“DENNY Jr. will have a BIG BIRTHDAY…tomorrow”

This PHOTO is “seventy-one” (71) years old. When going through my Dad’s things… after he had died – – this PHOTO of us  … DENNY  Jr., TOMMY and myself – – and he is holding our new baby sister “Eve Karen” – – the reason… for “our”  temporarily placement into  the Orphanage.  This was taken on a “Visiting Sunday” – – early in the year of 1946 and our ages on this PHOTO are 6 – 7 – and 8 years of age.

Another PHOTO from the wallet – –  the wear and tear of being in a stuff wallet – it is amazing… that anything survives – – but when you look  at these old PHOTOS – – and start to remember back then – – WWII just over – – everyone had to learn to do without… make do… and re-use somethings, till there was just not enough  – – and just plain do without!

That “Sailor” outfit that little TOMMY is wearing – – did belong to DENNY. Little DENNY wore that same “Sailor Outfit” on one of his trips to “OHIO” to stay with  “Grandma McClarren on their farm.

This “OLD PHOTO” was mine to keep… when they were developed – –  and I was given a choice of which one I wanted. Just in case… someone wanted to know who the man was – – I had to write in red – – and of course the red ink had to smear – – and right on top of my “DAD” – – I just hated that I had done that – – but I kept this PHOTO – – no matter that  I did not take care of it  – – any better!

“CRACKER JACK® Original Caramel Coated Popcorn & Peanuts”  In most of the PHOTOS that you see of us three kids – – if it was a “Visiting Sunday” – – my parents would always buy us a box – – and maybe even a couple of boxes -guess I had enough – as I have not had any  – since way back then.

I’m guessing that the reason we had to have the POP CORN – – was for the “PRIZE” inside the package. Some of the kids would make “trades” for some of these PRIZES – – and it was FUN for us at that time.

 


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“DENNY’s BIRTHDAY will be on the 24th”

This is 1945…. a “Visiting Sunday”… which would be only once a month, back then… and this PHOTO of little TOMMY – – and MARY ELLEN, center and DENNY sitting on the right in this PHOTO.

When I think back to when we first went to the  “German St. Vincent   Orphanage” – –  it is really hard to believe  – – that I was able to stay there – – as I never did like being there.

When we first knew, that we were going somewhere for a short time – – and after visiting several places – – this was the one where we would be able to see each other  and play together – – but that was not the case. The boys were only allowed to be on the “BOY’s” side and in their own playrooms and the girls were only in and on their side of this building. So…when we would have our meals – – we would sit at the same table – – but  – – most of the meals were to be done with no talking – – so when could we ever  have any real FAMILY communication?

This PHOTO was taken with one of those old little box camera’s – – and you would get…  what  – you got – – no trying for a perfect PHOTO. “BUT” am I ever glad that my DAD had this camera – – because we did get some photos – – which help to remember what our world was really like back then.

“Visiting Sundays” were held  in the “Auditorium” – – folding chairs were set up and if you were “LUCKY” to receive  a visit from you FAMILY – – you were called  from the “PLAYROOM” to meet with them in the Auditorium – – where you would push a number of the folding chairs into a circle – – and this meeting would be like the best day in the world for a kid! Just to be so fortunate to be a FAMILY for a few short hours. The hours were one to five – – and  then – – when they would have to leave – – it was like the end of the world.

This Sunday – – there just was not enough “Sunshine” – – but –  from one of the windows – near the “STAGE”  –  my DAD… lifted each one of us kids, up and onto the STAGE – into the bright spot where  – – he could take a picture or two and see what happens??? No extra light… and hopefully we were sitting in the right spot – – to where something spectacular would happen.

That dress that I have on – – was called  a “spinach dress” it was of a green material and “itched” when you were wearing it – -just terrible. Every girl had this same dress on – – someone must have donated bolts of material  – these were the worst of the dresses we had to wear. There were other uniform type dresses – – we all looked alike – they even cut every girls’ hair the same style – bangs and short all around. WWII had just ended and  the ORPHANAGE was sending regular clothes – that included those clothes that I had – as my Aunt Irene,  had made most  of my clothes – – to their affiliated home and schools in  GERMANY.

Today…they do not have any Orphanages – – the government doles out money so that FAMILIES can stay in their own home with their families – this is just what I am thinking – – as I do not hear of children  having to live  – – anywhere but at home.


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“CHRISTMAS VACATION for us – thru FEBRUARY”

“CHRISTMAS DAY” and we are finally at HOME with our PARENTS – – enjoying one  wonderful meal and dessert after another – – and just being in the house that we lived in – – before going to the ORPHANAGE – – there is just no better feelings and memories – – than to  be a FAMILY again – – and not  be called by your “NUMBER” instead of your NAME! Our numbers were #78 Denny – 79 Tommy and # 91 Me – – and my friends # 10 Betty Musgrove – #29  Violet Peiffer – #90 Stella Santoya  and #92 Betty Weisenberger  – – and so many more – – but now that I am older – – I’m guessing we are “all”  only a  “NUMBER” – – everything has a number – everything that is made and all manufactured items can be found by their number – – there’s  just a special “NUMBER” for everything – – and without that NUMBER – – you are just out of business!

Talking about “NUMBERS” – – there were a number of days that we were to be at HOME with our parents – – for this CHRISTMAS vacation time – – and then we were to be brought back to the ORPHANAGE.  But… “RULES” are to be broken when it comes to my FATHER.

As long as we were all together – – and we were enjoying the days running into weeks and then into months – – what in the world would we want to leave our happy time – – all of us being HOME – – as we used to be. I know that we had a telephone – – and can not remember any calls coming in to my parents to upset them – – regarding our still being at HOME with them. Also… back then – – the “MAIL-MAN” delivered the mail twice a day – – in the morning and afternoon – – that is something most people alive today – – would have  no memory of – –  as  the mail is only delivered “once”  today!

Back then… my DAD would send a telegram – – when there was something important going on – – and we did not receive any telegrams – – regarding  – our having to be back at the Orphanage. Before we ever went to the Orphanage – – – – when my DAD was working on SHIPS  – during the WWII  years… in Vallejo, California  – he often sent us telegrams – – so…  I was  now older – – and if such important communication came – – regarding our being absent from the Orphanage – – I would have been right there  and at the door – – to know what was going on – – I always was a little on the “nosy” side.

So… we were HOME for all of JANUARY and the better half of FEBRUARY – and of course CHRISTMAS  DAY and the last of DECEMBER – –  – we did not have any school – – as Tommy would have been in first grade – – and Denny in the second grade – and I was in the third grade – – so maybe we missed out on something – – but who cares NOW – – too late to worry about missing school!

All “GOOD TIMES” do come to an end – – and sometimes – – even an unhappy  time – – as I was crying… when the COURT system sent a “car” out with a social worker – – someone to pickup the three of us – – and take us back to the ORPHANAGE. Something like this  leaves  permanent scars on the brain – – we were all so happy – – and then – have to be divided up and sent to a place where we were not happy at all – -and having to be returned like this – – just made for living in the Orphanage even worse than it was before.

*********now – – –  is when you find out – – what LIFE is really like… ********


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“Christmas EVE” and going HOME”

********* This is the continuation of …Christmas EVE – – so if you have not read  “December 24th” – – go back a couple of days – – for the full story!*********

Back in the 1940’s – -when I was  in the third grade and in the “ORPHANAGE” and our teacher was “Sister Florence” – – following the Advent services  in the beautiful Chapel where  the  “INFANT baby Jesus   was placed in the crib  – – we would  – – then go to our  “CLASS ROOMS”   and march around the class room – – singing “CHRISTMAS SONGS”  – – with the main idea of seeing what we were to receive as CHRISTMAS GIFTS – – and at the same time see what our classmates were receiving, too!

After a few minutes of getting an idea  of all the surprises that were brought by “SANTA” and left on your desk – – just for you – – we were given the okay signal to go to our desk and open  the gifts and share our excitement…  with our classmates. For me this beautiful “BRIDE DOLL” was almost too much to believe … was just for me! I just loved having a doll as I had several dolls at my home – – before I came to live at this Orphanage – –  and was always hoping to have one of them here to play with as I usually carried one of my dolls – – with me – – any where and every where.

At ten minutes after seven – – in the evening – – we were in  our regular rows of marching on up to the third floor – – where the dormitories were – – and to our designated room and bed. In some of these rooms … there were 15 to 20 beds – and along side each bed a chair – – where as we would undress – then we would put our play clothes  on the chair carefully – and put on our pajamas – – which had been folded  as  we had  place under the pillow – – when we made our bed – – at five-thirty in the morning. We did start the day – – nice and early.

Going to sleep this night … was one of those nights’ when you just do not know what to think about – – as there is going to be so much more excitement happening in the morning. Just thinking about the doll on my desk – – want  my MOM and DAD to see it in the morning when they come to pick my brothers and  me up – – as we are going to our house in the CITY – – for the CHRISTMAS VACATION – – that if…  you have some where to go – – and people to come and get you  – – well  – – it was like going to HEAVEN!

It was difficult to dream just…  ABOUT ONE THING – – THIS NIGHT – – was just too exciting – – too much to think about – – just the knowing that  – – after “CHURCH” at six o’clock in the morning – chores and breakfast – then to finish your particular  chores – –  must  be finished  – when your parents arrive – – – off you are to the great big world – – somewhere  – – where it is only a little memory – – to you in this ORPHANAGE – – and  the only thing that you can think of – – “I’m going HOME” in the morning – – on “CHRISTMAS” morning!

********* more to come…CHRISTMAS EVE and GOING HOME *********


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“DENNY’s…Memorial Day…”

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The 10th day of October, 2015 – –  “We,  TOM and Mary Ellen say …’Good-bye’ …to our brother, DENNY!”

The above picture was taken of the three of us…on my GRADUATION DAY…June 8th. 1952 – – and you can see it looks like  – – and was a beautiful day.

TODAY… the 10th of October, 2015 – – was a most beautiful day…the weather is and was all day  – – just the kind of weather – that you would wish for … for all year…and that is… if your “WISHES” had the possibility of coming  true???

Some times…when there is an event happening in our LIVES… such as the event that our brother, DENNY – leaving this world and doing the next part of his journey  – traveling on to bigger and better things  with the ALMIGHTY – – DENNY’s  – – CREATOR –  – WHO…decided to call DENNY in AUGUST of   2015 – –  which all of   us  felt  was too soon – – but,  since we never know  the full destiny  and the  time  –  when our journey will end …here – – we are always in a prepared state to move on…when we are called!

When we leave our earthly …HOME – – – we all know that something much better awaits  us  – the chosen people…and we are so glad to go forward – – and be  with  the  ONE and ONLY…CREATOR – – and enjoy the rewards  – – that  HE has set aside for each of us!

So… with all of that in mind… DENNY’s  wife, JUDY – –  made arrangements to have a MEMORIAL SERVICE…today at Saint MICHAEL’s CHURCH in the Shrewsbury, Missouri area – – for DENNY – – so that all of the McClarren FAMILY  and FRIENDS – – –   and there were  so many people across this UNITED STATES – – that knew and LOVED … DENNY…and if …it were  at all possible … for  all  of us …to get together  – – celebrating DENNY’s  LIFE – and all the good he had done for so many… and today – – we were all able to give HONOR to the good LIFE that DENNY McCLARREN help to provide with all those that he had met and worked with on his journey here on earth! 

“DENNY – – Tis…  Himself”

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“Denny –    SMILES – in the Clouds…”                             Denny_002

 


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“The McClarrens… on Visiting Sunday…”

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Over Seventy Years  ago… can you believe this is what the three of us looked like!!!

That is DENNY…MARY ELLEN…TOMMY – – and we are HAPPY…because it is Visiting Sunday!

When I look at this photo…I am now taking note that there are so  few   parents  in the back ground – – –   so few of the children were as LUCKY … as  the “McClarrens” – – to be able to see and visit with someone from their  own  FAMILY… to receive some sign …that there is someone in this world… that will  even bother to come out on the second or fourth Sunday of each month… and spend a couple of hours…sharing “FAMILY LOVE” with the ones you LOVE the most!

What I really LOVED… was the surprise  “VISIT” – – that would happen any time…any day of the week …when either my FATHER or my MOTHER would just show-up and always with a bag full of  goodies… just reliving and thinking back …as to what was good and enjoyable about being in an Orphanage… especially when at the time… I could hardly stand to be there …and could hardly wait for the day that I would graduate … and be able to leave …and forever be in my own HOME!!!


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