Archive for the ‘Tuesday Time Machine’ Category


Tuesday Time Machine: Happy Birthday… I hope it’s a REALLY BIG SHOW…

March 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!


Unofficial caption attached to the print reads:

“Ralph Bennett and Ed Sullivan sing their greatest hits. The Ed Sullivan Show, January 1967.”


Tuesday Time Machine: Proposal

February 17, 2009

Seventeen years ago, February 17th fell on a Monday. It was 1992. Presidents’ Day.

Glenn and I had been on a weekend ski trip with the youth group from Hill-n-Dale Christian Church. (We were both youth sponsors at the time). We had gotten back from the trip very late on Saturday night, and I remember being at church that Sunday and starting to feel like I was coming down with something. Sure enough, I woke up Monday morning sick, sick, sick.

My memory of that Monday is a blur of lying in bed, going to the bathroom to throw up, going back to bed, then back to the bathroom to throw up…. and so on and so on.

I called Glenn and asked him to come over and visit me that evening. And pleeeeease bring ginger ale. That’s all I wanted. Those two things. My boyfriend, and some ginger ale. And at the time… really the ginger ale was key.

You know how when you are sick in bed, the day drags? Everything that day seemed like forever. It was forever ago that I had felt well.. it was forever ago that we had gone skiing… it would be forever before I could eat anything again without being sick… and speaking of forever, where was Glenn?

I called to find out when he was coming. Soon, he said. Some time later I called again. I mean, how long does it take to drive a few miles and bring me some ginger ale? I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I was getting a bit peeved as the day went into evening and he still wasn’t there.

Then he showed up. My roommate let him in and he came back to my room where I lay pitifully in bed, dehydrated and worn out and perhaps a little bit miffed, but too tired to be anything but grateful that he was finally there. And, he didn’t bring ginger ale. He brought “Clearly Canadian,” remember that stuff? I LOVED that stuff… I actually would have preferred ginger ale at that moment, but he got points for bringing the more special beverage. I figure he was trying to make up for being so late.

Then he pulled out a booklet he had made. White letter-size typewriter paper, several sheets stapled together, adorned with his own drawings. The front cover said “A Love Story.” I laughed as I read through the pages of illustrations depicting how we met, how we ended up where we were, and how we had done nothing for that most recent Valentine’s Day because we had been on the ski trip with the youth group. [I thought he was really going overboard now, making up this cute booklet for me when I was sick, but really… I would have been fine if he had just come out to see me sooner, and brought me some ginger ale. In my sick stupor, I was thinking these things in the back of my head.]

The last page of the booklet said something like “and so, three days after Valentine’s Day, she got…” and it ended with the dot-dot-dot.   So I turned the page for the answer to what I got and there was…. nothing!  There was no page. No answer. Just the blank sheet at the end of the booklet. I turned the page and I think I said “ha, ha, ha.”  Very deliberately. As if to say, OK I’m not in the mood for silly jokes right now. I am sick! And I want ginger ale!

And then he pulled out a little box.

And he said “Laura…”

And he opened the box and pulled out a beautiful, heart-shaped, larger-than-I-expected diamond ring.

My hands flew up to my mouth, and I said “ohhhh!”    And then, I think I said “ohhhh!”  And then I think I said “Glennnnnnnn!” And then maybe I said “ohhhh Glennn!”

After I hugged him, and the ring was on my finger, he pointed out that I hadn’t actually said “yes” yet.  Maybe that was because I never actually heard him ask the question over all the “ohhhhh Glennnnns” I was saying.

For the record, I did say “yes.”



Tuesday Time Machine: Mischief makers

February 3, 2009


Wendy and me, we go way back.

We were “lake friends” for as long as I can remember… our families have known each other for decades. She’s several years younger than me, but we always shared a sort of kindred spirit. Which really means that we enjoyed getting into mischief together.

My family has always spent vacation time up at Conneaut Lake, usually over July 4th, staying with family friends. Then, in 1984, my parents were able to buy a cottage in the same neighborhood as our friends up there. And, WHAM! I suddenly got to spend a LOT more time at the lake during the summers. It was fabulous.

That first summer after we got the cottage, my first order of business was to learn how to water ski. Once I picked up that skill, Wendy and I were ready to make trouble.

To this day I’m not certain why our parents agreed to let us engage in such antics… but the first thing we worked on once I knew how to slalom ski was, we would both ski at the same time behind the boat, me on a slightly longer line, and then we would cross back and forth. Wendy would stay low and I’d cross the wake and lift the tow line up over her as I passed to the other side.

I’d lift that tow rope up, you know, so as not to decapitate her.

We’d go up and down the lake practicing this maneuver because… because… perhaps we aspired to put on a show someday? Who can say? But we had fun. We were so determined to have this sort of fun that we would get up at 6:30 or 7am on summer mornings when we had no other reason to be awake, just so we coud get the smoothest water.

Also, did you know that in the autumn, when it’s very chilly in northwestern Pennsylvania, that you can still go water skiing as long as you have a boat and skis? You would think there would be some sort of law against it. But no, no there is not. I think our record was skiing in 50º weather in October. The lake water is actually warmer than the air then. I know because I would sometimes fall deliberately, just to test it.

So anyway, we carried on with the crazy skiing for a couple summers at least… learning how to do deep water starts without crashing into each other on the way up, learning how to share the same side of the wake when the boat made a sharp turn, learning how to signal each other to do different things. We had a good thing going.

And then the day came. I don’t even remember it really happening. But apparently, I… just once… I kind of… well not deliberately, mind you… but I kind of hooked Wendy’s neck a little bit with the rope as I was crossing over.

Oh, she was fine. We were fine. I didn’t totally get her tied up or anything. Somehow I got to the other side, and like I said, I really didn’t know anything had gone wrong.

But her mom saw it (hi Kathy!).  And that was it.

Party over.

Everyone out of the pool!

After that, we still skiied, but I don’t think we ever did it together again. Instead, Wendy and I went on to make other mischief… Like taking the sailboat out to the middle of the lake, turning it over turtle style, and then practicing getting the boat righted in deep water.

[Well, we had to do something to keep ourselves occupied…]

Here’s to you Wendy! I hope you get to read this sometime, and have a nice chuckle remembering our crazy lake days.



Tuesday Time Machine: The Good Club Graduates, May 1989

January 19, 2009


I really, really love this photo from college graduation in 1989.  I have a few good shots from that day with some special friends. But this is one that strikes a chord with me. Two very dear friends. The blue sticker in the corner is courtesy of a banana I was eating one day. It seemed appropriate.


I don’t really remember exactly how “The Good Club” came into being.

I think it was a joke that took on a life of its own.

Sarah Beth was my friend starting our freshman year of college. We lived in the same dorm, and at some point we fell into a great friendship together. When I think of Sarah Beth I always think of the huge smile on her face. Her great laugh. Her textbook-perfect handwriting (I mean, really!). And we just… I don’t know… we just always had a fun time together. We seemed to understand each other.

David Frederick, better known as “Freddy,” transferred to Milligan when we were sophomores. Freddy was one of the “Oklahoma Boys” that I have spoken of fondly elsewhere in this blog. I don’t remember the particular moment when I met Freddy, but once he made his appearance he was there to stay.

Now, if someone had lined up all the students on campus back in 1986 and decided to start choosing groups of people who would hang out together, I don’t know that anyone would have picked Sarah Beth, Freddy and me as a “team.”  On face value I think we would have all seemed pretty different from each other. But I think that we were all (at least at some point) majoring in Business Administration, and so we had a lot of classes together. That’s probably how it started.

Lots of classes together translated to lots of hours spent studying together. Lots of cramming for tests late at night in some classroom in Derthick Hall. Lots of walking up and down Sutton hill to and from classes or meals. It’s hard for me to have a memory of my years at Milligan without Freddy and Sarah Beth being involved in some way.

We started calling ourselves “The Good Club” sometime during those three years together. Our motto was something like “no drinking, no smoking, no running with girls that do.”  Boy, we were hilarious, weren’t we?


The Good Club was extremely exclusive. As soon as we established ourselves, we immediately closed the group to new members. Our meetings were always impromptu, agenda-free, and utterly clandestine. So, anytime we sat down to lunch together, or something like that, it was a meeting… but no one else would have ever known. The only time that The Good Club was really exposed to the public was near the end of our senior year, when Sarah Beth had these yellow t-shirts made up for us. I think it was sort of a graduation gift. I still have mine.

Looking back, it all seems rather silly, as do most things that we did during our college years. But I will tell you this… even though we fall in and out of touch these days, there is still a special bond.

When I pull out these old photos, a feeling knocks me over like a wave on the beach. Memories of the best, most intense, emotional, fun, terrible-wonderful years of my life… and the privilege I had to spend them with friends like Sarah Beth and Freddy. Looking at the shot of us in caps and gowns elicits a heavy sigh.

We made it!


Tuesday Time Machine: Sitting Pretty

January 13, 2009

(click for a larger view if desired)


This photo (no date on it, but I’m guessing it is circa 1915 or thereabouts) shows my ancestors on my Dad’s side… the McDonald children: Inez, George, and Virginia (my grandmother).

I think Grandma looks like a perfect china doll in this shot, with her little round face, slightly pouty mouth, and wavy hair. I wonder if she and Inez hated having those huge bows on their heads? And George looks absolutely thrilled to be sandwiched between his two sisters.

The donkey (mule? burro?) doesn’t look terribly excited, either. 🙂