Category Archives: LOVE

100th Birthday for Ima!

ON JULY 20, 1917,  beautiful twin girls, Ima Irene and Ina Mabel, were born in West Virginia to James Harrison and Mamie Jane Fox Walkup. (Ina was my mother.)  The twins two brothers, George and Steve, were delighted to be big brothers.  When they were told they had two baby sisters, George said, “Oh good.  Daddy always did get us two of everything.” Other babies born in 1917 who had an impact on the 20th century in various ways were John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Ella Fitzgerald, Indira Gandhi, Andrew Wyeth and Louis Zamperini .

WHEN THE TWINS WERE in their first year of life,  the 1918 Spanish flu hit hard.  Their mother remembers folks pouring lye all around the perimeter of their homes and property in an attempt to protect their families the only way they knew how.  Their family was spared. When the pandemic died down,  1/3 of the world’s population had died, with 500 million infected in most every corner of the world.

THE TWINS were the apple of their father’s eye.  He loved to show off his girls.  They remember him proudly taking them for ice cream.  The first time he bought them a cone of ice cream, the twins quietly ate it out of the cone, and then asked, “Can we keep the cone?”

IMA and INA were inseparable until the day that Ima left home to marry.  They slept together, played together, had the same friends, did chores together and even sat beside one another at the same desk in school.  They always wanted to dress alike and never disagreed about what they were going to wear, as long as it was the same.

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Mamie Jane Walkup and James Harrison Walkup

THEY GREW UP IN WV during the roaring 20’s, although they did not see much of the high life.  Their mother was a talented dressmaker and made all of their clothes. Their home was in a coal mining community.  They lived as well as any family in the community, with always plenty to eat.   James Harrison Walkup was a skilled Master Carpenter who maintained the wooden coal tipple and all the company houses, along with two other carpenters.   They used company script to buy groceries at the company store.

WHEN THE STOCK MARKET CRASHED IN 1929,  the town began emptying out, as work in the mines screeched to a halt.  The Walkup family stayed as long as they could, on promises from the mine owner that “things would turn around soon”.   The Walkup family witnessed hardships in many of their neighbors.  Ima and Irene frequently saw men they called hobos passing through the town begging to work for food, and knew well the story of the “stone soup”.  James was able to find some work for small pay, although he had to walk miles and miles to find it.  He often was away for weeks.  The twins remember he had cardboard and newspaper in his shoes to cover the holes in the worn out soles.

EVENTUALLY, TIMES IMPROVED. The twins rode the train to Gauley Bridge to attend high school.  The school administration in their wisdom of the day, believed it best to separate twins, so Ina and Ima were assigned to different teachers for the first time.  They were not happy about this decision.

THEY WITNESSED so many changes in their lifetimes, two world wars, political and economic changes and scientific and technological advances beyond imagining.  They saw the first “moving picture” the Jazz Singer with Al Jolsen.  Ina attended the inaugural for FDR in Washington with her sister in law Shirley.  They each married and had families, but always stayed in close touch.   And in later years, they still wanted to dress alike.

WE CELEBRATED THE TWINS 90TH BIRTHDAYS with a ride in a limo and a reception at the Hilton.  They were thrilled!  The photo sculpted in icing on the cake was from one taken when they were 18 years old. They lightly swiped their fingers over the likeness to to see if it was really a cake.

 

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                                                                  90th Birthday

INA AND IMA REMAINED CLOSE until Ina’s death in 2008 at the age of 91.   Their mother Mamie lived into her 90’s and their grandfather Fox lived until he was 99.   Our dear Aunt Ima is the first family member to celebrate a century birthday.  

PLEASE JOIN US in wishing her a Happy 100th Birthday!   We will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 20th.  She would be thrilled to receive cards of best wishes during her birthday week (or the month of July)!  Her address is:

Mrs. Ima Whately
4428 Pheasant Ridge Drive
Apt. 20
Roanoke, VA 24014

Sue Marquis Bishop, July 2017

 

 

 

 

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When Thank You is Not Enough

“THANK YOU for being there.”   “Thank you for your support.”  But what do you say then when thank you is not enough? 

IT ALWAYS FEELS GOOD to do something to help another person in times of stress or need.   I am not as comfortable, however, being the recipient of caregiving.

Agatha Christie said that “you cannot give to people what they are incapable of receiving”,
(Funerals are Fatal, 1951).

A RECENT EVENT requiring major surgery brought unexpected assistance and loving support to our door…and this big sister learned an important late life lesson to accept my younger siblings generous offerings of presence at a special time of need.

WE DID NOT IMAGINE anyone needed to stay with us during my anticipated hospitalization.  However…, my sister and two brothers and spouses arranged among themselves (a surprise!) to plan a week in our home (at different times) just to be available to do what was needed.

MY HUSBAND AND I thrived on such loving care. I let go of organizing in my mind what needed to be done (meals and this and that),  and accepting the proffered gift that all was taken care of, I focused on my single task to get well.

THEY WERE THERE FOR BOTH OF US when I was in the hospital, and when I returned home. I know the surgeon’s skill and medical care made my recovery possible, but I am confident that my recovery was hastened by the emotional proximity of loving family, great meals, and laughter at stories and happenings that can only be fully appreciated by family who have been together for many years.

THEY HAVE NOW RETURNED to their own busy lives in Georgia and Florida, and we are all back into our normal lives.

“It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but there is more grace in receiving than giving. When you receive, whom do you love and praise? The giver.”   Jessmyn West, The Woman Said Yes, (1976).

Thank you Ed, Sue, Nancy, Milt and Ann! 

EACH OF YOU BRINGS SPECIAL TALENTS to our family , and as a family, we re richer for it (including my sisters by marriage). You are loving and caring individuals who are living productive lives and making a difference in your worlds. I remember well your births and witnessed your growing up years, and  I  still occasionally see your young faces in your adult expressions..

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I couldn’t be prouder to be your sister!

Sue Marquis Bishop
2016

17 Books of LOVE: The Ties That Bind Are Not Just Lovers

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LOVE COMES IN MANY FORMS. Human connections give life meaning.  We celebrate romantic love on Feb 14th. Seventeen (17) books reviewed briefly in this post, depict love and bonding in many different relationships and ages, and the grief of loss when it is gone.

An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer (2012).
How do I learn to live as a widower?  One man’s journey of  how he navigated his new life as a widower, following the loss of his beloved wife. The reaction of others in his community as they responded to his changed status as a newly single man, was believable and often humorous.  Realistic depiction of grief and loss; risking new relationships.  A charming man to invite for a dinner party.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (2013).  
Socially challenged man searches for love.  A funny, touching story about a brilliant genetics professor with Asperger’s who sets out to find a wife.  I laughed aloud in places as he meticulously plans his strategy, and as his plans often go awry.   Australian author.

The Republic of Love by Carol Shields, Harper Perennial, (1992).
Finding someone in later life: The author is a master at noticing minute details of living, both emotional and material.  Fay and Tom find love and connection in later life.  Story depicts human need to have a special someone to share life.

The Rockin’ Chair by  Steven Manchester (2013).
Leaving a legacy of love:  heart-warming story of love, family, forgiveness, continuity, place, home and creating a legacy.  Everyone should have a grandpa John to go home to….

Finding Home by Jackie Weger (1987, 2014).
Love of family, search for belonging:   A story about a quirky and determined woman … a good-ole-girl with a big heart… who sets in motion a plan to find a home for herself and her large family.  So many funny parts I laughed out loud…and rooted for Phoebe to get her man and her house…and find a place to belong along the way.

The Illegal Gardner by Sara Alexi (Greek Book Collection 1) (2012). 
Non-romantic  bonding between two socially different individuals based on interdependent needs:  Takes place in a small Greek village.  An English woman’s journey, along with her Pakistani gardener, an illegal immigrant refugee with limited options for his family. Their chance meeting and ensuing working relationship provides comfort and meaning to their lives.  Themes: gardens, human needs for connection, opportunity, mutuality of relationship.

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (2009).  Young love and loss; bonding between women: A heart-breaking novel of two young adults who meet, fall in love and marry and hours later the bridegroom dies in a freak accident.  Is she a widow, when she hasn’t had time to even be a wife?  So truthful about the vagaries of grief. Hope and affection is discovered in unexpected places for mother and daughter-in-law.

Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde (2013).
Bonds between sisters, connecting with strangers to create a new family:  Two sisters begin a long walk across states after their only parent is killed, to find an old boyfriend of their mother’s that they think would care for them now.  Their adventure takes them into Indian country where they meet a unique and no-nonsense Indian woman, who changes their lives.

11/22/6 by Stephen King, (2011).
Love story set in 1950’s: Time travel and attempts to right some wrongs in the past, e.g., killing of President Kennedy. Time travel to 1950’s is detailed in food, fashion, dance, customs, technology.  King must have been a jitterbugger by his detailed description of this dance 50’s style. Secondary theme is a love story.

Fortune is a Woman by Elizabeth Adler, Dell Publishing (1992).
Lifetime  bonds among three strong women: Settings from China to San Francisco to rural New Mexico. Story of how the lives of three strong women connected over years.  Unexpected events from start to finish  keeps you turning pages.  I didn’t see the ending coming.

Somewhere in Heaven: The Remarkable Love Story of Dana and Christopher Reeve by Christopher Anderson, Hyperion (2008).
A true love story.  This biography is a love story of two exceptional individuals whose lives continue to inspire.  Presents challenges of living every day paralyzed from the shoulders down… and what happens to the body.  Given this huge burden, it is amazing what Dana and Chris accomplished together!

1929: (Book 1), by M.L. Gardner (2009).
Bonding of friends during times of economic disaster to survive:  Story of three  American couples (all friends) who lose their wealthy lifestyle in the 1929 stock market crash, and must now find a way to survive poverty, and to rebuild their lives. Story focuses on what happens to them, their servants and in-laws during the years after 1929. Depicts the real life situation that many families experienced in our grandparents generation, as a result of the 29′ crash….the abject poverty for so many, the greedy who took advantage of events, and efforts to survive..   The  1929 series consists of 6 books, but I recommend only Book 1.

I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969).
Family, Community and learning to love self.  Powerful memoir from African-American writer of her early years. Compelling narrative raises questions about love, abuse, racism, home, country and family.  I heard so much about this book, I wanted to read it.  I’m glad I did.  Maya died last year in NC.

Where the River Ends by Charles Martin (2008).
A haunting story of love and letting go.  A final journey of an artist and the love of his life, who is dying of a terminal illness.  They steal away from her possessive family (the Senator, ) and take a harrowing last trip (at her request) up the river from SC to Georgia, in a small boat.  Her body dies a little every day, but she radiates joy, as they meet interesting people and share experiences along the way. Would you have done it?

A Gentle Rain by Deborah Smith (2007).
Love comes in all sizes; appreciating differences.   A warm, fuzzy love story of rural life in North Central Florida.  Eccentric characters include lovable, mentally challenged and other unique and strong characters.  Rich girl seeking her birth parents, arrives at farm and quickly makes herself indispensable. You will cheer for main characters, even though you just have to overlook too many coincidences and just enjoy the tale.

The Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah (2011).
Adult-child bonding. A child arrives in a small town in the American Northwest, who can’t speak, and doesn’t show normal social behaviors. Major focus of story is the building of bridges of communication between a woman psychiatrist and the feral child.

Tuesday’s Socks by Alison Ragsdale (2014)
Risking first love at 64 years.  In the Scottish town of Pitochry, Jeffrey finds a path to change the ordered life he has led and risk change that will lead to big life changes.  His day socks, a loving mother and a mysterious dog urge him on his journey.  This story is slow moving, but fits the rhythm of Jeffrey’s structured life and the baby steps he takes to finally change his solitary life.  Characters are believable.  A first novel by this author. Some lonely folks may need a push, sometimes more than once, to take a leap of faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate LOVE This Valentine’s Day

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get-
only with what you are expecting to give-
which is everything.”
Katherine Hepburn, Me (1991).

LOVE IS CELEBRATED annually with one special day set aside mid-February as Valentine’s Day. An entry in the Huffington Post estimates that Americans will spend over $17 billion to celebrate love this year.  If the print and TV ads are any indication, the emphasis is on lovers expecting grand gestures and expensive outings and gifts.  A review of TV sit-com stories suggests considerable storm and stress for characters planning or expecting extravagant Valentine’s Day gifts/events.

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Photo by SMB

YET … WE MAY BE MISSING SOMETHING, by not seeing the potential of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to communicate our love and affection beyond our spouse/lover, to other  loved ones  in our personal social networks of mutual affection.  Who are the persons in your social world who bring meaning and joy to your life?…(e,g,  sons, daughters, siblings, parents, extended family members? ).  You might also include other closely held friends in your network of affection.

“To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.” Anne-Sophie Swetchine (1809).

ADS ARE PLENTIFUL this time of year for expensive gifts of jewelry/trips/evenings out.  In my view, something expensive is not necessary.  It really is the thought that counts.

IT’S A LOVELY TRADITION to receive a card with heart warming message, maybe enclosed with a special tea bag, or flowers (even one bud), or even a thoughtful  message that says, ” I thought of you on Valentine’s Day”.

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A MESSAGE OR SMALL GIFT tailored to fit the interests and likes of a special person…such as:

VALENTINE’S CARD with a touching message relevant for the relationship;
BOOK from a favorite author, favorite candy bar, or music CD;
POEM written by you, or published one expressing your feelings;
BOUQUET of flowers, or just one beautiful flower bud in a vase;
CANDLELIGHT dinner with the recipient’s favorite foods;
MOVIE to watch together that you dislike, but know he loves;
BREALFAST in bed;
SMALL GIFT the person needs (e.g., kitchen, gardening or garage tool);
THOUGHTFUL TEXT message on Valentine’s Day to siblings
NOTE in card or post-it on mirror recounting a shared funny or loving event;
CHEERY VOICE MAIL wishing the recipient Happy Valentine’s Day;
PLANS to take someone to enjoy a new experience
PHONE CALL to elder kin and friends who are alone just to chat and wish them Happy Valentine’s Day.

A GIFT THAT REFLECTS  the interests and needs of the recipient, and the nature of the relationship,  can send a strong and loving message that  communicates,
“I remember”,
“I know you”,
“I get you”, and
“I love you.”

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I like not only to be loved, but also to be told that I am loved.”  George Eliot (1875).

THIS FEBRUARY,  may you be the happy recipient and generous sender of affection to the nearest and dearest in your social network.  Valentine’s Day, and the month of February, can remind us of the importance of communicating affection to those close to our hearts.

“Love will not always linger longest,
With those who hold it in too clenched a fist.”
Alice Duer Miller (1931).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sue Marquis Bishop
February 14, 2016

 

 

A Valentine for My Husband

Again this year, advertisers courted us to purchase a variety of Valentine products and services, marketed for lovers. But… Valentine’s Day can be a perfect day to focus on the blessings of love in our lives. 

Given the state of unrest and suffering in the world,  a day set aside to celebrate a gentler agenda is welcome…and it’s fabulous that  a day is set aside to focus on love.  The world needs more days like this.

As I prepared our Valentine’s Day dinner this week, I thought about the blessings that a marriage of many years can bring.

We never run out of things to talk about.

I whipped up a white cake recipe, coloring part of the cake mix red, to create a red and white swirl cupcake…and counted some of the blessings of love that my husband brings to my life:

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I look forward to hearing your key in the door when you have been away on errands.

I appreciate the flowers you frequently bring to me on random days, for no particular reason or occasion.

I know you have my back when I am concerned about something and you seem to say just the right thing to put it in perspective.

When the cupcakes were done, I removed the pan from the oven, enjoying the warm vanilla aroma, and continued my reverie:.

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One of my favorite times of the day is having breakfast with you in the morning…a quiet time together before the busy day begins.  The sun shines into our breakfast room heralding the new day, and we watch cardinals, bluejays and red bellied woodpeckers through the window.  Even on rainy days, it’s a cozy way to begin the day.  We sit across the table from one another, silently reading two morning  papers, … occasionally reading something interesting to one another.

I prepared almond frosting and red decorating sugar and selected a few large chocolate discs for decorating the mini and regular size cupcakes.  

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My second favorite time of the day is our pillow talk at bedtime, sharing the the good and the great, and the not so great, about our day, and our plans for tomorrow.  No matter how busy we each have been during the day, we touch base again at day’s end.  

Thank you for your loving care and attention to my parents, especially in their senior years.

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You occasionally reach out and touch me gently as you walk by, even in a crowd, …and I interpret your touch as a quiet message that says, “I see you.  I love you.”

You have the best hugs in the universe, and we know we can ask for each other for a hug anytime (some hectic days a hug is needed).

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My heart grow in affection for you as I watch you being a loving father to our children.

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Even when we were engaged in working through some disagreement or hurt, I have always felt loved by you. 

I am proud to take your arm as your wife and join in any and all social situations, and I know you are proud of me too.

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I’m so glad we can laugh together!  It feels so good to laugh.

I am thankful there continues to be room in our relationship for our independence as individuals in thought and activities, as well as our togetherness as a couple..

We have been together for some time now and have so many shared memories we can talk over…something we can do when we really grow old.

I made some homemade boiled custard to serve with the cupcakes and strawberries,… and a sweet Valentine’s dessert is ready.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to my Husband!  …and to all  new and experienced lovers everywhere.

In Thomas Moore’s (1779-1852) words:

“…the heart that has truely loved never forgets….”

“…time will but make thee more dear….”

Sue Marquis Bishop February 2015..