Sue Martin Glasco

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Sue Glasco was born in the southern part of Illinois in 1933 during the Great Depression in a region called “The Land Between the Rivers.” (Ohio River on the east and Mississippi on the west.) Her sister Rosemary was eight and her brother Jim was five. The family lived in a big two-story rental house at the top of a short street sloping gently down to the elementary school where her father was both principal and eighth grade teacher. Later they rented a house even closer to the school where her first memories surface. By the time Sue started first grade, her parents had bought a house across the street from the school. School lasted for only eight months, and there were no summer salaries for teachers. So Sue’s family leased their home for the summer and moved to her father’s home place in a nearby county. Her parents made that annual move an adventure in country living, and Sue grew up appreciating farm life. An exception was the summer after first grade, when the family moved to Colorado so her father could study at the University of Colorado. He brought her books from the university library. At the farm, books were ordered from the state library system and were delivered by the mail carrier. When she was eight, World War II began. A teacher at a one-room rural school was drafted. Sue’s mother was asked to take his place. In some communities at that time, it was considered unseemly for a married woman to teach. Now it was a patriotic duty to teach. (There were married women and married women with children at her dad’s school, however.) Sue’s mother picked up students with their 1937 Ford car, supervised the student who built the fire in the stove, kept the building clean, and taught all eight grades. Sue loved visiting her mother’s school when her school was closed, but she hated being alone in the house until her mother and siblings returned each afternoon. News of the war and its heart ache filled their lives. The school yard was heaped with enormous hills of collected junk metal and old rubber tires as community scrap drives took place. Students competed in paper drives and brought in tightly-wound balls of tin foil from gum and other wrappers. Kids thought they were helping win the war when they helped with the drives and when they bought savings stamps and participated in savings bond drives. After the war, the rural school consolidated with the town school, and Sue’s mother also taught across the street. Few teachers had their degrees, and her parents were always taking night classes—sometimes locally and sometimes driving with a car load of teachers to what is now Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After she started high school, Sue’s parents stopped moving to the farm, but she still enjoyed going with her dad on Saturday when she could. Her sister went off to Carbondale to school after working locally for a year after high school. Her brother joined the army after high school and returned to SIU on the GI Bill. Most local students went to college at Carbondale, where one could work oneself through school. This was where Sue’s grandfather, parents, aunts and uncles had gone, and she took it for granted that she would follow the same path and did. She worked, majored in journalism and had almost a second major in speech. Right before Christmas when Sue was a senior, Gerald Glasco had finished his stint in the Air Force and came back to campus to finish his degree in agriculture. They had met once, and Gerald had spent time with a mutual friend in Hawaii, so he phoned Sue to share greetings from her. They began dating over the holiday break, and by April, they announced their engagement. Sue kept her plans to participate in an interdenominational project at Judson Student House in Greenwich Village, which required participants to find a job, work during the day, and then join in evening Bible study and listening to lecturers from around the city. Weekend activities explored the church in urban life. Sue secured summer employment as a secretary in an office at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and saw upper NY daily. She did not get to any ball parks, but she enjoyed the cheap seats in theaters on and off Broadway. After the summer, Sue went to coach debate and to teach an integrated English-speech class to sophomores at a new high school in a Chicago suburb. She returned home for a June wedding. Gerald and she rented a house (no plumbing) in the country for $10 a month They were eager to start a family, and Katherine was born the following April while Gerald finished his senior year at SIU and they lived on his GI Bill. Wanting to farm someday, Gerald accepted a fellowship at the University of Illinois to complete his masters in ag economics. A farm in the Mississippi bottoms opened up for them to rent but with a three-month gap between finishing his degree and its availability. They felt a miracle provided Gerald a teaching job for that fall term at Western Illinois University. Their only son Gerry was born in Macomb before they began their lives as farmers. They went in debt for a tractor, and Gerald raised pigs without a farrowing house. Their tenant house was cold in winter, and they had to work hard, but they enjoyed farm life. Shortly before their three-year lease expired, their daughter Jean Claire (Jeannie) was born. Soon they moved up to Columbiana Ranch in the middle of the state, where Gerald became livestock manager.Then he and his brother Keith had an opportunity to buy a hog farm back in Southern Illinois the next year; they took the plunge into farm ownership. Keith’s family lived at the hog farm, and they moved into a wonderful old house (cold, no plumbing till they remodeled and put it in) on a rented farm, which would provide crop land. Mary Ellen was born the following June. Keith was able to buy a farm back in their home county and moved his family there, and Gerald and Sue moved over to the hog farm, where they lived for the next 36 years until they built their retirement home on a small lake Gerald had built. Despite a serious childhood illness, Katherine became a singer, a teacher and a children’s librarian in Nashville, TN. Eventually she came back home to teach and to be near her nieces and nephews. She married David Cedar shortly after her unexplained bouts of illness had finally led to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. (Probably the MS had started when she was 14.) She continued to teach music and reading until the stairs became too difficult and she had to retire. Much to their delight right before her 40th birthday, their son Sam was born. Now Sam has one more year of high school before he goes to college. MS has progressed and robbed her of the ability to walk or use her hands. She and Sam live in nearby Marion. Gerry married his high school sweetheart, which was the smartest thing he ever did. Vickie worked full time and held the family together while he developed a successful hunting/outfitting business in Mexico in the winter months and coached travel softball for their three daughters in the summer. Tara grew up to play for SIUC and became a teacher, married Bryan Archibald, and soon had three adorable sons. Erin played for Notre Dame, Texas A&M, USSSA Pride, and then one summer in Europe . She now teaches middle school math and coaches in Texas. Six years ago Gerry closed the business and became assistant softball coach at the University of Georgia. Three years ago he became associate head coach, and Lu Harris-Champer brought Tara in as assistant coach. Tara was able to do this because their family and Gerry and Vickie rented a large house together, and Vickie became a caregiver for the three little boys while Tara coached. Bryan had an office in the house, where he disappeared each morning to the computer, to continue his job at an architecture firm in the Chicago area. Geri Ann finished high school at Oconee, won the 2012 Gatorade High School National Player of the Year in softball, and has just completed two years playing for UGA while studying special education. This summer Gerry is coaching USSSA Pride and has just become associate head coach at Texas A&M. Jeannie grew up with a kitten or sketch pad or both in her hands a large part of the time. She married Rick Eiler, who heads the math department at Freeport High School, and Jeannie now teaches art in a grade school. They raised three talented children. Leslie married Mike Thompson, works for a music publishing company, and continues singing and acting in Nashville, TN. Mike is a personal trainer and has little Leslie doing amazing strength feats, so obviously he is good at what he does. He also plays a fine guitar. Elijah has just finished an internship in a Chicago neighborhood and will be in Indianapolis fall semester and student teaching in Chicago his last semester at Illinois State University. Cecelie, the youngest grandchild, will be a high school sophomore and continues her older siblings’ footsteps in music, speech, and theater. Mary Ellen majored in agriculture communication, and ended up as editor of Tennessee Magazine in Nashville. When she married Brian Taylor, they soon moved to Grinnell, Iowa, where Brian worked for DeKalb Seed. While there, Trent was born and then their daughter Brianna. Several moves after that gave them lots of experience in adjusting to new communities, and last spring they moved to a farm they bought near us. Brian continues to work full time with seeds for Monsanto. He goes up to Saint Louis when needed and works out of a home office otherwise. (Both he and grandson-in-law Bryan say they get more accomplished in a private home office than when co-workers are nearby.) Somehow Brian also farms Gerald and Sue's farm and other rented land. In addition to homemaking and helping Brian, Mary Ellen has just resumed her career as a realtor that she started when they lived in a Saint Louis suburb and which she continued in Springfield, Illinois. Obviously they work too hard. Trent, brilliant family computer and gaming geek, transferred down to John A. Logan College when they moved here. Always at the top of everything she does, beautiful blond Brianna is home working at the local Dairy Queen this summer and will soon be going back for her sophomore year in the honors program at Murray State in Kentucky. Sue’s life has been primarily that of a mother and farm wife. She had what she calls a haphazard education career as a substitute in K-12, part-time teaching at Marion and Johnston City High Schools and in area community colleges. Finally she spent over six years working in family literacy in Franklin County for Rend Lake College, the last two of which were full time. She always wrote some when time allowed. Although she made little money free lancing or part-time teaching, she enjoyed the interaction with students and the stimulation of writing. Sue and Gerald’s original family of two has now grown twenty-four, and that is not counting everyone’s dogs. That is a lot of people to keep track of and an ongoing excuse for Sue not getting all her writing projects done. It also gives her plenty to blog about, and blogging provides her a venue without having to waste stamps and return envelops on manuscripts as she did in her younger days. Back then she wanted to make money, but now she just writes for the pleasure of it.

Spring Blessings

When weather cooperates, farmers are busy replacing the fields of henbit and wild mustard with plantings of corn or soybeans,  Gerald said I was probably correct that those early plants equal out any nutrient depletion when they are plowed under.  Best of all, he explained  those plants hold the earth and prevent erosion. And they add organic matter to the soil.  So they are helpful as well as colorful to look at.  He said some farmers actually plant rye or turnips (a field turnip, not the table kind) to accomplish those tasks; and as the plant and roots deteriorate, better air and water passages are left in the soil beneath the planted crops.

Nothing is prettier than white dogwood blossoms peeking through  greening woods, and that has been a major pleasure for me this spring. I am in the midst of facing up to what must be done for a tooth problem. The spectacular displays of dogwood along the highway made even the anxious ride up to the periodontist at Mt. Vernon pleasurable for me and Gerald.

We continue to watch college softball games and are more interested than ever as tournament time approaches. We even got an unexpected over night visit from our son Gerry back when A&M played at Missouri. Taking some batting cages up early in his truck, he swung by here.  Gerald had debated driving over as we have done it the past, but seeing it on television was certainly easier. In the third game of their series last Sunday No. 18 A&M beat No.1 Florida 6-4.Today Gerry posted that they were 7th nationally in home runs,  18th in batting average, and 7th in slugging percentage.  Go Aggies!

Oregon moved up to No. 3 ranking after a streak of winning shut-outs and players breaking school records. Geri Ann hit her 10th homerun this season last night. They will travel to California this weekend.

A friend started Katherine’s birthday celebration a day early with a gift-laden visit from her church girl friends.  I made a homemade birthday cake and ordered in pizza for Gerald and me to join Katherine in her bedroom to celebrate. I have opened and displayed her birthday cards there; her husband’s flowers and the flowers of a friend have made the room festive.  I read to her the more than 100 birthday wishes on Facebook, and she enjoyed reminiscing of those friends from the times when she lived a much different life than now--one full of activity, accomplishments, and challenges. 

 Unfortunately, one of Katherine’s long term aides, the oldest and one of the very best to get much accomplished in a brief shift, had to resign because of some health problems. She stuck it out through the need for infusing an antibiotic, and the last dose was given on Katherine’s birthday. We deeply regretted her leaving, but knew she needed a chance to rest and revive.  So I have spent more time at Katherine’s house than usual trying to help out until she secures more staff. (Final exams at the local colleges have also played havoc with some of her aides.)

 Her many bedroom windows open up on a lovely city park, and the activity there does add some variety to her limited life. Last fall, Gerald fixed a new television for her up in the air above those windows at just the perfect height for her viewing. Always good with electronics, she understands all the complicated choices that modern TVs have, and she has to repeatedly tell me step-by-step what to push to get shows chosen, watched, recorded, rewound, or whatever, while I still long for the days when one pushed an on and off button. But the television and some things on her phone (which is even more complicated than the TV) allow her keep up with sports, the political season, local news, and the current TV shows every one talks about. Since I am busy doing other tasks while there, I am not so up to date.  (When I am in my kitchen at my house, however, I usually have the news on and try to keep switching from channel to channel as commercials come on.  Nevertheless, I know the words to some of those commercials.

In addition to softball excitement, our singer/actor granddaughter Leslie got a call back on an audition for a nation-wise tour this week.  Suddenly she had to frantically arrange to take the very last seat available for a flight to New York City, and she even got a request to return on Tuesday, but she did not make it to the final cut and returned to Nashville where she had been pouring her heart and extra time into the second “Any Song Will Do” event to be streamed at 7:30 tomorrow night (Thursday).  Hope you can watch it with us at  anysongwilldo.com. 

And her brother Elijah finished his student teaching with an A and will graduate from Illinois State this Saturday morning. As if that is not enough excitement for Jeannie and Rick’s family, Cecelie has her prom at Freeport High School that night!

The excitement here on the farm is the abundance of asparagus and now a handful of strawberries starting to turn red.  Gerald honored me with the first one but confessed that some little animal had actually had one or two before mine.

 

 

 

 

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Life's Happenings--Sad and Happy

Life’s Happenings—Sad and Happy Ones

 

Since I knew not to count chickens before they hatch, perhaps I should have known not to assume that  Ian the Sebastopol goose was here permanently.  But he seemed so content and healthy, and I surmised he was able to survive.  However, we have not seen him on the lake for several days now, and I am really sad about that.  The only good thing is that we have not seen any feathers or half eaten body, so maybe he walked away, but I fear not.

 

Our neighbor across the road from us had a lake built last fall, and I kept looking over hoping Ian might have walked across the road and over there, but I suspected I was fantasizing.  I do enjoy seeing her beautiful lake just as I used to enjoy seeing her horses play in the meadow there when she still had horses. But no Ian.

 

Friday night we watched Texas A&M softball play Alabama as we ate supper in Gerald’s office.  Since we lost, it was disappointing.  Because of the rain coming in on Sunday, it was decided for the next two games to be a Saturday double header.  I was watching the two games off and on as I came and went from Katherine’s house helping out there.  Mary Ellen joined us during  the last game, which I am glad to report we won by a huge score after losing the first two games.

 

Oregon was not playing last weekend, but we had exciting news when Geri Ann was drafted to play on the Akron, Ohio, Racers this summer.  I knew that was how she hoped to spend the summer, so I am glad it worked out well for her.  Oregon is on the term system rather than semester, and she will need to return for one more term this fall, so a summer of professional play fits well for her summer job.

 

I like hearing all the spring news of our grandchildren.  We were pleased to have a visit from our grandson Trent one windy day. We had to go outside and enjoy the weather with him because he brought his dad’s drone over and took photographs of our place and then came in and visited with us.  That was neat to hear his plans.   His sister Brianna down at Murray was in their annual long traditional All-Campus Sing with her honors group and they won first place in their category, and the next day she ran her first 5K!  Cecelie was participating in Freeport High School’s traditional variety show called Show Time, and I was sad I did not get to go as we usually did for her older siblings. Attending was one of my favorite things to do; and, of course, Sam had to go with us.  Driving to the top of the state is not as easy for us as it was a few years ago, and I must accept that.  For the first time, Sam had to be states away for his birthday down in Texas this week.   However Katherine managed to give an early birthday supper for him during Easter break, and I was able to drop in for that. 

 

Change is expected and proper as children and  grandchildren grow up, and I actually rejoice in all their activities. Yet there is also some nostalgia with the knowledge that I will see less and less of them as they go on to fulfill what they are supposed to do in life. I eagerly seek out Elijah’s writings on Facebook to see how he is experiencing student teaching.  Erin shared a brief essay with us that she wrote about the farm at a writing conference a couple weekends ago, and seeing her memories made me very happy but still with a touch of sadness.  Gerald’s photography hobby provides me constant visual reminders of family members and gatherings, and I love seeing them on several walls as well as  on his computer screen as they flash by. Yet seeing the new more grown-up photo of our great grandsons right beside earlier younger photos also makes me aware of how fleeting life is.    

 

Gary Havener, a school mate of our children died this week.  He was much too young, but he had been very ill for several years. Gerald has been quite sick with a bad cold and terrible cough all week, and we were not able to attend services in Gary’s honor, but we grieved at life’s cruel seeming injustices. His wife did such a brave job taking care of him.  She has been one of my heroines, and I have always been blessed by her upbeat determination to care for her family while she continued to be concerned about the rest of us in our community.

 

 

Speaking of nostalgia, we have not had asparagus in the garden for many years even though at the other house it was an important vegetable on our table. Gerald’s dad always grew it, and he helped us get that asparagus patch going. We missed it. Yesterday Gerald brought in our first mess from the new patch he has created. Along with chicken and dumplings, I prepared it for noon dinner today, and it was so good.

 

Tonight we ate a hamburger supper in the family room while we  watched on television as Georgia beat Tennessee in softball.  That too was nostalgic as we watched players we rooted for two years ago; and, of course, we rooted for them again tonight. 

 

As we finished the evening,  more news about the terrible Ecuador earthquake came on. Gerald remarked how minor our sadnesses are in comparison to the horrors down there.  And we know many other places on this globe where the suffering is equally difficult to contemplate.   I am grateful for those courageous enough throughout the world who step in and help.

 

 

 

 

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
'I am grateful for those courageous enough throughout the world who step in and help.' I'm sure many will echo that sentiment, Su... Read More
Thursday, 21 April 2016 14:33
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The Redbud! Yes!!

The redbud, crab apple, forsythia, and  peach are all adding colorful beauty to this lovely spring awakening with the pear and other trees’  white blossoms giving a softening contrast. The fields in government program were burned as required by Gerald with some help from our son-in-law Brian.  Now their blackened ugliness is almost replaced with bright new grass.  Fields of pink/purple henbit and other fields of bright yellow wild mustard please my eyes.  I don’t know enough about farming to know whether henbit and mustard enrich or deplete the soil for future crops, but I enjoy seeing those colorful fields. (I guess they deplete, but when plowed under perhaps everything comes out even.  I need to ask Gerald.) I saw my first dogwood in bloom yesterday and once more rejoiced in spring’s glory. And the tulips are up!   At this time of year, spring is my favorite season although autumn will be my favorite six months from now.

 

Jeannie has come and gone.  It was a quick visit for only part of two days, but she got to meet Ian, the white fluffy goose, as did the grandkids during Easter weekend.  Ian’s owner said he knew his name, but he did not respond when the grandkids called him.   Gerald and I like trying to spot him over on the island or swimming beside it or, best of all, swimming along in a line with his wild geese buddies who fly in and out.

 

Rosy Cole, a writer friend over in England, wondered of Ian could mate with the wild geese. I have no idea, but it is interesting to speculate what might come out of hatched eggs if such a thing happened.  When we first moved here, we had a white female wild goose on the lake who was sterile.  Gerald and the grandkids named her Aflack, and the kids loved for me to fix them one of Aflack’s eggs. For some reason, the other geese shunned her, and I felt sad when I saw her all alone.  Then she started helping out by sitting on other geese’s nests while they took a break, and suddenly she seemed to be accepted.  But fall came and she flew away with the others, and we never saw her again.  Since Sebastopol geese cannot fly, maybe Ian will be here for a long time.

 

Gerald works hard in the garden almost every day, and we are excited about the possibility of strawberries and asparagus. He built a short fence for the blackberries bushes to climb up.  I always wanted a strawberry patch back when Gerald was too engaged with crops and pigs to add on other projects.  Now I am fearful I may be too old to be able to get down to pick them—which used to be one of my favorite things to do.

 

We stay busy watching our two softball teams—sometimes A&M on one computer and Oregon on the other at the same time.  More often, however, the time difference keeps them playing at separate times. I am almost through my cardiac rehab sessions, but then I have some major dental problems to spend time on.  Always something it seems to take my time and give me an excuse for my messy office.

 

 

 

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Rosy Cole
Lovely breath of spring, Sue. Thank you. Humanity could learn a lot from Aflack!
Friday, 08 April 2016 09:55
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Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Gerald’s birthday was well celebrated this year.   He had phone calls and text messages and Facebook greetings from friends and family all day long.  The calls started very early at breakfast with one from his granddaughter Leslie—a singer down in Nashville, TN—whose husband Mike shares this same birthday. 

 

Then perhaps the most touching call came soon after from Katherine, who was not only able to make the call (sometimes she can’t) but she told her dad she wanted to sing for him.  And she did, and  Gerald said she sounded good!  She too used to be a singer down in Nashville, but multiple sclerosis makes it difficult for her to talk sometimes; and singing which once defined her, is usually impossible. 

 

Of course, Gerald was in contact with our son whose card from him and Vickie had come early, but he missed Jeannie’s evening call, because we were all out to eat with our youngest daughter and husband, Mary Ellen and Brian.  Jeannie’s card arrived the next day. 

 

We had a delicious meal with the Taylors, and granddaughter Brianna whispered about the birthday boy to the waitress, and she brought him a special piece of pie.  He had to take it home as all of us were too full for dessert.  Or at least we thought we were. 

 

When we arrived at the Taylor house, we found out that more fun and food was in store for us there.  Brianna had been baking.  There was banana bread and an angel food cake for the birthday cake.  Mary Ellen had sliced strawberries along with the whipped topping all ready for our dessert, and Brian made us coffee. Trent was at work, but maybe he celebrated when he got home later!  Katherine has been enjoying the slices of banana bread Mary Ellen wrapped up for her.

 

When Gerry and Vickie lived in Athens, Georgia, Gerald always tried to go down to a softball game and considered that his special birthday celebration.  When he saw that Texas A&M was playing at Georgia this birthday weekend, he knew he needed that special treat.  He made arrangements with his nephew DuWayne to go with him, and that too is a treat since DuWayne helps out with the driving.  I was going to go along if I could.  Then just the other day, we realized that this was Easter weekend!  But Gerald and DuWayne took off at 6 Friday morning, and I am sure they are having a great time watching great softball despite the opening loss.

 

Gerald taught me how to use his computer when we watched Oregon’s streamed game against Stanford Thursday night. I was able to see yesterday and today’s games sweep the series. I was more than thrilled seeing great work by our Geri Ann.  Vickie was there to see it all in person, and I that too makes me happy.  Having other grandkids in and out of the house makes this a  special Easter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Jitu C Rajgor
Happy Birthday Gerald.
Monday, 28 March 2016 19:16
Sue Martin Glasco
Thanks, Doc! I'll tell him.
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 19:54
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