"I'm out of room - but not out of special words about Nita!"
Dear Friends and Family,
How wonderful to celebrate the Christmas Season again with our friends and family.
We arrived at our winter home in Florida on November 13th and have been enjoying the warmth and sunshine as well as visiting with my brother and sister-in-law, Terry and Patty Ames
Irene is doing well with the adjustments in our lifestyle as we deal with the health issues that we are facing. My health is very good and I can still do a short day's work as we complete projects around our house.
We attend St. Andrews Chapel, which is a Reformed Church here in Sanford. The service is very worshipful. The messages are very Bible-based and the choir is wonderful. However, we miss our church family in Derby and enjoy the video messages by Pastor Mike.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all!
Irene and Rod Ames
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thanks for all you do including the Gardner Newsletter!
Irene and I came down to our house before Thanksgiving and enjoying the 80+ degree weather.
Blessings, Irene and Rod.
Merry Christmas Friends and Family,
Irene and I want to wish Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family all over this wonderful country. The year 2015 was very interesting. We started off the year at our new winter home in Sanford, Florida. As usual we worked on our Florida home doing electrical work and landscaping while enjoying the warm winter.
We arrived back in Vermont in early May, just in time to clean up the lawns and surrounding area from the winter effects and fall leaves.
Our business was closed, an auction held; and after over 40 years, retired in June of 2014. Remaining inventory, shelving and equipment, were disposed of by contributing to several non-profits during Spring, Summer and Fall of 2015. The warehouse and office was prepared to offer for sale, hopefully during 2016.
The Ames Family is doing great. We gathered on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in Vermont and had a wonderful meal prepared by our daughter, Jackie. We then flew to our winter home in Sanford, Florida the night before Thanksgiving and had a very enjoyable dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, Terry and Patty Ames. We live next door to Terry and Patty. How wonderful is that!
Only the Lord knows what is in store for any of us duing the year 2016. Our desire is to enjoy the winter, working on our house,volunteering, processing family pictures, visiting friends and spending time together. We have three bedrooms and plenty of room to welcome visitors to our Sanford home.
Love, Irene and Rod
Chuck and Sarah Dumas
Rod and Irene celebrate 50 years of marriage. Here is a clip of their anniversary celebration. Click on their picture to the right.
Chuck and Sarah Dumas
|(Click in the photo to see it full size.)|
January 2010 - we adopted another White Standard Poodle and named her Savannah. She loves her name and is a clown. She has brought us so much joy!
March 2010 - our landlord wanted us to purchase the rental house we were in at Riverview Avenue. But it needed so much work, all we could see was a money pit. We looked for weeks for a new rental and wanted to locate closer to Patty's parents. One of our Nature's Select customers told us of a house that a friend of hers owned and it was vacant. We finally got to see it and it was perfect: 4 bedrooms, living room, family room, huge master bathroom, and another full bathroom. Awesome kitchen with black granite counter tops, tile floors, laundry room, fireplace, 2-car garage, fenced yard - three minutes from Patty's parents. Dogs - no problem - and a price we could afford. The only problem - it wouldn't be ready until July 31st and we had to be out of the old rental by July 12th. Ugh!
The lease on our warehouse was going to be up August 30th and the price was going up several hundred dollars when we renewed. Well, we searched around and found so many warehouse spaces empty and the leases were less money than what we were presently paying. We found one only five minutes from the new house and the guy would give the first two months free. We decided to lease it and move all of our stuff out of the Riverview house and put it in storage in the new warehouse until the new house was ready. We stayed at Patty's parents house (they were in Vermont for the month of July) until July 31st. Then we moved all that stuff to the new house on Idyllwilde Drive. We no sooner got all that moved and we had to start moving the pallet racks and the pet food and everything else in the old warehouse into the new warehouse.
We moved three times in about seven weeks. Now that is torture! We had six people help us for one day and Patty's brother helped for several days. Basically, Patty and I did most of the move ourselves. We just love this location at 106 Idyllwilde Drive, Sanford, FL and the convenience of the new warehouse.
February 2010 - Patty's boss, Dr. Levin, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He went through surgery and chemo and decided to sell the practice; and, as of August 1st, I had a new employer. He kept telling everyone that nothing was going to change. What he should have told us was what was going to stay the same. After 14 years of employment with the practice, my position, as of October 7th, is now outsourced. Dr. Levin lost his battle with cancer November 9th. He was a wonderful boss and friend and will be greatly missed.
I am currently unemployed, but have been working full time in our pet food business. Terry and I do the deliveries together. As difficult as it has been financially with the loss of my income, I have more time to spend in prayer along with my two best friends, - Jesus and Terry. Looking back, I can see the hand of Jesus guiding us through this journey and the adventure continues.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Terry, Patty, Toby, Paris, Savannah and Shadow, the cat
Ann still lives in Newport, Vermont, and works at the MSA helmet factory. Her mother moved into the apartment below Ann, so she has more company in the quiet times.
Matthew has been in the Air Force since 2002. He met Amy Johnston while stationed in Valdosta, Georgia, and they married in July 2007. They have since then been stationed in Bellbrook, Ohio, and have a new son, Noah David, who was born in May 2010.
Sarah and Marie both married in the summer of 2009.
Sarah graduated from Eastern University in May 2007. She moved back to Newport after graduation, and was hired at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington shortly after. She met Chuck at church in 2006 and they started dating in spring 2008. When Sarah married Chuck in August 2009, she became stepmother to Chuck's four children: Tyler, Taylor, Trevor, and Travis. They bought a house in June 2010, and live in Newport. Chuck is the computer programming manager at Tivoly, Inc., in Derby Line.
Marie attended Southeastern University in Florida and returned in 2009 to marry her high school sweetheart, Philip Cargill. She and Phil married in June 2009, and they live in Morgan, Vermont in the house that Phil's grandmother once owned. They are now in the process of renovating the house. Marie works in Human Services in Newport, and Phil is a construction worker with Shawn Austin in Morgan.
|Clair (Ann's mother) and Ann||Sarah and Chuck Dumas with Tyler Taylor, Trevor and Travis|
|Amy, Matthew and Noah David Ames||Marie and Phil Cargill|
|Click on the images to see them full-size.|
Read Patty Ames' 2009 Christmas Newsletter by clicking here.
Patty Ames, Terry Ames' wife, reported to The Gardner Newsletter that Terry came through the operation with flying colors. The doctors had to repair and/or rebuild his aortic valve and his mitral valve. He has been released from Intensive Care and is resting comfortably in his room at the Sanford Regional Hospital. He is expected to be released on Monday, February 16th. He will have to take the drug, Coumadin, a blood thinner, from now on.
Thank you, Patty, for keeping everyone updated on Terry's condition.
Cousin Terry Ames is undergoing open-heart surgery on February 11, 2009. He is at the Sanford Regional Hospital in Sanford, Florida. Terry was experiencing indigestion discomfort among other heart symptoms and upon examination it was found that he needs to have his heart valve rebuilt and/or repaired. Terry recovered from a heart attack back in 2004 and he is expected to recover fully from this procedure. Please keep Terry and Patty in your thoughts and prayers as he makes his speedy recovery. Thank you.
May 1, 2007
Dear Round Robins,
Since the Round Robin was parked at our address for a long time last year, we think it should have a speedy take-off this time. The letters were a great mailbox surprise and Saturday afternoon reading. Later in the evening, we went to a concert at the North Woods Stewardship Center, which was formerly the filed above Grandpa Gardner's barn. We think he would be pleased with the activities there, such as conservation and restoration of the land. They are also restoring the river banks on the Clyde and offer tours on the river. There is forestry management with the pine trees Grandpa planted. We were looking at displays of animals in the area that reminded us of Grandpa, especially a fisher cat, beaver, muskrat, bears, and several larger bird species. We enjoyed going to activities there and someday I'd like to go on one of their "nearly full moon" canoe paddle on the Clyde River.
Ruth, we enjoyed your letter and hope your eyes are well since you have found a good doctor. You are fortunate to have Ruth Ann and Gerri to help out is so many ways. Please greet everyone for us there!
Lois, it is great to have the proper list of the siblings for the correct Round Robin path across the USA. We are so thankful you cold be home by the 19th of April, but I think the folks at "Bel-Air" are certainly missing their best occupant. They really enjoyed someone who made things easy for them.
Dixie, it was nice to read about Laura's busy and interesting life. you should tell us more of her missionary journeys. Be sure you enjoy the upcoming granddaughter's wedding and be careful on the dance floor. Dawnita surely enjoyed dancing at Alicia and Yvan's wedding. She also had a great time when I took her shopping to find a special dress for the wedding. Then we had to find shoes, jewelry, etc, -l so she would be well dressed for the special day!
Beulah, we were surprised to read of your health issues, but glad for medication, diet and exercise to stay well. We can all use diet and exercise! Our prayers are with Jay and his family as well as with your grandkids at school in three different states. We always enjoying seeing Josh at school playing piano and hand bells. He sure can direct the hand bell choir as well as the teacher! They will miss him when he graduates.
Raymond and Margaret, we enjoyed reading about your trip with Raylene to the Railroad Museum. The curator sounds like he could use your expertise to organize all the material there! Hope you have a great family gathering at the "pool" this summer. Please greet Margaret for us.
Teresa, it is great to have join the Round Robin. Glad your cataract surgery was helpful for a "Gardner Girl." Hope we find time to get together this summer. Then you have a trip to California, so it's a good thing it will be a "longer summer!"
Clayton and Gerry, we can't believe the prices of property in Washington. Guess we will stay in Vermont, even with the snow, ice and recent windstorms. Your reverse mortgage sounds like a great help, once you can get past the "upfront" costs. I think of you both when driving through Eden on the way to Burlington and see the sign for "Clute's Market." Do you remember that? Your friend from Washington, whose little boy you babysit, saw that and wanted a picture of it since it was her maiden name. Jackie and I went by it on the way to Burlington recently. She is a nurse working at the fairly new, local prison. She works a multitude of hours, so we savor some time together.
Adele, Diane and Lilla, it was delightful to ready your letter! I think of Lilla when driving by Essex 5 Corners. I am reminded of the wonderful hospitality she gave when Nita had overnight stays in the hospital in Burlington. Adele, blueberries are so easy to freeze. You just pick them over, place in containers and freeze them. They are ready to use for most anything. I will send you a couple of our favorite recipes. Our granddaughter, Kylee, is growing up too quickly and is finishing her year of kindergarten soon. She has a baby sister, Makenzie, who is the apple of our eye also! We took Kylee with us on the "maple Sugar Festival" in St. Albans on this past Sunday. I think it was the fourth year we have taken her. She loves the "rides" and the maple treats, such as "new" syrup and maple cotton candy ... yummy! The parade in the afternoon is always good with lots of families with kids lining the street to enjoy it all. The kids love the "Shriners" - guys in the tiny cars who drive by and give the kids "hand snacks" while driving by. The antique tractors and horse drawn wagons are a treat to see, as well as several floats with kids and teens for a variety of program. This year we thought the grass was certainly greener in St. Albans; on the other side of the mountain ... Jay Perak of course!!
Love, Rod and Irene
August 21, 2006
Dear Round Robins,
The Round Robin thinks it has settled down in Vermont for good; but I have been so busy and tired, it's time to send it on its way! It was June when the "fat envelope" arrived and gave us some great reading from all the wonderful letters. There were several comments about Teresa joining the Round Robin and I saw her at the Burklyn Crafts show in Lyndonville and mentioned that to her. She will be receiving the "fat envelope" from me now, since she is pleased to join the letter writers.
Summer is so fleeting in Northern Vermont. It makes one's head spin with so much to accomplish too quickly. One of my favorite things is to pick berries. And it was quite a treat to be invited to pick currants at Don and Beulah's garden! The jelly made from them is simply delicious! A little later in the summer we went to Troy, picking blueberries at a large cultivated blueberry farm. The berries were so thick and huge we hardly had to move to fill the bucket! When we ha them weighed for payment, we had over $100 worth of berries. Treats for the winter time! The owner told us the extremely wet spring had been great for blueberry bushes.
The other highlight of our summer was our youngest daughter's wedding on August 5th. There was much preparation leading up to the big day, such as alterations on Alicia's dress as well as her sister Jackie's. I made baskets for the little flower girls and Jackie decorated them with colors from the wedding party. Alicia was so fortunate to have her Aunt Patty, Terry's wife, say she would make the wedding cake. That was quite a gift and much planning ahead, since she she shipped much of her equipment to Vermont from Florida ahead of time. Patty and Terry left Florida on July 27th and arrived at our home for supper on the 29th.
We had a family dinner next day Sunday, which was a great time for us all to be together with Terry and Patty. It was nice to have Ann and Lois join us as well as Dawnita and our family. Ann's daughters, Saran and Marie, were working, but came to visit with us and Patty and Terry for a meal a couple of times while there were here. The week of the wedding was busy at our house since Patty was baking wedding cakes and the day before she was finishing all the intricate work of the detail of the cake. It was so hot she was having a lot of difficulty with the frosting, so Terry had to remove an air conditioner form the upstairs bedroom and install it in the dining room where she was working. That really improved things so she could continue the "endless" detail work that was the same detail as on Alicia's dress. On Saturday morning, Terry and Patty delivered the cake and set it up at the reception site. I think Patty must have breathed a sigh of relief at that point when the cake was the focal point of the whole place and the most beautiful cake any bride ever had.
The wedding day was sunny with a light breeze, making things comfortable. It was an outdoor wedding at the groom's grandmother's year. It was lovely and so great to enjoy the outside beauty of the wedding. Alicia's husband's name is Yvan Parenteau, Jr. I guess I've given enough details about the wedding! The said part was having Terry and Patty leave a few days after the wedding, but we all have to return to normal work and life.
Rod and Yvan worked in our garage in June putting up new cedar siding and windows as well as new boarding on the ceiling. Rod enclosed the open stairway to the basement and built me a large recycling bin with a lid on it. I really appreciate the storage for the recyclables so I don't have to run to the recycle center every week. I was busy repapering and painting our living room prior to having new carpeting installed. Now my job is to sand and spray finish out in the garage! I'm tired before starting just thinking about it.
It's been a very warm summer, but cooler air is moving in -- so are the darker mornings to announce autumn. We sure hope it continues to be warm and comfortable during the fall. With tat note, I will close and return to my duties at work. My boss didn't say much when I told him this letter was for the Round Robin! We enjoy all the letters when the "fat envelope" arrives!!
Rod and Irene
We went to Vermont for Alicia's wedding in August. We stayed at Rod and Irene's. I made Alicia's wedding cake. It was a whirlwind vacation.
In June of this year, Terry and I purchased the franchise for "Nature's Select" home delivery dog food. We have as our territory all of Central Florida, from coast-to-coast. We educate people as to what is in dog food. Most of the well-advertised name brand dog foods are really bad. They have cancer causing agents in them, along with a less toxic version of antifreeze. Our dog food is all natural with real meat and no corn, wheat or soy.
We had been praying for a business opportunity and the client distributor, who was delivering dog food to us, was offered a job with Conoco Oil in Oklahoma. He decided to take the job and said that he had prayed and prayed as to whom to offer the franchise to and that we kept coming into his mind. We jumped at the offer and we felt like this was an answer to prayer. We love this business and praise God for His answer to prayer.
January 10, 2006
Dear Round Robin Readers,
The fat Round Robin letter arrived just prior to Christmas; and it's now well after New Year's day, so I don't have any excuse for putting off a letter any longer! The holidays were very busy, as I'm sure the same for everyone else in the Round Robin readers and writers, and we have a birthday three days after Christmas for Alicia ... she has my mother's birthday, so I think that makes it a tradition.
Rod and I really enjoyed all the letters and the story from Raymond. I feel for him, since I often pick up a nail or screw in my car's tire at the office. The men lose them in the yard and don't know or choose to see them. The mechanic who does our work thinks it's funny ...NOT!! Anyway, Dixie has a little token for all Raymond's troubles that I think is neat. Hope your floaters have disappeared by now, Raymond. We really enjoyed your comments about the grandchildren playing piano ... in Spanish!!
As Lois mentioned, she went to Beulah's with Dawn for Thanksgiving while we were in Florida visiting Terry and Patty. We had not been down for nearly ten years, and it was wonderful to spend a week with them. We had Thanksgiving dinner at their home along with Patty's parents and her brother, Duane. There were two other surprise visitors, Matthew and his friend, Amy. Matthew is David and Ann's son and we have not seen him much the last several years since he was stationed in Japan, but now he's in Valdosta, GA. He drove up to Vermont from there and really surprised his mom and sisters for Christmas. We really enjoyed having him and Amy for a quick meal with us when we were celebrating Alicia's birthday.
While we were gone, it was good to have a "network" of folks who were ready to help Dawn if there was a need. Of course, she had her caseworker spending days with her and taking her to town for various activities. She stays busy; and since walking in the park and outside is not easy during the winter, she goes bowling and walking inside at the indoor recreation arena ... or at the "dollar" store with her caseworker, Kathy. She is very good with Dawn and really helps her keep her home in neat order.
Beulah's letter said she was shredding old records and that brought a scary thought to mind since we also have years and years of records that need to be deleted! I think we need a shredder, but I don't want to feed it years of records.
The story from Clayton and Gerry about their Tara was cute. Can't say as I blame her for not being very happy in her diaper that was "loaded." Hope your next meal in a restaurant goes better and everyone is happy! Bet you are really enjoying having Tara with you and watching her grow and change so quickly. We really enjoy our grandkids from 16-year old Michael, Jackie's son, to Kylee, 5-years old, and her baby sister, 6-months old Makenzie, Alicia's little girls.
Rod has gone to a school board meeting at United Christian Academy in Newport and should be home soon since he's been gone for nearly three hours, so I will sign off for this time. Hope everyone has a wonderful 2006 and good winter ... we are having a January thaw right now. We are looking forward to spring, but that most likely will be a few weeks away!
Many laugh lines to everyone.
Love, Rod and Irene
July 20, 2005
Dear Round Robin Readers,
While I have a few minutes at work free, it seems like a good time to do a letter and send the round robin on its way! It has been busy all month with lots of family activity as well as work, etc., so that's our reason for the hold up!
Rod and I drove to Burlington on the 3rd to pick up Adam at the airport for a short visit. On the 4th, we had a family dinner to celebrate summer, birthdays, and to enjoy having everyone together. We enjoyed having Los and Ruth join us as well as Dawn. She enjoyed going to the 4th of July parade in Derby with Rod, Kylee and Adam in the morning while I was busy preparing dinner and needed all the time available! We had our meal outside and Rod and Adam set up tables and a canopy over it so we would be comfortable. We also enjoyed a brief visit with Greg and Geri Rosser when they stayed overnight with us when they dropped Ruth off at Lois' for a week's visit and again when they returned.
While Adam was here, we went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary and birthdays and enjoyed having Adam and Alicia join us. Jackie and Richard did not go since they go to bed early ... they are up at 4:00 a.m. for work, so do not go out at night much. Jackie's son, Michael, was gone visiting relatives when we had our 4th of July gathering, so tonight we are having another one to celebrate his birthday as well as Jackie's, her husband, Richard, Rod's and Yvan, Alicia's fiancee.
Last Sunday, Lois had Rod and me, as well as Dawn and Kylee, our little granddaughter, over for dinner to celebrate Rod's and my birthdays. She had a beautiful meal and we enjoyed dining out on her porch. It was interesting to watch sailboats glide by on Lake Memphremagog as we had our meal. By now everyone must think we "party" all the time! Summer is a great time for that, especially when it is warm and sunny. But lately, it's been in the high 80s or more with extremely high humidity to the point where someone said we "just about sprouted gills." We sure aren't used to that and really mind being so uncomfortable!!
Dawn continues her routine with "Human Services" and stays happily busy with her lady who works with her. She takes her to the beach often when they have some time available in the afternoon. That is a highlight of her days and she also enjoys movies with the group, as well as occasional gatherings for birthdays of some of her comrades ... they meet at local restaurants and have lots of fun together. She enjoys a busy social life and is a happy girl.
Rod continues to be very busy at work and has difficulty keeping up with everything. One current job we have is the wiring for a new building for Nevtec ... Len Griffes' business. Rod says he's never had a job so close to our office, since it's down the road from us just a mile or so. I hope to convince Rod to take a short vacation this September when I am going out to upper Michigan for a week-long class in material preparation for Black Ash, which is what I use for basket making. He's thinking positive, so here's hoping he's able to take a couple weeks off.
I am also going to be gone the 15th to the 19th of August, since I was asked to join in with other Vermont craftspeople to demonstrate in New York City. It is part of the event put on by sponsors such as Cabot Cheese, and is part of the festivities for the replica schooner, Lois McClure, that is currently traveling the waterways to New York City, just as the original did many years ago. We will be at Battery Park for the two-day event and it should be quite interesting. I am having my grandson, Michael, ride down with me since he can help me navigate and watch for road signs. Driving to New York City is a bit out of my comfort zone, so having Michael will be a big help. I think that's about all the summertime activities for us, along with the usual work.
We enjoyed all the letters from everyone and send our greetings to all with wishes for a relaxing and pleasant summer. It is always great to read about everyone and to find out what is happening in your lives.
Wishing everyone laugh lines, not wrinkles!
Much love, Rod and Irene
April 11, 2005
Dear Round Robins,
I just read the letters again for the second time. It makes one feel like a special visit with everyone. It's so good to hear (read) from everyone's life, problems and illnesses, trips to visit family, and share the loss of loved ones. Rod and I really enjoyed Raymond's interesting and informative letter! Rod said he never heard the story about his dad's old dog. His name was "Chummy" and we have a picture of Lyndol and Chummy. Loved the picture of "stilt man" Bryan. He sounds like an interesting stilt walker.
I have to agree with Lois. We are ready for spring up here, even if the winter was not as bad as recent years. But the "daylight savings time" is uncomfortable at first. I thought I'd enjoy earlier daylight time. I like to go for a 30-40 minute walk early in the morning. But now I think the previous time of darkness at 5:30 AM was nicer, since the stars were visible. In the cold of winter with clear skies the stars are a morning treat. In the middle of March, I saw a pair of partridges sitting high in a tree beside the road where I walk. I looked up at them as I walked right beneath them and I could see the color of the feathers. What a treat that morning!
We had Dawn's birthday (February 16th) dinner here and really enjoyed having Lois, Beulah, Don, and Lyndol's sisters, Joan and Jessie, join us, as well as our own family. Dawn really enjoys her special day and all the gifts she loves to open. (Kylee (our 4 1/2 year old granddaughter) recently told me that no one was allowed to help Dawn blow out her candles because it is her special day.
We took Kylee to visit my sister and brother-in-law's sugar house recently, which was lots of fun for her and for us to watch her reaction. She loves maple syrup and my sister gave her warm syrup she was canning up as well as a raised donut. That syrup covered donut she downed very easily! The visit to the sugar house brought back memories of Lyndol's sugar house and all the work involved as well as all the raised donuts Nita always made for sugaring. Of course, the sugar on snow feasts were such fun. Then all of us sitting around stirring thickened syrup to make maple spread. Trying to see who would be first to finish and who had the lightest spread or candy was a springtime ritual. By then, I think we were all on a sugar high.
Rod and I are going to a concert in Burlington this Thursday evening and plan to stay overnight to do some shopping. The last time we were there, we ran into Lorraine and had a nice visit with her. We trust you are feeling much better, Lilla. Lorraine briefed us on the health problems you had.
We both really enjoyed all the letters and just sat down to enjoy the "visits" with all the letter writers. We hope the springtime brings renewed health for everyone and time to be outside gardening, fishing, and just enjoying the wonders of the season. One of the not-so-great wonders here at the moment is "mud season." The road we live on going up to Dawn's has been terrible. Even walking - seems like the ruts and mud will just suck you in at times. Better days are ahead with warmer days and blossoms lifting our spirits!
Love to all,
Rod & Irene
October 15, 2004
Dear Round Robins,
As you all know by now, our beloved Nita has gone home - not to Holland, Vermont, but to her heavenly home instead. Raymond asked me if I'd take the Round Robin now and that is indeed a pleasure!
We were pleased to see many family members at the funeral and trust each one was blessed by the special tribute to a much-loved lady. Nita and I had wonderful times together and I choose to remember those times rather than the last six months. Those were quite difficult months for her.
We enjoyed hosting family gatherings and sometimes would "cook up" an excuse to get one going! What fun we had doing Grandpa Gardner's 90th birthday celebration. Once the idea came to mind, we had great fun planning the festivities, including fond memories of Grandpa's life.
There were many who helped to make it special. Patty made a beautiful cake and the special music included Nita, Elinor and Beulah. Of course, the great "cartoons" of Grandpa's life's adventures drawn by a very young friend were so much fun to share with everyone. I guess I remember all this because Nita was always ready to start a family festivity, happily sharing her wonderful talents of being a hostess as well as a superb cook! I don't think there are many in the area whose baked beans, donuts, pies, etc. can compare with hers.
Of course, being a "Gardner" her garden of 2003 was no exception - even if she couldn't eat one bit of it.! Rod and I look back and marvel at all she did that summer. Her sewing room was an "oasis" of joy while she sewed many articles of clothing and listened to Christian music. That brings to mind the sewing classes we took in Burlington - traveling two hours each way for many months to learn new techniques that kept her sewing for many years afterwards. We even went one blustery winter evening and found only two or three locals there. Everyone else knew enough to stay off the roads - but Northeast Kingdom gals don't quit easily! Before we left the class that night there was a phone call form Rod and Lyndol telling us to stay in a motel overnight so they could get some sleep that night without worrying! I could go on, but guess I'll save some for another time.
Dawnita is at home and we are in touch every day. Last night I went up to do her laundry and left her with the last load to place in the dryer and I asked her to call me when it was finished. She called and when I went up she had neatly folded everything and placed it in her laundry basket. She will soon take over my job! It's amazing what she can do with just a little guidance. We are working with agencies to get her into some day program and activities, and she always enjoys church.
Many thanks to everyone for the love and support this past year. Lilla, I really appreciate the overnight stays when Nita had to be there for the ALS study program. Nita always enjoyed the letters and e-mails from everyone. Mail call was the highlight of her day! Visits from Don and Beulah, Lois, Diane and Lilla, Raymond and Gloria, and perhaps others I'm forgetting, meant so much to her the past few months. I'm out of room - but not out of special words about Nita - as I'm sure all of you are also.
Rod and Irene
This following article was printed in the Fall, 2004 issue of The Gardner Newsletter.
By: Paul Gardner
October 6, 2004 dawned bright and beautiful. It was one of those crisp, crackling Vermont autumn days that makes the residents of the Northeast Kingdom thankful they live there and the visitors and tourists wish they did. For the Ames and Gardner families and their friends, though, it was a day they would never forget. They gathered together (and filled) the United Church in Derby, Vermont to mourn the passing and to celebrate the life of Nita Ames.
The pastor of the East Charleston Nazarene Church, Rick Smith, began the tribute to her life by reading the newspaper obituary which reported on Nita’s death and listed the basic facts of her life. He elaborated on that by going to the main theme of his moving eulogy -“love.” He touched upon Nita’s love of life, laughter, family, friends, cooking, gardening, church, children – all this deeply rooted in her unwavering faith and in her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She loved the Lord most of all and this was the source of her fountain of love that constantly erupted like an inexhaustible geyser.
When Pastor Smith finished speaking, the congregation was asked to share their thoughts and memories about Nita. As if to validate and to corroborate everything that had just been said about her, people began (spontaneously and without rehearsal) to share their heart-felt remembrances of how Nita had touched and changed their lives. There was one for whom Nita had gone out of her way to pick up and take to church. This was a life changing event for this woman (who was a little girl at the time) and led to a new life of church attendance and service to others. There was the neighbor who suffered from depression, another lady who learned to pray from Nita’s example, and then there was the constant friend of over 18 years working together with Nita to conduct and promote Bible study. From the family, Dawnita Ames, daughter, and Teresa Vasko, niece, expressed their love for Nita and reaffirmed her urgent wish that the family remain close and together. One of Nita’s final caregivers recounted how she knew immediately when she entered Nita’s hospital room that she was in the presence of someone very special and deeply spiritual, - even though Nita couldn’t utter a word!
After the service a long procession of cars moved slowly, almost thoughtfully, through the pastoral countryside to the Mead Hill Cemetery where Nita would be buried next to her beloved Lyndol. As the prayers were being said and as the immediate family placed the last bouquets of flowers on Nita’s casket, the sun became obscured by clouds and a cold wind blew across that panoramic view of Jay Peak and its surrounding area. This was a powerful portent of the unforgiving Vermont winter just ahead and a symbolic reminder that the world is now a colder place because of Nita’s absence.
The funeral procession snaked its way out of the cemetery and back to United Church’s fellowship hall. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal, reminiscent of those Nita used to prepare, and renewed acquaintances, reconnected with family members, and simply enjoyed one another’s company. Perhaps there were those who resolved to stay in touch more often and to become a better extended family, as Nita fervently wished. All-in-all, everyone agreed it was a day of … – yes – “love.” L-O-V-E, - that four-letter word we bandy about and so often trivialize.
Nita Ames raised the bar. She dignified and brought a new dimension of meaning to the word. Nita lived her life on a higher plateau of caring and understanding. Let’s hope we all can learn to do the same.
Read Nita Ames' and Don Giffes' article about sugaring-off in Vermont. Click here to see the show.
March 29, 2004
It's so great to hear from all of you. Family is so important. Congratulations to Clayton and Gerry for finally becoming grandparents. And I can see from her picture, she is a precious little girl. I'm glad for e-mail because we communicate more often.
Raymond and Margaret just turned a year older. Time does fly, doesn't it? I'm glad you found a way to get Margaret in the house. Also, your chihuahua dogs adapt so easily. I heard of your visit in Auburn, NY. What fun you have playing chess!
Lilla and Diane came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Lilla, your daughters are extra special and I'm so glad they are willing to drive you all the way to Derby. I'm sure your sons are special too. I don't get to see them much.
Beulah and Don come at least once a week. They will be heading for Florida in a few days to bring Lois home. We will be so glad to see her. I'm so glad they get her as it's a long trip all by oneself. Dawnita will be in her glory to have Lois home again.
It was good to see all the Metcalfs, though for a sad reason. I still can't believe Henry is gone, but I know he is in a wonderful place and we will soon join him. I'm glad, Ruth, for your family. You are so blessed to have them. I haven't herd whether Dick Metcalf has gone overseas yet.
The last I heard from Dick Cove is that he was doing well. I hope it is still so.
This is going to be a short letter, as I don't have the energy to write a long one.
My health has sure changed since my last letter. I am confined to home health carers with me all the time, day and night. My mind doesn't work that great and, physically, I don't do anything.
Irene and Rod are with me 100%. They take care of my every need. Irene would have made a wonderful nurse, as she has learned how to take care of a tracheotomy, which is some change in life.
Dixie, you have a wonderful family. I am so glad you don't need another stent, and hope you have many more years to fish. I agree with you. How would we face these things that face us as we grow older if we didn't have the hope of salvation through Jesus? He is the strength and hope I have facing what's ahead.
There is so much more I should write, but have come to the end of my energy.
Yes, Dawnita is doing well watching out for me. She has lost 28 pounds since last September, of which she is very proud.
All my love to all and how much I appreciate your love and prayers for me, Nita
We have enjoyed the Gardner Newsletter.
Terry and I made it to Vermont in May and spent a week with Nita. We came back to Florida via Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and visited the Wright Brother's Museum.
We are also in hopes of going back to Vermont in August, stopping on the way up in Washington, D.C. to a large cake decorating convention. My cake business has dropped off, unfortunately.
I won a blue ribbon in the mini-cake category, a red ribbon in the coral wedding cake category, and an honorable mention in the novelty category. These were entered in the Central Florida Fair.
Terry's doctor told him he needs to exercise more, so he rides his bike 8-12 hours a day, plus we go dancing on weekends.
Have a great holiday!
August 25, 2003
The first thing I did this morning was to write in the Round Robin! It's so easy to put it off. It's so great to hear from all of you. I can't remember who started the Round Robin, but what a wonderful thing they did.
This summer has flown by so fast! The older we get, the faster time flies. We have a good time with Lois. We get together several times a week. Dawnita spent a whole week with her the first of the month. Lois is Dawnita's favorite aunt. She keeps asking her to live here all year. Lois says Don and Beulah are going to Florida with her so she won't have to go alone. That is wonderful, for it's such a long trip for her to take alone.
It was great to have a visit from Raymond, Margaret, Gloria, and Bob. We had a good time looking through the old pictures Mama had. Raymond found a picture of an "Aunt Olive" that Mama was probably named for her.
Lilla and Becky stopped in awhile ago. In the last few months, Adele has brought her and then Lorraine. What a beautiful Adelbert has left! I appreciate Lilla's hospitality every time I have to stay at the hospital in Burlington. She welcomes Irene to stay overnight with her.
It has been great to talk with Ruth and Henry almost every week, although now it's pretty hard, as I can't speak so they understand. I guess I'll have to start writing to them. I'm so glad Ruth is feeling so much better.
I'm hoping Clayton and Gerry will be here in a couple of weeks. They may bring Brenda also. It's amazing how well Clayton is after all his heart problems.
Dixie, you also have had so may problems, but you keep going. It's so good to hear from you and all about your family. I hope sometime to see Laura, as she's not that far away from us.
Dick has had a hard year - colon cancer, six months chemo, and then tests. They just found a spot on his liver on the 18th of August. The doctor was doing surgery to find out what it is. I haven't heard from him yet. I sure hope the cancer hasn't spread. He sure needs our prayers.
Lois had a special dinner for us when Terry and Patty were here. They spent a week with me. She invited Theresa and Dick and Sandra also. So we got to see a lot of the family.
David's family is growing up. Matthew is in the Air Force and is stationed in Okinawa. Sarah just left for college in Pennsylvania - Eastern University. Maria is a junior in high school and Ann has a job in the helmet factory.
Rod and Irene are always here for me. Every time I have a need, they are here immediately. Irene takes me to Burlington at least once a month, and sometimes more.
Now me. I'm doing real well physically. I've lost my ability to talk. I have a light writer machine that I can type my thoughts into and then it speaks for me. It's an amazing machine and a big help to me. Also, I've lost my ability to swallow, so I have a feeding tube. I use a drink called "Ultra Cal." I don't have to worry about what to get for a meal. Of course, I still have to get them for Dawnita.
The diary of Grandma French was one that Mama gave me. It is 2.5" by 3.5". She sure got a lot in such a small book!
I'm enclosing an article from the newspaper about Len and Donna's trip to Hawaii. They sure had a wonderful time. Guess I have rambled on long enough. I sure love each one of you, and I can't express the appreciation for all the concern and support you all give me.
All my love, Nita
November 20, 2002
It's about time I get this letter on the road. It's so easy to say, "I'll do it tomorrow." It's so good to keep in touch and hear about all the family. As I have said before, I feel so blessed to belong to such a wonderful family. I just looked at my last letter and I started out with the exact same statement! Guess I really mean it.
We had a spur of the moment family reunion in June when Clayton and Gerry were here. There were 30 here. That was pretty good with no planning. It was a nice day which helped a lot. It was a great day.
Since I wrote last, I have sold my house. Mike, the new owner, is pastor of the Morgan church. He and his wife, Dena, and three children, - a son a little over two, and twins, not quite a year yet. They have done a lot of work on the house and changed the inside. It seems good to have the place lighted up again, as there was no one there for six months. I have also sold my farm to the Nadeaus, the farmer next door. They plan to modernize the sugar house, but probably won't sugar next year.
Life is full of changes as you all know. I have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. It took months to finally find out for sure. What I have is Bulbar Palsy, as it affects my speech and swallowing. I can still talk, but it is getting more slurred all the time, and I have a hard time eating. The doctor says eventually it probably will progress to the rest of my body. There has been no help for this disease; but when I went to see the specialist in Burlington, the first thing he said when he came in was, "There's hope." They think they have a medication that helps it. The 6th of December I'm starting on a years study of this. Of course, I might get the placebo, but all that time I'll get extra special care. It will mean many trips to Burlington. I'm so blessed to have Irene. She's dedicated to get me there and back.
My grandson, Matthew, left the 11th of November for Texas where he is training in the air force. He says he wants to protect our country. Lorraine's son, Tyler, just graduated from the same air base. Lilla will be able to tell us where he is now.
I haven't addressed you all, but it is so good to hear all about your families. I just want to say thanks for all your calls and notes. It sure helps to have the support you give me, and finally I can say I want to stay here as long as the Lord wants me to. But what a hope to know there is a wonderful eternity to look forward to!
I love you all. Nita
April 23, 2002
As I have said before, I feel blessed to belong to such a great family and it's so good to keep in touch. This is a busy time of year with all the outside work and there seems to be a lot going on all the time. Next week I'll be spending three days at the Stonecroft Conference at Hampton Beach. It's a good time to go there because the crowds aren't there yet. Lois is coming to stay with Dawnita. She expects to be home the 30th and I leave the 1st. Len and Donna have opened her home for her. David has done it for years, and this is where family comes in. There is always one to take over.
Last week we had 90 degree weather; and this morning when I woke up, the ground was white with snow. It is beginning to melt now. What a contrast!
We have had some changes in our family since I last wrote. Ann decided to move to Newport. She felt overwhelmed with the big house and all the expenses involved. She moved the last of February. It's pretty lonesome here, as the teens were always here with us. I am going to sell the house. We have some work to do on it before we do. We meaning Rod and I. He is helping me so much. I've also decided to sell my farm if things work out. My neighbor wants it if we can come to terms. I hate to let it go, especially the sugar place. It's been part of my life for 60 years, but I really don't need it. I have three acres with my house, which is enough to care for.
Beulah got a little mixed up about my health. The doctor discovered I had real high blood pressure, so he sent me for a cat scan because I was having problems with my throat. That didn't show a stroke. Then he sent me for a MRI, which showed I did have several mini-strokes. I feel great, but still have problems talking. Maybe the Lord has decided that I talk too much!
Clayton and Gerry are planning to come next month. I am so glad they have improved in health so much that they can drive across country. It's always good to have them visit. We have such a wonderful time together.
My little great granddaughter is 18 months old and talking so much. She is a precious little girl.
Raymond, I'm glad you put a picture of Connor in. Grandchildren are such a blessing.
Lilla, join the crowd - two great grandchildren. I don't think great grandmothers are as old as they used to be.
I had a nice visit with Ruth and Henry this morning. It's great they keep in touch. Their health has improved considerably and they are so busy in the church.
Dixie, guess you have the record of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Hope your heart problem has improved. Diabetes is such a dangerous disease, but we are blessed with the medication that's available. When I was in high school, insulin had just been discovered. Before that there was no hope.
All your letters are so interesting. I enjoyed every one of them. I've got bread to put in the tins, so must sign off.
Love to all, Nita
October 5, 2001
Most of you talked garden; it has now come to the end. My garden was very productive and my freezer won't hold any other thing. Now there are leaves to take care of and I have plenty. I enjoy my trees in spite of the work they make.
Lois, I see you wrote your letter on September 11, 2001. You must have written it before you turned the TV on. What a tragedy! Our country has always been so safe. We haven't appreciated it. It's good to know people are turning to God. He is our only hope. I don't seem to have much news. I keep real busy all the time. My family are doing well; no serious illness, for which we are grateful.
Lois and Dawn and I visited Lilla, Billy, and Milton. It was great to see them. We missed a family reunion this summer, but have kept in contact with Clayton and Gerry by phone and Dixie through the RR. Raymond spent a couple days with me. We had an interesting time with genealogy and a visit to the Leadership Center. They were really pleased to interview him, as they have the rest of us. I visit with Ruth and Henry almost every week through the phone and internet. Dick spent a week with us. We visited Homer in the nursing home. We feel so bad for him and Teresa has such a burden. Then, of course, Lois, Beulah and Don are here, - at least Lois was all summer. So I guess we have had a reunion in a different way.
Dawnita went to the doctor yesterday and he is so pleased with how her diabetes is under control. She has a few other problems, but he doesn't seem too concerned about them. I am really healthy and able to take care of this place. I am grateful because I'm nearly 80 years old, and it doesn't seem possible, as I used to think 80 was really old. There is a saying that "old" is ten years older than you are.
It is great to hear from all of you. What a wonderful family we have.
July 16, 2001
How I appreciate everyone of you! Your love, prayers, and support have helped so much through our loss of David. He has left a big hole in our family, but he also left a wonderful family. We are so grateful for Ann and the three wonderful grandchildren, Matt, Sarah and Marie. This time of adjusting is hard, as you who have lost a loved one well know. Ann has a great faith in God and that is sustaining her.
I am going out when the dew is gone to pick my first raspberries. I have had a battle with a borer ever since I planted my bushes ten years ago. I have never had a crop; but this year, hopefully, the borer is contained. Looks like a lot of berries. I have a good garden this year. The weather has been warm and enough rain to help it grow.
In my last letter, I told you we were going to Michigan with Beulah and Don. We had such a good time with them and certainly enjoyed the visit with Ruth and Henry. As Beulah said, they have a lovely home. Also, it was great to go to their church and hear Henry preach and get to know some of their parishioners. Dixie, their address is: 5441 No. Jefferson Road, Midland, MI 48642. Telephone: (517) 832-7550. We are hoping they will be visiting in August.
Lois, Dawnita and I went to our old homestead last week. The new owner, Asley Thompson, was there and made us feel so welcome. He wants us to visit any time. He especially wants you to come, Raymond. He would like some accurate history of the place and of the family. He found an old book from back in the 1800s, hand-written by a man named Bradley. Was he a former owner before Amy Lang?
Lilla, I sure hope you are feeling better. You sure have had a hard winter and Spring. Clayton and Gerry, we sure missed your visit this summer. Hope you are feeling better.
Lois didn't need the cataract operation. She was grateful. We went to see Theresa and had a wonderful visit with her and then we went to the nursing home to see Homer. We felt so bad about him as he doesn't even know Theresa. What a terrible disease Alzheimer's is. Theresa needs our prayers as she certainly is under a lot of stress.
I was so glad Dick was able to come for a few days when David died. He was a great support. Paul, Jean, and her son, Ron, spent a couple days with us. We had a great time together. It was so great to meet Ron for the first time. We were really impressed with him. Phil and Margie Chatto visited us for an overnight. What memories from back in the 50s! Terry and Patty spent a week with us, as Lois said. they had two funerals - brother and grandmother. I hope the next time they come it will be for a family reunion.
Rod and Irene have been there every minute for us. Rod is helping Ann with all her decisions. Irene has been working in Ann's house. Last spring the water backed up on the ice on their roof and it came into their dining room and living room. They had to tear out the walls, rewire, and put up new wallboard. The place was just ready to paint when David died. Irene has done a wonderful job of painting. It's almost done and then Ann can move all her furniture back.
Guess the dew is off now, so will close and get this in the mail.
Love to all, Nita
March 26, 2001
It's so great to hear from all of you. I feel blessed to have been brought up in such a wonderful and loving family, and that includes all the in-laws.
I will try to bring you up to date on my family. Rod and Irene are coping with the death of Eric. His body was so deteriorated there was no way he could have survived. The blessing is he had given his heart to Jesus and we know he's in heaven. Jackie has taken a position as nurse in the prison in Newport. She and Richard have bought a mobile home in Brownington, so we see them often. Adam is still in New York City. He loves it there. He's been home several times in the last year. On October 16th, Alicia had a bouncing baby girl, Kylee. She is a beautiful baby and much loved by all of us. Alicia has really matured through this time. She's working and taking a course at the Community College. Hopefully, she'll get her education, even though it will take time. Terry and Patty are going to buy a home in Florida. All these years they have rented. Terry and five other guys have their own business. I can't really tell you what it is. I know they do manuals for airplane mechanics. All this new technology is way above me. David and Ann are surviving. He hasn't been able to work for over a year now. Ann works, but her job isn't very high paying.
David goes to Dartmouth Hospital three time a week for dialysis. It takes a whole day with the traveling. All last summer he was unable to walk, but, gradually, he has regained his strength. He still uses his grandfather's cane outside. We are praying for a kidney and it would be wonderful if he got a pancreas also. It is possible, but not probable. Their children are all teenagers. Matthew graduates in a couple of months. He is hoping to go to Vermont Technical College if he can get enough grants and scholarships. He was on the dean's list. Sarah is also. Sarah just turned 16 and is a beautiful young lady. Marie, my youngest granddaughter, just turned 14. She is a rugged young lady, a great help to her parents. Now Dawnita, as most of you know, has Type II diabetes. So we have to work on her diet. She takes medication, so it's under control. She is a blessing to me. I'd be pretty lonesome without her. She keeps herself busy all the time. She loves her dog and church. Sarah and Marie spend a lot of time here and she loves that.
When I look into the mirror I realize I'm getting old - though I don't feel old. I'm looking forward to the snow going so I can get outside. I love the garden. Guess I've inherited that from Papa. I keep busy all the time. I guide two Bible studies every week. I'm also busy at church in Christian Women's Club. I have some wonderful friends through all this.
Don and Beulah have invited us to go to Michigan with them in the middle of April. Dawn and I will visit Ruth and Henry. I'm looking forward to visiting them in their new home and church. I guess I had better draw this to a close. Dawn has a dentist appointment in about an hour. I hope I haven't bored you. I know I love to hear about all your families. I hope we fan all get together soon.
The Gardner Newsletter is keeping the whole family in touch with one another - you do a fabulous job!
Nita and Dawnita
The Grand Piano
By Alicia Ames
It has played the most beautiful sounds in the world.
It has known true beauty told through the sounds of music.
It can be like a vital therapy to the soul.
It comes in all variations, shapes and sizes.
When properly used, it can tell a thousand different stories.
It can have mood changes in the blink of an eye.
It is like the translator for another country negotiating for peace.
The music that it plays is a universal language.
It is like a voice to a speechless person.
It is like eyes to the blind, creating images and stories in the mind.
September 7, 2000
What a wonderful family! Between the RR and the Gardner newsletter we are able to keep in touch. As I said in my last letter I really appreciate Paul and all his efforts. I look forward to receiving the quarterly letter. Jay’s amazing journey was just what he called it. Amazing little Alexander is so precious. They are blessed to have him and he certainly is blessed to belong to such a wonderful family.
I guess our family reunion this year was Raymond & Margaret’s 50th. It was a wonderful time, and the first time in several years we got to visit with all their family. I am really impressed with all Will & Olive’s grandchildren. And now with all their great grandchildren.
Clayton & Gerry came for a week in June and as usual we had a wonderful time. Raymond came & spent 4 nights. He and Clayton had a good time playing chess. We had a wonderful meal with Beulah and Don and we also went to Essex to visit with Lilla. She was at Lorraine’s, so we got to see her also. Billy was doing remodeling on her house with the help of Justin, so we got to see them. It was a great day. We ended up with a wonderful meal at the Olive Garden, we enjoyed that, as there is no Olive Garden near here. I especially like the name Olive, brings back memories of our wonderful Mother.
In July Ruth & Henry came for three weeks. They spent the middle week in Vermontville, NY where he conducted a vacation Bible school. Henry was very busy while he was here, tuning pianos and preaching in the Congo church in Island Pond, and a great chalk talk in our church. Ruth and I had a good time together.
I was hoping Jean & Paul would come in August while she was here from Calif. But guess they couldn’t make it. Dianne & Bruce stopped in for a visit last week, I sure enjoyed them. A couple days later Bunny & Tony came for a day. We went up to Brownington Pond to visit some friends of theirs, they were very nice folks.
Dawn, Lois & I have dinner together every Sunday. She will be leaving the end of the month, we sure will miss her. Lois has been taking David to Lebanon at least once a week for his dialysis . It is an all day trip. Our Pastor Gary is taking him down a couple times a week. He was telling me last night that he really enjoys David. David is finally getting his strength back. He hasn’t been able to walk due to a protein deficiency, but he is now able to get around with two canes. He still can’t go up and down stairs.
I seem to keep busy taking care of this place. My garden has done pretty well in spite of a cold wet summer. The lawn takes about three hours of my time each week. I am grateful for a riding mower.
Next thing will be getting rid of leaves. They are just beginning to turn. It seems as though they had just come out. I’ve decided that the older you get the faster time goes.
Dixie, I know how much better you can see after cataract surgery as I have had the same thing this summer, just in one eye though. Probably will have the other one done next year. It sure is a miracle how it improves your sight. Ruth Anne Metcalf had both of hers done this summer. She now has 20-20 vision.
Dixie you have had an eventful summer, its amazing when you think of older folks going and new babies coming to take their place. You have one of the largest number of grandchildren in the family.I guess I’ve rambled on enough for one time. I’m grateful for the health & strength God has given me and I want to use it for his Glory. Looking forward to hearing from all of you again.
My love to all of you, Nita
I believe the Gardner Newsletter is going to be a tool to keep the clan together in the future. All the descendants of Will and Olive are exceptional in love, morals, and intelligence. I know Grandpa and Grandma would be proud of their extended family.
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