Honeymoon for Seven

Back in the old days (Not GOOD old days!) the education that Bill and I and most of our contemporaries encountered was far different from the way things are now.  Or, as my mother, Evie, would have said, “A white horse of a different color!)

Honors classes?  Nope.  Advanced placement classes?  None of those either. The smart kids, the not so smart kids, and the really not smart kids all ended up stuck in the same classroom, doing the same work.  Surprisingly enough, the smart kids usually finished their assignments early leaving them free to get into all kinds of mischief.  Passing notes with a straightened out clothes hanger in the back of Miss Stammer’s fifth grade classroom?  Yup, Patsy McAdams and Judy Busk, guilty as charged.

So the problem became what to do with those pesky smart kids while the ones, who really needed the help, were getting it.  In order to keep from having to demote the bottom of the class, the teachers found a strategy to deal with the top part of the class—remote those kids, as in send them elsewhere.

For Bill, that meant being drafted to paint holiday windows around his grade school and to design and paint sets for school drama productions.  During seventh and eighth grade, I spent very little time in actual classrooms.  In seventh grade, I went from classroom to classroom every morning collecting the attendance sheets and taking them back to the principal’s office.  In eighth grade, though, I hit the big kahuna and got sent to the library!!

There were books on the shelves in the library, but there was no librarian on staff.  What they had was me.  Teachers would accompany their pupils into the library where they would return their books and check out more.  My job was to check ‘em in and check ‘em out, complete with check-out cards and a changeable date stamp for the due date record in the book.  When the class left, I shelved the books.  It was almost a part time job.  Greenway school was K-8 at that point, with two classes per grade level.  That was a lot of checking in and out.

There was no such things as a card catalog.  Books were shelved in alphabetical order, regular books on one side of the room; picture books on the other.  Then there was the Billy Caldwell section.  That one was also alphabetical, but it was mostly bare.  Billy was a sickly kid who loved reading and who died when he was in sixth or seventh grade.  In lieu of flowers, people were asked to donate to a fund to buy books for the library.  With that money in hand, Mrs. Caldwell, without consulting any educators, went out and bought a whole bunch of books that kids actually LIKED!!  What a concept!  She filled those shelves with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames and the Bobbsey Twins.  I never read them, but I’m pretty sure there were also some Tom Swifts!

Occasionally, someone would come along with a box of books to donate.  What did I do?  I put card pockets and date due slips in them and put them on the shelves.  Some of them weren’t exactly appropriate.  The one I’m thinking of right now, which I read cover, was entitled, “Honeymoon for Seven.”  It was about two single parents getting together and blending families.

Divorce was, to quote my mother again, “scarce as hen’s teeth” in those days, so the book was pretty risqué reading for someone who was fourteen.  I’m pretty sure I read the book in the library rather than checking it out and taking back to the classroom or, worse, home where Evie would have seen it.  As I was doing my steps this morning thinking about the blog, it occurred to me that maybe that book was the original source material for what would later become the Brady Bunch.  But I digress.

In 1985, when Bill and I married, he had three kids and I had two.  We didn’t take anyone along on the honeymoon, but even at the time, I remembered the title of that long ago book and realized that, without knowing it, I had been reading fiction and also glimpsing my future.

Fast forward to last weekend’s wedding in 2017.  The groom, our son and a single dad, came to this second marriage with three adult daughters, a son-in-law, and a bun in the oven.  The bride, Kathleen, has four sons, all but two of them mostly raised.  The eldest has a longtime serious girlfriend.  That’s eleven people minimum.

The lovely ceremony was conducted by my long time friend, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson who flew up from California to officiate.  (Yes, there’s a definite connection between my friend Bishop Swenson, and Joanna Brady’s friend, the Reverend Marianne Maculyea, but that’s another story for another time.)

The garden was lush and beautiful.  Thanks to our caterers, Seasoned in Seattle, the food was great.  It was warm, but not nearly as blazingly hot as it could have been or even as it’s going to be later today.

All in all, high marks all around.  The day after the ceremony, everyone in the newly blended family trucked over to a spend a couple of days at a house in Ocean Shores.  Bill’s and Kathleen’s honeymoon for twelve certainly tops our paltry honeymoon for seven.

Next up?  That’s the grandkids’ call.  Let’s see if they can top that!



Here I am with egg all over my face.  AFTER I published the blog entitled The Word of the Day is Novella, the marketing people in NY made the unilateral decision that there wouldn’t BE a mass market edition of the novella, Still Dead after all.

So for this one, my readers are stuck with either an e-book, the downloadable audio, or else waiting until Proof of Life comes out in paperback, way down the road.  Sorry, sorry, sorry.

24 thoughts on “Honeymoon for Seven

  1. I too was one of those sickly book readers and worked in the Library in high school. I remember mostly about putting the numbers of the Dewey decimal system on the backbone of new books with an electric heat pen,(kind of like a soldering iron), and breaking them in, stamping them on the title page, pages 7, 17, 67, 167, 267, etc. In 1960 I recorded Kennedy’s inaugural address on a reel to reel Weber tape recorder at the request of the Librarian. Later in that year we attended a book fair at the
    Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. We saw and tried out this new copy machine from Xerox. It took probably a minute and required 2 separate operations.

  2. Many long-time loyal readers are being left behind with the advent of novellas. Not everyone wants an eReader. Too bad the “big” publishers don’t get it.

    • I love having an eReader. I read fast so it’s wonderful to have on vacations and those occasional “hurry up and wait” days (DMV, doctor appointments, jury duty, etc.). If I carry a book and have more than a couple of hours to kill I can run out of reading material! I use the eReader for “easy” reads and get a ton of the freebie books. Plus books I read again & again (Ivanhoe!). I buy books sometimes and utilize the library frequently – I really can’t afford my habit otherwise.

    • You do not have to have an e-reader device to read an e-book. Both Amazon and B&N have readers for PC (Kindle for PC and NOOK for PC). You can then buy and read the novella on your computer. Not my favorite option for full length books, but novellas and short stories work great. Novellas are usually very inexpensive. Or, if you live in King County and have a library card, you can get a Seattle library card and check out e-books and read them on your computer with Overdrive. Oregon library card holders can use Library2Go. You may have a waiting list at the library, but if you sign up on release day it is usually not a long wait.

      • I realize that…I, myself, am a Nook user and haven’t read a “tree” book in years. However, I have a lot of friends who still prefer the feel and smell of a hardback, or a paperback if hardbacks aren’t available. Some people simply like to hold a traditional book.

  3. In 6th grade I read every biography in the school library. If you read a “real” book in class the teachers never bothered you. Essentially I took tests and read the entire year – didn’t do homework, listen or participate in class at all. I read one book start to finish at school, read a second after school and then got 2 new books every morning. Plus 5 library books every weekend and countless comic books. Plus the occasional book of my own to keep.

    Bookworm much?

  4. Blog is even more enjoyable than usual. As a teenager I was a Betty McDonald fan. She died in Carmel when she was 56 but lived on Vachon Island before that. Were you a Betty McDonald fan? I wonder if her books would be just as humorous today?

    • Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I , written about her 1920’s life on a farm in Washington’s Olympic rain forest, will make you laugh out loud today.

      • The farm from The Egg and I is south of Port Townsend. Betty MacDonald was fantastic writer who we would all know if she had lived back east instead of out west.

  5. In 4th and 6th grades, my teacher was Mrs.
    Ellis. I had read almost all of the books at school, so she shared her personal library with me! In junior high, Mrs. Duke let me go to the school library each day to check out a book-yes-I read one a night! I am not sure when the town started the bookmobile, but I carried home grocery bags full! I still read So many books and have favorite authorities-Jance-of course!!!! Devoured those last summer! I read books and my Kindle! I also volunteer to edit a series of cozy mysteries for a favorite of mine! Am also an Amazon Vine reviewer! Reading, along with adult color books, logic puzzles, and Bible studies keep this senior going!

  6. Well-we can see these old eyes don’t catch much on an IPHONE-authors not authorities-wouldn’t my former sudents love that?
    I forgot to add, I prefer novels to novellas and the short stories the authors do-not so much!

  7. They double promoted me in second grade which made things harder, but I never got into trouble anyway. I also was a library shelved in grade school and worked in my high school library. Made weekly trips to public library in the summer. Now my Kindle is my best friend. Love your books, JA.

  8. In 6th grade (4 room school, 5th &6th combined) I read, completely absorbed, through a spelling test, only coming back to reality when the papers were being returned (and I didn’t have one!). My teacher laughed and gave me a pass on that one. The book was “CHUM,” about a orphan girl and her best friend. Have no idea who the author was now, but that was at least my third or fourth time through the book.
    I also had “adult” floor privileges in the town’s library. I had already read all of the kid books. That was the year I discovered Grace Livingston Hill — her books took up a whole shelf. I read them all along with everything Frank Slaughter, Thomas B Costain and Louis Lamour wrote. I still read everything I can get my hands on. One of my favorites is J A Jance!

  9. Sounds familiar. I lived in a big city in Los Angeles county so full staffing in school library and the nearby public branch. Had to prove, when young, to the librarians that I had read the many books I checked out. Pushing 80 and still hit the library every week. Mysteries still my favorite genre. Judith Jance a favorite! Congratulations to the newly weds. Growing up after the depression and during WWII and post war, I knew lots of “separated” families. Sad to say. Many remarried but not blended families. Saw a lot of them in church though. Todays world is much better for most of them. What a honeymoon! Extra special to be married in the garden of the “folks”. Eagerly waiting for the next release.

  10. My grandmother would smugly say, “We don’t have divorce.” (In our family.)
    Thank goodness she went to her reward before this generation. She’d be spending 24/7 on her knees praying for our souls.
    Congratulations and happiness wished for your new extended family.
    Stay cool up there!
    Portland, my sister says, is miserably hot and dry. Her cedar trees are dying.
    Wearing a sweatshirt in MN,

  11. I also went to one of those small schools in the country. 1-8 3 classes to a room until 7&8 then you were big time. My first grade teacher would go to the town library and bring back boxes of books and put them on a shelf in our room. By the time to take them back, I would have read them all. I read all of my mom’s True Story magazines (racy, whew), and in high school I read every book there and made money doing book reports for lazy boys in my class. I still have books all over the place. I have all of J. A. Jance books except the latest ones. I want No Honor Among Thieves, but can’t find a paper copy. I don’t have an ereader or a kindle. I want to turn those pages and feel the paper.

    • You should be able to find a paper and ink version of No Honor in the back of the paperback version of Clawback.

  12. We no longer have a book store in my little home town. I order all of my books from Amazon. Sometimes the wait for the new ones in paper back is interminable. But I shall persevere.

  13. If you live in the area of the Timberland Library system you can check out a Kindle and have it loaded with the Book /Novella of your choice without investing in anything other than a Library Card. Then you have even more options available to you now that you’ve empowered yourself with a Library Card.

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