There were still cousins and friends who were there, and for that they will forever be remembered.
Dad struggled during the ensuing year. A widower at age 39 with a 13 year-old daughter. Thank goodness Grandma, "Mimi" and Grandpa, "Pipi" Sloan helped as well as Grandma Lou Beard.
Grandma Lou moved back to Swanton from Toledo. She lived across from the Methodist Church on Main Street. We sure had fun in that big old house! I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Lou. (You'll hear more about her life in a segment to come.)
Dad and I did the cleaning and dish washing. I did the laundry while Dad cooked. Even so, Mimi thought we needed help with the housework.
I remember Mimi coming to the house and was going to wash the windows in the kitchen. She reached under the kitchen sink, grabbed what she thought was window cleaner, and proceeded to spray white paint all over the window! She frantically got it cleaned before Dad and I arrived home. We never let her forget that one!
Grandma's sister, Lola Hable was there for us too. I was able to stay at her home during that summer of 1963. She had surgery earlier in the year, and I was able to help her around the house - washing dishes, vacuuming, folding clothes, and dusting. For that I got paid $20.00, quite a lot for that time.
Dad was a fantastic cook, so we didn't have hamburgers, that's for sure! I do remember one winter evening, we did go to Valleywood for dinner. After dinner, Dad asked what I'd like to do that night. I asked if the Toledo "Blades" (the local hockey team) was playing at home. They were, and off we went to a hockey game! What fun!
We were getting along okay. Then came the early part of 1964 and Dad had a few dates. I did a lot to discourage some of his dates. I was probably rude to those I didn't like.
But then, my Uncle Junior suggested Dad call this nice lady named Marjorie Stephens. Dad remembered meeting her as I had introduced them the previous year.
So, Dad had a date! Oh, how I liked Mrs. Stephens! So much so, that I had Dad ask her out to our home for dinner where I prepared a full turkey dinner: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable. I was really working it!
On Halloween, 1964, Dad and Marge were married. Yup. Halloween. It figures in this family to get married October 31st. Marge had a son from her first marriage, Bob, so I now had an older brother. I had so much fun saying, "My brother was an only child," to unsuspecting people.
Even though Dad has since passed away, Mom (yup, she's my Mom) and I still celebrate October 31st. Not in a sad way, but to celebrate the day she became my mom.
And just think, I introduced my parents!