Thursday, October 11, 2012

In honor of Bernie

This was in the paper recently to honor our mother...

Bernie's children (Julianne and James) have blogs at these two location links...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

            I know that the title of my Grandma Bernie's post is a big cliché, but at certain times old people say exactly what everybody is feeling and thinking. I didn’t know what I thought I was going to write about when I asked to write my Grandma’s last blog; if I was going to tell a story about our relationship or if I was just going to reiterate her obituary. I have struggled to get started, and have seemingly developed writers block about the topic. 

            Is it even possible to put your love and affection into words about someone you have known and relied on your entire life? How can I even show how great she was to her friends and her family? It was a struggle, but this is what I have put forth. 

            Most relationships are built on a common interest. For my grandma and me, it was the Green Bay Packers. I still remember the days she would take me and my brothers to training camp when we would visit her in Green Bay. I, the youngest of three brothers, would be timid and didn’t like to approach the players to get their autographs. Grandma Bernie was always there pushing me forward and whispering in my ear what to say to the players. Making me ask for their autographs myself and showing me that I shouldn’t be nervous. Because of her, my brothers and I through the years would run all over Lambeau’s parking lot getting as many autographs as possible. 

            I credit her for my borderline obsession with the team and its players. For the past couple years I would call her before, at halftime, and after every Packers game. We would talk about our predictions and the outcomes of the game. It was always our topic of choice and we would never get exhausted talking about it. 

            Those calls brought us closer together even though we lived a thousand miles away. So, it was only fitting that she would have passed watching the Packers game; the first game in a long time, where we hadn’t talked about it beforehand because she was too ill. I was in Alabama watching the game with my friends when I got the call that she had passed. I shut myself in my room, not able to watch the game. 

            Through the rest of my life I look forward to thinking about her every time the Pack is on TV, and every time the opposing team scores a touchdown, I will yell, “Oh, shit” for my Grandma Bernie, cause that was what she always said. 

            I feel a little selfish just talking about our relationship, but I am using it as an example to show the love she had for her family. I feel when you read her obituary that was posted in the previous post, you only see her accomplishments and a little of the fun outgoing personality that she possessed. It does not show how she was a grandparent that every child would want; a loving and caring women that wasn’t afraid to kick your ass if she needed to. 

Rules were more guidelines to her that could be bent any which way. She was always accepting of everyone and always gave them a chance until you crossed her. Then you needed to earn your way back into her good graces. (And you wanted to be in them) The quirky personality that she had was hard not to love. She had a personal relationship with everybody in the family and was not afraid to tell her opinion on what everyone should do.

I will miss the hunts for a USA Today so she could have her daily crossword puzzle. The “sss” that she did unknowingly when she was concentrating on something. The infamous Kleenex tissues that littered the ground everywhere she went. The orange juice and water that she only took two sips of, but had to have every night before she went to bed. 

Her love for the lake and the calm that would come over her when she would swim. The “dive” that everyone knows she would do while she would swim. The card games we wouldn’t want to play at first, then realized how fun they were. The world famous “Bill and Bernice Show” that everyone in the family loved to see on mornings when we thought we wanted to sleep in.

All of these things are the things I am going to miss most. I didn’t know that I would, but given the fact that I won’t see or hear them anymore and won’t ever again is disheartening.  She was a wonderful woman and I will miss her a lot. She will always be in me and my families’ thoughts for as long as we shall live. 

            She really enjoyed writing this blog, and loved it when you guys would comment and show your thoughts about her topic of choice. It brought her much joy, and I hope it brought you guys the same. This is the last blog post that will appear and I want to extend a sincere thank you to all of her readers.  I hope I did an adequate job. She is a hard act to follow.


A New Adventure

"And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds it morning and is refreshed."
From the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Bernice Madeline Maria Sucha, 85, passed away Sept. 25, 2011 in Rochester, Minnesota. She was born in Chicago Nov. 16, 1925, to the Rev. Axel and Frida Eklund. The youngest of five children, Bernie began an early lifelong love for lakes while at her family cottage on Big Lake, Wisconsin.

At 16, she graduated from high school in Ironwood, Michigan. Bernie then embarked on a college adventure she referred to as the happiest time of her life. Accompanied by a spirited attitude and several expulsions, she graduated from North Park Junior College (Chicago) and Winona State Teachers College, (Winona, Minnesota)

On Sept. 29, 1950, she married Bill Sucha. They honeymooned at the Deluxe Motel in Rochester, Minnesota.  During 59 years of marriage, they traveled throughout much of the US, England and Scotland. They lived in Austin, Minnesota, Denver, Colorado., Muskegon and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the last 31 years in Green Bay. Bernie and Bill had four children, Jon, Julie, Jim, and Jordan.

Although most of her working life was spent teaching high school English, she also sold real estate in Michigan and worked as a secretary, mail clerk and waitress while putting herself through college. She was a substitute teacher in the Green Bay school system until age 80 and is past president of the Substitute Teacher’s Union.

A two-time breast cancer survivor, Bernie reveled in learning and remained active in the Learning In Retirement program at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. An avid reader, she loved to paint, play the piano, work crosswords puzzles, watch Jeopardy, dally at golf and bridge, fish and write poetry. She relished The Student Prince and Les Miserables. She completed one mile of the Bellin Run in 2007 and in 2010. Bernie adored golden retrievers, growing blue ribbon flowers--especially gladiolus, and the Green Bay Packers.

Her blog “Old? Who?Me?” has 669 followers and more than 23,846 visitors.

Rowing her boat on Lily Lake brought her much peace, but she preferred speed. She never turned down a motorcycle ride or let up on her lead-foot driving. This past May, she drove a speedboat at top speed down the middle of the lake.

Preceded in death by her husband, William D. Sucha, Bernice is survived by Jonathan Sucha (Frank Fredericks) Denver, Colo., Julianne Anderson (Bob) Austin, Texas, James Sucha, Green Bay, Jordan Sucha (Lori) Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Bernie enjoyed great love from her grandchildren Jacob Anderson (Chelsea), Jordan Anderson, Ian Anderson, and little Miranda Sucha, who loves catsup and pickles just like her grandma.

Visitation will be noon Friday, Sept. 30, followed at 1 p.m. by service at Grace Lutheran Church, Green Bay, Wis. Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Allouez, Wis. Champagne, Those Golden Days, Drink, Drink, and Stars and Stripes Forever with fireworks on tap.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have always thought that the fall of the year was really the more beginning of things than New Year's which falls in the dead of winter after all the activities of Christmas and nothing to look forward to but January, February and March and Income Tax time. 

Ah fall with its bright blue skies, lovely moderate temps, the leaves on the trees beginning to turn eleven different colors with the blue spruces and other fir trees behind them or in the midst of them accenting their beauty.   Everything starts up again.  The most obvious being school which takes on many meanings for different people. Teacher's best three things about teaching--June, July, and August are now over for another year.  Some young mother's are sending their first born  away from home for the first time.  Mothers with older children are breathing a sigh of relief that summer is over.

Churches start up their Sunday Schools and other programs.  And of course, FOOTBALL is back and the Green Bay Packers are filling our daily newspapers with trivea on all the injuries and predictions of future wins.  High school  football is just as important and comcert series and all kinds of things!  Can't  you feel the excitement of a new fall?

Out come the heavier clothes that are kinder to the human form and can cover a lot of deficiencies.  You can hit your ball farther on the golf course because the ground is harder and they roll baby roll.  I'm sure you all can think of other things that fall brings.  It is my favorite time of the year.

Just a note in closing.  I have found out this summer that Old? Who? Me? has now occurred and I am glad this summer when I was in sick bay most of it is now over.  I have seen so many doctors and ERs and they can't find the source of my problem so I am leaving for the Mayo Clinic Sunday.   As usual, I pray for strength and courage.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Change is a word which can include many meanings. If there is one thing certain in our lives it is the fact that there will be changes--some good, some bad. To paraphrase Portia from the Merchant of Venice in her lovely speech about how the quality of mercy is not strained, but drops like the gentle rain on everyone, one could easily insert the word change as having the same quality.

People have different reactions to change. Some crave variety and change while others prefer the status quo. It all depends on what you are talking about. I immediately think of changing one's place of residence. We have had to do this many times in our lives. It is no surprise that all of my children settled in one spot and were determined to stay there the rest of their lives. One said she wanted to have her children graduate from high school with the same kids they started with in kindergarten. And they did. The others are determined to stay where they are too. Except one. Don 't know about him yet

Politicians bombard us with the idea that a change is necessary for this or that office and perhaps I would say that is a good thing. Some enjoy a change of the seasons. Where I live we have an extra season--NFL football season. Others brag about the warmth most of the year around. (They don't talk about the 100 degree summers) We all enjoy a change of scene to go on vacation, new clothes, and some variety in our lives, but we pretty much want the basics to stay the way they are. That is, if your basics are good and not if you are out of a job or homeless. Some have changes in marital status. Kids have to go through mom and dad's divorce or the death of one of the parents or a sibling.

When you start thinking about change, the list grows exponentially (spellcheck doesn't work). I just thought it was an interesting subject. Each of you will think of your own experiences. How did change affect you? Do you wish it could have been different? You can't change it now, but can you turn it into a plus? Or was it a plus to begin with?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


First. I have to tell you all that I won or check-mated a game of chess against the computer last night. Holy Baloney, was I thrilled. I have only played over 700 games heretofore. Takes tenacity or stupidity--I don't know which.

My son, Jim, and I just returned from a week at my favorite lake in Minnesota-Green Lake at Spicer. We had a great time even though we didn't have all the rest of the family there as usual nor my boat. But the lake still has the velvety silky quality about it and is lovely to swim in and we did have a boat at our disposal. It was an old-fashioned aluminum rowboat with a 6 and 1/2 horse motor and you would be amazed at how fast it seemed to go and how well it took the waves and swells even when you are used to going 30 or so miles an hour in the Bayliner.

I've sent along some of the pictures of the resort which I have been going to for over 52 years. (We missed some when we lived in Denver and Michigan but not more than 5 or 6 I would say.) The first time we went, my daughter, Julie, now 54, was 2. So figure.

This is our cabin 9 where Julie's family used to stay all the time. Years ago 9 of us stayed there until cabin #8 opened up and then we got more room.

Cabins 8 and 9 are still advertised in the resort brochure as being the new cabins. We stayed in them in 1958! It is Deja Vu as they have not changed in all these years.

When our family gathered, my oldest son stayed in Cabin 5 with his family and my youngest son in in Cabin 3 with his family. Most fun to have them all there all those years.

Here we are in front of the Spicer Castle, bed and breakfast, and then here is a close up of the enchanted Spicer Castle.

For our 50th wedding anniversary, the kids had a dinnerparty here at the castle for my husband, Bill and I. They brought in my Bill's best man and other lovely friends that had attended our wedding so long ago. Our good friend the judge had us repeat our vows.

Wanted to share a bit of the piece of heaven we find there each year.

Monday, July 11, 2011


For lack of a topic for this post, I found this tidbit which I had jotted down years ago. So I m going to print it just as I wrote it then.

It is an unfinished poem I was composing as I drove the car on a trip and Bill tried to write it down. I know words are missing and we haven't refined it or got it right, but I have been carrying it in my purse for so long on an old envelope that I did copy it down to preserve it for future work.

It is about the time we were in Estes Park, Colorado and just as we were leaving I saw a car stoppd by the side of the road. I looked and a glorious herd of elk were coming down from the woods into the town. I didn't have a camera. Many more people stopped and took pictures. I almost gave one of them some money and my address and asked them to send me a shot of the scene, but I never did and have regretted it ever since.

Apparently it is quite common for there is a preserve nearby and I understand it occurs every rutting season. One lady told me in the grocery store that the elk had gathered outside their church one Sunday and they were bugeling so loudly they had to cancel the service.

That day also I saw my first white Mountain Goat high up on a sort of shelf as we went by. He stood out in the sunshine like a white god and I was thrilled at the sight of him. It was a miraculous day.

Here is my description of the Elks:

And there they emerged from the wood
Materializing where before there had been nothing.
Yet the wild things were surely and slowly
Softly picking their way down the hill
God's gorgeous four-legged creatures.

But wait! Here comes their King! Who with every movement displays
Royalty and the mantle of command;
His rack is large and has many branches
His head heavy with its weight.

No matter he is old and infirm
Deference and honor belong to him
And he knows it and glories in it
Because he knows that his strength
Lies in past victories of wars won.

This is all she wrote folks. Can you see what I saw that day?


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