Do you remember playing marbles at school?  Each player would put a certain amount of marbles inside a circle drawn on the ground, then each player would take turns knocking the marbles out of the circle with their shooter.  When playing for keeps one kept all the marbles they knocked out of the circle.  When I was in the first grade, the boys in my class were playing marbles during recess.  I was the proud owner of some beautiful red and blue marbles that my older cousin  had given me.    The next day I took them to school to show them to the boys.  They must have thought they were beautiful too because they invited me to play with them so I happily  joined in.  I’m sure they thought a mere girl would quickly lose all her precious jewels.  However, my older cousin ( 6 years older) had taught me how to play. All my cousins were boys so all my playmates were boys and I was somewhat of a tomboy, an only child and the first granddaughter.  Maybe a little bit indulged.  Much to their surprise I won every game.  I had a large sack full of marbles by end of recess.  So at the afternoon recess the boys decided to  win back their marbles so I agreed to play again. This was more fun than playing with my cousins.  Well, when time to go back into the class room I had accumulated even more marbles.  I went home that afternoon so delighted with of my wonderful prize.  When I proudly share my treasures with my parents I thought they would be just as excited as I.  But alas , when my father discovered that I gained the loot from playing for keeps…..WELL!  Dad said that I would have to return them to their original owners because he considered that to be GAMBLING…. Heaven forbid!  Being the obedient child that I was, the next day, I returned the marbles to their previous owners but I still thought I was the right full owner.  I was so disappointed but Dad bought me a bunch of marbles and I never played for keeps again


Nancy Shoemaker



I have a wonderful state park, practically, in my back yard. I go there on numerous occasions.  I especially love to see the wildlife (animal and birds).  Many times I will see a heron or two, a single deer or a group of deer, squirrels, a bunny, and woodpeckers and other birds.  The Park has many picnic tables, some covered picnic shelters, and a large community Building that can be rented for the day.  There is a campground without electric or water hook ups.  There are bath houses and a waste dump for self-contained campers.  In the Summer time the swimming area is open and it has a bath house for the use of the swimmers.  Canoes are available for renting, I think by the hour. There is a boat launch area for motor power boats ,and also a primitive camping area for groups like the Scouts and such.  It offers many hiking trails  and biking trails for cyclist.  Dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

I enjoy going so I can photograph interesting subjects of nature’s beauty, whether it is an animal, plant,water, or reflections in the water. I even like to photograph mushrooms, and mosses.  I have  not maintained my muscle strength in my legs so I don’t walk the trails. I might go a few yards from my car but not on long walks.  I love the Park and I feel so lucky to live so near it.

I just had a friend of mine tell me of an incident that happened in the park, recently, that saddens me.  It seems that a group of cyclist were enjoying the use of the bike trails when one of them had an accident that left him unable to move.   911 was called and when the rescue workers arrived they were not allow to go deep into the woods with the four-wheeler that would expedited safely getting him on a stretcher and out of the woods to a point where he could be loaded into a chopper and quickly taken to a medical facility. Those trails are quiet  long and not easily or quickly accessed by foot. It is not like those rescue worker’s were going for a” fun spin in the woods”.  You know, they are specifically trained in working with critically injured people.  Fortunately, the rescue workers and the other cyclist were able to carry him to the road, I might add, without any help from the Park Ranger. I don’t think he even help carry any of the equipment back out. I am all for preserving the natural beauty of the woods but when a person’s life is at-stake, I think the rules and regulations could be over looked. The ranger on duty was quiet adamant about exercising his authority.  I heard that the injured person was paralyzed in the lower part of his body.  The longer  he was allowed to lay on that cold ground or if an untrained person made a wrong move trying to help, it could have caused more injury that would have been life threatening.

I hope everyone can continue to use this  great property that Duke Power Company set aside for our State Park and use it safely but also know if something dreadful would happen to you or a companion, rescue worker would be allowed to get there as swiftly as possible.

Nancy Shoemaker      12/26/2012

Yesterday and today I have been in a deep fog of grief.  Sometimes I feel like I am doing OK but I guess I am still in a period of denial.  Days lake yesterday and today just seem like I am ambushed by an excruciating pain and it is like being slammed up against a brick wall.  I just am overwhelmed with tears and it just grabs me again and again.  When I calm down I think I can begin to function, the pain and heartbreak returns with a vengeance.  It was last October that we learned why Bob’s health was deteriorating.  We were told that Bob had a tumor on the right temper lobe of his brain and that it was probably a glioblastoma multiform.  I had not heard of this disorder but the Neurosurgeon told us it was a very aggressive malignant  tumor. The only way to know for sure was to perform surgery on him. After we went home and pondered the situation, and I had the opportunity to research the subject we decided to go ahead with the surgery. The surgeon predicted Bob would have 14 to 17 month if we agreed to have the surgery but only 6 months if we choose not to proceed with the surgery.

After the surgery , the Dr. came out to speak with us and the news was not good.  The tumor was a grade 4 glioblastoma. the worst possible diagnosis. However, I was still clinging to the hope of him living a least another 17 months.  I read how many people had a longer battle with the disease and I was so elated that he had survived the surgery that I chose not to think of the inevitable outcome. Unfortunately Bob had so many heath issues  that it would not be possible for him to overcome all the risks involved. He was too weak to receive the chemo-therapy.  He  had a heart attack  three days after the surgery which further weakened him.  He  had not eaten enough for several months and continued to refuse food and water all the time he was in the hospital. After he was released from the Baptist hospital he refused to go back for the radiation treatments so he was admitted to Iredell  Memorial hospital to receive treatments. there.  He was scheduled to get 6 weeks of treatment but that was reduced to 15 treatments.  I don’t know why unless the hospital staff had no hope of it doing any good. He passed away on February 1, 2012 at the Gordon Hospice House In Statesville N.C.

Why after 7 month did this crippling grief engulf me so completely. I don’t understand how it can be so raw as if his death just happened.  It scares me to think that this monster will once again disable me time after time in the future. I need all the prayers any one can offer, to get me through this heartbreaking painful time.

Nancy Shoemaker 10 10 2012


As a child growing up in a rural area of Iredell county,  We didn’t have or need access to the modern machinery to groom the lawn or the areas around the garden and barnyard, that are necessary today.  The weeds would grow  around the pasture fence and no one was bothered by it because in the fall the frost would kill everything. The chickens had a house to roost in but they more or less had free range to wander around to feed on the insects around and to scratch in the weeds and grass.  the cows would be staked out to munch on the grass that grew  around  in  the un-fenced areas.  The baby goats would run around the yard with us children.  there was always a new horse to ride,  a stable full of calves to bucket feed at the barn.  Times were simpler then.  No TV or games, no computers. We, my cousins and I, were always outside playing in the yard or dirt not being supervised but always an adult knowing where we were. No one afraid of getting kidnapped. We follow our grandfather and uncle  around.  Summer was laid back .  my grand mother would churn butter with a wooden churn.  We always found our own entertainment.  I always love the morning glories. with their deep blue and purple trumpet shaped blossoms and the big heart shaped leave.  I don’t think any one thought they were any thing but a pest but no one tried to eliminate them.    We would pick them and play with them until they withered or we lost interest in them.  One of the other weeds that grew unhindered was the Polk berry stalks.  their shinning deep purple berry s were a magnet for us … and of course we were cautioned that they were poison but that didn’t deter us from picking them.  we would mix them with water and play with them, never eating them.  such wonders of child hood.  I’m sure we ruined our clothes but we never wore anything that mattered.  I wonder if any modern day children experience delights of unstructured play as we did back in the 1950’s.

Nancy Shoemaker


I had a beautiful mother.  she was movie star beautiful.  She was a tall slender young woman in her pictures from before she and my father were married and even after I was born.  She use to want to gain weight because her sisters called he Olive Oil ( a Popeye car-tune character). As I was growing up I knew she was pretty but being a kid it never was a real issue.  She was a classy dressing and acting lady.  She tried her best to influence me in that direction but it didn’t take. I was more of a tomboy. I was the first girl to be born into the family of many male cousins on my mother’s side of the family.  So of course I played the things they wanted to play.  Not having any siblings  nor any female cousins in close proximity I grew into my middle teens with the horses, calves, and baby goat that my uncle always had at the farm.My grandfather bought a horse for me.   Not to be outdone by the boys I pushed to keep up with them only to be left behind.    At 17 Ifindley realized I really was a girl and so began the task of catching up with the other girls in my class at school. I felt awkward and really overshadowed by a beautiful mother.  I never saw my resemblance to her.  She was tall, I was short and skinny. Dreadfully self-conscious.When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see any one who appeared elegant, poised, or put to gather like my beautiful mother.  Fortunately my husband came along and found me appealing and eventually unforgettable. Many years have passed since then.  Having always been told that I looked just like my father I only saw  his face when I looked in the mirror  Mother and Daddy both have passed on now.  I still see my father in me but now I also see my mother in me.  In fact, My cousins are commenting about how much I remind them of her. I feel proud as I age to be compared to her.

Is there any thing more annoying than a nasty virus on a beautiful  spring morning?  Colin and I are both waking up with such a hideous sore throat and unending cough. I thought we were about over this monster of a virus but I guess not. It hampers my plans for the week-end.  I love the summer and the hot spring days leading up to summer.  It has been dry for a few days here. I need to work on my vegetable garden and lots of other projects outside .    I sure will be glad when I can enjoy life again.  Isn’t it funny how we can get so caught up in self-pity when fighting a simple virus in a world where there are places that mankind is battling  far more terrible things.   I think I will take two aspirins and go back to bed.

Memories  flash through my mind like fleeting images. I can remember the times we laugh together.  I hear the sounds of his laughter, see  visions of his slow crooked grin when he was amused at something and I miss the companionship of sharing those moments. It is like looking at film and rewinding it over and over again to try to memorize each frame. I don’t ever want forget those times. There are many days and times that play through my mind like that I don’t want forget.

I was given a paper at the Gordon Hospice House  grief council group with a list of things that indicate how one can measure one’s progress through  grief.  One question was ” Do you have periods of time that you go without thinking of your loved one during a day?”  Yes, there are times that the loss is not on my mind constantly, but at the same time I don’t even acknowledge the fact that he is gone.  How can one grieve so intensely in one moment and in  the next forget reality?  Is that a sign of progressing through grief.  Maybe so.  Another question ask if you had reached a point where the lost loved one was no longer  remembered at a level of  sainthood?  Yes, but I am also no saint.  Bob was a good man who I loved deeply and still miss terribly but I am progressing with my grief work.

Nancy Shoemaker

Quilt Making

I am by no means an accomplished quilter but I am very proud of the quilt that I made to give as a gift to a member of our 1963 class.  We had our 50th high school reunion this past weekend.  Mary has worked so hard keeping us in touch throughout the years. Several of my fellow classmates thought we should do something special to honor her. One person provided gift certificates and another provided a memory box.  Well, I decided to make a lap quilt.

I bought a Quilt in a Day book by Elenore Burns and choose to do a lap quilt version of the Card Tricks block design. I had meant to do three sets of 4 blocks but with my inexperience I failed to get all three sets to match properly.  So I just did a single set of four blocks with borders all around.  It turn out good.
The next step was to quilt it.

I went to Statesville, NC to the Pins and Needles Quilt Shop where For a minimal fee they will set up the long arm quilting machine. Someone will stand beside you and guide you while you run the machine. With the first quilt I was very nervous but by the time I was ready to quilt this one I felt very comfortable with the quilting process.  It only took me a couple of hours. The owners of the shop are very friendly and helpful. At home I added the binding and a label with the quilt name and block design and a message of thanks to our class mate. I think She was pleased and surprised with the things we gave her.


Nancy Clodfelter Shoemaker


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