Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Selling our Cozy Cottage on Wheels


This story has been unfolding for over 3 years. So excited to finally share it with you.
It began with an email 2 weeks before my husband Randy was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. (April, 2014)

Hi!
My name is Samantha and I love your Travette, your pictures, and the fantastic way you have portrayed the experience.
I know a bit about Travette: My family owned and operated the business in Bakersfield, CA, until it closed in the 70s.  I have the greatest Travette memories and I’m so happy to read that others are making their own happy memories.
I hope this email gets to you and if you get a chance, it would be wonderful to hear back from you!
Happy Travels,
Sam
btw, if you ever decide to sell her, please know that you have a buyer.  :-)

Well, I knew something was wrong with my husband, so I replied that I would definitely let her know if and when we would sell her... and then tucked it away in a file.

Sure enough, two weeks later Randy was diagnosed with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Unreal. Life changing. Overwhelming grief. It was a year later before I even remembered Sam's email. But I wasn't ready to sell Cozy until the fall of 2016. When I finally emailed her, it came back undelivered. So I googled her name and her Pinterest board came up. I found Cozy on her vintage travel trailer board and left my email in a message. She immediately replied.

Thus began a series of emails and phone calls that told a story that to this day makes me cry. And well, you know how much I love a good story. Well God, in His goodness, went above and beyond and gave me a great story.

You see, the Travette travel trailer company began in 1957. Sam's great-grandfather, grandfather and Dad owned and operated the business till it ended in the late 70's. The last recreational vehicles the company manufactured were the 13 foot travel trailers. Because they didn't manufacture a lot of them, Sam told me her Dad literally had a hand in every single one. So it was a dream of Sam and her brother Darrel, to buy one for their Dad as a surprise. So you can imagine how thrilled they were when they finally found our 1976 Travette travel trailer 13 footer in their google search.

Sam gave me this old Travette brochure. So cool!
Sam lives and works in the Washington DC area, so her and her fiancé Jim Hanson (from Fox & Friends) flew in to Phoenix and rented a U Haul to transport Cozy to her parents home in Austin, Texas. Sam & I already had a bond, a kinship like no other, so when we finally saw each other we hugged and cried. We sat inside Cozy together and I heard more of the story. Her Dad's health is failing, so the timing of their surprise was even more heartwarming.


Randy & I had spent many hours dreaming of our adventures with Cozy over the years. We wanted to visit the National Parks. Sadly our Bucket List was emptied pretty quickly. Along with quickly realizing I couldn't bear to watch someone we knew live out their dreams through our Cozy. God knew that too. He knew the only way I could ever sell our cozy cottage on wheels was for her to be returned to the one that built her. Simple, easy and painless... and totally meant to be. Only God in His love and mercy could orchestrate such a story.

Well, Sam & Jim spent 5 hours in our driveway getting Cozy ready for the trip. Two of the nicest people I have ever met. Get this, Sam was a paratrooper in the Army, retired Lieutenant Colonel and now runs a non-profit called America Matters Now. And yes, Jim is on Fox Cable News... but he is also from Wisconsin, grew up in Green Bay, a farm boy at heart and a huge Green Bay Packer fan! We were like family by the time they pulled out of our driveway.

Interestingly, Randy's cab dropped him off from his day care during that time, and he was totally oblivious to Sam & Jim... and that Cozy was hitched up to this huge U Haul in our driveway. I was glad he was ok with Cozy leaving... and sad that he was ok with Cozy leaving.

Thrilled when Sam sent me this photo of her and her parents shortly after they surprised her Dad. She said they were already calling her Cozy. :)


I am so thankful I documented every adventure here on my blog. Thankful we found her on Craig's List October, 2009. She gave us a great run! Memories I will cherish in my heart forever. You can read all about her HERE and HERE. 


Happy travels Cozy!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Tommy Hilfiger designer coveralls


Oh the things you find at thrift stores... 
Many years ago I found a brand new pair of coveralls at my favorite little thrift store for $7.00. Umm... we're talking Tommy Hilfiger designer coveralls to be specific. Don't bother googling these... they don't exist. Maybe they only made one pair. 
Anyways, I knew my husband would go wild. Ok, he doesn't ever go wild, but he would be thrilled. When we met in 1978, coveralls were a common attire most weekends, as he was always working on his beloved '69 Dodge Charger. But he wore his Dad's. So after we married he went many years without coveralls. 


Well, we sure got our monies worth. And come on, is he handsome or what. When I took these photos in April, 2011, he could only find my pink headband that morning to absorb the sweat. ha!
And ironically, it would be one of the last times he ever worked on our vehicles, if not the last time. His frontotemporal dementia was diagnosed 3 years later, April of 2014... but he started changing around this time.



So, in preparation for our house painting, I spent Christmas Day going through 23 years of junk in our side yard, for the next days power washing. 
These were hanging with the yard tools. 
Bitter sweet... lots of tears... remembering.


But so thankful I found them... you see, I've been collecting jeans for over 40 years... to make quilts. I have jeans that my kids wore, Randy wore, my Dad wore, I wore. Thrilled I could salvage the best parts of this well-worn treasure. 
And so fun showing Randy and reminding him of his love of working on cars. 


Monday, March 20, 2017

slowly but surely


  • my husband's frontotemporal dementia is progressing slowly but surely.
  • his short-term memory loss is much more evident.
  • thankful he is still peaceful, happy and content.
  • he has still never been sad, angry, irritated or argumentative.
  • we keep to a very simple, predictable routine.
  • Randy's heart is so full of truth and love, that no matter what is happening to his brain, Christ in Randy is still very much real and present.
  • my husband had to start attending a more secure day care in Phoenix.
  • he kept trying to leave when he saw others being picked up.
  • which means he now has to use dial-a-ride to and from each day.
  • otherwise my commute would mean leaving Gilbert after work, picking him up in Phoenix, then back to Tempe... a crazy 2 hours drive.
  • needless to say, I am sad for the loss of our treasured time each day in the van after work.
  • and frustrated that his target pick up time is rarely ever on time.
  • not happy with dial-a-ride.
  • but thankful the transition to the new day care was seamless.
  • very happy with the new day care and the dedicated staff.
  • thankful my neighbor gets Randy in the cab after I leave for work each morning.
  • really, really like my job, my co-workers and altering mens suits.
  • survived 9 hour days, 5 days a week, January and February.
  • a result of Dillard's huge clearance sale on men's suits.
  • nice to be back to 4 - 8 hour days.
  • a dear, precious friend painted our house the week after Christmas. Overwhelmed by such a generous gift. 
  • God continues to bless above and beyond. Continually in awe of His goodness.
  • five dear men came and cared for my husband while I was in WI for my Mom's funeral.
  • forever and ever grateful for their servants heart.
  • just when I thought the aching in my heart for a road trip would never go away, my friend Nancy arrives from Virginia and we hit the open road. My heart was renewed, restored, revived.
  • Randy & I were on a walk yesterday and his crown fell out. Trying not to worry about what that means. He will have to be put under for any work to be done. Ugh.
  • have I mentioned lately that I hate this disease?
  • I will leave you with a photo from Thanksgiving 2016 ~ Pop pop, Mimi & grandson Will.
  • and my new favorite verse ~ Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Mom ~ Leona Larson


  • She was born Leona Ida to Henry & Ida Steinke on April 14, 1930
  • She passed from this earth Feb. 26th, 2017
  • She had 3 sisters Helen, Dorothy and Marion
  • and two brothers Elmer and Ervin
  • She loved school and was valedictorian in her class of '49
  • A city girl meets farm boy at the roller skating rink in Hatfield, WI
  • and they marry on April 29th, 1950
  • She's the Mother of six kids ~ Kathy, Ginny, Gary, Linda, Ronnie and Kevin
  • She named me after her ~ Linda Leona
  • and blessed with 15 grandkids and 19 great-grandkids
  • She had strong Christian values
  • and always took us to church and Sunday school
  • She knew the value of life-long friends
  • She was a supportive, hardworking farmer's wife
  • And punctual. She was never late
  • She was recycling when recycling wasn't even cool yet
  • Picking up cans and bottles on her daily walks
  • She made desserts for every meal.
  • She had the best laugh
  • She modeled "Love Thy Neighbor" by weekly visits with Mrs. Leer, Mrs. Vesta and Mrs. Moe
  • She saw the importance of visiting relatives every Sunday
  • She loved picking berries of all kinds
  • She was a homemaker, in the truest sense of the word.
  • She kept a beautiful home and held to a rigid weekly schedule
  • She taught us girls that hours of ironing while watching soap operas is much more enjoyable
  • She was an amazing cook and loved baking
  • She was always home when we got off the bus, with fresh baked bread, homemade donuts, a pan of bars, cookies or pies cooling on the counter
  • She loved dancing with her kids to Ernie Reck on the television 
  • She never missed a Billy Graham Crusade on the television
  • She faithfully attended all our school activities and sporting events
  • She was dependable, thoughtful and full of energy
  • She loved card parties, snowmobile parties 
  • and spending time with their Alma Center friends
  • She loved to travel and visit her children
  • She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing
  • She took great pleasure in planting huge gardens
  • and saw the value of 4-H through her kids

Mom had a good life and she was ready to go to heaven and be with Jesus... and to be reunited with her husband John, her son Ronnie and grandson Noel.
Mom will be forever remembered, loved and celebrated as her legacy lives on through her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
We love and miss you Mom!