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Middle Life

other001 copyAs the older children grew up and began their adult journey through life, Bill and Melody’s home life shifted.  An opportunity arose to purchase a different home from friends who were moving out of state.  With less children in the house and the responsibility of being rental managers gone, there was less chaos and more space.

At this point, Melody helped supplement the family income by babysitting and eventually running a small daycare out of the family home.  Even with less children at home, money was still tight and she used her extra time to help contribute to the household finances.  She never really took on more than a family or two at a time, but the income helped afford incidentals and sometimes little extras. mom007 copy

She enjoyed many hobbies and most of them involved crafting or gardening.  She loved to share these hobbies with her children.  The kitchen table was often filled with ceramic projects or starter flower pots and the kids got their hands just as messy as Melody’s were.  She loved to sing and enjoyed music, especially church music and the 50’s and 60’s music she grew up on.  She instilled a passion for music in her daughters as well and they often sang specials in church and were members of church musicals or the children’s choir. poppyjim

As Melody’s two older children entered their teenage years, her grandmother invited them down to Florida for the summer.  By this time her mom, step-father and grandmother were all living in Okechobee, Florida, and sadly she had lost her grandfather who had played such a pivotal role in her early life. Bill and Melody allowed the children to go for the summer only for things to go horribly awry and be betrayed by those whom she loved when they went to a lawyer to obtain custody of her children.  She wanted to fight it, but with little financial resources to even try to  sneak down to  Florida to pick up her children let alone hire a lawyer for a court battle, she finally acquiesced to her elders’ wishes and let the children be adopted by her mom and step-father.  This was a tumultuous time in Melody’s life and something she never quite got over. mom040

As time passed, Melody’s oldest children eventually moved back home to Ohio once or twice but moved back to Florida as they got out on their own and started their lives.  Ultimately the daughter moved back to Ohio to settle down, but the son chose to create his adult life in Florida.  Almost all of the children at one point or another moved back in with Melody and Bill, even if only for a short period of time to reestablish themselves.

Life continued and the glass plant that Bill worked at closed down, but luckily his seniority at the company allowed him to get a job at another plant.  Unfortunately, it was not the same job and definitely not for the same pay so they packed up and moved to Lancaster to shorten Bill’s commute and cut down on expenses.  They found a small rental house that was 1/2 of a duplex.  It was only a small 2 bedroom, but with the youngest child the only one left at home, it was just big enough.

They continued to live in town for 2 years until the desire to move back out into the country led them to rent a house off a nice couple that also lived on the property.  They would all become friends and the husband helped Bill out a lot with his cars when needed, which turned out to be a lot as by this time Bill had taken up a paper route job delivering papers in the country that really beat up the cars.  However this job allowed the family to live a bit more comfortably. This new rental house also had a large yard and gave Melody the ability to have a large flower garden as well as a large vegetable garden.  Although they were able to have a small garden when they lived in town, gardening was something she had greatly missed since she had to give up the green house she had at the property they lost when Bill was in essence down-sized at his job.  They could also have pets again, which was another thing they had missed while living in town.

Empty Nest

momdad003Bill and Melody’s youngest child graduated high school in the spring of 1993 and went off to college.  By the summer of 1994, she was getting married and moving out of state, so the 3 bedroom house they were renting was suddenly empty and too big for their needs.  Bill had also taken early retirement from the glass factory and it seemed time to downsize their lives. They found a new place to rent that was on the paper route that they were still doing for extra money.  The new place was a one bedroom house with a finished attic that could serve as a small spare bedroom when family came into town. 

The new rental house still had a decent sized yard but was heated with a wood burning stove, which meant Bill had to split a lot of wood and they had to store it up for the winter. They lived here comfortably for a couple of years before their youngest and her husband decided to move back up to Ohio in March of 1997 from North Carolina to be closer to family.  They moved in with Bill and Melody temporarily and put most of their belongings in storage until they could find a place to rent.  It was cramped quarters but it was great being able to reconnect and spend a lot of time together. fairMelody was unhappy with their landlords at this point and was looking to move.  They decided that they would all try to find one house to rent that they could share and split the rent.  This would save Bill and Melody some money and allow their daughter and son-in-law to start saving for a down payment on a house. 

By August they were moving back into town in a older house directly across from the fairgrounds.  This became an advantage at times when going to events, but parking was often a problem. The house had a small yard but Melody still found ways to plant flowers and enjoy her hobbies.  In fact she started a small crafting group at her church during this time and they would spend time once or twice a month getting together and making things to give away to their families or learning new crafts from one another.  The smaller yard meant less time doing yard work though and a house on traditional heating meant Bill no longer had to split wood all the time.

mom017This was a fun time in her life spending time in the evenings often playing games together as a family and getting to know her new son-in-law on a deeper level.  There was a lot of laughter in the house. During this time Melody and Bill also celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.  Unbeknownst to Melody, Bill and their daughter and son-in-law had cooked up a plan to surprise Melody to mark the occasion.  That Sunday morning Bill had arranged for a surprise vow renewal ceremony at their church and there was an anniversary party planned for later that day.  Melody and Bill and all of their family and friends celebrated, played games and danced to the music Melody and Bill grew up on.    

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