Thanksgiving 1968

Thanksgiving was always a glorious time for me. It meant the convergence of my three favorite families in the world, mine, Josephs, and Thorpes.
The Joseph family consisted of Charles, a State Senator and cattle rancher; Jean, the lovely matriarch; Alan, older brother Bill’s fraternity buddy; Fred, a year or so younger and really nice; and Bobby, the youngest, still 7-8 years older than me, and extremely cool. Josephs had a farm house in the county, complete with fishing pond and swimming pool, and a second home in Estes Park, Colorado we would descend upon once a summer or so.
The Thorpe’s were a terrific bunch – Tom, a General Electric appliance dealer (like Dad) in Nevada, Missouri; Marye, Tom’s right hand in the store, and the first female city council member of Nevada; Tommy, Bob’s age and a really good athlete; Townie, their really nice daughter and friend of Kathie’s; and Todd, who although he was probably 5-6 years older than me, got stuck entertaining me a lot, and was extremely cool about it.
My family spent most holidays with the Thorpes. On July 4th, we would meet at their cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks. It was a two bedroom, lake cabin without air conditioning, and no one seemed to mind. We used nearby resort cabins for the overflow. The days consisted of a huge breakfast, (Tom’s eggs benedict were my favorite), and a whole bunch of people swimming and boating on the lake while Mom, Dad, Tom and Marye played bridge all day under a shade tree. The fireworks display was an event in itself. To me, it was the best one of all that we saw reflecting off the water of the lake.
New Year’s Eve was at the Thorpes’ massive house in Nevada. I think I counted seven bathrooms. The attic was a pool room, and on New Year’s Eve the older kids would hang out there along with whoever dropped by from the neighborhood. On New Year’s Day, Dad and Tom bet on every college football game. Dad let Tom pick the teams, and teased Tom because Dad normally won. The Catholic priest was a family friend and I think was there every year.
But my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, because it was at our house in Potwin, and the Josephs were there as well. Wednesday night all three families would gather. I specifically remember 1968 because Bill and Alan were at KU at the time and Tommy was at Mizzou, and it was the only year in about 50 years that KU made the Orange Bowl. Mizzou had the lowly Gator Bowl, so the trash talking was on between the two families.
Thanksgiving also meant a spectacular meal which resulted from hours of preparation. My favorite part of my favorite holiday occurred next– the annual flag football game. The location of the game would either be in our side yard, or at Joseph’s farm, which had a bigger yard. The oldest ones were in college, the rest in high school, and I was nine. As the sides were picked, I would always be the picked last. The good news for me, is that this would often leave my team with one more player than the other. So, if the quarterback was scrambling and about to get sacked, I would make sure I was open in the flat. A short pass later and I was trying to outrun the college kids as fast as my 9 year-old legs would take me. I completely enjoyed this flag football game – seeing my brothers, my heroes who weren’t around that often, enjoying their friends. And I got to participate. It didn’t get much better than that for me.

June 11, 2018

Jonah is on the cover of the thank you card for the Big Slick celebrity fundraiser for Children’s Mercy! All the celebs like Eric Stonestreet and Paul Rudd will get this. Oh man, this made Aaron and I so happy. Jonah has had a really stable past few days and nights. No big problems at all. It’s been our first run of good days in several weeks. His tummy still has that huge clot of blood in it pushing on his organs, but with time the body will take care of it. His lungs showed improvement yesterday too. His ecmo doctor assured us none of this is insurmountable! Pray his body heals, that it can handle the clot (we don’t need liver problems again), that our good days keep getting better. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We know all the support from #TeamJonah Is working! #makeJonahglow

June 8, 2015

Jonah had a pretty good night and is having a good day. The question is: can his organs like the kidneys sustain all the pressure from his tummy? His tummy is full of clotted blood because bleeding is common on this machine from the blood thinners that they can’t drain out. So far, they are doing well. Jonah is not a candidate for surgery because of the thinners but they would do it of need be. Aaron and I dont want this! So to get a head of him, we have started waking up his lungs in hopes they can prove he can be weened off ecmo and we can get the goopy stuff out of his tummy. Please pray for Jonah’s organs to stay strong under the pressure of his tummy. That his lungs get better and better. That the docs make smart decisions. That our better days are closer rather than far away. Click like or comment yes! #makeJonahglow

Growing Up in Small Town, USA

I was born in Lapeer, MI to Mike and Patti Schenkel. I lived in the same house until I was 21 in Metamora, Michigan. The house was 2 bedrooms, one bathroom, beautiful yard with trees and and a rock wall. When I was young, my Dad built a pole barn one summer in the backyard. Mom always had flowers that we tried in so many ways to have the rabbits not eat. We would lay in the sun, play in the sprinkler, ride bikes and draw chalk murals on the entire paved driveway at my parents pig roasts.

My Mom is a unique, strong willed, tall, long-haired beauty. She grew up in Detroit and moved to Oxford with Mimi and Papa when she was in school. Mom worked in catering at the Huntsman for many years and spent most of her time being a wonderful, present Mom. She always encouraged creativity, crafts, cooking, baking and being a unique individual. We put glitter and sequins on everything if we could! Dance parties in the kitchen and singing our hearts out to “Now that’s what I call music-Christmas #1′ was always a fabulous tradition.
My Dad is a masculine, strong, hardworking, caring and understanding man. He grew up in Dryden all of his life. Dad worked as a heavy equipment operator for most of his career. That is where I learned to love the smell of a good mechanic garage, wood stove and fresh asphalt. Dad was the one who taught me how to drive, fish, hunt and take care of my car properly. Before I could get my license, I had to change all four tires and change my oil and fluids. I obviously wasn’t too happy to actually do this, but these are all tasks that I now appreciate and cherish learning them with my Dad. We went to NASCAR races together, cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr every time, went fishing for blue gill in the winter and summer, and hunted whitetails at the condo.

I had a tight knit group of girlfriends during school. We had surprise birthday parties for each other in middle school, were a sarcastic bunch, loved sleepovers with junk food and spending time together especially after school and in the summer. Lisa Stoutenburg, Kristen Williamson, Ashley Roth, and Ashley Carbone were my main girls. Ashley Carbone lived about a mile away from me. We walked to each others house when we couldn’t drive and we drive around on the back roads together when we could.

I went to Imlay City Schools all of my childhood. My favorite classes were always art and social studies. In elementary school, it smelled like pickles during recess from the Vlasic plant in town. I played basketball every year until senior year when I called it quits. I was the forward/center and honestly not very good. haha! I can laugh about it now but it was frustrating as a kid to always be the backup no matter how much I practiced. It was a great way to keep me in shape though. That was a big plus!

Growing up, I was blessed to be an only child with many close cousins. My mom was one of 9 kids so I was extremely close with my cousins Terha, Nicole and Stephanie. We would always spend the night at each others house and at Mimi and Papa’s house. No matter what happened in our lives, we would always remain so close. I still call Terha my sister. Nicole was and still is obsessed with animals. Stephanie was emotional like myself and loved to be apart of the group. We got a long great for this reason and also because the older girls Terha and Nicole would gang up on us for being the youngest. We all are a year apart over 4 years.

Growing up in a small town is something that I’ll always cherish. I loved being so close to my friends and family, being outside, learning valuable life lessons and actually knowing your neighbor.

June 4, 2015

#TBT- that time I brought Jonah to work and he destroyed the office when everyone was in a meeting. 🙂 Jonah had a great night and day. He had lots of healing rest. ( at least in my mind) We learned that the lungs are slow to heal and Jonah could be on ecmo for a month. That’s okay. Home is where we are together. Question- what show should we absolutely watch to pass time? And don’t forget, #makeJonahglow