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Writing

22 Apr

My Take
DiVoran Lites

As I was growing up, I didn’t realize that my mother, Dora, was a journal keeper. Now that I am older I appreciate her stories and cherish her handwriting more than ever. She wrote about her ordinary life if there is such a thing. Lately, I’ve been posting some of Mother’s stories on Old Things R New. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share something so close to my heart.


Dora didn’t write much growing up, but she paid attention to everything. When I was born she filled a baby-book hand-made by an inmate at the penitentiary where my grandfather worked. Though the book is primitive, you can see that the convict who made it took time to do a good job. I have wondered if perhaps he had a little girl, too.

Dora wrote more after she retired. She also assembled a family history for my brother and me and sent along a few ancestor stories to go with the names and dates. I’m not really into genealogy, but I have enjoyed referring to the wheel now and then over the years. I see now that it needs refurbishing.

When we were small Mother told us stories. She could ask us to give her three words and then make up a tale from them. Some of them were probably about our beloved dog, Brownie.

Mother was a good role model. When I was twelve, she started a Girl Scout troupe. She also bought me a Girl Scout diary and I filled it with youthful chatter. When I was in high-school I got a red one and wrote about my boyfriends and girlfriends.. After I married Bill, I received a white one and filled it with a young wife and mother’s observances.
When Bill and I moved to Titusville with our children, we began to understand the Bible better and to form a deeper relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Both our pastor, Peter Lord and his wife Johnny Lord taught us ways to know God for ourselves and brought in wonderful guest speakers to enhance their teaching.

One of the things Peter Lord suggested was that we write letters to God. I could handle that. After all, Mother and I had been writing to each other since I left home eight years earlier. For over forty years, letters flew between California and Florida with real visits in between. That’s about 4,000 letters crossing in the mail. I enjoyed that, and because I did, I started writing to God too.

To be Continued

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

 

Lovelock Wedding

15 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

As told by DiVoran’s mother, Dora Bowers

Dora Bedell became Mrs. Ivan Bowers on April 27, 1937. I put on the rose flowered dress because the long white one didn’t seem right for a small group wedding. Ivan’s dad had arranged for me to have a rose corsage, and the fragrance of those roses has reminded me of that day ever since.

We were married in the basement of the Baptist Church between Sunday School and church by Reverend Swabackland. Lucille and Glen stood up for us.  Two of their friends and a child were there. After the wedding, we all went to Glen and Lucille’s for chicken and noodles Sunday dinner.

The ladies of the First Baptist Church of Canon City sent us a shower by mail. We got handmade lunch cloths, pillowcases, and tea towels. Most of the shower gifts were hand hemmed, embroidered, and crocheted. Mother and Dad got us an electric iron. Ivan’s mother and dad got us silver-plate flatware.

We spent our first night in Lovelock at the better hotel on the right side of the tracks. There were slot machines all over the lobby. Ivan put a nickel in one and a jackpot of nickels poured out. But a nickel jackpot didn’t go far and we were running out of money, so after the first night, we moved to the Big Meadows Hotel across the tracks. Accommodations took the last $20 of the original $80.00 we started out with. 

Ivan was making $27.50 per week. After the Big Meadows, we rented a large, empty house, empty except for a bed and a table. Lovelock, the county seat, had a population of 2300 and drew Black Foot Indians off the reservation, and miners and ranchers came from a hundred miles away in all directions. Between Safeway and home, 13 bars and gambling parlors and 3 houses of ill repute nearly filled the main street.

We still lived on the wrong side of the tracks and Ivan had to walk past about half those places with his weekly paycheck to get home. One Saturday night, he lost the week’s wages gambling. After that, I met him and walked home with him. I imagine that was when he first felt truly married. 

I remember though, that I always felt safe with him. He kept a butcher knife by the bed to protect us from the many railroad bums who jumped off the boxcars of the Reno-Salt Lake City train and roamed Lovelock looking for handouts before they got back into the boxcars.

Home at Last

25 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Painting by DiVoran Lites

 

After I was born, one of my first visitors was my great-grandmother from Illinois, Hester. She was my Granddad’s mother who came all the way to Colorado, then to Nevada for a family get-together. Grandma Bowers was blind, so she came with other family members.

Dora had one regret about the visit. Great-grandmother wanted to hold me, but Dora had strict instructions from the doctor not to pick me up or let anyone else pick me up between feedings, which were every four hours. Great-Grandmother stood by my bassinet (a bath for a baby) while Mother bathed me. The tiny blind lady moved close to the legs of the bassinet and rocked it with her knee. Once Dora became more experienced she realized it couldn’t have hurt to let an old blind grandmother hold her baby granddaughter.Fortunately,I got to meet her when I was twelve and Grandmother and Granddad took me to Illinois for a visit.

Dora didn’t work all the time. Sometimes she and dad went for walks in the desert hills around the town. Dad probably fished in the pond. That was where Mother liked to swim in the days of warm weather before I was born. She was surprised that I didn’t grow up terrified of snakes, as she often saw them swimming by.

Mother liked to take me out in my buggy for walks. One day she saw a nest under a bush and stopped to inspect it. When she saw some very small mice playing she took me out of the buggy and held me where I could watch the babies play.

We had a Setter called Red. The Doctor had told them to bundle me up and put me out in the sun for part of each day. It was a safe, small town, so they left Red to watch over me while I slept.

 

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

One day when mother was home alone a small fire got started somehow. She grabbed me and ran over to Walkama’s across the street and asked her to look after me until she got the fire out.

I wish I had more details, but I think once our folks are gone, we have many questions we wish we had asked while they were still with us. I do have to say, though, both Ivan and Dora were excellent story-tellers, and I’ve so grateful for that rich heritage.

 

 

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

My Name Is: DiVoran

18 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

For most of my life, I’ve been explaining how I got my name. This is how it happened: My mother, Dora, and my father, Ivan, lived in Lovelock, Nevada where Daddy worked as a meat cutter for Safeway, and Mother worked at a laundry mostly patronized by miners.

 

 

 

One morning toward the end of her pregnancy she got up with so much energy, she thought she’d clean the coal-burning cook stove in the kitchen before she went to work.

While she cleaned she was thinking about her friend Walkama, who worked there too. Walkama had had a baby earlier. Her labor started while she was at work. I don’t know how her husband knew to come and get her, but he took her home, then she had the baby. Maybe some of the tribe’s women were with her, and in the same day, her husband brought her back. Dora had never heard of anything like that, and she knew she was going to have a very different experience with her child’s birth.

About the time Dora was ready to put the stove back together, her labor started. Ivan came home for lunch and walked Dora to the hospital a short distance away. Her labor commenced in earnest and by 4:00 P. M. I had arrived. She always said, “Just in time for tea.”

In those days white women were held at the hospital for two weeks to recuperate from the ordeal of having a baby. Given Dora’s enjoyment of work of all kinds, she had a long and probably boring time there. One startling thing happened though: on Halloween night three days after I was born, the radio program, “The War of the Worlds,” scared people half to death all over America.

The radio program was presented as a newscast about something that was happening right then. People all over America were scared out of their wits, including Dora. It was one of my birth stories.

The War of the Worlds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs0K4ApWl4g

The story about my name went like this: toward the end of the two weeks, the nurse came into our room and told Mother and Daddy that they had to name me or they couldn’t have a birth certificate nor could Mother and baby go home. Now,this is what I think had happened. Daddy really wanted that boy and they must have had boy names picked out, but no names for girls. When the nurse saw that they were flummoxed, she suggested they put their two names together. They worked on it on a scrap of paper and finally came up with DiVoran, with two capitals, one from each of their names.

 

 

We left the hospital the day the birth certificate was issued. When we got home, Daddy had the stove all put together clean and shiny. The next day, Mother took me to work in a light-weight baby cot and Walkama, perhaps, carried her baby in a cradle-board on her back as they worked.

I was surprised and pleased to learn in later years that I was born on the Lovelock Paiute Indian Reservation where the town was located.

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

What Did You Say?

11 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Bill and I kept up with a lot of changes in American English for most of our lives, but now we feel we may be slipping behind. Sometimes younger people look at us as if they have no clue what we’re talking about.

When we were in Colorado a few years ago with our grown children our daughter asked why everyone was saying Back East when referring to the whole East Coast of the U. S. I gave that some thought and remembered hearing Out West once we had moved to Florida. Bill and I have lived on both coasts so we have a mixture of ways to say things. We try to stick with the jargon of the place where we live. It would be hard to go Out West again and be understood because we’ve been Back East for 52 years.

I told my daughter that BackEast was where almost everyone came from in the olden days. Ranchers and sheepherders, gold prospectors, and movie stars migrated west and so Back East was looked upon as a sort of original home.

My mother would say a few words and then warn me not to use them because they’d betray my common background. At night when we went to sleep she said, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed-bugs bite.”  I thought that was a funny poem but when I said it once she told me it wasn’t really a nice thing to say. Another word she didn’t want me to use was: do’less. To me, that is a perfect word. It means you don’t feel like doing any work or patching of clothes which was thought of as rest.

 

 

Speaking of work, over the years I read a lot of British fiction and watched Masterpiece Theater offerings. I’ve been putting two and two together about my ancestors and got to thinking my ancestors were indeed just common down to earth folks. I know they were farmers and store-keepers, janitors, and embroiderers. My own closest grandmother was a hair-dresser with a bedroom that had a separate entrance. That was her beauty shop. She and Granddaddy bought a Victorian house and made it into an apartment house with the family living downstairs. Granddad was a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary, a very dear man. When I went to visit I got to know all the boarders, one of which was an older deaf woman. She would give me sign-language lessons when I went up to see her.

 

 

 

 

I was a bit of a pill, but Grandmother really did love me. The hand on my arm, however,isn’t affection it is restraint.

 

 

During World War II, Mother, my brother and I lived in the biggest of the three apartments while dad was in the infantry in Europe. Thank the Lord he did come back and nothing was hurt except his night-dreams which would wake him up screaming.

 

 

My other grandmother was widowed by then. She and her sister worked at the Brown Hotel in Denver as chambermaids and lived on the top floor in a small room. She died when I was seven and my mother cried for a week.

 

 

This is my mother’s dad, her Aunt Vera, my mother at 4, her mother and Grandma Hunter, the matriarch of the family. I love this picture.

 

Our mother and father at Grandmother’s house.

Over the years watching all those British dramas I came to imagine that some of my grandmothers, were maids in the big houses. Perhaps the men were stable men and gardeners.

 

 

Notice the shovel my great-grandfather had. He must have been a funny man. Our grandfather is the fifth from the left. To me,he resembles Prince Charles.

In imagination, when I see a young woman on screen walking across the hills to become a scullery maid and to have her bed in the turrets of the house while working up to parlor maid I am glad I don’t have to do any of that. Back East or out West or over the seas, I am who I am and I enjoy my background make-believe immensely.

 

 

 

We enjoy talking with folks our own age because they understand our meaning. The younger people in the family are lots of fun too. They understand our hearts. Whatever people say, one of the very best things in the world is having a family. Thank you, Lord for family then and now.

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Tattered Quilt

4 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

In the emergency waiting room
The black girl huddled in her quilt
As I have huddled in my guilt
The fabric thin and patched
Here a check, there a fan pattern
Stitched long ago from rags.

 

In my soul
Guilt and faith collided
And I knew that God
Shredded each prayer
Given in a hodgepodge way
And wove it into a garment of praise
For the spirit of heaviness.

Romans 8:26  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

 

 

 

 

 

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Side by Side

28 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

“Oh we ain’t got a barrel of money, maybe we’re ragged and funny,

but we travel the road sharing the load, side by side.”*

 

Bill and I have been married sixty-two years. Of course,we’ve had bad times, mad times, and glad times. But we are in the happiest part of our lives still traveling the road and sharing our load.

The road, however, is a bit rocky while we wait for Bill to get his shoulder replacement surgery. When he gets it, it will be the best shoulder replacement the world has ever known, but getting to it is an uphill battle.

The patient has already had four shoulder surgeries, but this is the big one, the titanium one where he’ll be able to put his shirt on himself and take out the trash as he used to do. Meanwhile, Bill has been in a great deal of pain and been unable to sleep.

I asked him not to do that scary pain-breathing sound that makes my blood pressure go up. He tried, but one night he was so stalled that we were both awake for hours. Finally, around 3 a. m. we had some cookies and herb tea and were able to go back to sleep. The next day we made a trip to the emergency room at Advent in Orlando 35 miles away because the hospital here isn’t aware of Bill’s issues. The whole trip took seven hours, but at the end of it, we had our dope and Bill’s pain had decreased. That lasted for about a week, but then we got close to running out and made the Big City drive again. The third time we went we had an appointment with the doctor and for a number of excellent reasons he refused to give us any more oxycodone or Percocet. Suddenly we were desperate.

The only thing the doctor could recommend was a pain clinic. We asked our rehab guy (from last year’s surgery) to recommend one in town but he couldn’t. We might have gone to another town, but when I talked to a friend (who works in the medical field) she told me about an operating room nurse we know who could die if she takes opioids. As it happens the nurse came to a place where she needed an operation on her shoulder. Finally, she found a way to use essential oils to make a “Morphine Bomb.” No opiates and no side effects. We called her, and she helped us make this amazing natural pain reliever. Now, all we have to do is wait a week or so for the surgery.

We are ready, but the doctor has a ways to go. He is a world-famous inventor of parts for joints. We did all the tests except the last one which has to wait. We were not afraid of the surgery but looking forward to the ownership of a brand new shoulder. We have, however, waited for one month already and have another month to go. The reason forthe hold-up is reasonable. I wish I could explain it better, but first,the doctor needs the best CT scan available. He has one now. He will make a 3-D model and if all is perfect he’ll get the parts put together. If it is not perfect we could wait another four weeks for a CT scan and the building of a custom implant.

At least Bill can drive now that he’s off the dope. We got a hospital bed in order to relieve the pressure on his shoulders (the other one hurts too).

So here we are side by side not only in waiting and pain, not only for surgery and rehab…but forever. The Bible says there is no marriage in heaven, but somehow I know that when we get there we will experience more love and oneness with others and in Christ than we can imagine our Christian spouses among them.

 

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Msg.

 

 

*“Side by Side,” Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

Author, Poet and Artist
DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

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