Tag Archives: Family Life

The Cruise of a Lifetime~Coming Home

29 May


Judy Wills



 Because our flight from Budapest was at 6:30 a.m., we had to get up about 2:15 a.m. to get ready, pack, and get on the shuttle bus by 3:30 a.m. We had showered the night before, so all we had to do was shave (Fred), put on makeup (Judy), finish packing, and off we went. There were 14 of us from the ship that were going to make that flight.

It was a 30-minute drive from the ship to the airport. And when we got there, it was a “hurry up and wait” situation. We waited 30 minutes for the counter personnel to arrive and begin taking customers. We were first in line, thank goodness. Even though we had our bags with us, she convinced us to check the larger bags, as the plane from Budapest to Amsterdam was “small.” The flight took off pretty much on time, and it was a two hour flight to Amsterdam. They did feed us breakfast, but it was nothing like we had before – a sandwich with either deli-thin slices of chicken, or cheese, with mayonnaise on it. Well, Fred doesn’t eat mayo in ANY form! But we were able to get him some slices of cheese and chicken that wasn’t too “polluted” from the mayo.

We had a fairly long layover in Amsterdam, which was good. Schiphol Airport is really big, and we had to go quite a ways to find our gate. Fred said it looked like the lady in Budapest had checked our bags all the way to Orlando, but he wasn’t sure. So when we had the attendant in Amsterdam check, sure enough, they were checked through. However, she said we had to pick them up in Atlanta and go through Customs there.

The flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta was nearly nine hours long. The fortunate thing about it was that we were on an Airbus, and were in the two-seat side, rather than the four-seat middle. I always enjoy flying with just Fred, rather than three of us across. They fed us lunch – we both had tortellini, salad, cheese and crackers. A few hours later they had wrap sandwiches for us – Fred had a “meatball” and I had a veggie wrap. Surprisingly tasty. And of course, there was always the pretzels and peanuts.

We finally arrived in Atlanta – really nice to realize we were back on US soil! We picked up our bags and headed through Customs and Immigration. Not a bad thing, and we got through fairly easily. We were glad to have that done in Atlanta, rather than having to do it in Orlando, when we were super tired.

The flight to Orlando was just barely over one hour. As we like to say, they hardly got up when they had to start down again! They did have time to hand out pretzels and soft drinks, but they were hurrying through it.

Richard Lynch picked us up and headed toward home. When we discovered they had not had dinner yet – and our tummys were growling – we agreed to meet at Panera for a light supper. Pam and Piper were waiting for us. We were able to tell them a little bit about our trip, but were so very ready to get home.

We unloaded our suitcases quickly, as I HAD to do a load of undies, since all we had needed to be washed before the next day. So with all that done, we were able to get to bed by about 10:00 p.m. We figured that we had been in the air about 13 hours, and had been awake about 25 hours – with only cat-naps on the airplane! We were truly and fully exhausted!   We didn’t even set the clock to wake us up on Saturday – just decided to sleep our fill.

It was wonderful to be home and sleeping in our own bed.

But we are grateful and thankful that we had the wonderful experience of the Viking River Cruise Grand Tour. A cruise of a lifetime!


~~~~~~~~~~The End~~~~~~~~~~



Getting Dressed

18 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites


My brother and Brownie, the neighborhood kids, and me.


When WW2 ended and our family moved to Westcliffe, Mother would take Dab and I to Denver to visit our other grandmother, Mabel. She and Mother’s auntie worked as chamber maids in big hotel. We’d get a stop at the pet store and a trip to Elitche’s Garden where we rode the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round. We all slept in Grandma Mabel’s high up in the building and whenever Dab and I could slip away we’d slide down the bannisters to the next floor.  There’s just something about bannisters and kids, and we felt like we’d invented the game on our own. We eventually got caught and had to stop. 

The other real reason for the trip was to outfit us for school the next year. We’d go to the May company where they had a perfume fountain in the lobby and I’d try to stick my finger in it so I could adorn my pulse points. I knew you had to be bathed and in fresh clothes to wear perfume, so I felt I was perfectly qualified, but a scorching look by a shop-girl soon put me straight on that score. 

When I was twelve Grandmother came to visit and brought me some suntops she had made for me to wear with my jeans. The tops were very pretty, but I had a problem with themI’d been begging mother for a brassiere, and she had finally broken down and bought me one. When I tried a sun top on, the straps of the undergarment showed and I refused to wear them. Grandmother just gave them to one of my friends and it was never mentioned again.  

It wasn’t long after that when I became interested in boys. I wanted jewelry, and make-up, and clothes became more interestingI had some money from washing dishes in the restaurant and ironing the family’s clothes, so I bought a pair of dangly earring with blue-green jewels. I also bought a Tangee Tabu lipstick.  As I was looking for the color name online I discovered that The Vermont Country Store still sells Tangee Tabu lipstick plus many more wonderful things. I asked for a catalog. If you want one, you can request it on https://www.countrystorecatalog.com/Default.aspx  


11 Apr

My Take 

DiVoran Lites 

Young DiVoran

During World War 2 people couldn’t get fabric or clothes because almost everything was going for War supplies. My dad was at the front and Mother, Dab (my brother), and I lived in one of Granddad and Grandmother’s upstairs apartments in their beautifully restored Victorian house on Greenwood Ave. Grandmother wanted to keep herself and mother busy, so she started bringing the clothes out of the attic to alter for Dab and I. They started cutting children’s’ clothing from adult garments. It seemed to me as if I had to stand still every day for fittings. I fidgeted, but Grandmother and Mother went on relentlessly making clothes the whole nine months dad was at in the army.

One day they put a dress on me and I reached up and ripped it apart from neck to hem. My seamstresses were so astonished they forgot to smack my bottom and I seized the moment to make a swift getaway. Naturally the tailoring continued until the war was over and Dad came home to move us to another town where he had purchased a restaurant with the aid of the G. I. bill. There, I was the best dressed child in our new town, which was right up against the Sangre de Christo mountain range and to me the most beautiful place in the world.

When Grandmother came to look after us kids and the restaurant while Mother and Dad went on a trip I wore my jeans and flannel shirt for a full week and Grandmother didn’t complain about it one bit. I have never been able to understand why she let me get away with it. She let us have an ice-cream bar out of the freezer every day after school as well.

I got to dress up in brand-new cowgirl clothes, hat and all, to be in a fashion show with some of the other girls who lived in town. There were only about 20 children of all ages in the whole town. Grandmother had given me her boots by then and I wore a cowboy hat as well. We sang, “Ghost riders in the Sky” to entertain the ladies who came to the show.

Every year on my birthday, which was two days before Halloween, mother threw a party for me with the classmates that lived in town. We went trick or treating in that safe little town where no one ever got hurt, we didn’t lock our doors, and nobody stole. I wore a dress mother had given me to play dress-up in. It was a deep green velvet and I felt like a princess. The bonus was that I wore it for several years because it was adult sized to begin with.

Mother had another dress I loved. My daughter has it now. It’s pink silk with ruching and pink embroidery. It was given to my mother by her best friend, Katherine, who received it from England in 1922 when they were children. Katherine’s mother wouldn’t let her wear the dress because it was pink and she had red hair. What a beautiful dress it is, as light as gossamer.

Thank you Lord for giving me such a good childhood with parents and a whole town full of people who loved me. Thank you for the gorgeous mountains, and the teachers and pastors who worked so hard to help us all become more civilized.

Mrs. Q. and the green ink

4 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistI suppose someone provided me with a first pair of jeans when I started riding a Shetland pony at eight years old. Anyhow I grew up wearing 3jeans whenever I could get away with it. When we moved from Colorado to Los Alamos, we wore jeans to school on Fridays. No one missed that opportunity. When I moved to Florida as a married woman with children, I gave jeans up and went for knit pants. Eventually someone came along who loved clothes and loved to shop and she straightened me out. Jeans wanted me.

After a while I hit another snag for which I needed the help of friends. Apparently my jeans bagged now that I had lost weight. My friends tactfully explained about Mrs. Q. and her skills as a tailor and sent me to see her.

I had a number of clothes that needed to be fitted, so I took them all. When you enter Mrs. Q’s small shop it’s as if you’ve come home. Her finished work hangs on a rack along the south wall with Mrs. Q’s counter in front. At the back of the room you see three large sewing machines with a small man sitting at one. Mr. and Mrs. Q. are from Vietnam. Both of their fathers tailored clothes for a living, and now they are carrying on the tradition. They are good at what they do. Mrs. Q. and I talk over every aspect of an alteration. Mr. Q. never opens his mouth. I’ll bet he gets an earful, with all the girl-talk that goes on.

Last August, I bought a pair of white jeans with diamonds on the back pockets. I knew the jewels would never be seen because I always wear my tee-shirts on the outside. I had these jeans for several months before I took them to Mrs. Q. to shorten. When I laid them on the counter we both saw that the security tag, still attached. Mrs. Q. tugged on it and then shook her head saying, “Better take them back to the store and let them take it off.”   2


When I got home, I thought I’d force the tag off, but it wouldn’t budge. The next time I went out I visited the two stores where I thought I might have purchased the jeans.

“No, our store doesn’t carry this brand, but don’t try to force it because it has ink in it and it will stain the jeans,” store 1 associate.

At the next store the only associate in sight tried to help even though she knew right away that the jeans hadn’t come from their store, either. Apparently every brand of store has a magnetic key to open their own tags. She couldn’t budge it. “Be sure not to force it open, I had an accident with one and it stained my purse and my hands with bright green ink,” store 2 associate.

While she fiddled with the problem, though, I realized the tag hung from the belt loop, so I decided to cut off the loop and throw it and the tag away.

I took the jeans back to Mrs. Q. and told her about my fix. She shook her head with a worried frown until I persuaded her no one but us would ever see the loopless spot.

As I got ready to leave, I remembered to warn Mrs. Q. about the trap. “Oh, yes, I know. Ink. Green. That’s the reason I told you to take it back to the store.”

I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who didn’t know about security tags and ink. But instead of feeling ignorant I thanked the Lord for sending helpers my way. We all need help with one thing or another. It feels good to be kind and it feels good to receive kindness.

Bill and I met our computer-programmer grandson in one of the prettiest and ritziest downtowns I’ve seen. I wore my well-fitting jeans and felt like I fit in. For one of our conversation topics, he helped with a computer problem we’d had. I believe the world has more good people in it than bad ones, but maybe that’s because I rarely meet anyone bad, as far as I know.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4: 7.




My First Car~Part 1

10 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane


I believe I have mentioned before that I started working at an early age (see “I was a 12-Year Old Businessman” blog 01/23/2013) because I had big dreams of things I wanted to do. One of those dreams was to own a car that I could work on and call my own (As I was growing up, my mother always told me she thought I was mechanically inclined). If you can believe it, that didn’t seem so far in the future to me, as the law in New Mexico, at the time, allowed a person to get a driver’s license at age 14. I started my dream adventure at around age 10 by mowing lawns with a push mower (In case some of you younger readers don’t know what that is, the mower doesn’t have a motor on it and the power to cut the grass is provided by you).


By the time I was 12, I had saved enough money to buy a Sears self-propelled gas powered mower (Of course you know what those are, right). I spent a lot of time pushing those mowers around the neighborhood to my various jobs. As my lawn mowing business grew, my parents helped by driving me and my mower to jobs outside our neighborhood.


My lawn mowing reputation grew and in the winters I had a paper route to help supplement my income. So, by the time I was 14, I hadn’t saved enough money for a car, but I needed better transportation than a bicycle for the paper route and to get around town. Strange thing about this was that my parents didn’t want me to have a car, but they were OK with me having a motorcycle. Go figure! Most parents won’t even talk to their kids about having a motorcycle. So, after I got my driver’s license, I bought a used Harley Davidson 125cc motorcycle. Boy could I carry a lot of newspapers on that machine. And, I could go anywhere in town without breaking a sweat.


When I was 16 I got a part-time job as a bag boy with a super market that opened a new store in town. With this job and my paper route, I was making enough money to make payments on a larger motorcycle. My parents helped me buy a new Harley Davidson 165cc motorcycle and now I felt like the “King of the Road” on my bright red cycle. This was the mid-50s and “Fonzie” was a big hit in the “Happy Days” TV show. So of course I had to have the cool “Fad” threads to play the part (leather motorcycle jacket with lots of zippered pockets, Levis jeans with rolled up cuffs, motorcycle boots, and a “Duck Tail” haircut) and complete the scene.


Now I know it’s hard for some of you to imagine the Bill Lites you know today as ever having been one of those motorcycle bums all those many years ago. And I’m sure that, those of you who know me don’t believe I ever had enough hair for one of those hairdos. Well, just take a look at my sophomore year book photo.


Now I know, with the title of this blog, you were expecting to hear all about my first car, and it’s coming. I promise. It was a growing process, so hang in there, I’ll get to it (maybe in Part 2). At the super market I worked my way up to “Checker” (Cashier) that paid more and wasn’t near as hard work as carrying out armloads of heavy paper bags full of groceries to customer’s cars (in all kinds of weather), unloading truckloads of heavy boxes (at 4:00 am) and mopping/polishing floors. The lawn mowing jobs and the paper route went to others who would work for less.

—–To Be Continued—–






Kitchen Table Hierarchy

7 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Three Christmas celebrations and one birthday just about left me partied out. I did have enjoy  making some new snacks and eating them, of course. Then, just as I thought my party schedule was blank, we decided to attend a post-Christmas family party in eastern North Carolina. ( We had barely arrived in Florida from our home in western North Carolina)

 Christmas in Florida was depressingly warm at eighty-six degrees, and I do dislike heat, so I am sure the chance to escape to some cooler temps factored in our decision.

We had dinner at one of the local restaurants then headed to our uncles house for some serious gabbing. We are a talking bunch of people when we get together. My mother was one of twelve children. That means I have a lot of cousins.

When my mom and most of her other siblings were alive, they congregated around a kitchen table teasing and laughing while my generation spread out, chasing our children or catching up with everyone. This past Fall, I noticed that it was my generation now hanging out at the table. We have ascended a step on the ladder of life.

As a rule we don’t designate first cousin, second cousin etc. We are cousins…period, but for picture purposes, we tried to separate the cousins into first, second etc. The picture is of  second cousins, although there is a first cousin in there, but she fits in better with the “youngsters.” (There are a LOT more cousins, but they were not able to attend)


I am so proud of each one of these cousins and love them dearly. One day they will be the ones sitting at the table while their children race around keeping up with the kids. When the time comes for my generation to ascend the final step of life’s ladder, I know the family will be in good hands.

This is one of the songs my mom and dad loved to sing. Many of the artists in this video are gone now.


22 Nov


Judy Wills



As I’ve mentioned in previous musings, I’ve been going through stacks and stacks of papers and pictures that we have accumulated. I’ve found a number of cartoons that my Mother had cut out – probably the newspaper – and sent them to me. And I’ve used some of them in my Old Things R New postings.

Today, however, I would like to share something that we found in my Mother’s Bible following her death.

She was always a hard worker, whether it was at the job where she was paid (she was an accountant, and worked at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque to supplement Daddy’s paycheck, to purchase things that we might not have been able to have otherwise), or when she purchased and opened the Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio, or when she was cleaning the house, cooking our meals, doing the laundry…. She was a hard worker.

I think the only time I ever saw her sit down and “rest” was after dinner and clean-up from that, to watch a little TV. One of her enjoyments – especially in her later years – was to sit down after breakfast, with a cup of her favorite coffee, and peruse the newspaper. She would read it from cover to cover.

But this little snippet of information is a real insight into her life. I think it was a testimony to the way she lived her life, and the way she saw life. It certainly makes one take notice about the wisdom of the words.


What do you think?

Her favorite scripture was Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.



How Did He Know?

15 Nov


Judy Wills


As I’ve mentioned in previous musings, I’ve been going through stacks and stacks of papers and pictures that we have accumulated. I’ve found a number of cartoons that my Mother had cut out – probably the newspaper – and sent them to me. I have enjoyed them all, and found some to be more poignant than others.

As I said, my Mother has been gone since 1993, so all of these things were sent well before that. But they still hold true for today. I hope this particular one holds true for our daughters.

We always used to enjoy anything Dennis the Menace, and this is no exception.

Dennis the Menace


Credit to Hank Ketcham:


How Many Meals?

8 Nov


Judy Wills




Throughout the years, my Mother had cut out and sent me articles or cartoons from the newspaper or a magazine, that she thought I would enjoy. I found them to be such fun, and I knew she was thinking about me when she did so. As I come upon them these days, it reminds me so much of her and how much I miss her. She’s been in heaven for 22 years now, and sometimes it’s hard for me to fathom all those years that have gone by.

Judy Wills mother

In any case, at one point in time, she sent this cartoon of Hi and Lois (credit Mort Walker and Dirk Browne). Hi and Lois has been one of my favorite cartoons for many years, and this one is hilarious! I don’t know that I’ve ever sat down and calculated just how many meals I’ve cooked in my life time, but this one made me tired, just thinking about it! Of course, I don’t cook as much these days as I did when we first married all those years ago, so I would have to take that into consideration, as well.


Did you take the time to figure it out?   16,701 meals for Lois. Whew! No wonder she was tired and didn’t have dinner ready!

This reminds me of the e-mail message/facebook entry that came through some time ago. Seems someone wrote a letter to the “Letters to the Editor” of a local newspaper and stated that he didn’t see any reason to go to church. He had been a church attender for so many years, but couldn’t remember a single sermon preached, so why bother to go?

Well, this set off a fire storm of letters – which the editor encouraged!. But it all ended when another man finally wrote in and stated that he had been married for a great number of years to his wife. She had probably cooked 30,000 meals for him, and he could only remember just a few of them. But (and here’s the kicker), he knew that if she hadn’t cooked those meals, and if he hadn’t eaten them, he wouldn’t be alive today. While he couldn’t remember them, they had nourished him and kept him going.

The same with going to church to hear the sermons. They nourish our souls and keep us alive in this world, and give us strength for each day and each situation we find ourselves in.

Words to live by. We actually NEED the time spent with a body of believers, listening to the pastor bring God’s Word to us, to encourage us, lift us up, and strengthen us for our daily lives. The gathering of believers brings us the strength we need – the fellowship with other believers gives us hope and encouragement.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105




27 Oct



A word from DiVoran

 Because I remember her brothers from our childhood, I particularly loved this email from my friend, Patricia. Sometimes I was invited for supper at the Franklins and it was a world of difference from eating in a restaurant-booth with my one younger brother, though I do love my brother. Patricia had five brothers– riches indeed! What I liked most about them was that they were so sweet and funny. Patricia and I were in our eleventh and twelfth years and her bothers ranged from about eight to sixteen. Patricia has always been petite, but she never had any trouble handling all those boys and even enjoying being with them.

Now I’ll let you get to Patricia’s story


I went to the funeral of a friend this week.  She was always relaxed, pleasant, and friendly no matter what, and had a wonderful sense of humor.  She was also a leader, planner, and song leader in our prayer group. She had suffered from cancer, and knew the end was near.  She planned the simple service, including the songs.  It was very simple and wonderful.  I also noticed she, in her witty little way, included some readings for her family. I smiled through the whole service and whenever I think of her, I have to smile.  I understood that her last words to the pastor were: “Well, father, see you in heaven.” The pastor smiled, I’m sure.

Today, we went to a breakfast in the social room at the church my friend had attended.  On the way in, we met a widower we know, and asked him to sit with us.  As I was looking around, I saw my friend’s brother by himself (the brother of the lady who died).  I motioned for him to join us. A smile lit up his face and he hurried over.  Another widower came in and we gestured for him to come over too.  The four of us enjoyed some great stories together.

When we go to the ranch country where my husband grew up, we go out to meals or coffee with several of his lifelong friends. A lot of times I’m the only woman. We have a lot to talk about. One time they were trying to recall something and the suggestion came: “We should ask the old-timersWe are the Old Timers.” Everybody smiled that time.

I’ve often felt left out because we didn’t live where either of us had grown up. That’s what gives me the tendency to look for others who might be alone too.  At breakfast that day, I turned around and saw another parishioner eating alone, so I invited him to come and sit with us. We were all enjoying getting better acquainted and sharing stories.   About that time, a woman dressed as a nurse came up and speaking directly to me said, “You and your five men come on over to the health fair across the parking lot. It is free.”  I was startled the way she said it, but then I had to smile.  Yes, I always seem to end up with a bunch of guys, I have since I was a kid, and didn’t think a thing about it.  I don’t know what she was thinking.   I was just thinking how people do not seem to smile much anymore, and had decided to make a special effort to make it happen. When it does, it’s heavenly, and none of us feel lonely anymore.




%d bloggers like this: