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February 23, 2011

Girls are from Venus, Boys are from Mars

Solar System with Venus and Mars















Kathleen here,


Each week our Writers' Group picks out of a hat a subject for the week. This particular subject was: "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars." The following is what I wrote. This was an observation of my grandnephew Jake and grandniece Jaylin, as they played together.


Girls are from Venus, Boys are from Mars


Only one year old, my grand nephew is

His innate soul guides what he knows is his


He gathers toy blocks with his plump little hand

And heads for the toy box where inside the blocks land


Three or four of them fly into the deep toy box

Landing here and there as if outside with some rocks


His little cousin, a girl, by the way

Gathers blocks in her apron making sure that they stay


She walks over to Jake’s toy box with lady like poise

Daintily one by one places the blocks inside with no noise


So young and so innocent these toddlers play

Jake throws and Jaylin places the blocks each their own way


We wonder why she is like Venus and he is like Mars

Smart folks with great learning look toward all the stars


But really now folks I will look too, and then nod

The answer is simple the odds favor-it was God



Copyright Kathleen M. Brosius


February 03, 2011

The House that Nancy and I Built

A Sketch of our House





















When one begins to go to school, one begins to meet people from outside one’s home. I began first grade in 1951 and became friends with Nancy. She lived in a big white house on the next block. Back then kids could roam around the neighborhood without too much worry. Either Nancy would knock on my door or I on hers. We spent most of our spare time together playing in each other’s rooms envying each other’s toys. As we grew older we climbed the hills behind town and on Saturday nights we walked all of the sidewalks of our little town. We had a big old work boat and Nancy went with us to the sloughs of the Mississippi River. Nancy’s family had a fast pleasure boat and I went with them to the main channel of that same river.


One summer we must have been eleven or twelve years old, I don’t remember what got into us but we decided to build a house. Across the street from where I lived there was an empty lot. Two blocks from the empty lot there was a lumber yard. We often walked along the road that went right by the lumber yard so we knew what the layout was. There was always scrap boards lying on the ground. As long as they were not on the neatly piled stacks of lumber it seemed to Nancy and me they were rejects and they were there for the taking. We dragged as many boards as we needed the two blocks to the empty lot across the street from me. My dad had tools and tons of nails. We borrowed hammers and saws and other hardware as we needed it. We ran out of nails, pooled our money and bought hands full of nails from the lumber yard. The same lumber yard that we gleaned the wood planks from.


My Dad had a section of an old floor piled up a few blocks away. He donated the pile to our project and they were dragged over to our building site. We had a beginning. A handsome floor it was. We measured and sawed and then we pounded and pounded. The walls grew tall and the corners sort of square. Soon we had one room built. A doorway led to the street. A window looked out over the wetlands east of town.


The neighborhood kids were intrigued. Nancy and I discussed adding a second room. We were running low on boards when my brother John and a pal of his showed up dragging part of an old pig shelter. A father of one of our friends was glad to be rid of it so we took ownership. We fastened the remains of the shelter to our one room dwelling and after a few days of measuring and pounding, we had a second smaller room with a doorway. We had enough planks left to attach a lean-to roof. One of the kids donated an old mattress, another an ancient table. We tacked news papers on the walls for wall paper.


Autumn and cooler weather was approaching so we built a door and attached it with some hinges found in Daddy’s tool shed. Some old tar paper cut to the right size was nailed to the inside top of the window. When we wanted light, we fastened the tar paper to the side. When we wanted darkness or protection from the elements, we let the tar paper hang down. We were very proud of our house. Both of our dads were proud as well, but behind our backs, I am sure, they shook their heads and rolled their eyes. Nancy’s dad later told us that he made several trips to the lumber yard to pay for the lumber that we dragged away.


As the temperature dropped, we hauled an old kerosene heater to our house. I cannot imagine how we did that or who owned the stove but we knew how to work it and we had heat. Everyday after school, we huddled inside our house, close to the heater. Our brothers visited, as did a few girl friends. We never knew this but our dad’s kept an eye on us at all times. A guardian angel must have been hovering, as well.


We did have a couple of mishaps. One day my brother Jim came over to check things out. We were lifting a long board to nail it in place; it slipped and hit Jim. We ran screaming for help, as in an instant Jim’s forehead was covered in blood. He wasn’t hurt bad but he had a bump beneath a band-aide for a few days. Another day I was running to the shed to get something and I stepped on a big black stick; it moved. I shrieked and brought everyone dashing to their doorways. I had stepped on a big bull snake. He hurried on his way. I wasn’t too frightened for I continued on with our building.


I don’t remember ever dismantling our house. No one ever took a picture of it but everyone on the block remembers it.


Nancy and I have kept in touch. We have always sent birthday and Christmas cards and on occasion have been in our old home town at the same time. Since we have retired and I live in a house on wheels, we have visited Nancy and her husband. A few months ago, I received an exciting e-mail from Nancy. She and her husband Phil have purchased a 1986 Pace Arrow motor home. They have been working on it, improving and replacing and cleaning their new home on wheels. They are on their way to Texas, providing the old Pace Arrow gets them here. We are so anxious to see them and their motor home. If, in fact, they make it down here without any breakdowns and if they can manage to adjust from a big house full of rooms and closets to a house about the size of the one that Nancy and I built so many years ago, they may just decide to travel around in a motor home one day. Nancy tells me the plan is to sell the Pace Arrow and maybe purchase a newer model and travel, at least during the winter months, to warmer places.


I would love that.


Footnote: Nancy and Phil made it to San Benito. Their Pace Arrow stalled at the end of their driveway. They were actually relieved that it quit on them. Phil was a little worried about the trip. They stuffed all that they needed into their car and headed south. We enjoyed their company so much. They visited all the sights in the area and after three weeks in the Valley they decided it was time to move on. This morning we said our good byes. I hated to see them go but hopefully they will return next winter for a few weeks.



Copyright by Kathleen M. Brosius



Kathleen and Nancy Today













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