Posted by: patwogan | November 21, 2013

My Nieces

I had one brother who was younger than I.  I also had a sister who was much younger than I.  My little brother joined the Marine Corps after attending one year at the local community college.  He married a delightful girl and they had three children.  This blog is about two of their children, Dana Jo and Donna Joleen.

Linda came back to the town I lived in.  It was there that Dana was born.  I did the father duty of waiting in the hospital for her arrival.  Maybe that is why she is so special to me.  My son Larry couldn’t say Dana as he was about two years old, so he called her Damya.  One time Larry went to Neodesha with Grandma Sumner to spend the night.  It was a Friday and Mom was going to bring him back Saturday.  I got a call about nine o’clock Friday night.  Larry wanted to come home.  So I got in the car and drove the thirty-nine miles to Neodesha to get him.  He told me he didn’t miss me and he didn’t miss Nam ( his name for Linda) and he didn’t miss Damya but he was afraid he would miss the TV show, The Twilight Zone.

We had a cabinet in the kitchen that had a lazy susan and it was low.  If we wanted to get rid of something like cookies, or crackers, or other food, we would put it in that cabinet and the nieces would get it out and eat it.

One time Walter was home on leave and he was fixing something on the car.  He had this tarry stuff out and Joleen got into it.  She had it on her hands, her clothes, and in her hair.  They had to use kerosene or something to get it off.  I laughed at the sight and Linda informed me that it was not the least bit funny.  Dana and Joleen were at the age that they were into everything.  I remember especially that Walter kept saying Dana Dammit so much that a stranger would have thought that was her name.

My name for Dana is Dana Dearheart.  I don’t know when I started calling her that, but that is what she is to me.  Being part of a military family, they moved often.  Several times we went to visit them in various places.  I remember when Larry, Kathy, and I visited them at Quantico after Ray died.  We all went to Virginia Beach to go camping.  Linda and I wanted to camp right on the ocean, but Walter missed the turn and wouldn’t go back so we camped about a mile from the ocean.  That night we were caught in the tail end of Hurricane Agnes.  The storm lasted about four hours.  There was a lot of destruction at Quantico from that storm.  Luckily we sustained no damage.  I yelled out to Walter, did they want to come in the trailer to ride out the storm and he told me he was writing a letter to Montgomery Ward that he would send if the tent didn’t blow away.  Linda and the kids did come in the trailer to ride out the storm.  I don’t think any of us had ever been in a hurricane before.  That was quite an experience we shared.

We also shared the experience of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The hike we took was the day after Larry’s birthday.  We had celebrated his birthday by the usual cake and ice cream plus we blew up balloons and tied them to a line we strung from two trees.  They looked quite festive.  The next morning we set out for Sky Pond.  It was a fairly long hike.  I took a wild flower book with me and whenever I wanted to rest, I would find a flower and say I had to find it in the book so I could classify it.  When we finally got to Sky Pond, Linda and I jokingly plotted that maybe one of us could break a leg and when the helicopter came to take the injured person down, the other one could go for comfort.  It was a beautiful hike.  When we came down, all the air had gone out of the balloons and they looked as droopy as we did.  By the time of this hike, I had married Kert and Kristen was a little baby.  We had set the playpen up at the campsite and she kept reaching out a getting the dusty dirt.  Her nickname at that time was Grubby Gertie.  Kert carried her up the mountain in a back pack like carrier.  Kathy got her feet wet in the snow at the top of the mountain and Kert had to carry her down.  Walter carried Kristen down.

I titled this post My Nieces and it is mostly about memories I have of times with them and the rest of the family.  I will write another post about our experience tubing in Colorado with my brother’s family.  I know I have rambled in this post, but these are some of the memories that came to me as I wrote.  Please forgive the rambling.



  1. Great story’s Aunt Pat. My first memory at your house was when Uncle Ray was napping on the couch, I stole his change off the coffee table. I went outside, came back in and announced that I had found this money on the sidewalk. I think I was only 4, but I made up quite the elaborate “story” that to my amazement no one believed. I think my punishment was to confess and apologize to Uncle Ray. This was sufficient, as I was pretty scared of him anyway.

  2. BTW I always loved your visits. No matter where we lived, we always would go somewhere and do something fun. More importantly, no matter how many people were around or whatever was going on, you always had a way of making me feel special. You certainly influenced how I mother and mentor other young people. I will always be grateful to you for that.

    Love you, Dana Dearheart

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