Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Grandpa Cooney , President of Fish & Game & More

He washed his hands with Borax soap, soothed his sore muscles with BenGay, drank one cup of Sanka in the morning  (with  a bowl of Wheaties ), and  one Schlitz beer  after dinner each evening . He liked raspberries , and  smoked a pipe .  He wasn't a man of great wealth or prestige , but to me my Grandpa Cooney was everything good and grand . He was loving , caring and fun to be around . I felt secure and safe when I was with him , and special.  Grandpa called me his , "Little Brown eyed sweetheart , and I never doubted I wasn't .

Grandpa was an upholsterer by trade . When I was still a baby , some of my earliest outtings was my mother taking me  to visit Grandpa at his  upholstery  shop on S. Main St. in Council Bluffs.   No matter how busy he was , he'd stop what he was doing to spend time with me. Some might accuse me of being bias when I tell them Grandpa was the finest upholsterer in the Mid West, but I don't think
so .  I say ,  if you saw his work , you'd agree, too!

Tender memories of Grandpa leaving for work in the morning, and me pressing my face against the bedroom  window to wave goodbye as he backed out the long gravel driveway give me a happy feeling  as I remember him smiling, and waving back.  Through the years  Grandma delighted in reminiscing , telling others  how I'd wait for Cecil to get home from work , and run to take  him his bedroom slippers the moment he sat down in the  Morris chair.

A few days ago, a  letter from my cousin,  Lynn  arrived in the mail , he enclosed a long ago newspaper article from the Council Bluffs Nonpareil about Grandpa Cooney being elected president of  the Council Bluffs Fish and Game club.  Seeing the picture of Grandpa and reading the article about him being named president of the Fish and  Game  warmed my heart, and made me wish I could reach out and give him a hug .

Besides Fish and Game , Grandpa  was also very active with Scouting and served as Scout commissioner and Scoutmaster.  While serving as a Boy Scout worker ,  those who knew him well always said  his strongest desire was to get Boy Scouts to work up to Eagle Scouts. Something he proudly saw all three of his sons do, including my Dad.

My Grandpa was 65  when he passed away in 1962.  I was 11.  Many years have come and gone since then, and while memories fade and dim lightly  over time , one thing doesn't change , and is not forgotten ;  a grandfathers love for his granddaughter , and her love for him.


 * Cecil E. Cooney , my grandfather
In celebration of his birthday, August 3                                                                                                                              

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Memory Lived, Memory Lost

How often we said , I'll always remember ,
this moment will be with me forever ; never ,
ever will I forget
The living of  everyday life, the falling in love,
marriage, making a family , building a home ,
growing together through  the years ,
tears and laughter , hearts bound in a promise made.
But time presses on , and sometimes
an evil illness intrudes
robbing one  of memories so
precious and dear ; moments
once remembered and cherished
now become like a blank slate , only to
rely on your mate to guide you through
But your mate heartbroken , and sad
knowing  now she remembers for two

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

WALT - May 30, 2017

For family and friends , and all who knew him well,
the day of his death is remembered with 
saddness and sorrow, that he is no more 
in this world ; On the contrary, the day of his birth
remembered with great joy for the bright star he was,
the gladness of heart he brought to his Mother and Dad.
His Mother called him , her 'golden child'. His big sis adored 
him from the start, her baby brother who would become 
her forever friend.  Now he laughs with the Angels , and sees
our Lord face to face. And  perhaps praying for us
until we meet again at Heaven's gate



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Petals in the Wind

                                                            Like flowers in the wind
                                                       when petals blow away
                                                          The vigor, and vitality of youth
                                                         give way to aging days
                                                           Where once the light shined brighly
                                                         on the promise of what lay ahead
                                                         now it flickers dimly
                                                             and turns to  'remembering when'

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Patty Duke - a Personal Remembrance

 I was saddened yesterday when I read  actress Patty Duke had died. She was 69 years old.  For me,  and many of my contemporaries Patty Duke was someone we grew up with, her name a part of our youthful lexicon.   We first came to know her in  The Miracle Worker, the definitive film about  the young  Helen Keller.   Duke's outstanding performance  as the mute, deaf  Keller won her an Academy Award for best supporting actress.   I was reminded of my sophomore year of high school  when the Drama department decided on  the play The Miracle Worker for the Fall production , and remembered  our Drama coach, Mr. Phillips telling Carol Morris, the  student cast in the role  of Helen Keller to watch Patty Duke and immolate her acting style. I think it's fair to say The Miracle Worker and Patty Duke's  role as Helen Keller was  to her  what Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz was to Judy Garland

I thought about her popular  television series, The Patty Duke Show in the early 1960's and how I tried never to miss an episode.   Patty played duo roles , identical cousins Patty and Cathy. She played each part so well, it was hard to believe Patty and Cathy really weren't two different people.
Once,  after visiting my cousin, Shauna for two weeks in Salt Lake City,  and hearing over and over how much I looked like my cousin, I would sometimes daydream , like young teenagers often do , that Shauna and I could star in our own television show - with Shauna as the well spoken, sophisticated  Cathy and me as the more care free Patty.

Fans read about Patty Duke in  magazines; her relationship with Desi Arnaz, Jr. , her marriage to John Astin , the birth of her son, Sean. Her challenges with being Bipolar,  and the positive light she brought to mental illness.    

After my family  and I moved to north Idaho in 1992, I thought it very cool   Patty Duke and her husband had also  moved to north Idaho where she became  active with charities and local theater in Coeur d Alene and Spokane.   I was lucky to see Patty  live on stage - once  where  she starred ,   along with my young cousin Mallory Cooney King  in the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Coeur d  Alene Summer Theater .  Patty, as always was a delight to watch, her love for performing so evident. I remember that performance  well as it   helped lift  some my heart's   heavy sadness  after my brothers recent passing.


Mostly, in thinking about Patty Duke  what came to mind was the night my husband, Gary and I went to see the musical Gypsy starring Patty  as Mama Rose at the Spokane Civic Theater.  I brought my copy of her autobiography ,  Call Me Anna  along just in case she might sign it.  And to my great delight she did!   Gary and I hung around  after the curtain went down to check with the attendant about having Patty Duke sign my book.  The attendant asked us to wait while he spoke  with Patty Duke about it.  Before long he returned, asking us to follow him as he ushered us backstage.  As I walked toward the chair  where Patty was sitting , she stood up, put her hand out to shake mine and introduced herself.   Like she would need introducing!  I was surprised to see how petite she was, and how approachable. Her smile so natural and real, so welcoming!   She had a twinkle in her eye as we conversed back and forth. If I had thoughts about being nervous asking her to sign my book, there was no need, she put me completely at ease.  After a few minutes she asked for the book   I had tucked under my left arm ,  grabbed a pen from the nearby table and signed it:

Love to you, Kathy
from Anna
Patty Duke
Nov. 1, '03

Meeting Patty Duke that night made a special night out even more special.

But that's not the end of the story.  A few years ago , I had somehow lost the book.  I searched everywhere for it, but could find it nowhere.  Unusual for me to misplace a favored book,  as I am  known to keep good care of books. For months I  ranted about losing the book to friends and family,  and  finally had to presume the book was wrongly placed in a  box for discard.  Reflecting on Patty Duke's  passing yesterday ,  I was  disappointed all over again for having lost  the book she had inscribed to  me. I went on about chores, took an afternoon walk, and thought to myself, if I ever find  that book now, it would be a miracle !  It wasn't to much later , after I was back in the house that a  jolting, bolting   thought pressed me  to go to the bookshelves in the Study. I had already looked there  several times for the Duke book,  I thought it would be a waste, but the thought was so compelling and insistent  I should look again, I did.  And lo and behold after pulling three books from the shelf, there it was !  Call Me Anna !  I quickly pulled it from where it was, turned  to the opening page where Patty Duke had written  her inscription,  and smiled !