Summer 1978. I worked at Windermere Baptist Assembly, the state Baptist conference center at the Lake of the Ozarks. It was a transformative summer in many respects:
I found a calling to religious life
I easily made friends
I spent the summer at the lake
I confirmed my love of Pepsi (now Diet Pepsi)
I was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer
I got to play the Wicks pipe organ nearly every day
I started to emerge as a person, away from my family
August 1978. My parents and sisters were at Student Week at Glorieta Baptist Assembly in New Mexico. And Mom wrote this postcard:
It’s a jumbo postcard!
Postscript: looking up the correct name of Glorieta, I found that Glorieta was sold several years ago and is now called Glorieta Adventure Camps. The internet has changed much in this world, and apparently attending week-long summer conferences in New Mexico is one of the changed things too.
Inside that home on Wingate, my parents are canoodling.
1966. My fifth birthday, celebrated at Ridgecrest, North Carolina at the Baptist conference center there. With me is my sister, Karen, and my parents. Beth has six months to go in Mom’s tummy.
Marie Carter, 1996.
Mom died 22 years ago this morning.
My father did not keep a journal, but kept a calendar with various jottings. For some reason, he started to journal the week that Mom took sick, and he faithfully journaled for about two weeks, then he stopped.
I have that journal, and was re-reading it this weekend, thinking that I might post a bit of it. But the tears came too quickly, and I realized that his writing was really meant for himself, and maybe for his three children.
Pop was not with Mom when she died, but was rushing there from the office. Everything was such a blur that day, since we all knew she wasn’t going to make it, and the mission office in Buenos Aires (they were missionaries) were already working on getting cargo space on a flight home for repatriation of her remains, plus getting him a seat on a flight, plus working on funeral arrangements.
He got the call that she was slipping away, and rushed to the hospital. He did see her after she was gone, and kissed her goodbye, and told her he’d love her forever.
I have some faith that they are now reunited somewhere.
I spent Christmas Day with my sister Beth’s family in Lee’s Summit, and saw them again on Thursday.
Friday was a morning and early afternoon for me. I got two Circus Harmony charts finished and posted. And I went to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, more of which later.
Then Friday afternoon, for the first time in two years since father’s funeral, all three of us Carter kids and the children and grandchildren were in the same place. Photos will follow later, but great-niece Lily finally warmed up to me:
I only cried twice Friday during gift-giving. Karen presented me with a memento book of scans of recipes in the handwriting of my mother Marie, G-ma Blocher, and Aunt Esther. I was a puddle.
Then Beth passed along to me a fountain pen that had belonged by Aunt Esther’s husband John, one that after his death she gave to my father, along with a hand-written note. To see Aunt Esther’s handwriting nearly six years after she died was just a bit overwhelming. And what a joyous gift were both of these treasured items as well!