Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Uncommon Name

When my mother, Ramona, was young, her best friend was named Erlinda. They liked each other so much that they told each other that when they married and had girls they would name them for each other.  My mother kept her part of the bargain by naming me Erlinda.  I do not know if the friend Erlinda ever named her daughter (if she had a daughter), Ramona.

I do know that I had a friend in Greeley named Ramona.  Years later she told me she had named her daughter, Erlinda.

Dad liked to tell the story that when I was born he told my mother, "We have a daughter, should we name her Martha, er Jenny, er Sally er Linda? " My mother had replied,  "Er Linda."

However my name came about, not too many had my name.  I went through school being the only Erlinda.  Teachers always commented on how different my name was and that they had never heard it before.  I was always being asked to spell my name and I would just say, "Linda, with an er in front of it." My brother liked to say that "Linda" meant beautiful and "Er" meant not!

When I became friends with some Mexican friends they told me that my name was a common Spanish name but spelled Herlinda.  In my seventy plus years, I have seen about ten Erlinda's and they were all Hispanic women. When any foreign Hispanic person would write my name they always spelled it Herlinda with a different pronunciation, more like AirLinda.

One day I was at the grocery store and the clerk looked at my check and said, "My mother's name is Erlinda also."  I told her that was odd because not too many persons had that name.  The clerk nodded and said, "I thought my mother was the only one with that name. I am surprised to see someone else with the name Erlinda."

A few weeks later I happened to be at the dentist's office and the woman cleaning my teeth remarked, "You and my mother have the same name.  She is an Erlinda also."

It seems that my uncommon name is more common than I thought! I was curious so I looked on the Internet and found out that in 1928 there were 58 babies named Erlinda across the United States. In 1959 in California there were 19 girls born and named Erlinda. Since 1880 to 2011 Social Security Administration had 4,597 listed as Erlinda in the United States!

"From our ancestors come our names,
but from our virtues, our honors." Proverb

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Tribute

Yesterday, before mass began at my parish church, Spirit of Christ in Arvada, there was a beautiful tribute to all veterans and service men.  On the large screens, where we normally see hymns displayed, the five military branches were honored, one at a time along with their music. As the songs played I could see veterans standing up throughout the congregation when their song played.  It was very moving and it made a large lump form in my throat and tears come to my eyes.  I have heard all the songs played before but to see men standing who had served in the military, to hear the marching sounds, and to hear the congregation applauding the men was a very touching scene.

I wanted the world to see and hear such a wonderful tribute and to feel the emotion that I felt.  I felt so proud to be an American.  Proud to know such military powers were protecting us.  What surprised me the most was that after 70 some years, after many Veteran Day celebrations, that 2012 would bring me to realize what we were celebrating on Veteran's Day. In the past, I saw it as a holiday but never had I given much thought as to the real meaning of what was being celebrated. I know that Veteran's Day will always be a special day for me. So many soldiers have lost their lives protecting us and those that have returned may not have been treated with the honor they deserved. In all the years I have attended mass, I had never seen such a moving display as the one experienced yesterday on November 11, 2012.

Below, I found the military songs for each branch of our military and want to share them with anyone who reads my blog. Prepare yourself to be moved by the brass, drums, voices and horns of the different military branches.  Hope you enjoy this tribute as much as I did. 

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guardian Angels Work Overtime

After spending a nice day in the mountains, visiting what used to be the western town of Central City before gambling took over, buying ropes of red licorice for my two children we headed home to Arvada.  This was before seat belts came into use and as my friend, Bob, drove down I-70 we were pleasantly discussing our fun day.  My son, Andy was seated behind Bob and my daughter was behind me.

Traveling around the then speed limit of sixty miles per hour I turned to say something to the kids and saw a bright light right behind us.  Before my mind could register that the lights were closer than normal, we were rear ended and our car went spinning out of control. As we spun we were hit again and all I remember is dirt and glass hitting my face, a sharp pain in my shoulder, and I knew we were all going to die. The sound of brakes screeching, thumping noises, car horns in the distance and metal striking metal was all I could hear until the car stopped its haphazard movement.

When we stopped, I looked back and my son was no longer behind Bob. "Are you kids all right," I asked? My son had landed behind me and in a shaky voice said, "Barbie isn't here." Visions of her under the the mangled car came to me and as I tried to make sense of what was happening, I saw my daughter about a quarter of a block away walking toward the car.  Her light blue jacket was covered with blood. I frantically tried to open my door but it was stuck and I could not open the door. I remember my son saying, "My shoulder hurts." Bob said he had hurt his knee. All of the assessing took place in less than a second and when my daughter reached the car I made one big effort and was able to crack the door open enough to grab my daughter and hug her. I inspected her to see where she was hurt.  I knew we were all dying and we were in shock.  I had read that people in shock do strange things and we all seemed to be responding normally....well, as normally as you can when you are rear-ended on a fast highway!

A doctor reached us first and began examining Andy.  Others helped us out of the car and sat us at the bottom of the grassy hill.  Someone covered us with a blanket and the doctor said Andy had a broken clavicle.  Bob seemed to be okay other than a large bump on his knee. The doctor advised us to go to the hospital to be checked. 

An ambulance arrived and Bob and I sat in front with the driver while Andy and Barb were put in the back on the gurneys. As the ambulance drove away I did not hear the siren and that made me feel better. If we had been in danger I know the sirens would have been wailing! I saw a pickup with its cab and camper sheared away lying upside down in a ravine. Who ever had been in that pickup had to be dead, I thought.

At Lutheran Hospital Andy did have a broken clavicle, Barb required eight stitches on the top of her head and that was where all the blood had come from that had turned her blue jacket red.  Who would have thought a head wound could bleed so much! I had a bruised shoulder and Bob's knee was sore.  Since our injuries were not life threatening they allowed us to go home. As we walked out of the hospital a staggering man was being brought in between two officers. He reeked of alcohol. We faced each other but he did not say anything. We were told he had a cut on his arm and he was the one that had hit us. I would have liked to hear, "How are you?  How are the children? I'm sorry."  but he never said a thing.

I do not recall who brought us home.  I do remember that I could not sleep and spent the night going from room to room checking to make sure that everyone was still breathing.

Rear Ended on I-70
A miracle we were not
seriously hurt!
The next day Bob and I drove to the accident site. The car was totaled.   It was truly a miracle we had escaped with minor injuries. The sensation  of the car rolling up side down did not happen.  Instead, we spun in a circle and were struck again sending us spinning in the opposite direction. At anytime while we were spinning, cars coming down the mountain could have hit us or Barb could have been hit as she walked down the highway or she could have landed underneath the car, or we could have all been killed!  It was frightening to think of the many scenarios that could have happened.  On top of the large hill, almost to the top of the grassy slope, I found a long piece of red licorice and wondered if my daughter had flown out with the candy.  I believe we were fortunate to be in a Volvo designed with a solid frame and windows that pop out on impact.  I do know we were lucky and our guardian angels were with us.

I do not know what happened to the driver other than he went to court and was fined for drunk driving.  How he survived I will never know but his guardian angel must have been with him also!

All of our guardian angels must have worked
overtime on that frightening day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Que Va A Decir La Gente?

What will the people say?  This is a sentence I heard over and over again as I was growing up.  This sentence kept me from being myself.  It molded me to behave in such a way that if people saw me they would have nothing to say about me or any of my actions.

It seems that my mother feared doing anything that might make someone comment about it.  She was always afraid of what the people would say and she passed it on to me.  Maybe it was the generation she grew up in because I have heard other Hispanics say they also grew up with the same attitude.

I believe the sentence, que va a decir la gente, was my family's mantra.  It was repeated every time any one of us wanted to do something and our parents did not agree.  Often times, I wondered why a stranger's ideas or thoughts were more important than mine.

An outfit I liked would be held up to what would the people say if I wore it?  If I wanted to hang around with certain friends, it was always what would people say if they saw me with those persons. If I went to a place for fun, the question was what would people say if they saw me there. My life seems to have been one to please others and not myself.

I know that no matter what the people say, I should do what I want to do, be who I want to be, or say something without fearing an outside opinion. Many times I was more concerned about what people would say instead of what I felt I wanted to do, or say.  If I had been allowed to express myself who would I have become?  Would I have been different than what I am now? 

Thank goodness my children did not pay attention to me when I tried to get them to behave in a certain way by asking them "what will people say?" Their response was, "It doesn't bother us what other people think!"

Que va a decir la gente is ingrained in me.  Daily, I fight to leave this way of thinking behind me, but even as I write, I wonder, what will the people say when they read these thoughts!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cut, Paste and Decorate

"To crop or not to crop, that is the question."
Author Unknown

Photography has always been a hobby of mine.  I have boxes and boxes of slide carousels and I  pick out favorite slides to have them printed.  The prints I used to enjoy placing in photo albums with stickers or cutouts for decorations. I liked thinking up creative ways to show the photos and it was so much easier than getting out the projector, arranging the slides so they wouldn't be upside down, and setting up the screen to watch my slides.

When I graduated to digital photography I had the option of making photo books or slide shows with music.  It made it so much easier and just as much fun!  Everything could be done on the computer.
As I worked on the computer I relived my life as I looked at where I had been and what I had done!

Spirit of Christ Catholic Community has a group called Young at Heart and I was asked to be the photographer for the group.  I attend the different functions, take photographs and prepare a large board of photographs to display at our gatherings. What I did not know was that photos taken from 1987 through 2011 were on both sides of large poster boards and held together by silver rings. I was to be the keeper of those poster boards!

The boards were awkward, did not look neat, and they were heavy.  I decided to place the photos into albums and began removing the pictures (with a thin spatula) and placing them in envelopes by date and activities. Then began the arduous job of cutting pictures to fit, pasting them, typing names to place on the photos and looking for stickers that matched the activity. One year can cover dinners or luncheons for Western Stock Show, Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Mad Hatter Day, Thank Our Veterans, Kentucky Derby, Summer Picnic, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year there is a variation of what will be celebrated. The only two months when no photos are taken are July and August.

Before long I began to recognize people....the jokesters, the serious ones, the helpers, the couples, the singles, the young at heart, etc.  Many are no longer around, and when I asked a long-time member, I was told some moved away while others are now deceased. It saddened me to see some of the women and men I recently met that twelve years ago they were pictured with their spouses and now they are alone! Some of the members have not changed while others have gone from dark hair to white hair!

My supplies for scrap booking!
My kitchen table has become my "art" center.  I have a plastic container with scissors, glue sticks, and pencils.  Another small tub holds a variety of stickers while a 12x12 box keeps colorful and printed paper  to use as backgrounds.  Another table holds a small cutting board, circular and square mats, and sharp cutting blades.  Extra album sheets with protectors, envelopes with pictures to be put into the album are also on the table.  The kitchen floor, no matter how many times I sweep, is covered with pieces of scraps of paper that will stick to the bottom of my shoes to be transported to the rest of the house. It is a project like no other I have ever attempted, but I am beginning to see that the end may be near.

My cutting table!
A strange thing happened when I went to mass and saw many of the persons in the photos.  I felt as if I knew them and greeted them with a warm hello.  They answered my hello but looked at me with an expression of, who is this person?

I am having so much fun cutting, pasting and finding stickers/pictures to accompany the photos that I can spend hours without realizing the time.  When my shoulders get tired I know it is time to take a break!  When I complete this photo project, the history of the club will be assembled in a neat, organized way and the albums will be easier to to see Young at Heart through the years!
Completed Albums!

"Scrapbooking isn't about scraps of paper  and
photos. Scrapbooking is about scraps of life--
yours and those special to you!"
Rebecca Sower