We must move toward our distant star.
That star is created of love and hope.
We must focus on distant dreams and not be confused by immediate problems.
Service to people and love among each other is
our purpose for living.
We must believe we have already arrived at
our star of love and hope. We must live our
Middle School Teacher, Sarasota, FLI was born in the middle of an Ohio blizzard at 7:30pm on January 16, 1940 in the Joel Pomerene Memorial Hospital in Millersburg, Ohio. My grandfather, a country doctor and the man who inspired my search for a dream, delivered me. My father was not there...he sent a telegram to say how happy he was. When I was three, mother told me my father had gone to the war and couldn't find his way home. What he actually found was his second wife. After mom and dad divorced, mom, my sister Lou Henri and I moved in with my grandfather. I called him Doc. He was my hero.
This story is one of my early childhood memories. With the exception of one, all my boyhood friends had fathers. My grandfather became my father as far as I was concerned. My grandfather was a happy man...everyone loved him. He cared for everyone. After making house calls for 48 hours straight in a snow storm to local farm homes near Killbuck, OH where we lived, his car went over a cliff and rolled two or three times before landing on its side. He was pulled out...still with his un-lit cigar in his mouth...and taken to Joel Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg...where he and I first met ten years earlier. He lived through the night, but the next day he passed away. He died with a smile on his face according to my mother. I remember going out to the site of the wreck and seeing his two-door gray Plymouth on its side with the door still open. I had lost my hero.
My father had married Hilda and moved out West. I had no idea where "out West" was. He did come through Killbuck one day...I was five and playing out side...actually chasing some cows that had gotten out of the pasture. We were surrounded by farms. Amish lived on farms throughout Holmes County. My boyhood friend, Lee Edward Tidball, told me "someone" wanted to see me, so I ran into his home, across the street from mine...ran right past him into the kitchen and said "Who wants to see me?" I ran through the living room, into the kitchen, right past the man who had help to create me. I ran back to the living room to meet this stranger who wanted to see me. We talked for only five minutes. I didn't see him again for 22 years.
I ran him down in New Mexico in 1967. He was in charge of security for the uranium mines, 100 miles west of Albuquerque. I'll talk about our weekend together in another chapter...and about my parents remarrying after 40 years...which proves that anything is possible.
We met at the Albuquerque Airport in 1967? My father was standing at the window, hoping to see me come down the steps from the plane. His wife Hilda spotted me first and realized my father had not spotted me...she had this huge smile on her face and motioned to where my father was standing...still looking out the window. I went up to him and whispered in his ear, "Who are you looking for?"...he turned around...realized who I was...it felt like I had overcome time...that I had reversed all those years without him and had gone back to being five years old again. He said, "Well, I'm looking for you". This was a moment I had dreamed of most of my life...that I would meet my father and he would recognized me...he would say I was his son.
Here I am 40 years later trying to remember the emotion...the thoughts...that were racing through my heart and mind.
Mother never wanted me to see my father...she loved him so much that she hated him. I've never understood that thought. Love must run so deep into your being that you can actually hate someone and love them at the same time.
The story doesn't end here...it goes on...Mother called Dad after learning that his wife had died. Hilda had been watching the Dodgers in the World Series when Ron Seay was hit on the head and knocked out of the game. Dad said, "Did you see that?"...she didn't answer. Hilda didn't respond, she had died of a massive heart attack. After hearing of Hilda's death, Mother called my Father and simply said "I want my family back together". Within days, Mother flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico and met my father, as I had met him, at the airport. They spent a weekend together. It had only had taken 40 years to happen.
Dad flew back to Sarasota with Mother and they were married by a Justice of the Peace in our home.
It was amazing, we all had the feeling that Dad had gone to World War II and had simply returned home...walked through that door like he had just come home for dinner. We accepted him with open arms...no questions asked.
After four or five years of married bliss, age started to catch up with both of them. Mother started downhill first with early symptoms of Alzheimer's. Dad became the 24 hour nurse until we had to move her to a nursing home in Holmes County, Ohio...back to her birthplace, where my sister lived and could be near her.
Mother was a hardcore Republican and proved it the night she was admitted into the Altercare Nursing home in Millersburg, Ohio, just seven miles up Rt. 62 from Killbuck, our home town.
A young doctor was there to put her through the usual drill, a list of three questions to test the person's memory. Question number one, do you know what day it is? Mother's answer, "Well, of course I do, it's New Year's Eve, December 31, 1987." Question number two, subtract seven from one hundred...she divided 7 into 100 to show-off. Question number three, who is the president of the United States? Mother's answer, "Well, I know who could have been, but he missed it by eight inches." The room went silent...everyone, including the young doctor checking mother in, were laughing like crazy...afraid to let each other know they knew what mother was saying.