"In celebration of Mim"
As you drive down Susquehanna Avenue towards the college, you pass a section where one of the residents mowed his yard on a rope and pulley. These houses have very steep front yards. Mom says she was born in one of them. She was not sure which one but she stated proudly she was born at home. I had thought of trying this once but was glad afterward I didn't; my pregnancy ended on a complicated note. I was glad my grandmother had a less complicated time or at least that it all ended well. Mim's life journey started on July 23 in 1932 at home.
When we drove through Mill Hall she would point out some of the houses she used to live in; sometimes she would tell me stories about them.
As we passed a certain house she would tell me her brother fell out of the second story of that one. Slowly, after waiting for my reaction, she would add that he landed in a snow pile and was unhurt. We would often discuss how my son fell from her front porch when he was trying to be Spider Man and The Incredible Hulk. He did not have a snow bank to soften his fall and carried the scar to remind us. Once in a while she would urgently ask me to stop - we would always be in front of a house her father had lived in - then she would realize the man was not her father and she would wave me on. I think she really missed him.
At one time she lived at The Children's Home while her mother trained and worked as a nurse. The rules for nursing have changed a lot since then. Today nurses are allowed to have families and live normal lives. The home is now a day care, and her great-grandson used to go there. At one time it was a nursing home; she was on duty there during the flood in '72. She tells about watching the water rise in the river far below. At that time she lived across the river in her favorite house with her husband, Bill Martin, on the banks of the beautiful Susquehanna, her little piece of paradise. She tells me her father helped build the house. You may remember her as Mims Martin, an anti-diker. She fought a good fight and still says, "If you choose to live on the river you need to remember that when you build." She built for the river but lost her house to the dike-levee anyway. We keep a picture of her river paradise in her new living room. She liked to remind me, "The dike was only guaranteed for one flood... The river will rise again, build for the river or get wet... If it uses electricity, don't plug it in until it is dry! A snow shovel will move a lot of mud but it is more fun to use the hose."
After living all over Mill Hall her mother moved the family to Jersey Shore where my mother attended the high school that is now a mall. Here she won a typing contest and earned a job working for the Pentagon. This is how she met my father, Newt Hemphill, an Airman, and started her next adventure as an Air Force wife.
I was born in Riverside, Calif., as were my sister Donna, brothers Newton (known as Jim) and Douglas (known as George). There in sunny California she introduced us to snow when a trucker dumped the ice from his refrigerator trailer in the park. I remember stories about snow deeper than I was tall but did not get it until we were transferred to Plattsburg, New York. There I watched Mom shovel the car out each morning so Dad could get to work. Our brother Bobby Joe (known as Bob) was born and the snow was always deeper than he was tall. Daddy was from Alabama, Mom did the shoveling, as I remember it. Brother Tommy (known as Tom) was born in Pennsylvania. He now lives near Bob in Colorado where they both shovel a lot of snow. Jim works for the Space Program in California where he can ride his motorcycle all year. Donna lives in Wichita Falls, Texas where it rains a little and may snow once in a while.
Mom became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and worked for Susque-View for more than 35 years. When she retired, she did so with an unbeatable record of never missing a day of work and hardly ever taking any of her vacation days. Her work ethic was one to be admired. Many of you may remember the bells on her shoes at Christmas or the balloons in her blouse at Halloween. Dolly Parton, look out, here comes Mims. Mom seemed to enjoy her job. When she retired I remember her saying something about how her feet used to hurt, but this did not keep her from transiting from the working force to retirement by putting a new roof on her house. She did hire a roofer but it was him and her on the roof until I put her grandson Larry up there too.
Mom did not find retirement retiring. She walking three miles or more a day with her friend and neighbor, Ruth. She slowed down a bit after her first stroke and a broken hip but went on to marry Ralph (Barney) Kime. Viola Kime was her co-worker and friend who moved with her husband to West Virginia. They wrote to each other for years; as she lost her vision to diabetes, her husband Barney wrote for her. When she passed on he asked if she would mind if he continued. Writing to Mim was part of his weekly entertainment. Eventually the floral deliveries started and we noticed Mom was getting a little secretive about her weekends. The wedding took place after she recovered from her hip surgery. A few years later we laid him to rest in Renovo.
Mim had six children with her first husband, and two step children came with Barney. I was 50 when she provided me with the big brother I'd never had, and a new little sister. She had nine grandchildren and more with her step children Dave and Barb. She also had many great-gran's some of whom she never met. They live all over the country and are involved in many interesting activities and jobs from football star to missionary.
She was preceded in death by two sisters, June Capps (Tennessee) and Grace Mary Yocum (Maryland), and brother Elwood Swartz (Mill Hall).
Her two surviving sisters, Nancy Eiswert (Linden) and Ruthel Peterson (Clarion), and her surviving children, Joyce Boudwin (Lock Haven), Donna Ross (Texas), Jim Hemphill (California), Bob Hemphill (Colorado) and Tom Hemphill (Colorado), and the rest of the family would like you to remember her with a smile and a good story once in a while. She requested that there be no viewing or funeral and that donations be given to the Wright Street Church of Christ in Flemington.
Mim died at home on November 26, 2011. she lived an interesting life of creativity, diversity, and adversity.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Donald G. Walker Funeral Home, Flemington.