Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Introducing the 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura...

This was my mom's baby. She paid cash for it in mid-79 after her dad died and left her a little pocket change. She loved blue and this was her color. She and my dad purchased it at J.R. Dall Ford in Elyria. I remember going with them to pick it up. She got in and was a little taken aback at all the gadgets coming from the steering column. That was when Ford got the itch to try and take all their controls of wipers, cruise, turn signal, and (gasp!) horn and place as much crap as possible into two to three controls sticking out from the steering column. Brilliant-not! Confusing yes. Oh, don't forget when you want to honk that horn that you don't hit the steering wheel with your hand, you merely PRESS in on the tiny stick coming out of the column. Try to remember which black one it is. Okay, enough Ford bashing but it was dumb! So here was the sweet ride which she only got to enjoy for about 6 mos before she died. This car was not in the wreck. Our other car, a 1975 Ford Galaxy 500 (looked like a massive tank on wheels!) was totaled out. I see the house still had the yellow paint on it. In the summer of 79 the house was sided white with black shutters and still appears like that today.


Well here is a brat-in-action! This is my 7th birthday party in Jan. 1976. I cannot even remember what I was pouting about. Probably didn't get my way. Brat! It was my first "friends" birthday party. I think I had some kids from Roosevelt st (on the other side of town) like Julie Prowse and her bro. Some other kids were Carla and Sue Minnich. The kid in the picture is not someone I even liked! He was our pastors son: Todd Mealwitz. His dad pastored Grace Lutheran Church on East River in Elyria. I don't think Todd and I ever spoke except maybe at this party. Anyhow we are in the living room of our house on Bell Ave and I am being presented with a custom birthday cake that a lady at church made. The dress I had on was one of those long types popular in the mid-seventies and it was my favorite dress if I had to wear one. I don't remember much of the party except I was mad and I'm sure made a complete idiot of myself for that. I do know Carla present was a red vinyl Donald Duck wallet...sweet. As for this photo I have some advice for my mother on that January day: save your money, save your time and turn me over your knee...I deserved it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My mother was not pleased...

I could have charged admission to see the look on my mother's face when she saw how picture day turned out. I think this was 1978, fourth grade. She was not happy when she I came home that day and told her we had pictures. It had slipped both of our minds. So...years later here I am in my most favorite sweatshirt of the 1970's: Convienent Food Mart: "Where the customer is King!" It's funny but when I was a tomboy kid I had favorite clothes that I would just wear and wear. And the thing is, is that I thought I looked off the hook in them. Umm, k, now I see I was extremely deceived. This sweatshirt had been worn down to a dingy white, and the dude on the front motiff was cracking from repeated washings. But I was just so comfy and confident in this. What was I thinking?!
A little dib about the store. What I remember is that Convienent Food Mart had stores mostly in Elyria. Ours was on Lake Avenue. If I could tell you everytime we went to that store it would fill this entire blog site and bore you insanely. So, here are some pieces. I remember a cashier with strawberry blonde short hair and her name was Carol. Of course she knew us by name. She would ring up our small purchases (you would NOT want to purchase groceries here, this was the equivalent of a 7-11 type dealy-o) on this old punch key register. She would always give me a pretzel rod before we left. Last I saw here there was the late 80's. CFM is no longer in business I believe. (If any Elyrians know this please post a comment by clicking on anonymous and leaving your name if you dont want to register for this site). Another time was New Years Eve. I watched a man grab a bottle of booze off the shelf place it in his coat and walk right out. The store was insanely busy and he just got away with it. I was floored as a kid! I myself, never store from the store. I also was floored when my favorite candy bars went from 20 cents to 25 cents per bar. I spent plenty of cash in that store on candy,Fla-vor-ice popsicle tubes, Faygo orange pops, Hostess ho-ho's packed in foil and loaves of their bread. Their chicken was pretty good as well. My parents would always pick up Jo-Jo potatoes from the mini deli and a pack of beer. I don't remember Carla being allowed to walk the 2 blocks up there just to purchase I wrong Carla? In the late 70's, early 80's they added a little ice cream deal to the side called the (?) Shake Shack. I don't recall my mom and I there a lot so it might have been after she was gone. And one of the last times I recall going in there was in 1980. I would head up there after mom died to buy a pack of cigarettes. Can you believe this? I WAS 11! They just rung them up and I walked out. I didn't know you were supposed to inhale them until I met my much for being cool. Glad I don't smoke these days. And the LAST time I was up there was with my friend Mindy 1n 1985. My husband who was then just a friend and his brother Don had gotten ahold of my Kodak Disc camera and taken a "mooning" shot and when I got the photos back I was GROSSED out to see Don's butt. So, to one-up them Mindy and I drove over to the west side to CFM. By then the store was getting a little rough and so was that neighborhood. We went in the store and in a very cool and calm fashion while Mindy distracted the cashier I stuck the photo up with tape and the following information: "For a rear good time, call Don/Dave at XXX-XXXX and we used Dave/Don's work number so his parents would not KILL us.
Bad girls!

David & Cheryl

It's probably a long shot that these two would have internet access and see this. These two are my half brother and sister. David I tracked down a few years ago in Georgia. He is a doctor. I contacted him via letter to let him know I have his and his sister's baby pictures. Apparently they don't give a rip because I never received a reply. This was confirmed retroactively when I contacted Cheryl in 1990. She lives in Portsmouth, OH and has two children who are 35 and 31. I called her (which was gutsy, but hey, I was pregnant!) and she stated she didn't want anything to do with our dad or me. She was nice about it and all but she politely declined. And that is her right. As I stated in a previous listing I like to see resolutions to problems. Things worked out. Wrongs righted. Families reunited. Try....! But in my rose colored solution book, things don't always go that way because people don't forgive, don't give others as many chances as God has given us. So somewhere out there are two adults approximately 55 and 56 years old who carry a part of me. Their blood is mine as well albeit not 100% but yet we are connected genetically. I wonder what mannerisms they might have that could just possibly match mine? I suppose I will never know. They do not know that their father, Gordon, has been gone 10 yrs. Do they know about my mother (standing in this late 60's photo with them) has been gone longer? The melancholy side of me asks this...the realistic side tells me they really don't care. In this picture I see my mother holding Cheryl's hand. Did they have a good relationship? Did they have a relationship?? Then...what happened? David Kuss Baldrich...and Cheryl Kuss Baldrich Albrecht you have always made me wonder about you...and I guess I always will.
Update: I have located David Baldrich and he is practicing medicine in Decatur, GA as a gastroenterologist. His blub states:
David A. Baldrich, M.D.
Board Certified, Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
Dr. Baldrich received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Ohio State University. Following his residency at Southwestern Michigan Area Health Education Center in Kalamazoo, he completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at Ohio State University.
He has been in private practice in Atlanta since1983 and also served as a hospitalist with 24 On Physicians during that time. He is a member of the Southern Medical Association and is fluent in Spanish.
Dr. Baldrich sees patients at the
North Fulton II and Cumming locations.
As for Cheryl Albrecht... she is associated with the development program at Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH). "The development program relies on a group of 20 dedicated volunteers who share their wisdom and expertise as well as their hearts for the good of our students. They are bankers and lawyers and business people, and each brings a special love of higher education and of our area with them to our “table.” They devote countless hours and share extraordinary energy on behalf of Shawnee State, and we appreciate all they do. " A quote from their website. She also gave 10k along with her husband Jeff, a developer, to the university there. This is all I could come up with for her.

I located their daughter Rachel in Columbus, OH and have mulled calling/writing her. They also have a son Ben.
Further update: The more I search the internet, the more information I get and the more things I have heard from the past begin to make sense! My father married Joanna in 1947 I believe. She was born in 1926. She died in 1990. From what I heard growing up, she left my dad for a physician intern at the hospital. And this would make sense that I find his name and obituary. My dad said he still paid child support even though she took the kids out of the country (Cuba I was told). My dad was devastated. Here is the obituary from the Journal of American Medicine:
BALDRICH, Rene Alberto G., 64; Portsmouth, Ohio; Departamento de Medicina, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1957; died November 3, 1997.
And this would explain to me why half-brother David is a doctor himself and speak fluent spanish! I'll keep you posted, but tell me, what do you think of all this?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I'm thinking this must be around 1977-78 since my grandpa is dining with us in this photo. From left to right are: my uncle Richard, paternal grandma Kuss, paternal grandpa Kuss, my dad at the far right, my mom and me. Taking the picture was my aunt Barbara. Both aunt and uncle are still living in Ohio. I still have this red tablecloth. It must have been cold weather judging by everyones clothing. My paternal grandma was a wonderful cook and hostess. If you just even stopped in for a short visit she whipped out this incredible spread. She would take ham and cheese and arrange it on a luncheon plate in a circular design. She had the prettiest everyday dishes and good dishes. She had gold stemware when you came to visit. She made me drink milk at dinners like this (good job grandma!) when I really wanted some 50/50, squirt or Seven-up! Her mashed potatoes had perfect lumps in them. She could grow any plant, any where and for years worked at a florist. I didn't sense any tension b/t her and my mother and they seemed to get along fine. be honest my mother was no cook. The only person who comes equals my grandma Kuss' meals is my mother in law. Now that's good eatin'!

Florida: circa 1971

Sad, but this is the LAST time I was ever in Florida. And I don't even remember it. My parents travelled alot...the photos tell me so. Some trips I remember, some not. Since we our going on vacation this year...I wanted to review what my childhood vacations were like. I want our kids to know how great it is that their parents are taking them to great places. But, as teens, they will not appreciate this until they are older. Looking at this picture of my mother and I on the beach in Florida makes me appreciate their willingness to go on vacation!
Actually, I had both of those towels in the picture still up until a few years ago when they weren't even worthy of "rags" status.
And what was up with my bathing suit? Must have been way to big for me. And where is my SUNSCREEN MOTHER???!

Indoctrination: 1969

This is one of my first pictures of my indoctrination into the feline obsession. So it is true: it is my mother's fault I love cats so much. She started it here with this picture of her cat: Sandy. I don't really remember Sandy the cat too much because she was poisoned soon after I was born. Accidently, actually. I guess she ate something outside and she was a goner. My mother did what I would do...she promptly replaced Sandy a year later with Sugarfoot. Sugarfoot (sugar for short) hated my guts. I can't understand why. All I wanted to do was love her...and trim her fur...and paint her toenails...and bathe her...and see how far she could land from my favorite backyard tree. What a poor sport sugar was! But she was amazing in that she succeeded in living past her owner. She died about 3-4 years after mom the neighbor's house ( an old widow), her new peace and quiet.
P.S. Isn't my mom great...she lets herself get photographed in her SLIP! She did have great legs even though she probably wouldn't have made it as a Victoria's secret model.
As for the plastic covered chair in the background...umm thank goodness childrens services weren't visiting that day. It could have posed a problem: plastic and babies. No suffocation issues there...WTG mom!

Separation issues

Did you ever find yourself looking forward to something so much? Then it comes. The date. The day. This happened to me last weekend. I wanted to enjoy it. I tried to savor it but it was hard because of all the prep it took to get it to that point. What is worse than this? Seeing family and friends leaving....I hate it. Earlier this year I realized I have a problem with separation. And I really do believe it is because one January day in 1980 I was a carefree child looking forward to her next snowball fight and the next I was making funeral arrangements and picking out the deceased's clothing. The "rug" was pulled out from under me. Hard. I didn't see it coming. It has made me trust less (except God), skeptical, and as someone who see's the glass half empty. I was talking about this with my BF Carla when she was here for my grad party. She can make sunshine out of a rainstorm. I so wish I could have that attitude! So...when she and her husband leave the day after my party...I miss them and their friendship which is too far and few in between visits. When my in-laws leave...I cry. When a friend divorced years ago, I cried like silly. I don't like separations. I don't like not TRYING really hard at something. This is where this becomes complicated with me. I see the glass half empty...but I also think that just about everything can be worked out if your willing to just TRY. I try to get over this separation issue. I have prayed about it and believe God will help and heal me. In HIS time, not mine. I have asked friends, family etc. casually from time to time if they experience this problem with saying goodbye. Most people I know wave in the driveway, walk back in the house as their company drives away and muse about what a great visit it was. Then they go back to their routine. That is what it may look like on me externally but internally I am emotionally wrecked. And frankly, it's embarrassing. I hate it. I feel abnormal. Especially around the normal people who can just go on with life and la-la-la their way through the week. I mourn. I lament the weekend, visit, whatever is over and now we must carry on with the mundane. So far...I am the only one who struggles with this...thanks for listening.