Thursday, July 23, 2009

A little story to tell

In all of my sadness of losing my Aunt Lottie, there is a story to tell. Most people don't even know their great aunts, let alone have the privilege to not only know them, but love them.

The story starts when I was a young girl. My grandfather who died about a year and a half ago and 3 of his brothers and their wives always vacationed up in Canada about an hour and a half northwest of Kingston. This is seriously God's country here and my mother always had her cousins to play with while the 3 couples rented camps during the summer. My mother is still close with some of those cousins. The year I was born these 3 brothers and their wives bought 3 plots of land on lake Kashawakamak and built 3 camps next to each other. My Aunt Deloris (now deceased) and Uncle Ronnie, Aunt Lottie and Uncle Bob and my grandparents all had their land and built their camps each one helping the other. This helping each other continued until about 5 years ago when they began to get frail. Every summer for as long as I can remember, my Grandparents would take my sister, me and my cousin up to camp and my aunts and uncles would bring their grandchildren up to camp too. So, I always knew my second cousins well and would play with them, swimming, fishing and best of all, working on a play that we would put on near the end of the week. We'd always charge admission and our grandparents would always pay and Aunt Lottie would always bake up a storm. She would make the most wonderful eclairs and pastries and we'd sell them too. So we'd goof around, do our play and just have a marvelous time. I have a picture that I treasure of all of us grandkids in my Aunt Lottie/Uncle Bob's camp with bright smiling faces and tanned faces and arms. Aunt Lottie was also known as the candy lady. She always had stacks of candy and we'd go to her camp to fill our bags the first day and go back for refills as needed. This was true for my children as well, as they knew their Aunt Lottie well too.

Later on in years as I grew and began a family of my own, I got to know Aunt Lottie well. We'd talk about things and when I met Cheryl, she never hesitated to tell me how wonderful she thought she was. She was really the only one of that generation to accept openly that I was gay and we had a lot of talks about that. After we were grown and gone, my grandparents, Aunts and Uncles retired and everynight would rotate camps and play Uno, women against the Men and we'd always hear, who was winning, who had what best strategy, etc. This is as close knit as a family gets.

My grandmother and Aunt Lottie worked together for a time, serving lunches in the Syracuse district and the stories they can tell. My grandmother is still living and I will continue to cherish every moment with her. I can't imgine the pain that my mother's cousin's are going through, not to mention my second cousins. BTW - we never thought of each other as second cousins, ect. We always just called each other cousins and my great aunts/uncles were always just called Aunt/Uncle.

When my Aunt Deloris died about 3 years ago, my Aunt Lottie became depressed. When my grandfather died, she talked about wanting to die herself. Then her sister's husband died and then her sister. It became unbearable for her to process this grief. She was in pain from Lupis and had a hard time walking although she still got around pretty well. She had the most beautiful white hair and I will miss her walking over from her camp to ours and coming in to say hi. I will miss sitting with her and talking with her. I kept meaning to go out to her house and sit and talk with her and never made it.

So, I want to tell herhusband, Uncle Bob, her children, Charlotte and Bobby, her grandchildren, Connie, Robbie, Shelly, Jaime, and Sally Jo that I know your pain having just lost another leaf of our tree. But your mother/grandmother was one of a kind. She loved everyone and while she had her opinions, she loved you all so much. She loved us all so much. Aunt Lottie has gone on to a better place, this I know for sure, but I just can't help thinking, "They are falling, all around us, They are falling, all around us, they are falling, all around us, the strongest leaves of our tree." (Holly Near)

Yes, our tree will go on. It continues to this day. But watching those leaves rise up and leave is the hardest journey for me on this earth today.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

OK, don't faint.....

Every time I get on the computer I keep thinking about this blog and try and decide whether to let it die it's slow painful death of ressurect it. So, here is my attempt at ressurection.

The Knafelc-Schmidt clan has been busy as bee's. I was just chuckling when I actually wrote that because I really have 2 last names. The high school calls asking for Mrs. Knafelc and the Elementary calls and asks for Mrs. Schmidt. Then of course I have to discern what Mrs. Schmidt they want, me or Cheryl. And to make things more exciting, Katie's teacher next year is Mrs. Schmidt. It's always fun around here. I will legally change my last name to Schmidt when Gillian graduates from High School, but I do love the last name of Knafelc. For those of you who don't know how to pronounce it, I am hearing the sigh's of relief across the world. Judy, remember the time the sub in 8th grade social studies called me Kanaflex? Now, I have to admit that was the best one. Gillian thinks I cursed her because I named her Gillian instead of Jillian. I did it because I didn't want her called Jill. So, guess what she (and everyone else calls her?) Gil. UGH. I can't win. And I really fought long and hard over Katie's name. Remember those of you who knew me when I was pregnant with her? Saying how Katie Jo wasn't sophisiticated? LOL! I did fight for Katheriine Josephine, but lost. Cheryl's grandmother was Katie and mine was Josephine (although for the record, I always called her Grandma Jo and so did everyone else). Anyway, back to my story. Come to find out that when Cheryl's brother was doing the family history, Cheryl's grandmother's given name was was KATHRINE! HA! But I can't see her as anything other than Katie. Her kindy teacher called her Kate and she always sounded so grown up when I heard her call her that and Katie told me that one of the aides in the room called her Katie Jo Jane which I love and still call her now. Much to her delight I might add. Katie and Gillian both hate their name, but I remind them frequently that I could have just named them Baby Knafelc and Baby Schmidt until they were old enough to name themselves. Besides, isn't it a parent's perogative to torture their children by naming them names they hate? LOL

Onto other things! Gillian leaves on Saturday for Ostomy/diversion camp (as in J Pouch diversion, not behaviour diversion although I can't say that thought hasn't crossed my mind once or twice). This is the first time that she will be flying away from me and she is going all the way to Colorodo. I guess it's practice for when she leaves for college huh? Katie, Cheryl and I are taking off for a few days of fun in Lancaster PA. Mostly because I want to visit some quilt museums and they have a lot there. We are also going to see "In the Beginning" a bible based show down there that I heard was awesome and possibly get Katie to go to DutchWonderland. She saw a dressed up dinosaur on the website so she is convinced it will be walking around the grounds and doesn't want to go. Anyone have some good clues on how to get a 6.5 year old over her fear of dressed up people? It's getting old I do have to admidt. We'll be back by Thursday to get Gil off the plane.

Then we have the 3rd week in August slated to go and visit the 5 college area of NorthHampton MA. Gillian really wants to go to Smith, so we are visiting there, Hampshire, U Mass Amherst, Mt. Holyoke and Amherst. Hopefully, she will wittle down her list, add a few SUNY schools and we will set up some interviews and start getting rolling on college apps. We are still waiting on her SAT scores and she aced all her Regents and finals which given the fact that she was out of school more than she was in it, is a testement to this kids willpower and strength. Not to mention her smarts.

Cheryl is still working at Upstate and I am still working as a Domestic Engineer (read SAHM) Cheryl tolerates her job, but once Gil graduates I can't promise that we will stay here. My disabilities are getting to the point where I need more moderate weather and no stairs, so we will see where that takes us. I found a new Primary Care MD and within 2 appts found out that my thyroid is low and my vitamin D had bottomed out. I am now on meds for that along with my high cholesterol (which she thinks will even out when my Thyroid does) I also finally went for my bone density scan and my spine is very fragile (not including the parts that have already been operated on and have hardware) so the MD is trying to get approval from the insurance company to start me on IV Boniva once every 3 months. Yes, not once a year, but once every 3 months. I don't think I could take having another back operation.

Operation diet has commenced for me too. I gained so much weight with my wonky thyroid that I now have to get it back off. It will help my back and my new problem of having something wrong with the muscle that travels up the front of you. I suspect that it will help my knees and ankle's too.

I am still considering Seminary. I think my best bet will be to see Gillian off to college and get Katie safely ensconsed into 2nd grade before I can devote the willpower to that. So, in place of that I have taken on reading the bible cover to cover and then will go out and buy a study bible to become even more schooled in it.

I am still quilting when my legs and back can stand it. I have lots of UFP's (unfinished projects) including the quilt that Katie picked out for her and I to do for her kindy teacher. That is most pressing as I don't want her graduating from college before it's done. I would say LOL, but it could happen.

I promise for those of you who have been faithful readers that I will try my best to keep you all updated OK?