Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Has been a long time...

I haven't written on this blog for a very long time, mainly because I didn't need the blog to help me remember (a day doesn't go by that something doesn't remind me of my loved ones who are gone) or to heal.

I don't think healing is the exact word I want, but it will serve. One never really gets over loss, but you do learn to live with that black void that tends to follow you around. It lurks like a ghost, just on the edge of your emotions, ready to reveal itself on a moment's notice, blindsiding you with the weight of the grief you thought you had come to terms with.

This year the ghosts of the past have been lingering more than I would wish. My mother, the last of my childhood first family, passed away April 15th, 2016. She had been in decline since 2011 after a stroke. At times, she didn't know who I was, at other times, she was back in the past—back to her early teen and adult years. I don't know who she thought I was, but I could always tell if she knew me or not based on her reaction to me. If she didn't know me, she was oh so polite, thanking me for whatever I did, etc. If she knew me, it was more of a attitude that would order me about, tell me to go get or to do. No stranger politeness. And that was okay, because I knew when she knew :)

Toward the end, she had several more strokes and could not talk or really move much. But I think, when I looked into her eyes, she knew me.

I hope so anyway. And I hope she is with Ron and Dad.

Below are a few details we shared about Mom at her funeral, though it is very hard to honor a life in a few short paragraphs. I do hope to write a book about growing up...mainly because I want to get things down, before I forget too!

In Memory of Mom

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

~ Longfellow,
'A Psalm of Life'
June was born June 10th, 1923 in Salem Ridge (Germantown), Kentucky to Ira Disher Hicks and Carrie Kemper Woodward. The youngest of three siblings, she often spoke fondly of her early years growing up on the farm and of her memories of family and friends. Her sister, Hazel was a quiet, soft-spoken girl who preferred books and music to romping and adventure. June suffered through her piano lessons, always eager to join her older brother Norman on adventures or playing games outside when they had time away from chores. June was a bit of a tomboy. 
In later years, June's tomboy personality found an outlet in watching baseball, football, and basketball on television along with the occasional wrestling match or roller derby. 
June learned the meaning of working hard and hard work from her father. She recalled, once when she was quite young, maybe four, the whole family was working the fields -- they grew tobacco as well as had dairy cows, etc. -- and June sat down in the fields and proclaimed she was tired. Her father got off the wagon, paddled her behind and sent her right back to work. She said after that, she never ever said she was tired again. 
During WWII, she left the farm and moved to Dayton, Ohio where she became one of the many women answering the call for war effort workers. As one of the "Soldiers Without Guns," she worked for NCR (The National Cash Register Company) assembling bomber engines. 
It was while working at NCR that June met Grover Noe. He started working there shortly after returning home from the war.
On March 27th, 1948, June married Grover Cleveland Noe in Lexington, Kentucky. June then had to quit NCR because, at the time, the company had a policy about married women working there.
She discovered shortly thereafter, that she wasn't cut out to be a stay-at-home mom/wife, and actually enjoyed working outside the home. So, June went job-hunting. She had a short stint working for a factory that sewed garments for a retail store, before being hired by The McCall Pattern Company in Dayton, Ohio as a handfolder (folding patterns by hand). She worked at McCall's until the early 1960s, when Grover bought a full service Texaco service station in Phoenix, AZ and moved the family west. Grover's brother Bill and family moved with them. Bill worked for Grover in AZ. The station was called, "Grover Noe's Texaco." June ran the office, and Grover ran the service bays/pumps, etc.
In 1967, they sold the station and moved back to Dayton, and June was rehired by McCall's. In 1970, McCall's moved to Manhattan, KS and June came along as a trainer for the handfolding department. She eventually became supervisor over handfolding, holding that title until her retirement. 
June was an avid walker, sports fan, loved puzzles of all kinds, chocolates, and animals. Later in life, when an ailing hip kept her from walking, she'd take great pleasure in watching the squirrels and bird feed in the backyard. As a child, she had many pets including a squirrel she'd befriended. 
Before leaving AZ, Ron and Sheri were given a large white rabbit they named Snowball. June taught the rabbit to follow her around the house and to actually use a newspaper for its business. Snowball and June's Chihuahua, Peaches, became reluctant friends in competition for June's attention. On the move back to Ohio from AZ, both rabbit and dog traveled with the family, claiming spots on the seats. At one restaurant stop, Snowball and Peaches managed to get out of the station wagon and somehow made it inside the restaurant and ran right to June at the table. Ron had to smuggle the rabbit out under his shirt while June placed Peaches in her pocket. Animals loved her.
Here is a little more info. on NCR and the WWII part of her life: 
Involvement in World War II
During World War II, Dayton, like many other American cities, was heavily involved in the war effort. Residential neighborhoods in Dayton and in nearby Oakwood hosted the Dayton Project, in which the Monsanto Chemical Company developed methods to industrially produce polonium for use in the triggers of early atomic bombs, including those dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Dayton was also home to the National Cash Register Company whose employees built airplane engines, bomb sights and code-breaking machines, including the American bombe designed by Joseph Desch which helped crack the Enigma machine.
NCR: During World War I the company manufactured shell fuses and aircraft instrumentation, and during World War II built aero-engines, bomb sights and code-breaking machines, including the American bombe designed by Joseph Desch.
Five “E” Awards
     In World War II, NCR carried on a number of major projects in the war effort, and received five Army-Navy “E” awards.
     During this period, NCR produced MK4 rocket motors, was the sole production source for the 58 Chandler-Evans aircraft carburetor, which was used on the B-29 long-range bomber that ultimately carried the first nuclear bombs, and turned out K-3 and K-4 analogue computer gunsights, used in bomber defense systems.
     In addition, the Company produced more than two million M-42 antiaircraft time fuses, and made a million and a quarter magazines for the Oerlikon gun, a Swiss model that the Navy adapted for shipboard antiaircraft use.  In addition, the Company manufactured about 10 million spare parts for carbine rifles.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Long Time Since...

It has been ages since I have posted anything myself to the memory blog, but lately with all the upheaval with our Mom, I have been thinking a great deal about Dad and Ron. Especially Ron. Not really memories but a sense of expectancy. Sometimes it is just plain odd, like I am expecting him to show up. When it happens, I really do have to stop and remind myself he is no longer with us. Funny how the mind plays those tricks on you. The bigger question for me is why? I honestly can't decide if my mind is trying to take me back to happier times or warn me of bad times on the horizon. Or whether I just need someone to share the worry? Who knows. It is odd, no matter what.

The feelings, when they happen are both unsettling and strangely comforting. I can't even begin to explain it. Needless to say, since Mom had her stroke, Ron's been on my mind a lot. His birthday is next week, so maybe that has something to do with it. Or maybe his spirit really is near - staying close to Mom - watching over her, and I am some how sensing him? I really don't know, but the notion is as I stated above, unsettling as well as comforting in an odd sort of way.

Time has a way of moving forward whether we are willing to follow or not. Justin, Ron's son is all grown up and has joined the Navy; Jessica, his daughter is no longer that little girl that sat on his lap, and as each day passes, we form new memories. Time flows and we are swept along.
And maybe that's it, maybe it feels like we are moving too fast away from what was and that makes me want to pause, for just a bit, and remember what was.

Happy birthday, Ron.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ron's Olds - A memory from Eric

I knew Ron Noe when I was in High school. He was a good guy. We had the same Auto mechanics course taught by Mr. Charles Schaler, a very capable instructor who I wish I could meet up with today (but has thus far alluded my Google searches.)

Anyway Ron was a Senior and I was a lowly Sophomore. He had this wonderful 1940's or 1950's Oldsmobile that he'd inherited from his Grandfather, and he worked on it periodically in the auto shop class at the same time that I was trying to coax my dad's '58 Volkswagen back to life.

Ron's car was big and heavy and ugly, but had a lot of character. Our days in auto shop were in the fall - winter of '73 and the winter- spring of '74, just before the Arab oil embargo, and gas was still cheap. This was a good thing because a '50s Oldsmobile needed a lot of gas. Some wiseguy coined the name "The Noe-mobile" which was the name of a 1967 Disney movie called "The Gnome Mobile", and occasionally, at the sight of the car driving through the overhead door of the classroom, someone would burst into rousing song with the movie's theme which went something like -

"The Gnome (Noe) mobile the Gnome mobile
Riding along in the Gnome mobile
Oh what a wonderful sight to see
Riding along in the Gnome mobile"

You get the picture.... it was stupid but pretty funny, given the unique nature of the car at the time and the fact that we'd all been about 9 years old when the movie came out.
So one winter day in January, the parking lot just behind our shop class was slick, icy and cold. Ron had his Olds and another kid had an '57 Chevy pick up truck. They decided to have a pushing contest to see which could out-push the other on the slick surface of the lot. We all lined up inside the (heated) shop and watched with amusement through the window, as the two vehicles locked bumpers and proceeded to gun the engines; it looked like two raging buck's going head to head in a mating battle. Ron's Old's would get the edge on the pick up truck, only to have the truck push him backward across the ice. This went on for five minutes and we cheered them on.... even Mr. Schaler, who was seldom amused by anything, was standing there smiling at the action.

I don't remember who won the contest but it was great to watch, and the nearest thing we'd ever seen to an all out demolition derby. I don't know what happened to the car and lost touch with Ron after he graduated high school.

I hope that this post will bring a smile & good memory to Ron's loved ones, he sure was a lot of fun to know as a high school senior and you have my sincere condolences on the loss of this great & fun person.
With best regards,
Eric R. Thompson

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Crosswind Live 1988 DVD Vintage Rock Band

Hi all,

Remaining members of the band known as Crosswind have put together a vintage rock DVD - One More Time Reunion, if you will - with Ron, Max, Jim, Tom and Steve. The DVD is shipping now, click on title link above.

The net proceeds from the sale of the DVDs will be used to create a memorial to Ron Noe and Max Davidson, Crosswind members who have, sadly, left us.

So, if you loved Crosswind, here's your chance to revisit the memories.


Crosswind Performance at The Blue River Pub in Manhattan, Kansas, 1988.

Please spread the word.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Last week's episode of Stargate Universe had a subplot that dealt with loss of loved ones. The character was reliving a painful part of his life. He'd loss both parents at a very early age and their deaths haunted him, though he had suppressed it. One of his lines, and I can't recall his exact words, only the essence of it, was, "Some things you never get over."

I find this very true. Loss affects us. It wounds our spirit. It leaves its scars. Some wounds are so small that they're little more than a skin scrape, but some wound very deeply, the wound barely healing before something comes along to open it again. You never truly heal, never truly become whole again.

Death of someone near and dear to you is like that wound that never heals. Time dulls the pain, but it never fades. It doesn't take much to bring it to the surface. A song, a whispered word, a stray memory that opens a floodgate of memories and there you are, dealing with that loss all over again.

In time, you adjust, and you even find joy again. You move forward but you take with you those scars of life. The memories still come, unannounced, out of the blue, and give you pause. At times, they might be bittersweet; other times, they might be a welcome stroll down memory lane, a magical moment that lets them live again. I think it depends on what memory surfaces.

Once in a while, I look out across an open field, or drive down a road, and I think about all those people who occupied this space before me, and I wonder about all those who will take possession after I'm gone. And then I see my dad or my brother looking at the same field, or driving that same road and I always think: Yesterday they, too, were here, and today they are simply gone.

Vanished from scene.

"Some things you never get over."

October 20th will be two years since Ron left us. Hardly seems possible to me, but there it is, two years. I hope some of you will share your memories with us and allow us to celebrate a life well lived, though short.

Remember, we never truly fade away, as long as we are remembered.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ron

Yesterday, August 27th, was Ron's birthday.

When someone passes away, certain dates are both sad reminders of the loss as well as reminders of all those memories that you shared. Both good and bad. They're days for reflection. And though sometimes bittersweet, they serve a purpose. As you take a moment to reflect, you allow those who have passed on to live again, if only in your mind.

I have heard people say that you get over death, but that's not true, you simply learn to live with death. What is true, in most cases, is that time does help you remember with a smile instead of a tear.

I don't believe anyone can argue against how much Ron loved life. He also loved people, and never ever truly met a stranger. I wish he had written down his escapades, because I guarantee you, there were many! Just the ones I knew of were head shakers. I can imagine what the ones I didn't hear of were like! After some of Ron's escapades, my dad used to shake his head and mumble, "Only Ron." Which expressed so much with so little words.

Ron also had a bad habit of reacting first, thinking later. A broken arm because he thought he could take on a very large tree. The tree won. A silver cap for a front tooth after a fight with a skipping stone. You guessed it, the stone won. Driving my grandpa's Olds right up a tree, not harming the car or the tree but leaving my dad completely flabbergasted! Walking through glass patio doors because Ron thought they were open, crashing through the high school smoking court glass windows because of a cherry bomb, burning a hole in the back seat of the Duster because well, who knows why. I always assumed it was those great big speakers he had placed back there and someone's careless cigarette ash. If someone hadn't noticed the smoke, I imagine the whole car would have been toast even though surrounded by water. It was how he told my parents, I most remember. He walked in after being at the lake, got something to drink, fixed a sandwich, and said, "Oh, by-the-way, I burnt a little hole in the Duster's back seat."

My mom went out to look, and then I heard, in fact the whole neighborhood heard, "A LITTLE HOLE? A LITTLE HOLE!" Turns out that little hole was dang near the entire back seat. I laugh now, but it wasn't so funny when I inherited that car with the burned up back seat!

It's kind of funny what memories choose to surface on reminder days. Things I'd almost completely forgotten, but still things that were fun to recall. Ron used to like to "scare me." Now that could be turning doughnuts with the car, me held captive by the moving car while he performed these daredevil feats in the snow or in a dirt field. Or, trying to spook me by hiding outside in the dark and making spooky noises beneath the window. He usually found himself locked out!

When we lived in Oakwood, we had a live-in great aunt who I now consider to have been more than slightly kooky. She took care of us while Mom and Dad worked. I say kooky because, well, she was. Between her and my grandpa, Ron and I were surrounded by eccentrics while our parents were away. I never completely understood why Mom and Dad didn't notice. Or maybe they did, but that was long ago and a far different time than now.

Grandpa used to sit on the front porch and throw bazooka bubble gum at the neighborhood kids, not just toss, I mean bean them. It was like target practice for him. The kids loved it, they dodged and teased and got free gum, if not a few bruises for their efforts. My great aunt, which my grandpa actually did not like at all, was responsible for "watching" us.

Needless to say, we were pretty much on our own. My aunt was a character just waiting to be created in a book. And she may be if I ever find the time to write a story that suits her. She was a heavyset, old maid, who was passed from family member to family member as she had no place to go. I think she thought becoming out babysitter after my grandma (her sister) passed away would be an easy job. I mean, we were SO well behaved.

Well, her idea of behaved and ours clashed and strange as it seems, we had an Allie in Grandpa. Anything that made my aunt have to get up from watching Billy Graham or the daily soapbobbers was encouraged and a victory for my grandpa.

Looking back, I really don't think we were bad, but we were kids and we enjoyed being kids. My aunt enjoying kids? Not so much.

When she lived with us, Ron and I had to share a bedroom. It was neatly divided. My half had my dolls and other girl stuff, Ron's had models of monsters and monster posters and those horrid plastic gummy like bugs that looked very real. I hated those bugs! Ron hung all those monster models from the ceiling. Vampires, werewolves, the monster from the deep lagoon or whatever that reptilian thing was, you name it, if it was a monster, he had a model of it. At night, with only the moon shining through the windows, the effect was quite surreal for a very young girl and the cause of many a nightmare.

Our room bordered next to my aunts. Every night I would fall asleep with the shadows of those monsters drifting over me and the sound of my aunt's voice in prayer. She'd start low, but her voice would build and then she would begin to wail for forgiveness for the day's sins. I remember thinking that she sure was bad to have to be up half the night asking for forgiveness.

Ron and I both recalled her with mixed feelings, she was a kook but at times a very fun kook. She had very long hair, very long, which she wore in a long braid coiled about the back of her head. When she undid her braid and washed her hair, it reached to the floor. As it dried, she'd allow us walk through it. It felt like a curtain of soft silk. And she was the only adult that would serve us brownies for supper.

When my mom found out, well, that wasn't pretty, but as kids, we sort of thought we had hit the lottery. I suppose feeding brownies to kids for supper was one of those sins she prayed to be forgiven for. Who knows. We enjoyed it!

Memory lane is fun to stroll down, especially when you can do so without the sharp pain of loss. As I noted, they are bittersweet, but serve to remind us of those who have gone on before us...and in that remembering, they truly do live again.

Happy belated birthday, Ron, wherever you now roam.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another blog, Another Touching Memory

I wanted to share this link with you. It's from a friend of Ron's, Gretchen Jones. She wrote a very touching tribute to Ron that I hope you all will find as special as I did. She has a great photo of Ron at the bottom, one that captured his sparkle.

One of the things that really touched me was her mention of Ron's childlike joy at seeing Christmas lights. He loved holiday lights, and the decorating, and everything Christmasy and I thought it wonderful that she choose to write about that.

I hope you'll surf over and have a read.

Gretchen Jones Memories of Ron

Gretchen has also been kind enough to upload several photos from the Just Say NOE to Cancer Benefit. I hope you'll surf over and view.

Thank you, Gretchen!