MRS ERWIN, FOREVER YOUNG

There are a few people who come into your life whose presence creates a good feeling.  The memories are often cherished and tend to be forgotten until an event in life will open the book of yester year and the events will again enter your life. 

Mrs. Jean Erwin was one of those people.  She was mother of my classmate Dorothy and six more beside.  The Erwin home was a mixture of warmth, activity, delicious baked goods or a fresh pot of coffee which would fill the air with its aroma.  Mr. Erwin was a loving, caring dad who worked at the local mill.  They reminded me of the tv Waltons.

One of my first memories of Mrs. Erwin was in 1964.  Beatlemania was sweeping the world and Kountze had not managed to elude the craze.  One day I rode the bus home with Dorothy – to visit, complete our homework and be kids.  As Dorothy, her siblings and I walked toward their home the unforgettable sounds of I Want To Hold Your Hand filled the air.  Mrs. Erwin opened the front door.  She was wearing a Beatle wig and had the biggest smile on her face.  It seems she had purchased the LP Meet The Beatles earlier that day.  We were of course thrilled and proved it by dancing around the living room.  It was a memorable day for sure. 

Mrs. Erwin was also active in our Campfire Girls group.  She was a support to our group and frequently provided snacks.  She was not much over 30 but I considered her to be one of those ancient adults.

In January 1969 the sounds of my parents hurried foot steps awoke me one night.  They urged me to get up and get dressed as Uncle JD had suffered a heart attack and they were driving to Galveston to be with him.  I mumbled something about where was I going to go and Mom responded Mrs. Erwin said I could stay with them.  A quick drive in the eerie darkness and we soon arrived at the Erwin home.  Mrs. Erwin stood outside and waited.  Told my parents not to worry. She would take care of me.  She urged them to get going and would say a pray for Mr. Bean.  I watched my parents drive away with a sense of dread.  The couch complete with fresh linens awaited me.  I slept that night among friends.  I would need them.  Later that day after school I called and spoke with my brother who broke the sad news that Uncle JD had died during the night.  I braced myself against the wall and wept.  Mrs. Erwin’s tender hug reminded me I would not have to face this unwanted grief alone.  The cold winter day made my tears sting as they slid down my cheeks. 

When I think of these events I realize what an extraordinary woman Mrs. Erwin was and is.  She was a rock solid support for her children and a true friend to me and to my family.  She had enough on her plate yet she took the time to be a source of comfort and support for my family. 

Dorothy and I graduated from school and went our separate ways.  I see Mrs. Erwin on occasion, now in her 80s.  She still has that pep in her step and that twinkle in her eye.  Her children are all grown and the clan has many grandchildren and great grands to fill the heart of even Mrs. Erwin who was born to be a Mother and born to be a good one. 

 

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COINS IN A HANDKERCHIEF

Kountze Korner

When I remember my Mom I recall so many things.  I recall her quick wit, her love of gardening and flowers.  I recall it was she who pushed our family to take trips across the USA.  It was she who cooked  Sunday dinners after church.   There are just too many memories which fill my mind.

On occasion the memories spill over and a new one – from the depths of time remind me how special she was – and how much good she did in the community.  I think of one such memory from more than 50 years ago.

My Mom was the force behind a Blue Bird/Camp Fire Group in Kountze.  She decided the town needed such a group  once she learned the local Girl Scouts group was excluding so many.  She set out to amend what she considered wrong thinking, wrong behavior.  

The Blue Bird group…

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THE SUMMER OF LOVE – 50 YEARS AGO

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THE SUMMER OF LOVE – 50 YEARS AGO

Source: THE SUMMER OF LOVE – 50 YEARS AGO

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BRIAN EPSTEIN – A GREAT LOSS

Kountze Korner

Today, 48 years ago – the tragic loss of Brian Epstein – Beatles manager, promoter and #1 fan died in London just days before his thirty-third birthday.

 The news erupted from the radio like an unwelcomed intruder that Sunday afternoon.  My parents and I were visiting my aunt and uncle that week-end and I had retreated to the confined a bedroom and to the soothing sounds of rock and roll when I learned of Brian’s passing.  It was shocking.

 What I did not realize it was also the end of the Fabs as we had grown to know and love them.  They were in Wales attending a meditation conference and rushed backed to London, to questions, to a world which was not so safe for them any more.

 Within a year they were truly splintered, divorces, break up with a long term girlfriend, business interest at peril, so many stabs…

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THE SUMMER OF LOVE – 50 YEARS AGO

Kountze Korner

I have found years provide many benefits.  We are suppose to get a little smarter.  You are suppose to have more answers than you use to.  We are suppose to be the one others look to when a question needs to be answered or a riddle solved.  Sometimes the years don’t let us down.  Sometimes they do.   Years create more wrinkles, a realization that there are not that many years left to do the things one would like to do.  Years also help to put into proper prospective events which are landmarks in one’s life. 

The Summer of Love or so it has been called was truly remarkable in some ways but not in others.  The social upheaval which marked the 1960s was again revolutionized by none other than those adorable mop tops from Liverpool – the Beatles.  I say this with all sincerity as I am a first generation…

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THE SUMMER OF LOVE – 50 YEARS AGO

I have found years provide many benefits.  We are suppose to get a little smarter.  You are suppose to have more answers than you use to.  We are suppose to be the one others look to when a question needs to be answered or a riddle solved.  Sometimes the years don’t let us down.  Sometimes they do.   Years create more wrinkles, a realization that there are not that many years left to do the things one would like to do.  Years also help to put into proper prospective events which are landmarks in one’s life. 

The Summer of Love or so it has been called was truly remarkable in some ways but not in others.  The social upheaval which marked the 1960s was again revolutionized by none other than those adorable mop tops from Liverpool – the Beatles.  I say this with all sincerity as I am a first generation fan and saw the Fabs in Houston in 1965.  My bedroom walls were covered with their photos and I would melt when I looked into Paul’s bedroom eyes.

However, and that is a big word – the year which gave us the unforgettable and ground breaking Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also gave us the summer’s anthem – All You Need Is Love.  The Beatles performed live for the world to see that June 50 years ago.  They were surrounded by friends and family and of course flowers adorned the studio as John sang again and again All You Need Is Love. 

I all but cringe when I think of that considering his actions less than a year later.  The very same young man who sat on a bench and sang about love would not only commit adultery with another man’s wife but would betray his true blue wife.  He would leave not only Cynthia but their five year old son.  It did not matter he broke their hearts and in effect stamped a big fat thumbs down on his marriage but toward his fans.  It  proved the love he spoke of he knew so little of.

  Sad to say any lessons John learned would end 13 years later on a December night in New York.  However we won’t discuss that equally heartbreaking event.  We will however discuss the seeds sown into John’s life which created the events 50 years ago.

From the numerous articles I have read about John’s early life it is obvious he was the progeny of two totally irresponsible people who cared little for their son.  He was deserted at a very young age by his alcoholic and hapless dad and his over sexed mother could not be bothered to raise her son.  His care provided by his Aunt Mimi.  She did her best no doubt but a true father figure was rarely in John’s life save that of Jim McCartney – father of Paul – whom John was said to have adored.

When John was five the unthinkable happened to him.  His dad reappeared in his life and a true tug of war erupted between John’s parents.  They asked John to chose between them which was a horrible thing to do to a young child.  He chose his Mom and his dad was absent from John’s life for two decades – when he learned his long, lost son was one of the Beatles.   Fred, whom Cynthia described as a greasy drunk arrived at their front door in Weybridge.  John’s mother had been killed by a drunk driver in 1958.

The two people who John should have received affirmation and love were the very two who deprived him of that love.  Such scars never leave.  They may be covered up by success.  They may be obscured by incredible musical talent but the scars will come to the surface at sometime.  Years later John sought that love through music, fame, fortune and eventually in the arms of an off the wall woman from Japan.  Even that did not sooth the wounded soul of the little boy.

I say these things in an effort to level the playing field in my mind.  John was no different than the rest of us.  His candor was part of his charm.  However his charm was splashed across the pages of the world for all to see.  He had his detractors but he also had more fans than Carter had pills.  His legacy shows no signs of ebbing.

The summer which began with All You Need Is Love and the unforgettable tunes of Sgt. Pepper would end sadly when Beatles manager Brian Epstein was found dead in his London home.  The safe world for the Beatles was eroding and the world which they had provided for a generation of fans was soon to disappear.  We would face Viet Nam and our own set of broken dreams.  We would face John’s loss and grieve as never before.  We would be wounded and find solace in the realities of God’s love and that of His Son Jesus,.  We would attend class reunions and remember when.  And when we do attend those reunions it is a safe bet All You Need Is Love will be sung.

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