Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 8, 1939

On a sunny, fall day ~ October 8, 1939 ~ my mom and dad (Edythe and Bill) got married in a simple ceremony at the home of my mom's parents John and Clara Stern in Sunnyside, Washington. 

At the time my dad was a telegraph operator for the Milwaukee Railroad. He was stationed at the remote location of Hyak, WA (now a busy ski area with Highway I-90 running thru). Mom told me stories of sending money and a grocery list to the nearest town on a passing train..and the next train coming back their way brought the groceries & supplies to her. Dad was eventually promoted and they moved to Tacoma, WA. He continued as a train dispatcher and mom went to work as a R.N. in the new born nursery at Tacoma General Hospital. She continued to work there until the middle of 1941 when she had to quit because I was on the way.  

I was born on January 4, 19942 (almost a month after Pearl Harbor). In July of 1942 my dad joined the US Army and served in North Africa, Italy, France and Sicily in a railroad battalion where he continued to work as a train dispatcher.  Mom took me and moved back to eastern Washington with her parents until after my first birthday.  It was then that she moved us into a local family's basement apartment and went to work at Yakima's St Elizabeth Hospital where she had received her training.  The lady of the house took care of me during the day while mom worked. 

When dad was discharged the fall of 1945, they came back to Tacoma, mom became a stay at home mom and dad went back to the Milwaukee Railroad until his retirement in 1978.  

My brother and I always say we were blessed to have a mom and dad who really loved each other.  And we both agree, we never witnessed any battles between them.  They both worked hard and created a warm, loving and safe environment for us to grow up in. 

                           Happy 77th anniversary mom and dad ~ we miss you both.

Monday, January 18, 2016

It's Been A Long Time~But Here Goes

Curiosity caused me to take a look and I was shocked to see the last entry I posted was August 2014. Where has the time gone? 

I recently celebrated a was another big one. Funny how they keep getting bigger. One of the people who sent me a 'happy birthday' wish on Facebook commented, "Next year you'll be a diamond Linda.'  So there you have it. Yes, I was 74.  74!!!! It's hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday I was a kid, going to school, helping out on our mini farm each day. Maybe I've lost track of all those years because I still live in the same town I was born in (in fact I retired from the same hospital where my mom was a R.N. before she had me there), where I grew up and where many of my friends still reside.   The first house my folks bought after my dad returned from WWII is exactly 2.4 miles from where I live now. After I finished 4th grade they bought 10 acres with an old house on it.  There they built a new house and that's where I played and left for school each day until I graduated from high school. The 'farm' is exactly 4.5 miles from where I live now. So you can see, I haven't gotten very far in my 74 years. (So to speak)

I've loved living in the same area..I always run into people I know ~ from school, places I've worked, people I've know from the couple different churches I've attended and I feel sorry for those who grew up here but circumstances have taken them off to another town, another state, even another country. Many of them wish they could come home...home to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. 

One of the sad things about living in you home town is all the changes over the years. I remember when I was in high school, a BIG adventure was going 'downtown.' Now living in the country it wasn't always easy. There was a bus but it went into town twice a day and came back twice a day. And if you missed it coming home , well it wasn't good. But usually one of us had a mom or dad who would take us 3 miles to one of Tacoma's main streets where we could catch a city bus. Then off to town we'd go. Downtown Tacoma was magical back in the late 1950's. There were the usual big department stores (Sears and J.C.Penneys) and we also had a great store called People's Store and then Rhodes Brothers Store. I remember being able to get a pair of really neat shoes at Leeds for $5 and then of course there was Woolworth's, Payless and S.H. Kress. I remember one time several of us were in the Kress store and I opened a bottle of Blue Waltz perfume and it spilled and the whole store reeked of that sickening, sweet smell.  We laughed all the way to the lunch counter at Woolworth's where we had our BLT's and Cherry Sodas. 

Now there's no more downtown, no more Woolworth's, no more S.H. Kress, no more Peoples store and no more Rhodes Bros.  I'm so grateful I grew up when I did, I was born January 4, 1942 and I graduated from high school in June 1960.   Those were truly magical years. My hometown has changed so much. I feel sorry for the kids growing up the last 40 years...they have missed some great adventures.  

Each day God gives me is a blessing.  Another day to be in contact with family and friends. And another day to see the additional changes my hometown is making.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Looking Back

My son, Jim will be turning 43 on August 12th.....I find myself reflecting back over the years as my two kids approach their birthdays each year.  This is about a special friend who came to the Shook house in August 1974;

Around the time of my son's 3rd birthday (August 12, 1974), my former husband was working out of town with the railroad. He kept calling me telling me about this cute puppy in the window of a pet shop and he thought that Jimmy should have him. I have to admit I wasn't real excited about having a puppy...we already had two cats and I felt that was enough. Well, the dad won out and when he came home at the end of the week he brought this sweet little beagle/terrier mix puppy. We named him Frisky~because he was. Frisky and Jimmy were inseparable for the 11 years that we had Frisky. The last couple years of his life he developed congestive heart failure and finally we had to let him go. He was a great pal to my son....we will always remember the fun times we had with him.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Tuesday May 6, 2014 was the 9th anniversary of my Blog.  When I first started writing it was in the days of AOL Journals.  That went by the wayside and most of us switched to Blogger.  Since most of us have moved to Facebook, I'm not very faithful about posting in my Blog.  But I also won't give it up entirely because life changes and who knows...maybe one day I'll be faithful to my Blog again. 

Now as we near Mother's Day weekend....I'm posting about the two grand mother's that I was blessed with.

My two grandma's were completely different. My mom's mother was a farmer's wife living in eastern Washington. She always wore an apron and I can remember the smell of baking at their house....cookies, breads, pies, etc. My mom & I would ride the train from Tacoma to Sunnyside and after a few days mom would come back home but I would stay on with my grandparents for another couple weeks. Grandma would bring me back home on the train & I remember the conductor coming down the aisle of the train with a basket of Cracker Jack's and grandma would open her purse, find a nickle and hand it to me so I could buy one. My dad's mother lived here in Tacoma. From a young woman she worked...she was a telegraph operator for the Milwaukee RR. She worked the night shift and often during the summer she would take me to work with her. It was exciting to be in this little shack between two sets of train tracks in the middle of the night with grandma. She would have packed a lunch for us & I can remember the two thermos bottles she'd have. One with coffee and one with milk. Several times each night she would get her lantern and we would walk down the tracks to turn a switch. She smoked cigarettes and mostly wore slacks..unlike my other grandma. And she wasn't much of a baker...she always had store bought cookies, usually Fig Newtons and she loved 7-Up. I can remember being at her house and for lunch she'd make sandwiches and we'd drink 7-up out of the bottle with a green straw. And she made the best peanut butter fudge in the world. I've never been able to find any that compared with hers. There was a bedroom upstairs at her house where I slept when I spent the night with her. She let me play with her doll, Mary. The one she was given as a little girl. It was made in Germany in the late 1890's, has a kidskin body, porcelain face and hands and is stuffed with sawdust. When I look at that beautiful doll, I can't imagine how she could ever let a young girl play with it. But Mary survived and I still have her. I'm blessed to have such wonderful memories of my two, very different grandmothers and I miss them. And absolutely I miss my dear mom as Mother's Day approaches.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, step moms, foster moms and dads who had to be both dad and mom. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963

In November of 1963 I was a single mom, with a daughter about to turn 2 years old (Dec 4th) and working grave yard shift at the phone company as a long distance operator. The babysitter ( Karen) was a young gal, married to a fellow in the Air Force. She lived with me for her room and board to watch Julie since I was working that crazy shift. Any I came home the morning of November 22nd and got a bite to eat, got Julie up, dressed her, fed her breakfast and played with her for awhile...then went to bed. I woke up a few hours later to the sound of uncontrollable sobbing. I remember thinking oh my, what's happened...has Julie been hurt or perhaps the little son of Karen's. I staggered out of bed to find the TV on and Karen sitting on the floor absolutely inconsolable....Julie and Karen's little boy were both crying too because Karen was so upset. I dropped down to the floor and kept asking Karen "what's wrong, what's wrong?" All she could do is point to the TV. I looked over and watched for a couple minutes and realized that a horrible event had taken place that day. I later tried to go back to bed and get some more sleep...I probably didn't sleep more that day but I do remember going to work again that night. It was horrible, everyone was crying. It was so difficult to do what we had to do that night. The supervisor called extra people in so we could get through the night. I remember I could take a few calls, check a few tickets and then I'd break down and have to leave my position. All of us were in the same boat. Everywhere you looked in that huge telephone building, here in Tacoma on South 9th and would see people crying. It was a time in our history that I will never forget. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I love fall, all the beautiful colors and the crispness in the air (at least we have that here in the Pacific Northwest).  However, I don't like what comes after fall......WINTER.  I wish we could just skip winter and go right into spring, summer and then fall again.  I have to confess there is one part of fall I don't care for and that's the 20 ga-zillion leaves that fall from the very large oak trees across the street from my house.  My house faces the south and there a 'T' intersection right in front of the house and for some reason all of that causes all those leaves to end up in my carport.  I do have a leaf blower but they still have to be picked up and deposited into the yard waste bin. I spend many hours each fall on 'Leaf Duty.'   I came out of my local Target this last Sunday afternoon and the fall colors and the blue sky stopped me in my tracks.  Such beauty~
Then I was out in the front and noticed the fall colors right here in my neighborhood.
This bright orange/red Japanese Maple is in the yard next door to me.  I have a couple of them in my yard but they are a different variety and have already shed their leaves. 
This tree is in the yard across from pretty but a totally different color.  As winter approaches all the trees (except our Douglas Fir trees) will be bare.  They'll go dormant and settle down for their long winter's nap and then wake again in the spring.   I have two small lilac trees that haven't bloomed yet.  I hope as spring approaches I'll begin to see at least a few buds of flowers on each one of them.  

I hope where ever you're able to see a little change in the season.  It's truly an amazing sight!   And don't forget to; 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Mary Teresa Caulfield......

.............a wife, mother, daughter, sister and an aunt was among those who lost their lives in the North Tower of the World Trade Center that sunny and clear morning, September 11, 2001. She was an executive assistant working in her
office at Marsh & Mc Lennan, an insurance company.

On September 11, 2002 one of my co-workers went by the 'Y' before she came into the office. As she entered the 'Y' there was a table that held business size cards of tributes to the victims of 09-11-01. Julia gathered up enough of them for those of us already at work and when she came in , she stopped at each desk to let us choose a card. I chose Mary Teresa Caulfield because she was very close to my age.

Mary Teresa you would be 70 years old now, you would be retired and no doubt would have taken that dream vacation with your husband, James. Maybe even grandchildren have been born, that will never know you. But all those dreams were cut short in an instant by a senseless act of a few. A senseless act of hatred, that most of the people in this world still can't understand.

I still have that little green card with your name and the fact that you were confirmed dead in the World Trade Center that day~that horrible day, September 11, 2001.

To the family and friends of Mary Teresa...please know that as long was I live, I will keep this card with me. I pray that God continues to comfort you and bring you peace as the years go by.

May we never forget those who left us that day and may we never forget those few who brought about this horrible event.