Catching Up With The Family

This past June, we had lots of company. Tina, Miley and Austin came down again for a visit. Ed couldn’t get out of work. My Niece Julie, and daughter Jaylea, also came for a short week. It was her High School Graduation, and her 18th birthday. We all had a Great time. Tina and the kids arrived first.

They boarded a Southwestern plane in Chicago at Midway Airport. They had a stop in Houston but without a plane change. They went to get something to eat and drink and on the return the Captain invited them in the cockpit.

Of course Tina was shocked. The pilot actually left them alone for a few seconds and Tina was afraid that Austin would do something and push some buttons…..lol. That would be just like him too. Way to curious on what things do. But it was so nice of the Pilot to let the kids do that. I’m sure it seldom happens. Tina was so excited to get here. She loves the sun. We did quite a bit of swimming in the pool. They all love the water. She took Dad shopping for Fathers Day. She bought him New Shoes, A Blackstone Grill, and Accessories.

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Caption says “#1 Daughter and Son in Law” Shoes and Grill…..Yes, she is a Character….
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These were all the accessories to the grill for cooking.

Rich has been cooking on it ever since and loves it. He said it was the BEST FATHERS DAY present she ever bought. Rich and Tina decided to go to Progresso. She had some dental work to do and also pick up some meds. The border is open to essential travel. So as long as you are going for medical, dental or meds, they don’t bother you. I stayed home with the kids and we went swimming and also got out the electric trike.

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The kids love my Electric Trike. They were racing it with the golf cart.

Julie and Jaylea finally came on the weekend. They drove almost straight through. They had never been down here before. This was actually the honeymoon period of the Covid. We were through our initial lockdown and were opening. Our restaurants had just opened at 50 percent. I kept Julie and Tina informed ahead of their arrival as to the changing rules and our counts. We all felt safe enough to still have fun but be careful. We tried to cram in as much as possible. Julie wanted this to be a very special vacation for Jaylea. She was a Senior this year and had missed all her activities and Graduation parties because of the Covid shutdown. Furthermore, she was going to be 18 while they were here. So we headed to South Padre Island.

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We boarded this boat for the Dolphin Watch and Eco Tour
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We rode clear out beyond the breakers. You can see the white beaches on the other side.
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A Family of 3
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They dragged a net to the bottom for about 15 min. Then they showed all the fish and things….lol… they caught. They gave a description of each one.

I always enjoy the Dolphin Watch cruises. It is always so interesting to see what they find. They cruise around for a long time trying to find the dolphins. They are usually pretty successful. After that we went to Pier 1 to eat. It is a restaurant built on the closed pier. This is where we decided to celebrate her birthday to her surprise. When we were done, The waiters and waitress’s brought out a piece of cheesecake and candle and sang “Happy Birthday”.

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Jaylea was so Embarrassed. We all enjoyed the surprise
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Happy Birthday Jaylea…..#18…. A Big Step. Now your an Adult. Your parents don’t have to be responsible for your any more……lol
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This is the doorway to one of the touristy shops. We went shopping for beach toys, and souvenirs
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View from the inside…..lol….
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We stopped at Claytons to have a few drinks. Julie, Jaylea, Miley and Austin went to the beach.
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Julie and Jaylea at the edge of the mat at the Beach Patrol truck was coming by.
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From Claytons we drove down to the end of the road. The sand is always blowing and drifting on the roads. They use snowplows to keep them clear. It is so beautiful. Many people just park and walk over the sand dune to the beach. The public beach access points cost now. So that’s what we did.

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They all had such a great time. everyone has fun at the beach.

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The beach was busy that day with many of these trucks running up and down the beach selling soft drinks and ice cream.
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Down the road aways, is the horse stables. You can rent a horse and go for a ride. They come across the road and ride up the beach and back. Its a very popular thing to do

Now their was one thing Julie really wanted to do. Parasailing. Tina wanted to do it also. I was not sure, and we thought Jaylea would go also. We had to wait for the weather to be good and the wind to not be to strong. Finally after being canceled once, our chance came. Julie actually parachutes out of planes. She is not a novice either. She belongs to a club in Illinois. She holds a “Class B” license issued by the United States Parachute Association. Student License are rated A-B-C-D and continue from their. She even holds a license # B48666. She has already done 216 SkyDives. She is amazing. I could never even begin to do that. Julie was so excited to do this. So we set out on the shuttle boat to take us to the boat that would take us up. We all had life jackets on. We decided Tina, Miley and Austin would go together and Julie and Jaylea would pair up. I chickened out and decided to be a spectator. We arrived on the boat and climbed aboard. Tina and the kids strapped into the harness apparatuses that you wear.

They release the shoot and the boat takes off. The Parachute gently takes you back and up and Awaaaayyyy…..

You ascend to 350 feet I believe. Now when the kids went up, I thought Tina had wanted to get dipped. I told the boat driver to dip them in the water. So we watched and they gently came down and Yes……They were dipped. When they were reeling them in Austin was crying. He lost one of his water shoes….lol….OMG. He had other shoes in the car, but he wanted that one. It turned out, Tina didn’t want to get dipped….lol…..To Late……...So Now it was Julies and Jaylea’s turn.

Julie was ready, but as the girl was putting the apparatuse on Jaylea, she got scared and so no. We tried everything……but no…she didn’t want to do it. So last minute decision…..Julie said “Do you want to go”? Yikes….Quick thinking…..Now or Never….”OK”….

So up we went. I was so glad I did it. It was fabulous. I will admit I felt a little sea sick, but it was fun. I would do it again. Julie was just elated with joy. She was giggling and laughing. She loves the heights. But I guess for me, its another check on the bucket list. We had 1 more important trip I wanted to show them. Boca Chica Beach, a beautiful untouched beach on the gulf. On the way is what’s left of Boca Chica Village.

In the 1967 the town was founded and called Kennedy Shores. Around 30 small ranch style homes were built. The settlement was devastated by Hurricane Beulah later that year. It destroyed the restaurant and public utilities. Electricity was restored but the water system never was. They have huge storage containers and have water trucked in at each home. In 1976 it was renamed Kapernik Shores. By 1990-2000 the population was only 26. As of 2008 only 6 people were permanent residents. Many of the houses were seasonal or some were rented out for seasons. In 2014 Space X owned by Elon Musk, selected the Boca Chica area to be the location for their new Space Port and Control center. Little by little, they are trying to buy out all the residents. Many did not want this, as this was their forever retirement home. But Space X is slowly getting their way. The sleepy little desolate town is now surrounded by a growing construction site. The Launch site is up the road several miles.

One of the rocket pieces in the Construction yard.
This is the Spacehopper. It was their first successful flight on August 19, 2019. It flew up to hover altitude and then moved sideways to land on a landing pad. Entire flight was 57 seconds.

They have moved the Spacehopper to the side of the road, so everyone can see it as they pass. It reminds me of a flying silo or grain bin. Something out of Wizard of Oz and the Hurricane. Their is a great Video on You-Tube. Now just a block past the launch site is the opening to the Boca Chica Beach. We parked on the sand and spent the next several hours playing in the water and sand. Many people were out their fishing and spending the day.

Pretty picture of Jaylea

Some of you might remember, Miley got stung last year by a Jelly Fish. It happened again.

Miley was in the water and came running up to me saying she was stung again. We went down by the water, and their it was. They can sting even when they have just died, so that is probably what happened. It was washing up on the sand and had just died. So what do you do with a Jelly fish if your Austin? You put it on your fishing pole as bait.

What a kid. It tolerated several casts of the line until it finally fell off and disintegrated.

Finally the morning came for Julie and Jaylea to make that 24 hour drive back home. We managed to be able to do many of the things I wanted to show them. But theirs more adventures for the future.

The girls look really happy.

The girls had to be exhausted. We crammed so much into their days. We even made it to the “Wall” at the Mexican Border. Now that is something everyone should see. They had a safe trip home, and Hope they had a good time…..

Please Come Back Again…. Their so much more to see and Do…..

Austin managed to get more fishing in. He so loves to fish. He really thought he would catch a shark….So Tina and I made 1 more trip back to Progresso.

We got up early one morning and left the kids at home with Grandpa. We didn’t want to take the kids with the Covid situation going on right now.
She so enjoyed eating in Arturo’s…..Illinois had their restaurants closed when she came down. So this was a treat to eat inside.

After we purchased the last of the things we needed and we ate at Arturo’s, we got in line to leave. Of course, being the Rotary person she is….and President now actually, at her home club….She spotted a Progresso Rotary Garbage Can.

Who knew they had Rotary in Progresso Mexico….I’m surprised she didn’t want to go to a meeting.

We spent the rest of the time swimming, shopping and packing the Motorhome for our trip back to Illinois. We were all heading back for a month.

This is the sight you see as you Float in the pool…..It is hard to see, but the leaves just glisten and twinkle in the sun as the wind blows……So pretty. So relaxing to float in the pool and look up to this beautiful site as the clouds slowly drifty by….

Kitty Has Crossed his Rainbow Bridge….

About 2 weeks ago, on August 6, it was time for out beloved Kitty who was 18, to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. He was our Kitty, our best friend, and even our little boy who never grew up. He had developed such a personality in his retirement years. He had learned to communicate with us by his actions and just how he looked at us. We carried on conversations with him as if he was talking to us. You know he even “cussed” at us at times when we didn’t serve him properly. Lol He was such a good friend and companion. He had been very sick in May, and we thought he would leave then, but he healed and went on to have a great family vacation with us in the MH, heading up to Illinois and visiting family. He enjoyed the trip, seen all the kids. He had a good time traveling and came back home and had 4 good days, sleeping in bed with us, sleeping on Dad’s (Rich’s) lap draped over the arm of the recliner. That has really consoled us as we know he had a last trip visiting his home he grew up in and visited the relatives. He felt good and had 4 more days back home sleeping in our bed, spending time on Dads lap and on top of me as long as I was covered in a fuzzy blanket.

Kitty’s last photo, laying on Dad’s lap, on the arm of the recliner. His favorite way to end the evening….actually also their way to spend the day watching westerns.

Kitty came to our house in the fall of 2002.  He showed up on our porch one day and never left us.  He was already full grown, so we assume he was probably a spring baby.  We didn’t want a cat, as we still had a dog, Draven.  He did not like cats.  I feed him on the porch and found a Styrofoam box for him to stay warm in.  He didn’t really use it, he just wanted to come in.  I checked all over town including the vet to see if anyone was missing him.  He was a beautiful cat.  He had beautiful white and black hair, and was plump and healthy so I assumed he had belonged to someone.  Well to no avail, nobody claimed him.  I started letting him in.  I would carry him to the sofa.  Draven would bark and was not very happy.  Soon they both learned to tolerate each other and Kitty became a house cat.  Because we couldn’t think of a name, we just kept calling him Kitty.  

During those years, Draven and Kitty learned to get along.  They were never really friends as they did their own thing, but they learned to respect each other.  When they both entered a room, they would go and run up to each other and either smell or bump noses.  I assume it was their way to say “Hello”.  

This was his life in the house…….SLEEP…..
Our Draven…..He was part Beagle, and Lab.

Draven was also a very beloved pet in our house. He slept with us and patiently waited everyday at the door for us to come home from work. Dogs have so much personality, just like little people. But after a long good life, he passed away also just before Christmas in 2010. It was a very very sad occasion. But he was ready. He had a stroke several years before, I would carry him outside and hold him up to pee. He knew what to do, but just couldn’t stand or walk. Little by little he started to gain his strength back in his little legs. I remember how excited he was to be outside standing weakly on his own. He would stubble along excited, sniffing the smells in the grass. When he came to a very slight hill, he stumbled like a drunken soldier to stay on his feet. Finally his strength came back, and he could run and play again. He developed a tumor under his leg after that, but he kept walking. They say a cat has 9 lives…..Well so do dogs…..

Kitty Playing on the Bed

After Draven passed, Kitty had the house to himself. He didn’t need our attention like Draven did. He played but really not lot. He wasn’t a climber, so we didn’t have to worry about him getting up on shelves and counters much. Sometimes he did, but he was a quick learner. He didn’t like the grandkids when they were little. He would take so much and then nail them with his claws. lol. When they became around 7 or so, he decided they were Ok. Yes, he made most of them cry and bleed a time or two. He had very sharp claws. I would buy him the cardboard scratchers and he would make such a mess. He loved them. He could shred them in short order. His only really bad habit was scratching on the wood work. No matter what we did, he would sneak and still do it. He destroyed our new wood work in the living room doorway. He spent time in our bow window in the living room and watch the birds in the tree. He loved looking out the entry way window also. But he never had a real strong desire to go outside. When he did, it would scare him.

He lived a good quiet life in the house. He was so quiet that one time we thought he was lost. We hadn’t seen him. I called and called his name. Searched all over in his hiding places even down basement. I walked around outside and around the block calling his name. I thought somehow he got out and ran away. About 3 days later, I needed to get into the hall closet. It is a very small closet. I opened the door and their he was laying on the bottom on a towel. He slowly got up, and simply walked out as if he had just got up from a nap. Now we had all walked by him many, many times and he never meowed. Crazy cat. But he never meowed, he was so quiet. The best behaved cat ever. Always used the litter box also. He was happy to just exist in the house. Then we decided to retire in 2014, and go full timing in the Motor Home.

Kitty wasn’t to happy about this. We started to train him by taking him on short camping trips. I remember the first time we left the driveway. He had never been out of the house, nor did he want to be held and carried. It was shock enough to go out in my arms, as he struggled, but you should have seen him when the MH moved. As we drove out the driveway, we twisted and turned to make the curve. He was looking up and I thought he was becoming the Exorcist Cat. He head was going 240, and his eyes was bulging and he was making an awful shrill loud “meoooooow”…… Can you imagine what he was feeling and thinking as he felt his world moving and churning and seeing trees moving out the windows that had never moved before?. Poor Poor Kitty. But he soon learned to love the traveling.

He started to explore his new world while traveling down the road.
He would explore but not stay up their very long.
This was his favorite place when traveling….He loved to sit by Dad on his footstool.
He always wanted Dad to pet him. He never asked me when I was in the passenger seat. He always wanted his Dad, the man who never liked cats……lol….
When we were parked his footstool was by Rich’s recliner so they could sit together. Then he started to become a lap cat. He would paw at him and then crawl up in his lap. lol..
He liked sitting on me when I was covered with the fuzzy blankets. This was his favorite in the MH. He loved his fuzzy blankets.
He also loved sleeping in bed during the day. This little stuffed animal was left by Cassidy for us when we left. Again, he liked the fuzzy.

The summer of 2016 we went to work for Adventureland in Altoona Iowa. It was a Fabulous summer. We decided to buy a yard fence so he could spend time outside in the lush green grass.

Poor Kitty, he looked so sad.

He never liked that idea, nor did he like the grass. He didn’t want to lay down. He didn’t know he could even jump over the top, as it was open. We tried several times but it just wasn’t something he liked.

We tried to train him to a leash and halter. Nope, he hated it too. He would pull backwards and back out of it. ……..But isn’t that such a pretty picture of him…….

While we were at Adventureland, we decided to take a long weekend, leave the MH and travel in the little S10 truck home. Oh how he hated that trip. The truck was so small, he was hyperventilating. We stopped and tried to give him a break outside and I thing it made him worse. It was a rough 5 hours for him. And then we had to go back……But he survived. In 2017, we went back to Illinois in the car from Harlingen Texas.

I bought him a soft sided carrier and left it on the seat open. He crawled in and decided he liked it.

We used the carrier for the trip. We put the back seat down and had his carrier right in the middle so he could see between the seats. His cat litter was in back and his food and water on the floor. I was worried that it would be a repeat of his little pick up truck trip. Only this would be a 24 hour trip. He was so good. I kept him in until we passed the check points about an hour away from Harlingen. After that, he roamed the back seat and enjoyed the trip. All our luggage in the back gave him a mountain to explore.

Of course he had to close to Dad, so he climbed under the seat between his legs while Rich was driving……Such a character.Their feet are touching
Here is Christmas Kitty…..He was NOT IMPRESSED with us at all.

When we moved into the trailer he had so much more room to explore. We started putting up the Christmas tree again. He has always been good around the tree. He liked to lay on the tree skirt.

Or if a bag or something was laying on the floor, he had to lay on it.

I found this note on my door one morning……so Hilarious…..From Kitty’s Lawyer, Roberta….lol..

Kitty had a babysitter here at Eastgate. Roberta would come in a feed him and spend time with him. We used her several times when we were gone for a week or more. She was so good. She knew just what he was thinking. Like a CAT WHISPERER. Roberta called him Dash for Dashboard Kitty. ……lol….After we bought the trailer, Rich built a Mancave on one side for him. This spring, he built me a She-Shed. So one morning when we got up, this paper appeared on the door. So Funny, Kitty had filed papers on us for the house…..He even gave us rules on his litter box and food. That Silly Roberta, she wrote up the petition for him and posted the paper. Kitty like any other cat was always experimenting to find new places.

This is the shower in the Motor Home
I walked into the Kitchen, and their he was sleeping on folded towels.
This was a row of 12 stapled solo cups. I was making Sparkle Balls. He had to climb in the middle.
We received something from Amazon…..He loved the big box. We saved it until the styrofoam was destroyed. He would lay in their and flex his toenails.
He liked little boxes too.
He thought he had a new friend.

The last year or so, he started slowing down, but I think he was getting smarter and smarter. He was communicating with us more and wanting much more attention and petting. He loved his neck, nose and forehead scratched. When I was laying on the sofa, he would put his paw on my arm and gently flex his toenails until I either petted him or feed him. He developed so much more personality. He started to eat more table food. He never cared before. He liked cracker and potato chip crumbs. Kitty wanted to lick our ice bar and popsicle sticks. Then it was lick our Ice Cream bowls. He liked to sample things. Not much but he would taste several licks or bites and then be done. He started to be demanding about his food. He had dry food as well as treats. He wanted more and more. He would stand in front of you and just stare. I told him he had to meow for food. So I started to meow. Low and Behold he started to meow. So that became his new thing. He would stare and then start a soft meow until you moved. I was his food person.

He learned how to ask for water. After all these years he even learned how to put his foot on his plate when eating so it wouldn’t move away…

When he got sick in May, he vomited and had severe diarrhea. He was so bad, I thought he was going to die. He slowly got better. I took away all dry food and treats and gave him only wet canned food. Pet Smart recommended Pumpkin Puree. It is good for the Digestive System. He loved that also. He finally felt better again and acted normal, but he lost so much weight. He started demanding more food. Every time you moved or got up, he went to his bowl. I started to feed him more often but he never gained much weight back. If it wasn’t for his long hair, he would have looked so skinny. But he was feeling good when Tina and the kids came. They were here for 10 days and then we all went back in the Motor Home to Illinois. He had a good time with the kids. He got to see all the kids and they all petted him. We stayed at Scott and Brandy’s one weekend to house sit. They have 2 big cats, Seymour and Clyde. I usually keep him in the bedroom, but I let him out to explore the house. Twice he found one of the cats. It was so funny, his hair went up, he became a lion on the prowl. He chased them around the living room. I bet he felt so good…..like a BIG FEROCOUS CAT…...He enjoyed the trip.

Sleeping in the area over the cab. He looks so comfy and peaceful.
He was so relaxed and content on the trip.
This photo was taken on the way home after a long day of driving. Kitty had to lay close to Dad again.

After we got home, Kitty had 4 good days before he got sick again. He ate good. He slept in bed with us. In fact one morning I got up and he didn’t even hear me. He was sound asleep. He usually starts his nite sleeping next to his dad. So you know what that means. Rich moves over closer to me so Kitty can lay next to him and spread his legs out. lol. Rich would have to pet him and then tell him it was time to go to sleep. He would be happy, lay their awhile and then move to the foot of the bed. Thus was his routine for most of our retirement years.

Sometimes we would catch him in our bed taking his day time naps.
Such a cute face.

Around day 5 after being home, he as usual demanded his breakfast. Late morning all of a sudden he started to violently vomit. He started to arch his back and stand their. Then the diarrhea started. He slept under the kitchen stool all nite and didn’t leave the area. He was having severe diarrhea all morning . He was so much sicker than in May, so we made the decision that he should not suffer anymore. After seeing him get so sick last time, we knew it was his time. So August 6th in the afternoon, he made his way across the Rainbow Bridge. It was a very very hard decision, but we knew it was the right one. We never dreamed when he came into our lives 18 years ago, we would grow to love him so much. Kitty retired with us and had 6 great years being a traveling Retired Kitty. He was never to old to learn new things to do. He would spend hours sitting in our laps, especially Dads, as we watched tv. He became so loveable but yet independent.

I’m sure if he could talk, Kitty would say, he had a very long and a very Happy Life….. He gave us years and years of love and companionship.

Love That face…..He would cover his face with his paw when he was in a deep sleep.

“Happy Birthday” Cameron “22”

Happy Birthday Cameron. This morning early, around 6:30 am, my phone rang. As usual it was Cameron calling as he worked. He generally calls me 2 to 3 times a week at this time. Finally he said, I’ve been waiting for you to tell me something…..OMG….I realized…IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY…That year went fast. Its hard to believe he is 22. I can still hear his mom screaming down the hall when she was in labor. lol. It wasn’t funny then, but it is now.

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This is one of my Favorite Pictures

He was such a little guy, but has grown to be as tall or taller as grandpa and probably heavier than him. This year has been an awful year for the country, but for Cameron, it has been good. He has had several jobs but has finally landed a job that he likes and is getting a great pay check. He works for “Humpty Dump”. Rather a catchy name isn’t it. I call it Humpty Dumpty

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Delivering a container to Tina’s house.

They are a container rental company. He loves it. He delivers, picks up and dumps at the landfills or transfer stations. When the container business is slow he can help out in the boat store which is also part of their business. The business is in Hennepin which is along the Illinois River. They sell and deliver grocerys to the barges as they travel the river. He is making good money and is finally paying his bills. lol. YaHoo!!!!

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Last fall Cameron bought a new car. It is a Kia Optima. Pretty nice car with all the bells and whistles. Today he came out of work and found Birthday messages all over the glass. Pretty funny…………

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Tina and the kids had did it. lol. Tammy came over to Tina and Ed’s after work and they had cake and Ice Cream.

Cameron worked for a local farmer/trucker last fall. He delivered water to pools or any place that needed a tanker full of water. He also got some great experience with the low boy, delivering heavy equipment.

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He’s sitting in the dozer here, but you can barely see him.

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During the holiday, Cameron drove down to Harlingen in his car with Tammy, Cassidy and Carly.

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Fishing on South Padre Island

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We took a boat trip on the Rio Grande River in Mission at the Riverside. It was a 2 hour trip on a beautiful day.

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Afterwards, we ate at the restaurant. Tammy and Grandpa ordered this big Margarita. Mom had to show the kids how to drink……lol….But Grandpa helped too…

Cameron drove back down in February thinking he might find a good job and go to Welding school. He decided after a few days that wasn’t going to happen. The pay scale here is so low, and he couldn’t afford Welding school at this time. So Cameron stayed for 3 weeks and helped Grandpa build my She-Shed.

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They worked faithfully during those 3 weeks. Cameron did a lot of the roof work. Grandpa’s getting older ya know…..lol…. Thank goodness you were here Cameron. It would have never been built that fast. Thank You for keeping Grandpa motivated.

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It turned out so cute….

When Cameron went back to Illinois, he got another job, driving a really big rig over the road.

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This truck had the big walk in sleeper. He learned many things with this job. Electronic logging, the function of the Qualcomm, and many other things about trucking and driving the big rig. But you might know it…………….Corona Virus was on the way. Loads slowed way way down. Some business’s closed. Can’t make money that way. So now he has a great job with “Humpty Dump”. With the Shelter at Home happening, many people have been cleaning out their houses and garages. Lots of remodeling. Yes he has been very busy delivering and emptying dumpsters. He drives all over the area, and is home at night. He loves that part. So what a year it has been.

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Cameron, Elvis, and his friend Andrew

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He is now 22, and can walk in a bar anytime and drink with the guys….lol…Yes Cameron, you are becoming a responsible ADULT…..So Proud….Life can be a struggle, but you keep plugging away. Your on your way now……Live Life to the Fullest….A Step at a Time….

……A few more Favorite Pictures…..

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Scott’s Wedding

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Tammy’s Graduation from St. Francis School of Nursing with her BSN

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Cameron’s best friend Larry, in Depue. He passed away with an asthma attack. Cameron has never forgotten Larry’s death.

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This was a High School Dance with his friend Maddie….He loved that hat….

Carly is Finally Home With Her Momma

Tammy has been home for several weeks now and has finished quarantine.  She did a Covid test and came out Negative…..Hallelujah….Life is beginning to return to normal….Well, Sort of….Carly was able to finally come home from Tina’s. Tina has been so good for Carly, and has taken such good care of her.  But she was now so excited to finally be Home with her mom. While Tammy was still in New York City, my niece sent me a pattern for crocheted Momma and Baby bear, dressed in nurses scrubs with face masks on.  So so cute.  I knew immediately who to ask to make them.

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Pam is a winter resident in Eastgate.  Yes, she was happy to crochete them.  Pam summers at Mendota Hills Campground not far from us at home.  Tammy and Pam both returned to Illinois the same days and completed their quarantine the same day.   Pam finished them after they arrived in Mendota Hills.  They all met at Hobby Lobby in Peru.

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See her face scars….Tammy bought her a New Bike…..Whoops she crashed..

Carly fell in love with them.  Pam said while Tammy and her talked, Carly put them in the seat belts for the trip home.  “Thank You Pam for making them, and Thank You Diane for sending me the patterns”.   For Mothers Day, Carly made her a Card.  She is so creative and artistic.

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Now Tammy has learned to be a home school teacher.  Since the Shelter in Home has happened all the schools have shut down.  Putnam Co has been holding classes on the internet.  Zoom is a program that has become extraordinarily popular across the USA for schools, entertainment industry and businesses.  The schools use it to hold classes as a unit.  At least they can see each other and communicate with the teacher and their friends.  Carly had a science project about Landforms.  She really took it to extreme to create her project.  She has such an imagination.  She was to create her Dream Island using different types of Landforms.

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To construct her Dream Island she took clay, molded it, and painted it inside a large Tupperware container.  She has an extensive amount of little animals and characters from her Fairy Gardens.

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You can see she includes a forest, the sea, a waterfall, cave and Palm trees.  She included a firepit, a boat on the ocean and all her little animals.   This is her Dream Island.  So Creative.  I think she deserves an A+ Tammy bought her an Art Easel.

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She wants to watch Bob Ross on TV now.  Who knows, maybe she is our next Budding Artist. wp-15902523113293984787536407489040.jpg

I asked Tammy about that face, as she looks mad…..Carly said, “That’s my Painting Face”….lol…Ok.  So this is the result.

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I don’t know where she got this at, but I rather like the stars.  So now school is over for 2019-2020.  The teachers had to clean out all the desks and lockers and give everything to the kids with their Certificate.  The kids couldn’t go inside, so the teachers met them all at curbside.

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Miley’s teacher met her at the window of the car.   Her certificate earned her an Award for “AGREEABLE ATTITUDE”  I bet theirs a story behind that.  lol.  This fall she will be in 6th grade.  Junior High is Swaney which is in the country south of McNabb.  Amazing she is in Junior High.  Doesn’t seem possible.  All our kids past through the halls of Swaney.  Now here comes the Grandkids…..Really has it been that long???

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Now we have Austin.  He will be going in the 4th grade in Hennepin.  His Award was for “GOOD CHARACTER”.….Really,  …lol…  Just look at that face….I think he is a duplicate for “DENNIS the MENACE”… Mostly the kids have adapted well this year to the sudden change.  The ones that really have been impacted is the Graduating Classes of 2020.  They have lost out on so much of their Senior Year activities.  Sports programs and Championships, Special Events like, Sweetheart dance and Prom.  So many of the things that make the Senior year so special.  They haven’t even had a Graduation Ceremony.  So many of the towns and schools have come up with great ideas.  Many have had drive by Ceremonies.  All cars line up.  As you drive up, the student exits their car in the cap and gown and walks to the area where they give out the diplomas.  Then the student returns to their car and drives away.  Such a shame, but its the best they can do.  Some towns are making Banners and Billboards and displaying their pictures.  Some schools even have the Superintendent going to each students house for a personal Congrats……These kids are in a special group that will forever remember their Graduation of 2020 amid a Covid-19 Pandemic.  They will have so much to talk about some day.

Even the Fire Departments have been so supportive of the kids.  All the Depts in Putnam Co have been doing Drive by Birthday Parades.   Imagine being a kid who can’t go to school, play with their friends, not even go to the store and visiting family and friends.  Then your Birthday comes and your told, …..No Party, No Friends, No outside Family…..That has to be like the end of the world.  The Fire Departments have been doing Parade drive by’s, flashing their lights, blowing their sirens, and wishing a Personal Happy Birthday over the PA.

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This is the post on the Granville Fire Dept. Page on FB the other day.

Granville Fire Department
May 21 at 9:27 PM ·
The Granville Fire Department has provided well over 70 birthday parades the last couple of months. We would like to thank all of our members and the community members that requested visits for children and adults alike. The youngest was 2 and the eldest was celebrating her 93rd birthday.
All things must come to an end though. We have decided to stop doing parades as of June 1st, 2020. People may now safely social distance themselves and have their own small birthday gatherings with families. We have had fun seeing the excitement of so many residents of this great town. Thanks for thinking of us and letting us be apart of your day making memories to last a lifetime!
Thank you for all of your support, now and all year long

What a wonderful thing the Fire Depts have done for the kids.  It will be amazing to see in years to come as they recite their memories of childhood.

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On March 27th the doors on many Fire Departments raised in unison, displaying all their trucks with their lights flashing brightly.  It is an awesome sight.  All the Depts in Putnam Co displayed their videos on FB.  This was done to show Support for all Fire, EMS, Police, Hospital Staff and all the other workers who is out their trying keep America going and safe as possible during this World Wide Covid-19 Pandemic.  So many are putting their life on the lines.

Things are starting to open up now.  Theirs still so many cases of Coronavirus throughout the US and the world.  Our economy is in such danger.  Employment is so high.  As of today the US has 1,613,443 confirmed cases with 96,662 deaths.  As a nation the count is coming down, although their is still some hot spots.  Illinois is 3rd in the nation because mostly because of Cook County and surrounding county’s.   Illinois has 105,444 confirmed cases with 4,715 deaths.  Texas is 8th in the nation, but will soon pass Michigan and come in at 7th.  Texas has 53,584 confirmed with 1,470 deaths.  New York is still the top……359,926 confirmed with 28,926 deaths.  Now that we are starting to open up, the worry is that it will start an upward trend again.  Such a fine balance the government and medical teams need to do.  We can’t stay home forever, but we don’t want to inundate the hospitals the way it happened in NYC.  We must be prepared with all the medical supplies and PPE to treat the patients and also to protect all the medical staff.  In Cameron County where we live, the restaurants have opened to 50 percent.  Walmart and Lowes don’t seem to care how many are in the store even though they do have a percentage.  Beauty and Barber shops are open, also this weekend churches and bars.  All with Social Distancing.  The masks are no longer mandatory but recommended.  Many of the stores have signs on their door requiring a mask.  I hate to wear mine.  It is so hot.  I do my best, but take it off many times when no one is near.  At the Island, they are expecting 50,000 people this weekend.  Ohhh My…..This could be Not Good.  Social Distancing on the Beach…..hopefully they all Comply…wp-15902523337156123028847534338719.jpg But I do believe it is so important to try to wear them near people.  This picture says it all.  We must protect our neighbor, and respect their rights when we are near them.

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This is “The New Normal”

Tammy bought new masks for her family….Of course….She loves her JeepCassidy looks pretty no matter what she has on…..She has recently started her first job…..”McDonalds”…Yea for her….We plan on still heading to Illinois this summer as long as everything keeps improving.  Here at the park, life is almost normal again.  The halls have opened up and above all…..The Swimming Pool and Spa’s are Open…..People were so missing them.  Illinois is taking small steps.  Sounds like Campgrounds might be opening and also Bars with outside dinning areas.  That will be good for Scott and Brandy.  Tammy has went back to her OSF job in Peoria, 1 day a week. She will be starting a new job soon in Peru at IVCH as a Nurse in ICU.   It will be close to home.  I think she is done with the Traveling Nurse for awhile.  She want to be a little more grounded now. wp-15902523447017926855023072972365.jpg

Last week was Nurses week, so this is my Thank You to You Tammy, and all the Nurses out their.  Your work is so needed.  It is so hard on all of you I’m sure.  The things you see, and the things you have to do, has to be emotionally so hard.   You have to make snap educated decisions.  Whether you are on the front lines or in our everyday unit, you see some horrendous sights.  Many of us could never do what you all do.  You must have a calling…..a Compassion Like No Other….

“Thank Goodness for People Like You”

IMAGINE!!!….The Life of Your Grandparents

When I was a little girl, I lived with my grandmother for 2 years. I was 10, when I moved in with her. I have so many wonderful memories of those years. I remember laying in her bed in the mornings while she was combing her long hair and putting it in a bun. She would tell me so many stories of her life. Mostly happy stories. She was born in 1892, the 2nd of at least 10 children, married in 1918 or 1919, and my mom was born in 1920, an only child. They weren’t poor in their eyes, but they lived very frugally and worked hard to make ends meet. She would tell me many stories of her brothers and sisters and her mom and dad. She would talk about all the family get togethers, family reunions, weddings, and birth of children, cooking, planting gardens and harvesting the vegetables and fruits. Some times she would mention the depression in the 30’s, or even World War 1 (my grandpa fought in it), and World War 2, but she never dwelled on those things just the happy times. As a child everyone seemed so happy.

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I lived with my Grandma Meta in 4th and 5th grade

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Me and my Grandma around 1952

Now we look back and see how far progress has come in a century. Could we ever live like they did back then?. Life as they knew it was so difficult compared to our lives of today. I know myself I could never live without AC anymore. I couldn’t live without electricity or my car. They really worked very hard to maintain their daily lives. Now we have this New Coronavirus Pandemic that has shut down the world. I had never even heard of the Spanish Flu epidemic. It happened in 1918, and had 3 phases lasting till 1920 with no Vaccine. That is a little over 100 years. In hearing about this it has really made me think about all the hardships and important events that our parents and grandparents have experience in their life times. How many people have perished through disease, battle, even murder. All the heartache they experience, but life went on………. Then the other day, I seen this article that Tammy had posted on FACEBOOK from someone. It is such an eye opener.

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

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When you’re 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet.

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When you’re 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million. At 52, the Korean War starts, and five million perish.

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Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.

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At 64 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for many years. Four million people die in that conflict.

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As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? A kid in 1985 didn’t think their 85-year-old grandparent understood how hard school was. Yet those grandparents (and now great grandparents) survived through everything listed above.

Perspective is an amazing art. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this. In the history of the world, there has never been a storm that lasted. This too shall pass!

– Author Unknown

Amazing isn’t it…..In 120 years look what has happened. 2020….We are all still here….Great words….This Too Shall Pass….So now here we are, in the middle of a Pandemic for a new virus….”Coronavirus”….”Covid 19″….The whole world has been shut down. So many people have died. Now the unemployment rate is very high, parents can’t feed their children or pay their bills. Their cars lined up for mile in Food Giveaway Lines. We have just went through “Shelter in Place” just like the Spanish Flu in 1918, we have to wear face masks, just like they did then, also Social Distancing. Politics is in an uproar. You don’t talk with neighbors or family cause you just never know which side they are on. Now we have protesters because they think their lives are being controlled by the government. So many similarities to the past…We need to figure out how to get along with our neighbor…………REMEMBER!!!…THIS TOO SHALL PASS…

So again, I seen another article that Tammy had posted from FACEBOOK….This says it all. We all have different ideas on what is right. We need to be able to think with care and compassion, what is right for ourselves is not always the right for our neighbor.

“I am seeing so much anxiety about resuming business, and so much anger about continued regulations. People are feeling the need to catapult to one side or the other, then fight the opposition.

Here’s my perspective, from a mainstream medical model. I think a lot of folks have fallen into the idea that social distancing was meant to stop the viral spread. It wasn’t-it was meant to SLOW it while we put medical infrastructure in place. It has worked. We have, in most parts, not been overwhelmed like we likely would have been without protective measures. In the meantime, our testing procedures have gotten better. We’ve increased our ventilator count. We’ve gotten a little better handle on PPE supply chains, and many have helped by making masks and gowns. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than it was seven weeks ago.

A vaccine is a long way off and not everyone will choose to get it. That is their choice. At some point, people have to be systematically exposed to begin the building of (hopeful) herd immunity. We will likely begin to experience a real increase in cases after reopening. Ideally, that exposure is controlled and calculated, in phases, to allow our medical community to respond adequately, and reduce the number of severe or fatal cases. That’s where we are.

Whether you feel like opening is too soon, or not soon enough, we were never going to social distance this thing into nonexistence. You now need to proceed as your health, wallet, and conscience allow.

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If you are medically vulnerable, you do not need to be a part of what is about to happen. Stay home if you can. If you’re not, or if your financial vulnerability trumps your health concerns, you need to proceed in ways that continue to protect yourself, and the elderly and medically vulnerable around you.
All of us need to calm down. Quit telling people who are financially struggling that they don’t care about human lives. Quit telling people who are truly at risk of dying from this virus that they are cowering in fear. Remember that until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, you should probably be careful in your judgements and subsequent harsh words.
We don’t HAVE to choose an either/or proposition and fight. We could choose other ways to be. Examples include but are not limited to:
“I think this may be too soon, so I will continue to shelter myself, and pray/make masks/ check on those who can’t.”
“I really need to go back to work, so I will do so, but I will be careful and try to protect myself, my family, and those around me with healthy strategies.”
See how those positions allow each of us to do what we need to, and also respect those who are choosing differently?
One thing that allows us to do this is humility. I can acknowledge that I am not an epidemiologist/economist/whatever, that I am making decisions based on my understanding of complex subjects and my own personal health and financial situation, that I am not all knowing, always right, and an expert in all fields, and that each person around me is doing their best too. We can make different choices and still be a supportive community. We can learn and evolve in our understanding of these issues.

Give one another the benefit of the doubt and the compassion of compromise.

Much love and prayers for everyone in making their own personal decision.”

-Author Unknown

These are both GREAT ARTICLES..…Both are from an Unknown Author. But this is how it should be. No fighting about your beliefs. Remember everyone has a different life style and needs. Be compassionate and make the decisions that is right for you and your family. Be understanding…..Our Great Grandparents, Grandparents and Parents made it….

….REMEMBER…..Be Kind to One Another….

….This Too Soon Shall Pass….

Hart Island…. NYC Potters Field….Coronavirus

March 14, 2020 was the first recorded death in the Coronavirus Pandemic in New York. Since then, which is less than 2 months, they have recorded over 20,000 deaths. The daily death count had spiked in early April to over 800 a day. Now it has lowered to an average of 260 a day. In 2017 the average deaths in NYC were 149. Daily hospitalizations went from 3,181 in April down to around 600 a day, much better but still too many. So many people flooding the hospitals. So many people dying. Where Do they put them all. The funerals homes were called. They were at capacity. They rented reefer trailers to keep the bodies in. Fema deployed 85 reefer trailers to the city. Many hospitals had reefer units in their parking lots. An embalmed body will last at least 2 weeks without decomposing. A refrigerated body, a couple of months. But generally in the normal world, that never happens. A body is usually buried or cremated with in 3 days. But now family’s were becoming desperate. They only had a 2 week window to take care of their family member. How could they take care of the overload…..The Crematoriums were overloaded also. Their are only 4 in the City, 2 in Queens, 1 in The Bronx, and 1 in Brooklyn. They can only process 20 a day. The government gave them permission to process the bodies 24 hours of the day, but still that doesn’t even begin to take care of them all.

The other problem was many of the dead were not claimed. Because of the virus, once you entered the hospital, nobody was allowed to visit. Many died alone without the family or had no idea their loved one died. Many HAD NO family. The families had 2 weeks to claim the bodies before something had to be done. So what was the answer….

…….HART ISLAND…….Potters Field Cemetery …..

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Hart Island is about 1 mile long by .33 wide. It is located on the western edge of Long Island Sound, and north east of The Bronx. New York City actually contains 36-42 islands. We know some of them, Manhattan Island, Staten Island, and Long Island are the big ones. The others we know are Coney Island, Ellis Island, Rikers Island. Of course we all know Rikers, from Law and Order….It is the home of NYC’s Jail Complex. Hart Island is the burial grounds for over one million people. These are people not claimed by their relatives and the poor and homeless. Some people choose to be buried their because of the cost. Also the people who died of diseases that needed a mass burial site. Many children and stillborn are buried their, as well as dismembered body parts.

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In 1864, the first public use for the island was the training ground for the US Colored Troops. Since then it was used for many things. Union Civil War Prison Camp, Jail, Homeless shelter, Boys Reformatory, Drug Rehabilitation Center, Psychiatric Institution, Tuberculosis’s Sanatorium, and a Potters Field for mass burials. The buildings were abandoned in 1977 and then became the city’s Potters field, run by the NYC Dept. of Corrections. In the fall of 2019 it was transferred to NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation. The Island is isolated from the rest of the city, with no electricity and is only accessible by Ferry Boat from City Island. Burials are performed by the Inmates of Rikers.

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As many of us seen on TV, Hart Island became the temporary burial place of the Coronavirus Pandemic, when the Funeral Homes capacity was overwhelmed and body’s were unclaimed. These burials began in late March of 2020. In April the DOC inmates were replaced with hired private contractors to do the mass burials. The trenches were dug, and burials began as drones hovered over and took pictures. Adults are placed in pine boxes according to size and are stacked in sections of 150, measuring three coffins deep in two rows. Theirs seven sizes of coffins ranging from 1-7 feet long. Each box is labeled with and ID number, the persons age, ethnicity, and the place where the body was found or picked up. The numbers of burials increased from 25 a week to 120. They increased the burials from one day to five days a week.

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The city is hoping that after the Pandemic calms down that families will want to claim their relative. They can be disinterred with the city picking up the costs. The reburial will be the cost for the family to pay. Their is lots of paperwork to file, then the Funeral Home has to come to pick up the body for the new burial. So their fore many will probably leave their loved one on Hart Island because of the cost.

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Hart Island is a seven minute Ferry ride from City Island. It was closed off to the public till 2012. Now families or individuals can request permission to come and visit a grave. You may be escorted to the white painted concrete markers at each plot, or at a gazebo looking out at the field. They say it may all change next year (2021) when the City Parks take’s over management from the Dept of Corrections.

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The Island is a very Peaceful place. The buildings are crumbling from the past. Some are torn down as they need more burial ground. It is full of wildlife and is a bird sanctuary. Maybe when the Parks Dept takes over they will make it a peaceful, beautiful island to visit and feel the spirt of the million people who are buried underneath. It is a very spiritual place. We need to remember these people all had a place in life at one time. They were children, with moms and dads, they all grew up to have a space in life…..A purpose to live…..Many were productive citizens…..And then they passed…..and were forgotten in a Mass Burial on Hart Island…..

Their is so much to read about this island. Its past, the people who are buried. A few had been famous in their younger years and became penniless. The different chapters of this island when the buildings were in use. It is worth the time to search out the history of Hart Island, as well as many of the other 42 islands located in NYC.

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The City Of New York…..Potters Field

Blessed are the poor in spirit……For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven

My Child.….Peace I leave to you….My peace I give to you

The Almighty….Has his own purposes

He must have loved them…He made so many of them

Cry not for us….For we are with the father

No longer do we cast shadows on the ground as you do

We are at peace

Brittney is Home…NYC…Krucial Staffing….Coronavirus

Brittney has finished her last week and left the city yesterday. She is in good spirits and has returned to Peoria Illinois. Now she will be in her first week of quarantine, Tammy is starting her second, and Carrie should be finishing her last. They are all safe and sound.

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Britt in the very back next to the guy with black glasses

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Brittney on the right…

Brittney had the fortune to be in the same unit every day and a team spirit was formed. I believe that is so important in anything we do. Its a team effort. Patient counts are now slowing down but plenty still their. The other 4 Nurses from Peoria OSF are probably in their 2nd week although Tammy hasn’t talked with them since they spent their day together. These girls have given so much of themselves along with all the medical personnel that came from all over the country. NYC has certainly welcomed them and been so good to them.

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Marriot Marquis….The hotel for Tammy and Brittney

Their appreciation has been shown all over the city. The city marquis were full of messages of appreciation.

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The NYFD and NYPD continually showed their appreciation.

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The Navy Blue Angels and Airforce Thunderbirds on April 28 2020, flying over Manhattan and the Empire State Building. They flew over New Jersey, New York City and Long Island in a salute to Healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

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The Lincoln Hospital where Tammy and Brittney were is still full of Krucial Staffing Nurses. Many of them have finished their contracts, and many of them have resigned for more time. From what I was reading, it I believe they will have new work schedules that will be more beneficial for the Medical staff. They will have days off every week. It will be more like a real job. According to Tammy’s team leader, Krucial Agency holds 90 Percent of the contracted nurses at Lincoln Hospital. Their are other agency’s but they are the biggest. They will be their quite awhile yet. They expect cases to pick up when the city starts to reopen. So many of the regular staff has caught the virus. They have gotten sick, some died, some quite their jobs due to stress and exhaustion. The healthcare system will need to bring in and train many new nurses.

In researching the hospitals of New York City, I found their are 62 Acute Care Hospitals. They are located in the 5 boroughs, ….The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhatten, Queens, and Staten Island. I found these charts..…The Orange are locations being prepared for a surge in Patients…..Blue are Hospitals….The USNS Comfort Navy Hospital ship ended up only treating 182 patients. It was docked for 31 days in the harbor. The Javit’s Center closed friday after treating almost 1,100 patients. It opened in late March, operated by the US Army.

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When you look at Lincoln Hospital, the figures are overwhelming. They are a 362 bed hospital, but 525 more beds were added. How on earth could the staff take care of patients when they more than doubled in size. Tammy did say they were everywhere. Even in the halls. I believe she said Occ Health had been crammed with 40 beds. The hospital had become total Covid Care.

Governor Cuomo, had requested the US Army Corps of Engineers build at least 4 field hospitals, which included Javits Center…..The other 3 will remain in place in case there’s a second wave of Covid-19. New York City has taken such a hit. It has brought the city to its knees. How can people be protesting about their rights and freedoms. They want to take their kids out to the store. They don’t want to wear the masks. Look at all these sick and dying people. New York City was caught off guard. I know that the economy is destroyed and people are out of work, but what is more important….Life and family…or…Money… Their has to be a medium to where we can return to our life style. But it will never be the same. Not until a Vaccine is found…..or if..

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Krucial Staffing took on a Huge task. They are from the Kansas City area. They are a Specialty Disaster Staffing Agency that FEMA uses for Hurricanes and Tornadoes. They never expected a Pandemic. They received a call from the office of the Mayor of NYC in March. Their Emergency Center Quadrupled in 10 days across 5 different buildings. They had to quickly set up Logistical Teams, Incident Management Teams. In NYC they had to set up Hotels, with a team in each hotel for incoming nurses. They did all the paperwork, assignments, etc. for each incoming medical hire. Each hospital communicated their needs to get their personnel. They needed buses for transportation to each hospital with a team lead on board for each hospital. Back at the office Krucial had to send out the call for nurses. The switchboard had to answer thousands of calls and hire on the spot after collecting all the legal info. During this time, any state license was accepted. No one needed an actual NY license. Last I knew their was over 4,000 nurses hired for the 21 day contract. They were hired in waves of 500 to 1000. By the end of March the help began to arrive. They were housed in many of the hotels across the city. It was a huge undertaking. They also called up medical people for New Orleans. So KUDO’S to Krucial Staffing Agency. I know it didn’t go off without problems, but considering the time element and the needs of NEW YORK CITY, they did amazing.

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So for now, we still do our best to co-operate with the authorities. Cameron County is still climbing slowly. Yesterday we had 11 more raising our count to 432 cases and 18 deaths. Our Shelter in Place ruling as well as face masks have expired on April 30. It is recommended to still use them. Retail business’s and restaurants are now opening with only 25 percent of capacity allowed. Beaches are also opened but we must still use Social Distancing. So are we opening to soon????…..Time will tell. The governor will evaluate in 2 weeks. In Illinois, they still have Shelter in Place and face masks. Cook County is still climbing. Down state in our little Putnam County, it is still Coronavirus Free…..The best news is

Tammy Was Tested……She is Covid-19 FREE…….

But she still is Quarantined for 2 weeks……

Thank You to the Girls, and Thank You to all the Staff that answers the call. They have put their life on the line. They didn’t have to do this, but they go anyway. It is like going to war and fighting the front line. They leave their families and put their lives on hold, not knowing where or the circumstances they will work in. It has be exhausting, so mentally depressing, and so many other adjectives. They have witnessed and done things they never thought possible. Many things were done that were not Ethical, but they had no choice due to equipment shortages and PPE. They have now changed inside. I’m sure they will look at things differently now. They need this time to decompress…….

Tammy’s Home From New York ….. Coronavirus…..Thanks To All

Tammy came home over the weekend. She had signed up for another week, but it wasn’t meant to be. I won’t deny she had me worried, but she is fine. On her 20th day, she scheduled It off. She hoped that she would rest and recoup for the next week. When I talked with her that morning, I knew she was exhausted and so tired. I had noticed in the last week she was getting more quite. I was already uneasy. Late that afternoon, she text and said she was leaving. She had a car scheduled in an hour and she was driving home. I wanted her to fly, but it wasn’t going to happen. She want to get out now……She needed to drive, and have alone time….I was getting more worried. I really didn’t want her to leave that late from New York City, a city she had never driven in. But everyone who knows Tammy knows she loves to drive. I think that is where she gets her peace and alone time. She can drive straight through from Illinois to Harlingen Texas, (near Mexico Border) in 22 hours…..Crazy Driver…..I decided to text Katherine, her best friend at home. She is a Nurse at IVCH in Peru. If she would contact anyone else, it would be her. Yes, they had already been talking. As she left New York City, she called and I could tell she was already feeling better. The weight was lifting.….Katherine sent me texts all evening and night. Then I was up at 5 to make sure she got home…..What a Saturday it was….Yes, she pulled in Sunday by noon…..THANK YOU KATHERINE for helping me keep my sanity through the night…. here is her story in her words….

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Tammy Bergen
22 hrs ·

I am gonna start this off by saying today is day 22! And the 1st day in 21 days that I have woke up in my own bed! I have missed my family and my friends so much! I might even say that i have missed Illinois!
New York was a beast! I have seen thing and did things that i have never dreamed of. And I met so many so many great nurses, APN’s and Drs! They were from all across the United States! The staff was very welcoming as well. They would have lunch donated at times. My last day they had breakfast donated and brought in to us! And REAL coffee! 😍 lol
while I was there I worked on 9 different units. I worked a couple of units more than once but for the most part everyday was like starting a brand new job. Everything was always new. The staff, the nurses I worked with, what supplies were available, what type of patients there were. Every unit was like opening a door to the twilight zone. You never know what is gonna be there. And the attitude was strong and everywhere! That is the best way I can describe it. It was not easy for me to go on every day with 5-6 hours of sleep mixed with the constant change. I was never able to develop “a work rhythm”? I’m not sure if that’s the word I am looking for but… And As many of you know, I have struggled with depression my whole life. And I ended up finding myself in a very very low spot. Around day 15 I started to cry everyday and I think day 19 I almost cried all day! (Fyi it’s very hard to tell if someone is crying when they are wearing all this head gear!) It was sooo hard. Even though we were there to help and shine some light into the darkness that is going on in New York right now, I lost control of myself and the darkness crept inside me... On the 20th I had the day off. They allowed us to have 2 pto days in this 21 day contract. My plan was to destress as much as possible and trudge through work one more time… and then cancel my 1 week extension and go home! But by the end of day 20 all I could think about was getting out of this cold dark place that I had found myself in. So rented a car and got the hell outta there at 7pm! It was truly one of the best things that I have ever done for myself. As I began driving away from NYC I could truly feel the heaviness of it all leave my body… and I could smile! A real smile! I talked to my mom and my best friend Katherine almost all the way home. I even had Cassidy on the phone for an hour and an half! And we had a great conversation! I was excited to surprise Cameron at the house so I never told him I was coming! Lol And I thank god my family and my friends are here for me everyday! A part of me is very ashamed or dissatisfied in myself for leaving a day early. But not any more. I am so proud that I was able to help in such a terrible situation! I have learned many things about myself through this experience. I will never regret it! But I don’t think I want to go back to NYC... ever! Lol thank you to everyone that sent us stuff! You guys really really really helped me personally!! And we shared with many others as well! I will never forget this experience! Aunt Connie told me that I would not be able to come back from this the same person. At the time I didn’t think to much about it. But…. she is so very right... not always! But this time! Lol I am just so happy to be home!❤❤❤
ps. Britt Novak is still rockin it in NYC! You got this girl!

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Tammy is now home and doing well. Now she has 2 weeks of quarantine before she can return to work. I know she has missed the kids tremendously. She has come back a changed person in so many ways…..She has learned a lot about herself and will be stronger for it. She will never forget the patients, nurses, doctors, and all the experiences of New York….She has accomplished something not many of us could or would ever undertake. But she is a Nurse…..She took that Oath….She Believes in what she does….

WE ARE ALL SO PROUD

….She is an Amazing Nurse….

Now it is time for all the …..THANK YOU’S…. Her days were so busy. 14 hours of the day were work and transportation. That didn’t leave much time for eating, sleeping, waiting for your mail for 45 min. and of course a through shower and disinfecting. She became more physically and mentally exhausted every day. So she didn’t have a lot of time to show her appreciation. The one Company that needs a HUGE THANK YOU is Vactor Manufacturing from Streator Illinois…..

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Tammy mentioned to us she could use some Safety Glasses. Aunt Connies’, Son in Law, Matt Rinaldo works for Vactor in Streator Illinois. He went to HR to ask about Safety Glasses for the girls. By noon, he had been given around 50 Safety Glasses. HR also game him many FACE SHIELDS. Their parent Company Federal Signal had sent them to their employees. The employees had decided to give them to the Front Line people in the Medical Field that needed them. They had already given a number of them to Morris Hospital. Matt brought them to Connie who boxed them up and sent them to the girls.

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They were so needed. As soon as she received them they were gone. So not many pictures were taken. I had been reading posts on the FB site of the Staffing Agency from the other nurses. Those who had connections, were ordering them in quantity’s for their friends. The hospitals didn’t have any. They were pretty desperate to get them. These Shields were so Appreciated. So …..THANK YOU VACTOR…. also Matt and Connie for sending them to New York…..

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Face Shields and Safety Glasses from Vactor….Overlooking the Times Square… NYC

So many other items were sent. So here in Tammy’s words again are all her Thank You’s

Tammy Bergen
15 hrs ·

There are so many people I need to thank besides my family that have donated their time to make sure that we have what we needed! I want to make as many as I can but please dont be upset if I forget to mention anyone because you all made this so much easier!
1. Vactor Manufacturing in Streator Il donated a box full of safety glasses and face shield! ❤❤❤!! They are in very high demand in New York! And as soon as people seen them… they were gone! The hospitals no longer supply face shield because they are just not available anymore. I wish I could have got more pictures but there just wasn’t time. But I assure you that they were amazing! Thank you Connie Malavolti, Ashley Malavolti and Mat Rinaldo for the hook up! It was definitely needed! The shields protect us from much more than the glasses alone cuz there is a lot of coughing and spraying going on!
2. Amanda Davis for the goodies and the wonderful prayer that came with! It was very special!
3. Chauntelle Biagi-Bruer for the goodies and kind words!
4. Aunt Connie and Jeanie Lutz for getting several hand made masks for me to take at the very last minute!❤ and thank you Connie for the bag of super healing rocks! I wore them everyday!
5. Tammy Schlesinger Gunter for all the goodies and kind words!
6. Baily Jane and Betty Parks for the awesome lotions and cookies! ❤
7. Jeny Orozco for the amazing words of encouragement and all the awesome gifts!
8. Tiffany Gebhardt for the awesome gifts and kinds words!
9. Mary Jaegle Milashoski for the awesome gift of dry shampoo! (it seriously made Britt Novak’s day!)and the other goodies as well!❤❤
10. Jessica Torres for all the amazing goodies and encouragement!
11. Frances Ilnicky Van Ameyden thank you for the goodies and the great conversation that definitely brought a smile to my face!
12. Tina M Wenzel for the gifts and (over the top!) Encouragement! I am so very thankful!
13. Brenda Bickerman thank you for delivering the lysol wipes to my house before I left! I could not find any anywhere!
14. Gale Reno for the bag of snacks, gloves, mask crochet ties and other things that you sent at the last moment.
15. Nicole Bouxsien and family made several masks for us to take with.
16. The Eastgate Quilter ladies for making all the masks and redoing the design to include the laces to save our ears!❤
17. Theresa Fisher for the crocheted ear savers!
18. Bobbi Van Schaick for the box of goodies! That came along with a great story! Definitely something that I would have done! Lol
19. Sharon VanLanduit for the amazing shoe inserts! They helped soooo much!
And lastly, Katherine Twardowski for taking care of my 2 older babies while I was gone! (I really hope you will recover quickly! Lol). Tina Bergen Dolder and Ed Dolder for being everything for Carly while I cant! And for all the school teaching! And Margaret Bergen for the daily encouragement and text messages! Scottieonepaw ScottBergen and Brandy Lockett for all the love and support!
And there has been so many others who have said some of the best things! I will never forget!
Cameron Bergen and Cassy Cruz I am home! And I love you both so much! We WILL be spending some quality time together real soon! Like it or not! Lol
I truly can not say how thankful I am to have you all in my life! I have the best family and friends that anyone could ever ask for!❤❤❤
I am feel very blessed to have been a part of NYC at this time of need. But this Is definitely my home! ❤❤❤

Comments…..

Jeny Orozco Love you Tammy!!! ❤️❤️❤️

Betty Parks Thank you for giving your ALL.

Tiffany Gebhardt Np Tammy Bergen…just my way of saying thanks for what U guys went and did! U went above and beyond what u had too! Hope to see u back around soon until then take care of urself and know u got friends who care! ❤️

Tina Bergen Dolder A shout out to Brenda Holloway Bickerman, Jerimey Bouxsein Nicole and family, Gale Reno ( Erin Marie Megan Holly let your mom know!!

Megan Dose Glad your back!!! 😘❤️❤️❤️

Bobbi Van Schaick The least I can do

Mary Jaegle Milashoski So happy that what we could do for you .. made a difference and brightened your day ..!💜💜

Amanda Davis 💜💜💜💜💜

Frances Ilnicky Van Ameyden Your selflessness in this horrible time of Covid19 has shown us what Love of Neighbor is all about. God bless you!

Jeanette Brewer Stay safe and you r a hero
Stay safe

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Thank You to All who has supported and followed Tammy. I as MOM want to give a SPECIAL THANK YOU, to Tina, for being the BEST SISTER Tammy could ever have. She has done so much that you all will never know. She was their from the minute Tammy made this descion to go, by getting supplies ready and MANY MANY other things concerning Carly’s care. My Kids are all so AWESOME….Brittney is still their finishing her extended week. She is doing ok. Everyone has been so supportive of the girls and of all the Medical Personnel. These people are helping and reporting the truths of what is happening in New York City. They have answered the call not knowing where they were going to work, where they were going to stay. They all knew they were putting their life on the line…..But they all went anyway…..They worked 12 hours straight covered in PPE. So many had shortages of PPE, and much hospital supplies. Some of the story’s I read were mindboggling to think nurses had to operate in such a manner and do things that were so unethical in the hospital setting. And then the stories of the patients. So heart wrenching……So many that passed alone….With only the nurse present….The last words from the family’s on the cell phones of the Nurses….

…..Memories these Medical Personnel Will Never Forget….

Part 3…..Carrie in New York….Tammy’s Friend…..Coronavirus

This is the 3rd and last of Carries Story.  As I write this she is now home, happily in the arms of her loving family beginning her 2 week quarantine.  She has allowed me to put her story in my blog, hoping to spread the story of the truths of Coronavirus and New York City.  Some people believe, some people don’t, some people are indifferent.  Unless you are around the misery and the devastation that it is causing to human life and family’s, it is hard to imagine.  So far their is no vaccine.  Hopefully their will be one soon.  But for now we are all in SHELTER IN PLACE……The goal is to slow the curve.  Bring it down…..Slow the disease so we don’t all end up like New York City..….They have been brought to their knees…….Listen to Mayor Cuomo….Listen to the doctors and nurses or any medical staff……….Theses are the truthswp-15880095799398936151978512376002.jpg

CarrieAnn
April 20 at 5:46 AM ·

When I came here I never thought I’d be riding this bus to the hospital a 22nd time. I decided over the weekend to stay longer. They wanted a two week minimum commitment, but we will see, the urge to fly home is strong.
Someone jumped off of our hotel a few days ago. I can’t get the image out of my head, or the sound. I don’t know why THATS what I can’t reconcile, with all I’ve absorbed since arriving in New York. Maybe because all day every day I see these people fighting to breathe, fighting to get high fevers down, fighting to live.. and then, this death was deliberate. Right off our hotel. A hotel full of people who are here to save lives.mgn_1280x960_00121c00-xryah (2)

CarrieAnn
April 20 at 8:37 AM ·

Any channel we turn on is covering corona, New York City, and who’s dying from it. You know what they’re not covering?..and won’t?..who’s dying from it in prison. Why do we care, they’re just criminals right?
It’s all we can do to provide masks and medical attention to law abiding people who aren’t incarcerated. They’re child molesters and murderers, thieves…that’s what we think when we hear the word prison, because prison is for the real bad ones. Ya, I get that, because I used to think that way too. Until, in the blink of an eye, someone I loved was in prison. We are taught prison is reserved for the hopeless, the waste of time, or those unable to repent.
But it’s not. There are first offenders, and marijuana sellers in our prisons, sentenced to decades. Some of you may wonder how that is even possible in our country of all men created equal, and innocent until proven guilty. Because it’s not like that, that’s how. The sentence you receive in this United States of America is a direct reflection of what legal representation you can afford.
Bad people? No… but bad choices. They are good souls, who had to learn some lessons the hardest way, young men who are funny, generous, with big hearts. They have dreams and fears and insecurities just like we do. Their need for acceptance, or sometimes success, was so strong that they paid for it with their freedom. They made mistakes, granted big ones, and they know it. They’re well into their sentences, just like hundreds- thousands- like them. They’re not asking for an easy out or a pardon, but how about SOAP? How about not bringing known covid positive patients who are actively sick, with a fever and cough, back into the open style housing with all other men. How about feeding them, having running water for them, and allowing them access to medical screenings. They aren’t demanding rights- they’re begging for HUMANITY. They are literally sitting there waiting to die. If conditions do not change, it will be inevitable that every single man or woman incarcerated with be covid positive, and it’s a roll of the dice if they survive it. Because nothing they can do to prevent it is in their power.
They can’t choose whether or not to go outside. They can’t choose whether or not to wear a mask, or social distance.
I do not think every crime is the same, and Im not asking you to either. But which of those truly deserve death as a punishment is not for us to decide, but only God.
They may not deserve their freedom back, but do they deserve to DIE?

 

CarrieAnn 
April 22 at 9:30 PM ·

It’s been days since I’ve posted and they’ve all been a blur. One day flows into the next, and the next, when all you do is work and sleep. Yesterday I booked my flight home and my heart is full of happiness and anxiousness. No conflict, no guilt. It can’t come soon enough.
More and more moms are covid positive– actually tipping the scales, more positive than negative now. And as time goes on, more and more frequently, on top of these depleting, never-ending, 14 hour days that break your heart and stress your body…I am contacted regularly by friends, acquaintances, and even coworkers..questioning the validity of what they see on tv, they want to know if the hospitals are empty.. or if the virus is even real. If I see one more post of “do any of my friends actually know someone who’s died of Covid”…NO?! CONSIDER YOURSELF LUCKY. You will.
There’s no way the media can report anything accurately- it’s all changing too fast. First only testing the symptomatic, then testing everyone, then throw positive antibodies in there. Will we ever have the real numbers…no.
We hear Fight Song overhead, and that tells us people are recovering-today only twice-but there are still more codes than songs played overhead. There are limited supplies at times, basics like IV pumps and shoe covers for the OR. There’s still a constant flow of bodies visible out that back window, and nurses are doing things that cause genuine ethical conflict because there isn’t a choice. So if you still think corona isn’t real and is just the government trying to scare us—turn off your fn tv and come spend a day in New York.
I’ve counted days for so long..but now it’s a countdown instead of up. Three days ♥️

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CarrieAnn
April 23 at 9:46 AM ·

And there will be goodbye pics … starting now. It’s gonna take some getting used to not starting the day and ending the day with these girls..

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CarrieAnn
April 23 at 10:48 AM ·

Thank you for treating me like a life long friend not a traveler.

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CarrieAnn

April 23 at 1:45 PM ·

😩💔 goodbye cake from the labor and delivery managers. Cue the tears.

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CarrieAnn 
April 23 at 6:15 PM ·

Friendships forged in fire. Thank you both for being who you are, and scattering this experience with laughs and well timed hugs.wp-15880088478873245355909135194392.jpg

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CarrieAnn
April 24 at 10:23 PM ·

Today was my 28th day working in New York City, and my last. I never imagined that I would come here and form the relationships, the bonds, that I have with these nurses Ive worked side-by-side with for so many days in a row.  I came to New York prepared to have thick skin, but it wasn’t necessary.
The things I have learned in the past month can’t be put into words on a Facebook page. The faces that I won’t forget, the heartbreak of all the deaths, and the celebration with every discharge home.
I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but going home has never felt so good. I am a different person than I was before March 27th when I came to New York, and Im thankful for that.
CarrieAnn Munson 
April 25 at 8:48 AM ·wp-15880084904811468031293464226045.jpg

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CarrieAnn
April 25 at 8:48 AM ·

Goodbye New York ❤️wp-15880095200635519326640009480962.jpg

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Carrie is now home after 28 days.  I know New York appreciates all she’s done.  All the medical workers that have come in from around the country have felt the love of the New Yorkers.  Their marquis’s were full of “Thank You’s”  The NYFD and NYPD showed them how much they cared.  So much love was given the workers.  Many have made life long friends.  They also have many memories that will be hard to process.  The cruelty that this disease has bestowed on family’s has been devastating.  Hopefully in time  New York City will be back to a hustling and bustling city it once was……

But The Memories and the Sorrow will never be forgotten….

“Thank You Carrie”

 

Day 18….Tammy and Brittney…New York……Coronavirus

Sunday will be Day 21 for Tammy and Brittney.  I found out last nite they have extended for another week.  That doesn’t surprise me.  I know they are extremely exhausted and tired but they are so driven by their need to want to help.  Everything has been going fairly ok for them.  When they get back to the hotel at nite they are so tired.  They aren’t getting enough sleep, and I’m sure they aren’t eating right either.  I don’t hear from Brittney much, as her and Tammy have never worked in the same unit, but she is doing OK.  For some reason they move the nurses everyday to another department.  Maybe its so they don’t feel ties to the patients?  Its just my guess.  Some floors are better than others, but their is still a shortage of supplies.  Tammy told me she had a bad day the other day.  She finally told me she had been pretty upset and emotional.  The other regular staff nurses were rude, and unfriendly.  Every time she turned her back or left her cart, her supplies would disappear for a patient.  I guess when things are in short supply, other nurses just take whatever they need when they see it, because their patient needs it.  Then her patient would go without.  Of course she was the new kid on the block.   Later she found out why……That day was the funeral for a fellow nurse that had caught the virus.    She was a good friend of many of them.  So one can understand why they acted that way.  It has to be terrifying.  This is happening over and over in the hospitals.   So many in the medical field have given their lives trying to help the sick.  This is why they call this the ……FRONT LINES…..A couple of days ago, she took a day off.  She called it a ……MENTAL DAY….She slept in till 8:30am.  Her 4 other friends from OSF in Peoria where now their.  wp-15876901018368613566280702116316.jpg

 

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Their hotel is the Sheraton, several blocks away. They were still waiting for assignments. They all met that afternoon and went for a walk to Central Park.  It sure is a beautiful place right in the middle of New York City.

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Tammy with the red bandana

They all received their assignments the next day.  Two are on days at Jacobi, one at Coney Island and 1 on nights at Lincoln.  She is still getting packages.  Yesterday she got some great stuff from a good friend in our park.

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Very much needed lotion.  Their hands are so raw and cracked from all the hand washing all the time.  And some wonderful snacks….

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Yesterday Tammy was pulled off the floor.  Her team lead had her help a nurse who was having a lot of problems and was overwhelmed.  That made her feel so good.  Her lead said she would be using her again when needed.  She ended her day feeling good.  The counts in New York City are still going up…147,297  confirmed…..2,995  new cases yesterday…15,074  deaths…..but it is slowing down.  Now the President is wanting to open up the Country.  Protests are beginning.  People think their freedom has been taken away.  They want to go back to work.  They don’t feel the virus is that bad.  Its no worse than the flu…..They think its a hoax…..The government wants the economy and unemployment to improve.  Of Course, we all do.  But many counts are still going up.  They haven’t slowed down enough.  They are going to have to be so careful.  I feel the  Virus will start to escalate again.  But that’s my feeling.  Hopefully they don’t…..As of today in the Valley we have 651 cases, and 20 deaths.  In Cameron Co, we have 344 cases with 14 deaths.  We are still going up, but many of those are from 2 nursing homes.

Around the country, many of the meat packing facility’s are becoming hot spots for employees.  JBS, Smithfield, and Tyson Foods are closing many of their plants due to many employees testing positive.  So what will happen to our meat prices now.  Thankfully our freezers are full right.  The city’s are starting to organize food giveaways for families. c4635210-5a2d-430d-9dcc-0b4d0619182f_1920x1080.jpg

This is Houston.  The cars are lined up for miles waiting to participate in the Food drive.  Here in Harlingen we have the Food Pantry, and Loaves and Fishes that help feed the low income and homeless.  The City of Harlingen has united with the RGV Food Bank has organized a food giveaway and have scheduled 2 more.  The cars were lined up 2 hours early for several miles to wait for their free food.   In Harlingen we are still under SHELTER IN PLACE till May 4.  Wear those face masks in public.  No kids in cars or in stores under 14.  But they are starting to loosen the rules.  Retail sale non essential stores are opening up with curbside, phone or internet sales.  State Parks are also opening with Social distancing and masks.  Hopefully this doesn’t backfire. 

Meanwhile in Granville…..School Lessons Continue…..

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Carly is going to School on the Computer with Zoom…..Amazing to me…

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PE on Zoom…..I guess that works….I’m sure 3 of them together makes PE easier….But knowing those 3, I bet they are rolling in laughter….

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This has to be difficult for Austin.  He doesn’t sit still to well.  Poor Tina, conducting school with 3 different lesson plans.  That has to be very hard.  At least their not into Algebra or any of the harder subjects…..I don’t envy the parents these days.  They now have to be wives, mothers, and now teachers, 24 hrs a day. wp-15876902952341077615794487140857.jpg

It does look like an end in sight for New York City…..Tammy said theirs no new Nurses coming from their Staffing Agency that she knows of.  Lets hope that is true for everyone…..Hopefully in the next several weeks, all of the Medical Staff from around the country will be back home….and HEALTHY…..Hoping the City can take back their Hospitals and function in the manner they all were trained to do and want to do.