Remembering Gladys

Back in February when I wrote of the difficulties Roland and Glady had, it felt a bit like a betrayal. As their grandchild, I think I can vouch for the rest of my generation when I say that both Roland and Gladys were super people (in fact, we even share Super Grandma stories…but more on those in the months to come).

So now is my time for restitution. Because this upcoming week is Gladys’ birthday—she would have been 101—she is our person of the week. There’s a lot of great stuff to talk about because, after all, she was Super Grandma.

Gladys was born on April 27, 1911, to Earl and Maggie (Laing) Gulick. She and her older brother Ralph grew up living right next door to her grandparents Perry and Fidelia Gulick, and just a farm or two away from any number of extended Gulick relatives.

This family togetherness was part of Gladys’ growing up. Her first cousin, once removed, was Golda Gulick McBride and, being just a year apart in age, the two were always close friends. Much of what we know of Gladys’ childhood comes from stories Golda shared with Jerry many years later.

“When she was little, she had a pet chicken,” says Jerry. “In the cold weather, it slept on top of the horse to stay warm. One night it froze to death. Her brother Ralph must have done something to tease her about it because she got mad and chased him with a butcher knife. She had a bit of a temper. She got that from her mother probably.”

Childhood wasn’t always easy for Gladys. Her parents had marital problems and for many years, from when she was 5-11 years old, she and Ralph lived next door with their grandparents. By that time, Grandpa Perry had suffered a stroke and wasn’t in his right mind. As the story goes, once Ralph was working in the field and when he took a break under a tree, he looked up to find Perry standing over him with an ax. Perry also was said to have gotten up during nights and done strange things such as setting the table for a houseful of company.

According to Golda, Gladys was afraid of Perry. Her bed was at the top of the stairs and she slept close to the edge in case she had to get out fast.

Eventually Gladys’ parents divorced. Earl remarried a woman named Clara (White) Swanson, who came as a package with four daughters (one of whom would later marry Ralph).

“For a while she (Gladys) moved in with Earl and Clara, so she had some stepsisters to try and get along with. I don’t think she lived with them too long,” says Jerry. “She got passed around. But not as much as one of Clara’s daughters, Francis—she was sent off to relatives in Chicago, then over to Bay City, then back again, then back to Bay City. There was quite a bit of that going on back then—families splitting up and they couldn’t take care of all the kids.”

Life was transitional for Gladys during her young adult years as well. For a while she lived with her mother Maggie, who had moved to Lansing and remarried to Jim (JR) Adams. Then, for a while she lived with her brother in a house next door to Maggie and Jim. She quit high school after 10th grade and began business classes at Lansing Business University.

I ask Duane and Bruce if they had heard many stories of their mother’s younger days. They both say no, Gladys didn’t talk much about it.

“She had her hands full just trying to keep Duane in line,” banters Bruce. We all get a good laugh from that.

But really, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. In 1929, Gladys married Roland and within a few years was the mother to three young boys. On top of that, her husband was often gone from home and she worked whatever job she could during the difficult times of the Depression. So, yes, Gladys had her hands full.

“When she could find some relaxation and fun, she had it,” says Jerry. “Just to keep her sanity, I guess.”

Coca Cola Girls

Coca Cola Girls 1930’s. Gladys (the Amos Boys’ mother) is in lower left

Over the years Gladys worked many jobs, including a job as a Coca Cola girl installing bottle openers in people’s homes. Most of her jobs, however, were office positions. When she worked as a bookkeeper for Liberty Highway, the manager provided her with a pickup truck because she had no other way of getting to work.

“The fellow that managed that truck company was very nice to her and always willing to help her any way he could,” says Bruce.

I’m thinking she must have been a valued employee, if the company was willing to provide her transportation.

“Yes,” says Jerry. “She was good at her job. She knew what she was doing.”

Eventually, Gladys got a job with the Michigan National Guard and worked there until she retired in 1966.

“When she got with the National Guard, that was the best paying job she’d ever had up to that point,” says Bruce.

“Yeah, she made a lot of friends there,” adds Jerry. “She worked with a lot of big shots. Colonel Case was her boss and she fixed him up with her friend, Joyce. They (Case and Joyce) eventually got married.”

In 1949, Gladys had been divorced for a couple years when she met a man named Emil Messerschmidt. He ran a meat packing plant. Emil and Gladys married and she moved her then-teenage boys into his big house. They weren’t married long however.

Duane and Hack, 1949

“I went down to Indiana before they got married. Then I went in the Navy. So I didn’t really know him or what went on there,” says Duane.

“He kind of liked to run everything,” says Bruce.

“People called him Hack,” says Jerry. “He’d get cantankerous. He could be pretty gruff and was used to bossing everyone around. Mom was pretty independent. She didn’t appreciate anyone bossing her around, outside of her boss at work.”

I ask if that independence was her personality? A trait acquired out of necessity? Or, maybe both?

“Back then most families were pretty traditional. She was ahead of her time,” says Jerry. “Most people assumed then that the woman stayed at home and took care of things, and the man made the money and made the decisions.”

“It was essential for her to work and be in charge,” says Bruce. “She brought us boys up basically on her own.”

Did the Amos Boys get their strong work ethic from their mother?

“Undoubtedly,” says Duane.

“I would think so, yes,” says Bruce.

“She had a lot of energy, I know that,” says Jerry. “She would work all day, come home, and then she was always rearranging the furniture.”

“Well, she had to keep Duane out of trouble,” says Bruce. “Really though, looking back, you have to give her a lot of credit. She put up with a whole lot raising us boys.”

In 1965, Gladys married again. She married Leo Klotz and when it comes to nice guys, she hit the jackpot. Leo had been a security guard during his working days and was active in the Moose Lodge, as was Gladys. Together they enjoyed a busy social life with lots of friends. Sadly, they were only married three years when Leo died of a massive heart attack.

As we look at Gladys, we see a woman who took the good things in life along with the sometimes-not-so-good. From there, she went ahead the best she knew how.

And she loved her boys.

Somehow, as I’ve acquired family mementos, I was given this note. It’s a thank-you written by Gladys to her boys and it’s really special. I think these few words say more of who she was as a person than anything we can write.

In 1987, Gladys noticed she was having trouble managing the treasurer’s position she held at the Cedar Place Retirement Community where she lived. Medical tests revealed she had an aggressive brain tumor and not long to live. She moved in with Jerry and Elaine, and on March 27, 1988, she peacefully passed away.

She was one month from her 77th birthday.

Happy birthday to Super Grandma! What special memories do you have to share?


Happy Birthday Jerry!

Art by Ryan Menary

Art by Ryan Menary

It’s birthday time again!

Tomorrow, March 24, is Jerry’s birthday and he thinks he might be mowing his lawn. Surely, that doesn’t happen often. But this year our Midwestern weather has been unseasonably warm and Jerry’s got a large lawn to mow.

Here’s how Bruce starts this week’s conversation with Jerry (after the usual talk of weather):

“So, how old you gonna be this week, brother?”

“Seventy-six. But I’ll have to check with Elaine. I can never remember.”

“You’re catching up to the old guy (Duane). And now, this week we get to talk about the runt.”

Which makes everyone laugh.

Jerry, 1940

Here’s Jerry, about 4-years-old. Isn’t he cute? And look, red hair!

Jerry, 1940

“They always called me the runt,” says Jerry. “I was smaller because they continually pushed me away from the table and ate my food.”

Oh, such brotherly love. And according to Duane, this is love they showered with great abandon.

“Bruce, do you remember the day Jerry was born? We were tossed out of the house. It was cold outside and we were mad, so we stood there throwing rocks at the house,” says Duane.

But that’s okay. As the story goes, all was well inside the house as the boys’ Aunt Laura assisted the intoxicated, old doctor H.M. Smith to deliver Gladys’ third baby boy.

So Jerry may have had a “rocky” start. He may have been small. And for many years of his childhood he may have missed out on the “good influence” of his older brothers. But he certainly didn’t lack for adventures of his own.

Maggie and James Adams

Here’s a picture of the boys’ Grandma Maggie and her second husband, James (JR) Adams, (remember Jerry lived with them until he was 12). Take notice of that white building in the upper right corner. It’s a grain elevator.

“The farmers would bring stuff there and get it ground for their animals,” says Jerry. “My buddy Vern and I used to go there at night. There was a crawl space underneath, about three feet high, and a lot of grain would filter down through the floor. It was full of rats. We would climb in there with our flashlights and BB guns and shoot rats. It was really fun.”

In spite of this UN-appetizing story, it’s important to note that food is a topic that always comes up when talking about Jerry (his wife says anyone who eats with him wonders how he can be so skinny).

This takes us to Elaine.

At a junior high dance, Jerry met this cute girl named Elaine Hotchkin, and from then on life was never the same. He and Elaine dated through junior high, senior high and college—how’s that for longtime sweethearts!

Jerry & Elaine 1951

Jerry & Elaine, 1951

“I would check with both moms (his and Elaine’s) to see what they were having for dinner. Then I’d take my pick,” says Jerry. “Elaine’s mom was a real good cook.”

And what’s this? Jerry’s report card? It’s been said Gladys didn’t try to raise brain surgeons. Obviously, she didn’t overshoot her expectations. Yet, in spite of this illustrious academic career, Jerry did go on to college.

“I remember in the 10th or 11th grade, I was talking to an older guy at Benny’s, and he was asking what I wanted to do,” says Jerry. “I was kind of interested in carpentry.”

The man agreed Jerry would always have work in carpentry, but if he went to college he would have more options later if he changed his mind. So after graduating high school in 1954, Jerry then went to Michigan State College (now MSU). Initially, he studied conservation.

Jerry 1954

Elaine 1954

“During my freshman year of college, they had a bunch of people come in that worked for the conservation department,” says Jerry. “I heard that when everyone else was hunting and fishing, you’d have to be working, and job opportunities didn’t look that good. So I switched over to education.”

I wondered what attending college was like back then—like how much was tuition and how did Jerry pay for it?

“I lived at home with mom and commuted back and forth because it wasn’t very far,” says Jerry. “Back then I could make enough money in summer working at the Capital City Lumber Yard—I worked in the mill room—I could make enough to pay for my books and tuition.”

Get this: Tuition then was $55 for all the credits you could handle.

Jerry & Elaine's Wedding, 1957

While Jerry went to college, Elaine worked as a payroll clerk for the Lansing School Board.  On June 22, 1957, before Jerry’s senior year, they were married.

Jerry graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He’s had an interesting career teaching everything from shop, industrial arts, state and world history, and science, to 7-12th grade students.

His first teaching position was at Lyons-Muir, northwest of Lansing, and his salary was $4200. From there, he taught in Paw Paw, Lake Fenton, and finally at Waverly, where he taught for 24 years before retiring in 1989.

During all these years of teaching, Jerry and Elaine’s daughters Jerri Lynn and Jenny were born—Jerri Lynn on March 21, 1959, and Jenny on August 9, 1961. And in 1965, the family bought a big farmhouse on 33 acres in rural, northwest Lansing.

Jerry Lynn & Jennifer, 1967

“It was exciting for us and the girls to be out in the country,” says Jerry. “We had pigs and cattle. We had a pony that was smarter than we were. We called him Chocolate Drop because of the things he left behind in the field.”

Jerry and Elaine’s daughters feel the same. Of course, what they write about Jerry says so much more than anything I’ve written. So let’s take a look.

Jerry, Jerry Lynn, Elaine, 1980

Jerri Lynn

When I was a kid I used to brag to my friends “MY dad can fix ANYTHING!” It was a perfectly legitimate brag as he really can fix anything. I also used to irritate my friends by countering things their comments with “well, MY dad says…” and “MY dad knows everything!” Now that might have been a slight exaggeration (at least at that early point in his life) but it certainly seemed like he knew everything. Other people were always coming to him for advice, he could answer all sorts of questions and explain all kinds of things, and even get family members out of scrapes.

My dad also knew how to play all kinds of wonderfully fun things. He was always a lot of fun. He put on magic shows, entertained people with his silly antics and jokes, ran around outside playing kick the can after dark, and spent a lot of time on the floor timing my sister and I in wrestling matches. He was always coming up with ideas for projects to throw ourselves into like shooting a frame-by-frame movie of us kids scooting around on our bottoms pretending to be race car drivers.

Both my parents made growing up a lot of fun. We were allowed to do all kinds of things—from remodeling the granary into a playhouse to climbing around on the beams way up high in the barn, to camping out in the field for days on end. They were very supportive of any idea I had. They were behind me even during times when other parents would have put their foot down—instead they were helping me make these things happen: running an underground newspaper, dropping out of high school, starting my many businesses. It made me feel like my ideas and priorities were respected and important. It made me feel smart and competent. (I was brought back down to earth later, but it was a great feeling and still shapes my willingness to try new things.) My dad was always a great advocate for womens’ rights. He was very clear when we were growing up— girls should be able to do anything that boys can do.

Some of my earliest memories of my dad are from our house in Lake Fenton where we lived until I was through kindergarten. It seems like he was always working on that house. When I was real young I remember following him around repeating over and over like toddlers do “What are you gonna do dad, what are ya gonna do?” I loved to go with him to the lumber yard and the hardware or his shop classroom. I love the smell of fresh-cut wood and those are still my favorite sorts of shopping.

I remember him taking my sister and I somewhere where there were farm animals and he had to hold us both up high because a mean billy goat was charging with his horns down. I think he pinned my dad to the barn but we were safe. I remember him fighting a grass fire there in the field across the street with lots of neighbors. (That together with our family putting up hay every summer with the Wells family and my mom organizing our little town’s chicken bbq’s has instilled in me a longing and love for situations where I am part of a group of people working hard on a project together.)

My mom and dad always had lots of friends and our house was full of friends and relatives. There were big meals around the table and always some exciting project going on. My dad and Harry Wells were always buying animals of some sort at the auction (experimenting at being farmers as I know my dad grew up a city boy.) They were also always buying men toys like tractors, dump trucks, front loaders. My dad and another science teacher John Winn were always staying up late planning out new ways to teach their middle schoolers science with all kinds of neat little hands-on activities. They also put a lot of energy into thinking up mischevious little tricks to play on administrators and colleagues.

As I got older my favorite times with my dad were when we were working on a project together – building his canoe or roofing an outbuilding. He taught me how to cut in when painting, how to drywall, shingle, build walls and wire switches. He helped me remodel the day care centers and work on my houses. We don’t really do many projects together like that anymore. He thinks I’m too busy. Perhaps if I retire soon enough we can work on projects again.

My other favorite thing to do with my dad is discuss ideas, science, politics, religion etc. He is very well informed – he spends half his time reading and writing little notes, I think! There aren’t a lot of people that like to discuss those things so it is always a treat.


Jenny and Pete’s Wedding, 1984, with Hillary (Shelley’s daughter) and Jerren (Jerry Lynn’s son)

From the young skinny kid living on the wrong side of the tracks pursuing the cute confident girl from the other side of town, to the hard-working teacher supporting his wife and two girls, my dad always keeps things fun and interesting.

Dad was forever telling stories. When we were little he told us he had an alter ego and that by day he was a mild mannered schoolteacher but at night he became Chicken Man. He would make up stories about his escapades as Chicken Man to keep us entertained. I remember telling my friends not to believe anything he said. To hear him tell it, he is part American Indian. This supposedly explains why he has no hair on his chest. Dad also told me that at night our neighbors in Lake Fenton would hang their ten kids on the hooks in their hallway because they didn’t have enough beds to go around. Every time I went over to their house I looked at the line of hooks and wondered how they ever got any sleep.

Growing up our house was always full of people. Mom made it an inviting atmosphere with a nice comfortable house and good food and Dad was the entertainment. From his stories to his magic tricks (glass through the table, floating ghosts, going though walls) he was always a hit. Our birthday and Halloween parties were always the greatest. In the summer we would have picnics in the yard and cool off in the horse tank that dad had converted to a swimming pool. In the winter we would build snow forts, have snowball fights and ride the manure skid. Dad was the biggest kid of all.

I remember at bed time never wanting to go to sleep so Dad would be wrestling around with us causing mom to complain that now we would never go to sleep. But dad would carry us off to bed, tuck us in and sing to us.  His favorite was Old Black Joe. We would drift off to sleep thinking of our new adventures for the coming day while listening to Dad’s renditions of his favorite songs.

Growing up Dad was always there to support us. If we wanted to try something new he encouraged us. He was always at all of the school functions and sporting events cheering us on. He has done the same things for all of his grandsons.

Not everything was great though. Dad was always the one to get up with us on school days. He thought it was funny to start our day with that army wakeup song usually played by a trumpet. He would loudly imitate the trumpet sound with his mouth and then yell up the stairs that breakfast was ready. Now, in high school I just wanted to drink a Carnation Instant Breakfast and be done with it. But oh no, we had to have a full breakfast to start our day off right. It seemed like once a week we would have to..….wait for it…….choke down liver and onions. Are you kidding me???? For breakfast??? It was the worst. I think I am still emotionally scarred from that.

Dad always has a big project going that incorporates creative thinking and a lot of old fashioned hard work. Like taking an old farm house without electricity and heat upstairs and lots of work needed on the out buildings and making it the perfect place to grow up.  He was already great at the rehab stuff from his Industrial Arts degree and work experience but he also learned a lot about farming and the care of livestock and other farm animals (castrating bulls, fighting mean roosters, training biting ponies, corralling escaped cows, etc.). It was always fun and interesting living on the farm.

Some of his other projects included, building a racquetball court on the lower loft of the barn, starting me in the asparagus business to pay for my schooling, and one project that is still in the planning stages: converting the top of the old silo into a sky observatory.  Maybe he’ll start that in his 80th year. He has instilled in my sister and me the notion that anything is possible as long as you work hard and stay positive. That attitude has given me the confidence to undertake things in my professional life that maybe I wasn’t really qualified for but knew if I put in the work that I could succeed.

Jerri Lynn and I also got our love of learning and reading from him. He is always interested in learning more by reading and doing. I think that is what has kept him so young in mind and spirit. When he started to get interested in health and nutrition he not only changed the family’s eating habits (out went the Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, ice cream, white bread and pasta) and got us interested in physical fitness (paying us to run in 5 and 10K’s) but also decided to start a health food store on the farm. He really goes all out.

One of the things I admire about my dad is that he can talk to anyone. He told me once that the secret is to ask the right questions. He is great at starting a conversation and making anyone feel at ease. He is knowledgeable about a multitude of subjects so he is an interesting guy to converse with. I think his secret is that he is a great listener and he has a very open mind.

Dad has always been the go-to guy for questions on how to fix or repair anything. My husband Pete has made use of dad’s knowledge on a lot of our home improvements. He is always ready to lend a helping hand and has traveled to Illinois numerous times to help us with projects.

Dad has been the starring character in a lot of my boy’s papers and stories for school. We would travel to the farm to visit grandpa and grandma quite a lot when the boys were growing up. We would drive over to Lansing in the summer or on school breaks. One time after we got back to our house from a visit, I glanced outside and saw Kyle peeing on the neighbor’s flowers. I ran outside and asked Kyle why he hadn’t come in to use the bathroom. He said that he and Grandpa had done it on the farm behind the barn so why couldn’t he do it here?……..Thanks Dad. After another trip, one of the boys had to write a few paragraphs on what they had done over spring break. His response: “On my spring break my grandpa taught me how to play Craps.” I received a very interesting note from his teacher after she read that assignment.

I love his outlook on life and his continual quest for new knowledge.  Like he says, “I’ll try anything…..twice”.

And here’s a special word from Jerry’s grandson, Kyle:

I’m Kyle, Jerry’s grandson (Jennifer’s son). I’m twenty-three years old and I work in research in the Psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota. I graduated from Minnesota in 2010 and will be pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology this fall at either the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill or Arizona State University.

Ever since I was a child, my grandpa has always been one of my favorite people to talk to. He always has something interesting to say because he is always acquiring new knowledge. I don’t know anyone else who highlights and takes copious notes while reading for pleasure like he does. I’ve also never known anyone as curious and open-minded as him, especially at his age. Most people are set in their ways after a certain point and have their opinions and attitudes firmly in place, but my grandpa would never let that happen. He believes that there is always an opportunity to learn something new, no matter how much you know already.

Most adults treat children as intellectually inferior when speaking to them, which in some ways they obviously are. However, I vividly remember having many conversations about politics, science, and philosophy with my grandpa when I was a child. He had to dumb down the subject matter so that I could grasp the ideas, but what was unique about our conversations was that he expected me to contribute rather than simply absorb what he was telling me. He would ask my opinion of something or pose questions that made me think critically, something that most adults don’t do with children. I think that those conversations helped to spark my interest in philosophy, science, and academics in general. I’m certainly going to try to follow his example when I have children and grandchildren of my own one day.

And finally, isn’t that AWESOME artwork from Jenny’s son, Ryan? Check out more of his work here.


Happy Birthday Bruce!

February 27 is a big day for the Amos Boys—it’s Bruce’s birthday and he’s going to be 79. Happy Birthday Bruce!

Supposedly, this week’s conference call was supposed to be an hour long “Roast Bruce,” but I must say, Duane and Jerry went pretty easy on him. A few stories have come out over the weeks, and even though Bruce repeatedly claims they’re all hearsay, I’ll pass some of them along to you anyway. Like, say, the time things got a little “smoky” in their Grandma Maggie Adams’ chicken coop.

I’ll let Jerry clear the air (ahem) on this one:

“When Bruce was 12 or 13 he was visiting on Beaver Street (Maggie’s house, where Jerry was living). It was our step-grandfather Jim Adams’ birthday and he had received a lot of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Bruce thought we and some of our neighborhood buddies should have our own party so he borrowed a carton of Jim’s smokes. We crowded into a little chicken coop out back and smoked those cigarettes.

“After getting sick of the whole thing, we all went down the street to another kid’s house for something to drink. While there, we heard fire engine sirens and ran out to enjoy some excitement. We were shocked though, to see this big rig pull in to Jim and Maggie’s place. Someone had seen a lot of smoke coming from the chicken coop and called the fire department.

“A fireman took his big ax to the coop door and opened up to a large number of smoldering cigarettes butts on the floor. We boys were standing there innocently when the head fireman walked right over to Bruce. I don’t remember what he said but there weren’t any serious consequences that I know of except for a lingering bad taste.”

Here’s one of Bruce’s high school pictures. Isn’t he handsome?

Bruce's high school picture

There’s a story about Bruce’s high school years as well. Apparently, there are several versions, but we’ll go by how he tells it:

“Back when I was in junior high, I got in the habit of skipping school. When I got to high school at Eastern (High School), Duane started skipping right along with me. At the end of the first semester, the principal called us into the office and said Duane was a pretty good student until I got there. He made the statement that the school wasn’t big enough for the two of us.

“I went home and didn’t tell Ma I got kicked out of school. I just asked if she could get me into Sexton (High School) because that’s where all my friends from junior high were going.”

Sexton High School was a long walk across town for Bruce, but it turned out to be quite worthwhile because that’s where he met a very special someone—Coyla Jean McCargar.

Coyla Jean

Coyla, who went by Jeanie, grew up living with her grandparents in the very small town of Henderson, about 45 miles northeast of Lansing. During her high school years she moved to Lansing to live with her mother, and she graduated when she was just 16.

She must have been pretty smart to graduate so young, don’t you think?

“Not too smart,” says Bruce. “Not if she married me.”

Bruce and Coyla Jean

Bruce and Jeanie married that next January 1952, a month before Bruce turned 19 and a few months before Jeanie turned 18.

“She twisted my arm,” says Bruce.

Well, she obviously did more than that. By December of that same year, their daughter Vicki was born. Fourteen months later, in February, 1954, Shelley was born. And in July, 1959, Roland Scott was born.

When I ask Bruce what he enjoyed doing in his younger days, his response is that he was “never particularly smart, or never had any particular interests.”

“I just lived life as it came,” says Bruce.

I’m thinking Bruce is being a bit modest here, because it sounds like he worked hard and did well.

In the early years of their marriage, Bruce worked 40 hours a week delivering mail for the post office during the day, plus another 42 hours a week as the night manager for a McDonalds in Lansing.

“I was getting a little worn out and was going to quit McDonalds,” says Bruce. “But the owner asked how much I was making at both jobs. He offered me more money to quit delivering mail and just manage his McDonalds.”

Eventually Bruce was managing three Lansing McDonalds, and later, one in St. Johns and one in Corunna. He also owned shares in another McDonalds in Portland.

All of this is really interesting. But what’s even better is what Bruce’s children have to say about their dad. It’s very, very special.

Here a word from Vicki, Shelley and Scott.


Dad was always one of the hardest working dad’s we know. He always took his job seriously and did his very best. My guess would be his best work years were the one’s he spent at McDonalds in Lansing, which started as a second job (nighttime -after working at the Post Office all day). Eventually he became the supervisor of all three Lansing McDonalds that were owned by Ed MacLuckie.

Dad was a strict dad. If he whistled, you better come running. If he said you should be doing this or that, you better be doing just what he said. We all knew he loved us very much, but he was not a demonstrative man with his feelings…that has changed as he has aged. He shows more emotion now and says I love you. We always knew that he did, but it wasn’t said often when we were young.

Dad gave us all a strong work ethic which we have carried throughout our lives. He’s never been materialistic, he just looks to be comfortable and content.

Dad used to play men’s softball as a pitcher for many years and now he still enjoys watching. He and I have lots of conversations about my granddaughter, Makela, who is a 10th grader in high school and a great little pitcher. When Dad has been home to Michigan he makes sure he takes in one of her summer tournaments.

He is an avid reader…this year we got him a Kindle to move him into the technological world with his reading.

The love of Dad’s life now is his dog, Molly! She is a rescue dog that Scott found for him and they are inseparable.

Vicki, Jeanie, Shelley, Bruce and Scott, 1972


The first thing I really remember is my family living in a house with Grandma (Gladys) and Jerry and Elaine. I guess Dad worked nearby, but things must have been tough for everyone if we were all living together.

We moved to a house on State Rd. in north Lansing. I’m not sure if this was our next residence or not, but I remember having a dog and Dad making me go out back and feed it. The dog would run around my legs and I would get caught up in his chain and fall down. That’s when I first remember Dad saying “I’m gonna trade you in for a dog and shoot the dog.” That really scared me because I didn’t want to go away and I didn’t want the dog to die.

I think after that we moved to Coulson Ct. in south Lansing. There were lots of young families on that street with lots of kids to play with. When it was time to go inside in the evenings, Dad would whistle for us and it didn’t matter where we were, we could hear him and knew we’d better get our little butts home. Our parents made friends with lots of the other parents and there were always parties. The adults would dance and Dad was the best twister. He was also pretty good at hula hooping!

I guess I was a daddy’s girl because I always liked to help him with whatever he was doing. I’m sure I was in the way a lot, but I don’t ever remember him telling me to go away. We didn’t talk a lot when we “worked” together and I remember him saying that we could spend half a day together and I wouldn’t say a dozen words. (That’s because my older sister always felt the need to talk for me!) I’m sure I learned a lot of Amos expletives by helping Dad with his projects too.

Dad worked at McDonalds for several years. He took me to work with him one day when I was probably 7 or 8. It was before females were allowed to work there. I thought I was pretty special because I got to put the pickles on the hamburgers! I also remember Mom calling him at work a few times when Scott was a new baby, because we were being naughty. He would come home and get Vicki and I and take us back to McDonalds with him. The first time, he made us sit in the car while he went back to work, but his boss found out we were in the car and made Dad bring us inside. We got to do cool things in the back like cut the potatoes into French fries (yup, they used real potatoes way back then), help make shakes, and eat whatever we could talk Dad into.

Dad was the disciplinarian. Mom would say “wait until your father gets home!” so I would be in tears when Dad walked in the door. He always said all he had to do was scold me because that was harder on me than getting spanked. Dad was not very good at verbalizing his love for us. If we would say “I love you Dad” he would say “me too” or “mmhmm”, but we knew he loved us by his actions. He’s gotten over that over the years and doesn’t have any trouble saying “I love you” now.

We moved to St. Johns when I was in the third grade and lived on a farm and we all got horses. Vicki and I were in 4-H with our horses and Mom and Dad were very involved. We would take our mares down the road to another farm to be bred. Dad thought it would be a good educational experience for me/us (I don’t remember if Vicki was there) to watch. Mom wasn’t too happy about that when she found out!

When we had friends over, Dad would always stare at the top of their heads when he talked to them, which made them very nervous! (I bet he did it to you cousins too.)

I worked for Dad at McDonalds for awhile and all the other employees thought I was a great person to voice their complaints to, hoping I would go home and tell Dad. I tried…once….

Dad was always there for us kids, even when he wasn’t too happy with us, and always gave us good advice, even when we didn’t want it. He still treats me like his little girl…love you Dad!


I worked at McDonalds also when I was 9, working every other Saturday picking up papers in the neighborhood. After I was done doing that, I got to help out inside. Filling buckets with potatoes, slicing potatoes, putting ketchup & mustard on the buns, making shakes & eating pretty much whatever I wanted. I got sick on cherry pies when they came out.

Dad would ground me and after a couple of days mom would let me off but said, make sure I was home before Dad got home.

Happy Birthday from all of us!