A Note from Liz, Dawn & Bill
Things I remember.
By Dawn Marie Whitney Fregosa December, 2010
I remember always being together, often with ‘strays’ and there always being a present for every person there.
I remember piles of presents, mountains of wrapping paper and hills of bows and boxes, (save those….) , “Just what I wanted, how did you know…. I love it…”
I remember Christmas cookies, different flavors, different types, each with their own protocol, and often with their own sound effects, albeit some inappropriate.
I remember trying to find the presents before Christmas… I know, we were naughty.
I remember delivering Christmas cookies, to Dr. and Dentist, teachers, Dad’s guys at work, the Credit Union, the churches.
I remember always having those who were needy in our sights, whether it be through making pies, adopting a family, Toys for Tots… even the year you adopted the veteran and his daughter, making him a quilt, new clothes for them both, toys… teaching us the value of good deeds.
I remember wanting name brand clothes, and never being allowed to fall prey to ‘labels’, thank you.
I remember bumper sliding in fields and parking lots after a snow, and pulling each other on various implements of potential destruction, four wheeler, horse, lawnmower, dog, car, truck,
I remember green salad , sweet gherkin pickles, sucking out the pimento from the olives, bourbon slush, green bean casserole, burned rolls….
I remember going on 5 hour road trips to Grandma Mayer’s or 1 hour to Grandma Lena’s, always with packages and cookies and Bill and I arguing about who touched whom.
I remember White Castles on the way home.
I remember Mom always having a camera, Thank you.
I remember playing in the boxes after opening presents… doesn’t every kid.
I remember Bill and I having to “run into town” and doing things in car/trucks in the ice and snow we really shouldn’t have.
I remember “A Christmas Story,” “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” “A Charline Brown Christmas,” “Year without a Santa Claus” and of course, “Rudolph” and “Frosty”
I remember peanut butter pine cones dipped in birdseed, for the birds to have a holiday meal.
I remember walking around Belleville, looking at lights and trees on Christmas Eve.
I remember picking our tree and cutting it down, every year more beautiful than the rest.
I remember doing maple syrup collection at the Girl Scout Camp in the snow.
I remember going sledding at Happy Hollow, Bill running into the hay bale with Dad, tubing at Purdue.
I remember shopping with Dad for Mom’s gift, often Christmas Eve, and shopping with Mom for everyone else’s gifts… always weeks before.
I remember going to the Way of the Lights at the Shrine
I remember too much egg nog, beer etc, before going to church at Midnight Mass.
I remember new dresses and fuzzy Christmas slippers.
I remember tubes of Aqua Net hairspray.
I remember riding in the back of Uncle Louie’s Truck and the 5 honk rating system
I remember a flying cheese ball that ruined Christmas.
I remember driving packed into family cars, and driving through the streets of downtown St. Louis, to look at the lights and the window dressings.
I remember building an igloo in the front yard of Eastland.
I remember dad getting the ‘Charlie Brown’ fir trees and planting them at Eastland, saying, “someday these will be big and strong.”
I remember the orange fireplace next to the pool table, and Bill and I sneaking out of bed
I remember fall festivals, cake walks, duck pond, raffles.
I remember pinewood derby, and Bills boy scout cake competition.
I remember always reading the front of the many wonderful books that you gave us, always knowing it was picked especially for us.
I remember always helping Mom hide the ‘big’ present for Dad. The tractor, the Big Bertha, Corvette seats, A pool table.
I remember band and choir winter performances.
I remember winter camping at Our Chalet.
I remember my brother Bill, walking through the den of the house in Smithton, with a bell on his butt.
I remember dinner rolls being passed through the air, hanging spoons off our noses, and the ‘children's’ table.
I will always remember seeing my son’s eyes light up when we opened up the story book, on Christmas morning, and there was grandma’s voice, reading him a story
I cannot forget all you have done to make my life, holiday’s and winters so rich and full. You are amazing parents, and I love you.
I Remember Duex - Dawn Fregosa
I remember being your little girl in pigtails
I remember the smell of oil and sawdust on your clothes, the slivers of metal shavings embedded in your work boots.
I remember you skipping mass on Sundays to cook breakfast for us when we got home
I remember you grilling in the snow
I remember 4 wheeler rides and sledding
I remember swimming every summer, standing on heads, cannonballs
I remember dancing on summer nights with fireflies
I remember the toilet brush Christmas tree and then cutting our own.
I remember cutting firewood as a family
I remember vacations with short-cuts and cheap hotels and hours in the van and station wagon
I remember the boat in the garage, and the refrigerator with the Pabst blue ribbon guy sticker, taller than younger me
I remember fishing and camping, with Girl Scouts & with the family at Raccoon Lake
I remember Fairfield and Caterpillar and Credit Union and school events
I remember always having ‘tools’ and pieces of wood to build and create with
I remember my Barbie house and play house, built with your hands
I remember the Charlie Brown trees you planted that were ‘on sale’, along Eastland Drive, now soaring two stories... your legacy of farming....
I remember your bliss on your riding lawn mower
I remember silly faces in mom’s photo albums
I remember farting in church, mom was mortified, we were gasping for air... from the smell and the laughter
I remember canned tamales and K-Mart popcorn and subs for dinner when mom was out of town
I remember you always finding the cheapest gas
I remember MASH and Caddy-shack and Stripes
I remember Drive-in movies together as a family
I remember you at my wedding to my soulmate, your joy at my happiness
I remember your ability to count and do math effortlessly, engineering things at the drop of a hat, bragging about getting thrown out of casinos for 'accidentally' card counting.
I remember the outdoors being your heart, and mom, your soul
I remember your beagles, every one of them, your best friends
I remember softball, volleyball, soccer and swim meets, and you were always there
I remember you building sets for plays, and Girl Scouts and musicals and Halloween, always helping our fantasy become reality, even when you thought we were crazy
I remember hours with Bill out in the garage, on car, tools, building, 'man' projects
I remember you always letting my boyfriends know how many guns you had
I remember the first time you held your grandson
I remember the Muppets, Disney movies, and Loony Toons on Saturdays
I remember shooting with you in the backyard, Frisbee, slip and slide, jarts, croquet
I remember playing pool and poker, board games and video games
Dad, even if you can’t, I remember.
Happy Fathers Dad Daddy, I love you.- Dawn Fregosa June, 2015
The good thing is, I remember, us, a family, people who always have loved each other because of, and despite our good and bad traits.
My Husband, Chuck
Charles Edward Whitney was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 12, 1944 to Lena Diane Whitney (Griffin) and Robert Edwards Whitney. Charles had two older brothers, Robert and Merle. Charles was the youngest of the three Whitney boys. He was born on Columbus Day and his parents’ wedding anniversary. As a child, Chuck always declared Columbus Day was a holiday because it was his birthday—not because it was Columbus Day. Yes, Chuck had a sense of humor at a very young age!
Growing up, Chuck lived in Indianapolis on Jefferson Street, near Tenth Street and enjoyed the friendship of the “guys in the neighborhood”. Chuck remained friends with those “guys”, particularly Mervin Francis Winters Junior, (Merv), his best friend since he was four years old. They remained friends throughout their lives and shared many good times, travels, hunting, fishing, golfing, trackball, poker, card games, boating, swimming and competing at everything they did.
Trips to Princess Lake, where his maternal grandparents lived were a memory Chuck loved. He was a swimmer and somewhat of a daredevil at that lake, remembering his times with his Mother and friends in a beautiful, peaceful setting, away from the big town of Indianapolis.
Chuck attended elementary school at Indianapolis Public School 15. After 6th grade, Chuck attended Indianapolis Arsenal Technical School where he was in honors classes, was on the baseball and wrestling teams. Chuck played baseball on teams at Brookside Park and spent many hours at Riverside Park. Lena, Chuck’s mother, was a mom who never missed Chuck’s games or matches. She was his number one fan and remained his number one fan until her death. She was proud of her sons and was a hard working, attentive mother. Chuck’s father was a World War I veteran and was in other conflicts during his U. S. Army career. He was a railroad engineer and later became a Yellow Cab driver in Indianapolis. Chuck’s love of country ran deep within him.
When asked of his heritage, Chuck would tell people he was Kentuckian. But, in reality Chuck was 87% English and the other 13% was Irish and Scottish. He was not Kentuckian (which Hoosiers hate to be called). People from Indiana are proud to be “Hoosiers”. He was a wonderful, hard-working, person, always ready for a joke, teasing, and up for a prank or any type of competition. He loved to have fun and usually made any task fun, no matter how dirty or difficult, Chuck loved to have fun.
From the Grandchildren:
There are three Grandchildren: Laurel Rain Vilencia, Karolyn Elizabeth Whitney, and Richard Charles Anthony Fregosa III (also known as “Tres”).
Papa spent hours in the pool with Laurel, trying to teach swimming until Papa would fall asleep in the pool. Laurel would try to push sleeping Papa out of the pool float. When Laurel would succeed in waking him, Papa would pick Laurel up and toss her across the pool. Having fun again! This was very typical of Papa every day, all day with his grandchildren in his Florida home.
Papa also wanted the grandchildren to know how to dive, hold their breath underwater. He would throw diving sticks into the deep end and the shallow end and encourage them to dive for the sticks, eventually pushing all the diving sticks to the deep end. All three children can swim like fish and dive like Papa, even making up their own dives. Papa’s swimming abilities are continued with his three little fish.
Papa was proud of being an engineer at Caterpillar. Standing in the bucket of CAT equipment is something they all remember. Papa always said “here kitty, kitty, kitty” whenever he seen Caterpillar equipment at a construction site or even on the side of the road.
Grandma always referred to Papa as her Count Wonderful. That is how he first introduced himself to her in a letter…..Count Wonderful (C.W. for Charles Whitney)
Trapper is Papa’s beagle. Papa would take Trapper for rides in “Forest”, Papa’s green truck”. Trapper used to wind down the window in Forest on his own, pressing the button. Trapper is 15 now and we do not know if he can wind down the window on his own, but Trapper has taken over Papa’s recliner.
Papa always sneezed in fours, one right after the other, very loud. Did he need to sneeze or did he do it to make us laugh or to get our attention.
Laurel will miss Papa’s laugh the most. He was always plotting something fun, to make us laugh.
Karolyn will miss his sense of humor. He made up corny jokes, but funny because he would laugh at his own jokes.
Tres will miss having Papa in the pool. Being in the pool without Papa is lonely. I will miss him in the pool and on the beach. The grandchildren will miss seeing Papa across the pool or napping on the beach.
All our love always and forever, Laurel, Karolyn and Tres
Hugs and Kisses to you in heaven.