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General

Spring to Autumn

Suzanne Marsh



October 17, 1963

Dear Diary,

Today is my thirteen birthday, Mom gave you to me this morning. I hope we will have a long and wonderful friendship. I am freshman at Mount Saint Mary's Girls Academy. The summer before I had to read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, one of twenty five books that were required reading.

Perhaps I should tell you a little about myself. I am an only child, both my parents work. I have learned to play the accordion and the piano. I love music especially classic music. I hated the accordion, Mom bought me a Cucchinelli it is an adult size accordion, it either bites my chin or my knees. It even tried to bite Ulysses, my parakeet. He flew over and perched on the bellows and I accidentally closed his foot in it. If a parakeet could look angry then that was the look he gave me. Sort of: “how dare you close my foot in that that thing!!” It took a great deal of talking and pleading on my part but she finally bought the piano. I have to practice an hour a day.

At the Mount I belong to the riders club. Rose N is the president. Every Saturday dad takes me to Fox Hall where I am learning to ride an English Saddle. Mom bought me riding boots and jodhpurs. There is little sorrel there that I am trying to convince my parents to buy, somehow I don't this will happen, but there is always hope.

I have been thinking about a name for you somehow Dear Diary seems so ordinary, I think Penny. It is the name of a friend of mine actually she is a twin Penny and Pam sort of cute huh? Dad is home from work so I will say good bye for now.

As always,

Pam



October 20th, 1962

Dear Penny,

Alas finally the weekend and from Sister Gertrude. I think sister is going to try to have me expelled although I did cause quite a stir today. I snuck in my little white mouse Johanne. It was really very funny, Sister apparently did not think so. I snuck Johanne into school in my uniform pocket, I put in a white handkerchief so she couldn't escape before I was ready. I decided the best time would be in Math class, I hate math so it seemed like a good time. Sister had just begun the lesson when Johanne made a dash toward the blackboard. Sister hopped up on the desk screaming frantically. Sister Martha, the school principal arrived on the scene to find me chasing Johanne around the classroom. It left little doubt as to who the culprit was. When I finally caught her, Sister Martha had me by the arm and was shuffling me out the door toward her office.

I knew I was in for the lecture of my life. She threatened to expel me but decided that she did not want to be responsible for thrusting me on another school. So instead I have to write a two thousand word essay on why a white mouse does not belong in the classroom. I figure if I keep this up I will be out of there by the end of this semester.

Mom is making rumbling noises about send me to Stella Niagara, something about a change of nuns would no doubt help to keep me out of trouble. That was after she read the note that Sister Martha sent home. Dad, sort of snickered. Maybe Mom will be angry enough to send me to Utica for Easter Vacation. Yeah, a whole week of fun with cousin Helen.

Yours,

Pam






April 12, 1962

Dear Penny,

Spring break, no more Sister Gertrude for a week!!! I barely finished the essay but it is done. My Aunt and Uncle are so sweet, they never yell. We went to Syracuse to see My Fair Lady, with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It was fabulous. The music was great. Then we went horseback riding. That was great fun. We got to pick our horses, I got some old plug named Apple. I could not even get him to trot. We had just finished our read and returned the horses to their stalls, when we heard the clomp, clomp of hooves. I turned around and came face to face with this huge brown steer. The owner of the farm laughed as he watch us run with this huge brown animal following in hot pursuit. As it turned out the huge brown steer was actually a water buffalo, that was looking for a treat. The man handed me a loaf of French Bread, which Helen and I reluctantly fed to the beast.

The neatest part of my vacation was our trip to the old cider mill on Genessee Street. It had been vacant. One of the boys dared me to go there. It took some planning and convincing but we went. We told Alleen she couldn't go. So what did the big snitch do? She ratted on us to Auntie. When we got back man were we in dutch. Later that night, we snuck up to Alleen's bedroom. Removed all of her clothes from under ware and stocking to dresses, tied them in a big X across her bed. She came down stairs the next morning madder than a wet hen but I bet she will never rat on us again!

Yours,

Pam





November 22nd, 1963

Dear Penny,

Today President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas Texas. The nuns sent us home early and said we would be off for several days. When I got home I turned the Television on. It is on every channel including the Canadian stations. Mrs. Kennedy arrived by plane still wearing the clothes that she wore when JFK died, you can see the blood stains quite plainly. It is a sad time for our nation.

Yours,

Penny


June 23rd, 1965

Dear Penny,

I finally pushed Sister Gertrude to far. She caught me coming down from the cloister. I spent twenty minutes in her office while she ranted and raved. She informed me that the cloister was the nuns home and I had no business up there. I was about to make a smart remark but I caught myself, no sense in making her angrier than she already was. She informed the faculty had, had enough of my high jinx, that she was going to expel me if I did not leave on my own.

On the way home I did some plotting. The bus, good ole bus 12 with the springs that come through the seats. When I got home, Mom was there for a change. I knew I had better convince right then and there that I wanted to go to Kenmore East Senior High School and it would be better for me. I just hoped she was going to listen. She did. I am enrolled for the fall semester.






November 11th, 1965

Dear Penny,

I met the dreamiest boy. His name is Alan. He asked me if I would like to see his church and go up in the bell steeple. Hey, I was game I hate heights. I got up into the steeple fine, coming down was another thing. It took Alan, his brother and a friend of his to coach me back down. Then Alan walked me home. He gave me my first kiss. I don't know where this will lead but...

Yours,

Pam


July 20th, 1967

Dear Penny,

I am in a dazed panic! Friday I went to see an OB GYN the doctor that a good friend mine went to. I am pregnant. Today is Sunday, I know I have to tell my parents. I can't hide the fact for to much longer. Keep your fingers crossed.

Mom, took it okay I guess, Dad is so mad Mom made me go over to Alan's Mother's house while she tried to calm down. By the time I returned you could hear a pin drop. Dad is still on talking to me.

Alan is at Fort Polk, next stop Vietnam! That isn't going to help this situation. I told him and he told his parents. His Mother doesn't want to sign for him to get married. He told her either she did or she would never see her grandchildren. He convinced her. Now he has to get leave to come home. He figures he should get ten days emergency leave. He also told me that he is definitely head to Vietnam. He will get his combat infantry badge once he completes AIT. He will have thirty days leave then he will ship out to Vietnam for a year. I wish he had waited until he was drafted, his Mother seems to feel the same way.

Yours,

Pam





October 14th, 1967

Dear Penny,

We are going to be married on my eighteenth birthday, three days from now. Alan finally got leave. Mom bought me a wedding dress. It is pretty but not what I always dreamed of. At this point I don't think she cares to much what I really want. J is going to be my maid of honor and M his brother is going to be best man. My fate for better or for worse is sealed. I feel as if I am making a mistake but I don't want an abortion and I don't know how I would feel if I gave the baby up.

As always,

Pam




April, 1st, 1968

Dear Penny,

It took Dad several weeks but he is talking to me now. March 28, 1968 at 7:33pm Jean was born. My bag of water broke before Mom went to work. Around three I had a slight show of blood. Then I went into labor. I called Dad, he came home. We went down Sheridan Drive in rush hours traffic at almost sixty miles per hour it is a forty mile per hour on the Sheridan. Dad got me to the Doc's office. I think my fingernails are still embedded in the arm rest. Doc examined me, told me to go to the hospital and he would induce the baby in the morning. The baby had other ideas. Doc, was surprised that I delivered so quickly. Then Dad went to find Mom, she was visiting someone she knew in the hospital. Dad told her the baby was here. Mom, looked at him and replied:

“that is impossible, baby's don't come that quickly. Dad told her this one did. They saw her and then were allowed to come to see me. Mom, in her own peculiar way told me I had a beautiful suntanned baby? I thought 'great what color is this kid?' As it turned out Jean had black hair, Mom I guess thought that all children came with blond hair and blue eyes.

Yours,

Pam



January 4, 1969

Dear Penny,

Alan is home from Vietnam. He seems happy to be home but seems changed, I am not sure for the better. Charlie invades his dreams on a regular basis, I think this is called PTSD, Dad said it is battle fatigue. Alan decided that I should come and live in New Jersey while he finishes his last six months in the army.

Yours,

Penny


June 6th, 1969

Dear Penny,

Living with Alan is like living with Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! He is not the same person I thought I married. Remember I told you about Charlie visiting? It turns out it is because of the Vivex Malaria he contracted while he was in Vietnam. His buddy Frank, is going to drive me to the airport and I am going home with Jean. Just before the malaria invaded my life, I had finally met Frank. They had been driving home together. However, first I should tell you about the ambulance ride in the middle of the night. Somehow one of the things that hold the stretcher in place gave way and the thing started sliding all over the back of the ambulance. I banged on the window and finally they stopped. Got it fastened down and off we went once more into the unknown. Starting with how I was going to get back.

Earlier that day Alan went to visit Frank, he left Jean and I in the car. Several hours into our wait, I decided I would take the car for a ride. Jean was getting cranky and usually a ride settles her down. Unfortunately when I returned the parking space the car had been in was taken. I parked several spaces over. When Alan finally returned he wanted to know who moved the car. I promptly told him it sprouted wings and flew!!!!!

Yours,

Pam


April 19th, 1970

Dear Penny,

I thought I had a quick labor with Jean but little Allison came even quicker, twenty minutes of labor. She sort of shot out like a football pass. She is so tiny, she is 4lbs 9 oz, she dropped a more than a pound in two days. She came home with me since neither the army or Blue Cross and Blue Shield would cover her delivery. She is so small, and blond, actually she reminds me of plucked chicken. She is still red, no finger nails or toenails and this small tuft of blond hair on the back of her neck. Allison seems to suit her, We are now residing in Cheektowaga, which is a real house it was being built while I was pregnant. It is a three bedroom. It has undeveloped land with trees in the back. Now if Alan would just stay home and be a father things would be so much better.

Always, Pam

April 31st 1973

Dear Penny,

We have moved to Amherst. The house is wreck, but the neighborhood is much nicer. The house is four different colors. Light green, dark green, chartreuse and pink. Most of the interior is now painted except for the baby's room. Diane was born April 24th, 1973 at 10:50am after fifteen minutes of labor. The doctor induced her I don't know if he figured I was about in implode or have the baby before I got to the hospital. Maybe both. Alan forced me to have my tubes after ordering me to get an abortion. He did not want a third child. Then proceeded to tell me he only wanted Allison. I really am beginning to wonder what type of person I married.

Yours,

Pam

September 1st, 1980

Dear Penny,

I have been served with divorce papers, he charged me with cruel and inhumane treatment, must be nice to live in a dream world. I will counter sue with same charges. He wants custody. That was not what we agreed upon! I told him I would leave for the month then return for the girls. I trusted him one last time and once again he has betrayed my trust. What is even worse is that his lawyer Buzz plays golf with the Judge. I can see where this is going to go and it isn't in my favor. I hate the thought of not seeing the girls for a while. This battle is not one of choosing. I spoke to Alan last night and I told me: “what you did to me no one has the right to do to another human being.” He is mentally, verbally and physically abusive. I remember well, the night we made love and I said something to him about taking a shower and he slapped me across the face. That was when I lost all respect for him.

Always,

Pam



January 30th, 1981

Dear Penny,

A girl I worked with at Bergen this past summer has a brother she wants me to meet. To quote her: “boy have I got a brother for you.” I decided I didn't need a brother. Ha, then I met the brother. Mary Mac and I stopped over to visit Cathy. As we entered the kitchen there sat the most handsome blond blue eyed man, who stood up when we walked in. He nearly took my breath away. So, this was the brother. I can still see him to this day waiting for Cathy to introduce him. I mean we are talking Adonis, here. I tripped in the door. I went back later that night after I dropped Mary at home. We talked for a while, then he asked me for a date. I said yes, rather reluctantly. I had not been on a date in over thirteen years.

Saturday came a lot quicker than I anticipated.. We were going out for a pizza, and then a movie. I was really nervous. We ordered the pizza and drinks. I had orange pop. We were talking and you know sometimes how I talk with my hands moving. The entire large drink of pop spilled landing in Ed's lap. The waitress came running with napkins. He stood there dripping in orange pop. The waitress gave me look as if to say: “Humph, I can understand little kids spilling drinks, now here is this big kid.” So much for the first date.

Yours,

Pam










April 16th, 1982

Dear Pam,

Today we tied the knot. I have a beautiful blue dress and will wear a wreath of babies breath in my hair. We are to be married in Tonawanda, by the mayor. The day is beautiful and sunny. I am so happy. After we are married dad is giving us three days up in Toronto, Canada as a wedding present. We are going to the Syracuse for dinner first. I finally now understand what love truly is. What God meant when he said two shall be as one.

Yours,

Pam




April 8th, 2020

Dear Penny,

The years have flown by. We will be married thirty eight years this year. They have been good years. We are blessed with ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. I am content in the autumn of my life.

Yours,

Pam


April 08, 2020 20:08

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