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Mt. Constitution

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Larry

I was just 14 when Larry was born - getting ready to move into high school a St. Gertrude's Academy.  My mother insisted that I leave her and the new baby and spend a week with my Aunt Doriene who delivered her fifth child, Melinda, on August 10th.  I really wanted to bond with my new baby brother but instead suffered the agony of pleasing Uncle Joe, herding the Jacobs kids, and being so scared when Aunt Doriene started hemorrhaging.  I guess, as a peace offering, Mom chose me to be Larry's godmother with my cousin, Jim Reed, as the godfather.  I really never did spend much time at home after Larry was born because my "job" was to live with my aunt and uncle, Johanna and Ben Engel.  They paid me $30/month to cook and clean for them during the week.  I spent weekends at home, but that wasn't much time to bond with Larry because I had a steady boyfriend and life was all about being a teenager in the early 1960's.

My brothers and sisters remember how much I acted like a foolish teenager in those days, even screaming when the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show in 1962.  Do they remember this new dance craze and how all my girlfriends realized we could dance and didn't even need a partner for this one?   It was the most popular song when Larry was born in August, 1960.

I remember how twisted or upside down our Christmas celebration was in 1965 when I'd been earning money from a real job for several months and I couldn't wait to give Larry the most popular toy that season, A Talking Bugs Bunny!  You pulled a string and among other things this stuffed animal-toy said, "What's up Doc?"  I can still see Larry laying on the couch the whole Christmas season because he was sick and he barely even looked at this great gift!  I found this picture from a website called Collectible Toys and the Bugs Bunny is now worth $225!  I probably paid $3.95 or less for it 47 years ago.  Larry and I talked today about our expectations and how often we are disappointed when we set our expectations too high.  As I recall I wasn't as much concerned about Larry's health that Christmas as I was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy the Bugs Bunny chatter!  How childish!

Look how handsome Larry was for my wedding in 1966!

After I left home and got married my brothers and sisters often called each other by nicknames.  Why would anyone call this sweet child Wimpy?   The older brothers teased Larry mercilessly when they were still at home and I always wanted to come to his defense.  Larry had to find his own way through the maze of life in Cottonwood and I remember how he consumed himself with old radios, tearing them apart and rebuilding them.  The basement became his workshop and he could get all the old stuff he needed from the Electric Shop.  Later he "graduated" from radios to music, enjoying Allan's reel to reel tape player during the time he was in the Navy.  Larry still enjoys music and has made many CDs for me over the years, including wonderful Christmas music.  His high school years were filled with hours of work in the dark room at Prairie High School developing and printing pictures for the yearbook.  All these early interests led him to an Electrical Engineering Degree, a vision for Locomotive Park in Lewiston and a love for photography.  Those projects prove he didn't deserve to be called Wimpy!

The bedroom Larry shared with his brothers

Larry and Don during the kitchen remodel project!

Larry and I bonded several times over the next 40 years.  He sent me the sweetest cards and notes that I have squirreled away somewhere.  He took thousands of pictures over the years, but this is one of my favorites.   I think Karen was about four years old!

Larry helped us put in the sprinkler system when we bought our Clarkston house in 1977.  He also helped us plant 10,000 trees in our vacant lots, probably in 1979.  When we sold our Clarkston Heights home in 1990 we moved into Grandma Tillie's house, but then her house sold and we were basically homeless, so Larry invited us to live with him.  He was single then and had 3 bedrooms so Karen, Roy, and I moved in with him until we moved to Boise in April, 1991.  Ironically Larry's children all attended elementary school in Clarkston and he said many times he wished he'd have purchased our house instead of the one in Lewiston!  We shared many moments over the last 20 years, but nothing as emotional as the day our Mom died.  He called me around noon at Juniper Meadows and said that he'd expected Mom for lunch at 11:30 and he was concerned because she was "never late."  He called again at the same time the police officers walked into Juniper Meadows with the news about our Mom's accident.  We spent the next several hours together phoning all our brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins in Illinois.  The next day we headed up to Cottonwood together to get into the house and begin planning the funeral.  I'm grateful Larry's office was so close to Juniper Meadows and that we were able to be together for the next several hours when we often looked at each other and said, "we don't know what to do." 
When I retired from Juniper Meadows Larry knew what to do...he hired me to work for Edward Jones when Mary Kay was out of the office.  I was a little apprehensive and he said, "you just have to answer the phone and listen to old people."  It's been another great experience - a retirement career and opportunity to watch him interact with people.  

This trip down memory lane brings intense feelings of gratitude for the moments we've shared over the years.  Larry, my retirement boss, my financial advisor, my god son, my inspiration, my brother.  Thank you for being who you are, for sharing your faith, and for treasuring memories and trinkets!  God bless!

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