This is the letter I sent to my Uncle ED Winn and Aunt Dororthy Winn in the Summer of 2003, 6 months before she passed away.
This letter was my way of thanking them for being part of the best Summer I’d ever had.
Dear Ed and Dorothy:
A song came on this morning that reminded me of the summer (1988) that I stayed with you. I just wanted wanted to say thanks for being part of one of my most cherished childhood memories. That summer was unlike any another I’ve ever had. I have a list of favorite songs that played on the radio during that summer and every time I hear them it takes me back to the summer of 1988. Some of the things I remember are my first day there when Dorothy got the neighbor down the hill to send up their attractive little daughter to keep me company, her name might have been Angie. I remember that Angie’s parent’s house was sinking because of a poorly built footer and I have pictures of the huge crack in the back of the house.
I remember us (Ed, Dorothy and myself) going out to dinner and then watching TV at night with a bowl of white popcorn. We usually watched Love Connection with Chuck Woolery, “We’ll be back in two and two”. I remember Smokey my cocker spaniel eating Dorothy’s favorite golf shoes and the fact that I have to hear that story every time I visit. I remember Granddaddy bringing me my bike and taking Smokey to my Mom’s. I remember wearing myself out riding my bike to different places until I starting driving the VW Golf, or was it a VW Rabbit? I remember driving the Golf up to the store and buying bags of Krunchers potato chips and batteries for my jam-box. I remember skiing with a bunch of kids I did not really know but whom were very fun to be with and how odd I thought it was that a bunch of teenagers were allowed to take a boat out on the lake with no adults.
I remember having a girlfriend who lived across the street and we would ride around on her Spree scooter, I think her name was Missy and she worked at Holiday World but that’s were most of the kids worked. I remember Ed telling me to take her some flowers when she was sick, and that she had a poster of Tom Cruise in her bedroom. I drove Dorothy’s Buick Lesabre to Jasper where we went to see the movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise and Steve Winwood’s song “Roll With It” was playing an the radio. I remember taking her out on the lake in Dorothy’s (the lady who lived on the lake) paddle boat.
Ed would give me some money for doing odd jobs or no jobs. I remember working on some lady’s landscaping to make some extra money. I remember Ed wanting me to get up on the roof to do some tar coating, but I don’t actually remember doing it. I must have cut the grass at least once because I remember being annoyed about having to cut around the concrete dear. I remember going to Glen’s house and climbing up in the attic to hang a ceiling fan. I remember going out to dinner that night and I got water to drink instead of soda and Dorothy looking at me like I was crazy because of all the RC Cola I drank at your house. I remember there always being a picture of me on a nightstand somewhere in the house.
I remember a phone call I had with my Mom telling her I was going to stay in Santa Claus my Senior year of high school and that I did not want to go back to Clarksville. Which was followed by a letter she sent me pleading for me to change my mind, which I eventually did. I think I still have the letter somewhere.
I remember leaning back in one of the aluminum patio chairs and breaking the leg and then spending the next hour reattaching the two pieces by grinding down a foot long piece of wood to insert (hammer) between them.
I still have the drafting equipment Ed gave me that summer which I remember using when I won the Louisville Technical Institute Drafting award in 1989. The first time I ever played golf, Ed was trying to explain to me to keep my head down by pretending there was a string with a fishing hook attached to my lip and the other hook was attached to my personal area. I played golf one time about two years ago, that makes two times I’ve played golf in my life. I don’t ever remember driving a golf cart. I remember swimming at the pool by the golf course club house and the cute lifeguard that drove a Dodge Shelby. I remember going to a Buick showroom with Dorothy and seeing a Buick Reatta for the first time. And Dorothy’s favorite shampoo was Pantene.
I remember baby sitting for Tony and Donna’s little girl but don’t remember her name, maybe Ashley. I remember going to a public swimming pool with Donna and her daughter, and Donna telling me how she lost her job driving a UPS truck because she backed it into something. I think I remember swimming in the pond at Tony’s trailer in Hanson that was close to my grandparents but I know Tony had a house in Santa Claus so I could be wrong about the trailer. I remember Tony taking me to my Mom’s house in Clarksville on his way to work one early Friday morning for the weekend because he worked in Louisville.
I have a few pictures and a drawing I did of the basement from that summer that help me remember. I can remember the floor plan of the house and if I ever built my own house it would be very similar because I think it was one of the best designs I’ve ever seen.
So thanks again for being part of that memory. I love you both very much and hope to see you soon.
P.S. I can go back a few more years and remember being at the softball game where Dorothy got hit in the eye. I also remember going bowling a couple of times. If I go back a little more I can remember a house you had where your dad lived in the basement and it had a basketball goal on the driveway and the sides of the driveway were lined with stones that kinda went up a hill, that was also where Ed taught me how to dribble a basketball. I remember Glen giving me some Hot Wheels to play with. I remember one of you working at a car related business and it having one of those old Coke machines where you got a short coke bottle. You had some friends who were midgets that had a son or father named Gwen. I remember visiting their house and they had one of those bobbing birds on the refrigerator. I remember a house you had in Evansville with a dart board in the basement and when Ed would cut the grass he would start at the top and mow across and back up in one direction only so all the clippings ended up in the same spot.
At Dorothy’s funeral my Uncle Ed told me that she loved this letter.
Here is a copy of her obituary.
SANTA CLAUS — Dorothy Mae Winn, 69, died Thursday, Dec. 25, 2003, at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Evansville.
A native of Hanson, Ky., she was born Feb. 3, 1934, the daughter of the late Givens and Abbie (Wines) Baldwin. She was married in Evansville on Aug. 12, 1960, to Ed Winn.
She was a member of the Santa Claus United Methodist Church and the William Tell Senior Citizens. She loved dancing and was an avid golfer and was Christmas Lake Golf Champion numerous times.
She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Dale and Givens “Bob” Baldwin and two sisters, Bettie Jones and Hattie Laura Hanner.
Surviving are her husband of 43 years, Ed; two sons, Tony Hayden Ashby of Santa Claus and Glenn Edward Winn of Richland; three brothers, James, Richard and Paul Baldwin of Hanson; and three grandchildren, Randi Mae Ashby and Brittany Ranee and Cody Edward Winn.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday (today) at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Santa Claus. The Rev. David Blystone will officiate. Burial will be in Santa Claus United Methodist Church Cemetery.
Becher Funeral Home, Ferdinand, is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Santa Claus United Methodist Church Building Fund.