both of these pictures were taken before my time. The train no longer chugs across Main Street, and I’m pretty sure the Penney store closed. Hamilton was the birthplace and hometown of J.C. Penney, who went to school with my grandfather. The Penney Farm was just up the gravel/dirt road from our house. I graduated from Penney High School. And on Saturday, May 27th, I’ll be speaking and reading and signing books at the public library, which is in the Penney Museum. That night I’m speaking at the Alumni banquet. I am so excited and so very grateful!

I’m hoping to post a few more old pictures and memories before Joe and I and Ellie and Cassie, our 6 and 8-year-old granddaughters, head for Hamilton. Stay tuned!

PETE & THE POWER OF STORY

May 4, 2017

Pete (2)

Meet Pete. Dr. Lyle Peter Daley, MD was of the magical, or diabolical, age to have served in WW1 and WW2. In the second war, he taught Army medics and doctors, preparing them for battlefield care. Like his sons, the beloved Dr. Pete had a dry wit and ready smile. Legend has it that when I was born, he took one look at me and declared, “She’s a dandy!” It’s a nice story anyway. I think I have memories of Pete, my grandfather, who was never called anything but “Pete.” I can picture his large shoes under our dining table, where I’d taken refuge during the grownups’ dinner. I can picture him standing beside his old car, and me, clinging to his ankles because I wanted to go with him.

But I was only 2 years old when he died. And now, I can’t distinguish memory from story, stories I’ve heard dozens of times. Am I really remembering those moments?

It was Pete’s heart attack that made Frank and Helen leave Washington D.C., put off their plans of moving south to set up their medical practice, probably in Miami, and go to Hamilton, Missouri, to care for the town’s patients “until Pete recovered.” But Pete never grew strong enough to resume his role as town doctor, and Frank and Helen stayed…and stayed…and stayed–50 years.

 

SCHNAPPS

April 9, 2017

Schnapps (2)

I can easily identify 2 out of 3 in this photo: Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Schnapps, a true-to-life stuffed dog, whose name was a mystery to me before I read the letters I found in the Army trunk. If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know how the dog got its name.

Mom (Helen) was too generous for her own good. If I complimented her necklace or bracelet, she’d attempt to give it to me. But one day when I was probably 7 or 8, I was playing in the attic and found this cute, black stuffed dog. Thinking I’d add it to my stuffed animal collection, I carried it down and ran to find Mom. “Mom! Look what I found in the attic! It’s kind of beat-up, but the stuffing isn’t leaking.”

She took that dog and smiled at it as if she’d finally run into an old friend from another life. “Take it back to the attic, Dandi.”

“But I wanted to play with it!” I protested.

She smiled again at that curly-haired black dog. “Not this one, honey. This one is special. Schnapps belongs to me.”

I thought about telling her “Schnapps” was a dumb name for a dog. I thought about pointing out that she was too old for stuffed animals. But something stopped me–maybe her expression; maybe having her keep something I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the mother I knew.

When I came to the first mention of Schnapps in a letter Mom had written Dad in WW2, I’d already started seeing “the mother I knew” as something more–Helen, a young newlywed in a war zone, lonely, missing her husband, caring for so many injured and dying soldiers. Another dozen or so letters mentioned the dog. I finally knew why Schnapps meant so much to her.

As for the real dog in the picture, I have no idea, and you won’t find that one in the book. You’re on your own there.

WAR WEDDING

April 1, 2017

photo

If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I’ll bet you know exactly what this is. Clues: 1) It’s nearly 75 years old and still intact. 2) The cake it topped is long gone. 3) That lovely white dress really should have been another Army uniform. 3) Check out that flag–only 48 stars.  So, have you read this far?