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ALICE ALICE BEJANE BRILL NORTON

THE STORIES OF MY LIFE


This is a

Life Is Stories book.

www.LifeIsStories.com

Published January 29, 2017


PROLOGUE Matthew gave me the format for Life Stories for Christmas. He said, “All you have to do is write your stories and then send them to the lady in Jackson and she will print a book for you. If you need any help there is a number you can call.” Yes, I do have a computer and I can type but about all I have ever done is read e-mail and play solitaire. I’m “computer illiterate”! Besides that, I’m not as sharp as I once was--I’m afraid that Help Lady has a big job ahead of her.”


This is our family. I think there are two or three more since this picture was taken, but it gives a good idea of what a bunch there is.


THE BEGINNING I entered the world ninety years ago in a hospital in Menominee, Michigan, but my birth certificate says Marionette, Wisconsin, which is across the state line. Mother said there was a better hospital in Menominee but they wanted me registered in Wisconsin because they were both born there. I weighed 10 1/2 lb. when I was born and Mother had a difficult time. When it was over, my dad said, “das est allus!”--that’s German for “that is all!”. I guess he meant it--they never had any more.

MARCH 21, 1926


Mother holding me as a baby


DEWEY Dewey was born in Falkner, Ms. Oct. 2, 1927. He had one younger sister, Sarah Ruth. When he was 7 yrs. old, the family moved to Hattiesburg to help take care of his grandfather who had cancer. After about five years, they bought 40 acres in the Oak Grove community. They later bought more acreage. Dewey graduated from Oak Grove and went to Ms. Southern for three years. He then went to Shreveport to work in the Veterans Administration. While there, he started going to a railroad school and eventually went to work for the IC Railroad and later went to the GM&O. He worked from part-time clerk up to Chief Dispatcher. He retired in 1986. Dewey has always loved working outside. He grew and sold vegetables, raised roses and had over 100 camellia plants and raised animals. Shortly before he retired, we started a pecan business. We bought pecans in Alabama and often took our trailer there and brought back as much as a ton of pecans. We had three nut crackers and a sheller. Built up a good business, had customers from as far away as New Orleans. The time came when we decided it was best to move closer to family so we moved to Brandon. Dewey had a large back yard and was able to have his flowers and garden but it was always a struggle because the dirt was so poor. He spent many dollars hauling in better dirt.

OCTOBER 2, 1927


ABOUT MY PARENTS My parents met when daddy was principal at the school in Pound, Wisconsin, and mother came to teach there. He wanted to get married in December but she wanted a June wedding. She was 21 and he was 31 when they married. She retired when I was born but he stayed with teaching. In 1930 they moved to Albert Lea, Minnesota where he taught ninth grade General Science until he retired.


Mother and Daddy’s wedding photo


DADDY I never was a “Daddy’s Girl”. I loved him but we didn’t seem to have much in common. I never figured out why he chose teaching for his profession when he didn’t seem to care to be around children and there were so many other things he really liked. He had lots of friends and a wonderful dry sense of humor. He worshiped my mother and I never really remember them arguing. Mother said he was easy to get along with, but did have a “butting post” and no one got beyond that. I think Becky and I inherited that from him. In fact, I think I am more like my dad than my mother. He was teaching when World War 1 broke out. He resigned and went to join the army. They turned him down because of his hearing which had been damaged boxing in his younger years. Not to be outdone, he went to Iowa where he was able to join the Navy with no problem. He served on the USS Vermont. When the war was over, he couldn’t get out because his ship was carrying troops home. In order to get out, he transferred to submarines where he shoveled coal. He married in 1925 and they were in Albert Lea, Mn. for most of the years he taught. After retiring, they moved to Orlando, Florida. They chose Orlando because Daddy’s boyhood friend, Ralph Hoover, was living there. They moved without ever even going to look things over and it didn’t take him long to decide he hated it. He was used to rich black soil but “here it’s nothing but sand and you try to water it and the water just disappears!” He became actually physically sick and was under a doctor’s care for awhile. He did learn to adjust and came to really like living there. He died in 1956 and is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Orlando, Fla.


Daniel Sinclair Brill


Brothers--Clair, Dan, George and John


MOTHER My mother was pretty and the way people most often described her was, “Lois is such a lady”. “Gracious” would probably fit too. She was never mean and was fun to be with. I was proud of her but always a little jealous. Can you blame me for being jealous when I had auburn hair and she had gray hair and someone asked us if we were sisters? I kept my hair colored for many years after it turned gray so people wouldn’t think we were sisters. (we all turn gray young in our family). Mother said she got to know me a lot better after I left home because I would write and tell her what I was doing but I never told her much when I was at home. She was a good housekeeper (something I have never been). I had my chores--setting the table, doing the dishes, cleaning my room, etc., but was never allowed to cook or iron clothes. I couldn’t do it good enough to please her and she never tried to teach me. She liked retiring in Florida and they quickly made many new friends there. Some time after my dad died, she met an artist, George Copeland. Not sure, but it seems to me that they dated around a year. Then he suddenly stopped calling. A neighbor of his called and said she was sorry to tell her but he had “fallen off the wagon” again and was gone on a binge. Mother had no idea he was an alcoholic! She dropped him immediately. Then she met Charles Geyer from Pennsylvania. His wife had died of cancer less than a year before and he came to visit a cousin, who introduced him to mother. They dated a few times and then he returned home. He returned to Orlando shortly after that and proposed-if you can call it that. He said, “I had a good marriage but she is gone and I don’t want to live by myself. Do you want to get married? If not, just say so and I will get the hell out of here”. She accepted and it worked--they were happy together for twenty years. After Charles died, we built Mother a small house in the field next to our house. We offered to build one for Dewey’s mom, too, but she wasn’t interested. Mother did love that house and was always proud to show it off. Dewey liked her, too, and would often go over and watch ballgames on TV with her. I always said he got along better with my mother than he did his own.


Mother and I


GRANDFATHER I only knew one of my four grandparents--the others died before I was born. Frank Wolfe was my mother’s father. I believe he was born Francis Wolf but always went by Frank and added the “e” to his last name because there was another Frank Wolf near where he lived and he didn’t want them mixed up. He married Alice Darling. They lived in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, where he was a contractor. He not only built the huge house they lived in, but also school buildings. Alice died young, leaving him with seven children. They were raised mostly by relatives. Grandpa remarried. She was Nellie Long. She and her first husband, Frank Long, were in vaudeville and toured the country. Becky has the scrapbook Nellie kept with newspaper articles about their performances. Very interesting. Becky also has a beautiful patchwork quilt Nellie’s mother made in 1858. Some years after Nellie died, he moved to my dad’s farm in Wisconsin. I guess he kept things running while we weren’t there. One summer he went to California to visit relatives and met and married Marie and brought her back to Wisconsin. She went back to California after he died. I thought he was wonderful and didn’t know until just a few years ago that he was quite a “lady’s man” and may have had a reputation as such. It’s not too surprising, he was good looking and had a beautiful bass singing voice.


My Grandpa


WILLARD Willard was my Uncle Clair’s son. Neither of us had any brothers or sisters and were only 6 months apart in age, so it’s not surprising we had a close bond. They lived in Eau Claire, Ws. (near Daddy’s farm where we spent our summers) and also had a place near a lake. Our families spent a lot of time together every year. Will was best man in our wedding. I had three babies and was living in La. when he married, but my folks came and helped Dewey so I could go to the wedding. And he even made our 50th anniversary party. He died a few years ago and I still miss him.


Willard and I


SCHOOL Because my birthday was in March I couldn’t start school until the next year so my folks sort of home schooled me and started me out in the second grade. Times have changed, I’m quite sure you couldn’t do that any more. So I was always about a year younger than my classmates and graduated three months after my 17th birthday. (June 3, 1943) My school years were rather uneventful. I never did especially like school but had lots of friends and lots of fun. I was one of a gang of girls affectionately called “The Dirty Dozen”. We were together all through junior and senior high school. My very best girlfriend was Marilyn McKey (Mick). We met even before we started school and were very close all the way through. A boy from the neighboring city of Austin even made the remark once that he knew we were McKey and Brill but never knew which was which. My folks were disappointed that I didn’t want to go to college but they didn’t insist that I go. Instead, I went to Minneapolis with a good friend, Marje Wangen, where we both went to Minnesota School of Business and then got office jobs. I worked for Wonder Bread Bakery.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1930


“The Dirty Dozen”

My Graduation Picture


BEST FRIENDS I was fortunate to have two best friends in my life. Mick and I were best friends all through school and then our lives went in different directions and Marje and I were best friends from then on. I have wonderful memories of both of them.

“Mick� Marilyn McKey


“Marje� Marjorie Wangen


ALICIA’S STORY Alicia Ross was one of the four girls who rented the apartment in Minneapolis. She was from Albert Lea and we had known each other for years but were not really close friends. Incidentally, her sister is Marion Ross, who became quite famous playing Mrs. Cunningham, the mother in the sit-com “Happy Days”. It is still playing in re-runs. Google has a good bit of information about Marion. Alicia was madly in love with Larry. He was in the Service but they made plans to be married in Calif. while he was on leave. Larry liked to send telegrams. I remember one that said, “Legally yours in 28 days”. Alicia packed her bags and bought her airline ticket. Her office gave her a going-away party the night before she was to leave. While she was at the party, those of us in the apartment got a phone call from her mother saying she and Marion were on their way from Albert Lea (about 100 miles). Larry had contacted her and said he wanted her with Alicia when she got the news that the wedding was off. Alicia came home from the party all excited about her presents. I had to leave the room to keep from crying. I can’t remember if he sent the telegram to Alicia or her mother but I distinctly remember what it said--”By the time you read this I will be married to the girl who is to bear my child”. She went to California the next day but went to stay with an uncle that lived there. Larry married the girl but Alicia heard later that she had tricked him, there was no baby. This should be the end of the story, but it definitely is not. I only heard from or of her a few times over the following years. She married and had two sons. I don’t know if her husband died or they divorced, but she went to live with a son. She was bored and lonely because she was by herself out in the country. She heard that Larry was in the Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis. He had been injured in the war and lost his memory. She knew he was divorced. She went to Minneapolis to take care of him. He didn’t even remember her. After a few months, she decided it would be easier to marry him and take him back to Albert Lea, so that is what she did and they lived there a few years until he died. I saw her once during this time and she said, ”I finally married the love of my life”.


I haven’t heard directly from her for quite awhile but, ironically, as I was making notes for this story, I received a Christmas card from her. She is living in Calif. with a son. She signed it “”Happy Days to you, Allicia””. (Don’t know why she put two l’s in her name). Isn’t that a fitting ending for this story?”

Larry and Alicia


THE RESTLESS YEARS Marje and I worked about a year in Minneapolis and then decided we wanted to try something new. I remember spreading a map on the floor and looking for somewhere interesting to move. We decided Denver--for no particular reason. We contacted the Girls YMCA and reserved a room. At the last minute, for some reason that I no longer remember, Marje wasn’t able to leave. She said she would come later. She never did come but we remained the best of friends until she died a few years ago. I went to Denver by myself-stayed at the Y, got a job and made new friends. Denver was a great place to be. I was able to go to many interesting places--Colorado Springs, Cave of the Winds, Leadville, saw ”The Face on the Bar Room Floor”, went down in a mine, went to Red Rocks ampitheater, Estus Park etc. My best friend was Lois Storer, originally from Kansas. I can’t seem to get dates figured out but I know it was about a year later that Lois, June (another friend) and I decided it would be fun to work at a resort. The only place we could find was a camp in Wyoming for rich kids from the East that would come out in the summer. They said they needed dishwashers so we said ok, we would wash dishes for the summer. We gave up our job and were ready to leave when we received a telegram telling us that we wouldn’t be needed because the cook had hired dishwashers. Luckily, June’s family ran an ice cream parlor in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and they said we could come work there for the summer and stay in a big bedroom they had upstairs. Had a great summer. Didn’t have transportation or much money so we just hitch hiked all over northern Minnesota. Hitch hiking for three girls in a resort area really wasn’t very dangerous. The most interesting place we went was Lake Itasca where the Mississippi River starts. We walked across the river on little rocks! We just made day trips, never stayed away over night. We had no idea where to go when the summer was over. I was dating a boy, Don Glaholt, who had a brother in Monroe, Louisiana so we decided to go there. June got the measles and couldn’t leave. So she stayed behind and a year or so later married my boyfriend Don. We found Monroe too boring so moved on to Shreveport where we settled down. My job was with the Veterans Administration and Lois went with an insurance company.

1945


We were just staying in a room so when we saw an ad in the paper about wanting renters, we answered it. Dean Hicks offered a bedroom in the back of the house and use of the kitchen, and when she offered free rent if we would buy groceries and cook supper for her, we couldn’t turn it down. I had never cooked in my life and didn’t know the first thing about it but Lois managed to get us through. Mrs. Hicks (she never let us call her Dean) just took us in as part of her family. Her parents, Bub and Grandad, son and daughter-in-law, Jack and Ruth, and nephew, Clarence, all became family to us. When I had my daughter, I named her Rebecca Dean after Dean Hicks.


Going To Lake Itasca


The Entrance to Lake Itasca


AND THEN THERE WAS DEWEY My job at the VA required me to often go the file unit to get a veteran’s file. Dewey was the file clerk. I was thinking about going back to Wisconsin because my uncle said he had a young lawyer he would like me to meet when Dewey asked me for a date. I said I would go if we could double date with my friend Francis (Moonbeam) Cubley and a friend of his. She really didn’t even like the boy but went just to please me. A few months later she was maidof-honor in our wedding. We married on March 13th, 1949. Dewey had suggested the 21st, my birthday, but I said I didn’t want to be 23 yrs. old. All of my friends were already married and I didn’t want to be so old. So I married at 22--he was 21. I went on home ahead of time to get ready for the wedding so Dewey and Moonbeam came on the train together. Dewey often tells how he left Shreveport in shirtsleeves and arrived in a snow storm. Of course, he exaggerates but there was some snow in the air. Dewey’s cousin, Happy, was working in Minneapolis and was able to come. He was the only relative Dewey had there. Moonbeam was maid-of-honor and Marje was bridesmaid. They wore dresses Mother rented for them from a shop in Minneapolis. My cousin, Willard was best man. A little PS: I was born on Sunday, married on Sunday, and my first baby came on Sunday. I have always said I hope I either die or am buried on Sunday--ha. Dewey had quit the VA and was working for the railroad now. He was an office clerk but didn’t have a regular job, we just went wherever he was needed. We lived out of a suitcase for quite awhile.

1948


3/13/1949


AFTER THE WEDDING Daddy loaned us his car for our honeymoon. We went to Minneapolis and stayed at the Curtis Hotel, fulfilling my dreams from my days at Pill House. Took the car back the next day and caught the train to go back South. We went to see Dewey’s folks. I still remember that we washed our clothes and there was a white shirt in the wash. I started to cry because I had never ironed a shirt before and didn’t have the slightest idea what to do. Sara Ruth was there and came to my rescue. I was eternally grateful.

MARCH 1949


MY IN-LAWS After the first time I met his parents, I was anxious to know what they thought about me so Dewey asked his sister. She said, ”Mother said she had big feet”. Dewey said they liked me ok as long as I didn’t try to get him to move back North. They were always good to me and I thought alot of both of them. Sarah Ruth Wilson is his only sister. She has one son, Olen (Terry) and two granddaughters (Kristen and Rachel). Wish we could see more of them, but Amarillo is a long way away.


Edward Sarah and Lena Biebers Norton


Dewey, Alice, Sarah Ruth, Floyd and Mom Norton


FIVE GENERATIONS I think it is quite unusual to have living members of five generations. I think the picture was taken about 2001.


Dewey,Danny, Mom, Stephen and Jacob


OUR FAMILY I was an only child, Dewey has one sister. We have three children--Daniel Edward (12/17/50), Richard Dewey (9/19/52) and Rebecca Dean (9/29/53). That’s three children in three years. My dad said, ”When they find out what’s causing that, they will quit”. In the Bible, (Gen. 9:7) we are told “go forth and multiply”. My family took Him at His word. There are 10 grandchildren (7 spouses) and 16 great-grandchildren. There are too many to talk about them individually, so it will just have to suffice to say they are a wonderful family and we are proud of all of them. I will write a little about “the three” though.


Becky, Ricky and Danny


DANNY Danny was born in Louisville, Ms. He got his first “little boy” haircut the day he came home from the hospital because he had a head full of hair and his daddy didn’t want anyone to think he was a girl. My dad’s comment upon learning he had another grandson, was “The only thing better than one boy is two.” When he was almost a year old he walked clear across the room. It scared him so much he never took another step until he was 22 month. By that time, I was getting embarrassed because I always had to carry him. He told Santa Claus he wanted a puller toy for Christmas. We didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about, but bought a little duck with a string on it and that seemed to fit the bill. He married Kathy Capo from Bogalusa and what a blessing she has been to him. Life hasn’t been too easy for them but they have a great family and they are happy. Danny had his own business for years but has recently gone to work for another company and can relax a little bit.”


Danny and Kathy


RICKY Rick was born in Laurel, Ms., 6 weeks early, and was so small I could hold him in one hand. Luckily everything was developed and we had no problems. He stayed in the hospital about a week but I was allowed to go home. I went to the fair while he was still in the hospital. The doctor said not to ride on any rides. My dad said, “The only thing better than one boy is two”. I really hadn’t planned it that way, I had in mind one boy and one girl. He was the only one that had some curl in his hair. It was pretty and we didn’t cut it until the day a repair man came to the house and saw him playing in his play pen and said, “Oh, what a cute little girl”. He always liked to play with fire. He would poke paper in the space heater and once built a fire on the floor of the barn. I finally solved the problem by letting him burn our trash in the barrel. He bought a cigarette lighter with his first allowance money. He went into the insurance business after college. He married Lois Acquistapace from Covington. They had four children and a house note when he decided to go back to college and become a lawyer. He said he always wanted that but hadn’t done it because he knew what his dad thought about lawyers. I know it wasn’t easy for Lois, but she took it in stride and things worked out.


Richard Dewey Norton

Lois and Rick


BECKY We were living in Louisvile,Ms but my doctor was in Laurel when Becky was born. It took us quite a while to get to the hospital and by that time the doctor was pacing the floor. “I thought you were having a baby in a ditch somewhere,” he said. Then he added that I should have a baby boy shortly. Five hours later I had a baby girl. The next day a nurse stuck her head in the door and said, ”What did you have?” I answered, ”A girl!!” She laughed and said, “I know--I was in the delivery room with you. I just wanted to see if you were still excited.” The first thing Danny said when he saw her was, “That is the kind I like”. He wasn’t quite four years old. We never had the mother-daughter problems some have. I think we were always friends She married Billy while they were still in college. We never dreamed Becky would one day be a politician. But now she is Circuit Clerk for Rankin County. Billy had to give up his job after he had two strokes and a heart attack. He also had West Nile. We call him a miracle man because of the recovery he has made. I don’t think I could have a cell phone or a computer without Billy--he keeps them operating for me. Now that we have become unable to take complete care of ourselves, Becky and Billy have assumed responsibility. How wonderful it is to have them to lean on.


Rebecca Dean Norton


OUR THREE MARRY There were three beautiful weddings. There is one little memorable thing I remember about each wedding. 1. After the wedding,when Danny and Kathy were getting in the car to leave for their honeymoon, Kathy looked around desperately and began to cry “Where’s my daddy?” She couldn’t leave until Roy came and hugged her. 2. Ricky and Lois were married in a beautiful Catholic cathedral. They got permission for Rick’s minister to say a prayer so he was up front for the whole ceremony. We all laughed afterwards about how long the Methodist minister stayed on his knees in the Catholic church. 3. In Becky’s wedding, when the minister said ”Who gives this bride to be married”, Dewey was supposed to lift her veil, kiss her, and say, “Her mother and I”. He just froze. Then he gave her a little shove and said, “Just go on”.


Lois and Ricky


Kathy and Danny


Billy and Becky


OUT THREE MULTIPLY I think the pictures tell all the story that needs to be told. All three have children and grandchildren--makes a crowd when we all get together.


Rick and Lois’s family


Danny and Kathy’s family


Billy and Becky’s family


ENGLAND In May of 1987, Margaret, Dewey and I went to Great Britain. We bought Brit Rail passes before we left for $225 each. They let us ride any train over there for two weeks. We flew to London, then to Redding. The first thing Dewey did there was buy a rail guide the size of a Sears catalog. We looked at it daily to determine where we would go. We had a fabulous time. Went to Wales, England and Scotland. We went to museums, historical places etc. Saw so many cathedrals and palaces that we almost got tired of them! We rented a flat in London. It had a living room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bath. Really enjoyed it. Every evening we would decide where to go the next day. Every morning we went to the depot and caught a train. Returned each evening. We left May 27th and returned June 10. We took travelers checks to pay for our spending money but we must have run out of money because I made a note in the record book that I kept “borrowed $285 from Margaret�.

MAY 1987


50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY Our family hosted a 50th wedding anniversary party for us at the Walthall Hotel in Jackson. We were so pleased that there were so many there in addition to immediate family: Margaret and Carl Lucas from Denver, Jeanne and Happy Herring from Hattiesburg, Moonbeam and Bill Gaston from Bossier City, La., and Dewey’s mother. We were seated at a table, waiting to be served, when a waiter walked up beside me and asked, “Would you like a salad?” I looked up, thinking that was rather an odd question. I didn’t even recognize him until he said, ”Alice, it’s me--Willard.” He had come all the way from Wisconsin to surprise us. Then he took off his white waiter’s jacket and joined the party. There was another surprise for us--they had rented a stretch limo and Moonbeam and Bill and Willard joined us for a tour of Jackson. Then we returned to Becky’s house where the rest of the party was waiting for us. There we enjoyed a four tiered cake--a duplicate of our wedding cake. Truly a day to remember.

MARCH 1999


Alice and Dewey and the stretch limo

50th Anniversary


IT’S BEEN 50 YEARS I think it is rather remarkable that, after fifty years, five of us that were at a wedding in Minnesota, were able to get together in a hotel in Mississippi. It’s too bad Marje and Gar weren’t able to come too.

Happy, Moonbeam, Dewey, Alice and Willard


BASKETS We made several trips with a group called Elder Hostel. You would choose where you wanted to go and they would take you to places of interest there plus having classes on various themes of interest. One of the best places we went was Mountain View, Arkansas, where they had a class on basket making. It didn’t strike my fancy but Dewey was hooked. He contacted the local basket maker and received much information from him, including books to buy to teach himself. He started making split white oak baskets. He cut the tree and then worked it down into the various sizes needed. Over the years, he made several hundred baskets--all the way from door knob baskets to cotton baskets. He really did an excellent job and gained quite a reputation. He joined the Mississippi Craftsmen Guild and they sold his baskets for years. He also learned to weave cane bottoms in chairs. He still pays dues at the Guild but hasn’t made any for quite some time.


Tools of the Trade


CIVIL WAR STORY I had a grandfather and a great-grandfather in the Civil War. They fought in the Wisconsin infantry but in different units. I have looked up some information on both but I can’t find it. I guess I gave it to Rick so will just have to tell what I can remember. Family history says that my great-grandfather (I think his name was Francis Wolf) immigrated from Germany. He was married and had children when the war broke out but he said the United States had been good to him and he would fight to preserve it. He stayed in for the entire war. I remember that his record shows he was in Brandon and they burned the depot there. Wonder what he would think if he knew his great great granddaughter has an office in the court house in Brandon and is Circuit Clerk for Rankin County. I like to think he would say, “That’s what I fought for”. They also burned Jackson on their way to the siege at Vicksburg. His name is on the Wisconsin memorial in Vicksburg. George Tabor Brill was about 16 or 17 when he joined. His name is not on the memorial because he had dysentery and didn’t make it to the lines. His brother, Maxim’s name is there though. Both men were in Sherman’s March to the Sea and I was always proud of that until I read more about it. I changed my mind. At one time, my dad and his younger brother, Clare, were the two youngest living sons of veterans in the state of Wisconsin. There can’t be many grandchildren living now.


MARGARET When I was living with Mrs. Hicks, she rented her garage apartment to the Jackson family. Their little girl, Margaret, became my shadow and when I started dating Dewey, she adopted him too. One summer after we married, we invited her to visit us. Her mother gave her fifty cents and she stayed the whole summer. What’s more, she came several summers after that. After graduation, she joined the Navy, where she met and married Carl Lucas. They have always been part of our family and have been with us for most of the important events in our lives.


The Lucas Family


FIRST LOVE I was told that Herb Schlagel was going to ask me for a date. I knew who he was but had never even met him. It seems that he liked red-heads. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and when he saw me, with my auburn hair, he wanted a date. I was a junior in high school and had never had a real boyfriend. He was fun to be with, took me places, bought me presents (still have the pretty stretch bracelet he gave me), and called me often on the phone. I really fell hard. It lasted a few months and then he moved on. It absolutely broke my heart-- I cried buckets of tears. He joined the Navy and I never saw or heard of him again, but it took me a long time to get over it.


NICKNAME I guess I had better explain the horrible nickname I had. In Biology class we had to dissect worms. I hated it and would always shudder and say “Ish!”. My partner thought that was funny and started calling me “Ish” or “Ishy”. Don’t know why others picked up on it, but they did, and I went through senior high school being called that. Thank heavens it didn’t follow me when I left home.


NORTON LUCK I would be remiss if I didn’t tell about Norton Luck, but I really have trouble telling about something I have no logical explanation for. I’m not superstitious and neither is Dewey, but a few years ago we started to notice that it hardly ever rains on us. If we were on a trip and it was raining, when we were wanting to stop for a cup of coffee--the rain quit. It might start up again, but not until we were back in the car. When we go grocery shopping, church or most anywhere, if it is raining when we leave the house, it has stopped when we get there. Often starts up again when we get back in the car. It has really become a family joke and we named it Norton Luck. The kids say it doesn’t work for them but have often seen it work for us. I would say this happens 8 out of 10 times, which surely beats the law of averages. After I had written notes on this story but before I started to type it up, it happened again! This time I had a doctor appointment. It was sleeting quite heavily when we left the house. By the time we got there (about 10 miles) there was just mist in the air. I didn’t even open the umbrella I brought.


SOME MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS They say ”opposites attract”. That may be true, but unless the underlying basics are alike, it won’t last. Dewey and I are proof of that and we have 69 years together to prove it. ”If you can’t say something good about something, don’t say anything at all”. When I forget this philosophy, I usually regret it. Dad Geyer told Mother, “You’ll be about as happy as you make up your mind to be”. Oh,how true. I like intelligent people and enjoy being with them. That is one of the things about Dewey that attracted me to him. I always said he was smarter than I am and could answer my questions. Becky says, ”I never knew we were poor, Mother always just said we didn’t need it”. Actually, we weren’t poor--I always managed to pay the bills sooner or later. I still don’t usually buy things we don’t need. When I left home, I sometimes missed a meal (but not a good movie) because I couldn’t afford it, but I never wrote home for money. Too much pride for that.


FAITH My parents were believers and lived their faith but seldom talked about it. I guess that is why, even though I pray many times every day, I am uncomfortable praying aloud. I wish that wasn’t the case but it is. Kathy gave me a daily devotional book called “Streams in the Desert”, that has been a great help to me. It has taught me why things happen and how to deal with them. I am a better and stronger person because of that book.


THE END It hasn’t been easy writing this book but I have enjoyed dragging out old memories. I have no real talent and can’t see much that I have accomplished in this lifetime but then I realize how many people wouldn’t be in this world if it weren’t for me. So maybe that makes me worthwhile. I love you, Family,each and every one of you!

Alice Norton: The Stories of My Life  

This is a Life Is Stories book. Learn more at www.lifeisstories.com.

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