Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Long?

Dear Mom,

Ruthie and I were having a conversation the other day trying to remember how long we lived in our old house on St. Denis before we moved in with Dad and Clara. Sue and Frank were having a house built and they moved in with Ruthie and me. Looking back it seems weird that we did not live with Dad and Clara right from the get-go. It certainly wasn’t Sue and Frank’s responsibility to take care of us, but maybe that was the trade off for them to stay at the house while their house was being built. Guess that’s a question for Sue to answer as neither of us can figure it out.

We both remembered finishing out the school year at Sacred Heart and at some point, a teacher, Ms. Jacks had given us a ride to Clara’s house after school. My mind is blank as to how we got to school. Perhaps Dad dropped us off on his way to work. Having a teacher give you a ride was a humiliating experience. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Jacks was a really sweet lady. She could have been Mary Tyler’s Moore twin in looks and attitude. But there was something about your schoolmates watching you get into the back seat of a teacher’s car. I’d like to thank Ms. Jacks for doing that as I’m sure I was totally ungrateful back then.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Dad—Yet Another Anniversary

Dear Mom,

I don’t mean for this blog to be about all the deaths in the family, but it appears most of them happened in March. Coincidence?

Dad was married to you for over 25 years, and then to Clara for over 25 years. I’m on my fourth marriage. I know I could make it with Norm for 25 years if I live long enough, but adding all the marriages together—I’m still only at 16. I take the razzing well, especially from Norm. He seems to have some smart comment when the subject comes up. I believe you two would have liked each other.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of you and Dad, probably before children.

In honor of Edmund Theordore Moellering
July 20, 1912 – March 30, 2002

Here is a picture of the two of you taken at the same time I posted the first picture of you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My StepMom Clara - Another Anniversary

Dear Mom,

Dad remarried about a year and a half after your death. I was surprised to learn much later that Clara was your cousin, and in your younger years, a dear, close friend. I love this picture of the two of you, and it’s kind of weird—my mom and stepmom. Who would have thought? I don’t know the date of this photo and I wondered about the fashion—you in a long coat and Clara in a short style.

It was a difficult period of time, all of us adjusting. For a while I didn’t do so well and held a lot of resentment. I learned a great deal. That in itself makes it all worth the pain I went through. It taught me how to be a better mother and stepmother—a skill I had no idea I would need. At times I fail miserably at being both mother/stepmother.

I’m glad I was able to repair any damage from those days, and before Clara's passing. For all the grief I had caused her, my dad told me she liked me best (sorry di-di’s), but then again, maybe my dad was delirious.

Today is the anniversary of her passing: Clara (Burke) Krueger Moellering.

Maybe you both are having fun together again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Dear Mom,

I just trimmed my thumbnails. For some reason I can’t stand for my thumbnails to be long—not even a little. I try, but then I get annoyed and off they come with the nail clippers.

Could this have been from when I was a child?

I had a boil on the inner, upper most part of my thigh. Every morning before school I’d stand in front of you while you sat in the kitchen chair and you’d take your two thumbnails and give the boil a squeeze. You had thumbnails that could be used as screwdrivers. I dreaded waking up seeing the boil puffed up knowing you’d be squeezing the bloody life out of it.

No doubt I had whined and begged for you to not squeeze it. I’d squirm, “That hurts!”

“Oh hush, I have to.” All the while your steel thumbnails are gouging in my skin on either side of the boil, oozing the puss out.

I hate boils and I’m not too fond of long hard thumbnails either.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So Much to Say

Dear Mom,

Today I have so much to say, I don’t know where to start. My mind jumps from one subject to another before it’s finished.

Do I start from day one and I tell you what happened the day you died? I don’t know what time it was, but someone carried Ruthie and I, in the middle of the night, unbeknownst to us, to Uncle Mart and Aunt Tish’s (next door neighbors). When I woke up I knew why I was there, but didn’t want to know. I had suspicions. We were supposed to be in school as I listened to kids playing outside before the school bell rang.

I didn’t think about what Aunt Tish had to go through keeping the information to herself, anxiously awaiting Dad’s arrival to break the dreaded news.

I somehow knew it was coming—your death. After all, I did pray for it. But I found out only recently that Ruthie had no idea. Total shocker. Not a single hint of even the possibility that you might be gone forever. I can’t imagine what that must have been like either. How totally devastating for her. Thinking about that can break my heart all over.

Mom, you’d really be proud of Ruthie.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Dear Mom,

Talking about Corpus Christi brought up a flood of memories. I moved there about a year after my first marriage. We had been living in Akron, Ohio. I landed a job with a private construction firm, all nice folks. They liked teasing and calling me a dumb Yankee. And playing tricks on me. I was a good sport except for one prank.

They caught wind that I couldn’t stand ticks. My boss, Jimmy lived on a farm and traveled home for the weekend. Monday he came to work with a jar full of the nasty bloodsuckers. I wanted to vomit. He pulled a big fat one out of the jar—nearly the size of a quarter—puffy, ready to explode.

I stepped back.

Jimmy held it in his hand. “Got this one off Fido.” The tick must have been home on the dog for years. Things are bigger in Texas.

I shivered.

Then he threw it at me! I screamed watching the obese tick flying towards my body. It bounced off and landed on the floor. I immediately stomped on it. The tick popped with a crack and blood shot every which way under my foot.

The men doubled over, cackling. Jimmy’s hand reached into the jar. I took off running—shot straight out the door. They hollered for me to come back. “Only if you promise to destroy those things!” They did, but I never turned my back on them. Not for a long time. I wasn’t that dumb.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wish I Studied More in School

Dear Mom,

It's too bad you weren't around long enough to tell me how important it was to study in school. Or maybe something happened while developing in your womb.

I did a fun little contest on a friend's blog (Becky) and now I'm feeling pretty dumb. I asked Norm if Corpus Christi, Texas is considered south. He said, "If you were any further south you'd be in the ocean." Then I confessed my answers to the contest. He shook his head, probably wondering how I make it through a day. Geography wasn't something I was interested in, therefore didn't pay much attention.

I have no sense of direction. I can barely grasp which way is north, south, east or west. Norm tries to tell me to look at the sun to determine where you are and what direction you need to head. My answer is, “What if it’s cloudy, then how are you suppose to figure it out?” Just tell me right or left. I know that. I walk out of an elevator and I'm confused as to which way I’m suppose to go.

When I give people directions, I tell them to look for the big red mailbox on your right, then go a little ways and you’ll turn left at the next street. Everyone always tells me my directions are perfect. They have no idea I’m challenged, and if I told them to head north, turn at the street and head east, I’d never see them again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Dear Mom,

I had the most incredible dream last night, flying all around. I was holding onto a pillow, I guess for security. It’s a personal dream so the only thing I can give away is that I felt immense love, joy, and freedom.

I wanted to stay in bed.

When I finally got up, the dream awakened me (once again) to know that I can do anything my heart desires, that nothing matters and that it all matters so long as I am filled with love. I need to remind myself of this when I have no self-love—when the whip in my head beats me with, Who do you think you are to write? You’ll never amount to anything. Nobody cares what you have to say.

Mom, did you have these kinds of thoughts? Were you doing exactly what you wanted to do or only what you thought you were capable of doing?

I need to fly right back into the dream and remember, always.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Did You Make This Dress?

Dear Mom,

I came across this photograph of myself and I’m pretty sure you made the dress. Maybe Sue can tell me for sure. Ruthie would have been too young. I don’t even know how old I am in that picture. I’d guess around three, which puts Ruthie at a year and a half.

I never appreciated the clothes that you sewed for us. I liked them and was excited to get to choose the outfit color—I was one color and Ruthie was another. Just like this photo below. Your grandson Casey painted this picture from a photograph. He used a drawing tool from the computer. I have no idea how he does it. The first time he did a drawing like that for me, I thought he scanned in the photo and then manipulated it to make it look like a painting. Then I found out he actually painted it by hand via the computer. It gave me a deeper appreciation for his art. I gave the painting to Ruthie for her 50th. There’s a piece of you in there—our homemade dresses.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Dear Mom,

The bug man came today to help with my ant problem. I’ve read that ants represent patience, but I wonder—not enough patience or too much patience? Can you have too much patience? Do I wait too long to get a response from someone I have asked a question? How long is too long? I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Oh, they’re busy. Oh, they must be having a hard time. Oh they this or oh they that. After awhile I just give up. Should I keep asking? What are you suppose to do?

I’ve been patient with this ant problem. It’s been going on for months now. I’ve tried soap and water and asked them to leave. Then I called the bug man. They told me to wait and see what happens in two weeks, and not to kill them because the bait will do that. In the meantime, they’ve taken over the house. They’ve swarmed the cat food dish. I’ve moved it around and they’ve found it each time. The ants didn’t find it on top of the fireplace, but located the dishwasher. Inside the upper edge, a ton of them scurried around. I couldn’t stand it and annihilated them. They keep coming back and so does the bug man. Guess I have more to learn on patience.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Award - Fact or Fiction?

To the inimitable Linda O’Connell, I offer a heartfelt "thank you!" for bestowing upon me the above prestigious award.

As I understand it, this great honor is a license to be creative which, as all writers know, is akin to putting a Labrador Retriever in a room full of rawhide and commanding him to "Chew!"

Rules of acceptance require me to list seven wild and wacky little known facts about myself, at least one of which must be true (all may be true if I decide to let you in on my deep, dark secrets). You, buttercup, will have to decide for yourself which, if any, of the facts below are crazy truths or creative fiction:

1. When I was 16, I walked to work. Someone stopped me and told me I was the most beautiful person he had seen, and asked for my phone number.
2. I won a trophy for women’s highest bowling score in a bowling league I was in.
3. I mouthed off to an attorney at my work, but instead of getting fired, I received roses.
4. I preferred reading Stephen King’s, Misery instead of paying attention to husband (number 3) on our honeymoon.
5. I was in an emergency plane landing on the way to Hawaii. We landed perfectly in the ocean, but I passed out once we hit the water because I was sure I’d be eaten by sharks.
6. I didn’t learn how to swim until I was a teenager.
7. I qualified to be a private investigator, but it scared me so I didn't pursue it.

Your turn Kim, Rita and Ruth. Cut and paste the image and instructions to your blog and pass it on.

More on the Power of Words

Dear Mom,

I was reading this silly book called Six Word Memoirs, where you use six words to sum up your life or something. My brain started tossing around words and in light of this blog I came up with, “You’re bad luck.” I believed it.

I’ll never forget that day. Ruthie and I were playing in the hallway. You had gotten up from the living room and stood at the doorway and said, “Lynn, are you going to bring me bad luck every 11 years?” It was my birthday, a Friday the Thirteenth. I had no idea how to answer that.

I still wonder if you meant it, and why you would feel that way. Those words affected me for the longest time, feeling responsible for your death in some way. Especially after I had prayed for God to take you to heaven so you wouldn’t suffer. Prayed to God. Mother did die.

My mind travels. You had appendicitis when I was born on Friday the Thirteenth, and was told we almost died. I wondered if you thought of me as some evil demon. Or maybe you had an out-of-body experience that scared you so much, it felt safer to blame me. Or maybe you were not really aware of what you were saying.

I know in my heart it’s not true, now.

I’ve tried watching my words when talking to my children. No doubt I have slipped up because who knows what affects others, really. But I still try to be careful.

No matter what, good will come.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Here Comes the Bride

Dear Mom,

Officially it is the first day of spring, but you’d never know it by the weather today. They are talking about snow in the forecast.

I don’t know if you were ever aware of how much I loved the bushes in our yard that made spring seem official, and now I have each kind in my own yard: lilac, forsythia, and spirea—the white variety. The spirea blossom looked like a teeny tiny bridal bouquet—at least in my mind as a child. I would pick the blossom and pretend to be a bride, walking down the isle singing, “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white.” Those were the only words I knew, so I just repeated them over and over. Ruthie and Jeannie would follow behind and we’d take a step, pause, take another step. Little did I know I would be a bride so many times. My husband lovingly jokes, “Always the bride, never the bridesmaid.”

I tell him, “Fourth and final.”

The lilac, forsythia and spirea aren’t in bloom yet, but the hyacinths have unearthed so I took a picture of a few out of the 200 Ruthie and I planted two years ago. They smell as lovely as the lilac.

Mom, thanks for creating the beauty in the yard—I didn’t quite appreciate it the way I do now although I did in my own way… “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creative People

Dear Mom,

I’m overwhelmed at the number of people commenting and looking (privately and publicly) at this blog that’s for you. I’m still trying to figure out some things, but I’ve realized that I am surrounded by some pretty amazing, talented, creative, artistic, awesome people and I just wanted to acknowledge them all here and apologize for not having them posted on my blog—it would go on forever. I also have some pretty amazing, talented friends and relatives that aren’t online, and I’m fortunate enough to be a part of their lives. Some I’ve known forever, others are quite new. (Thanks to all of you for the gifts you bring to the world.) Mom, wish you could meet all the folks that have inspired me to be (me).

My husband, Norm –
My son, Casey Hunt – and
My daughter, Rita Hunt – (Do It Yourself, Make It Happen)
My daughter, Jessica Hunt – she has a blog, but I can’t find it ☹
My stepdaughter, Robyn Obermoeller –
My siblings, Suzanne, Warren and Ruth – (Delights and Disasters of the Day)
My sister, Ruth -
My brother-in-law, Bud Pondrom - (My Daily Bread)

I think that’s it for family, although anyone out there reading this, send me your link if I forgot or tell me about it. I know I’m forgetting someone ☺. I didn’t ask if it was okay to post these sites, therefore if you wish for it not to be listed, let me know and I’ll remove it.

And the following, in alphabetical order by last name:

Linda & Allen Anderson – and (Writing on the Run – A Natural Way to Write Any Time, Any Place)
Claire Applewhite – and (Rouge Et Noir)
Lisa Ricard Claro - (Writing in the Buff)
Kim Coleman - (Ichigo – Once in a lifetime)
Margo Dill – and (Read These Books and Use Them!)
Nikki Furrer – and
Julia Gordon-Bramer - (Character Sketch: A Writer’s Journal)
Dianna Graveman – and (Write in the Midwest)
Greg Gunn – and
Sherrie Hill -
Doreen Hulsey -
Drew Jordan -
Adam Long –
David Lucas –
Joan Marie –
Mary Menke – and
Mary Carroll Moore – and (How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book)
Linda O’Connell - (Write from the Heart)
Jim O’Donnell –
Eva Ozon -
Becky Povich - (Writer-Journalist-Humorist)
Catherine Rankovic - (Mental Health for Writers)
Allison Reimold – and (The Reimold Effect)
Larry Seigel –
Harvey Stanbrough – and (Writing The World – Writing Instruction)
St. Louis Writers Guild – or (I’m a member and have met lots of friends here!)
Robin Theiss - and
Pat Wahler - (Critter Alley)
Amanda Wells –
Jean Whatley - (A Woman With A Past – The Post-Apocalyptic Approach to Dating)
Peat Wollaeger – and

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Power of Words

Dear Mom,

Monday night we had Norm’s son Todd and his three children (the grandchildren), Jack, Lucas and Lily over for their birthdays. Jack turned 12, and Lily & Lucas (twins) turned 8. They wanted meatloaf and mashed potatoes; I added corn to the menu. Lucas wanted to say a prayer before dinner. He started, “Dear God, thank you for all our food and drinks. Thank you for my family. Thank you for the table and chairs. Thank you for clothes and toys and….” He continued on and I wondered whether it was ever going to end. Not that I minded because he sounded so cute, but I didn’t want the food to get cold. I sat there with my eyes closed listening, and then I peeked out of one eye to look at Lucas. His head was down, his hands folded and he looked adorable. "And thank you for mashed potatoes and thank you for the meatloaf.” He paused slightly and I wanted to say, “Whew, finally.” But thank goodness I kept my mouth shut because Lucas then whispered, “Because Grandma’s meatloaf is very, very good.” Look what I would have missed had I opened my mouth. Now how does that not touch your heart?

Here's a picture of the little stinker.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Dear Mom,

I don’t recall any St. Patty’s Day celebrations, but I’m sure they were done with gusto. Maybe one of the routine trips to Wiedenger’s Tavern happened on St. Patrick’s Day. Ruthie and I would wait patiently for our chocolate soda and beer nuts while you all talked and drank. I’d stare at a picture of Custer’s Last Fight wondering why people fought, scalped heads, and killed each other. It was the most interesting—everything else advertised beer products, although the print was produced by Anheuser Busch.

Mr. Wiedenger worked hard making it look effortless. He served everyone with his pleasant demeanor, even talked to us kids. And I was told he never took a tip.

Did you know when Mr. Wiedenger sold the tavern, I really wanted to buy it and turn it into a coffee house (before they were popular)? Recently divorced and three children age 4 and under made it difficult. Even if I had money, I didn’t know how I would’ve managed running a business and taking care of children. Old time Florissant regulars wouldn’t have been too happy even though it didn’t lack taverns. I would’ve served homemade goodies and thought they’d get over it not being a tavern after they sank their teeth into some cherry pie. It’s still a tavern. It could’ve been a success, but timing is everything.

Hanging on Suzanne’s wall there’s an old photo of you standing at the bar of Weidenger’s with a soldier next to you. No one knows who it is. The stories we could create…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Aunt Electa

Dear Mom,

It’s your sister Electa’s birthday today—celebrating her 88th. Here she is sporting our Bippen Bunch Family Reunion Tshirt (from a few weeks ago) that Jamie and Rachel designed.

If I live as long, I hope I look as good. I’ve never seen Aunt Electa look the way I do today (grubby). Her hair is always done up, make up on, clothes pressed, jewelry matching the outfit—the best she can be.

I never thought about it wrapped up in my own little corner of the world, but your sister celebrated her 48th birthday on the day you were buried. How sad is that? Losing a sibling, I would imagine would be as hard as losing a parent or a child. Some of my relatives have lost all three: parent, sibling and child. And yet they’ve moved onward—what a blessing.

Happy Birthday Aunt Electa! May the day be filled with happier times. And thank you for all that you have done for us.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This One's For You

Dear Mom,

When I first decided to do this blog, I thought, this blog’s for you. I wondered if that was a beer saying. It seemed rather appropriate since you drank beer. Not all these posts are going to be sweet and sugary. I recall after being in recovery a few years, a man who had known you back in the day, also in recovery said to me, “You know your mom was probably an alcoholic.”

“Oh yeah?” Luckily I understood or I may have been offended to hear something so raw about you. You had been gone about 20 years at that time.

“You would never know it though. She hid it well.” He chuckled. “She could drink anyone under the table.”

“Really?” I didn’t know if I should be impressed or disappointed.

“Yeah, really.”

I’m sure no one else thinks of you as being alcoholic and what do I really know, not really knowing you. I wonder what life would have been like had you lived. Would we both be in recovery together or drinking buds? Or would we have had a different kind of separation with you drinking and me not? Or you in recovery and me staggering around in a fog? All of the what if’s don’t matter, but I’m glad I quit drinking and understand the recovery process—it’s not just the NOT drinking, but the deep, inner work. Hopefully I’m weakening the cycle within my own family. Not that everyone agrees, but at least they have more knowledge than I did and that’s a start.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Domestic Diva

Dear Mom,

You definitely were a domestic diva as were most women of your era—canning fruits and vegetables, sewing everything from our clothes to making slipcovers and drapes for your sister(s) and in-laws. You created your own patterns. You did laundry with the old fashioned washboard, washtubs and the ringer machine that squeezed the clothes dry enough to hang up on the clothesline. It’s too bad Dad didn’t buy you that automatic washer and dryer before you got sick. You were “green” before your time by using the water from the washtubs to bathe Ruthie and I. Once the plug was pulled, we’d scramble trying to put our legs up, balancing our bare ends on the edge of the tub, screaming like crazy, “We’re going to go down the hole!” Water swirled down the drain and you tried to assure us that we couldn’t fit through such a small opening. We didn’t get it and still screamed until all the water was gone. You took in ironing for ten cents a shirt. I heard you’d whack the head off a chicken and pluck its feathers. I often wondered if you had other dreams than being The Domestic Diva. I have few memories, but one is clear, how you’d relax: You’re sitting at the kitchen table, working a crossword puzzle, drinking a long neck Stag, smoking a Vice Roy and listening to KMOX. I’ve inherited your domestic diva-ness, but without the crossword puzzles, beer, cigarettes and KMOX.

One of the things my mom canned were green tomatoes, something I did this past summer.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today

In honor of my mom's passing, 40 years ago today, I'm starting this blog.

This is a photo of my mom, age late 30s or 40.

This is a picture of a drawing that my daughter Jessica drew from that photo and surprised me for my birthday one year. No one had any idea that Jessica could draw, since her brother Casey is the artist in the family. I thought she enlarged the photograph until I looked closer through teary eyes.

The image here doesn't do the drawing justice as it is amazing the detail involved. This was all done in pencil and the first thing Jessica drew in Ms. Marie's art class during high school.

Alvera Helen (Bippen) Moellering had turned 53 years old two weeks prior to her death, battling breast cancer. I had turned 12 years old three months prior, and in nine months I will be her age when she died.

Although it’s been 40 years, sometimes it feels like yesterday and at other times it feels like many life times ago. It is what it is and I try not to dwell in the past, but I have a lot I would like to share with her, giving me a reason to blog and keeping disciplined at writing on a regular basis.

Dear Mom,

On the 40th anniversary of your death, my heart aches. I love you and miss you still.