Friday, September 18, 2009

A Time For Parting . . .

. . . . . . . . It Came About Today

In 1981 the little blue car bought used from a long ago extinct auto dealership named Eddie Horn had about seven or eight thousand miles on the odometer.

This afternoon it registered about 40,000 miles give or take a hundred one way or another. For a 1979 Datsun 210, it sounds as if in its 30 years of existence, this little blue car had spent its life just going to church, the market and the movies and not very often at the latter activity.

Well, that little blue car actually had in effect circled the earth twenty times and was on its twenty-first trip around.

My little blue Datsun had traveled more than 500,000 miles, most of it in my possession - YES - a half million miles !

I say most of the mileage was while in my possession but discount that first seven or eight thousand, put on by a prior owner before my purchase, and theh discount a few thousand more traveled in it by Geezerguy and his lady, Yarntangler.

The latter two hauled and drove it around the western part of the country a couple years behind their motorhome, then returned it to me, claiming it was too sick to depend upon any longer.

Some local repairs and a good tuneup, added to their brand new alternator and a hundred bucks worth of tires, and this lttle blue baby was back in service for another year.

It did become sick again, however, and sat idle most of 2009, needing some extensive re-working once more.

In the meantime a more serviceable vehicle came my way quite by surprise and inexpensively, as a gift from my local son and hiis wife. A couple months later a decision was reluctantly made to put the little blue car out of its misery.

This afternoon I kissed my baby goodbye and watched a junk dealer load it onto his truck and haul it away after I had retrieved my still-registered veterans number plate from the rear. On Monday I will cancel the car's insurance.

On second thought, knowing the car is going to a crusher with the insurance still intact, could I claim the car as a total loss and collect its value - just for the memories?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heard Of A Glass Eye? . . .

. . . Now How About a Glass Knee?

Just read a blog by one of Lady B's granddaughters. She wriites "Heart of a Mom" every once in a while and it'usually something humorous. This one is about "little things"" and it is somewhat based on a familiar poem by an unknown writer.

Let's start with the poem called "House Rules"

If you drop it, pick it up. If you sleep on it, make it up. If you wear it, hang it up. If you spill it, wipe it up. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you open it, close it.It it rings, answer it. If it whilnes, feed it. If it cries, love it.

Seems like Mom slpped on a cold puddle of water, which occurred earlier when someone dropped an ice cube which melted. She was carrying a load of hot dishes just out of the dishwasher and she slipped on her tush.

A dish shatered as she hit the floor. Glass imbedded itself in her leg and knee. She got the shards of glass out, wiped up the mess and forgot about it.

That was six weeks ago. Last weekend her knee began to hurt and looked infected. She went to her doctor.

Mom's blog from here on is so funny that I cannot get it all into the few paragraphs available in m this blog.

SO - for the rest of the story type in to read the rest of this hilarious yarn and make a friend at the same time.

Birth of "The Bay Stater"

It has been suggested to me that if some members of the American Amateur Press Association should happen upon this blog they might be interested in knowing how my little magazine got its start back in the late 1930s.

I need to find the first issue to find the date it first appeared. The paper was a three by five issue on yellow paper and was printed on a small Kelsey press of the same size. But finding that first issue may be a chore and you will have to be patient.

You see, stuff that dates back to the 1930s is stored in my barn . Finding stuff in my barn is the chore. Ask Scrabblebuff or Yarntangler or Lady B for their take on this matter. On second thought, don't do that.

Births usually take place about nine months after the - eh - thought - but this birth will probably not be premature. Stand by for developments.

By the way, if anybody reading this blog has an interest in writing or printing, go to the words American Amateur Press Association on the right side of my blog and under the AAPA seal, click and read about the organization. I'll be glad to sponsor you as a member or trial member.

The History Book

Several years ago a prominent historian back home, William F. Hanna, began researching the history of Taunton, Massachusetts, taking about ten years to finish his work and bring up to date a tome published about a hundred years ago.

I eagarly awaited the publication. The book finally hit the presses two summers ago. I bought it and waited months for its arrival.

It, "A History of Taunton Massachusetts" and the sudden onset of eye trouble reached my address nearly simultaneously.

My "reading" eyesight diminished rapidly and the print in the new history book grew smaller daily. I managed, after purchasing and trying a number of devices to assist me, to reach 171 pages of this 636 page volume before I quit trying to digest it.

Today Lady B has been doing some "straightenng up" in the house. She came across the book.

Without saying anything she placed it on my desk.

I took that as a hint that now that my sight has slightly improved through excellent treatment from Texas Retina Associates, in particular Dr. Michel Shami, I should try again.

There is a bookmark on page 172. Could it be an omen, telling me that God is waiting to get me through that book? The bookmark is headed "Amazing Grace, " showing the musical score and the words of this beloved hymn.

I need to stop now and give the book a try once more.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Story Of 9/11 . . .

. . . The Pentagon Part

Last Friday night Lady B and I spent hours watching the television special about the terrorist attack by plane at New York City.

A couple of hours into the documentary I began to think "wasn't there a plane attack in Washington, the nation's capital, and a passenger-caused abortion of an attack on the White House?"

Minutes later the documentary "remembered" the Pentagon attack but only with a five-second mention of that part of that terrible day's activity.

Lady B and I were on the road that day, en route to an army unit reunion in Pennsylvania. We weren't anywhere near the New York tragedy but we were heading into Washington, D. C.. and then to the long underwater tunnel from Maryland to southern New Jersey.

Early that morning we rose at our motel room near the Thomas Jefferson home, Monticello, in Virginia. When the Boston plane bearing so many people including Peter A. Gay, a friend I knew in Taunton, Massachusetts, struck one of the Twin Towers, we were touring Monticello, and were in the underground tunnel kitchen and winery supply section of the mansion.

A cell phone rang beside us and a man answered. "Say that again (daughter)" he yelled. She did and the man announced to anybody nearby listening "a plane just hit one of the Twin Towers in New York." He then told us his daughter was working in a building near the Twin Towers.

He then listened again to an agitated voice on the phone and then for everybody nearby to hear "Oh my God, another plane hit the other tower." He asked his daughter for more details but he found the phone was dead.

As we all stood silent and dumbfounded, he raced from the tunnel, probably en route to New York to find his daughter.

We finished our tour and started out to see the James Monroe house, second of four on a purchased ticket to four historical homes. Arriving there we found it closed and a note on the door saying all public places of history had been closed because of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Lady B and I had planned to visit a nephew in Wildwood, New Jersey, taking in a brief Washington visit en route to a long tunnel from Maryland to southern New Jersey. While driving north toward Washington, we discussed our plans and decided that going under perhaps 18 or 20 miles of underwater tunnel might not be a good idea, given the threat of possible more terror attacks.

Listening to the car radio, we heard of the destruction in Washington and that all available police, fire and ambulance personnel and equipment from anywhere in the area was being called to the nation's capital.

As we rode to a planned cutoff to the northwest to take us into Pennsylvania, we began to be passed by emergency vehicles headed north from southern Virginia, obviously going up to stand by in stations already emptied by personnel gone to Washington.

Eventually we settled down in a motel and spent the rest of the afternoon and the evening watching television coverage of the New York and Pentagon tragedies.

At one point we had occasion to talk with the woman desk clerk whom we found crying. She told us she had been unable all day, and was still trying, to reach her daughter who was a desk clerk in a hotel that was between the Twin Towers.

We learned from the Friday night television documentary that there was a Marriott Hotel behind the towers, crushed when one of the towers collapsed on it. On the television show, a clerk was shown who survived the crushing ot the hotel.

This brought back our memory of the crying lady in the motel where we had stayed. Could this young lady have been that mother's daughter? We certainly hope she was the daughter.

Back in New Mexico, California, Washington state, Arizona, Texas and Tennessee our children were trying to find out where we were. When we finally called back to Hobbs, we were implored to return back west. "Don't you know what has happened? was the question. "You're in danger out there," we were told. But we assured all that we knew what happened, that we were no where near the problems and we were OK.

Our trip continued two days to the reunion. In every city and town we traversed, United States flags were displayed on miles of streets and highways and in front of homes. Hundreds of vehicles also flew flags.

About 20 World War II buddies attended the reunion and had a good time but it was a somber reunion that year of 2001.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's In A Name ? . . .

. . . A Sixty Year Old Memory

Searching a couple of days ago for the name of someone he once knew, a friend rattled off a bunch of them , trying to make one jog his memory.

Hutchins, Hamilton, Hunter, Hammond, Hamlin, Hamel, Hampton - that's it HAMPTON, he shouted as he then went along about his business and out of my earshot.

HAMEL ? I know that name I shouted out loud to myself, and then memory kicked in.
He was a doctor, wasn t he? YEAH! Dr. Fernand B. Hamel! He was my dentist back in the hometown of Taunton in the Bay State.

Dr. Hamel worked me over a few times trying to fix a couple of crooked teeth that I think an army dentist in England in World War II, Anthony S. Mussari of Pennsylvania , brought about inadvertantly while yanking a diseased molar.

As memory unfolds, Dr. Hamel discovered most of my 26 year-old teeth were soft and tending to decay and he recommended they all come out and a full set of falsies be constructed and inserted.

Since I'd been an army guy, treated by an army dentist, he recommended I check in with the Veterans Administration for some aid. Army dental work made me eligible for VA help.

The VA came through, financing the outage and the new construction, and atop that appointing Drl Hamel to do the job. He started by doping me up one afternoon and yanking four teeth and did it a s econd week, too.

But that second week turned sour about midnight on a very snowy night,- real snowy - like two feet deep. This was in New England, remember. Loretta, my wife at the time, now deceased, called Dr. Hamel, who lived on Jackson Stteet, the same as me.

He came to the house at once, took a look and called Dr. Charles E. Hoye Jr., my medical physician and cousin.

When he arrived and found me bleeding badly, they called the police department and had the paddy wagon sent up to my house on the corner of Bay and Jackson Streets. In those days the paddy wagon, in which the town drunks were taken to the hoosegow, was also the city ambulance, just so you know.

In long order (as opposed to short order because the snow was so deep) I arrived at Morton Hospial, hemmoraging from my mouth and desperately needing a blood transfusion.

There was no O-Negative blood in the hospital. When the local radio station went on the air that morning, there was a plea for that same blood type, a relaatively rare type. Some former soldiers and sailors who knew me quickly volunteered blood but for various reasons most were not eligible donors.

A Red Cross nurse set out to Boston to get O-Negative blood but the going was tough and the distance was about 50 miles, one way. Various police departments and snowplows helped get her to Boston and back but the whole trip took nearly 13 hours. Meanwhile, more army buddies ccame in one by one during all that ime and some were able to feed me blood.

But Dr. Hoye, standing at the foot of my hospital bed sometime during the morning, said to my
anxious wife, "he's going to die if she doesn't get here soon with more blood" at which point I, only half there, yelled at him "oh, no, that's not going to happen." (and now at 86 you know it didn't!)

I recovered rapidly when that Red Cross lady showed up just after my shouting match with the doctor. As I came around he said to Dr. Hamel, "while he's here in the hospital, let's finish getting the rest of the teeth out."

NOT ON YOUR LIFE, CHARLIE, came the rejoinder from Dr. Hamel - "send him over to the VA hospital." That they did . After five weeks in Davis Park Veterans Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, where likewise leery dentists labored to build up my strength, the teeth extraction was finished.

How did they build up my strength? The way they did it was to me marvelous. Besides a regular meal three times a day, I was fed SIX to TEN egg custards for dessert every day. I still love egg custards .

Now to wind up the story about the Sixty Year Memory, Dr. Hamel was again assigned by the VA to fix me up with new teeth. It took a few months of fitting, correcting and adjusting but finally I had a full set of solid choppers.

I can't pin down an exact date but I first wore that new set in September and just about now.

The gist of this whole yarn is that I still have,wear and use that SAME SET of teeth and as of right now in 2009, they are celebrating a SIXTIETH ANNIVERSARY as part of me. The grand opening was in 1949.

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