Monday, March 10, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 10 - Family Friends

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge.  My new writing idea/goal is to write a younger intermediate book (this changed since I realized I didn't have an early chapter reader "voice") based around a character very much like me, so remembering my childhood stories is very important for that project.  I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.
Betsy and Holly at another family friend's house, the Brants, on July 4th, 1976 - the Bicentennial
     My parents moved to Mason in 1968, I believe.  They moved to the country so my dad could keep his horse, Colt, there instead of boarding him.  I was two years old then.  In 1971 my mom met Molly Wolford through a mutual friend, Sally Shorten (more on the Shortens in a future SOL).  Sally and her husband, Grant, met the Wolfords on a spring break flight back from Florida and realized they were both from the same area and struck up a friendship - talk about serendipity!  Soon, Sally invited Molly and my mom to a Christmas house tour, and a friendship was born.  Through dinners together, my dad and Dick Wolford became friends, also.  They started bird hunting together, and then Mom and Dad met the Brants through Wolfords, who also became part of this close group of friends.  These families became an important and lasting part of my life.  The Johnsons, Batsches, Shacklefords, Shortens, Brants, Stephensons, Erbecks, and Wolfords shaped my life in profound ways.
     The Wolfords have been part of my life as long as I can remember.  We spent many holidays with them celebrating births, graduations, weddings, and baby showers together.  My parents, the Wolfords, and their group of friends gathered together for many occasions.  I loved Christmas parties at the Stephenson's, summer parties at the Erbeck's, Brandt's, and Juszcyk's, gatherings at the Shorten's, etc. I also loved hunting with my dad and the men of this group.  I was the only girl in the kids' group during our hunting expeditions.  It made me feel capable and strong, though, and I enjoyed being part of the boys' network. ;-)  We bird-hunted at Cherry Bend where I loved the homemade vegetable soup after a cold morning traipsing through the grounds.  I remember icicles hanging off Bob Brant's mustache!  He had twinkling eyes and a great sense of humor.  It's hard to believe that now I live in the same town as the Wolfords!  I see them often, but hadn't seen their children, Betsy and Patrick for awhile.  I recently reconnected with Betsy, who is 7 years younger than me, through Facebook and Twitter, and we met up again at the Dublin Literacy Conference.  She's a teacher, also, and it's been fun to connect through our interest in education.  I can remember when Betsy was a tiny baby.  I spent many hours playing with her and spending time with her during all those get-togethers.  Both families took turns throwing us celebrations as we hit milestones. 
                                Easter 1975                                             Easter 1976

Molly helped me bake a cake for my mom's birthday.
WHAT am I wearing?! ;-)

                                      1977 - Betsy has one of my chicks on her shoulder. ;-)
 I love that my shirt has chickens all over it.  I may have to do a slice just on my clothes growing up!

     Twenty years after that July 4th picture at the top, I was able to host my very own July 4th party at our house in Mason that my husband and I built in the back 3 acres of my parents' property.  We invited our friends and family, and included the Wolfords.  I remember Dick saying that he couldn't believe he was attending a party at our house, after all those years of watching me grow up.  In July of 1996 we had two daughters of our own, 3 years old and 5 months. I loved being able to have them at our house as guests.   How time marches on....

                                                  Dad, Mom, Molly, Dick - July 4th, 1996
     When I turned 40, my mom gave me a precious gift.  She asked each of her women friends (and my aunt, daughters, Norma, the neighbor and my babysitter who lived across the street, and mother-in-law)  to write me a letter, giving me advice on life.  Dottie Brant, Sally Shorten, Janet Johnson, Molly Wolford,  Sue Shackleford, and Marilyn Batsche wrote me beautiful letters.  I can't thank them enough for being a part of my life - teaching me about love, friendship, and faith, and what it means to be a woman - they each exemplifly intelligence, Godliness, passion, creativity, humor, and compassion.  My mom and her friends still get together often.  They call themselves "The Cuties" and travel all over, trying our new adventures together.  They are role models for my own group of amazing friends, and I know my own friends have helped shaped my children like my mom, dad, and their friends have helped shaped me.  Thank you to the Wolfords and my parents' friends - you mean so much to me, and thank you for keeping me under your wings and in your prayers.
The Cuties in 2013
My friends in 2013 - we need a group name! ;-)


  1. Such a rich community of friends, Holly. I'm always struck by the closeness of the relationships you describe, and their longevity. I moved around so much, and from one country to another, so this is really poignant for me.

    1. Your experiences must be amazing, Tara! That's what is so great about reading everyone's slices. They're all so different!

  2. How nice...I can feel how close you are to all of these friends who were part of you growing up. We had something similar and I have found it enriching as I get older. I really like the name. "Cuties"....and the picture is priceless. Jackie

  3. What a wonderful community of friends that you grew up around. These are special memories. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    1. Thank you for stopping by to read about them. :-)

  4. What a gift those letters are and what joy in family, friends, and love. I want to hear more about the bird hunting! I definitely sense a character there.