May 28, 2009

Carver Creek Revisited - Part 2

(Linda Meikle photos 5-25-09)
Click photos for close-up views.

The end of the road from St. Louis - crosses Carver Creek and is the 'entrance' to my childhood that I remember most.

It was raining during our visit May 25, 2009. This will most likely be the last time I ever go back because everything is changing, and memories are better than the current pictures.

Hubby Jim checks out the creek we just crossed over. I had expected a flood with all the rain, but was very thankful we were allowed access this time. Our good friend, Norman, died many years ago while trying to cross the flooded creek/slab on a tractor.

(The partial log cabin photo) When we lived here, this spot was the place where we visited Vernon and Juanita Estey. They had the only TV in the area. It's the first place you come to after you cross the creek and about 4 miles from where we lived. Grandma let us walk there and watch Lassie Come Home on Sunday nights. Now it's a log cabin? I notice an air conditioner in the window! The back side was Juanita's kitchen (siding part in photo). She had no running water or electricity except for one kitchen light. The wood stove in the living room was used for heating and cooking!

(Same house) This used to be a steep hilly, rocky driveway that always got washed out with the rains. We had to be careful to avoid snakes in this area.

(Littered yard) We couldn't get a good shot of this famous building, but it used to be the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church where I played the piano and Sandy & I sang Jesus songs together as the 'special music" part of the service for about 8 Carver Creek Seventh-day Adventist residents. (We harmonized perfectly!) When news would get out up and down the creek that we would be singing on Sabbath, the church was 'packed' with maybe 15 people!
Now the building is a trashy house! The outhouse (the 'bathroom" included a Sears catalog!) is still beside the 'church' up on the hill. Sandy says her name is written on the wood in the outhouse! (Jim didn't think it was safe to stop and take pictures.)

Memories For Sale! The property where we lived in the second house with lights and cold water in the kitchen is now for sale. Grandma's acre garden was on the other side of the fence. The mailbox, where we waited for Johnny the mailman to bring letters from grandpa, was where this sign is now.
(Limestone water) These are 50-year-old tadpoles in the ditch by the garden! At least, they look like the same ones that Sandy and I used to catch after the rains!

(Tree on ground) The family gone too! This tree was a sapling in front of David's House when we lived there. (It's in an old picture). If you look at the house pictured on my blog "Linda's Notebook" (, you will see part of that same tree on the left-hand side of the photo taken in 2003. . Sandy asked me to take another picture of that tree to see how it's grown, but I found the tree on the ground and broken apart from a bad storm that came through the area a few days before we got there.

Jim digs for a small piece of wood to bring home as a keepsake from the first house we lived in on Carver Creek. In my book, it's called, David's House, because David Westbrook built it about 1960. Yes, it was a small square box with a wood stove for heat and cooking. We carried buckets of water from a spring way back in these woods. Never got a snakebite!

There are more pictures I will post later. This is part of my life's story you will find in my book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries. Jim says that now that he's been there, Carver Creek seems more encompassing because places & people that I talk about (Esteys, Jordans, Westbrooks, the Wake family, and Grace & Albert's place) are further apart then he had expected. The distance between the entrance and exit of the creek crossings is a little less than five miles. Everyone we know lived between the crossings.
I'm not sure how the pictures and descriptions will match up. It's hard to tell when posting this.

Take Care on the Journey,


May 27, 2009

Carver Creek Revisited

There will be more about our Memorial Day trip back to Carver Creek in a few hours when we return home, but the nine-hour drive to Missouri was kindof spur-of-the-moment after deciding not to go on such a long trip and then, within a couple hours, deciding that I really wanted Jim to see where I lived deep in the Ozark Mountain forest as a teenager. (The house is pictured on the dusty angels blog home page) without plumbing, running water or electricity in the first place we lived.

We drove 5 hours on Sunday and 5 more hours on Monday skirting St. Louis and going south about 100 miles to a small piece of land between the U-curve of an icy cold creek between Ironton and Annapolis, Missouri.

Arriving in the pouring rain, outfitted in knee-high rubber boots, Jim and I drove over an old, cracked, cement slab laid across the creek for those few who find themselves so far back in the forest that only with a very specific, hand drawn map could we find our way. I thanked the heavens for not allowing the creek to flood and block our only entrance into that part of the forest.

We left Sheba in the locked car on the gravel-worn limestone roadway while we tracked through an old trail to find what was left of the first house we lived in scattered in the woods and partly wrapped around giant oak trees recently uprooted by what appears to be a major wind storm.

Jim was very patient with my persistence in showing him every memory of places and people who no longer inhabit this world. I pointed out the massive thick berry bushes, now thick knots of rope entangled in the wild underbrush and old forest. These were planted by Mr. Lloyd Westbrook who lived there with his wife, Esther and daughter, Cyndi. Their son, David Westbrook built the small house pictured on my blog. (Our first house there.) You'll know all this if you've read my book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries. The Westbrook house got washed away by the creek.

I'll post the rest of the story and pictures in a little while after we get home. Right now Jim is packing the car and I haven't finished dressing!

Stand by for Carver Creek Revisited - Part 2.

Take Care on the Journey,


May 20, 2009

Vacation Time In Ohio

I took the last test this morning. We're officially between quarters now, and we get a week off!

I'm half-way done with the RN program!

I'm not over fretting whether I passed that test or not! It was that dreaded A&P with 100 questions. I had to go back and answer four of them. It's still fuzzy on how I think I did, but with the history of this class, I'm sure we're all in the same boat!

Anyway, the teacher is very considerate and gives us every break that he can. He said no RN student has ever failed his class.

Now I just wait for my grades in the mail sometime in the next two weeks!

On June 4, we are being taken by bus to about 100 miles south of Columbus (Portsmith?) for our OB (baby birthing) orientation. I think we have to go to that hospital six times, but information isn't clear about that yet. (Communication is better than last quarter, but still not the best.)

Today, I'm FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I already got the sheets changed, vacuum done, laundry all done, and Sheba got a half-bath. Now I can enjoy all my coupons and do some FREEEEEEEEEEEE shopping! (See my coupon blog for more.

The third quarter starts on June 1. I'm off until then!

That's all for now. I'm going outside and sit in the sun!

Take Care on the Journey, ~Linda


May 18, 2009

Welcome Colleen

A special welcome to a special gal - my son's girlfriend - Colleen!

She has been added to my blogs, "Linda's Notebook", "Golden Coupons", and My Poetry Blog For Pets We Loved and Love! (She will get my postings in an e-mail as many of you do.)

Colleen also loves to write and has a link on my website. It's on the left side of Linda's Notebook under Friends and Family. It's listed as Billy & Colleen. (Maybe we can get more updates on life around the big city of Portland now?) She has other websites that she might share with us also.

Welcome Colleen - to this website and to the family.

PS - Billy and Sandy have left some interesting comments on Linda's Notebook under the posting, The 11th Commandment.

Take Care on the Journey,
~Linda/Mama Linda

Please note, if you get this by e-mail remember to check the blog home page for added comments.

The 11th Commandment

I always say to tell the truth because, believe it or not, that is one of the surest ways for people to instantly lose respect for you – forever – if your ‘truth’ gets discovered.

It’s also an attribute associated with two-year-olds!

Do I sound a bit angry? You bet I am! But I’m respectful enough to allow the person who lied to me remain anonymous here on this blog.

Yes, it’s a school (college) related incident that one of my professors pulled on me.

We were told to write a paper and given explicit directions and due dates.

And, we were allowed to write the paper early so it could be reviewed by the teacher and redone before the end of the quarter. “You will be guaranteed an A if you do that,” we were assured. The date to turn the paper in was April 27 – three weeks before the final deadline.

So I did write the paper early and handed it to the teacher as directed.

But, on the day the teacher was expected to return my paper, I asked for it and was told that I could have it by the end of the class.

At end of class, I asked for it again and was told it would be returned to me by end of day. The teacher asked about my schedule and said he/she would bring it to my last class of the day by 4 p.m.

When I hadn’t seen this teacher or my paper at 4 p.m., I walked to every office and around the entire building asking if any one had seen this teacher. No one acknowledged seeing this teacher that afternoon.

The next week, (next class) I asked again. (The entire class heard my request.) I was told the paper was ‘graded’ but it was in the car.

"I’ll bring it in after lunch”, the teacher promised.

I asked if I had gotten a good grade and was assured it was ‘a good grade” and that I had “nothing to worry about”.

You’re following me here. After lunch the teacher said he/she “forgot to get it from the car”. Again another week and no paper to review or rewrite.

Today was our final test. (For those who know what test we had today – sorry.) During the test this ‘teacher’ wrote on the board. “The following people need to see (me)." The list of three names included my name…. Needless to say, I was a little distracted while trying to complete my final 100-question test.

When I finished my test, and while others were still taking their test, he/she had me sit in a chair at the front of the room and he/she quietly whispered that he/she ‘made a mistake’ and hadn’t graded my paper as he/she had told me.

Then he/she said that because I “only made a B”, he/she would give me a chance to rewrite the paper and turn it in ‘late’.

I only wish this had happened to my little sister because my teacher and the entire class of test-taking students would have gotten an earful of pure profanity, blasphemy, cuss words, and a dressing down that would have embarrassed a dog.

Instead, I have the ulcer and a paper to rewrite.

It may be because this is the end of the most taxing three-months of my life. It may be because I'm still feeling the results of my bad fall. It may be that I think any lie is the most low down thing a human being can do. It may be that I'm over-reacting. But, I sure wish my little sister could have been given a shot at this one.

Teachers - Especially teachers - Should not lie!

Take Care on the Journey,


May 15, 2009

Giant Hostas From Ohio

When these extra large hosta shoots came up this spring where I was working, I suspected these were more than the usual hostas. Does anyone know the name and where I can get them?

...These are the usual size that I'm used to...

I'm feeling much better (after the fall). Thanks for all your calls and concerns.
I saw a bumper sticker today that I'd like to add to my blog.
It said:
"Take nothing but pictures...Leave nothing but footprints".


May 13, 2009

The Nurse Becomes The Patient

I've been debating if I should confess my downfall!

It started so early in the morning that my patients were still sleeping or drowsy as I slipped into their room to take blood pressures about 7 a.m. yesterday morning.

"I was cold all night. I didn't sleep a wink," complained one as I turned off her air conditioner.

I thought I'd get her another blanket when I finished the morning chore assigned to me by the nursing instructor.

The almost to last patient was connected to several machines including humidified oxygen, that unbeknown to me had leaked all over the floor during the night.

I called her name and told her I was just checking her oxygen level and blood pressure. She nodded slightly in the cool, darkened room.

Slightly alarmed when her sats were abnormally low, I went to the nursing station to inform her morning nurse of my results. It was during report (from night nurse to day nurse), so I slipped back into the patient's room to do a more complete assessment.

One instant I was headed for the patient's bedside, the next I was catching myself in a slippery fall as my left foot shot right out from under me like a shooting star that comes from nowhere and flashes by in a heartbeat. More than that, my left arm got caught inside a large open trash can lined with a plastic bag that had the words "Isolation" printed all over it. The arm in the trash can cushioned my fall but injured my shoulder, elbow and left wrist. The next part of the fall was my left hip hitting the floor - and my right knee twisting as I tried to break the fall. There are other parts that are bruised and sore for no explainable reason except that is what happens in that split second between natural walking and bizarre collapse.

That's the 'ouch' part. I mean a really big take-me-home-right-now ouch part. But instead, my very professional, capable, and efficient nursing instructor, initiated first responder reactions that included an official trip to the emergency room.

All my co-nursing students rose to the occasion in great nursing form! As I was wiping my face with my hands after the (very painful) fall, one reminded me that I had been in an isolation room so I shouldn't be touching my face until I washed my hands! Another offered to help me gently remove the nursing jacket. Another took my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff and put them in my nursing bag. Another went to the car and got my purse. Another reminded me to call my husband. One classmate took me to the ER and stayed with me the entire time - telling funny stories to make me laugh.

The really weird part was being wheeled on a cart to x-ray while still dressed in my white nursing uniform (and shoes!). I wonder how many other patients thought it might be a joke? I really wished I had a camera for that one! Is that nurse really a patient? The aide asked if I wanted a sheet so I could cover up my uniform. Too funny!

That reminded me that I never did get my own patient her blanket. I hope she finally got warm.

Today as I recouped at home, several classmates called to ask about me. One collected my English paper from the English Instructor. Someone made my excuse from anatomy class, collected homework and took notes for me.

It appears that nothing is broken and the soreness is a natural healing process. The doctor gave me two prescriptions for pain. ha ha Everyone who KNOWS me knows that while I'm a great nurse, I'm a holistic person, and I rarely take PRN meds. I told my instructor that I'd be selling my pills on the street. Well, you know I can't do that, but I am going to get the prescriptions filled at Giant Eagle Grocery store and collect an additional 40 cents a gallon off on gas with my gas card/prescription rewards program.

Tomorrow I'll be back at clinicals for my next to last clinical day for this quarter (if the school doesn't come up with new calculations for our hours and demand additional time like they did last week). Next week (May 18-20) is midterm week with several big tests before a week's break (May 25-29)! I'm looking forward to a nice quiet week's break.

Take Care on the Journey,
(no matter where you end up!)


May 8, 2009

My Mouse Article Won First Place and $360

I just happened to be catching up on my e-mails when I saw a notice that my Pay Pal Account had some new money recently added. It took a few minutes for it to sink in that my article posted on had won 1st place and $360.00!!!!

"Wow!" Is all I can say right now. Thank-you Brian (president of

Here's the link for the announcement... HERE

Here's the link for the article (Please note that 99percentangel is ME.) My article has been read by more than 10,000 people (mostly nurses) and has 53 comments at the end of the article. HERE

It's so much fun to try and figure out what I'll do with the money.
I'm not paying bills, for sure!

Take Care on the Journey,

Please note, if you get this by email to check the blog home page for added comments.

May 7, 2009

Joshua's Angels Disguised As “Housedogs”

I'm very, very thankful that I got a phone call at 5:30 a.m. today informing me that clinicals were delayed to thick fog in Columbus, Ohio.

Not that I could enjoy an extra hour of welcome sleep (which I did try unsuccessfully), but I caught something on The Early Show (CBS) that made a very deep impression on me!

It was an interview with the man who found little Joshua Childers yesterday afternoon. He said he had gone into the woods not in the search area to look for the child, but he had started home because he was tired when the saw some "house dogs that looked like they didn't belong in the woods".

The posted article puts it this way, "Halpin had wandered away from his search party because he said he was tired, and saw some dogs in the woods, wondered why they were there, and followed them."

But what I heard this morning was that the dogs were "house dogs" that didn't look like they belonged in the woods, so he followed the dogs, and they led him to the child. (Another news report calls the dogs 'wild dogs', but I heard the original interview, and the man who found Joshua called them "house dogs that didn't belong in the woods". After living there in the area for many years, I can assure you that the men of that part of the country know the difference between wild dogs, coon dogs, hunting dogs and house dogs! They also know the difference between wild bear, wild cats and wild wolves.)

I'm somewhat saddened that today I didn't find very many people who seemed as impressed as I was by the "house dogs" in the woods. (Except my sister and my hubby who always trust me when I tell them my experiences with and belief in angels.)

I'm thankful for the opportunity to give thanks, once again, for the 'angels among us" who watch over and protect us for reasons we may never know.

I told you yesterday (on this blog) that I believed that Joshua's angels were protecting him. Now I can show you living proof that miracles do happen no matter what form our angels must take to do their job.

Take Care on the Journey,
(Surrounded by your anges)


May 6, 2009

Joshua Childers Lived Near Carver Creek!

(Fox News photo)
The little three-year-old child who wandered away from his home last Monday and was found today by searchers today (April 6, 2009) about three miles from his home in Arcadia, Missouri, has something in common with me and my book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries. (Joshua story HERE)
Arcadia is the first town you come to when leaving the remote forest area where my sister and I lived as teenagers on Carver Creek - the story is told in detail in my memoir!

(The color photos in the link are exact places my sister visited often when we lived there.)

The elated searchers who reported the wonderful news of Joshua's rescue today, described the terrain as "heavily wooded" with "granite rocks, stream beds and rough terrain".

That would be where we survived living in the house pictured on home page of this website. Where my sister and I bathed in the frigid leech-filled waters of Carver Creek; split firewood barefoot for the wood stove; carried drinking water from a living spring deep in the wild woods; used the smelly, rickety outhouse surrounded by woods, snakes and spiders; rescued baby rattlesnakes from the garden; raised baby mice collected from the attic; worked long back-breaking hours in grandma's garden; and canned hundreds of jars of vegetables and fruit to help us survive the long, cold winters in Missouri about 100 miles south of St. Louis.

Today's news story indicated that Joshua slipped out while his dad was sleeping, and his mother was talking on the phone. In our time, we had no phone, no electricity and no running water. (Later, we did live in a house with water in one room and electricity for lights.) My sister and I wanted to run away, but felt we had no place to run.

My book shares many 'warm' memories of Carver Creek, and I'm sure we "escaped" the 'evils' of of time such as The Beatles' arrival in America, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Elvis Presley! We didn't have a TV or radio and we didn't attend formal schooling. (That part could have been better. ha ha)

We learned how to search the woods for mushroom delicacies and natural salad makings. Grandma taught us how to bake perfect loaves of whole wheat bread in a cookstove heated with sticks of wood. We cut out our own patterns and sewed our clothes on the old pedal Singer sewing machine. We learned to play the piano on an ancient upright church piano. We could milk cows and goats, hatch chickens and geese from eggs, plant a garden that would feed an army, and find the best walnut trees in the forest after the first frost in the fall.

I'm enclosing a link with a photo of the Arcadia Valley Bank where in 1965, grandma deposited $5 each for my sister and me. We discovered the money nearly 50 years later (last year) while doing a web search for unclaimed funds. (Oh yeah, our checks were for exactly $5.)

My story tells of life and death; sorrow and happiness; grief and joy; mystery and success!

I'm thankful that you survived, Joshua.
I'm sure your life was saved by your angels - as was mine.

Take Care on the Journey,


May 3, 2009

Swine (H1N1) Flu and Me

(Flickr photo) I got this picture in a rare 'forward' from my hubby captioned, "So this is how it started!"

I think the picture is worse than the current outbreak of the "Swine Flu". (Although I still want my kids to call me if they are feeling badly.)

News reports are starting to show some concern about the "hysteria" over the H1N1 flu, and everybody who gets a sore throat or fever going to the emergency room asking if they are going to die.

Actually, I don't blame people for being fearful of getting the "Swine flu", but I feel satisfied with present information, that this isn't going to be nearly as bad as getting the "real" flu. Sure, a LOT of people will get it, but the difference between both types of flu are almost impossible to tell without testing. Same symptoms basically.

I've told my family that I would rather get it now while its in the mild form, because I expect some strain of this flu to return in the fall in a more severe state. We're planning a Tennessee family reunion in September, so I'd be more concerned about someone getting sick then!

I'm keeping up with official sources by getting updates from the CDC every day. Even reading between the lines, I see no cause for ALARM. I'm not worried about being a nurse or working in the nursing home or going to class. I do get frustrated at people who ARE sick and come to school and work. That's wrong.

So, do make sure you wash your hands more often than usual and keep a bottle of Purell handy. If you get a slight sore throat or feel washed out, give yourself (and others) a break and sleep in a little. Do all the things you know do to keep healthy.

That's my advice and I'm sticking to it. (Smile)

Take Care on the Journey,



May 2, 2009

For Those Who Get My Postings By E-Mail...

...You'll have to click onto my blog to view the flashflood slideshow.

I hope you will.



Mother Goose and Mother Nature

My slide show tells it all. We had a flash flood here today. Jim and I ran to check on the nesting goose, but she had already lost to Mother Nature!

I hope the YouTube works here. It did on my other website for our pets.

Take Care on the Journey,