Sunday, October 31, 2010


Masks at Halloween are fun. We didn’t have many Trick or Treaters tonight. The neighborhood kids have grown up; there are just a few little ones now. We were visited by a Transformer, Tinkerbell, a skeleton, a pirate, a cowboy, one little character that I forgot already what he was, and a couple others in sweatshirts and no mask. Oh, and a vampire (a pretty one, at that!). Part of the fun of having Halloween Trick or Treaters is trying to guess who the little folks are, and getting them to laugh. And telling them not to eat all of their candy in one night.

Most of the masks on Halloween night are worn by little people. But big people often wear masks all of the time, and it’s not for fun. They wear masks because they want to hide their real self from other people. Maybe they think other people wouldn’t like them if they knew the person that they really are. People even pretend in church. “How are you today?” “Oh, fine, just fine,” they reply, while inside they are falling apart. I have done that. We probably all have. Maybe we think the person asking doesn’t really care or wouldn’t be able to help anyway. Maybe it hurts too much to talk about it, so it’s easier to deny it. Maybe it’s really very personal and we just don’t know who to trust.

Sometimes people pretend because they were taught as little children not to cry, especially little boys. “Big boys don’t cry,” fathers tell their little boys, because that’s what their father told them. That’s just plain wrong. Children need to be allowed to express their emotions, both boys and girls. There is nothing wrong with crying, in fact it is healthy. Emotions that are denied will manifest themselves in some other, harmful way. Stuffed down long enough, they will cause other emotional problems, or even physical problems.

Duane sometimes wore a mask. He gave the impression of always being happy-go-lucky, the friend who always wanted to be there for his friends, holding them up, counseling them, encouraging them, making them smile. I love the stories that friends have shared with me, stories such as when he called a friend during a thunderstorm in the middle of the night because he knew she was afraid of them, or when he comforted another friend after the loss of a loved one, or when he walked a friend home from work as often as he could. But inside he had a lot of hurt. I know because sometimes his friends told me. Sometimes I saw it myself. I saw him betrayed by friends and misunderstood by adults who should have known better, and who judged him by outward appearances instead of looking at his heart. He carried hurt that had been done to him and he carried hurt that had been done to others.

He’s free of those burdens now. But I wish he would have learned that he didn’t have to carry them then. He had received Jesus as his savior, but he hadn’t learned how to turn the burdens over.

"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads,
and I will give you rest.  Accept my teachings and learn from me,
because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest
for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept
is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” ~Jesus

Matthew 11:28-30, New Century Version

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Midland years concluded, at least for now....

While in Midland, we were fortunate to be able to attend the Manire Family reunion.  It was always held somewhere in Texas or Oklahoma, so this was the only time we went.  My mom and dad were there too.  Bertie Sue Manire Lind was my father's mother. Darren, Chris and I, with Duane on my lap, are in the front row, and Mike is in the top row, about middle, peeking between two men.  I am happy to have a lot of Manire family history.  Two years ago, the daughter of one of my father's first cousins (he's in this photo too) found me on and she and her husband came here from Texas to visit.  What a treat that was.  When we met, we had a lot of the same family pictures, and it seemed like we had known each other all of our lives.

This is our home in Midland, after one of the rare snow accumulations.  After one other snow storm, the boys made a snowman that looked like E.T.  Remember that movie?  E. T., The Extra-Terrestrial.
Chris, Darren & Duane at Monahans Sand Dunes.

Horseback riding at Fort Davis.

Duane is climbing up his Daddy's leg.  I'm sure he's thinking, "If I can just reach it, I'm sure I can fix it."  That was our Mercury Grand Marquis  - what an engine that thing had - a 460 Interceptor engine, Mike says.  Good thing I didn't have to drive more than a few blocks to work; it got about eight mpg.  Talk about power!

Chris had a newspaper route, delivering The Midland Reporter Telegram.

Here's Chris giving Duane a ride on his bike.
This is the family portrait that we used for our Christmas card in 1984.

Duane's second Christmas.  Darren (or was it Chris?) told me a (sort of) funny story that I don't remember ever knowing about.  By this time, I felt comfortable letting the three boys stay without me for short periods of time.  One time around Christmas when I wasn't home, Duane was standing by the Christmas tree and he started giggling.  He told the boys that it tickled.  After he did that a time or two, big brothers investigated and found that there was a Christmas bulb missing from one of the sockets.  Duane was sticking his finger in the socket and getting a bit of a shock.  To him, it tickled and he thought it was funny.  Chris immediately took a bulb from a spot higher on the tree and filled that empty socket.
What a happy boy was Duane on his second birthday!

I wish I remembered the name of the lady who babysat for me.  She lived across the street from us and she had a trampoline in her back yard.  Oh, what fun the boys had on that! 
Darren and Duane at the park.

Here's the little Texan sitting on our front porch.


After five years in West Texas, I had finally made lots of new friends and was settled in the best job I'd ever had.  However, Mike, Chris and Darren never really liked it that much.  When my father's cousin, who lived in Texas, found out that we were moving to Midland, she said, "Midland!  Why, there's nothing there but mesquite bushes, sand dunes and oil derricks!"  Well, she was pretty close to correct.  The guys loved to fish, and we had to drive over two hours to find a lake to fish in, and then there were no trees to sit under, just a few....yep, mesquite bushes.  The boom started to slow down and the economy wasn't as fantastic as when we first went there.  We had kept our mobile home in Pennsylvania, and so we made the decision to come back "home."  In later years, Duane wanted to return to Texas, but he never did.  After all, that was "home" to him, at least if you define "home" as where you were born.  So anyway, here we are, all loaded up in a U-Haul truck and trailer, on our way back to Pennsylvania.

I was really torn emotionally about leaving Texas.  Although I had missed family and friends in Pennsylvania, I loved my job, I loved my church, I had some really close friends, and I really now felt at home there.  Maybe it was something from my Grandma Lind's genes, but I was happy in Midland.  However, I trusted God to work it out, because.....
"We know that in everything God works
for the good of those who love him."

Romans 8:28

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Midland years....

I posted some of Duane’s baby pictures a while back, and some family pictures taken during the same time period. Today will be another time of sharing the family album, bringing us up to the time that we moved from Texas back to Pennsylvania. It was difficult deciding which photos to share; I ended up scanning 24 photos. I’m wondering if I should have titled this blog “Memories of Duane” instead of “Tribute to Duane.” In my mind, “memories” is less restrictive a word than “tribute.” I find myself thinking, “Well, how is this photo a tribute to Duane?”, especially if the photo is one of Chris or Darren that I want to include. I don’t think you mind, though, do you? Family and friends who missed those early years do enjoy seeing the photos. They have told me so. Anyway, the subtitle says "Memories from the life of Duane David DuBois........"  So then, I'm covered!

This is an aerial view of Midland, Texas when we lived there.  It seemed like a big city to us, but really it wasn't.  When we moved there, the population was about 70,000.  Now it's about 108,000.

This is what it looked like when a dust storm was approaching.  The top part of the picture was white clouds, and the brown is the dirt rolling in.  A few minutes after I took this picture, the entire top of the photo would have been brown.  Guess what we had when it rained during a dust storm.  A mud storm.

The first job I had when we moved to Midland was as secretary to an allergist.  For a now-forgotten reason, I decided to look for a different job after a couple years.  I had noticed an advertisement in the paper placed by an insurance agency, Mims & Stephens.  It wasn't a job ad, just a general advertisement for their agency.  Because most of my working experience had been for an independent insurance agency in Jeffersonville, NY, and because it was only a few blocks from where we lived, I decided to go pay them a visit.  I went in and talked to David Mims (top row, right side) and low and behold, he was looking for someone just like me.  That was a divine appointment.  I know it was, because I had seen their ad, I went on a whim, walked in without an appointment, they were not advertising the position, and yet they were looking for someone with my qualifications.  Their 72-year-old bookkeeper was getting close to retirement, the office had converted from manual records to computers, and she did not want to learn about computers.  In fact, she was so reluctant to learn, that she had not balanced the bank statements in several years.  Oh, she had done it manually, but nothing was entered into the computer system.  I loved bookkeeping, I loved a challenge, and I took the job immediately.  I still say that if there is one perfect job created for each person, that was mine.  I was hired as Financial Manager and was later promoted to Office Manager.  David became like a brother to me, not just a boss.  Oh, how I cried when we decided to move back to Pennsylvania in 1985.  I did not want to leave that job.  For many years, David continued to tell me that he would hire me back if we ever returned to Texas.  Since Mr. Stephens retired, the business might have been Mims & DuBois by now.  Seriously.  As for Mike's work, he worked for Scooter's Plumbing.  It was a good job and Scooter was a good boss.

This is Darren and Duane on our front porch.  Can you tell he was happy to have a little brother?  Well, I suppose he could have just been smiling for Mama, but I know that he was happy to have a little brother.  So was Chris.  They were a big help in taking care of him.  They even babysat him on occasion when Duane got a bit older.  Chris was 14 when Duane was 2; that's old enough to babysit.

Chris and his buddies on his 12th birthday, July 3, 1983.  Left to right, Dennis Vasquez, Eric Burke, Chris & Chris Ledbetter.  Chris L. is holding our cat, Sam.  Sam was half Siamese.... what a beautiful cat.  We brought him back to PA with us.

Chris, Darren & Duane - Duane's first trip to Pennsylvania, August of 1983.  We were thankful that we had our mobile home here, because we were able to visit home each summer. 

Duane with his great grandparents, Ed & Icle Houghtaling, August 1983.  How blessed my sister and I are, to have the parents and grandparents that we have.  Thinking of them led me to thinking about gray hair.  (Well, I have that too!)  Did you know that God talks about gray hair?  The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair the splendor of the old (Prov. 20:29).  And this:  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4).  I'm going to stand on that one!

Back in Texas, this is my good friend Bernice who lived a block or two from Mims & Stephens where I worked.  She babysat Duane (on her left) and her nephew Scott.  I was able to go to her house for lunch, spend it with Duane and watch "Days of Our Lives."  That's the only time I ever watched a soap opera, and I got hooked on it.  When I started dreaming about the characters, I realized it was time to stop watching!

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). Soap operas do not fit that description!

I took the kids to a rose garden in Midland and took at least a dozen pictures, with the intent of making our own Christmas cards that year.  This is the one that I used.  All good-lookin' boys, huh?  Good genes. J

The school system in Midland was not a pleasant experience for Chris.  Starting in the fourth grade, they did forced bussing in order to assure an equal balance of races in the schools.  So every year, he got bussed to a different school with different students.  We were there for five years and he went to four different schools.  Chris was a lot like me (quiet, it took him a while to get to know people), and I can still remember how hard it was for me when I had to go to the "big school" in Hancock in fifth grade.  That was just one change.  He had to do it every year.  Darren was more fortunate.  He went to the neighborhood school for K-3 and then had to change for fourth grade.

Happy First Birthday, Duane - 01/22/1984.  Of course, we celebrated with a party - friends, cousins (Mike's sister and family were there too), cake, ice cream, presents.

And the first steps.  Look at that happy face!!  We were all watching, clapping, cheering Duane on.  "Yay, Duane - good job, keep going!"

I'm convinced that's how Father God watches us, too - cheering and saying, "You can do it!  Don't give up."  He doesn't get angry when we fall.  He just wants us to get up, dust ourselves off and try again.

Darren played with the Little League, both in Texas and Pennsylvania.  My dad took this photo, along with many others that day.  Looks to me like this was a grand slam!

So that's half of the photos I scanned; I'll save the rest for the next post.

I hope you're enjoying this little trip with me down memory lane.

~ Memory is the diary that we all
carry about with us. ~

Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 1, 2010

Duane and children....

I had a dream about children last night. It caused me to begin to think about Duane and how he loved children. That made me remember what my sister Sally wrote when I asked people to share memories of Duane with me. Here is part of her “Memories of Duane:"

"It seems that Duane was always full of surprises, right from his very start. This is the way that he entered the world, as God’s little surprise bundle. I didn’t get to enjoy Duane as a newborn baby, as he was born in Texas. But when he did get back home to Pennsylvania, it didn’t take long to see that he was just bubbling over with just plain fun. He loved to have fun!

One of the times that I enjoyed seeing him have fun was when the family got together for Christmas or Thanksgiving at my house. His cousins, Dan and Emalee, would also be there, and Duane, even though he was older, just loved to play and have fun with them. Hide and seek, the old-fashioned standby through the ages, was the game that was enjoyed by the cousins together. Duane would hide in the most undetectable places that he could find. And did the dust bunnies ever fly! He probably pulled dust balls from every crevasse of his body for a week after one of those hide and seek games! He would wedge his chubby little body under my bed as far as he could and just lay there, waiting to be found. That in itself was a surprise, because this is the place where I stuff everything that does not have a proper storage place. I never could understand how he could cram himself in there and get back out, without help! And they say that Houdini was the master of escape! There were always screams and giggles to be heard from the kitchen when Duane was finally discovered by someone. Maybe the screams and giggles were just from watching Duane escape from beneath my bed as the monster dust bunny!!?? What fun!!

I would like to think, as his mother does, that if we could see what Duane is doing right now, we would see him in heaven, with the children. He loved to have fun with them, he loved to surprise them. He loved to make them laugh. He just seemed to enjoy being with them so much. Perhaps right now, Duane is with the children in heaven, taking care of them as they play in the most awesome fun house ever created for children. I also can picture Duane sitting in heaven, in an enchanting outdoor setting, with children gathered around, all with sketch pads and pencils. Duane is teaching them to draw as only he can. The next activity will be playing hide and seek with the children, up and down the golden streets, among the mansions that Jesus prepared for all those who believe on Him. I can imagine that over the door are the names of the saints who live at each one. One mansion has the most beautiful flower garden eyes have ever beheld and the curtains are pink. One window is open and I look curiously in. It’s a music room and there inside, a young girls’ choir is singing “How Great Thou Art.” It sounds just like angels singing and it makes me want to cry. I’ve always wanted to be able to sing like that. Someone is playing a grand piano and it is the most glorious music I have ever heard. Over the door the sign reads “Lois.” (That's Sally's and my mom.)  Next door, the mansion is much different, painted with wild colors and there is a play ground surrounding the entire mansion. One section of the yard has a huge snow slope, but it’s not cold, just enormously fun. There are joyful children everywhere playing, running, giggling, and singing songs of praise to their heavenly Father. They have no remembrance of pain suffered in the past world, they only know of the joy of heaven. And over the door, there is a magnificent multicolor neon light that reads, 'Duane.'"

I think Sally really did get a glimpse of heaven, don't you?  That sure sounds like Duane's place to me...lots of kids, fun, laughter, art, a snow slope (have to have a place for snowboarding) and his name in multicolored neon!

One reason I like to have other people write their memories for me is that they often put into words things that I never thought to verbalize. Like Sally saying that Duane was “just bubbling over with just plain fun” and that “he loved to have fun.” That is so true, isn’t it? That was probably obvious to everyone who knew Duane, and it is apparent in nearly every photograph that I have of him. It seems as though he was driven by an inner desire to make people happy, to take away their pain and sadness and to make them laugh. He brought a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people.

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22, Amplified