The Portugal Years: The Fourth Year – And Home Again…

What had loomed as an interminable furlough abruptly developed into a frenzied stretch of friends claiming our last few weeks before we left the states.  Where I had been anxious about the prospect of spending six to seven months in my in-laws’ home I had wistful thoughts of their love and support. My father-in-love even helped me beat Harry in Parcheesi.  And, Pai Natal’s bells were ringing (Father Christmas).

We had become accustomed to simple holiday celebrations, and this one….  Loving friends and family kept bringing just one more thing. The moment to begin packing hesitated just around the corner.

The tree tickled the ceiling diffusing holiday cheer; the pile of wrapped gifts grew where curious eyes wandered. Harry lobbied to open the gifts first thing in the morning since he wouldn’t be there for Christmas for a long time. His  mother stood firm. Everyone must eat Christmas dinner before even a corner of a piece of wrapping paper could be breached.

Bethy and her cousin Katy got their first Barbie dolls. Toys, clothes, books and odds and ends of gifts of things that we could not find in Portugal littered the floor. It was fun watching the children’s wonder.

Harry had asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Well, I knew what I wanted, but truly doubted he would be able to buy it. I seldom ask for specific gifts, but when I do, it is always practical and unfailingly a big-ticket item. You see, the mixers available in Portugal were kind of flimsy. I had already taken one down. So, I asked for a Kitchenaid mixer with accessories. I cooked a lot  from scratch. Harry (perhaps with some help) got the mixer for me. Or for himself! In 32 years of hard use, I’ve only had to replace the sieve because blackberry seeds are big and tough.

While Harry was still scratching his head trying to figure out how to pack the mixer in a suitcase, the families of some of our colleagues sent some things for us to take back to Portugal for some of the the other team members. It was a tradition. Happily for us, we both got two suitcases each and carry-ons.

We left on January seventh, Harry’s birthday. His mom and I felt sad that we would be traveling on his special day, so we conspired.  In spite of the pastries  in Portugal, his favorite sweet treat is a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet. We hid them from him in my carry-on. A quiet word in the flight attendants’ ears sufficed. Right on the dot of 00:01 on January seventh, 1983, the flight attendants cued the other passengers and walked to Harry’s seat singing happy birthday to him.

Courtesy of TastyKake
Courtesy of TastyKake

Some Christmas Photo Memories.

Kitchenaid Mixer
Kitchenaid Mixer
Bethy and her cousin, Katy
Bethy and her cousin, Katy
Aunt Sally reading a book to the girls.
Aunt Sally reading a book to the girls.
Bethy's favorite toy
Bethy’s favorite toy
Aunt Nancy, Bethy and Uncle David Price
Aunt Nancy, Bethy and Uncle David Price
Grandma in the kitchen while Tim and David wash the dishes.
Grandma in the kitchen while Tim and David wash the dishes.

 

 

 

Daddy, Bethy and Aunt Nancy Price Price
Daddy, Bethy and Aunt Nancy Price Price

 

Tim and Harry
Tim and Harry
Cousin James
Cousin James
Little Mary
Little Mary

The Portugal Years – Year Four: As Time Goes By

Summer melted into fall. The leaves danced in glorious colors and the days felt brisk. Sweltering Philadelphia nights accented by the nearby trains passing by gave way to sweaters and light jackets. Soon, hats were de rigueur.

Bethy got steadier on her pins and experimented with slices of cheese as fridge magnets. Of course Elisabeth spent most of that time teething and suffering from congestion. She suffered from congestion much of the time we were there. Bethy charmed her Grandma by looking up at her and sweetly requesting more “jooooce?” (juice) The women from church gave us a splendid toddler shower. Bethy’s wardrobe was complete – until she started to grow again.

On Halloween, Bethy’s uncle carved a pumpkin for her, and she discovered books. We celebrated my grandmother’s birthday, my sister-in-laws birthday, and my mom’s birthday. My mother-in-love  began her fall baking frenzy and Harry was never far away from the kitchen when she was baking. Around Thanksgiving time, Bethy finally got in sync with the time zone.

We visited family and friends, and talked about Portugal. Before we knew it, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and we were hoping for snow for Bethy to play in.

Toddler Shower for Bethy
Toddler Shower for Bethy
Bethy checking out the chair at the shower.
Bethy checking out the chair at the shower.
The bows are more interesting than the clothes.
The bows are more interesting than the clothes.
The party is almost over.
The party is almost over.
My mom's birthday
My mom’s birthday
The reading corner at Harry's mom and dad's house.
The reading corner at Harry’s mom and dad’s house.
Bethy with her "little dickens" face. After all, it's almost Christmas.
Bethy with her “little dickens” face. After all, it’s almost Christmas.

The Portugal Years: Year Four – Furlough; It May Not Mean What You Think It Means

Harry's sister's wedding with her two nieces, Katy and Bethy.
Harry’s sister’s wedding with her two nieces, Katy and Bethy.

There is a persistent myth that when people come to the states on furlough that it is for them to rest from their labor. Nothing could be less true. We were always more busy and rushed when we were in the states than when we were in Portugal. Of course, we arrived in the midst of wedding prep for my sister-in-law, and didn’t slow down for the summer. A lot of what we did was visit people who supported our work in Portugal.

Shortly after the wedding, Harry, Elisabeth and I paid our respects to our missions organization traveling upstate New York to Schroon Lake (near Saratoga). Jack Wyrtzen founded this conference and camp facility. He and his wife were delightful people, and it was always fun when Jack was around.

wol jack marge

bethy wol
Bethy at Word of Life

When we got back to Pennsylvania, there was a to-do list. My mother-in-law’s family lived upstate Pennsylvania, and every year there were family reunions – yes, multiple reunions. That was a sad year for Harry’s mother; her mother passed away, and one of the trips up was for the funeral.

A family who supported our work invited us to spend a week at their cabin on Penobscot Bay in Maine. It was August, and we were wearing  jackets and light coats. You’ll see in one photo that we had a fire in the fireplace. That was the norm. If there had been a beach, we probably would not have been out swimming. While we were there, Grandpa wanted to take Bethy to the fair. She wasn’t sure about the calf, but she did love her some cotton candy. And she rode the Ferris Wheel. My father-in-law took me out with the family for some lobster love. While we were there, Bethy turned one year old. We celebrated with a chocolate cake! Of course. She needed early orientation or who knows what might have happened?  While we were there, Bethy took her first steps.

vacation Penob

vaca 2

vaca 3

first birthday

Of course, when we got back to Pennsylvania, Bethy had another party with my side of the family, including my sweet nephew, James, in attendance. second birthday party

Bethy’s Aunt Nancy spent time with us, too. In the next photo she is giving her ice cream. One can’t properly be a Price if you don’t eat ice cream.

auntie

At some point in that busy summer, we packed up the car and drove straight through to Michigan. Bethy met her cousin, Katy, who was born a little over a month after she was born. We played on Lake Michigan in the sand and visited with Harry’s sister Sally and family. family

All of that, and we haven’t even gotten to September!