Monday, August 31, 2009

Vacation in St. Louis

Gosh, already the end of August. I thought that, instead of writing all I did while in St. Louis on my vacation, I'd post a pictorial story (with captions, of course) of my week. I must say, though, I don't EVER remember experiencing such beautiful weather in August than I did this week. It really was wonderful! So..........on with the story!

Daniel and I arrived Thursday afternoon just in time for our wonderful hosts, Neil and Barb Finbloom, to swoop us off to a delightful wine tasting at Vineyard Wines in downtown Kirkwood. If anyone is ever in the area, this is really quite a nice little wine store with a wonderful variety of labels. Of course, I was able to find some favorites as well as some new wines that were very good and reasonably priced. I liked this store so much, we found ourselves having made two more trips throughout the week.

Friday, while Daniel met with the bride and groom (he did an AWESOME job on the music for the wedding) Barb and I had a great workout at The J - a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. That afternoon (through the evening) Daniel and I met with long time friends of mine for a delicious dinner and visiting til late in the night. Don & Jane, Neil and Karen, and Mike....thank you SOOOOOOOO much for taking time out of your busy schedules to get together. It's always so great to connect with you when in town........Neil B: I know you will read this and it's OK that you won't email me.............I'll still love ya anyway (tehehehe)!

Saturday morning I was privileged to witness the Sacrament of Marriage of my niece Anny and her wonderful (now) husband Brian Bierman. Anny is the second daughter of my brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Margaret Lucier - guys thanks so much for the great party!!! It was lovely, relaxing and FUN!!! Congrats Anny and Brian!

That evening, as part of, or should I say, a continuation of the wedding reception, we donned our red and headed downtown to the new home of the Big Red - Cardinals baseball - to cheer on the Cards to ANOTHER victory over the San Diego! It was a beautiful night, great scenery (seats), and just plain FUN!
As you can see by Anny and Brian's wedding cake, they are major soccer players, fans, etc. This cake truly sums up their personalities..........LOVED IT!

Sunday morning found us back at Charles and Margaret's home for a super brunch and a chance to really visit with my side of the family. Above are my two nephews (brothers of the bride) that were both able to make it home for their sister's wedding. Love the uniforms. On the left is Peter, just started his 5 year hitch last October and is stationed in Norfolk, VA. Robert (Bob), on the right was on his 30 day leave from Okinawa and is scheduled to be discharged this November. You guys rock - we're so proud of you!

Monday evening 12 of my high school classmates gathered at the home of Barb (and Neil) Finbloom's for a mini-reunion (36 years). WE HAD A BLAST!!! Thank you - all of you - for taking time out to gather - I'm holding you to your promise of you locals getting together on a more regular basis and staying in touch. Hey, for those who haven't yet done it...........sign up on Facebook......a great networking tool.........emails work too!!! One thing I must say.........we all look FANTABULOUS!!!

Thank you Mary (Friedhoff) Luebbert for thinking of me on my birthday - the cake was delicious and I LOVE BALLOONS!!

Tuesday was a special day for 3 VERY close friends. Mary O. (right), Barb F. (middle), and I got to spend the entire day together just doing "girl" things. I have known Mary since I was 5 years old and Barb since my freshman year in high school. These are two of my dearest friends in the entire world. Thank you so much for spending the day with me. Oh, and thanks Neil for going to lunch with us. We finished our day with a wonderful dinner and a great bottle of wine (well 2 after one got spilled - won't go into details). It is such a blessing in my life to have the privelege to say these two women have been my friends for that long.........not something many people get to say/have!

Wednesday, before leaving for the airport for my return to Mesa, I had the time to visit the old neighborhood. Above, The Wall - nuf said.............many memories, great and small! Thanks Mamo Renard for still having your front door open to all of us that just drop by to visit. You are an amazing women and am so thankful for you!!! LOVE YA BUNCHES!

I took this opportunity to go on a mini photo shoot of the neighborhood I grew up in....Parkview! Here is one of the entrances - the one to my street - McPherson. Hey Mary, remember hunkering down behind this pillar in the winter, waiting for the bus to St. Joe's in Clayton, just to get out of the freezing cold wind???

This is the street light on the opposite side of the above pillar with the name of my street on it. This subdivision began just after the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.....ya know "Meet Me in St. Louis" movie - Judy Garland - yup - my old stomping grounds!!!

This street lamp is located at the other end of my block.

The front porch of my house - the house I grew up in. Incredible stories and memories - just ask any one of my remaining 9 siblings........I'm sure the same story as just as many versions - it's what makes life so interesting!!!

Ahhhhhhhhh.....the stories these walls could tell. Not just of my family, but of all the families that have lived in this house since it was built in 1905! It's every bit as beautiful as I remember it as a child growing up........I must admit, though, I'm every bit as happy NOT to have to clean that thing!!! (tehehe)

Another view/angle............another wonderful trip!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Tribute to Charley!

Marcella "Charley" Fried Lucier

October 9, 1922 - August 10, 1988

This is my mother. 21 years ago today she took her last flight - HOME! Marcella, aka Charley, aka Grandma Charley loved flying. It was her passion from a very early age. She actually flew an airplace before she was legal to drive a car. She gave her father his first airplane ride. He was 63 years old. Pretty amazing for a young woman in 1937. She would ride her bike out to the airfield, wash the planes on the flight line to earn the money to pay for her flying lessons. She was one of only 1023 women that earned her wings as a WASP, Women's Air Service Pilots and was so proud and rightly so. 44 years later, these women finally acquired official veteran status with all its privileges and benefits. I remember her saying that the only thing she wanted for her funeral was the right to have a flag draped on her casket. She achieved that dream/goal. Now, mind you, this sounds remarkable, and indeed, it is. After be decommissioned she went to Colorado University, Bolder, CO and was introduced to (blind date) her soul mate on VE day (May, 1945) and was married at a small side alter in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, NY on January 7, 1946....just 7 months later. They were married for 24 1/2 years (and 11 children later) when he was suddenly taken from her on July 24, 1970. She was only 48 years old. Now, you may think she was quite remarkable, for indeed, she was. She was strong, intellegent, well read, well traveled, cultured in worldly ways, and adventurous....and carried it all with dignity and a grace most only dream to emulate. But, what I see as the most remarkable trait was her capacity to love.....and love deeply and passionately and yet so gently! She loved her husband, her children, her family, her friends, her country.......all the way down to the stranger! I pray daily to possess 1/10 of the level of capacity to love that she seemed to have and share with such ease.

Her legacy speaks volumes in the lives of her 11 children (one of whom shares her eternal happiness with her), 23 grandchildren and now 4, very soon to be 5, great grandchildren!

I love you Mom and miss you dearly! The skies are clear and ready for take off. Oh, btw, Mr. Brown said, "Roger, Charley, your flaps are down!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's already August!

Gosh, I hadn't realized just how quickly this summer has flown's already August! Lindsay's school (Queen Creek High School) is already back in full swing and several more school districts are gearing up for the return of their students. Where did the summer go? Ric and I have been quite busy (not too hectic though). We're half way through with a wonderful 10-week Bible study and enjoying it immensly. Ric goes to Alpine for a few days while I'm in St. Louis for niece Anny Lucier's wedding on the 15th. Daniel is doing the music so we are going together, although I am staying in town a few extra days to visit. We are looking forward to the gathering of family for such a special event which I am guaranteed there is some fun thrown in there.

Thomas and Lindsay are busy as usual with work and Gabrielle. We've been very fortunate to have had her on several occasions. She is growing like a weed and still as entertaining as ever. The picture below was a total setup just so that I could get a shot of her with an icecream cone. Can't tell you why just yet - just know that I'm working on a Christmas present for her! Thomas is still enjoying his job with Devry, broadcasting the Mass on TV on the weekends and has been asked back to work on the camera crew for all the home games of the Cardinals. Lindsay, of course, is busy getting back into the swing of school. She has been made the department head and is teaching Marketing and Co-op this year. Everyone in that household is healthy, happy, and flourishing - can't ask for more than that! Daniel has officially flown the coop (again - tehehe) and is now completely moved into his new place (which makes us empty nesters). Wonderfully, it's only about 4 miles from our house and only 2 miles from his office. Of course, he dove right in and got entirely unpacked and "set up" in short order. It looks stunning - he really does have wonderful taste - and is thrilled to see, touch, feel his stuff again. Most of it has been in storage for the last 3 years so he's truly experiencing "Christmas in the summer" and is enjoying reacquainting himself with his "stuff"! And, as always, he's busier than ever at work and still loving it. Rachel is taking a couple of days to visit friends in Flagstaff and one more trip to California to visit the Ondashes and friends before high tailing it to New York next month. YIKES, it's coming so fast. It's crunch time now and she's gearing up for a garage sale, boxing, and general wrapping up before she blows this popsicle stand!!!
Last Friday we were ALL able to gather at one place to celebrate Anna's (Ric's mom) birthday, albeit a couple of weeks late! She turned 77 this year and is still doing pretty well. She's decided to buy herself a computer (first one EVER) and learn to use it just enough to stay in touch with her sisters in El Paso. Thanks to Lindsay, we think we found one that she should be able to use - 23" screen - big enough for her poor eyesight. Anyway, below is a picture of the 4 generations! The moment I took it, I knew I would cherish not only the moment but the picture as well. Boy, can you ever see the family resemblence - certainly a case for the gene pool!
Well, I think that's just about got us caught up..........until next time.............Peace!!!