Monthly Archives: October 2019

Martin THE Graduate

West Springfield HS graduation at George Mason University June 4, 2019

Grandson Martin leads in many ways. Oldest cousin to a dozen younger. Older brother to sister Lydia. And possessor of eighteen years worth of fun and growth under his belt, much of it earning a Taekwondo 2nd degree blackbelt.

It takes awhile for our kids to get started on the grandchildren track and we’re not pushing. Parenting is a full time job and anyone jumping into that pond needs to be as ready as is possible.

Martin diploma
The diploma
Martin cap and gown
Martin Downing Desjardins

But when Emily & Marty make their announcement we are elated. They live in Louisville and we burn up Priceline auctions after Martin’s arrival getting as many family members as possible west to met the leader of the next generation.

Marty is then in sound design and the job market limited for sustainable work. Still when an opportunity presents itself I suggest that being closer would be sweet and they make it happen!

Moving is a challenge. Marty drives the van. Emily, Martin & I follow as we weave our way east. By Winchester VA baby Martin is done. He will gladly live there. Nothing soothes him. We’re so close. It’s nighttime and stopping will only make things worse, so we keep going. Finally we arrive, exhausted, our sanity hanging by a thread. But now the new family is geographically closer to both families.

And the fun begins. Playing at the National Zoo and all of the museums in Washington. Summer beach visits. And it is through that portal that CampOBX evolves along with a plethora of quotable quotes from Martin.

“My MOTHER is killing me!” shrieks three year old Martin as Emily vainly tries to remove a splinter from his foot.

“I can’t move. I have no bones,” yet another classic from the youngster not wanting to do the task at hand, probably bath before bed.

“NOW we’ll have some fun!” is his mantra as time for CampOBX gets close.

“NOOOO!! How would YOU feel if you had not been to camp in forever,” is the plaintive wail when Emily suggests a side trip to Jamestown on one journey to CampOBX from NoVA.

Sister Lydia joins the family to begin CampOBX in earnest. A few years down the camp path nephew Jake, seeing how much fun Martin & Lydia are having, worms his way into camp time, too, and year after year with little to no advance planning the three manage to circumvent other summer obligations to make camp together happen. Early on they create an only an insider will get it joke list. When I find the list cleaning up, I think it preservation worthy and hang it on a clip. The next year they discover that I have kept the list and they begin an annual tradition of last day add on jokes. Camp cannot officially end until the joke list, still on that same sheet of paper, is updated.

Ashville Drive turtle boil August 2011

Through the years campers have seen a daytime random turtle boil, played at the beach, climbed on Jockey’s Ridge, eaten Cookie Monster Sundaes and more at Kill Devil’s, played at the beach, bounced their way through three camp trampolines, scored a hole-in-one while playing mini-golf, played at the beach, bought countless stuffed toys from the aquarium, evacuated camp early because of an approaching hurricane, played at the beach, been to the tip top of the Wright Brothers Monument (that part is now never open to the public), opened First Flight Adventure Park, played at the beach, pulled all-nighters, walked the mile length of now gone Shelly Island, played at the beach, gotten chased out of H2OBX Water Park by an enormous thunderstorm, discovered a cub while on a bear hunt, played at the beach, encountered Nags Head police at Kitty Hawk Kites past midnight, viewed the prettiest sunsets anywhere right from the camp porch while always, always having FUN!

Of course, Martin’s well balanced life reaches far beyond CampOBX but, Second Christmas aside, it is the pivotal point for our time with him. We do our best to get to birthday celebrations, as well as school and extracurricular events because, as Martin declares, “Grandpa comes to shows,” during one family discussion about whether we will attend or not.

awesome 80s prom
Martin is Louis Fensterspock, one of several amazing leading men, in the Awesome 80s Prom WSHS 2017. I was voted Best Dressed Girl.
monster under the bed
Lydia designed the Dad Monster costume that Martin occupied throughout the show. Martin’s voice alone carried the character.

As he enters high school and discovers his love of acting, Martin’s shows become truly things of amazing talents and wonder. Martin owns each role he is cast in with confidence and ability. He has the makings of a great career in theater. And he has already proven his merit in that field with acceptance into the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in theater at George Mason University.

We love you Martin, awesome leader of the pack!

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Keese & Martin, A LOVE Story of Hollywood Proportions

Act One

“Well, will you or won’t you?” Not exactly a romantic proposal, but read on and then decide if this is not truly a real life Hollywood moment.

The time is 1946, he is a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She is a student at Mary Baldwin in Staunton. Her daddy is minister at the Methodist church in Farmville. She comes home almost every weekend because it’s where the action is. I’m in this story too. I am a tiny thing living with my grandparents while Mom and Dad work long hours in Richmond making ends meet as there is no child care of any worth or reasonable rate available.

It’s Halloween weekend, Martin comes to visit close relatives that live in Farmville. The dating set congregates at the local drug store. Soda fountain or booth, both hold equal attraction for this young crowd. Keese is there along with Mom and other friends. Jane, a New York city relative of Martin’s, who is more than certain that her big city experience far outdistances any small town take on life, decides that Martin needs to meet Keese.

She steers him to the drugstore where he is instantly smitten with married Mom. He unabashedly flirts. Mom knows her place, but is not above casual flirting and flattery. Keese takes an instant dislike to him. Jane isn’t as match maker savvy as she thinks , she’s wrong about this one.

Act Two

Keese

After a time, part of the group goes to the record store to pick out some vinyls. In those days you could listen to a record before buying it. They take their choices to a friend’s bomb shelter her family built during recently ended WWII. Dancing commences and Martin gets a good eyeful of Keese’s legs and her ability to cut the rug better than most. He is impressed.

Me, Mom and Keese

Later at home, Keese gets a call from Jane asking her if she will go out with Martin the next night. “Nope.” Keese is still peeved that he hit on Mom. Jane will not give up. She calls Martin to get the same answer. Back and forth Jane goes, she is not to be denied her match making. Finally Keese agrees.

The next night when Martin comes to the parsonage to pick Keese up, she is not quite ready. As she finishes up, she can hear Martin downstairs playing with me. Score points for Martin. When she comes down ready for her date, she finds Martin and myself down on the floor having a grand time. Score more points for Martin. Anyone that good with children cannot be all bad.

Act Three

They continue to date throughout the fall, Martin taking the bus back and forth on weekends from Charlottesville to Farmville. One weekend there is a big dance on the campus of Longwood the local girls college. Everyone has a good time, a very good time. Martin proposes to Keese. As high on the sauce as they both are she realizes that time is needed and plays a commonsense card. “Ask me again tomorrow.”

The next day sees them going to church, having lunch, enjoying the balance of the day before Martin has to catch the bus back to school. There is no mention of the night before. Keese is not going to bring it up. And Martin seems to have forgotten that he asked Keese to marry him and her reply.

┬áIt’s time for the bus. Keese walks with Martin to the Greyhound bus station. They say goodbye. Martin gets on the waiting bus. The bus pulls aways. And then before it can leave the terminal it begins backing up. It backs into the spot it just vacated. Keese is dumbfounded. She is still waving goodbye.

The door opens. Martin emerges. He walks up to Keese grabs her by the shoulders and begins shaking her. “Well, will you or won’t you, damnit?”

Me in the dress my grandmother made

The passengers and driver dare not breathe. Then, “Yes!” she beams. “Yes, yes I will!” The audience erupts in cheers and applause. Hollywood could not do it any better.

I am flower girl at their wedding and I still have the dress.

THE END (of the beginning)

Keese, Mom, Martin & Uncle Dick (Keese’s sister IG aka as Florence Leigh’s hubs) in the late fifties still hanging out together. Here at Tides Inn in Irvington VA

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