Friday, February 3, 2012

In Memory of Midge

Disclaimer: I apologize if I ramble on and on, but this post is more a therapeutic writing exercise for me then it is for your enjoyment, but I hope you enjoy reading it anyways.

I have been meaning to do this post for a while, but sometimes things just seem too overwhelming until I actually sit down to do them. There were times when I would get behind at work and I would feel this way, it was like a heavy weight I would carry around always there nagging me in the back of my mind, but eventually I found a system that worked. An hour or two in the office each week, usually with Midge and I would feel so much lighter. I used to tell Midge "I feel so much better" after I had taken care of the pile of charts she or Lynn had stacked up for me. When I switched jobs I wasn't sure I would manage to stay organized without those weekly visits, but I did, when there is change you always find a way. Midge told Melissa to take care of me and even just yesterday when I asked Melissa if she could help me with something she said "Only for you, Kristin, I promised Midge I would look after you." It always brings a smile to my face, but these days it is a bittersweet smile.
It was a shock to me when I showed up in the office one morning and Melissa asked me if I had talked to Sharon and I said no, why?, and she said Sharon had called and said her mom died. I couldn't quite believe it - didn't want to believe it, but you can't go back, some part of you knows its true from that moment on.
I don't really recall exactly when I first met Midge, but I suppose it was that first day I worked with Sharon. I was working in a nursing home, and my coworker was looking to change jobs, so I brought her an ad from the newspaper, but after a short while she gave it back to me and said they needed an OT more than an OTA and she thought I should check it out. Who knew when I started work there in October of 2003 what a special group of people I would come to know. Initially it was mostly over the phone, but over the next 6 1/2 years I worked for Sharon, I got to know them better. I am not sure if I initially knew that Midge was Sharon's mom, and Lynn (who worked the office on the day's Midge was off) and Shirley (who picked up and delivered paperwork sometimes) were Midge's sisters, but at some point I was told or figured it out. I do remember I had quite a time figuring out who they meant by Gabbee and I was too embarrassed to ask - they would say "when Gabbee picked the boys up..." or "Gabbee will be late for lunch", it was always said as if I should know who that was, I knew it was one of them and eventually I figured out it was Midge. I think partly what threw me was Sharon called her Gabbee and I thought wouldn't she just call her "mom", but nope they all called her Gabbee.
I think I frequented half the restaurants in Wooster with them - Jake's (always on Tuesdays for 1/2 priced burgers), Wild Ginger, The Parlor, Green Leaf or was that Farmer Boy (I'm not sure, one of them), Beuhler's Milltown, Honey Baked Ham, The Shack (Midge is the first and probably only person I ever new that was actually referenced on a menu in a restaurant - I can't quite remember if Lynn or Shirley were listed there too or not), and of course Sue Min's. Sue Min's was always on Friday. Only chinese restaurant I know where I've been served baklava, out comes the check fortune cookies ..... and a plate of baklava. I think I only afforded this pleasure when I dine there with them, but I don't turn it down it is good baklava. We walked around WoosterFest and talked about picking blueberries.
Midge was always very welcoming, not that they others weren't, they all were, but she kept me up to date on Sharon's boys activities and she always had hot water for tea when I was at the office (Lynn probably did too, but today I am thinking about Midge) and if the cleaning lady brought cookies she would always share them. I remember joining them at The Shack one evening for someone's birthday party and bumming a ride with them from Val's to one of Caleb's sled hockey games, Midge gladly volunteered to let me tag along with them. I was just reminded tonight about last year's charity sled hockey game - I got there late, but Midge came and walked all around the raffle items/baskets with me, even though I am sure she had already gone through them. When I was having numerous eye appointments and having my eyes dilated, she always told me if I ever needed a ride just call. I hate to admit this here, you will all think poorly of me, I am quite embarrassed even to this day to admit it but I once passed a stopped school bus - not intentionally. I had to go to court and they suspended my licenses, but I was able to get work driving privileges that same day. When I got to the office, I was horribly embarrassed to tell Midge, but when I did she said well I would have picked you up if you needed a ride. It made me feel better, like I wasn't a horrible person.
Well I am probably boring you by now, if you are even still reading, just two more things to write. This first thing is kind of a collective thing amongst her and her sisters. She was a very encouraging person, she was one of those people that encourage you to dream big. She always asked me what I was doing, where was my next big trip to. I want to go to Europe someday and I had told her that, and I remember one time she told me "You went to Paraguay for a weekend, surely you can go to Europe" or something to that affect. I never forgot that, it is not that I can't go, it is that I don't take the time. I ask myself sometimes what holds me back, who knows, but I haven't gone yet, but I guarantee when I do I will think of Midge. It was other things too, I took a class for Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist, but then I got busy with work and I didn't really do anything with it, but she always used to ask me about it, said she could see me with one of those hats and a bird on my shoulder.
The second is the last time I saw her. I took time that day, I didn't have a lot of time, because I had to pick someone up, but I stopped to see her. She had fallen and broken her ankle or foot or something and wasn't allowed to put any weight on it. I had made some cookies - Butter Horns, she ate one and saved the rest for later. We chatted a little and then I had to go. I took time that day and I am glad. Some might say, I take time for people, which I do, but not always, I don't know that many of us take time as often as we should, but I know I don't always take time for my dreams, good or bad I don't know, but she made me think about it. As I was writing this I was thinking about one other thing she used to tell me. When I couldn't make it to lunch she used to say, "You're going to let a silly thing like work get in the way of lunch." It used to make me laugh. I think a good work ethic is important, but there is some truth to that, work isn't everything.

The butter horns I shared with Midge, a recipe I got from a neighbor years ago, definitely not good for you.

Butter Horns
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 lb butter

1 1/2 cup ground nuts
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix flour, sugar, and butter. Stir in sour cream and egg yolks. Form 2
balls. Refrigerate 2 hours. Divide each ball in 3.
Roll out as pie. Spread with 1/2 cup filling mixture. Cut in 12-14 pie
wedges and roll up like crescent rolls. Repeat with remaining
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

A sour cream dough

Topped with nuts and sugar.

Rolled up in crescents and baked.

Well Midge, I feel better already, just a few more things on my stack that I've been putting off.


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories about Midge! She sounds like an incredibly special friend to have had in your life.

  2. Oh the butter horns look delish! Thanks for the wonderful memories.