Southern Illinois is the home of Marilyn Kinsella. She watched as her hometown grew from a sleepy bedroom community to a bustling city. Drawing from her rich childhood and a passel of characters she tells stories that she wrote called "Fair Views from Old Fairview." These stories include "The Last Punch," "Makin' Music," and "The Call of the Mourning Dove." To read others click on:
Fair View From Old Fairview
Or, order her CD by the same title for $10.00 plus $3.00 for shipping by contacting:
Marilyn grew up in the fifties in a traditional Catholic family. She was privileged to have the opportunity to receive 12 years of Catholic Education - mostly in the Pre-Vatican II Days. Things were very different in those years making them rich fodder for stories. The stories are told with a sense of humor and a respect for the traditions that allowed Marilyn to become a storyteller in the Catholic tradition. Stories include "Angel of God," "My First Holy Communion" and "Holy Cards!" Some of her stories on the page "School Daze". If you would like to read those stories just click on:
Christmas was always celebrated with style in the Niemann household where both the religious and secular aspects of the holiday were upheld. They have proven to be the easiest stories to write. The stories, like the Christmases, are full of surprises and miracles. They include the funny "Showtime" to the miraculous "The Gift of the Hummingbird" to the completely original "A Bed Fit for a King." If you would like to imbibe in a bit of Christmas spirit, go the page called "Christmas Stories" of simply click on:
Of course, Marilyn's stories just didn't stop after her childhood. It would be a shame for you to leave this page without having at least one story. One of Marilyn' s favorite author's is Robert Fulgham. She gained inspiration to tell this story while reading his book Uh-Oh. So, sit back and relax as Marilyn tells you about the travels and travails of getting married before women's lib changed everything.
I have been married for over 35 years! Let’s hear it folks…35 years. Now, I know there are some of you out there are thinking….35 years! She’s still on her honeymoon. Trust me, I’m not on my honeymoon. How many of you out there have been married for 35 years or more…good for you. Don’t you like it when people come up to say…Wow! What’s your secret to a happy marriage? I don’t know. But I’ve thought a lot about this, and I decided that the next time somebody asks me that question, I’ll tell them, “The secret to a happy marriage is knowing when to say two little words…no it’s not “yes dear,” although that comes in a near second.
And it’s not “I’m sorry” although that’s a runner up, too. Remember back in the seventies, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” Around my house love is always having to say you’re sorry. No, the two words to a happy marriage are “Uh-oh.” That’s right “Uh-oh.” My married life has been a series of uh-ohs. The refrigerator that we bought that didn’t make it through the door – Uh-oh; the dent I put in his new truck – uh-oh; and the three children that we bought into this world? uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh. I’m sure, if we had a couple a three hundred hours we could write a book on uh-oh stories. But, let me tell you my uh-oh stories.
1967 – that’s when Larry and I got married. Things were simpler then. Men and women had married life all figured out. Men went out to work, came home, ate dinner, did yard work, and brought out the garbage. Women stayed at home, cleaned, cooked, took care of the children and went to mother’s club meetings. Then, in the seventies the women thought they were getting the raw end of the deal and wanted to work outside the home. I was swept away with the idea of being a modern woman. So, I finished college, got a degree in education, and starting searching for a job. My husband asked me if I was really up to taking on a new job with all the other responsibilities. Me? Of course, I was a modern woman. I was going to "do it all. "
That lasted about 3 months. I was tired and cranky and I wanted him to help. “Okay,” my husband sarcastically said, “I’ll help out, but then you have to help me.” “Oh yeah, well, okay…I will.” This was not the smartest decision I ever made.
You see, around our house, my husband, Larry, can do anything…lay carpet, put in electrical boxes, make flower boxes…you name it, he can do it….in his own time. There’s no use trying to coax or cajole. He’s on his own time schedule.
Well, this one time, not one, but two of the light fixtures in the bathroom went out. Mind you, there are no windows in that room, and, with the door closed, well, it was dark. I reminded Larry that the lights were out in the bathroom; I told him "Larry, the lights are out in the bathroom." "Sweetheart, the …”
“What happened to the modern woman – super mom? Go fix the lights yourself!”
Okay, I will. Taking apart the lights wasn’t really a problem. I just hoisted myself up on the vanity and started twisting and turning and they just came apart. So far, so good. Then, I reached for the light bulb and tried to twist it out. No go. I gave it another twist and another and another and then…uh-oh! The bulb broke in my hand leaving that little metal thingy stuck in the socket.
No problem, there was another light fixture; I’ll just fix that one. I reached over to the bulb, but lost my footing and holding onto the light pulled all the wiring out from the wall. Double uh-oh. Larry’s ears are attuned to uh-ohs. He came running up the stairs. “What are you doing? Why did you touch that? Look what you did…blah, blah, blah.” After that, if I want something done around the house all I have to do is carry a hammer around and look at the walls. Larry breaks out in a cold sweat and demands that I….."put that thing away!" And the job gets done.
Another uh-oh was a domino-effect uh-oh. Let me explain. One day Larry inadvertently ran over a pipe outside our house. At about the same time the bathroom toilet upstairs had this annoying habit of not turning off when it was supposed to. Larry left strict instructions to jiggle the little thingy and make sure the water stopped flowing. He would get-around-to-it later. You know, I have a whole collection of “round tuits” stored in an old mayonnaise jar.
Anyway, I digress….One day, under the stress of getting the kids out the door, I forgot to the jiggle the little thingy and the toilet continued to run. I left with the kids and got home a couple of hours later. I opened the garage door and water was dripping from the bottom of the door. I stared at the door and muttered “uh-oh!” as 18 inches of water came flowing out of the garage and merrily making it’s way down the hill. When my husband arrived home and he started up the drive, he did not say uh-oh. I won’t even tell you what he said, but he definitely did not say…uh-oh.
My last uh-oh story doesn’t really involve Larry…at least not directly. You see, our daughter Chrissie had been living with my sister to help her out. She was going to get married, so she wanted to move her water bed from the upstairs room to her new apartment. To Larry’s credit he did help move her to the upstairs room, but he was not going to help dismantle the blasted thing one more time. Okay…we will do it ourselves. Electric drill in hand Chrissie and I began to dismantle the beast…I mean, bed. It had to have been 110 degrees in that upstairs bedroom, but we persevered and two hours later…we got the blasted thing apart. Hah!
We scooped up all the pieces… boards, slats, headboard, screws and headed for the new apartment. We stopped at the waterbed store on the way to pick up a new mattress. We got to the apartment and in a matter of …another 2 hours we had successfully reassembled the “blasted” waterbed. As per instructions, we bought along our garden hose to start filling the mattress. Finally, everything was a go. The water was flowing from the tub into the mattress. Hah! Chrissie then said that she really needed to stop at Wal-Mart and pick up some sheets. “Do you think we can leave this while it’s filling?”
“Sure!” said Chrissie, “this is going to take hours to fill.” So we went to Wal-mart. Honestly I don’t think we were gone but a half hour. We came back to the apartment and Chrissie opened the door to the bedroom. Big, huge. humongous, "oh-oh!" The waterbed looked like a giant tick, it’s thick belly spilling over the sides of the bed, the crown of the mattress reaching towards the pointed ceiling light… ready to pop. We turned off the water and called the waterbed store. They seemed rather unfazed by our alarm. “Oh, yeah, that happens all the time. Just don’t take the hose out from the bed. Place the other end of the hose back into the tub, and it will reverse itself. You might have to suck on the end of the hose to give it a boost, but then it should just flow out.”
The problem was the waterbed really was not that much higher than the tub. Chrissie took that icky garden hose, brought to her mouth and started sucking. Finally, the water appeared…only to disappear by the time she got it back to the tub. Each time the water appeared, Chrissie’s gag reflex set in and she’d spout the water out her mouth and nose. Now, I know I have this uncontrollable ability to laugh at the most insane things, but this was funny. It didn’t help matters one bit. It took us the better part of the afternoon between laughing and spouting and gagging to get that water flowing in the opposite direction. Later that night Larry asked if I got the waterbed moved. “Yeah,” I said, “no problem.”
Well, I could go on. One uh-oh begats another, begats another…but I have to get home. You see, we are remodeling the family room, the kitchen and dining room. If things slow down, I need to walk around with that hammer in my hand. Just so I can hear my husband say…”Uh-oh! Where are you going with that thing?”