From Learningabe.info, a Historical Page by Howard Taylor
written during spring of 2020
Wouldn't It Be Nice?
A Story of the Romance and Life of Howard and Sandra Taylor Fall of 1975- through January 27, 2020, that Never will end.
What? That sounds like the title of a Brian Wilson and Beach Boys hit song. How does that relate to the young Taylor couple in 1975?
In this little book, I would like to use actual lyrics of my favorite Beach Boys tune to tell the story of my Sandra and I meeting, engagement and marriage and later life events.
Just get the tune in your head and sing along with my story.
PART THREE, CHAPTERS 14-16
FOURTEEN (A move to Mississippi and Graduations + a new granddaughter)
I have the warmth of the sun
Within me at night
Since I am the one writing this, I have to rely on memory. My memory is so full that I have trouble pulling facts out and obviously Sandra is not here to help me. She is present all the time in my memories, and always comes out clearly. The lyrics by Brian Wilson can describe our new location in 2012. We moved to Southaven, Mississippi and it sure gets hot here in the summer. I always start out enjoying mowing my yard, but by July and August I have to mow in the morning or close to dark. The South is hotter during the summer than Illinois in a different way.
Sandra and I made several trips down here to see Mike and Lacie. I had a really nice job at Lake Land College being an adjunct reading instructor. Adjunct means that I am not in a tenure line. Sandra helped keep me organized during this job. It was rather exciting about how I got this job. We were helping Mike and Lacie move into their third story apartment in Bartlett, Tennessee. Lacie had gotten her a teaching job in the rough part of Memphis teaching first grade. I will tell a little more about a little later. Sandra helped watch their little dog Jackson, and didn't make many trips up and down from the 3rd floor. It was really hot and I was taking a rest from watching Jackson. I got a phone call from the 217 area code in Illinois. I answered. It was a real nice lady asking me to teach a reading class for Lake Land College. I said "sure," or something like that. We made arrangements to come for a meeting at the beautiful college.
Why this job was important, was because my personal ambition was to be a college teacher. I got to do just that. I started out with one or two classes and got up to four, the maximum a adjunct could be. There I was meeting a whole bunch of new people who needed my classes to go on in the future college programs. The ages ranged from 17 to full bloomed adults. I had a seven foot tall star basketball player from Africa, a really nice seventeen year old from Hong King, and another young lady from Pakistan. They were in my class for English language experience and reading. All were excellent students. I had sports guys and girls. Most were excellent students, but one basketball player didn't think he needed to be present. I had to write a class syllabus including attendance rules and other rules like grading and passing requirements. I only had a couple students who failed because of attendance. I am a bit of a softy, and listened to "reasons" for being late or absent. I didn't give a lot of sympathy for simply skipping class. I was way to entertaining to miss my class. Ha.
That job would last a few years, until I resigned to move down to Mississippi. I still miss the people there. Sandra and I had moved to Mattoon in our new (old house) with a garage on North 11th in Mattoon, Illinois. We would stay there for five years. We rented our Charleston house to good renters. I did not like being a landlord. I am too particular about the yard. All the renters we had paid their rent and took care of the old Lynch-Taylor house. I may dedicate a chapter to this house later. It was in my mom's side of the family since 1928. I still have good memories of living at 408 Madison St. in Charleston. When I resigned from Lake Land, and was ready to move, we had already sold both our houses in Illinois. Houses are much cheaper than here in Mississippi. We paid as low as $15,000 for the Windsor house, $24,000 for the Herrick ranch style and an acre, nothing for the Charleston house, and about $75,000 for the Mattoon house. Our first house in Mississippi was $75,000. Our little house in Tower Hill in 1975 was $90 a month. Sandra sure liked to move. We also helped our kids to move more than once. I can't do that anymore, but am thinking about moving again (2020) to downsize, but probably not. I re-did the house at Windsor and found out I could do construction. I removed a wall, put a beam in and added a bathroom. I did all the inside stuff. I hired a Windsor contractor to do the house over outside. I may have told this house stuff earlier, but my style is to repeat.
Talk about repeating, Sandra loved to tell her old stories of teaching anytime someone would listen. I heard them over and over and smiled and commented every time. I know I repeat things. I try not to, but like I said, that's my style. I can't remember numbers, dates, etc. so well, but never could. I like to write with a real computer keyboard, and probably repeat.
After we moved to Mississippi, we had really good neighbors in the Colonial Hills neighborhood in the 1969 built home. It was actually the first house where we had good neighbors that could help us out and likewise. When we arrived in the huge moving truck that I drove down from Mattoon, I had hired a moving crew to move us in. They didn't show up. Mike and the neighbor across the street moved our stuff in. We had a lot. It took a long time to get it straightened up. I always appreciated these two guys doing that. I didn't tell anyone, but I stepped off the back of the truck and fell on my back. I hopped up, and never really got sore. I don't know how I survived that. It was a huge Budget truck with a straight down drop. I didn't tell Sandra till later that night.
Memphis was about 4 or 5 miles north of us. We used Elvis Presley Blvd. (U.S. 51) to go into Memphis or south into Southaven. We did a few things in Memphis, but Sandra and I just didn't do much up there. We did go to the art museums up there a few times. Mike and Lacie took us to Sun Studio, the Fire Museum, and we started learning how to get around. We went to Beahl Street once, and Sandra loved the old time general store (like an old dime store). It closed, so we never returned. We went to the beautiful zoo once, and Sandra was at the point she couldn't walk it. Justin got her an electric car. We had Linda and Ainslie, and had a good time. We took Linda to the Pink Palace. Other than that, we just went to Germantown and Collierville, where we knew how to get around. We never wanted to pay the high entrance for the Elvis Presley's Graceland, but drove by it. We did go to doctors in Germantown, and her one time visit to a pulmonologist in downtown Memphis. We both were in the huge Methodist Union Memory Hospital.
Our daughter, Lacie, made things exciting for us. She and Mike had a baby girl in 2013. She would be named Ainslie. Ainslie was taken care of by mommy until the wonderful sick days and maternity days ended. That was when Grammy and Pop-Pop would help out. We volunteered to provide daycare for the new baby. Sandra already knew everything, but I didn't think I was a "baby" specialist. I had to learn to change diapers, play, and play. Ainslie was active, and required attention like reading to her and all the things babies do when on the floor and in the crib. I was kind of proud that we could take on those duties. I always liked to say I taught Ainslie her colors. Sandra was so good at the cooking and taking care of her. She could lift her around in the first year. Sandra was good at singing to Ainslie and getting her to sleep and happy. I think I was subbing some during that time, but can't remember. I did lay off for period of time sometime during those years.
Sandra had to get open heart surgery, which was done in our Southaven Baptist Memorial Hospital. She ended up with four repairs, and it turned very serious. I've never seen so many tubes and IV's as she had. Lacie came in to see her, and that was her first experience with seeing her mom like that. I just knew she would get over it and be good. It turned out that way, except for the wound in her leg where the vein was pulled. The surgeon was really good, but his post-op nurses were what I would call poor. She had a visiting nurse for several weeks (months) because the wound wouldn't heal. We found out you could go to a wound doctor. We found one in Southaven, and after he treated her for a couple weeks the wound closed and healed. She went to the hospital for cardiac rehabilitation and graduated with honors. I still have her certificate. We had a few more years of joy including another move.
I was in the substitute teaching field down here. You work for a temp agency, called Kelly Education. I ended up doing this for six years. They were a good employer, and I enjoyed teaching at multiple buildings and grades. In the first two years I tried a lot of schools. I enjoyed elementary the best. Some schools have a different cultural environment, and I had trouble controlling the little cuties. I had some experience in multi-cultural at my school in College Park, Ga., but probably was not exactly made for it. I kind of liked high school, but found it was a little boring. Middle school was good most of the time. I especially liked subbing in the Desoto Schools Technical School. It was easy, and the high schoolers were super dedicated to do their work. They start early down here. I was there at 7:00 am and over at 2:00 pm at the technical school.
I had to quit subbing in October of 2019, because Sandra couldn't be at home by herself. She actually liked for me to sub. It kept me busy, and we made about $4,000 a year extra pay. I only got $65 and hour, but it added up pretty quick.
I re-registered my elementary and art certificates, and could teach full time down here if I wanted to. No-way Ho-say as the saying goes.
I am going to end and continue with the next chapter "a new and final house." If I forgot anything important, I will mix in later.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN (A second move in Mississippi, a second new granddaughter,)
I have the warmth of the sun
The love of my life
The song lyrics I chose had a different meaning today than in1964. The Beach Boys hit was released on their 1964 album Shut Down Volume 2. The reason I mention this is because I collected Beach Boys Albums all the way through their 50th anniversary. I left my vinyls with the Salvation Army store in Mattoon, as I had replaced all with better sounding CD's. I don't want to think about the current value of the old long play records. I left a lot of other stuff as well.
Sandra and I both had collections. When I met her in 1975 I noticed a two shelf cabinet full of salt and pepper shakers. It was impressive. Whenever you collect something relatives and friends would enlarge your collection with gifts. We bought a few sets together. As the years went by, the salt and pepper shakers thinned out. I may have a box of them somewhere, but the most valuable ones are in a special cabinet.
I was really different in that I collected old National Geographic magazines. An EIU professor gave me his collection (with maps) if I would carry them down from his attic. I did. My dad and Russell Rogers, firemen at the #1 firehouse in Charleston built me two 4' X 4' special bookcases to store them. I still have the bookcases, but only about ten of my original collection. Some were damaged by water, and rest were given away. I have sample late 1800's different covers used. The maps are all gone. I know they went to the Salvation Army too.
Sandra still liked collecting something. She went on to collect teapots. I still have those. I've only broken and couple over our 44 years together. We always enjoyed putting out the several Christmas teapots. Many of the teapots have a history of who gave them to her. One is from England, that her Uncle Oscar brought her when he was in the Air Force over there. I decorated one to memorialize our wedding in 1975.
My collecting continued with Beach Boys CD's, but in the 1990's I got real interested in books about Abraham Lincoln, a later the Civil War. I have a large collection of Civil War Naval History books. I haven't purchased any since last Fall. My two 4'X4' bookcases are now filled with those books and overflow elsewhere. I have read a bunch of them, but not all yet.
Sandra's hobbies included making pillows, baby blankets and burp rags. She was pretty good at making curtains, and even drapes once for our first house at Herrick. I was her partner usually. I would help lay out the material and measure and iron the hems. I never learned to use her sewing machines. I have her original Singer that she used to make a dress for home economics in high school.
She loved doing crossword puzzles, and was very patient with them.
I like to make paintings, but have gotten lazy about starting any. I also like doing handyman jobs, and have done a lot over the years. We raised a garden at Herrick, but never did again after we moved to Windsor and Charleston. We owned a pop up camper, and enjoyed going to Ramsey State Park near Herrick. It was beautiful down there.
I think the things she liked best were teaching kids, especially preschoolers. After we got Lacie and Justin, our time was devoted to them. We really never used baby sitters, and daycare didn't work out so well. When we would go to Charleston for weekends, Lacie would stay with her mom at Grandma Marjorie's, and Justin and I would hang out at Grandma Louise's. It was special if we would be home on a weekend.
Sandra and I stuck together for forty four years. We had a few squabbles, but nothing serious. Making up was always a fun thing. I think the thing that was hardest for Sandra was when her parents passed away. She was the oldest child, and when her father passed away she was listed in his will as executor. Her brother Phillip helped her. We lived out of state, and Phillip actually had to do most of it. The probate stuff was very slow and tedious. Her mom and dad left Sandra with a nice life insurance payout. She shared it with the other brothers and sisters.
The worst event of her life was when her baby sister, Pamela, was killed in a car accident. She was on a trip to nearby Champaign when evidently she fell asleep at the wheel and his a pickup head on. The was bad for Sandra. Pam and she were very close, as she was with Brenda. Sandra helped her mother take care of these two when they were babies.
My saddest events were when my dad died at age 70 of a "big heart attack." I was with him that day running errands. He even drove. I always thought that was nice that I spent the day with him. We even went over to see his sister that day in Mattoon. I wish he had told me more of his life history. I guess I never asked.
My brother, Red, passed away from liver failure. We had gone to Lansing, KS to see him a month or so before his death. He was two years younger than me. My mom passed away in March of 2001. I was at school in Herrick and got the phone call from her nursing home that she was being taken to the hospital at Mattoon. I was about fifty miles from Mattoon. I made the long trip and got there while she was still in the ER. When I walked into the ER room, she responded to me. I knew she knew I was there. She was taken upstairs to ICU and put on ventilator. She passed away shortly after that. My Aunt Dorothy Taylor was there with me. Sandra had to take care of the kids, and left a little early. I have very high respect for nurses. The R.N. told me that her organs were dying, and it might to be good to remove the ventilator. I did so. Mommy was gone.
Sandra's mother, Marjorie was in a nursing home and then Carle Hospital, and her body just gave in. Her father, Peter, was in a nursing home and in hospice. He lived for a long life. These two deaths were hard for Sandra and all of us.
Well, I took care of the sad things in our lives. Sandra was tough as nails. She was told she had lupus in 8th grade. She got over it and returned to school, but shortly after she had a big flare-up and missed a year of school. She made up that year at Westfield High School and graduated as valedictorian in 1962. I always told her she was the smartest. I graduated from Charleston High School in 1965 in the top 25% of my class. That helped me get a teachers scholarship. Sandra got one too. We were both smart in different ways. I was artistic and verbal, while Sandra was analytical and verbal. She also was artistic. Girls can use both sides of the brain simultaneously, if you didn't know.
We had happy times with birthday parties, new niece and nephew showers, our own showers, but we never really had a wedding anniversary party. I thought we would on our 25th and then our 40th, but nothing much. On the 40th, we went to the jewelry store and got a replacement wedding/engagement ring. Sandra's diamond had fallen out of her band previously, and we chose the ruby, representing the 40th anniversary. That was purchased in Southaven, MS. The ruby was in the shape of a heart. I may get the diamond replaced in the old band, if I can remember to do it. That will go to a granddaughter some day.
Sandra could remember birthday dates. I couldn't. I have to think about my own kids and grandkids. I have trouble remembering numbers and dates, and always have. She would send birthday and Christmas cards to lots of people. I still have her address books, but can't remember the dates. Sorry to those who got the cards, and donít get them still.
This book is coming to a close. I will add one or two more chapters when I sit back down again and start typing. I would like to tell of our last few years together, and how much things changed for us. See you in Chapter Sixteen. Keep happy and safe.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN Coming Soon
I have the warmth of the sun
This could very well be the final chapter of my personal story book. It all depends how the memories flow in. I would like to start with describing what made Sandra and I the most happy and contented.
I donít think we had feelings of boredom. Simple things like getting in the car and driving somewhere to get out of the house seemed to be good many times. As we got older in Mississippi, we would go to Cracker Barrel restaurant at least once a week. The one in our area changed management and just wasnít good anymore. The help was still good, but the food not so much. Cracker Barrel in Illinois was consistently good in Illinois. We found a couple other places in Mississippi that were good, so we would drive to them.
I was into technology and would go to Staples in Mattoon quite often for this and that. I havenít told about it yet, but I got into making print books. My first book was about old time news gathering in Coles County, Illinois. Basically, it was a history of my mom and the Lynch family news gatherers. I would spend Sunday afternoons and some summer days when not in school to do research on the microfilm machines. Sandra would be at her parentsí house in Charleston. They were the Grubb family, and were avid game players. I never was into playing games, and didnít join in with them.
My mom helped me with the first book and after it was published she also helped me sell it. Actually she paid for the printing at Staples, and I paid her back. The second book would be a year later and was a larger project concerning the ďWhen the Gong Rings,Ē a history book about the Charleston Fire Department. My dad had left two large boxes full of envelopes with articles and pictures within them. It was organized chronologically. He always wanted to make a book but died at age 70, and never got to it. I used his files and with me ancient computer and scanner, scanned the material, put it into pages, and turned it into a huge website.
I had been doing webpages since my days at Cowden-Herrick, and still have my large website. I created an online Fire History website and a 360 page accompanying book. My mom helped me sell it. On these book projects, I didnít make a lot of profit, but now have two nice family-connected history books.
I really got into studying and researching Abraham Lincoln. I decided to make a third book, starting with an online website about the 16th President, the Civil War and the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. The print book was very long and connects with the website. I thought it was a nice concept, so I included a CD with the website link. I sold it, and it paid for itself.
Sandra was into making pillows, and actually made several. We thought about selling pillows, but she got to the point where sewing was getting hard for her, and her sewing machine was wearing out. She just made pillows for family.
As far as our car trips, we liked to go for rides during the early evening. We went to several yard sales. We would make trips to see her sister Brenda, her grandmother in Danville, and over to the Bloomington, Indiana area. I know this lifestyle seems a little slow, but it kept us happy, and thatís what counts.
Back in 2016, we decided to look for a new house in Mississippi that would have a garage. We looked in Hernando, where our kids had settled. It was about 12 miles south of our first Mississippi home in Southaven. Houses were hard to get here. We listed the old house and sold it quickly, but we hadnít found a new house yet. We looked and looked. Finally our agent found one in Hernando, which was very nice. It had a garage as I wanted, and it had nice floors and all the other amenities. It had an upstairs attic area not-finished. We saw it, made an offer and purchased it almost the same day. When the old house closed, the new house closed the same day. That was good planning.
Sandra and I never had a problem making big decisions. We got married, bought houses, adopted two children, and made a second out of state move. Sandra did not like winter in Illinois anymore. She loved the warmth of the South. I missed the snow and cooler weather up north, but realize the summer temperatures and humidity in Illinois was sometimes extreme also.
Sandra was now having trouble with her legs. The doctors couldn't ever figure out why. She could walk ok, but couldn't walk long. She also would get dizzy when sitting in the car too long. In the last few years she developed double-vision. This happens to older people. The muscles in the eye get weak. She had a difficult time getting glasses to correct it, but for a few years she did have some. Sandra's hearing got really bad. Ear Nose and Throat specialists probably put too many tubes in her ears. In the last few years of her life, she had hearing aids, and that allowed her to hear. She had lupus when she was young, with a couple flare-ups in later life, but actually it didn't show up in blood tests in her last years. The old time doctors put her on prednisone, and except for ten years after we got married, she was on it for the rest of her life. Her adrenaline gland would not function.
The doctors were amazed that she didn't have bone degeneration, and other problems from the prednisone, but she didn't. Nothing she had were directly caused by the drug. She did have a poor immune system.
We continued with our low key life style, and enjoyed our new house. Sandra loved our Kia Sedona van and we just moved around town with our lifestyle interests. She couldn't walk a lot, so we couldn't do walking trips. I was happy and contented with what we did. After moving to Mississippi, we had church in the house every Sunday, except when we went up to Illinois to visit. It worked well, and we never missed, except when one of us was sick. Sandra was very particular about church going. She didn't go for the big city-type churches, and I was like her.
Lacie and Mike surprised us when they had their second baby girl, October 30 of 2018. Her name would be Rowen Everly. Sandra and I took care of Rowen during her first months after Lacie's maternity leave ended. We made good partners in caring for the baby. I did most of the lifting, while Sandra prepared bottles and food. Rowen loved her Grammy, but now cannot remember her. On the other hand, though, Ainslie Grace remembers her well. She is now six years old. We had taken care of Ainslie after maternity leave as well. I thought it was good to do this, so that the granddaughters would have strong memories of us, but Rowen will have to be told.
In December of 2019, Sandra's health went downhill. She started with congestive heart failure and had a hospital visit. She constantly had a cough, and we thought she had heart failure again, but they told us it was pneumonia. She was released in early January from that first hospital visit. We celebrated New Year's Eve in the hospital for 2019 and she was still in on New Year's Day. They said she still had a touch of pneumonia, but sent her home with an antibiotic. The doctor ordered home rehabilitation after that first visit. Sandra seemed to improve, and did the physical therapy three days a week for almost three weeks. On the last Friday of the second week, I believe, she got sick again. I took her back to our hospital. She was in the ER for 1 1/2 days and was moved to the ICU. She had double pneumonia. She got worse quickly. The doctor said she was not getting nourishment for some time, even though she ate. We ate good at home. I did not understand that, but had to do with her weak heart. She was having more and more problems breathing, and on January 23, 2020 was put on a ventilator. She asked for it. We both had medical orders on file, that said no prolonged equipment-based care without a good chance of improving. The doctor told Sandra that she couldn't be cured. They were giving her multiple antibiotics and a blood transfusion. He said she needed a ventilator, and Sandra said "put it on." The doctor said she could be on it a maximum of five days. Sandra only was on it four days. She passed away peacefully.
About her pneumonia, I now wonder if she could have had Clovis 19. I'll never know, but in late December the President stated he thought it was all a hoax, so people were not getting tested for it. With all her health problems in her last few years, maybe it wasn't. We'll never know. I'm just so glad Sandra didn't have to go into a nursing home her last days, and doesn't have to sit in our house not seeing anyone now. Her medical power of attorney for health, determined her fate. She told me much earlier I would probably outlive her. I said, "Oh, I don't know about that. Let's don't plan on that." She was 75, and I am 72. We talked about the age difference and her health when we decided to get married in the car in October of 1975. I'm glad that we got married. Things could have gone different for both of us if I had taken a job offered me for Effingham when I student-taught, and not had gone to Tower Hill. Sandra chose to move to Pana from her first job at Oakland, Illinois. We made the right moves, and our next forty-four years life history would go on.
I'll probably remember new things I could have included in my story, but what life story is ever 100% complete. I tried to remember everything correctly.
I would like to conclude with the last stanza of "The Warmth of the Sun" by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.
love's like the warmth of the sun