Your Mother's Hands (entry 12)

I went on attending school as planned. I learned how to meet bus schedules, class routines and arranging rides to get to and from Loogootee on week-ends. During the Winter months, I spent more time in Indianapolis.

Sonja, a housemate, was getting married. I made her pink bridesmaids dresses and her veil including all of the lace hand work on it. My HANDS were doing very delicate work.

Much could be said about my "new" dental assisting days. White Swan cotton uniforms.

White hose.

White shoes.

White nurses cap.

Short hair and " short" UNPOLISHED nails!

I learned instruments and passing. I had wonderful small, quick and VERY sure and caring hands. I recorded all procedures and charting.

This year I had learned many new terms and techniques, and I loved being a Dental Assistant.

I graduated, June 1963 with high honors. That allowed me to add "stripes" to my cap.

Kenny and I were married in the Spring of 1963. A June 1st wedding. I had made the decision of going to school over having a big wedding, so we had a small evening service at Truelove Methodist Church. Of course, Mom was not pleased that I was not marrying a Lutheran or married in "their" church. Norma Jean and Heinzie Ziegler (Patty's brother in-law and wife) "stood up" with us. Patty played the piano and George was away in the service.

Kenny had a new red, 1963 Comet convertible.

We had rented a nice 8ft wide trailer at Scenic Hills. We got there, changed our clothes into "matching" red bandana print shirts, put the top down, and drove to "Hamburger Jim's" in Washington. We got a bag of burgers, two bottles of NEHI orange pop, and we were on our way to Kentucky Lake for our honeymoon.

For years we had joined hearts. Now we had JOINED HANDS.

Unexpected, expectancy.

Now our plans had gone awry! I WAS PREGNANT! And, THAT changed Kenny's military classification, and so he was not going to the service. He so wanted to be a pilot. I had a Dental Assisting chairside job in Jasper, but, in those times was not allowed to work if pregnant! I only drew a couple of weeks pay.

Then Kenny took a job at Master Mix. In the Fall, he wanted to apply at Delco Remy in Anderson. We went and stayed a few weeks with Larry Smoot's family. Your Dad did not get the job.

To give us time and not return "home", He took a job at a pizza place in Anderson.

We rented a nice 10ft trailer in Parker. It was a small town, I felt well and could walk anywhere I wanted. We had a German Shepherd named Rusty, and he was very protective.

I was never sick through my pregnancy. We were excited about having a baby, yet young and unprepared. My friend Peggy Smoot gave me a pair of "pedal pushers" and two "smock tops". My FIRST maternity clothes. They were SO cute.

I started thinking about crocheting some sweater sets. Everyone that could do hand work, knit or crochet, did baby outfits. so, on one of our trips to Anderson, I stopped in a "dime store", purchased baby yarn, crochet hook and an instruction book. I really had no one to help me read the instructions, and didn't completely understand "gauge" and how the size of the hook AND size and "ply of yarn" would affect the finished size of the baby outfits, so I had created a pair of "baby booties" that looked like ENGINEER BOOTS!!!! All with my own little hands.....!!

Once again our lives took a turn, and Kenny wanted to return to Loogootee. He did not get a job at Delco and it did not seem as if he was going to get hired at all. He was additionally driving a Grain Truck for Keys and felt like he could drive a truck just as easily at home. So, we packed all of our things into the car, dog Rusty and headed back South. Of course we had no money, so we moved "home" to my parent's farm house into the upstairs. They gave us a bedroom and extra room to store our personal things. Since we had only rented a trailer, we had no actual furniture yet except a TV and coffee table Kenny had made in shop class. While we had a "roof over our heads" so to speak, again we wanted to be independent, but once again and still quite dependent.

Kenny got a job working "night shift" at the coal mine for Johnny Richardson and helped his Dad and mine "on the farm". I kept my HANDS busy by sewing, first several maternity tops and skirts. I bought the material and patterns at JC Penney's, Of course, my Mom enjoyed helping cut out and sew. I did mostly the hand work. I had two "store bought" outfits, so cute, and several homemade ones. Again, wanting to be the best dressed MAMA to be.

I started cutting material from "scraps" to make a 9-patch baby quilt. I finished it out in yellow and yellow flannel backing. I stretched it into the quilt frame and starting quilting, but not in a really big hurry as Dr. Lett figured the baby would come in February. I had quilted only a little bit on other quilts and blankets that Mom had worked on, but this was my own project. Little "busy" stitches that were all mine.

While we were not in our "own home", we were warm and well fed. Farmers always have good food. Kenny brought home food for his lunches and hauled "jags of coal" for the furnace using his Dad's pick-up.

I made lots of baby gowns out of soft yellow flannel. YELLOW being a "safe color", but of course,I was really hoping for a boy!!

I made a white gathered skirt for the basinette, the very basket that my parents bought for me. It had been stored in the attic all of these years. It had also been the basinette forTwala Jean, Joyce Ann (Gene's daughter), and several babies. Mom had written the names of each one on the bottom. Soon I would be adding another NAME. (50 years later, after moving back home in 2014, the basinette is still in the "shed" full of Mason and Ball jars.)

November 22,1963

I was upstairs in the farm house quilting, when Dad said to come down and "look at the news".

Our President, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated by a gunman in Dallas Texas. Kennedy had been hit in the head and throat when shots were fired at his open-topped car. Mrs. Kennedy was in the car with him. The presidential motorcade was travelling through the main business district of the city. The Texas Governor, John Connally was also seriously injured with a bullet to the neck. His wife was also riding beside him.

The Vice-President, Lyndon Johnson, was following in a separate car. He was later sworn in as the new president on a plane headed to Washington DC.

When Kennedy was shot, he fell into the arms of his wife. We could see the blood stains on her suit. Even though it was in black and white, I could "see" red. He was taken in his limousine to the hospital.

A photographer claimed he heard a gunshot, and said he saw a rifle pull back from a window, but never actually saw a person. The President died at the hospital about a half an hour later.


My stomach was in knots as I hugged it and my unborn child. I was in my parent's house. Kenny was out with my brother Gene, on a "truck run" with Dean Van LInes, moving furniture. I so vividly recall being VERY SCARED, wondering "what is happening to OUR COUNTRY".......

We were "glued" to the TV news as the coverage continues. I cried for the President. I cried for his wife. I cried for his children. I cried for our future. I cried for you.

A little under an hour after the shooting, someone approached Lee Harvey Oswald, believing he recognized his description. The policeman was shot dead. Oswald was arrested almost immediately under suspicion of murder. Shortly afterwards, he was charged with the assassination of JFK.

The suspect was never tried as HE was shot dead himself two days later by a nightclub owner, Jack Ruby.

There was constant television coverage from the motorcade, the body lying "in state".


Mrs. Kennedy says, "He belongs to the country".

Men from different armed forces carried the casket down the steps of the Capitol. The Navy Band played "Hail to the Chief"

and "The US Navy Hymn"

The procession passed down Pennsylvania Avenue to St. Matthew's Cathedral.

The funeral was on John John's 3rd birthday. There are no words to express the feeling that came over me.

After the church service and mass, little John John stood at attention and saluted his very own Father's flag covered casket as it passed by. Oh, what a sad sight and a memory that is burned in my mind forever, like a scar.

The procession went on to the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia. Here there was the 21 Gun Salute. Then Jackie and the President's brothers, Robert and Teddy, lit the "eternal flame" to mark the fallen President's grave. Then TAPS. (My Mom always hated TAPS. It must have resonated with me, as no matter my age, when attending a service where it is played, I can generally make it through until that point. I will go off by myself and cry from a depth that touches my soul. The lonely respectful sound from a single horn for a fallen soldier takes me to a place like nothing other. It's deep and it's real.)

What a sad, sad time in our country, and in EVERY home in America. As young people born after WWII, we thought all things were looking up and we were living in a time of prosperity and hope.

Now things are changing!

December 1963

What a melancholy time in America, and the world. The news and all major magazines covered the assassination for days and days. Our flags were flown as a constant reminder at half mast. The TV coverage was amazing, playing and re-playing events. No matter where we gathered, all conversations went to the assassination as well as Lyndon Johnson being our new president.

After this time, I began to read the newspaper differently, and listened more closely to the Evening News. Politics and world events became much more important to me.

We were yet several years away from being 21. We had not yet voted.