Sunday, March 22, 2009

Letters from My Father: Who's Mickey?

From: Base Weather Sta.
Sept 28, 1942

Dear Folks

I just got the letters from Ma, Dad, & Art. I was quite surprised to find you seeming to worry about how I'm making out. I thought I had made it clear. Evidently from what you saw of Roger you got a bad idea of the army. As I've told you the ten fellows in my group are treated swell. Our barracks are as good as one would find in any college and the food is excellent. Don't think I'm so terribly tired for although we are studying hard and long hours you must remember that when it comes to 9:00 I get to a comfortable bed and sleep to seven. I never got 10 hours sleep a night back home. These three weeks I'm studying hard but after that I'll only work 8 hours a day with 1 or 2 days a week off and still be able to come and go anytime. There are dances at the U.S.O. 2 or three time a week and always the theatres. So you can see I'm living on top of the world. I'll never have K.P., guard duty or details and have never held a gun so don't worry. I've gained weight and never felt better in my life. Good living is swell. When I do go I'll be in a non combat unit and not in the trenches or marching but still have good conditions. I have honestly hit the best branch of the army. As soon as I've been in 90 days, I'm going to head for officers training and then it will be Lt. Smith.

Aunt Helen sent me $5.00 and it was appreciated. I'm going to write and thank her.

Let Art take my suit and the skates for it is foolish to let them do nothing.

I hope mickey got his insigneas. I mailed them last week. I get the papers and mail allways now but there is about 2 weeks still missing from Altantic City.

Tell Dad I'm about 400 miles from St. Joseph and I'll take a run out some weekend after I get thru school.

We are learning to observe and record weather and its quite interesting. I really like it.

It's getting late so I'll write later.

Love, Fred

From Pvt. F. J. Smith 9/29/1942

On the inside flap of a letter envelope addressed to his parents, Dad printed:

Pity the poor civilian

Here I have Meat 3 times a day

All the sugar I want

Don't turn in tubes for

Toothepaste So you keep Em Flying

I'm O.K.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It was great to read all of the comments on last week's blog entry and to know that the blog is being read. Nancy and I both check the Comments frequently and really enjoy the feedback...hope you will all continue to join the conversation.

Roger Snelling just e-mailed me this photo of him, my Dad, and Johnny Clark when they returned from overseas in 1945. Thought I would share it here. What handsome we all know where we got our good looks!

Spring seems to finally be arriving in Maine...this is the first Monday we haven't had snow in five weeks so we're hopeful. I wonder if the snow is all gone for those of you reading this in Connecticut...we always seem to be a few weeks behind here.

March is also a month of birthdays so here goes...Happy Birthday to...

Carolyn Lambert - March 13th - Carolyn was my "little sister" at Russell Sage College and then became my sister-in-law. She is now the Pastor at Woodford's Congregational Church in Portland. I'll leave out her age as that would make it easy to figure mine out....

Sean Caufield - March 15th - Sean was one of my favorite students at Gorham High School and now lives with Kristen. He is one of the funniest and happiest people I know. Hank and I had a great time at Sean's party yesterday. Sean is 31!

JoAnne Sizemore - March 17th - Born JoAnne Del'Olio, I don't know how Jo ended up with an Irish birthday! JoAnne and I have been friends since 1979 when we first taught together. A member of our infamous "Gourmet Group", she is now the Principal of Scarborough Middle School. (Jo will also be ageless on this blog.)

And last but not least...
Brian Lawson - March 17th - Our 2nd grandson turns 13 today, and...

Robert Lawson - March 19th - Our oldest grandson turns 15 ...hard to believe!

Happy Brithday, Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Spring to all!
p.s. Check out cousin Brian's latest Comment on the previous blog entry...looks like we're going to finally have a family reunion!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Anybody Out There???

Nancy and I are wondering if anyone is reading this comments in a long time. Should we keep it going? Are people reading it or are Nancy and I just entertaining each other (wouldn't be the first time!) We'd love some feedback if you'd like to leave a Comment. Anybody???

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I couldn't resist...

hmmm... Nancy, maybe you are getting the drug...?

Drug or No Drug? That is the Question

I got so busy writing about our fun weekend in the mountains, I forgot to update everyone on how I was feeling. Tuesday I went back to Dr. Small (my oncologist) for a one month checkup since I started taking a new drug (or maybe not). When I finished chemo in December, Dr. Small asked me to participate in a new drug study for women who have had at least one recurrence of their ovarian cancer. The thing about cancer is that somehow the cancer cells just get a message to keep growing out of control. The hope of this drug is to block one of the main "feeding paths" for the cancer cells. It is hoped that by blocking this path, the cells won't get the message and will stop growing. The problem with cancer, is that the cells are apparently very smart, and keep finding other pathways when some are shut off. The path this study is hoping to block is called the hedgehog pathway---I know, I know--I've had great fun telling my doctors to watch for side effects-if they find me curled up in a small ball with spines growing out of my back, they know the drug is doing the wrong thing!
Anyway, the study is a double blind study which means there is a 50% chance of getting the drug or not. Even the doctors have no idea if I'm getting it or not--it's all very secret-the drugs are delivered in an unmarked bottle in a brown paper bag-so there is no way to figure out if I'm getting it or not. They will monitor the study monthly by doing a CA-125 blood test, and every 2 months by doing a CT scan. There are no guarantees here, but I figure if there is a chance that this can improve my chances or help someone else later with this horrible disease, it's worth it.
Since there have only been 50 women who've tried the drug world wide, there is no real evidence on side effects. I've now finished 1 month, and all blood tests came back very well. The only thing I've noticed is first I had this insane desire for Rice Krispies daily (do hedgehogs like rice???) and now I've lost my sense of taste. Nothing--I just know what things I love taste like, but can't taste them at all--very strange. I may have discovered a new diet secret--although I can still "imagine" what the M&Ms taste like as I pop them in my mouth! But I am feeling well, still dealing with fatigue-I nap daily, and some neuropathy in my hands at times, but all in all pretty OK.
Say your prayers that the drug does its thing and no hedgehogs will be harmed in the process.
Here's a picture I forgot to put in of Aaron and I on the sleigh ride at Jackson, N.H. last weekend--as you can see, by my furry brown coat and curled up position I don't look anything like a hedgehog--or do I? You decide!

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Aaron Pass"

Couldn't resist posting this photo of the sign that hung in our old camp in Jackson...for the "rest of the story" see Nancy's Post below!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nordic Village Weekend

This weekend Aaron and I went to Jackson, N.H. with Kit and Erin. They really love being in the mountains and since Cheryl and Hank gave up their camp there we haven't been to the White Mountains in quite a while. Kit has been working for the ski patrol at Black Mountain, so they've been up there quite often. We had a great time at a condo complex called Nordic Village.

Friday, it was raining when we arrived, but Saturday dawned clear and crisp. It was one of those perfect White Mountain days, bright blue skies and the top of Mount Washington clearly visible. The view from the condo which looked over toward Black, was incredible!

Andi and Dave decided to ride up from Yarmouth on Saturday to spend one night, and the four of us spent the day playing tourist. We watched the skiing for a while at the mountain and revisited Cheryl's camp, and "Aaron Pass". For those readers who haven't heard this story, "Aaron Pass" was so named about 17 years ago. The first time we went to Black, Aaron and Kit were both going to learn to ski. They both geared up for their fist time and spent the morning taking lessons. By noon, they were ready for their first attempt at a lift and first run. Both had done really well in their lesson and I've got the video to prove it! They both went up the baby hill while I manned the camera ready to document their first run--Kit did a great job (apparently no fear!) but Aaron didn't fare as well. He made it about 20 yards and decided the trip down was just to scary. Next thing I knew, he was taking his skis off and walking with them toward the road which headed up the side of the mountain towards Cheryl's camp. I put down the camera and jumped into the car and picked him up!

It was pretty much the talk of the mountain for the rest of the day--the guy who walked off the mountain! That was Aaron's first (and last) attempt to ski. The place he "left" became known as "Aaron Pass" and its memory lives on!

Kit and Erin skied all day, but had planned quite an evening for us after they returned from Black. We had dinner at their favorite restaurant in the area, The Red Fox. We had a fabulous dinner!

Following dinner, we went to Nestlenook Inn for a ride in a "two horse" open sleigh.

It was a beautiful clear starry night, and with the stars, the woods and the jingling sleigh bells, it was great! We even stopped along the way to feed a herd of deer that the inn owns. It was magical.

But, even though we were beginning to tire, the planned events were not over yet. The Nordic Village has a heated outdoor pool and hot tub! You can see the picture of the pool area in the daylight,but it was a first for all of us to go swimming outside in the snow!

The second steamy picture is Andi and Dave outside in the pool at about 9:00-proof that Andi made it in the water--she's really readjusted to life in New England!

After swimming we were all exhausted and ready to return to the condo for all little relaxing before we all fell asleep. Bright and early Sunday morning, we all got up and had breakfast together before Andi and Dave got on the road. Kit and Erin returned to Black for more skiing--where do they get the energy? After a little more shopping Aaron and I started home and couldn't wait to get in a nap when we got home. Thanks for making all the arrangements Kit and Erin--we had a great time!