THE CHASE STORY – MY FIRST 70 YEARS
By Chase Edwards
Published by Charles Edwards at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Charles Edwards
Charles Edwards also known as Chase Edwards
I dedicate this book to my Family Of Friends and extend special appreciation to Carol, Skip, Jacob, Jeff, my brother Warren and his wife June, and the entire Edwards family.
I extend a special thank you to Jim Ru for creating and designing my book cover.
THE CHASE STORY – MY FIRST 70 YEARS
by Chase Edwards
A good first impression needs to be accomplished rather quickly in order to grab someone’s positive attention. I want so very much to create that impression just for you, my loved one, my friend, and my chosen one. (My chosen one refers to any person who has chosen to read my story.)
My life has been quite an adventure. After combining the details, I look forward to sharing my story with you. My motive is to convey things that may have gotten lost in time if I would have kept all of this information to myself. You might be inspired to do something similar, and you definitely have my encouragement.
As I reveal who I am through my story, I’m hoping to touch lives through various experiences that may give hope to someone else. Certain parts may be rather shocking, but my intent is to encourage others to avoid those dangers. Writing my story has given me the opportunity to pray for insight and direction. I’m hoping that some of my experiences will express the true gift of compassion.
My chosen name is Chase, but I was born Charles DeVerne Edwards. As a little boy, I was called Chuckie. As a teenager and young adult, I preferred to be called Chuck. I’ve never liked being referred to as Charles or most of the many other nicknames that can be taken from that name. When my story reaches April 16th of 1987, I chucked Chuck to become Chase, and I hope you will be pleased with the details I share about that change.
Before I begin my autobiography, I want you friends to know that I have left many names out to protect the innocent. I love each and every person who has helped me to become the person I am, today. Regarding the cover of my book, it was created and designed by Jim Ru. Jim is a very close friend of mine, and I will never be able to express to him how much this has meant to me. Thank you, Jim; thank you.
Now, my story begins.
Several years before I was born, my mom was helping her friend at her friend’s farming area. The two young women were hurrying to get bales of hay moved before a bad storm would make that impossible. My mom hurt herself from the straining ordeal and began to hemorrhage. She was in agony, and she feared that the damage would result in her never being able to have a baby.
Mom had grown up during the time of the [_Great Depression _]of the 1930s. It was now, in the early 1940s, and her childhood sweetheart (my dad) was fighting for our Country – overseas in World War II.
Before my dad was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps, mom and dad were married in the very same house where (years later) my brother and I would come to know as our home.
As I began writing this story (in 2005), my Dad still lived in that same home and continued living there until his death in 2014. After dad completed his assignments in the military, he and mom moved from Haxtun, Colorado, to Lincoln, Nebraska. Mom had never been away from her parents for any extended period of time prior to this. Dad and his parents and his sisters had lived in Lincoln for many years.
Jackie (a rat terrier that was white with a couple of black spots) was dad’s dog when dad was a kid and a young adult. Jackie remained with dad’s parents while dad was in the military. After mom and dad were married, Jackie would go with mom when she walked to the shopping area. The dog would wait outside of a store for her and walk back home with her.
When mom became pregnant with her first child (me), she was quite concerned, because of the incident that had happened when she had hurt herself (as mentioned earlier about my mom moving the bales of hay).
Mom was terrified that she could have a miscarriage. Mom thought that losing the baby would be something that would be totally unbearable; so, she emotionally detached herself from loving the unborn baby as much as she could. If the baby were to die, she needed to be strong enough to survive and not let the loss be so great that she couldn’t continue living.
At 12:12 a.m. on Thursday, August 15, 1946, I was born – a healthy little boy. Mom and dad were so surprised to see so much hair on such a little baby. Mom was so happy to see me, but she continued to ponder her fear of losing me. I (the baby) survived, but the terror didn’t stop for mom as she continued to ponder the impact it would have on her if I were to die in infancy.
Many years later, my mom told me all of this. Mom, also, said that she cuddled, fed, and treated me with all of the love any good mom would give a newborn, but emotionally she needed to protect herself from the possibility that I could still die. Mom had mastered being able to not allow herself to become too attached in case I were to die.
My very first home was in a rented house, with my mom and dad, and it was located at 225 F Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. The house that was owned by my paternal grandparents was located at 2115 T Street in Lincoln. It was so nice to live in the same city as my dad’s parents. Their house was home to them for the rest of their lives. (Note: The house is no longer there, and, a number of years ago, Trago Park [a city park] replaced the entire neighborhood.)
As an infant, I was riding in a taxi with my mom and her closest friend. Something caused the driver to hit his brakes, and I went flying out of my mom’s arms and ended up under the car seat. My mom was terrified until she found me, but I hadn’t been hurt.
One of my very first stuffed animals was a hippopotamus that I tossed into the wood-burning stove when dad was getting ready to close the door to it. Dad wanted to reach in and grab my stuffed animal, but mom strongly insisted that he not burn himself by attempting it and to let it go.
I named my favorite teddy bear Ginger. Ginger was soft and cuddly. I had another bigger teddy bear that I called Big Lummox. I didn’t give Big Lummox too much attention – probably due to its very large size.
The emotional bond of mother and child was confusing, but I knew I was loved by both of my parents. Dad was working lots, but mom was always home with me. If I wouldn’t take a nap, she would lay down, too. She said that as soon as she fell asleep, I’d get up and start playing. Apparently, the plan didn’t work for me to take naps.
On Halloween night of 1946 or 1947, some trick-or-treaters stopped at our house for treats, but they had arrived after mom had put the candy away, and I was bedded down for the night. She asked the kids to wait for her at the front door while she went to get the candy (from the room where I was sleeping), but they followed her into the doorway of my dark room.
When I unexpectedly awoke, the first thing I saw was their masks. I didn’t know what a mask was until after that experience, but it scared the heck out of me. After that encounter, I didn’t want anything in any way, shape, or form to do with a mask. Masks had become something I would avoid in any possible way for several years.
Later in life, I learned that at a very young age, I would first put a cap on backwards and without hesitating turn it around to the correct direction – that was a constant way of how I would start to wear a cap.
At the age of two, when the neighborhood kids would come over to play, I would get the exact number of cookies for however many kids were there. My parents were quite surprised at the way I would do that – long before I learned how to count and from not yet being taught how to do this.
One of the neighbor ladies knew that I enjoyed playing with clothespins, and she would let me attach them to different areas on her. Looking back, I can’t imagine the patience that dear woman had.
As an infant, I would say, “Din mommy din.” This meant that I was wanting her to wipe my chin for watermelon juice or ice cream that had dripped down to my chin. Before I could properly say goodnight, I would tell my parents, “Happy Neats.” I think that meant I wanted them to have happy dreams.
Before I could speak clearly, mom told me that she would find me resting my head on my hand, and she would ask what I was doing. I replied, “me tinking” (meaning that I was thinking).
When I was very young but able to eat regular food and snacks, my mom would occasionally buy a can of mixed nuts and would share them with me. She knew that my favorites were cashews; so, she would pick them out for me. If I already had some when she found more, I would say, “Dot some.” This meant that I already had some – (got some).
Lou, the waitress at our family’s favorite restaurant (in Lincoln) loved me unconditionally. She would take me (still an infant) back to the kitchen of the restaurant and find me a banana; that was my special treat. Grandma and grandpa, on my dad’s side of our family (who also lived in Lincoln), always treated me really good, too. I remember grandma’s homemade noodles that she would serve with chicken. The noodles were really thick and tasted really good.
Grandma’s homemade strawberry cake was made with so much love, and it had big strawberries baked inside and several layers of cake and strawberries with lots of sugar.
Dad would say, “Come to the kitchy for chicky” (meaning: Come to the kitchen for chicken) at those special times and throughout the years that followed – just before it was time to eat.
I was only two years old when mom and her parents (my other grandparents who lived in Haxtun, Colorado) took me on my very first train ride to Pennsylvania. We went by a zephyr, and it was so exciting.
There was a little girl of a different nationality and around my age, traveling on the same train, and I gave and received my very first kid’s kiss. Mom and my grandparents really got a kick out of that very innocent occurrence. That little encounter, also, brightened the lives of others in that part of the train.
On that vacation, I really liked a clerk at a neighborhood grocery store, and I would go looking for him when I was at that store. He would have fun, teasingly, hiding from me until I could find him. He would also give me a candy ice cream cone and then try to give me more, but I was satisfied with one and wouldn’t take any more. I was taught good manners, and it is so much fun looking back at those early results.
My grandpa took me on a ride at an amusement park while we were visiting the East Coast. I wish I could remember the ride more clearly, but it was something that went into the air and was a gentle ride. I also remember, during that same vacation, having my very first barbershop hair cut, and the barber told me that the clippers were like a Zephyr train (like the one I had ridden).
It was around this time (being around two years of age), that a relative’s dog knocked me down and chewed all of the buttons off my coat. The dog didn’t hurt me at all, but it sure did startle me. I had a fear of most dogs for many years after that. I know a dog can sense fear, and I quickly learned that it’s so important to hide that fear in any possible way.
As Christmas was getting close, I was encouraged to talk with Santa Claus at a department store, I told my parents that I would talk to Santa but only if he took off his mask. I definitely knew that he was Santa; I just didn’t want to be around his mask. It would take quite some time to adjust to realizing that a mask wouldn’t hurt me. If the Santa Claus wasn’t wearing a mask, I had no problem at all going directly to him.
In 1949 our family traveled from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Haxtun, Colorado, to visit my grandparents on my mom’s side of our family. Grandpa knew that I was scared of masks; so, he bought one and put it where he knew I’d find it – in one of my favorite places to play – in the clothespin box.
Grandpa wanted so much to help me to learn to not be afraid of masks. It seemed that mask was always appearing all over the place, and it wasn’t hurting me. Later that year (1949), he (my maternal grandpa) passed away. I can still remember mom seeming to be so calm at the viewing in the mortuary. She told me that grandpa was asleep and wouldn’t be waking up again and that he had gone to heaven. I remember being held so that I could give my grandpa a goodbye kiss.
My maternal grandma’s home (which later became my family’s home) actually consisted of three small houses. The main part of the house was the living room and the basement (which was used as the kitchen for a number of years).
The actual kitchen and bedroom were a second small house that had been moved and added to the living room – the main house. The third addition was referred to as the little house, which consisted of only two bedrooms that was added to the structure, but it had a small separation between it and the main house.
The enclosed separation was referred to as being in between the houses. (Years later, just prior to our family moving into that house, a bathroom was installed within an area that had been a corner of the kitchen.)
February 4, 1950, mom and I (Chase) arrived in Haxtun, Colorado, by bus, from Lincoln, Nebraska, to live with grandma. Maternal Grandma Ella Wood (later Bjorklun) had been visiting us in Lincoln, and she returned to Haxtun with mom and me. The next day, February 5, 1950, dad arrived in Haxtun, by bus, and this completed our family moving to Haxtun.
My brother Warren was born on September 5, 1950, at 9:10 a.m. (possibly 8:50 a.m.) at the Phillips County Hospital in Holyoke, Colorado.
We lived a short time (at our family home) with my maternal grandma. Then, we moved (probably in 1951 or 1952) from grandma’s house to another house for approximately two or three years. It was a house that we rented from Celeste Donnelly. After grandma remarried (May 10, 1954), our family moved back into grandma’s house – the same house of my mom’s childhood and where she and dad held their wedding in 1945. We moved there in May or June of 1954 before leaving on our trip to the East Coast in June of that year.
(Note: This is the house that my mom’s Grandmother Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood had given to mom, but grandma lived there until grandma’s second marriage – as previously arranged for grandma to live there until she no longer needed it.)
Our vacation was in our brand new 1954 green Ford. Mom had sold her previously-owned farm land, and that made all of that possible – vacation and a new car. A little further into my story, more details will follow about that fun-filled vacation.
Green was my very first favorite color as a very young youngster. Thinking back about our first brand new car being green reminds me of how much I really enjoyed the green color in traffic lights – especially after dark in Lincoln.
In my teenage years and early 20s, turquoise became even more special and became my favorite color. My first phone that I was able to have in my Denver apartment (at the age of 19) was turquoise (my choice), and I was able to have chimes installed (instead of the regular ringing sound) with a volume control (something I still miss being able to have and use).
Blue became my favorite color somewhere in my 20s and has been my favorite color ever since (even as an elderly adult, now).
When I was very young, not knowing where the fear came from, mom would find me crying and ask me what was wrong. I told her that I was so afraid of going into the service (military). She told me that she wouldn’t lie to me, because some day I may have to do that, but I had many years ahead of me – all of my school years – before that would ever happen.
Years later, she told me that I was the only person she knew who could cry up a storm and not shed a tear. For many years, I would force myself to hold back the tears; however, I’m unsure of why I did that.
Also, during that same time period, mom came home and saw me crying. She asked me why I was crying, and I told her that I thought she had gone away and died. She was briefly at the neighbor’s house, and I wasn’t being neglected by any means. I have no idea where or why I would think that way, either.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, a pop corn popper was a regular household item. There was a hotplate that had to become very hot before the popcorn would begin to pop. I remember my mom telling me to not touch it. As a kid, I had to make the mistake of not listening and learning that hot means hot. I never tried that, again.
I’m not sure of my age, but I told mom that I found a sand pile. I thought I was having fun with it until mom realized that I was playing with a red ant hill. I have no idea how many of them bit me. I think mom was hanging clothes on the clothesline while we were talking, and she had no clue of the sand pile actually being an ant hill.
Before I was old enough to go to school, I enjoyed assembling kid-type jigsaw puzzles, but I wanted more of a challenge; so, I mixed several puzzles together in a bigger box and then put all of them back together. The adults were quite impressed when they saw me accomplishing it, and they often told me that.
Way back, prior to the early 1950s, the price for a local call from a pay phone (in the United States) was only a nickel before it was raised to a dime (that continued for a number of years after that). The phone companies had an excellent reputation for having clean telephone booths and a phone book that was in good condition, because those phone booths were maintained on a regular basis.
In the 1950s and 60s, gas wars were quite common. Filling stations would try to sell gas lower than other competitors, and the prices would get really low. A dollar would buy several gallons of gas. It wasn’t strange at all to go to a station and ask for a dollar’s worth of gas (up to four or five gallons – depending upon the price). I sure do miss those days and the service at the filling stations that wasn’t something that required an extra charge. Without even asking before doing it, windows were cleaned and the oil was checked by the attendant.
As a young kid and as a teenager, I recall that we almost always had a card table set up for assembling jigsaw puzzles. All the way through being an older adult, I still enjoy the fun of putting jigsaw puzzles together.
When I was very young and was having very bad dental pain, I remember a visiting family friend praying specifically for me. I had toothaches quite often, and I would grind my teeth to help relieve the pain.
I had a toy mickey mouse that was kind of rubbery in texture. I remember getting quite ill after using my teeth to remove the black paint from the ears of that toy. Now, I understand why most toys are more thoroughly tested for safety before being given to small children.
Dad worked longer hours on Saturdays; so, he and I would refer to Saturday as being a big, long, long day. He would carry me on his shoulders at times, and I really enjoyed that.
Before my going to sleep, dad would lay down on his back, beside me, and then put me on his feet, and it would be like I was on a Ferris wheel. We also would pretend like we were riding tricycles or bicycles by moving our feet in the same manner, while laying on our backs. He would tell me bedtime stories about his childhood. Mom would tell me her childhood stories, too, or read a short story from a book before saying goodnight.
On September 12, 1951, in Lincoln, Nebraska, my paternal grandpa passed away in his sleep. Grandma told us that, in the middle of the night, grandpa awoke and told her that he would help her with the laundry the next day. Also, grandma said he told her that he had the very best sleep he had ever had. Then, he went back to sleeping and never awoke, again. Grandpa passed away when my brother Warren was only one year and one week old. Grandma Edwards lived another eight years. After that, my other grandma, my maternal grandma, was the only living grandparent left until October 2, 1966, (when I was in the Air Force). The older generations had passed down their love, and since then their love has continued to flow through our family.
While my brother Warren was supposed to be taking a nap in his baby bed (this bed had railings around it to keep a little one from falling out), he got his head caught in between the bars. I yelled for mom (who was in another room), and in some way, I crawled in or reached into the bed to hold him up by his rear end. Mom told me that he wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t done that. The railings came off the baby bed immediately after that.
Another time, when mom was briefly away visiting a neighbor, Warren and I were having fun rocking in the rocking chairs and we had switched chairs. After we switched chairs, the one he was in tipped over. He badly cut his lip on a floor lamp and needed mom’s attention; so, she immediately came home after I ran next door to tell her about it.
In grade school, when I was in the first grade, I had the exact same teacher who my mom had when she was in the first grade. Mrs. Allen was extremely good at teaching and discipline, but her tactics could seem rather strict and demanding for us kids.
It wasn’t uncommon to have Mrs. Allen tap someone on the head with a pencil or to verbally and physically demonstrate her authority if something wasn’t just right. I remember being taught how to draw the punctuation mark of a period, but I must have not been paying close enough attention, because when Mrs. Allen saw what I had written, she grasped my paper and directly took it to the front of the classroom. At first, I was starting to feel a tad elated that maybe she was going to brag about me; however, in total contrast, I learned rather quickly what it feels like to have a very humiliating experience.
As she held my paper in front of the entire class, she exclaimed: “This is not the way to make a period. It’s a dot and not a big filled in circle or whatever this thing is.” I may have worded her words a little bit differently, but that’s what I recall, and I was extremely embarrassed.
In grade school, I was really shy and a very skinny youngster. I remember the kids mildly teasing me about being so skinny. I had a good appetite and ate as much as others, but I could not gain weight the same as they did. I wore suspenders for the very early years, and one day in the second grade of grade school, I went to school with one of my dad’s belts, because I hated being different by wearing suspenders.
It is funny to look back, now, and remember getting the suspenders out the very next day, because a belt just didn’t keep my pants up on its own. A year or more later, I was finally able to wear a belt with success.
Having a cowlick is bad enough, but to have two is even more challenging. I had one in the back and one in the front of my head of hair. As an older man, I keep my hair buzzed, but I’ll never forget how annoying those could be as a kid.
An outhouse served as a bathroom for many people who didn’t have running water in their homes. Electricity and indoor plumbing are luxuries that many couldn’t afford in the 1940s and 50s. This was especially true for people who lived on farms and miles away from being able to connect to a system provided by the closest town.
My maternal grandma had a cat named Buzz. He was a really good cat and became our cat after grandma married her second husband and we moved into her house – the house where my mom grew up and that was bequeathed to mom by her paternal grandmother. When grandma remarried and we moved into the house where she had been living, the cat became our family pet.
One time my brother Warren was getting a mild spanking from mom, and Buzz loudly meowed like he (the cat) was crying – as though the cat was the one being punished. We (our family) all laughed about that for many years after that incident.
When one of our cats had kittens, I would always teach them to lay on their backs. When they got older, it had become natural for them to let me hold them in that position. During my years of living with my family, we always had one or more pet cats.
Highland Center was a community not too far from where I lived (Haxtun, Colorado). Once a month, this small community would put on an event that would be similar to a talent show. I think they called it a literary. People of all ages were involved and everyone seemed to really enjoy the event. My usual favorite was whatever skit was being performed.
As far back as I can remember, my bedtime prayer was: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. This I ask for Jesus’ sake. Amen.” Also, I asked God to bless my family and named some other loved ones.
We always said a prayer before meals. My prayer at meal time was: “Our Father we thank Thee, for we care, for food we eat and clothes we wear. Be present with us everywhere. Amen.” Our family meals were known as breakfast, dinner, and supper – in that order for morning, noon, and evening.
At a very young age, I had fun with dot-to-dot drawings. Krinkles, also known as Post Sugar Coated Rice Krinkles – similar to Rice Krispies – was my favorite cereal. Paper or cardboard cut outs of any kind fascinated me. I also enjoyed American Plastic Bricks to make little houses with doors and windows that actually opened and closed; this was my favorite activity. I would build a miniature house and feel so happy when adding the roof to it had completed my project.
[*_Tinker toys_, Lincoln logs, and pick-up sticks were all right but not near as much fun as playing with American Plastic Bricks. Before that, mom taught me how to make paper noodles by cutting strips of paper to amuse me. That’s almost comical, now. Yoyos were quite popular, but I never really reached any level of skill when playing with them. *]
[*My favorite comic book was Little Lulu and later Little Lotta, on occasion. Nancy Drew was my favorite series of books that I checked out from the library when I was a kid. I enjoyed magic tricks that I could order from a magazine or find at a store. It was fun to show my family and friends my latest achievement with magic. *]
When I was very young, my mom would often read bedtime stories to me, and one I recall was from a series entitled “Danny Orlis.” This was a story about a Christian boy and his adventures. Dad would tell me stories about his dog Jackie and the fun times they had together when dad was much younger.
Sometimes, I’m even surprised at my insights when I was a little kid. My closest friend told me that he might run away from home. I told him that if he did, that I would go with him. Also, I told mom that I sure didn’t want him to be all alone if he ran away from home and what I had told him. Mom was so wonderful about understanding the situation and didn’t imply in any way that she would try to stop us. I’m really grateful that we never did that.
I have truly been blessed with caring friends from being a little kid all the way through my golden years. If you are one of them, I am very grateful to you for reading my story. I’m also looking forward to friends who I have yet to meet, and if you are one of them, I really appreciate you for reading my story, too.
Something my mom told me that left a big impact on me throughout these years is that when she was a young girl, her best friend moved to another city. I think mom said that she was nine years old at the time.
Mom cried and cried because of the loss of her close friend (who many years later became her bride’s maid). Mom said that when she stopped crying she told herself that she needed to learn to enjoy her own company and not feel sorry for herself. She said she thought to herself if she couldn’t enjoy her own company, how could she expect anyone else to enjoy being around her. From then on, she learned to enjoy being alone and not to feel sorry for herself.
[*Small servings of ice cream could be purchased in those early days as dixie cups and underneath the lid would be a picture of a movie star. After pulling off the lid, it was fun to see which one was hidden there. *]
[*When my brother Warren and I were quite young, we would play together and act out scenes from movies. I still chuckle when I think about our idea of death at such young ages, because we thought the background music from the movies was what came from the person who was dying. So, when one of us pretended to die, that one would imitate the sounds of the morbid background music, ah, ah, ah, [_ah _](with a longer, drawn out sound). *]
At times, the living brother would be startled wondering if the pretend death was only pretend and even more curious when we heard the other brother (the one pretending to die) humming the death music.
At the dinner table, when chicken was being served, my brother Warren and I would always have fun trying to win at breaking a wishbone together. I can’t recall which one of us won the most, but I still remember not wanting the bone to break on my side of holding it. My favorite piece of the chicken has always been the heart; his was the tail.
[*In the early to mid 1950s, the local movie theater (the Rialto) would have Saturday afternoon matinees, and I think there was no admission charge for us kids. A serial Western was shown that would have cliff hangers at the end of each episode. I remember being really scared about some of the occurrences (fearing who would get scalped or killed or both) in these cowboy-type movies. *]
I’ve tried to research the name(s) of these serials but to no avail. I do recall that there was a witch doctor or medicine man who was often mentioned or shown within a tribe. At times the cowboys would be captured and held for some reason or other.
The background was mostly desert with steep rocky trails that were traveled by the cowboys and whoever would be chasing them. Even though, I seemed to be rather scared at these matinees, I would return the following Saturday afternoon for more excitement and adventure.
We didn’t have a telephone in our first two homes. Also, we didn’t have a television set until July or August of 1959; I was 12 years old – almost 13 (it was the TV that my paternal grandmother owned before her passing).
We would go to the phone company office to call my paternal grandmother in Lincoln, Nebraska, before we got our first crank-type telephone in the early to mid 1950s. Prior to that, if we needed to make an urgent local phone call, we would have to use a neighbor’s phone or find another means of contacting someone.
It was so exciting to have a phone when we finally were able to get one, but we had to be on a party line for our service. When receiving a phone call, I don’t recall what our signal was, but it required listening for your signal before answering the phone. For instance, two short rings and one long ring would be a signal for one of the parties on the party line. The conversation was limited to eight minutes with a warning buzz at six minutes, and then two minutes later, the call would be automatically terminated.
The Howdy Doody Radio Show was my favorite radio program before we had television. I remember the days of the Grand Ole Opry with Minnie Pearl on the radio, too.
I started roller skating at a very young age and continued to love to skate on sidewalks and at roller skating rinks as a kid and as an adult.
I was quite young when I told mom that I wanted breakfast and she was outside hanging clothes to dry. She teased me by telling me to go fry an egg. After a little time lapse, mom wondered about me and went inside to find me. You guessed it; I was frying an egg. Mom said that I did a good job of it, but she hadn’t intended for me to take her seriously. From that day through the first half of my senior year in high school, I wanted to be a chef for my future career.
When I was a young boy, my parents gave me a Christmas record album that was in the shape of a book with 2-sided records inside the sleeves of it. It included “Santa’s Surprise,” and that was my very favorite record. Finally, after many years and being an elderly adult, I had located a recording of it. It is so wonderful to hear Santa Claus talking to the kids, listening to their record player(s), and I treasure the era when I was one of those kids.
My very first best friend, Duane Allen, seemed more like a big brother to me – one that I never had. He had a kid’s push-type scooter, and secretly I had wanted to have one, but I don’t think I ever mentioned it. I had a tricycle and a wagon but never a scooter. As an older person, now, I’m wondering if the scooter may have been something to help with his condition; since, he had polio. I’m not sure that I even knew he had polio, until the last few days of his life when he was kept at home, dying.
I very mistakenly thought that my mom didn’t like him and wanted me to stay away from him. I told Duane about my concerns and feelings. When I was in the first grade and Duane was in the third grade (just before his dying), he told me that we could still play together on the school grounds, and if either of us saw my mom, he’d leave to make it look like we weren’t together.
We both thought that we had to hide our friendship from my family. We always played at the far end of the yard where my grandma lived (and where we lived before our moving across town) or on the playground at school, and I really treasured his friendship. He always treated me with such high respect and kindness.
Years later, mom explained to me that she had always liked my friend Duane. She explained to me that someone else had caused the mixed signals of our having to play at the end of the yard, and it was not meant to shun my friend, Duane. Duane died from polio shortly before his 8th birthday (I was 6). He was buried next to his baby sister who died at birth the day before he died.
I remember this as if it had happened yesterday. I wanted so much to attend his funeral, but I was told that I couldn’t, and I believe it was because of the polio scare back in those days. That guy taught me unconditional love, but it was many years before I realized how much. He never complained and when the end came, I felt really terrible to not be able to be there with him.
It’s many years later, now, and I have tried without success to find more information about Duane through the Internet. Many times throughout the years since then, I’ve visited his grave in Haxtun and still miss his friendship. Since this may be one of the only articles that can tell a little bit about this very special kid, I am inspired and honored to share such special memories of Duane Allen.
My next best friend came from a family who seemed be treated unfairly by some people. One of my classmates told me that my friendship would be rejected by many of the other kids if I remained friends with him. I told him that I wasn’t going to give up my best friend regardless of what others thought.
Amazingly, at a very young age, I had the insight to not let others choose my friends for me. I believe that some others were jealous of the bond of our friendship, but I didn’t necessarily feel rejected by them. Throughout the years, the other kids seemed to always treat me with respect.
This close friend and I remained best friends throughout the rest of our school years. When we had a rare disagreement, it was really sad to be without my friend. We would always make up and rebuild our friendship. Even though our paths went in different directions as adults, we always had that bond between us – confirmed when we saw each other at a couple of high school reunions and when he and his partner came to visit me in Tucson many years after our high school graduation. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 50 from cancer.
When I was eight years old, I fainted for the first time in my life. A friend was teaching me how to whittle a willow branch to make it into an arrow. The knife I was using accidentally slipped and gashed my left thumb. We ran up stairs where our moms were visiting with each other. His mom got out some iodine to put on the cut, but as both moms were getting it ready, I passed out.
It was a few years later when my mom and another lady were talking about the other lady’s recent operation, and just listening to the minor details caused me to get really dizzy and pass out.
I vaguely remember another time of passing out when I was at home and still a kid, but I don’t recall the circumstances. As an adult, I fainted at the VA Hospital as a doctor was getting ready to remove a mole from my neck. Fortunately, my fainting history isn’t very long.
I was a member of the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Boys Club as a youngster. In Boy Scouts, I had the honor of being a Den Chief for a Cub Scout Pack and really enjoyed helping the Den Mother with the younger Cubs. One summer, I went to Chimney Park Boy Scout Camp with other scouts from my area of Colorado for a camp-out. Chimney Park Boy Scout Camp is located in the Snowy Range Mountains and is approximately 33 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming.
It was my first time to be away from my family and in a place and environment where I had never been before. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot there, too. We slept in tents and there were hiking trails and various planned activities.
“Sagalina Magalina Hootenstina Walkendina Hogan Dogan Logan Was Her Name” was the name of a song that I learned when I was at the camp. Over the years, I’ve searched for this song, and it appears to have had many different names. “Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name” is one of the names that seems to be very close to it. Even though it appears that the title of the song has been changed numerous times, the words that describe the gal in the song are quite similar.
When we sang the song at camp, we would start out slowly singing her name on the first verse, but every verse after that we would speed up the singing of her name. When the last verse was sung, though, her name would be sung extremely slow to emphasize the length of her name. Some memories last a really long time, and this is one of those.
Some restaurants, drugstores, and other businesses had a soda fountain area that was primarily provided for ordering soft drinks and lunch or snack items. I remember ordering a green river drink which was a lemon-lime flavored drink. Other popular beverages to order were a chocolate coke or a cherry coke – and later I heard that some people even ordered a vanilla coke, but I never tried that one.
When A&W root beer stands were popular, they had car hops (gals who worked there), and they would walk up to the driver and ask what to bring back to the car. A few minutes later, the car hop would return with the order and place it on a rack that would attach to the driver’s car-door window area. The frosted drinking glass, in which a root beer was served, was quite the experience to have a really super cold drink.
When ordering a malt at a cafe, it would be served in a tall glass. Often times, the waitress would also bring the metal container that it was mixed in; so, you could have the remaining amount of the malt that wouldn’t fit into the glass. That was a really wonderful treat, and I loved strawberry as my chosen flavor, and I still like strawberry for the best taste.
At home, we almost always had packets of Kool-Aid on hand to make something sweet to drink. Quite often dad would surprise us by bringing home a six pack of sodas. We called it pop, and the soft drinks came in glass bottles and had a choice of all different flavors – not yet in cans back then. The only larger-sized bottle that I ever saw was 7-Up, and that was something really special to have a bottle of that, because it would provide so many more servings. Back then, my favorite flavor of pop was orange.
Occasionally, at home, our family would really enjoy having ice cream floats. The way it was made was by putting one or more scoops of ice cream into a tall glass and then filling the glass with part of a bottle of pop, adding a little at a time (to avoid over-flowing). The final step was to use a straw and a spoon for total enjoyment.
Sliced tomatoes, spread with a layer of mayonnaise, and then spoon-sprinkled sugar over them is something that would make quite a snack. Also, a banana mashed with a fork, lightly sprinkled with salt, and then spoon-sprinkled with sugar made another delicious snack. Marshmallows toasted over a flame (inside or outside of the home) is another happy memory. Fried cheese, being cooked in a skillet, on the kitchen stove became another quick snack. This was a rare treat but always treasured.
In the winter, my mom would sometimes butter a slice of bread, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top, and warm it in the oven for a few minutes. I enjoyed that treat, too.
We kids always enjoyed having a bowl of pudding and, especially, when it was still warm and real cream (actual cream that came directly from a farm) was poured over the top of the serving. The combination of hot and cold and double-delicious flavors is almost indescribable. I’m craving to go back to that time, right now.
Homemade butter and homemade ice cream were two other treats that were only available from friends who lived on farms and made fresh cream available to our family. From friends who had their own farms and livestock, fresh eggs and fresh cream were often gifts that were either given to us or purchased by our family.
Fresh cream was refrigerated and kept in a jar, and if it ever soured, that would be all right, because lots of things can be made with sour cream. Also, to make real butter is really amazing. The jar that the cream arrived in, from the farm, could be shaken and shaken and shaken some more, until it really thickened to the point of being the texture of butter. This butter without any other type of processing had such a delicious flavor. If homemade bread was available, and we were really lucky enough to have homemade butter to spread on it, one would think that heaven had arrived. Please pardon me if I’m causing food anxiety, because wanting a snack might be the result.
After school, it would be fun to buy a treat. I remember really enjoying a fudgsicle (a chocolate flavored popsicle) or a small bag of peanuts that I would pour into a bottle of coca cola – creating something to munch while taking a drink. The local creamery sold Neapolitan flavored ice cream sandwiches, and it was the only store in town that had that variety of flavors. Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla would all be included in that one small ice cream treat.
There weren’t very many business stores in Haxtun; so, it was really nice to get to travel to Sterling (about 33 miles west of Haxtun) to buy candy, in bulk, from a dime-store counter. It was amazing how many M&Ms could be purchased for a dime or to really splurge and buy some chunks of chocolate. I sure do miss those days. Many cities had candy counters, like the one I mentioned, in major department stores, various variety stores, and some drug stores.
We had several cherry trees in our backyard, and I miss being able to enjoy those. Also crab apple trees, plum trees, Rhubarb, asparagus, and onions would appear there annually. Hollyhocks, lilac bushes, roses, and iris were some of the floral displays that appeared every year. In later years tulips and poppies were also regulars.
Mulberry trees in the country were so much fun to find when they began bearing fruit. The reddish ones would turn white when fully ripe, and the greenish ones would turn to a dark purple when fully ripe. The white mulberries were my favorite, but I enjoyed both of them. It was so good to eat them right from the trees. This was long before spraying of chemicals was so widely spread and sadly makes that tradition belong in the past.
Our pet who demonstrated the most love was a little stray kitty; this very tiny kitten made herself at home with us. We named her Midnight. Midnight was totally black with only a small patch of white under her chin. When it was time for my brother and me to wake up, mom would let Midnight come into the bedroom where Warren and I were sleeping. Midnight would purr and rub her face on our faces until we got up to start our day. Her gentleness was like getting hugs and kisses from her, and it was a wonderful way to start the day.
It was such a special encounter to be awakened that way. Midnight was an indoor-and-outdoor cat that would be gone for a few hours at a time, but she was always there in the early mornings to bring her special act of kindness to my brother and to me.
Some time passed, and, suddenly, we were missing our treasured pet. Our whole family was quite concerned about where she may have gone or what could have happened to her. One day, while my brother and I were at school, Midnight came home. Mom said that our Midnight was limping and had been very badly hurt. She had been bleeding, and it appeared that she had gotten severely hurt by getting into some kind of a metal trap.
After Midnight came into the house, our mom told us that Midnight had attempted to crawl up on our bed but couldn’t quite make it. Shortly after mom put Midnight on the bed, Midnight died. It was Midnight’s final attempt to go to the place where she gave the most love to us humans. She was our special kitty-cat angel. I still deeply miss that very special, little loved one.
I had really good teachers in grade school, and here’s the list, chronologically, from first through eighth grade: Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Glenn, Mrs. Kasperek, Mrs. Young, Mrs. Orth, Mrs. Whitney, Mr. Weers, and Mrs. Gueck. In high school, here’s a list of my very favorite teachers: Miss Roth, Mr. Jarman, and Mrs. Martin; these three teachers really helped me and far more than what words can express. Mr. Funke was our band director throughout grade school and high school, and there couldn’t have been a better person to be a role model for utmost dignity and respect.
In the fifth grade, our teacher (Mrs. Orth) made it possible for our entire fifth-grade class to travel from Haxtun to Denver, Colorado, to attend a wonderful event of enjoying the El Jebel Shrine Circus at the Denver Coliseum. It was either in late 1956 or early 1957. I had been to smaller traveling-type circuses as a kid, but this one was very, very special and even better. The reason being that I was able to be there with all of my classmates.
Corn Festival occurred every fall in our home town of Haxtun. It was set up with a parade, followed by numerous events happening on Main Street. Main Street was closed off for the entire Saturday that the event was held. I remember Corn Festival, during my time of being a kid and a teenager, when Happy Day Rides, the name of the company that ran the carnival, would come to Haxtun. Happy Day Rides would set up the rides, game booths, and various concession stands on two or three blocks of Main Street. It appears to have been the John Oxford family of Denver who were involved in bringing this particular carnival to Haxtun for many, many years.
There was an elderly couple (grandparent age) who operated the kiddie rides, and it was probably the next generation of their family who would assemble the rides and operate the other rides and game-type concession stands. There were at least three rides for teens and adults: the Loop-O-Plane, the Octopus, and the Ferris Wheel.
I really, really enjoyed riding the loop-o-plane. As it gained speed, spinning to upside down, and back to being close to the ground, before repeating, it would almost feel like my face was being pulled off from the wind and force of the speed. The part I liked the most was when it would stop at the highest point of the adventure, with everyone on the ride being held upside down. At least, I could finally breathe normally for a few seconds before it started looping again and again. I always looked forward to riding the loop-o-plane every year at Corn Festival.
Our family often visited Denver, Colorado, on holiday weekends and during the summer months. One of the attractions there was Lakeside Amusement Park. It had lots of rides and excitement – especially, the fun house. Inside the fun house, there were several huge slides and four (joined together) rolling barrels that you walked through, while each one spun in the opposite direction, and so many other fun-filled attractions.
Other entertainment at Lakeside in the fun house included: walking the waves; self-viewing in distorted mirrors; standing up in a spinning monkey cage (if you stayed in the middle of the cage and held onto the pole, it wasn’t bad; otherwise, dizziness would get really bad, from the rapid spinning of the cage); and sitting on a spinning pancake disk (trying to stay in the middle, while it spun people out from there was quite challenging). Holes in certain parts of the floors would have air blast up and gals had to be cautious of their skirts flying up. If someone attempted to open a door to a fake rest room, a very loud and embarrassing alarm would blast away.
There was an animated laughing Lady that was situated in front of the fun house. This item was also known as [_Laffing Sal. _]This animated character was made in the 1930s (others were made for many different amusement parks during that era – I’ve found lots of information about the other ones but very little about the one that was in Denver).
I wish I could take you back in time with me to visit that wonderful fun house and get to see the laughing Lady at her finest. Unfortunately, the fun house burned down a number of years ago and was never replaced. From what I’ve learned through research, it’s possible the animated laughing Lady may still be in storage at the Lakeside Amusement Park. Thinking back, I really looked forward to seeing how the owner(s) would have the laughing Lady dressed, because quite often her outfit was changed from season to season. For me, she was the highlight attraction of getting to visit Lakeside Amusement Park.
Lakeside also had many, many adult and kiddie rides throughout the amusement park. Regardless of my age, I always enjoyed going into the fun house and going from ride to ride, throughout the outside area, that were age appropriate. Our whole family always looked forward to our fun times at Lakeside.
Mom enjoyed taking my brother and me to Kit Carson Day. This is an event that is observed annually in Kit Carson, Colorado. One of the highlights of this occasion was the pit-barbecued buffalo dinner; it was always served free to the public. It was the best meat I think I’ve ever tasted. The way it was cooked under the ground for such a long time gave the buffalo meat a sensation of it melting in your mouth.
Attending Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is another favorite annual event from my childhood and teenage years. Every year, our mom would take my brother and me to see the world’s best rodeo and a very outstanding parade. Many Native Americans would dance in their full costume in the parade and during the rodeo events. It was something I had never experienced outside of being at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Our family really enjoyed our vacations. When we would visit relatives of dad in Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the highlights was getting to go to Capitol Beach. It was an amusement park, with rides and a penny arcade. The penny arcade was really filled with all kinds of fun experiences. It was amazing how many things you could view or play with for only a penny.
I remember a fun-in-the dark ride at Capitol Beach. An animated couple was displayed on the outside of the structure that housed the ride. The lady was possibly dancing beside the man, and she was making some kind of weird expressions with her lips. I wish I could remember the details better to describe it, but I do remember her thick, bright red lips.
Capitol Beach also had an indoor roller skating rink there. Organ music was quite common at skating rinks and on TV soap operas in the 1950s and 1960s. I sure do miss the times of being able to experience the mix of that kind of music and drama during those occasions. It’s also sad to not be able to visit Capitol Beach; it was torn down many years ago.
In 1954, my parents bought a brand new car – a green 1954 Ford. Mom was really impressed with the over-drive feature in it, and we were all really happy to have a brand new car. Right after getting the car, we went on a trip to visit some relatives, on my mom’s side of the family, in Pennsylvania. On the way going and also coming back, we visited relatives on my dad’s side of the family in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Being that this was the first time for all of our family to travel to the East Coast, we had never experienced traveling through really long tunnels. Mom and dad would take turns driving to avoid either one having to endure more than one tunnel at a time. I still chuckle as I think back to when my mom was entering the Twin Tunnels, because there was not enough time between the two tunnels for changing drivers. I can still remember all of the excitement in the car when the second tunnel appeared before us.
Squirrel Hill Tunnel, another tunnel that I really enjoyed seeing, was the one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. About a year after it was opened to traffic, we got to experience that one on a visit to another relative in Pittsburgh.
We also went to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and got to see the real animated Mr. Peanut of Planters Peanuts, walk on the boardwalk, and view the diving horses and their riders inside the Steel Pier.
The Steel Pier was an entertainment center within Atlantic City that was one of the most exciting places to visit. It contained all kinds of entertainment and various performances staged throughout the area. It was almost breath taking to walk around and get to see people and events that had something special occurring.
The Three Stooges was a comedy that I really enjoyed watching whenever I went to the local movie theater or had an opportunity of seeing them on TV. In 1958, when my family took another trip to the East Coast, my brother Warren and I got to see the Three Stooges in person at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I was thrilled beyond words.
Like other visits to the East Coast, Willow Grove Amusement Park was a point of high entertainment for our entire family. One of the rides was named the Wild Mouse. In 1958, my mom and her cousin Ida rode it, but I didn’t. After hearing how wild it was, I was happy that I didn’t change my mind about not riding it.
This amusement park has a very interesting and dynamic history and opened in the mid to late 1890s. We got to visit the world’s largest bowling alley that was built there. Unfortunately, the amusement park no longer exists; the bowling alley is also no longer there.
When I was 10 or 12 years old, I was sleeping on the back seat in the car, traveling with mom, dad, and my brother Warren. We were returning home from a visit to Lincoln, Nebraska. It was winter weather, and we were crossing a very high viaduct in Hastings, Nebraska. Dad had unknowingly driven onto a sheet of ice. The car swerved from one side of the road to the other, and mom was screaming.
Needless to say, I awoke rather quickly. When I moved to a seated position, I looked over the front seat and through the windshield of our car. What I saw were very tiny-looking cars that were a very long ways down from where our car had hit a guard post. There was a lot of open space between the guard posts, back then, and our car could have very easily skidded directly off the overpass. This turned out to be a real cliff hanger.
When my brother Warren and I were kids, we would anxiously listen to the radio (this was before we had a TV and continued even after we got one) to determine if we would be able to stay home from school due to a blizzard. The Denver radio station KOA would announce the names of towns in Colorado who had school canceled due to severe weather conditions. We both were always so happy when we heard our home town of Haxtun listed as one of the towns where school had been canceled for the day.
A disc jockey who my family and I visited on and off the air, during the 1950s, was Pete Smythe. His daily program was on that same radio station (KOA). He treated us like we were part of his family, and his radio program delivered that same message.
Another radio station that our family has enjoyed has been KRVN in Lexington, Nebraska. My dad continued to listen to it, daily, up until his death in 2014. Dick “Noodle Soup” Klasi, one of the “Novelty Boys,” was a disc jockey on that station in the 1950s.
My mom took my brother and me to his radio station several times. We went to a restaurant with him and, believe it or not, he lived up to his nickname and reputation by ordering noodle soup. He performed “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” on one of his broadcasts and had me use a device that made it sound like a dog was barking during pauses in the song. That was so much fun!
One time, my mom (as one of the donors), with Dick Klasi, presented a man with a brand new wheel chair. This occasion was during a visit to Dick Klasi during his radio outreach for helping this man. TV cameras covered the presentation; it was the first time for our family to be on TV.
On May 27, 1957, Aunt Pauline Edwards/Boyd went to heaven. Aunt Pauline was my dad’s older sister, and before her passing, our family went to Lincoln to visit her at the hospital. I still remember her words of greeting to my dad and both my brother Warren and me: “Hello big Chuckie, little Chuckie, and medium-sized Chuckie.” We all had a really good chuckle at her amazing comment. Dad’s family members often used the name of Chuckie for both dad and me. The oxygen-hissing sound in her hospital room caused me to feel quite dizzy, and I remember needing to quietly leave the hospital room for a little while. Aunt Pauline always treated us with so much love, and I was so sad when her time on earth ended.
Aunt Lila (dad’s younger sister) and Uncle Alex and my cousin Sandy were always good to our family, too. They, also, lived in Lincoln, and we would visit them at least once a year on our vacations.
Back when I was a kid, I had some regrets about not being a better big brother to my brother Warren. One of those times was when I convinced him to perform a fire-baton demonstration. We got two rolls of toilet paper and attached each roll to the end of a broomstick. I can’t recall what additive was used but some kind of lighter fluid.
Amazingly, Warren was really good at twirling a stick or a baton; so, this seemed like it should work really good. After lighting the rolls of paper, he did an excellent job of twirling the homemade fire baton. Thank the Good Lord, Warren didn’t get burned or hurt, but his eyebrows and hair were singed.
He was such a good sport about it, and we both knew that there would be no way of hiding the results of what had occurred. I’m four years older than Warren, and he was probably around the age of 10 at the time of this incident. I still feel terrible about talking him into that kind of entertainment. Please don’t try this one at home or any other place.
When my brother Warren was old enough to ride a bike, we both had the joy of getting our very first bicycles. They were red Schwinn bikes. We both enjoyed many years of riding short and long distances together on our bikes. Often, we would ride out to the country areas to visit friends who lived there.
Roller skating, hiking, swimming and biking were fun times when I was a kid and throughout many of my adult years. Playing cards and assembling jigsaw puzzles continue to bring me happiness.
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Ephesians 5:8 KJV) is the first verse that I memorized from the Bible. That verse has meant a lot to me for well over 60 years.
Another verse that I really like is: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV)
On Sunday, January 5, 1958, at the age of 11, I was baptized at the Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado, by Rev. Virgil Weimer with five of my classmates and one adult. Barbara Ann and her mom, Linda, Joyce, Gary, and Larry were also baptized on the same day.
My favorite movies as a kid (and still now as an older adult) include The Story of Esther Costello, The Greatest Show on Earth, Raintree County, and Gone With the Wind.
At the age of 12, I saw only the preview of the original movie The Blob that caused me to have nightmares for several nights. I was in my 30s or 40s before I ever watched the entire movie for the first time. Another movie that I saw around the age of 11 that really scared me and kind of haunted me for a long time was The Giant Claw. For many years, I thought the title of the movie didn’t include the word giant, but, years later, I discovered that it did.
The Ma and Pa Kettle movies were at the top of my list for enjoyment at the local theater. Movies, in those days, always included a cartoon before the main feature. Any time that the surprise-to-me cartoon happened to be The Three Stooges. I was really happy, and my brother and our close friends expressed the same joy. Back in that era, there was also a short feature at movie theaters entitled something like News of the Day. Through a little research, it may have been called Movietone News or something similar to that. I wish my memory was better to recall the exact name.
Previews of coming attractions and sometimes advertisements for going to the snack bar also preceded the movie. I liked and would purchase popcorn and a black cow (candy bar on a stick) if I had enough money to buy either or both. About half way through the movie, if nobody had already done it, I could ask for the old maids (kernels that didn’t pop) from the popcorn at the concession stand. This was a free service and only required asking.
I delivered posters and show bills to local businesses. These were advertisements for the local movie theater. Also, I put show bills on the windshields of vehicles, that were parked in the downtown area, to advertise upcoming movies. I did this for quite a few years, as a kid, and I always had free admission to the movies at the Rialto Theater in Haxtun.
Hattie was the manager of the theater, and she treated me like I was part of her family. She provided so much love, fun, and knowledge. One time, when I asked her how something really terrible could be done by a person who had committed a crime, I remember her telling me, “Some people just don’t have a conscience.” Those words have continued to be words of wisdom throughout my entire life.
Like so many things in life that happen, the Rialto Theater is no longer there. The bowling alley is another business that is gone, too. When the grade school and later the high school were torn down and replaced by newer buildings, it leaves a void that can only be imagined through memories of the past.
When I was 14 and the year of 1960 had just ended, my mom wrote some numbers on a piece of paper. Mom told me that she wanted to show me something that would be a little surprising. She handed me what she had written: 1 9 6 1. Then, she turned the paper upside down, and I got to see the only year of my life that will ever work that way. Laughing at yourself if you turned this page upside down or if you turned your head in that direction is perfect. Please remember this: I did it, too.
I had a small collection of trinkets. My first displayed collection was matchbooks and later a stamp collection. I sold door-to-door vegetable and flower seeds. Later, I sold door-to-door Blair products. I sold the most magazines (more than anyone else in my class in my senior year) in a fund raiser drive for our senior sneak. As well as being the top-sales person for the entire event, I was the top-sales person for the very first day. In my sophomore year, I had gotten more people to attend a free concert than anyone else in the high school I attended. These achievements meant a lot to me, because I lived with very low self-esteem during most of my life.
As a freshman, I was told by a school counselor that my intelligence was equal to a junior in high school. He and I were both rather shocked, because my grades hadn’t previously indicated that. Unlike my dad, I didn’t get to skip a grade, though. Dad told me that when he was in grade school, he was told that he could skip the third grade. His ability to quickly learn allowed him to go from second to fourth grade.
As a sophomore in I high school, I contracted the chicken pox and really struggled with and dreaded the recovery process. My brother Warren never got the chicken pox, but he did have the mumps, and I never got the mumps. It was amazing that we both had been exposed to both illnesses and each only had one of the two. We both had the measles, tho, in our much younger years.
Being superstitious only affects me with concern about a couple of superstitions. Never tell your dream before breakfast was a superstition I had heard and probably wouldn’t have given it much attention, but one time this one actually materialized. I had stayed over night with my best friend and had a dream. This particular dream involved my dreaming that I was very sick and had some kind of disease. I was told, in the dream, that I had been diagnosed with having something that had the word pox in it.
Before we ate breakfast with the rest of his family, I told my friend about my dream. Shortly after breakfast, as we were preparing to leave for school, I started feeling really ill and told my friend that I needed to go home. I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to school with him. Later, that same day (as mentioned above this), I broke out with the chicken pox. From that dream and that superstition combined, ever since then, I have always paused before telling someone about my dream from the night before.
Another superstition, Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, has been one that I more closely watch for possible dangers. I don’t think it’s unlucky for most people, and the number 13 was my mom’s lucky number. However, having lived through events that occurred on a Friday the 13th, here are a few that I still recall that really startled me: surviving the dangers of a flood; being prescribed an incorrect medication that could have been fatal; being locked out of my room in the barracks with only a towel and a double date waiting for me on the other side of town; and food poisoning.
In 1962, at the age of 16, I bought my first car, a 1953 Chevy, and, not too long after that, my step-grandpa gave me his 1952 Chevy. They were both white and looked quite similar. In 1968, I bought a 1959 red Chevy Impala, with a fiberglass hood, that I drove from Colorado to Arizona. I named this car Blanche, and it was my favorite car – the only car I ever named.
Later, chronologically, I owned a 1963 white Buick Special, a 1970 yellow Buick Skylark, a 1979 silver Chevy Chevette, a 1983 white Isuzu diesel car, and my last one was a 1988 blue Chevy Nova (and its still running quite good in 2016).
Tropical fish can be so much fun to raise. As a kid, I started with guppies and black mollies, live-bearing fish. Getting my first aquarium with an air filter and pump was really exciting. The first aquarium that arrived in the mail had gotten broken in transit; so, I had to wait for the replacement. As a kid, waiting for something to arrive was always a challenge
As a teenager, I decided to attempt raising some egg-laying fish. Back in the 1960s, I had so much fun going to Woolworth’s, because every month was a different species of tropical fish on sale. The zebra danios were six for a dollar if I recall correctly; so, I bought a dozen of them. It’s either difficult or impossible to tell whether a zebra danio is male or female; therefore, I wanted to be sure to have at least one of each sex.
I used a three-gallon aquarium and placed three layers of marbles on the floor of the aquarium. I covered the aquarium with newspaper (to keep the inside of it dark.) I put all of the zebra danios (and no other fish) in there for a couple of days. Then, I took all of them out and put them back into another larger aquarium. The marbles give the eggs a chance to survive without being eaten by the adult fish.
When the baby zebra danios hatch, the first thing they do is attach themselves to the sides of the aquarium and very slowly start moving upwards or side to side. Eventually they free themselves from the inside glass of the aquarium and continue to grow.
One can probably imagine the joy I had in seeing the zebra danios grow from babies to being full-adult size. The newspaper cover, for keeping it dark on the inside, can be removed after the babies free themselves from the early stages. The marbles can also be removed. Remembering when I was having so much fun with this project, it sure seems like it was only yesterday.
Although mom and dad and grandma (mom’s mom) are all in heaven now, the following became a tradition that I have enjoyed sharing at Thanksgiving time. As we prepare to gather together, linking family with friends and linking friends with friends, please join me in spirit as we prepare for the festivities of truly being grateful and for celebrating our appreciation. Now, here’s my Thanksgiving story. This is an unveiling of my memories from Thanksgiving – many years ago. I welcome you to our gathering:
“ ‘Chase’s Thanksgiving Story’ – written by me (Chase)
“The aroma of the turkey, cooking in the oven, had filled our home with the traditional atmosphere for Thanksgiving Day. Dad was sitting in his favorite chair with the newspaper in his lap. Some of the really big holiday parades were being shown on our black and white TV set, and it almost felt like being there in person. Mom was checking on the turkey in the kitchen and making sure that everything was going to be ready for the big dinner. My younger brother Warren kicked the snow off his engineer boots as he quickly closed the door behind him. The draft of the November wind briefly swept through the living room.
“Now, it was time for Warren and me to drive across town to grandma’s house. Warren had swept the snow from the front steps earlier, and the sun was helping to keep the path clear. Arriving at grandma’s home, we found her ready to join us. She was always great about being ready to leave – without any waiting. Grandma brought a container of home-made candy – her annual gift for our family. She glowed and warmly smiled as she walked between Warren and me to the car.
“We arrived home without incident, and it felt so good to be home with our entire family. After removing coats and a little visiting, we went into the kitchen. As we gathered around the table that mom had organized with so much love, we bowed our heads for prayer. Each member of our family was reflecting on the love that encircled us – knowing that God had brought us together to share another day of Thanksgiving.
“Memories of the past are treasures that remain in my heart as I join you in celebrating this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday Season. As we prepare for the gathering of our family and friends, it is a real joy to reflect on the many blessings that we have received. I pray that God’s love touches your heart and brings you many miracles to treasure.
“Love and hugs to all of my visitors!!
(Note: This previous article is something that I’ve posted throughout the years at my website during the time of Thanksgiving.)
My very best friend and I strung telephone cable between his house and mine (a little over a block away from each other). We strung the cable by using trees and poles (already in existence) to keep the cable above ground and to avoid interfering with any possible traffic. The day we did it, we were in high school, but school had been canceled due to a blizzard. I still chuckle as I recall how cold it was and only us two teenagers doing all of that work.
We had purchased two very old crank-type telephones from the high school that had sold them for being so old and outdated. We could ring each other’s phone by using the crank on the phone, to make the bell on the other person’s phone ring; then, we would wait for the other person to answer. There was no limit for the length of time we could talk on them. We had so much fun with them throughout our high school years.
Pinball machines were so much fun to play. Getting a high enough score to win a free game made it even more exciting. Roadside cafes and the local bowling alley were some of the places where I would be happy to find a pinball machine. As a young teenager, I was lucky in being able to purchase a used pinball machine. That was one of those times that seemed like magic had arrived for a very happy kid.
While I was a junior in high school, I had surgery to remove my tonsils and adenoids in Holyoke, Colorado, by Dr. Dille (correct spelling). Holyoke is about 18 miles from where I lived, in Haxtun, Colorado. This was on Saturday, October 20, 1962. Dr. Dille told my folks that, during the procedure, he had to cut several times; this was due to the size of my tonsils and adenoids. He said he would have rather performed six appendectomies – compared to my surgery. When mom told him that I played a cornet, in the school band, he said he was quite shocked that I could do that, because of my condition. Mom drove me there in her car, and dad drove my car to the Holyoke hospital. Dad stayed by my side during the whole time of my surgery.
They used ether in those days, and it was so strong that people in the court house (across the street) could tell it was being used more than usual (because of the amount of ether and the length of the surgery). I was kept in the hospital over night and came home the next day at around 2:30 or 3 p.m. After returning home, I remember really craving fried chicken the most but wasn’t able to eat anything like that until I fully healed.
I enjoyed riding my bicycle and hiking. I once hiked 35 miles in a blizzard – attempting to hike 50 miles, but the blizzard was so bad that my best friend could only hike 30 miles, and it was too challenging for me, alone, to make it any further than an additional five miles. Mom checked up on us while we were hiking and was our rescuer. This hike was during a time when the President of United States had encouraged people to hike 50 miles. I know we would have made it if it hadn’t been for the terrible weather.
On Thursday, September 13, 1962, I got my first driver’s license, and on Saturday, September 22nd, I bought my very first car for $100. it was a 1953 Chevy. Turning 16, a month earlier that year, was something I really wanted to happen.
I have never been able to comfortably endure cold weather. I remember driving with my date to the junior-senior prom when I was a junior in high school. I felt so cold that my teeth started to chatter. That was a rather embarrassing situation, because it wasn’t the image I wanted to portray.
[*When I was a senior in high school, at the age of 17, I became a member of the cast of The Off-Broadway Players in the nearby town of Fleming, Colorado. I was the youngest person in the cast. Bill (a friend who was a little older than I was) asked me to join the group. Although our group folded before production, we had received national recognition. My part was a police officer – a minor part. The two elderly ladies who were cast as the lead actresses were awesome. The name of the play that we were going to perform was Arsenic and Old Lace. *]
One night while visiting Bill, he hypnotized me. The part that seemed rather significant is that I visualized a staircase with a telephone on it. He helped me to learn how to step out of feeling insecure and feeling limited in what I could do. He was the older son of a minister of another church in Haxtun.
I played the cornet in grade school and high school until my senior year. In my senior year, Mr. Funke (our band instructor) asked me if I would switch over to playing a baritone. Since nobody else was playing that instrument, he said that he would like me to fill that position. I was so happy to have a new challenge, and it proved to be quite successful for me. At the end of my senior year, Mr. Funke shocked the heck out of me by awarding me with the outstanding band player award for that year. Being the only one playing that instrument in our school band and when we performed as a marching band became really fun and exciting for me.
When I was quite young, my mom made me an apron with my name embroidered on it; she knew I was serious about wanting to become a chef, and I had her full encouragement. I really enjoyed fixing meals for the family. My future plans were that I was going to be a chef. This goal started from the time I was in the second grade and continued until the middle of my senior year. In my senior year of school, I was taking a course in shorthand; I enjoyed it so much that I decided for my future career I wanted to get more schooling to become a secretary.
During my teenage years at home, we experienced some challenging moments. For one, a tornado went through Haxtun and did quite a bit of damage, but thankfully nobody was killed. Some of our friends thought that my mom and dad had been caught in it, but they were all right; they had returned home to make sure my brother and I were all right. If they had not returned home, they would have been right in the path of the tornado, because, prior to that, mom was driving dad back to where he worked. Later that day, we learned that the grocery store, where dad worked, had experienced major damage. I’m so grateful that mom spotted the tornado and realized that danger was lurking.
After the tornado had left town, my mom drove me around town to see the damage that had occurred. I started crying and sobbing. I still remember my mom telling me that there was nothing to fear, because the storm had lifted and wasn’t going to do any more damage. It was over.
For another incident, a flood came to our home, and everything in the basement was ruined. The water lacked only a foot or so from rising into the main part of our home. I remember being quite scared that water would keep rising. Luckily, it didn’t come up any higher.
Whenever somebody in our family had a fever, mom would boil water with wild sage that was obtained from the country in that area. To me, it looked like a dried up old weed before it was boiled to become sage tea. It was the most awful tasting drink I think I have ever experienced, but it definitely would take away a fever and rather quickly, too.
[*My senior year in high school was my favorite year in school. I had perfect attendance that year (the same as all of the other years of my being in school). I was awarded the outstanding band player award by our music teacher, Mr. Funke. I had the understudy part for the main character in our senior class play and also a regular part that was a change of character identity just for me: Mr. Dorb. [_The Electronovac Gasser _]was the title of the play. *]
Our entire class went to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, for our Senior Sneak. We had a lot of fun – and a card board ax was used to tease me the day after we had gone together to see Strait Jacket at the movie theater in Glenwood Springs. That cardboard ax would appear at the most unexpected times, and lots of laughter would follow. Riding the bus and later the train to travel there and back home was fun, too – with our water guns and seeing who could get soaked the most (my hand raised here).
Part of the money raised for our Senior Sneak weekend expenses came from a magazine sales drive that was accomplished by our classmates. I sold the most subscriptions on the first day and also sold the most magazine subscriptions for the entire campaign. I won a stuffed dog with a smaller dog and a clock radio for those prizes, respectively.
In all 12 of my school years, I was never tardy – not even one time – something I treasured every year that I continued to retain that record.
Not everything was wonderful, though, because early in my senior year of high school, on Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Everyone at school was extremely shocked when the announcement came. It was a very sad and emotional time for all of us. My journalism class decided that we were going to assemble and distribute a special edition of our school newspaper – a tribute to President Kennedy. We succeeded with our special project and felt such compassion while doing it.
The tragic loss of a president who was murdered isn’t something that one ever forgets. There are so many emotions involved when hearing about it and throughout the many years beyond.
Our family had lots of different pets throughout the years when I was growing up: a turtle that came back to visit every year and would hibernate in the winters; lots of cats (a few of my favorites were: Buzz, Midnight, Taily, Fluffy, and Scamper); over 40 rabbits (all were mine) at one time; a guinea pig (Suzie); several canaries (one at a time); tropical fish and gold fish; my brother had a couple of banty chickens (Bitty and Peck) and also our family dog (Jiggs was actually my brother Warren’s dog). The chickens were only with us around the time I was graduating from high school and leaving home. Briefly and at a very young age, I had a dog (Laddie renamed from Lassie after it was known to be a male dog).
Cats I had as an adult were named: Pumpkin 1, Pumpkin 2, Love, Friend, Precious, and Joy. It’s been over 30 years since I have had a pet, though.
[*While in the process of growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed playing some card games when my family and friends got together. Thinking about those games brings back such happy memories for me. Mom and dad played Canasta before I knew anything about cards, but I quickly learned that the winner seemed to be much happier than the loser in those games. *]
[*_Pig_ or Spoon were the options of a fun-filled card game that our family enjoyed playing with another family who lived on a farm outside of Haxtun. One deck of cards was used and four cards were dealt to each player. The remaining cards in the deck would be handed clockwise, one card at a time. The object of the game is to get four matching number or face cards (four kings or four threes). If a card wasn’t wanted after looking at it, it would be passed to the next person. If the card was wanted, one of the four hand-held cards would be passed to the next person. This would continue until someone obtained four matching cards. *]
[*If Pig was being played, when you had a winning combination or saw someone else who had accomplished it first, you put an index finger on your nose. Everyone else would quickly touch his or her own nose as soon as becoming aware of someone touching his or her own nose. The last person to touch his or her nose lost that round of the game and would be eliminated from playing. This would continue until all players had been eliminated except for the winner. *]
[*_Spoon_ was played the exact same way with only one variation, and that being that spoons were used instead of noses. The number of spoons set in the middle of table equaled one less than the number of players. Instead of touching noses, each player would attempt to grab a spoon from the table. After each round’s elimination of a person, a spoon was also removed from being used in playing the next round of the game. *]
[*A person would definitely want to grab a spoon as quickly as possible to avoid being eliminated, and with Pig, everyone loved watching the expressions of the ones trying to touch their nose just before being eliminated. We had so much fun. *]
[*Another game that our family and numerous friends of all ages enjoyed playing together was one that we called Squeak. It’s one of the wildest and fastest card games with lots of drama from watching what everyone else is doing. Each player has a deck of cards and plays a solitaire-type game of their own by placing 13 cards in a stack turned upside down with the top card turned face up, and then four individual cards placed face up beside the stack of cards. *]
The remaining cards are held face down, and then three cards at a time are turned over to see if the third card will play either on their own four cards (going down in sequence and alternating red to black and black to red) or on a card or cards in the middle of the table. The cards played in the middle of the table start with an ace and build up to a king in the same suit. All players have a different pattern on the back of their deck of cards to determine who gets a point for every card that was played in the middle of the table.
When an ace is revealed, it is placed in the middle of the table. Next, anyone can play their cards, building up in sequence, and in the same suit on all of the cards in the middle of the table – regardless of who played the previous card. One has to be very quick; otherwise, someone else might get his or her card there first, and only one can play that specific card.
The squeak pile (the individual stack of 13 cards that have been placed face down except for the top card) are only for moving away from that stack of cards. When the top card that is face up is placed either on the player’s other cards or in the middle where everyone can place cards, the next card in that stack needs to be turned to face up. This is done until all 13 cards from that stack have been played.
The object is to eliminate the player’s individual stack of 13 cards (the squeak pile), and when that happens, the player says, “Squeak.” The game playing for everyone stops after hearing the word squeak. Every player counts two points against themselves for each card left in their original 13-card stack (the squeak pile) and one point to the good for every card that had been played in the middle of the table. The cards in the middle of the table are all gathered and then turned upside down for sorting them to give back to the players. Since every player’s deck has to be a different design or pattern, this indicates the correct person for returning each card from the middle of the table. The first person to reach 100 points (or any other designated number) wins the game.
Here’s another card game that Ida (my mom’s cousin) taught me when I was a kid. It doesn’t require a table or any other platform. I think Ida called it Solitaire In Your Hand or One-Handed Solitaire. This is the way I remember her teaching it to me:
Shuffle a deck of 52 regular playing cards (don’t use the jokers). Hold the deck face down in your hand. Draw four cards from the back of the deck. Place them on top to display the number and the suit of each card (holding them for viewing in the same way as in any other card game).
If the first and fourth cards are the same suit, discard the two middle cards. If the first and fourth cards are the same number (or the same face card), discard all four cards. Any time there are less than four cards face up, pull forward more cards from the back of the deck.
When the first and fourth cards have nothing similar, draw more cards from the back of the deck. Constantly check the last four of the cards facing you to determine if any of those four cards can be discarded. If no plays are left for cards that can be removed, the game ends. If all cards are removed, the game is won.
Another card game that I played many times while I was in the Air Force and later with my mom and dad was Hearts. Nobody wanted to be a loser; so, the queen of spades seemed to bring lots of drama to the game. It was one game that I had a reputation for usually winning, but winning and humility can be rather challenging to bring together.
[*Chopper may be a name that one hasn’t heard very many times. I discovered who he was when I was a kid watching some Tweety and Sylvester cartoons. He was a dog that would come to Tweety’s rescue when Tweety (the bird) would call for him, while Tweety was being chased by Sylvester (the cat). Who wouldn’t want to have a friend like Chopper and especially in a time of need? *]
From my childhood years through my early twenties, I would quite often use the nickname of Chopper for a friend or someone who had helped me in some way. I still recall the funny reactions I would get when that person or someone else would ask me questions about my calling someone Chopper.
I may just have to start doing that, again, because it was so much fun. I’ll ask it here: “Chopper, don’t you agree?” I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist having a little fun.
I attended Parks School of Business in Denver, Colorado, from the time I graduated from high school, in May of 1964, until July of 1966. I worked as a dishwasher for my room and board and as an assistant custodian at the business school to help pay for my school tuition. Later, I worked as a parking lot attendant after quitting the dishwasher job.
While I was living at the boarding house, where I worked as a dishwasher, I met other tenants who were attending various trade schools. I got along quite well with all of the ones living there. The first time I indulged in drinking too much alcohol occurred at a party for someone’s birthday; this was at the boarding house.
I was not suicidal that night, but I was getting a little bored and wanted to kick up some excitement (in my non-sober state); so, I came up with a crazy idea of telling the others that I was going to jump out of a window – I believe it was on the third floor of that building.
I almost carried this action way too far, because when I leaned out of the window, I mistakenly thought I was only out to my chest level. The next day, I learned from the others that I had leaned out below my waist line. The sad part is that I could have pulled others out with me who were pulling me back into the building to keep me from falling further.
Some months later, I moved to an apartment where I lived totally alone. I walked back to my old stomping grounds at the boarding house and expected everyone to be really happy to see me. The ones who were there were playing a card game that I didn’t really know how to play. They asked if I wanted to play, and I declined. The rest of the short time that I was there seemed really awkward for me.
I slowly walked back to my apartment. While I was passing another apartment building, I noticed some guys were sitting on their front balcony. They started laughing as I walked by. Looking back, I’m guessing that they were laughing at a joke or something similar; however, at that moment, I felt certain that they were laughing at me. It haunted me to think that total strangers would have that much disgust for me.
After I returned to my apartment, I wrote a suicide note. I thought to myself that everyone would be better off without me. I was extremely broken in spirit and really wanted to die. I went into my bathroom and made sure everything there was in good order before making the attempt to take my life.
I had a razor blade in my right hand that was raised above my head, and I was ready to make the fierce downward slash onto my left wrist. At that very moment, I heard a voice I don’t recall of ever hearing before (and no, I don’t have any history of hearing voices).
This voice was booming, as if it were right in the room with me. The voice said, “Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not kill.” Yes, it repeated the same phrase. It was as if God was speaking directly to me. My reaction to the voice shook me to my core, and I threw the razor blade into the bathroom sink, and I started to severely sob and sob. I felt so bad that I couldn’t carry out my plan and that I had reached such a low place in my life and with no means of getting away from it.
During the time that I was living in my first apartment in Denver, at around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, 1965, I felt the first tremor (out of five tremors). The reason I knew what the time was is because my clock radio started playing shortly after it occurred. A news bulletin announced that Denver had just experienced a tremor. I had been up quite late the night before, and I was still in bed and had just awoken to seeing my aquarium’s water move from side to side. Also, it felt like my bed made that same swaying motion. I had never experienced a sensation like that before or since; it was rather alarming until I heard the news bulletin on the radio.
One of the happiest recurring occurrences of my living in Denver (from 1964 to 1966) was when I discovered what we called Teen Line. It was probably frowned upon by the phone company, but it was a way to have fun on the phone without directly getting into trouble.
The way it worked is someone would find a phone number that was always busy or had a continuous busy signal certain times of the day or night. Then, someone would give that number to anyone else in the Denver area who was hearing a busy signal. The numbers were given between the beeps of the busy signal. A person would say, “Call 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7 – 7” (with the 7’s being an example of the phone number being given to others and the hyphens being the busy signal). In response, someone would say between the beeps, “Got – it,” and then that person would dial the busy number that had been provided.
Certain phone numbers worked better than others, and after more people joined the conversation, the busy signal would fade in volume to the point of almost not being heard. From there, it was up to the people talking whether to have a group get together or a one-on-one meeting or just to visit on the phone. I met some really wonderful people that way.
I played cupid to one couple who rode a cycle and the driver would pick me up to join them at a cafe. Another man was totally blind and joined us frequently, too. It was mostly people in their late teens who were in this group of new friends. We would also pretend to be different characters during our fun times to make things even more interesting.
Another very bad incident occurred after attending a Christmas party (in 1965) with Mary Ann – one of my closest friends, who I knew ever since childhood. We had so much fun together at her bank’s party. I had very little knowledge about drinking, but I had already finished drinking three whiskey sours at the party. I asked Mary Ann what else was good; she mentioned something about vodka. I told the bartender that I wanted a glass of vodka. Mary Ann very quickly whispered, “Screw driver, screw driver.” I said, “Oh yes, a screw driver.”
The bartender winked at Mary Ann and said, “I wonder what he would have done if I’d have given him a glass of vodka.” Actually, before the event ended, I had two more screw drivers and was flying all over the place. I think I was more or less a happy drunk at that point, and Mary Ann was an angel for putting up with me.
On our way, to take me home from the party, the couple who we double-dated were in the front seat. The guy driving said that someone had side-swiped him. I felt so guilty (even though that minor accident had nothing to do with any of us in this car). My guilt was that if they weren’t driving me home that the accident wouldn’t have happened.
It was more than I could handle in my drunken state; so, I slithered (like a snake) outside (from the back door of the car) and sprawled out in the street, where a lot of traffic was zooming by us. It was one of Denver’s major streets. Mary Ann also got out and tried to talk me into getting back into the car. When I realized that if a car hit me (which is what I really wanted), it would also hit her, and I sure didn’t want that; so, I crawled back into the car. They drove me home without any further problems, but the guilt stayed with me for many years. Thank you, Mary Ann, for always being the caring and compassionate friend you’ve always been.
The apartment where I was living was my second one in Denver, due to the lower price for rent and it being bigger than my first apartment (a studio). The rent was only $55 a month in 1965-1966. I loved this apartment complex; some of the windows on the building were oval shaped, and it was such a beautiful building.
One night, I was reading from the King James Version (my favorite version) of the Bible: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 KJV)
Ever since my first suicide attempt, I had wanted permission from God to leave this world. This passage incorrectly seemed to be my answer. At the time, I was unaware that this verse is referring to Jesus – not to me. I turned the gas on in my oven and made sure everything in my apartment was tightly closed.
If I could succeed at this, nobody would have to know until it was all over was my way of thinking. There was a little twist that i hadn’t considered before, and that was that I had tropical fish that could be exposed to the gas, and I sure didn’t want to destroy them. Someone phoned me or I phoned her (I can’t recall which), but I thought I could ask her a question without revealing what I was doing. I was wanting to be very casual in my question: “Will gas affect tropical fish if it’s turned on?” My friend on the phone asked me if I had the gas turned on, now.
I really didn’t want to answer that question and tried my best to avoid answering it. Very firmly, she commanded, “If you have the gas turned on, you had better turn it off now and open all of the windows and air it out, because, if you don’t, you are going to kill everyone in that apartment building if it explodes.” There was no hesitation on my part at all, and I did exactly what she suggested. I most definitely didn’t want anyone else to be hurt or have something worse happen to them due to my previous behavior.
This very frightening experience slowed me down from further attempts at suicide until after I had gotten into the military.
To change focus, I want to add a little humor at a time when humor wasn’t to be expected. It was January 20, 1966. I had gone back to Haxtun to attend my step grandpa’s funeral. After all of the family had finished eating dinner, together, at the Berean Church, almost everyone had gone upstairs to prepare for attending his service. Grandma (Wood/Bjorklun) told me that she wanted to go to the bathroom before going upstairs. I told her that I would wait in the hallway for her.
This particular Church was unfamiliar to grandma and to me. Shortly after grandma had entered the bathroom, the door opened rather quickly. Suddenly, grandma rushed over to me. She was slightly giggling. I looked at her and wondered what had occurred. She whispered to me that she had accidentally gone into the men’s bathroom. We both started laughing. It was such an embarrassing moment for grandma; however, there would be nothing that could keep us from laughing. Funerals and laughter don’t always seem appropriate, but it probably helped grandma more than any words could ever express.
[*In the 1960s and early 1970s, Roller Derby was televised, and it was quite entertaining. I enjoyed watching it but had no idea how much better it would be to watch it in person. I was happily surprised when I got to attend two different times – first in Denver and then a few years later in Tucson. I met several of the national team players and even got a few of their autographs. I wish I could take us back to that era, because those players really knew how to entertain. I don’t think I ever yelled as much as I did at those two live events. *]
Back when I was a teenager, it was very common for guys to get drafted into the military. I knew I wasn’t as physically strong as my peers, and I didn’t want to be drafted. I wanted to serve my Country; so, I pre-enlisted in the US Air Force. My date for entering was July 25, 1966.
During the final month before that date, I had only one more test in business school that I needed to pass. Everything else was finished to qualify me for graduation. It was a shorthand test at the speed of 120 words per minute. I had already successfully passed one test at that same speed and all other tests under that speed, but I needed to pass the second one (at 120 words per minute) in order to graduate.
All of my other courses had been completed. The last Friday before I entered the Air Force was my lucky day, because I was told that I had passed the test on the previous day (Thursday). I was so relieved to be able to graduate from business school the last possible school day before entering the military.
I graduated from the executive secretary course at Parks School of Business. After a very short visit with my family in Haxtun, I flew from Denver to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I was sent there for basic training in the Air Force.
The day that we were scheduled for running the obstacle course, the temperature was too high for being able to safely complete it; so, it was postponed. My guardian angel must have been really watching over me, because we never got rescheduled for that event.
I was suicidal in basic training, but Tony (a very good friend while we were in basic training) helped me to avoid making any attempts during that time. I didn’t drink any alcohol while I was in basic training and not during the time I was in technical school in the Air Force.
In October of 1966, I was stationed at Amarillo Air Force Base attending tech school for becoming an administrative specialist. I was notified that my maternal grandmother had passed away, and I was quite concerned about being so far from home.
The Haxtun mortician contacted the Red Cross who contacted my base to inform me of my grandma’s death. I was told that I could take a semi-emergency leave to go home to attend her funeral. When I returned, I thanked the guys in my barracks for sending such a beautiful sympathy card with lots and lots of signatures and notes. They asked me about the flowers that had also been sent, because they had taken up quite a collection for a very special floral display.
Unfortunately, the floral arrangement never arrived. The missing money that would have been given back was never resolved, either. It was quite shocking to go through that kind of disappointment, but the love and compassion of those military guys who contributed was something that nobody could ever take away from their generosity.
When I was in tech school, I decided to entertain some of the guys by showing them my rubber-man stunts. Admitting this to myself, it was quite amazing what I could do. I could wrap both feet around my head at the same time, turn my feet backwards, throw my throat totally out of joint, fold my ears into a triangle and flatten them against my head, bend my arms and twist my fingers in ways that most people would never accomplish. Sitting in the yoga (crossed-legs) position and then walking on my hands brought the most laughter and attention. In another demonstration, I would make my mouth look as much like a chicken’s beak as possible, make a wing with a foot tucked under one arm, use the other arm and hand to make a claw, and then appear to be a half-human and a half-chicken character that could hop around on one foot.
To add more to the entertainment, I could sound almost identical to a famous middle-aged woman singer, named Mrs. Miller. Several of her recorded hits were fun for me to screech and warble with my imitation of her singing. I also sang “Don’t Mess With Bill” with that same kind of high pitch and warbling sound to wake up one of the guys in the barracks who was named Bill. Of course, I was requested to do it, and others would be laughing in the background at the craziness of my doing it.
It was during this time in Amarillo, Texas, that I graduated with honors from the administrative tech school – completing a 12-week course in less than five weeks with at least a 99.3% average for my completed rating.
Kadena Air Base in Okinawa is where I served for the next 18 months (from December of 1966 until June of 1968). I was assigned to the postal squadron. It was heavy work – unloading mail trucks and sorting and delivering the mail in large bags and boxes.
In the military, after being assigned to Kadena Air Base, I used drinking, at times, to become my excuse for suicidal attempts. While being in Okinawa, I’ll never forget Memorial Day weekend in 1967. I was attending a promotion party for one of the officers in our squadron, and the drinks were free. During a couple of hours, I had consumed 10 whiskey sours, in the tall glass (yes I counted them – one at a time). Please never do this; it’s horrible and very dangerous.
As in the past, I wanted more excitement while some of the guys in our squadron and I were walking and staggering back to our barracks. I said, “Let’s play in the traffic, and I’ll show you how.” I ran into the quite heavy, oncoming traffic in the street. Cars would honk and swerve, and some of the guys attempted to pull me out of the street to safety. Again, I endangered not only my own life but the lives of those who were trying to rescue me and the people in the vehicles who were avoiding hitting me.
The next day I was so sick with the dry heaves and agony beyond words that I swore off drinking like that ever again. (Any person who has ever experienced the dry heaves knows how awful that is to endure.) For the rest of the time that I was in the Air Force, I rarely drank more than one or two drinks (seriously) if I drank at all. Even though I was fairly successful at doing that, it almost always felt like it was never enough.
I don’t recall of really getting drunk until several years later. This is one reason I falsely believed that I could control my drinking (one of the biggest lies we alcoholics tell ourselves), but there was never permanent control, and my drinking got worse with time.
I always enjoyed roller skating since a very little kid, and now I had advanced to being a floor guard at the outdoor roller skating rink on the air base. On a string, around my neck, I wore a whistle and used it to alert others when needing to keep the rink safe for everyone. I owned my own skates and was treated with lots of respect by both the kids and the adults at the rink. After the rink closed for the evening, many times, we floor guards would have fun putting together our own version of roller derby. Crack the whip on skates was lots of fun, too. The only real problem was that we never knew who was going to be next to go over one of the side railings. Fortunately, I don’t recall of any one of us getting seriously hurt.
Another activity that I enjoyed in Okinawa was being part of the Navigators. It was a Christian group for those away from home, and it gave us a way to grow spiritually. We would sing a lot when traveling and when we would get together for a night of singing. We visited at the missionary’s home every Sunday and attended Bible study and other church events during the week.
I have cried many times throughout life, but the happiest tears have been when our Lord has reached down and comforted me. I think back to the times when I was in Okinawa with friends from all of the military bases on that island who would all get together to sing. It was the Navigators night for singing. Hearing their united voices would bring about a spiritual experience that is beyond words. Heaven is going to be even more joyous. Can we even imagine how wonderful that will be? I hope to see you there when it’s our time to be there.
One of the most joyous occasions I had was when a large group of us from the Navigators attended an R&R (rest and recreation) travel together. From all different military bases in Okinawa, our group traveled to Japan. We attended a highly spiritual-oriented conference and were able to experience miracles upon miracles. While in Japan, we were able to see Mt. Fuji. Another really beautiful gift was being able to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Getting to take the elevator from inside the Tokyo Tower to a very high level was a breath-taking encounter. I remember the elevator wall(s) being made of glass.
One afternoon while I was hiking alone in Japan, I was walking through some rather unfamiliar and unusual terrain. I was looking for a way to return to the roadway. As soon as I spotted how to do that, a very long, black snake slithered a little ways in front of me. It looked very shiny as if it were made of black glass. It maneuvered two more slides and it was no longer in sight. I don’t think I’ve moved that quickly, as I did that day, to climb up to the road. I still remember the feeling of extreme relief and gratitude after my feet touched pavement.
The comforting fellowship with countless others in a big auditorium could almost demonstrate the love of God in a big way. I wish you could have been with us to hear the singing, because the love for our Lord was coming through quite clearly. We were military guys who had little to no background in being professional singers, but it still makes me emotional to recall how truly remarkable it sounded.
Money collected for all of the expenses had come from unexpected sources, but it all came from these military guys who gave like they sang. Even when things looked like there might be a need for outside assistance for some of the others, the miracles continued to unfold.
The hotel where we stayed for the conference was quite luxurious and comfortable. As we were leaving to return to Okinawa, one of the guys who had served us in the cafeteria ran out to me. I was very happily surprised, because out of all of us attending, he chose to give me a gift before our departure. Sometimes, those little moments mean more than what words could ever express. All of our group returned safely to our respective military bases on Okinawa. We were one very happy family.
The Lutheran Center in the city of Koza (in Okinawa) opened its doors to all military personnel and their families. They had a snack bar, and there was always someone willing to talk. On every Saturday night, it was Pinochle night, and we had fun playing cards and changing tables, after winning a hand of the game, to eventually determine the winner for the night. One of the ladies who volunteered at the Lutheran Center and her husband made me feel like I was part of their family.
They had me stay with them at their house on weekends. I called them mom and dad, and their two sons treated me like I was an older brother. This family, who adopted me as part of their family, went to church at that same location (a Lutheran Church), and I went to church with them. I really liked the minister and his wife and the congregation, too. We also enjoyed tours of the island with other members of that Church, and that was really wonderful.
Living in the barracks was a living nightmare, at times, because of the way some of the guys in my squadron treated me. They tried to drive me crazy, and they admitted that to me the day before I was leaving to return to the United States. I never knew if my room would be ransacked or if I might be facing a blanket party at any time. A blanket party is where others come up from behind you and throw a blanket over you and then start kicking and slugging any part of your body. Once, my room was very heavily sprayed with bug spray by them, and it probably would have been deadly if I had stayed very long, that night, in my room in the barracks.
The mind games were the worst – not knowing what they would do next. Some of the occurrences included their breaking into the mail; shattering packages that were marked as fragile; and, unbelievably, their eating cookies that were addressed to a location that hurts way too deeply to describe. At times, my personal mail would be forwarded to other Countries before it reached me, and that forwarding could only be done by people who were in my squadron.
I did not participate in any of these actions, and that may have targeted me even more for their wanting to get rid of me – especially to get me to lose my mind. Some of the ones in charge appeared to look the other way and seemed to not be available to stop this horrible behavior. This was one of the scariest times of my life – not knowing how to make it stop. Having spiritual principles did greatly help me to endure these situations.
In my heart, I have forgiven those who were involved in traumatizing me. Also, I’m very grateful that, before I left Okinawa, they admitted to me about their destructive behavior. Otherwise, I would have felt even more agony. They told me that they didn’t want me to have to live with that mystery the rest of my life.
While I was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, I realized that I wanted to be very certain that I was saved from ever having to go to hell. I went to the Kadena Base Chapel and got down on my knees and asked the Lord to please help me. I was physically alone, and I knew that I was in a safe place. Even though I had been baptized when I was 11 years old and believed that I had asked Jesus to come into my heart and to be fully with me, I didn’t want to take anything for granted.
I told the Lord, in prayer, that I knew that I was a sinner, and I asked him to please forgive me of my sins. I wanted to sense his forgiveness, and I wanted him to come into my heart. Jesus, please come into my heart. This was my earnest prayer. I told him that I wanted him to be my Lord and Savior. Even though I felt he had always been with me, I wanted to be sure to accept his free gift of salvation, and I accepted it. I thanked God for saving me and for his gift of my salvation through Jesus Christ. I told him that I realized that Jesus had died on the cross for me, and I believed that he forgives sins, and I wanted him to help me to accept his gift of salvation and unconditional love.
At first, I remember feeling almost like I was talking to a wall or some kind of open space, but I said a few familiar prayers to feel closer to God. After a few moments, I could sense relief and had the feeling of being heard and loved. When I left the chapel, I no longer had the question remaining of not knowing for sure that I am going to be in heaven one day.
A chapel or a church prayer room may be challenging to find at times, but I do believe that the gift of praying is that it can be done anywhere at any time of the day or night.
Please let me demonstrate this by my praying for you as we both observe this: “Lord, I ask that You comfort, bless, and pleasantly surprise my special friend who is reading this. You know this dear person’s needs, and I pray that those needs will be provided and your love will be deeply felt. In the name of Jesus, I pray with thanks to you. Amen.”
I was briefly in Alaska in June of 1968. I was coming back to the States from Okinawa, and those of us on the aircraft briefly stopped in Alaska. I was happily surprised, because the weather was quite nice that day. Actually, because of my traveling at that time of the year, I experienced two days that had only one night. Since there were 23 hours of daylight in that part of the world (in June), and, due to my delayed travel time, this caused me to be able to experience no darkness for that extended period of time.
After leaving Okinawa, I had a wonderful vacation with my parents and brother in Colorado (June of 1968). The four of us all drove (together, from Haxtun, Colorado) through Lincoln, Nebraska, and on to West Point, Pennsylvania; we stayed with relatives at both locations. Mom’s cousin, Ida Kulp, made sure that our vacation included a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey, once again. Our family really enjoyed our vacations, and we always looked forward to them. There would be only one more with all four of us traveling together, though.
My final tour of duty in the Air Force was at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. I arrived in July of 1968 and worked as an administrative specialist in several different areas of the base for the next 2 years.
During the late 1960s, when I was in the Air Force, I had a lot of psychic experiences after I returned to the United States from Okinawa. From sometime in 1968 until sometime in 1970, I was very psychic. I predicted quite a few national and local occurrences. After making a prediction, I would usually forget about it until someone would remind me that they recalled my predicting the situation. Several of my accurate predictions included: the 1969 flooding of the Twin Cities in Minnesota; the 1970 explosion on Apollo 13 including my prediction that nobody would be injured; and that no rain would fall on one extremely dark and dreary day. I made many other predictions for friends and strangers.
I told a military friend about a recurring dream that he’d had since childhood. He was amazed at how much I knew about his dream. I didn’t know him prior to meeting him in the Air Force. Also, I conducted seances and predicted future events and was very amateur but quite accurate. Also, during that time, when I was feeling psychic, sometimes, I could sense silver glitter visually falling but with nothing actually materializing.
As a teenager and in my early 20s, I had always been interested in what it would be like to be in a seance and what might be learned from the unknown. It’s amazing how I learned how to conduct a seance, because it was through a special board that had the alphabet and other symbols on it. Before going further, here’s a little background information that lead up to it. Ever since I first arrived in the Tucson area (stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base), I became a regular patron at the local indoor rollerskating rink. I became friends with lots of the other skaters and their families at the rink. After the skating sessions ended, we would frequently go to one of their homes and think up different kinds of group activities.
One night someone in our group brought out a mystifying board that would answer questions by spelling out the answers. The answers that appeared were confirmed as being fully understood by one of the older people who was there. She told us that whatever or whoever was revealing things to us was being totally accurate; even the spelling of certain words were the same used as a relative who she had once known. This possible relative or spirit kept insisting that we have a seance; so, finally, I told the questioning board that we didn’t know how to have a seance. From there, the board spelled out how to do it.
There were always enough open-minded people in our group, and I also watched out for the others to not let it overly startle them. During one of the sessions, we all experienced seeing a heavy wooden table float to a few inches above the floor. That particular table at a friend’s home was quite solid and would creak during the seance, but when any of us tried on our own to make it creak, it wouldn’t. It’s hard to explain and is rather mystifying, but it was something that was just that. Another time, we watched a person lean within the circle, who wouldn’t be able to lean like that under normal circumstances, without falling. There were other mystifying incidents that really can’t be explained, but we had a lot of fun.
At one of the events, one of the guys who had been drinking earlier (but I wasn’t aware of it until afterward) started to be a problem. Because of that incident, I changed to always starting the session with a prayer, and I insisted that everybody in the circle be completely sober.
Now, we will go back to the other guy who I told about my knowing his dream. Since he knew that I had recently conducted seances, he wanted me to start one, but he said he couldn’t take part within the circle. His reason was due to his having too much magnetism (electricity-type feeling that would go through him) within the circle – that it would be too much for him. A spirit or some unknown presence (possibly, the one he wanted me to contact) talked through me one night when he was quite badly wanting the answers. The source or spirit appeared to not want him to push me and told my friend that.
A day or so later, I had the impression that I could have that source or spirit talk through me to him. It seemed like it needed to be in the right setting and at the right time (without requiring a formal seance or a circle of people). That actually happened, and I recorded it. It was quite impressive and included one other person observing the experience – this goes back to many, many years ago. I do want to strongly stress that I wasn’t under the influence of alcohol or any medication or any other mind-altering substance during these sessions.
I haven’t paid too much attention to predicting or experimenting with any other psychic matter for many years.
It was in either 1968 or 1969 when I went to bed one Saturday night and didn’t get up, from the bed, until the following Monday morning. It was the only time that I slept for 41 hours or more without getting out of bed. I awoke a few times but went right back to sleep, and my feet never touched the floor during those hours. When I became fully awake and started a new day, I felt what it must be like to be a zombie. I went directly to the Air Force Base medical clinic, and the doctor implied that there was nothing seriously wrong with me and commented that he wished he could sleep like that.
I couldn’t believe how lightly he seemed to respond to my situation. He gave me a bottle of codeine cough syrup that was cherry flavored. I thought it was just regular cough syrup, but after taking several doses throughout the day at work, I started feeling some really bad effects from the codeine. This sure wasn’t what I had expected, and I really learned the importance of reading labels.
Just outside of Tucson, there is a movie studio location with lots of history, and it is known as Old Tucson. My first time to visit Old Tucson was with a friend from the Air Force Base in either 1968 or 1969 when Young Billy Young was being filmed there. During that filming, I had the honor of meeting Robert Walker, Jr., and one of Deana Martin’s brothers (Stephen or Dean-Paul). One of them told me that the movie was yet to be named, but the name being considered was either Who Walks With Kane or Who Rides With Kane. At times like this, I wish my memory was better about further details.
It was so much fun watching part of this movie being filmed and getting to meet some of the cast. (Note: Years later, in 1995, most of the original property of Old Tucson was destroyed by a fire but has since been restored.)
October 1969 was when our whole family went together on our final family trip – driving to Georgia and Florida. Mom and dad left Haxtun, Colorado, heading for Tucson, Arizona, on Sunday, October 5, 1969.After arriving in Tucson, they went with my former fiancee and me to visit Old Tucson. I wanted to get the perfect picture of all three of them together. The problem is I wasn’t paying enough attention to where I was running backwards, but I got the point very quickly – a barrel cactus. Actually, it was quite a few points. That cactus is one that I will never forget. You can smile here.
Other than that incident, it was a fun-filled time. The next day, Mom, dad, and I drove to a city in Oklahoma, where we picked up my brother Warren, and we continued with the remainder of our trip. We had a wonderful time visiting friends in Georgia and Florida. We had the pleasure of meeting my mom’s pen pal, Nellie Bass. Nellie and mom had written to each other for several decades, and it was such a joy watching the two of them be able to finally meet each other, in person, for their very first time. We also visited a really good friend in Florida.
While we were in Florida, I unexpectedly received a phone call from Tucson that someone had passed away. This woman was my fiancee’s grandmother and was someone I really loved. She was the first person we told about our engagement. This was quite a jolt for me, and I experienced the worst migraine I had ever had before this. My family treated me with the utmost compassion and understanding. The next day, I flew back to Tucson to be able to attend the funeral. Red gladiolas and peppermint carnations seemed like the perfect floral arrangement from us.
Just before my military days were completed, I got married on May 2, 1970. Our marriage is something I’ve regretted, but she really helped me to accept myself. I’ve never understood why I couldn’t have done that before, though. I was honorably discharged from the Air Force on July 24, 1970. It felt so good to be a civilian, again. Good jobs were challenging to find; so, I worked temporarily for one of the newspapers as a clerk typist.
Before this time, I had never seen up close the front side of a cash register; so, when I applied for a job at Circle K, that was one of the first things I needed to be trained to use. A week after obtaining that job, I became assistant manager, and, within 4 1/2 months, I was promoted to manager of the store where I was working. I enjoyed meeting and dealing with the public, and my zone manager told me that was why I was being promoted. He said that he had received more compliments about me from my customers than he had ever received for any of his other employees – including managers.
My position as a store manager required lots of hours of work, but during my time with that company, I was given the opportunity to manage three different stores. These convenience stores were not drive-ins; however, during that time, I experienced having a car drive through the wall-to-wall glass windows at the front of the store. This occurred two different times; both times, I was working at the front of the store when the glass shattered and showered glass all around me. This was during the time when glass would splinter (and not ball up like the more modern glass) and could have really injured or killed me. I’m so very grateful that both times I was spared from being hurt – by either the glass or the two cars that had entered the store.
Several times, I was awarded the honor of achieving the store of the month recognition and received a plaque with my name as manager on it. I was so pleased with the way so many of the customers would be smiling and were so polite whenever they had to wait in line during really busy times. One time I mentioned this to one of my favorite customers; she was a judge’s wife. She asked and answered: “Don’t you know why we are smiling like that? It’s because of you and the kindness that you give to all of us.” I couldn’t have dreamed of receiving a nicer compliment and from such a very special customer.
After four years of working for Circle K, I was happy to receive a job at the local telephone company. Back then, it was called Mountain Bell – in 1974. I started as an office worker, advanced through several other positions, and obtained the position of being a service representative. I worked with order processing, sales, billing, and customer service.
In July of 1987, I resigned from the same phone company which had become US West and eventually changed its name to Qwest and even later to Century Link. I went through the earlier transitioning and remained there during some time after AT&T and the Bell Companies were broken apart and the Bell System became no longer a monopoly in America. I received quite a few awards while I was employed with the phone company – both in sales and in billing as a customer representative.
In the early part of my working for the phone company, for a brief period of time, I was working full time there, part time at Circle K, writing a book, and attending a junior college with a full-time schedule there. I am still amazed that I was able to accomplish all of that.
[*The book I wrote was a goal that I had for many years of wanting to write a book but had never done it. I decided to title my book: Cry For You; Cry For Me; Cry For Them. It is a fictional story about a family who had experienced high drama and was written in soap-opera style. When something exciting was about to happen, I would take the reader over to another situation that was occurring. I had so much fun writing it and using some of my own learned or dreamed experiences, woven into the story, without directly revealing anything about myself. *]
The book has not been published, but that wasn’t my goal for writing that book. It would have been fun to have seen it published, but I was just so grateful to be able to accomplish the project and share it with my parents and a few close friends.
Something that really surprised me, while I was writing that book, was how some characters would, at times, seem to take on his or her own personality. It would be like the character had a life that wouldn’t want to follow a plan I had in mind. I’ve talked with other writers about this situation, and it seems that I’m not the only one who has had this experience.
[*While I was working at the phone company, I was honored with receiving the Outstanding Performance Award from the Dale Carnegie Course. What was so shocking to me is that I was presented the award and I wasn’t in management; many of the others attending were managers and supervisors. The vote for the award came from everyone attending the course by voting for the person who had made the most improvement from the beginning to the end of the course. I was so happy and so shocked. *]
[*The final night and session of the Dale Carnegie Course was one of the happiest times of my life. Each session, we would break into small groups, and each of us would present a speech to our smaller group, and then voting would be for the best presentation in that small group. Whoever received the most votes in each small group would go to the front of the entire audience with other winners from the other groups. From those winners, whoever received the most votes from rest of the entire audience would be the grand winner for that session. *]
Our assignment was to create a speech about how to sell something to make an impact on selling. I decided that my sales job would be to go to someone in my small group (before that night) and sell myself to her. I decided to do this by telling her more about me and telling her that I wanted her to be a lifetime friend. Then, I asked her if she would accept me as that friend, and the real gift is that she did.
I knew as strongly as I knew anything that I was going to win the award from my sales presentation to my small group and probably even to the entire audience after winning the vote from my small group. The thing I definitely wasn’t expecting was to receive that one very special award. That award is only given to one person in the entire series of sessions and presentations. Since this group consisted of managers, supervisors, and regular employees from all different backgrounds, I didn’t even consider it a possibility.
When the leader of the seminar announced the winner of the Outstanding Performance Award, it was announced twice before I could really grasp that my name was being announced. I was shocked beyond words that I had been chosen by so many people to be the only one to receive that awesome award. I felt a joy that is totally indescribable; I felt loved, appreciated, and accepted. The smiles in the audience really spoke loudly to me.
Throughout a number of years, I donated 8 1/2 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross – one pint at a time. I roller skated in a marathon for Muscular Dystrophy a couple of times (with many people sponsoring me with their pledges), and I walked several times for other charities.
Going back to the 1970s, I was very active on the CB radio. Channel #12 was my home base channel, and I nicknamed it as the family of friends channel. We had a really good group who would help anyone in need, and we had so much fun together, and that included meeting new CB’ers. So many of us who enjoyed being together across the air waves, throughout Tucson, really treasured making a newcomer feel welcome and to participate in whatever was happening. While some of us would keep the conversation(s) going, we would have roll calls to see who else was listening.
In 1973 or 1974, I bought my first 23-channel CB radio. I became very active on the CB radio throughout the rest of the 1970s. My call letters at that time were KWG8318, and I went by the handle (nickname) of Blue Shadow. When I was in my car, I referred to it as the shadow box mobile; when I was at home, at my base station, it was the shadow box base. I initially started on Channel 10; however, soon after that, Channel 12 was the channel I considered to be my home channel. I told others that it was the channel with the family of friends. Later on, my friend Dotti added a little something special to include and that was the heartline channel.
My Echo Number was 4119 on side band CB from January of 1978 (sometime after I had upgraded to a 40-channel radio that included side band). Pulling a 10-Blue Shadow was my way of saying that someone had gotten lost – quite often that person would be me. Some of us CB’ers made up our own 10 Code. These were fun-filled identifiers – like the example I mentioned.
Through the CB radio, I was blessed to meet so many really compassionate and helpful people. We would often get together at a restaurant on Sunday mornings for breakfast and invite new CB’ers to join us and help them to feel like they were part of our really big family. It was something that people of all ages really looked forward to attending, and the visiting would be filled with lots of love and laughter and sometimes a few tears when comforting someone who had gone through a tragedy or crisis.
I was living in a very small travel trailer shortly after my divorce and was struggling financially. I decided to make a one-dish meal from the food items items that I had available at that time. It was something like this: macaroni, noodles, canned corn, canned peas, several cans of tuna, and possibly another item or two. After cooking and blending all of the items together, I decided to call it tuna stew.
Don’t gag and don’t laugh too hard, but this story has a dramatic twist ahead. I told my friend Dotti that I sure didn’t care much for the taste, but it was enough to keep me going. I made a large batch and decided to freeze some of it. It was something that I left frozen and then forgot about it.
My refrigerator was quite old and not very big, and it finally stopped working. I remember throwing anything out that was in the main part of the refrigerator and went about living life without a refrigerator for a little while.
It was summertime, and that little trailer got very hot when I’d be at work. I’d come home to needing to air it out as fast as possible. One day after arriving home, I smelled something that was just horrible, but I couldn’t determine what it was. Finally, I opened the door to the dead refrigerator and realized that I was getting closer to finding the problem.
You guessed it. The freezer part, containing the tuna stew, is where the smell was originating. I very quickly discarded the freezer containers and what previously had been frozen food. They were smoldering from all of the heat, and that was my last time to attempt making tuna stew. I highly recommend avoiding this recipe.
Things out of the ordinary and from the past are things that stay with a person for years, and this has been one of those occurrences. It’s all right if you laughed. I’ve laughed about this incident many, many times.
Ritz crackers, peanut butter, and jelly are three items that my friend Danny told me will keep one alive if that person is really poor and can’t afford to eat. I had purchased chocolate on a charge card (back then, groceries couldn’t be charged on a charge card) when I was very poor, because that got me through a day but not enough to continue doing that for very long.
I remember eating those items and feeling really disappointed from being so poor that I had to eat that way. Even though I felt discouraged, I was also grateful for not starving. At that time, I wouldn’t even consider getting any means of financial assistance. It didn’t last a long time, but I do remember feeling very strongly that I never ever wanted to be poor like that – never again. I even screamed out to myself that I would never be that poor ever again.
When there isn’t enough money to purchase items that lots of us take for granted, I discovered that sheets and bath towels would become items of luxury and can be replaced with other things. I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining, and I am so very grateful for that occurring many years ago.
A very challenging year was 1979, because I was involved in a head-on car accident, went through a mutual divorce, and admitted myself to a mental hospital for a month and a half.
Living through a head-on car accident is something that is rarely discussed, but it can and did cause lots of trauma. I’m so very grateful that I hadn’t been drinking during that time in my life, because it could have been so much worse. My very best friend was in the first car of a seven-car convoy. I was in the last car. We were all heading to the fairgrounds for a CB jamboree. We were using our CB radios to discuss traveling positions, and we seemed to be staying together. The nightmare unfolded when I found myself trapped in my car and couldn’t get out. My best friend returned and yanked the door off the car for me to crawl out of it.
This was the most horrible incident in my life. Sadly, the other driver died. There were so many circumstances involved that it’s hard to describe. Whenever we can accept that there was no possible way to avoid such a tragedy, the healing can begin. I cried and cried. The mental anguish and pain were so severe. My friend Dotti coaxed me to get the help I really needed; so, finally, I went for professional help.
In September of 1979, I admitted myself into a mental hospital. My suicidal nature had gotten to the point that I really needed more help than I could accomplish by myself. When my situation was being diagnosed at the mental hospital, the doctor mentioned something about depression. My hearing that word made me extremely dizzy and almost to the point of my passing out. I told the doctor that I didn’t want to be put on medication. He said that he would agree; however, if medication was needed, that we would talk about it prior to my actually having to take it.
Since my progress wasn’t very good after a few weeks, I agreed to his encouragement of my taking an anti-depressant and tranquilizer combination to see if it would help me to improve. It did seem to help. I started feeling so much better about myself. On November 12th of 1979, I had continued to improve to the point that I was approved to leave the hospital. I remember telling my doctor that I felt good enough to return home. He said he saw it coming and fully agreed that it would be the right action for me.
It was a month and a day later when my world was changed and my serene days turned to fear of the unknown. It became a very dark time in my life, but when I needed extra encouragement, it arrived. Things aren’t nearly as bad after getting to the other side, but it would take a while, emotionally, for me to get there.
In 1980, I received more than 70 letters of character reference. My mom had gotten many people to write many of those letters from all different parts of the world. My freedom was hanging in the balance; however, in May of 1983, I threw the biggest party of my life. I had sent out formal invitations to my freedom party. It was a total success, and people from all walks of life attended and celebrated with me.
In the early 1980s or shortly before, I decided I wanted to start a new adventure of doing something and be done totally on my own. I drove out to some trails in the desert for a long hike, alone, and was feeling quite confident that everything was all right. I roamed further into the desert and got off the regular path that I had been following. I heard a sound that seemed to match the sound of someone crumpling a newspaper, but nobody else was in that area.
I looked at the rock where I had stepped with my left foot, and underneath the rock, I saw the body of a rattlesnake. The snake was curled around the bottom of that rock. I can still sense the shiver I experienced from when I quickly stepped over the rock and rushed away from that snake as quickly as I could. The crumpling of newspaper sound was actually coming from the snake rattling at me.
I thought to myself that would be the perfect excuse to never hike alone, again, but I realized that I didn’t want this dreaded encounter to change my future plans for changing my behavior.
A few years later, I had another incident with another rattlesnake in an area that was located within a few miles from the one before this. Now, as I tell about this incident, I realize it’s going to sound rather strange, but this is exactly what I remember, and I wasn’t under the influence of anything that would have altered my mind.
It was around dusk (the light from the day was fading very quickly), but in front of me, on the trail that I was planning to use (to depart from a camping-type area), a coiled-up rattlesnake was there. It was not moving. My guess is that it was sleeping or paying no attention to me until I had fully arrived and was directly in front of it.
When I saw it, for some reason, I was extremely terrified; it was a sudden shock to my senses. It didn’t use its rattle, but when I screamed (from fear) and jumped backwards, the snake, also, screamed and jumped backwards. The snake remained in its coiled position when it jumped away from me (not towards me) and landed in the exact same coiled position as it was before it had jumped. To hear a snake scream isn’t something I would expect others to believe, but that is what I heard. Needless to say, I didn’t waste any time in getting away from that area. When I finally reached the area where my car was parked, I let out a sigh of relief. I was so very grateful that the snake and I hadn’t gotten any closer, to each other, than we did. The snake was probably just as relieved.
Many times before and after this incident, I have hiked and crossed at that exact path location. Lots of hikers have traveled that same area, too. I wonder if others have had a similar experience, because this one seemed really strange to me.
By the mid 1980s, I had learned to really enjoy hiking and did that a lot. One time, I was at one of my favorite hiking areas; it was Redington Pass. It had been a really nice day with excellent weather – until it changed. A very bad rain, hail, and thunder storm came without my having any prior warning; a flash flood was coming through that area. Needless to say, it came very quickly. I was on the other side of the wash (the path of the flash flood). Briefly, before that, I had just met Carl, another hiker (a stranger to me).
Carl knew the area even better than I knew it, and he was so helpful, because he strongly insisted that I not attempt to cross the raging water. Looking back, I know my life would very likely have ended if I had gone any further by entering that dangerous situation. Carl is a wonderful person and someone who I will always treasure knowing – especially for being someone who saved my life.
In June of 1985, Carl traveled with me to visit my family in Colorado to help plan the 40th Wedding Anniversary celebration for my mom and dad. We also had a couple of years of his putting up with my very serious mental condition. He was the most important person for helping me be able to survive during that time. I had become very emotional and quite often extremely suicidal, leading up to and including the early-to-mid 1980s.
There were times when I was prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers for my mental health. Many of those medications had horrible side effects and proved to be worse than not having any medication at all. At one point, I was so discouraged that I took 30 tranquilizers throughout three consecutive days. The reason I know it was 30 is because I would make a note of each one that I took – 11, 9, 10 (it may have been in a different sequence, but those are the numbers for the three days).
One of my co-workers called me aside and told me that she and others could tell that something was wrong with me and that I’d better knock off whatever I was doing. She said that if I didn’t stop that it could result in management doing something that I wouldn’t want. She was an angel and helped me to realize that I was in danger – in more ways than one. That era of my life was filled with numerous suicide attempts and alcoholic behavior that could have ended my life very quickly.
On May 5,1986, I was feeling extremely suicidal, but I wanted to avoid making an attempt to end my life if there was any possible way. I remembered a dear friend of the family previously telling me about a program that might benefit me, and I was desperate for a solution. Even though I had made a couple of phone calls to disconnected phone numbers, some way I was able to locate an address for possible assistance.
I decided that I would go to that address and if nothing helped, I would probably end my life after I came home. Amazingly, something occurred while I was at that location that gave me hope, and that was the last time that I ever really considered ending my life. All of these years later, I feel extremely blessed by knowing that life is good and definitely worth continuing.
The gift that came from my living through an extremely suicidal-wishing past is that I have been able to help countless others to close the door to that horrible condition. Someone once told me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and that statement is definitely correct. As I’ve shared these words with others and have seen the same beneficial results with them, I know that this has been one of my greatest gifts to share. Together, we get to experience the results of really wanting to live.
I’ve often seen where something seemed really bad, but it turned out, with time, to be something really good. When I’ve experienced something that can benefit another person to get to the other side of a situation, it is then that I sense the reason I was blessed to have been given what I previously thought was a burden. Yes, it turned out to be a blessing. Helping others by giving them hope is a gift like none other.
It was in the early evening of Thursday, April 16, 1987, that it all started for me to become known as Chase. Even though it seems like I’ve been Chase forever, that name didn’t arrive for me until I was 40 years old. Prior to this occurrence, my family and friends had known me as Chuck.
While I was driving to a gathering to be with some very close friends, I had a sensation of a typewriter typing these letters: c h a s e into my thinking process. I thought it was rather strange to think like that, but I realized that all of those letters do appear in my birth name of Charles.
It was feeling more and more like a spiritual experience; so, I thought about two very important men in the Bible who had name changes in what I believe happened after they each had a spiritual experience. Abraham and Paul were both known by different names before (Abram and Saul), and those were the two men who came to mind for me. I pondered the possibility of changing my name and asked some close friends (at the gathering that I mentioned above) what they thought.
Go for it was the most influential response, with many others in our group adding their encouragement, and that felt like the perfect answer. The next day, I told one of the managers at work about my experience. She said, you can always go back to your old name at any time if you discover you don’t like it. Guess what. I’ve loved being called Chase ever since, and I hope to be Chase forever. Chase4ever is the nickname I often use at various websites.
Prior to leaving my 13-year job at the phone company, I had submitted my resignation and gave a 2-weeks notice. Just prior to the date of my resignation, a number of my co-workers confronted me with their strong desire for me to cancel my resignation and stay with the company. This was a really heavy decision; so, that night I prayed and I asked God to close the door that he didn’t want me to walk through. I really needed God to help me, because I wasn’t sure what choice was better for me.
The next day, I told my supervisor that I had decided that I would like to cancel my resignation. She was smiling and told me that she was so happy with my decision. An hour or more later, my supervisor told me that our top-level manager in Denver was on the phone and that he wanted to talk with me. He was very polite and assured me that I had been considered a good employee; however, he told me that my slot had been closed and wasn’t able to be re-opened; so, it would not be possible for me to cancel my resignation.
My supervisor was almost in tears after that phone call (she was included in the phone call from the Denver office). Then, she asked me why I was smiling about this outcome. I told her that I had prayed the night before and was asking for the right direction for me to go.I said that this was positive proof that I had done the right thing by having submitted my resignation prior to this.
In July of 1987, after resigning from the phone company, I went to a local treatment center in hopes of improving my life. I entered the center for treatment of co-dependency, but within that 30-day stay, I realized that I had more problems than that. I finally realized that I was an alcoholic and started coming to terms with my need for sobriety. I never drank anything with alcohol since the night before I entered the treatment center. My sobriety date is July 11, 1987.
In early 1988, for the second time in my life, I admitted myself into a mental hospital. I wasn’t able to cope with my depression, and I didn’t want to risk a return to possible suicidal thinking. I thought it would strengthen me if I could get the extra assistance. The medications that I received caused me to have more problems than a solution for helping me; however, I was willing to try whatever was needed in order to get better. The psychiatrist was very helpful, and he prescribed many variations of medications after each one was unsuccessful for my improvement.
The only medication that worked was short-lived, because my feet became swollen and I would feel like I was going to faint whenever I stood up. I received lots of help through a psychologist at the hospital. He was someone who had tremendously helped me when I was there in 1979. This time, I was in the hospital for only 30 days. Since then, I have continued to learn how to live with depression and use the tool of being grateful and to focus on spiritual and positive things. Even though I have not taken any medication for mental or emotional situations since 1988, I highly encourage anyone who can be helped by medication to please continue to take medication as prescribed.
Shortly after the mental hospital experience, for a short period of time, I was able to visit my closest friend in California. I worked with Allen for a couple of weeks – doing store inventories. He trained me, and he was chief of the inventory crew. Allen was the van driver, and he was a great boss, too.
After my return to Tucson, I attempted working at various jobs until my mental health prevented me from continuing to be able to do that. I had worked in a collection agency, in an office at a university, in a business that purchased and resold used telephone equipment, at an auto-parts store, and in one office as a research assistant. It was hard to accept the fact that I just couldn’t gain back the job history that I had achieved prior to the age of 40.
I moved into public housing on October 29, 1990, and have lived in the same apartment ever since that day – except for August of 1993 through February of 1995 (while the entire complex was being renovated). During that time, I was living at the Tucson House (another apartment complex) and anxiously waited for the renovation to be completed to move back to my original apartment.
On April 04, 1995 I was involved in a very bad skating fall and broke my two upper middle front teeth and had nerve damage to a 3rd tooth, broke my left hand and my right arm (by the elbow), and had some rib damage. I was at an indoor skating rink and skating at a very high speed. I was performing a maneuver that is known as a 3-turn (one of my favorite things to accomplish while skating). Everything would have been all right, but my wheels locked, and I fell forward on my face, with my left hand trying to break the fall and my right arm twisted underneath the fall. I really believe that if I had fallen backwards that the impact would have killed me.
I skated after healing from my injuries but a few years later gave up skating. For decades, roller skating had been one of my regular fun-filled activities. I still miss the joy of rolling around a skating rink on eight wheels. Wonderful memories of skating remain in my heart.
Throughout the years since 1987, I have felt truly blessed when I’ve been able to give others hope and encouragement with their getting and remaining sober. It’s extremely sad when others lose their sobriety or die from alcoholism.
My former therapist Nancy (from many years ago) taught me how to grieve. After learning from her and just a few years later, I had the honor of sharing at her memorial service with her family and friends what she had shared with me. Nancy told me that there is no wrong way to grieve as long as we don’t hurt ourselves or hurt anyone else.
She told me that it’s all right to be sad, quiet, angry, or to feel any other emotion. Nancy shared that it is OK to scream, cry, throw things, feel nothing, or do anything else, because this is how to grieve. She said that there is no wrong way to do it, because whatever way a person grieves is the correct way for that person to grieve. Nancy also said that there are lots of tears that need to come out, and she suggested for me, later, to put on some sad music or a video that would help to make me cry.
One day I was feeling a really big, dark, heavy depression heading my way, and I phoned a friend and asked her for a solution to avoid my going into that deep depression. She’s in heaven, now, but Pat told me to take everything out of my bathroom cabinets and to remove everything else from the bathroom. She suggested that I clean each item and cabinet before putting anything back.
I laugh, now, as I think back to my initial response to her by saying, “You don’t realize how much stuff I have in there.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Pat said, “Just do it.” Amazingly, I followed her advice; within only a few minutes, I phoned her back to thank her and to tell her that I was already feeling better. I was able to laugh a little bit, too. I finished that project, and it really solved what would have been my declining into a deep and dark depression.
Mom made special treats for me whenever I returned home for a visit (returning for a visit in Haxtun, Colorado). She would have a plate of bacon that was really good waiting for me upon awakening in the morning. Mom would shell pistachios as a special treat and have them in a bowl and ready for me to enjoy. I loved her meatloaf and also her homemade dressing (which contained raisins). Mom made her own beef jerky, and it was the best I’ve ever eaten. It was full of flavor and much easier to chew than what is sold in stores. When I traveled back to Arizona, she would always make sure that I had plenty of beef jerky to take along with me.
Mom never knew a stranger. Dad and I used to tease each other by trying to be the first one to say, “I’ll bet you a dollar.” This bet was in regard to knowing that someone would be talking with mom before dad and I would return to the car or wherever mom might be. Neither one of us wanted to lose a dollar on that bet. Sure enough, mom would be talking with someone before dad and I returned.
I had fun teasing dad at times by asking, “Who?” when he would be sharing information about someone. After the second or third time of my asking, “Who?” dad would ask me, “Do your feet fit a limb?” We had so much fun teasing and laughing about many different things.
The tea sure was good. This is a comment my mom made when a dietitian asked her about the food she preferred. It was at a time when mom had been admitted to a hospital in Greeley, Colorado, being treated for leukemia. Mom knew the difference between tea and food, but we had so much fun teasing each other about it. During mom and dad’s final years on this side of heaven, we often teased, within our family, about that comment. Yes, the tea sure was good.
On June 8th, 1995, my dad was hospitalized in Denver, Colorado, to have his right kidney removed. It meant a lot to me that I could be there (on vacation) with both mom and dad. I was able to be with them prior to his hospitalization as well as be there during his surgery and recovery. I told dad that I would give him one of my kidneys if that would help, but he and his doctor determined that living with one kidney would be all that dad needed for continuing a good quality of life. I was so grateful that I could be home with my parents during a time that meant so much to all three of us.
A day or two before my 50th birthday, I had my left ear pierced but never had a piercing before or after that. I wanted to do something different for my 50th birthday, and that was what I chose. The reason I did it just before that birthday was to avoid having any pain on my birthday, and I was happily surprised that no pain was involved.
The only other time that I permanently marked something on myself was when I was in the 7th grade in grade school. Very stupidly, I carved my initial, a letter c into the back side of my left hand (since I’m right handed). I definitely recommend against doing this. My teacher who saw what I had done (in the classroom) gave me more verbal discipline than I got from my parents after I arrived home that day.
Throughout my time when my mom was still on earth, she and I could both sense when something was wrong with the other person. It didn’t matter how many miles were between us, because whenever one of us was sick or in pain, the other one would sense it or feel it.
I often wondered if one of the two us were to die if that meant the other one would go soon after that. We had kind of an invisible cord between us that connected us. Mom left earlier and I’m still here; so, that answers that question.
In January of 1998, I received a phone call from my dad. He told me that our family doctor had asked him to phone me to have me come home (to Haxtun, Colorado), because my mom was getting close to the end of her life. She was in the hospital, but just before that, she had told me that she didn’t want me to come back due to the colder weather.
Mom had lived with leukemia for several years, and I sure wanted to be there for her. As I was driving through New Mexico, on my way to Colorado, I ran out of gas. It was cold and windy and very late at night when my car stopped running. I was quite scared, because I wasn’t close to any town or place where I could ask for help. My car would shake as the semi-trucks passed next to where I had pulled off the highway.
I prayed and asked God for an angel, because I wanted to get back to my mom before she passed away. Finally, from total exhaustion, I went to sleep. Early morning arrived, and there was a tap on the window of my car door. It was a police officer. When I previously prayed for an angel, I had no idea who would be arriving. He told me that he was involved with another call for assistance, but that he had called for another officer to come to my rescue.
When the second officer arrived, he drove me several miles to the closest town where I could get a gallon of gas, and then he brought me back to my car. I remember feeling so safe and warm in the backseat of that officer’s car. Now, you know that I was someone who has been in the backseat of a police car and totally grateful for a truly wonderful experience.
I completed the rest of my travel to Colorado without any problems. Also, I was blessed to be able to visit with my mom, in her hospital room, for a few days before her transition to heaven. One morning, I was eating a banana while visiting with mom. At our family home, my dad had given me that banana before I went to visit mom at the hospital. I asked her if she wanted a bite from it, and she surprised me by saying, “Yes.”
We had some really good heart-to-heart visits and hugs. I felt very fortunate to sing a few songs to mom in her hospital room and be able to share, together, the serene moments that music brings. During this time, mom told me that she could feel the prayers being said for her. Lots of churches and countless friends had been praying for her. She said that she felt no pain and wanted me to always believe in the power of prayer, because she was experiencing the benefits from those prayers.
The nurses who were taking care of my mom in her final days were the best any family could want. Dad referred to them as the Angels of Mercy. He couldn’t have given them a better title.
During the last few moments of my mom’s life, here with us, she had gone into a coma and was still in the Haxtun Hospital. My dad, my sister-in-law June, my brother Warren, and I were all standing around her. Each of us were touching a shoulder or ankle and preparing for her transition to heaven. I talked to my mom with words to encourage her that it was all right for her to leave us and to be with our Lord and Savior. Everyone there verbally agreed as I was asking for their confirmation.
All four of us gave her our love and encouragement for mom to no longer suffer and to go to heaven with our blessing. I would have never believed that I could talk her through the transition, but I sure didn’t want her to suffer with the leukemia any longer and wanted her to be at perfect peace. This is what all of us wanted for her.
I know that my mom could hear us, because many years ago she told me that something happened when she was in a previous coma, and that she believed that everyone should know about comas. She said that when she was in that coma that she could hear the nurses talking in the hallway with the door closed to her hospital room. They were saying that they didn’t think she was going to make it.
Mom said that there would be no way that she would normally be able to hear from that distance, but since she was in a coma, her hearing was perfectly clear. She told me to always know that when someone is in a coma that they can hear you.
After battling leukemia for several years, on January 26, 1998, my mom went to heaven. I was so very grateful that I was able to be there with my family as mom made the transition. Mom had told me just before her leaving that she hadn’t heard the song “Wind Beneath My Wings,” but she listened as I told her about the song. I told her that like the song mentions that she was my hero. She responded by telling me that I was hers, too. That felt so good and so loving. From my very early childhood and ever since, mom always called me her little shadow, and some of the words from that song sure made me think of that, too.
At Mom’s funeral, my niece Cindy shared something that has stayed with me ever since: “You are only a moment away from my heart and my thoughts.” This was a direct quote from Cindy. I really treasure Cindy’s words and have shared them with lots of friends throughout the years. Thank you, Cindy.
Shortly after setting up my very first website in 1998 to tell the story about my childhood pet turtle, I started creating a newsletter for my e-mail friends. Many of those who were with me back then still are, and I’m so very grateful to each and every one of you. I named it the Family Of Friends, and I capitalized the O in the word[_ Of _]to make it my own unique way of identifying it.
In 1999, I realized that I need to plan ahead for the time when I die; so, I contacted an agency and prepared documents and paid a little over $1800, and that included the grave (even though I’m planning to be cremated), but I didn’t request anything regarding a funeral or memorial service.
The cremation will be done at Heather Mortuary and I am to be buried at East Lawn Cemetery, here in Tucson, Arizona. Since I’ve lived most of my adult life in Tucson, I consider this to be the best choice for me. (Update: I visited that spot in 2014 to see where it is located with very kind assistance from Tom Juniper [Family Service Counselor] at East Lawn Palms Mortuary.)
Details about Cybertown and the origin of my definition for oink follows:
On September 14, 1999, I started visiting a website known as Cybertown. It was a 3-D internet community that was enjoyed by people from all over the world. People of all ages and from all walks of life were included. It was a family-friendly website, and all of the regulars made sure that everybody was made to feel welcome and safe within that environment.
There were avatars and computerized audio voices that made the experience something really special. You could choose various settings to set the voice that your avatar would appear to be speaking. This could be the voice of a man, woman, or child, and the speed of the voice could be set at any chosen level.
This voice thing really interested me, because I marveled at the way that everyone sounded when their avatars[_ talking_]. I decided to have some fun by asking others to say, “oink” (of course, this was all accomplished by typing: o i n k). I would laugh quite often when I heard what those many, many different voices would sound like with just one word: oink.
Frequently, I would be asked what oink meant, and I decided that I’d better come up with an answer; so, I chose to answer it with this comment: “Good wishes to you.” Almost everyone at that website who knew me would quite often oink back and forth with me. I really admired the laughter and the communication among people of all ages and from all different areas of the world.
Being a member of Cybertown even gave me an idea of what it would be like to be a millionaire, because we had jobs and contests that would reward imitation money. Over the years, I had received and saved over a million cc’s (Cybertown cash – imitation money). What I really enjoyed was being able to give those cc’s to others and watch them become millionaires, too. Giving anonymous gifts to others has always felt extremely good.
This world of fantasy was beyond imagination for the amount of fun everyone got to experience. There were special titles and job positions, trophies and awards, and most of all the joy of meeting old and new friends and our getting together to welcome anyone new to the website.
On May 15, 2004, I was honored with receiving the Block Leader Appreciation Award – meaning, at that time, that I had achieved being the one with the longest history of being a block leader at Cybertown. On January 24, 2010 I received the honorary title of Grand Master.
Other titles that I had the honor of receiving at Cybertown were: Sage, Knight Virtual, Virtual Master, Templar, Wizard, Elder, Block Deputy, and Club Owner,. Please know that I only want to share this for the sake of history – nothing more.
Since 1999, I enjoyed residing at the Funny Farm! Block, located within the Point World Neighborhood, and that was located within the Virtual Worlds Colony. My imaginary house (and later imaginary mansion) was located there until the website was totally shut down.
On the last day that Cybertown was still active, I had achieved reaching a total of 104,522 experience points, and I still had 1,104,847 in cc’s (fake revenue). In the history of all of the people who had been a part of Cybertown, I had achieved becoming the person in eighth place in experience points. This was something that I really enjoyed accomplishing. Sadly, this fantasy world and website totally closed down on Friday, January, 27, 2012. This was a very sad day for many, many people who had made this experience a very enjoyable part of life – I was one of those who felt very sad about this loss.
The good news is that from that experience, I have retained e-mail contact with some of the friendships that came from that website. Some of us still oink at each other in our e-mails. One couple in particular lives in Australia, and they met at Cybertown before they met each other face to face. They have been very happily married since 2002. The both hold a very special place in my heart and always will.
Until dad went to heaven in 2014, we both oinked to make each other smile. My very special neighbor Carol and I still have fun saying oink to each other – throughout these remaining years together. That almost sounds humorous – just from reading it. Enjoy oinking with your friends, too. It may be something new to try, but the results will be worth it. At one point in time, I had four generations of my family all saying oink at my family’s home in Colorado. Of course, the cutest one oinking was my brother’s grandson (around the age of two at that time).
I wish I could put my arm around your shoulders and that we could travel, together, back to Another World (a TV program that was televised from 1964 to 1999). In the very late 1960s, while I was stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, I started watching it and watched it for the remaining 31 years of its 35-year run. It was filled with great acting, very dramatic storylines, and with outstanding actors and actresses.
I worked in the orderly room that was located in the same building as my barracks; so, during my lunch hour, I would go to my room to watch TV. I had a very small black and white TV with rabbit ears with a dial on it for only 13 numbers – 12 channels but most channels were not available. The only programs airing during that time of the day were soap operas. I would watch [Another World _]and _One Life To Live, but I was only primarily interested in Another World. Back then, TV Soap operas were all airing for only 30 minutes per episode.
On Monday, June 20, 1966, Another World was the first soap opera to make the transition from black and white to color. In 1975, Another World was the first soap opera to expand from a half-hour to a full-hour show. Also, it was the only soap opera in history to air for a full 90 minutes every week day for a period of time in 1979-80.
There were also three spin-off programs that were derived from Another World, and they were: Somerset (1970-76), Lovers and Other Friends (later renamed For Richer, For Poorer 1977-78), and Texas (1980-82).
When Another World was in danger of being canceled, I wrote numerous articles to magazines and other sources and to NBC and to Proctor and Gamble who provided us viewers with this rich-in-history soap opera. Unfortunately, we fans were unable to keep our treasured soap opera on the air. My dad was one of the many fans, too. We were both very sad when the program ended.
Somewhat of a secret that I’ve shared with very few people before now is that I learned how to sharpen razor blades. Way back in the early 1970s, I bought some cardboard pyramids and decided to experiment with them to see what I might discover. One of the things I did was place my razor underneath a pyramid every night, and compare the sharpness of the blade over a period of time.
I was utterly shocked by the increased number of shaves I could get from this experiment. I continued this for a very long time until I decided I wanted to experiment further. What I tried next was to merely use my mind by staring at the blade in the razor and seemingly force it to sharpen like the pyramid did.
The reason that I mentioned that this has been somewhat of a secret is because I don’t expect too many others to fully understand or necessarily believe that this works. Throughout the many years, since then, I have decided to only glance at the blade in the razor and believe that it has sharpened. Also, I make sure to keep the razor extremely clean.
Whether this is mind over matter or some quirk, I can truthfully share that I have often used the same razor blade for several months before using a different blade. My schedule usually includes shaving at least five times a week.
Loneliness can be one of those things that seems to just have to be given time to pass. Even though I am able to entertain myself and can be alone for long periods of time, there is that moment in time when it seems that others have all secretly gotten together to make a massive exit from my life. Of course that is never the cause, but during that moment, it feels that way.
Long ago, I asked my mom why there had to be goodbyes, and she told me that if there weren’t any goodbyes that there wouldn’t be room enough for the hellos.
Here’s something my maternal grandfather would say to someone leaving for a while: “Take your time going, but hurry back.” That’s kind of the way I feel when there is that dark absence when someone leaves and I miss having that person in my life.
Throughout my adult years, Halloween has become my most fun-filled holiday. It’s amazing how it was my most terrifying day and one that I wanted to avoid when I was an infant. Here’s a list of some of the characters and disguises that I created for my dressing up for Halloween: half man and half woman; a hooker; a pregnant gal who had been in a bad accident; a haggardly gal who wasn’t far from resembling the mother of Norman Bates; a ghost; a clown (child); a clown (adult); an elderly gal; a bum; a plastic cowboy; my imitation of Carol Burnett’s char woman character; a Carol Burnett impersonator; a ghoul; half devil and half something else; and a witch.
Singing: I love to sing, but I have a tendency to forget to do that at times. A very close friend (Jacob) will sometimes remind me to sing to get to a higher level of feeling good – especially if I’m depressed or feeling really sad.
I love hymns and music that expresses emotion. A little secret, though, is that frequently I will get so close to the music that tears start falling. Crying is good, too. It releases so much tension and blocked feelings.
Something I’d like to share is that singing can help people who are not fully coherent, because something really magical happens when they hear a song being sung. If you know someone who isn’t fully able to communicate, sing to them and see what happens. This has been one of my experiences throughout my life in helping others to be able to communicate with a loved one.
Weddings: I’ve had the honor of singing to the bride and groom at a couple of weddings, being a best man twice, a groomsman once, and presenting the bride to the groom at another wedding. I was married for nine years from 1970-1979, but the details are something I rarely discuss. Shadows from another life might best describe that era.
Before I was born, on June 26, 1945, “Always” is the name of the song that was sung when my mom and dad were married. Also, it was sung by the same lady and her mom, the same pianist, at their 25th Wedding Anniversary. The party was held in the same room at our family home as it was on the day of their wedding. I was so happy to be able to be there with my brother Warren and his family to celebrate that special occasion with our mom and dad. It was quite similar 15 years later at their 40th Wedding Anniversary when we celebrated it at the local town park.
I sang this same song (“Always”) at a couple of weddings, and I sang it at home for my parents quite a few times. One of those very special times I sang it for them was on their 50th Wedding Anniversary. That song has always had a very special place in my heart.
How to dance: I was taught by someone very special that all that is needed to begin dancing is to move one part of your body with the music. It doesn’t matter whether it is a hand, foot, arm, head, or any other part of your body. Gradually add more of your body parts to moving with the music, and that’s all there is to learning to dance. Though I quit dancing around the time that I got sober (around the age of 40), I was told by many that I was a good dancer.
Throughout the years, I have accomplished public speaking and have helped to encourage others before they spoke to an audience. One thing that I always stress is to remember to breathe. When in front of a group of people, it is quite normal to be nervous and feel jittery – even possibly starting to panic. To avoid this anxiety from building, it helps to focus on breathing. If I’m in the audience and know that someone is getting ready to speak, I will silently demonstrate to the speaker that I’m breathing with them.
By breathing, the anxiety lifts to a degree; otherwise, the anxiety can increase and make it more difficult to breathe easily. Another technique is to get others to laugh with you or to pray with you, because when the audience can relate to what you are feeling, it helps tremendously.
I’ve been told to think of talking to only one person in the crowd and to not pay any attention to who that one person is, but just know that one person there needs to hear what is being told. This advice has frequently helped me.
In early June of 2002, I spent a few weeks visiting my dad, and it was so good to be with him. We took a 3-day mini-vacation by driving from Haxtun, Colorado, to Lincoln, Nebraska. It was our last time to visit his sister Lila and brother-in-law Alex and their daughter Sandy and her family. It was so good to see all of them. We also stopped to pay our respects at the cemetery where dad’s parents and older sister Pauline were laid to rest. It was truly wonderful to get to spend time with Dad in Lincoln in June of 2002.
If you still have family, never miss out on an opportunity to enjoy a mini-vacation with them.
I returned for visits to Haxtun to be with dad in 2003 and 2004. We had planned for my return visit in 2014. Sadly, dad’s departure to heaven in March of that year came before my returning for my Haxtun visits in March and September.
On May 2, 2007, dad and I were enjoying one of our many phone visits. Dad said that each night when he says the bedtime prayer, at the ending he’ll say: “Be with Chase, be with Carl, and be with Elaine, and be with all the others that express concern for me, and I in turn am grateful and thankful for Chase relaying such for me. Each night, even tho I don’t have the internet, I’m thankful for their concern. Since I don’t have the internet, I can express my appreciation through prayer. This way I can be thankful to each one every night.” Dad has always been the very best dad I could have ever wanted.
Smoking is something that I highly encourage others to avoid, because the consequences are not good. That is probably the main thing I would have changed if I could go back in life and change something.
I started smoking at the age of 12 and smoked for 55 years. Towards the end of those years, I prayed and cut back on the number of cigarettes I smoked. Finally, I found a solution that has helped me since September of 2013 when I switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping e-cigarettes. It took me six months before that to get to zero cigarettes, by using both for that amount of time. Today, I still vape, but maybe eventually I will make the transition to stop doing that.
I’ve chosen to not share some things in my story to protect those who might be affected by the details. I want to be compassionate to everyone who reads my story. Yes, you are correct; that includes wonderful you.
Migraine pain is something that I lived with most of my adult life. One of the worst things when suffering with that kind of pain is not being able to hide it from loved ones. My mom cried when she would see me in that kind of agony, and I wanted so much to spare her from seeing it. There were times when the pain would be non-stop for weeks, months, and even years; however, I learned to live with it. Later, I will give the full details about what I endured when trying to find a solution for the pain.
I was diagnosed as being seriously mentally ill when I was in my 40s, but it is something that I have endured even before that diagnosis. The gift is that I have been able to learn coping skills that I have been able to share with others to help them when they are facing a crisis or similar situation. It’s a wonderful gift to help someone in a time of need by sharing a personal experience of mine. That is the reason that allowed me to understand that I needed to endure something horrible in my past in order to help someone in the present.
Unless I have experienced a tragedy, I have no way of relating to someone else experiencing a similar situation. Some of my darkest moments in life have become some of my greatest gifts in being able to help others.
Gratitude is a great gift, because when I focus on being grateful, everything negative becomes less important. Real joy can be derived from being grateful. I often tell myself that I can be grateful right now; or, I can write down the many things that I appreciate. This works, because I don’t want to discipline myself to spend time in writing that long list; so, I become grateful right now.
Throughout the years, I have always treasured having a family of friends. Ever since the 1970s, when I was very active on the CB radio and first called my group of friends that, I have continued with it. Since the late 1990s, my Family Of Friends list has included people I have met through the Internet. They have been a wonderful group of friends who have been with me through all kinds of challenges in life – both with theirs and mine. I am truly blessed by each and every one of them. That includes those of you who are reading this, now.
Even when I’ve been at the deepest of my emotions, I don’t think I’ve ever lacked having the gift of receiving encouragement from others. When I have wanted to sing, someone was always there to encourage me to do that.
My goal is to encourage others when they are lacking hope or when they need to know that someone else is there who cares.
Being a Christian means that I want to follow the footsteps of my Lord and Savior, and I know I fail so many times, but hope is always there, and I get to aim in that direction, again and again.
“Footprints in the Sand” and “Rainbow Bridge” (poems written by others) have been inspirations to me. At times, I get to point someone else in the direction of those two poems or to listen to them sung by singers who really add depth to the stories behind the words.
An entry I chose to include in my newsletter for Christmas of 2011 follows:
“ ‘My Christmas Story for 2011’ – from Chase
“On Thursday, December 8, 2011, I was returning to Walgreens, because I had left my credit card there and was anxious that I hadn’t lost it. About an hour earlier, nobody was ringing a bell for Salvation Army, but this time, a young fellow was standing in front of the store. Between rings of the bell, I thanked him for being there for all of us.
“He pleasantly responded. After retrieving my lost credit card and feeling relieved, I exited the store and commented to him that what I put into the box was meant to have been done anonymously. He said, ‘It is, because I don’t know you and in a few minutes I will forget you.’ Teasingly, I said, ‘Don’t go that far.’
“It was at that moment that I realized that there was a definite purpose for my return to that store. He said, ‘Personally, I don’t care about the money at all; that’s not my motive for being here. The reason I enjoy being here is when I can do something like I did with you. You smiled and I knew I made your day a little better.’ He went on to say, ‘It’s a gift that when you give it away, you get it back. Two people are both given the gift. The gift; the gift is a smile.’
“I was almost in tears when I got back to my car, because before this, I wasn’t wanting to back-track where I’d already been and was worried that I wouldn’t locate my lost credit card. The realization of the gift I received was priceless, and God had been providing me with yet another God-incidence (not co-incidence). I told the young fellow to keep sharing his gift and I would start sharing it, too.
Auctions: They can be so much fun and one can walk away with some really good bargains. I haven’t been to an auction in quite a few years, but I’ll never forget how much entertainment I enjoyed by attending them. Before the auction begins, it’s good to look at what items are going up for bid and see if there are any defects or benefits that might not be easily seen later from the audience area.
Be sure to not show too much interest in any possible item that you want to obtain, because that interest can and often does attract others who may have not had any prior interest in it. Keep this same attitude when bidding on an item to avoid others from raising the bid. Getting empathy from the audience is good, too, because they will be so happy for you when your final bid obtains the auctioned item.
One time, I really needed to find a sofa but ended up with two of them. I sure didn’t need the second one, but the final cost for both items was so good that I knew I’d made the right decision. Before leaving the auction place, someone offered to pay me more than I paid for the second sofa; so, I really came out on the winning side.
Always remember to not raise your hand for any reason, unless making a bid, during the auction, because you may be taking home something you really didn’t want. This includes scratching your face or rubbing your forehead.
Learning to budget can be quite challenging but worth the effort. At one time, I was so poor that I was living on food stamps and had a very small amount of money for rent, etc. What I learned to do was to save a third of whatever I received. By doing this, within three months, I would have accumulated another full month of financial provision. After six months, there would be an additional month of savings. This can be done with any level of income. When it’s the only way to make ends meet for survival, bargain shopping can be easily learned. Being poor can be a great benefit in the long-term range, because what is learned from it will last a lifetime.
I’d like to share this next entry with you about praying without words, because it means so much to me:
The following lesson came from a psychologist who asked me if I had ever prayed without words. Since I hadn’t done this before, I asked him how to do it. He had me close my eyes and sit very quietly and picture my heart as a beautiful rosebud.
As he talked me through the scenario (very slowly), he had me visualize the rose starting very, very slowly to open into a full-blooming, beautiful, red rose. When the rose fully opened, I started to laugh and then apologized. He said that laughter was a normal response. I felt so good about that experience. That was over a couple of decades ago.
Several years ago, one of my dearest and closest friends shared something with me, and I very quickly added it to my way of responding to a prayer request. She suggested that when someone has a need for prayer to not put it off by thinking or saying, “I’ll pray for him or her later.” Instead, pray for that person right now.
By the prayer being delayed, it may cause the prayer to be forgotten; however, doing it right now (without any hesitation) accomplishes the needed prayer. Some of my closest friends have been doing this ever since I told them about it, and I encourage you (my new or old friend) to do the same. It really feels so good, and the person mentioning the need for prayer gets to observe this and participate, too.
I’d like to share an example: One of my friends told me that he was waiting for some medical test results, and he was quite concerned. I said I’m going to pray for you, and I want to do it right now. As I verbally prayed for him, I could sense the closeness of God being with us. Two weeks later, he told me that his test results came back really good. I prayed again, thanking our Lord for blessing my friend and for helping him. Regardless of the results, Prayer Changes Things.
Regarding Prayer Changes Things, this was a poster of my mom’s and the first thing I recall of reading that had a really big impact on me. That was well over 60 years ago, and it still has a very big impact on me, today. The poster was purple with words that were written in silver with glitter – very sparkly.
My dreams and unusual occurrences follow: When I was still in grade school, our family went to visit my paternal grandmother in Lincoln, Nebraska. Grandma was in the hospital, and we stayed at her house. Mom awoke from the bedroom and heard a scratching sound; she thought it might be a mouse or a rat; however, the louder the scratching got, she thought it might be an animal that had escaped from the city zoo.
During this time, I had been sleeping on a fold-out couch in the living room, but instead of getting out on the right side of it (heading for the bathroom), I got out on the other side and was blocked in with the wall on that side. I think I still may have been sleeping but not sure – definitely, I was trying to find my way out of that area. Mom was sure relieved, though, when she turned on the lights and saw what had happened, from seeing me scratching at the wall.
Prior to becoming a teenager, I remember really enjoying getting ready to go to sleep, because I could hardly wait to see what dream or dreams would appear. I don’t think I ever told anyone about this at that time. My dreams were so much fun, but this particular one, that I recall, may have been the one that caused me to stop with the enthusiasm – not from my own fear, though.
In this particular dream, I knew that I was dreaming. The dream was that some man or a group of men had put a noose around my neck and were planning to hang me. In the dream, I said, “You can’t kill me, because this is just a dream.” The next thing I knew was that I was opening my eyes and seeing my mom and dad at my bedside. They were quite concerned about me and asked me if I was OK. I said, “Yes, I just had a dream and was waking up from it.”
Here’s the twist: Mom and dad heard me screaming is why they came into my room to awaken me. To me, I was awakening totally on my own – with absolutely no fear at all. All of these years later, I wonder if my scream was my way of making sure that I would wake up, because, within the dream itself, I had absolutely no fear of dying.
In the mid 1960s (when I was living in Denver, Colorado), I awoke one morning but didn’t remember going to bed the night before. Above the garage of a boarding house, I lived with two other guys – we all had separate bedrooms there, and it was furnished like a 3-bedroom apartment.
After talking with them, the next day, and mentally putting things together, I came to this conclusion: I was in my bedroom (probably studying) and fell asleep fully dressed (because one of the guys saw me come out of my room and go into the bathroom), but I was still asleep. Then, I got ready for bed and had my clothes laid out for the next day – exactly the way that only I would lay them out – and went to bed (all of this happened while I was asleep). I don’t think I ever experienced anything before or since that resembles that. I know I was really tired and never had a history of sleep walking.
Back in the late 1960s, I dreamed that I had been driving, and to this day, I still wonder if I actually drove some place while I was sleeping. One thing for sure, I knew I hadn’t been drinking when it happened, and I continue to be very grateful for that. It was probably only a dream, but it was so vivid is what caused me to really wonder about it.
Dreaming in color is something I have done, but I’m not sure about the percentage of my dreams that are only in black and white. I had heard if someone dreams of falling and actually lands, that the person dies while asleep. I realize how absurd that sounds, because it would be highly improbable (or more likely impossible) to confirm that statement if that really occurred. My experience, of only one time (that I can recall), is that I dreamed I was falling from the top of a very high set of bleachers in a gymnasium. In the dream, I landed before I awoke. It felt like being a feather that had landed, and there was no jolt or sudden crash-to-the-floor feeling. That was many years ago, and I’m still alive to tell about it. (That statement requires a smile.)
My previous experience with reading the cards follows: When I lived in Denver, Colorado (1964-1966), someone had told me that she read cards, but I don’t think she ever read mine; however, her telling about it peaked my curiosity. For years, I really tried to find the board and the book that she had explained to me. Gong Hee Fot Choy is the name of it. I searched and searched for this item, but I couldn’t find it in Okinawa nor in any other place I had been prior to coming to Tucson, Arizona.
In the early 1970s while working at a convenience store, one of my customers told me that she had just read her cards and when she said the name, I almost collapsed, because of my interest in it. A few years later, I found the book and the board at a book store, with instructions for laying out the cards. I would read cards for others and for myself, back then, for a number of years.
The reason I quit reading the cards is because what was revealed appeared to be really too accurate. It did help me to avoid a bad car accident one time, because I had the warning to watch out for something bad that was waiting for me.
In the autumn of 1979, when I was attending group therapy, a psychologist told me to tell my dream from other perspectives and not just from my own being of telling my dream. In that particular dream, I remember there was a woman (of a different nationality) who was supposedly my mother; so, he had me tell the dream from her point of view. It also had a piece of paper that was thrown into a trash can; so, he had me tell the dream from the viewpoint of the trash can and also from the viewpoint of the paper that was being thrown away. The dream was quite revealing after I told the other versions of that dream. That lesson has stayed with me.
One time when I was visiting my parents, I thought I could be helpful with what I thought would be an easy home repair. A faucet that protruded from the wall in the basement had a little leak. I thought I’d simply use a piece of Teflon tape to seal the leak. As I was unscrewing the faucet handle, I turned it one iota more than I wanted.
The next thing to occur was water gushing and spurting all over the place. Because of the severe water pressure, I was totally unable to reattach the faucet handle. Needless to say, I was getting totally drenched. I knew that I needed another way to shut off the water.
I yelled for my dad, and he told me that he would have mom phone someone else for assistance. Strangely, turning off the valve to the house wasn’t going to be a quick fix.
Using buckets for several hours, dad and I baled lots of water. We had discovered a relay system that made it more exciting; otherwise the flooding would have been horrible. After the water was turned off, the Teflon tape and the faucet handle reconnected perfectly and no more leak. Dad sure had a good laugh when he first saw me, because of my looking like a soaked rat.
On another occasion, I was so happy that I could be home for my dad’s 70th birthday on September 19, 1991. I arrived before that day, but I’ll never forget the very early hours of his special day. Mom and dad were sleeping, and I was still awake. I’ve
always been a night owl (meaning that I stay up very late).
After my flushing the toilet, it started overflowing. I began to panic and didn’t know what to do. Once again, I yelled for my dad. I told him that I hated to have him come to my rescue on his birthday, but I felt totally helpless. Watching my dad solve the problem, I learned what to do in the future. I’m hoping that something like this doesn’t happen on August 15th of this year (2016 – my 70th birthday – 25 years later).
I want to share another one of these adventures, but this time, mom came to my rescue. I had just turned off the lights and was planning to go to sleep. In bed, I could hear a sound around the headboard area but couldn’t determine if it might be my imagination. This really bothered me. I got up and went to the other bedroom and quietly asked mom if she could help me solve the situation.
Together, we listened for a few minutes, and then…. Get ready to laugh, because it wasn’t what I had expected. Here it is: a mouse ran out from the headboard area and scurried into the closet and through a small hole in the floor area. Mom told me to watch that the mouse didn’t return and she had a solution.
Quickly, mom came back with some steel wool and pushed it into the hole where the mouse had escaped. She said, “No more to the mouse coming back.” She was right. After that experience, we both had such a good laugh. Also, I was relieved that my imagination hadn’t gotten the best of me.
Good times or bad times, our family treasured knowing that we could depend on each other. Mom told me that I would always be welcome to come home, and dad agreed. I sure do miss mom and dad, but I sense that they are smiling from heaven.
Mom wrote letters to me every week and made sure that we had phone calls at least twice a week. After mom went to heaven, Dad carried on her tradition. He made sure that we remained a very close family. They both danced together in their elderly years; they created some of their own routines on the dance floor. It was such a joy to watch them. Dad continued dancing after mom went to heaven.
In our twice-a-week phone visits (Wednesday and later changed to Tuesday afternoons when I phoned dad and Saturday late nights when dad phoned me), dad and I would almost always end our conversations with singing together part of “Happy Trails to You” and added our own words to it: “Happy trails to you until we meet again. Happy trails to you. You’re my dad (my son from dad) and special kin (or similar). Happy trails to you ‘til we chat again” (on the phone).
At 92, dad still had a really good singing voice, and I really enjoyed getting to sing with him. After that, we would each say to each other: “I love you son” from him and “I love you dad” from me – as well as: “Wonderful, wonderful; keep a song in your heart; our three LOL definitions – lots of love, lots of laughter, and laughing out loud; happy neats (my baby words for happy dreams); sweet dreams (from our special friend Blondie and her mom); oink, oink (my made-up definition for best wishes to you) and either toodles or toodle-oo.” We both really enjoyed our phone visits.
Dad and I (though many miles apart) really enjoyed watching and sharing together some of the same TV programs. They included: The Lawrence Welk Show and the syndicated series of it; Survivor (every single episode from the very first episode), America’s Got Talent, Blue Bloods, Undercover Boss, Nashville, and The Voice. Also, we enjoyed these previous TV series when they were first being aired: Everwood, Brothers and Sisters, Revenge, and our favorite soap opera Another World (and again when it was being temporarily re-aired by a different network).
In an early-morning phone visit with dad on March 1, 2014, six days before his death, we had a really good heart-to-heart conversation. Dad said to me: “I’m gonna crowd into heaven before you, but there’s still space for you. I wanted to tell you that I love you one last time before I take that chariot ride to heaven.” He further said, “I want to get to heaven to get out of that snow.” Also, he agreed with me that he would tell mom that when he gets there.
I asked dad to save a place for me in heaven, and he said, “I will.” He said specifically to give his love to Carol – my neighbor. I asked dad to tell mom that Warren and I are getting along better than we ever have.
Receiving his encouragement during this time, my brother Warren told me that we Pray for the best and prepare for the worst. Thank you, Warren, for being my brother and for your comforting words.
Here are two quotes from dad regarding my internet family of friends:
“They sure don’t leave me out.”
“They include me like I’m one of the family.”
My dad went to heaven on March 7, 2014 (Friday), at the Haxtun Hospital and is buried next to my mom at the Haxtun Cemetery in Haxtun, Colorado. I am so very grateful that I was able to attend dad’s funeral and speak a little bit about dad on behalf of our family. My brother Warren and I had some brotherly-bonding moments before, during, and after the service. I’ll never be able to express enough appreciation to Warren’s daughter Cindy and her special guy David (since then he’s her husband) for the in-town traveling and for making sure that everyone had a really good meal before our departures from the gathering. Again, thank you Cindy and David.
Next, I want to share two prayers that are very special to me, and they are the prayers from mom and dad. I think you will treasure them, too.
Mom’s Prayer: “Dear Lord, please be with the sorrowing and the suffering – both near and far – and whether we know them or not. Please comfort them and provide them with their needs. You know what their needs are better than we do. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
Dad’s Prayer: “God (or Father in heaven), I’m thankful for this day, and I’m thankful for food, drink and nourishment. I Pray that this day I may do some good for someone and others and that intentionally I do not hurt someone physically or mentally. God be with anyone wherever they are at, be with those in hospitals, sickbeds, trouble, sin, sorrow, and bereaving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I have very special memories of traveling back home to Haxtun, Colorado, to attend several of my high school reunions. There is nothing like being able to reunite with my classmates from our graduating class of 1964. I was really sad that I couldn’t make it to our 10-year reunion, but I was truly blessed to be able to attend our 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50-year reunions.
At the end of September of 2014, I drove from Tucson, Arizona, to Haxtun, Colorado, to attend my 50-year high school reunion. There were 23 of us from our class who were able to attend the reunion. Fourteen classmates had passed away since we graduated. We always included others in our class who were with us for part of the 12 years of school but had moved away before graduation. There were only 39 names that appeared as graduates on our 1964 graduation brochure.
There were 21 of us who rode together in Haxtun’s annual Corn Festival parade. It was held the same day as our reunion. It was so much fun being with everyone on a flat-bed that had chairs set up for us. Getting to throw candy to the little ones (watching the parade from the sidewalks) was beyond words.
I prepared a list of names of our classmates throughout the 12 years of our being together. I had researched obituaries and other records to locate the dates of those who had passed away and listed those names in both chronological and alphabetical order. I handed out these lists at out reunion and read the names of those in heaven at our reunion dinner during a moment of silence.
It was so enjoyable getting to be with friends who I had not seen for such a long time. Sandy and Bob came to Haxtun from Wray to visit with me during Corn Festival. Bob and I have known each other since around the age of two, and I met Sandy when they were dating in Denver, Colorado. It was so much fun being with them and reminiscing the past. My brother Warren was at his home for another family celebration; so, we only spent a little time together before and after my reunion. Regardless of the amount of time, getting to visit with my brother is quality time, and that means a lot to me.
On April 1, 2015, I had so much fun (like I do every year on April Fools’ Day) that I decided to share some of my pranks with some bus drivers as I was getting on the buses. The first one was my saying, “Please wait for 15 minutes, because Clarence the clown is going to join us, today.” The bus driver asked me, “Who?” I said, “You know – Clarence the clown” (an unknown character and totally made up by me, but I didn’t tell him that). He very politely said, “I can’t wait that long.” I chuckled and asked him, “What day is it, today?” Then, he got the message. April Fools’ Day can be so much fun!!
With the next bus driver, I told her, “I think it’s just awful that an elderly lady boarding another bus with a pig had to pay a double fare for the pig.” I said, “I can’t understand why she’d have to pay a fare for the pig when people with dogs don’t have to pay extra for the dogs to ride with them.” She told me that the woman shouldn’t have had to pay for that. I asked her if she knew what today was, and the laughter followed rather quickly.
The next day, I told both bus drivers, respectively, that I wanted to make amends and that Clarence the clown wouldn’t be riding the bus, today, and that the piggy stayed home, today. They seemed to have had as much fun with it as I did. There were more of my little pranks with people before my regular attendance at a meeting and at home with my neighbors. I had lots of fun teasing and sharing the joy. Of course, it’s an annual tradition for me.
On April 3, 2015, Good Friday, in the evening, I decided to share my testimony with 71 families and individuals. Here’s the letter that I wrote:
“Hello ‘Family Of Friends,’
“I hope that each and every one of you have a very Happy Easter. I’ve been reflecting on what Easter means to me and what it was like when I was a kid and ever since.
“Mom would always make sure that my brother Warren and I had plenty of Easter surprises to find hidden throughout the house and outside. Easter was so wonderful – including what came next: our whole family would sit together during the Easter Service at church. I sure do miss those special times.
“At the age of 20, I was stationed at Kadena Air Base, in Okinawa, and I shared reel-to-reel tapes with my family and friends. The year was 1967 when I recorded what I want to share with you, now – 48 years later.
“If you would like to go back with me in spirit, I’d love to share with you my Easter gift for 2015 – my testimony which lives on, today.
“Love and Happy Easter,
“Chase” (Note: This included a 4-minute audio recording from 1967 of my sharing my testimony and about my love for the Lord.)
Sometimes, something very unexpected arrives and today was one of those occasions (the day before Easter, April 4, 2015). Rick (a friend on the Internet) wrote on a message board: “Chase, no one on this newsgroup is kinder and more polite than you.” Another gal (Cee) wrote that she agreed. Their comments really touched my heart. Our group primarily discusses Days Of Our Lives. It’s a soap opera that has been on the air since 1965 – (updated in 2016) for over 50 years.
On June 30, 2015, at the age of 68, I had quite an exciting experience shortly after boarding a city bus. The bus was quite full, but in the very back part of the bus, a young couple were sitting together. They had their three-month puppy sitting beside them. The young gal picked up her little doggy and told me that I could sit there, beside her, as she held the puppy.
I thanked her and lightly petted the puppy. It started reaching for me and licking me; it acted like we were the best of friends. It was making sounds that sounded like it was actually talking. Other passengers started favorably commenting about the little doggy, the couple, and me. The gal holding the pup told me that it talks to lots of people and likes people, but she had never seen him so favorably react the way that he reacted to me.
She asked if I had pets, and I said that I haven’t had any pets for many years. I told her that I was quite happy about her and her boyfriend sharing the little dog with me. It was quite amazing the way the pup was talking – almost like words, and I felt totally loved by him.
The other passengers were so happy and smiling and talking among the group of us in the back part of the bus – an experience that I wish everyone could experience – love beyond measure. It was all so innocent and totally unexpected from all of us.
On July 23, 2015, Thursday, I was at the VA Hospital Nuclear Medicine Department with Nurse Kathy and Technician Dave for a chemical heart stress test. Nurse Kathy even kissed my forehead after she fed me. She had previously asked if she could do anything else for me and I teased her by saying, “a kiss.”
That was so special of her and so was being able to be treated so early (an hour and a half before my scheduled appointment). Technician Dave showed me pictures of my heart and said that I may have had a small heart attack or something in the past and that I will be notified by phone by a doctor after the cardiologist has examined my tests (within two or three days).
They treated me so good and made me as comfortable as possible while I was there. I have no idea of having any heart problems or a possible small heart attack in my past. At this age of 68, I am learning more and more about living in heaven on earth, and this day was definitely one of those days of excellent weather and with angels all around.
My friend Dennis (who has been in heaven for a little while) told me years ago that his girlfriend Jeanie (I knew and loved her, too) used to say to him, “Angels all around.” She would say this at the end of their prayers, and she even said it to him, on her death bed, before her passing away at the hospital.
The following Monday, July 27th, I had pulmonary function testing completed at the VA Hospital, and three days later, Thursday, July 30th, I was informed that my doctor had diagnosed the information as mild COPD. I don’t recall of having any breathing problems until just a few months before this diagnosis.
For Christmas of 2015, I decorated my balcony by stringing wires into a tree of lights. This is an annual tradition I have maintained since the 1970s of displaying a tree completely made of lights. This year, though, was my biggest display – consisting of 1680 miniature (chasing) bulbs. It always feels so good when I hear others tell about how much they enjoy seeing it.
When I took down the wires and the lights on January 5, 2016, I was so happy that every bulb remained working ever since the first day of December – this was a first for me to not have to replace any bulbs throughout the entire time they were displayed.
From little kid all the way until my dad went to heaven, I have such warm and happy memories of how dad had a really wonderful gift of being able to whistle to music. He was really good at it, but he seemed very shy when asked to whistle. I still remember almost begging him to whistle, because I really enjoyed his excellent talent.
Thinking back, through the years, I remember seeing my mom’s inner joy and what was often recognized by little ones when they saw the flower in her hair. She almost always wore a flower in her hair in her later adult years. Lots of people would comment on how nice it was that she wore a flower in her hair.
One year (a few years before she went to heaven), when I was home for her birthday, I knew exactly what I wanted to give mom for her very special day. I went to the artificial flowers department in one of the stores and found all kinds of miniature flowers that would be perfect for her hair.
I can still recall the joy when she opened her gifts and found each flower or group of flowers that I had wrapped for her. She was astonished that I could find them, and she was so happy. Those moments in life are the kind of moments that last forever and are so wonderful to recall.
My words of encouragement and my asking for them when I need that encouragement are derived from learned quotes throughout the years. One I use most frequently is this one: “This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.” Yes, I mentioned it three times.
When I’m worried about something or if something negative is possibly coming, I ask a close friend to do this: “Please tell me my favorite four words three times.” The friend will say, “This too shall pass” three times. The reason I request three times is because by the third time that I get to hear those words, I truly believe that whoever is saying them really believes that it will pass. In time (sometimes a very short time), I will go through the full process. It starts with my merely believing that someone else thinks whatever it is will pass (this starts my process of hope). Next, I start to believe it will pass; then, gradually, I get to be able to fully believe that it will pass. Finally, it does pass (time is often hard to determine, but this makes it so much easier for me to feel encouraged that some crisis isn’t going to last forever).
For well over 50 years, The Upper Room, a devotional magazine, has been part of my life. It is something I read on a daily basis. The magazine contains a lot of spiritual information that has been shared by people from all over the world. These people submit the daily personal stories that include a prayer with other details of inspiration. Ever since I was a kid, mom and dad always had a copy of this magazine in our home.
This is not a commercial, but it’s something that I can’t resist sharing; it’s about a bar of soap. Fels-Naptha is a heavy duty laundry bar soap that’s been around for decades and has a purpose that isn’t widely known. It’s excellent for taking the itch and agony away from bug bites. A number of years ago, I had over 40 ant or chigger bites on my legs and bought a bar of this soap, wet it, and rubbed the wet bar all over the bites. Shortly after this process, I was very relieved from the discomfort. A few years later, another friend (Jim) got bit by ants, and I gave him a chunk from my bar of soap, and he got the same relief. In 2015, I was so happy to find this item is still being sold, and I purchased more of these bars of soap from Walgreens for $1.99 each. In 2016, the price has remained the same.
As I’m writing this particular entry today; it’s Monday, March 7, 2016. Two years ago today, my dad went to heaven, and I still miss him and often think of him. People could always tell that my dad and I were father and son by our appearance. I still treasure this gift from the past.
This next item might benefit others, because it sure has helped me. It’s my way of telling about a gratitude list. it’s simply a list of things that I am grateful for having. For instance, it could go something like this: “I’m grateful to have fingers and toes. I’m grateful for being able to sing, to dance, to walk, to skip, to run (when necessary), and to smile. I’m grateful for having a loving God who carries me when I’m afraid and when I’m worried. I’m grateful for caring and compassionate friends.”
Now, here’s where I play a little trick of reverse psychology for myself. I tell myself that I’m either going to get grateful right now or I’m going to have to write a gratitude list. I tend to get lazy and don’t like to go hunting for the right piece of paper and the right pen to get started in writing my gratitude list. I sense that it’s so much easier just to become grateful right now. That works!! I’ve done it for many years, and I hope this will also be a great benefit to others.
I can’t control very many things, but, if I really want to feel grateful, I can do it – and when all else fails, I get out the pen and paper and eventually the gratitude comes – it has to do that – after seeing all of the things I’m blessed with having.
Now, onto another situation that causes me to ask myself, “Why is this?” A friend once told me that if he had to explain a joke to me, the joke wasn’t worth telling. Reflecting on this comment has helped me to realize that sometimes I can be very slow in understanding a joke or situation that others might understand rather quickly. This isn’t most of the time, but it does occur more often than I would like.
I’m sure everyone has noticed, at times, in a movie theater that almost the entire audience is laughing at something that has occurred. Then, there’s that little space of time where the laughter has stopped and way off in the distance, someone else (all alone) starts laughing. I think it’s at that moment that I realize what everyone else had been enjoying that went way over my head during that previous moment.
If you spot it, you got it is a phrase I have heard from numerous people. In the past, I knew what that meant in regard to negative behavior. For instance, spotting someone who is controlling a situation reflects back on my controlling tactics.
One day, I decided to look at that experience in a new way – like looking into a mirror. Since I could see the negative, I decided to look for the positive. What I discovered is that it works exactly the same way. When I see a really good trait in someone else, I also have that trait; or, I wouldn’t be able to notice it.
Thinking back to some very happy moments, I remember presenting my mom and dad with their very first color television set and their first microwave oven. They did so much for my brother and me throughout the years that I will never be able to repay to anyone. The unconditional love and always being told that I could always come home at any time in my life are treasures beyond measure.
At a place where many of my friends and acquaintances get together, one time I was seated with a vacant chair next to me. As one of my newer friends arrived, I told him that I had been saving that chair for him (though I was saving the chair, I don’t recall the details and wasn’t specifically thinking of him). He sat down in the chair next to me. A little bit time of time had passed before he told me about his situation prior to this incident.
Hank said that he had been extremely suicidal and wasn’t planning on staying for the event, that evening, but he had stopped there for some other reason. He told me that after I had mentioned the chair being saved for him, he was inclined to stay. His attitude had changed for some reason, that night, and he lived for more than 25 years after this incident. Hank was such a wonderful person, and he helped countless people throughout his life (he went to heaven in May of 2016).
The reason I want to share this God-incident is because saving that chair for him (even if I didn’t know why I was saving it during that time) turned out to be a lifesaving occurrence. Ever since that night, I have often told others, “I’ve been saving this chair for you.” It even has great results when someone on a bus sits down beside me.
Try it, and I think you will like it.
Looking back at my life, I am so very grateful that God never allowed me to end my own life. I had made many attempts before the age of 40, and I can’t even comprehend how much of a burden that was for those who loved me. Ever since the age of 39, I have treasured living and have never wanted to return to that door to suicide that God helped me to close.
My friend Dotti (she has been in heaven for a long time, now) told me that I would never know how many sleepless nights she had from wondering if I would be alive the next day. She must be smiling from heaven at knowing that my life has been totally changed, these past 30 years. Dotti was the one who talked me into getting professional assistance when I needed it the most.
Betty was one of my favorite-of-all-time co-workers. I could tell her anything and everything. I think what I’m sharing, now, was my very last attempt at suicide. I told her that I had made the attempt with using gas fumes the night before and was so angry that I awoke and didn’t succeed. A tear rolled down Betty’s face.
I was so shocked and asked her, “Are you crying?” She responded that, of course, she was, and it was because she didn’t want me to die. I can still feel what that sudden shock felt like, finally, realizing how much I had been so selfish and so self-absorbed. It’s horrible to not realize the impact this behavior has on loved ones. It is heart breaking to know that they had to endure something like that. That was a real wake-up call.
I sure do miss Betty and our many fun times together and will always hold a special place in my heart for her. Looking back, she was also very instrumental in my getting the help I needed to turn my life around.
I’ve omitted writing about some of the other suicide attempts during my 30s, but I’m really grateful that I closed that door and no longer live that way.
Throughout the years, I saved many of my collections (stamps, books, personally taped VCR and reel-to-reel tapes, music, movies, personal records, family history, etc.). At the age of 69 (almost 70), I am really realizing that it’s way past time for me to down size; many people would consider some of this to be clutter. I’m wondering why I thought I would be saving all of these items – especially since I have no descendants on my side of our family tree.
Being a Leo has given me some traits that seem to follow what I have observed in other Leos. The reason I share this is because most Leo people who I know are very calm, until there is a major storm. When that happens, they can roar like a lion. I am that same way, but I’m so grateful that I don’t roar very frequently. I’m not in love with anyone and haven’t been for many years; however, another Leo once told me that Leos are the only sign of the zodiac who can sound like a purring kitten when they are with a loved one. Regarding this, I think more research needs to be done. I’ll leave it at that. (Smile.)
Many years ago, my wonderful friend Skip told me that I had climbed to the top of the mountain and roared like a lion. That felt perfect at the time, and I have enjoyed knowing that a roar can be a really good thing when done correctly and at the right time in life.
Many years ago, a friend told me the reason that God put people on earth was for us to help each other. I have treasured those words for many years, and those words have given me hope. Many times, I have told someone who was going through a challenging time that one day that experience would become their greatest joy when that person could give someone else hope who would go through it at a later time.
Some of my darkest moments seemed to be the worst times in my life until I could offer hope to someone else; then, they became my greatest gifts. For instance, I’ve been to the gates of hell with suicide attempts, and I know I will never ever go there, again. I’ve been able to offer hope to others to come away from that hell, too, and to lock that door – regardless of the pain we face or endure. It’s been more than three decades of freedom from my being suicidal.
Before going into the history of my living with migraines, I want to very strongly stress that this information is not intended to contain any kind of medical or legal advice. Please seek professional medical supervision regarding any medical procedures. Headaches, migraines, and possibly NDPH (new daily persistent headache) are types of pain that I have experienced.
Regarding the duration of my head pain, I am sharing this for the purpose of anyone else who may suffer with it. The details are rather extreme, and please pardon me if this part seems lengthy.
A regular headache never seemed to really be a problem, because it would be short in duration and usually not severe. I would occasionally get one in childhood and as a very young adult.
When I was in my early 20s, I experienced my first migraine and would only get one a few times a year. In my 30s, the migraines came more frequently. They were always very intense and caused me to want to lay down as soon as possible and avoid noises and especially any kind of light. I always looked forward to that kind of pain going away.
In my 40s and 50s, they progressed to almost a daily basis. For a period of time, I would give myself a medically prescribed Imitrex shot that would remove one migraine, but the next migraine would occur quite soon – the next day or soon after that. The prescribed maximum number of shots, for me, was four a month; so, I had to force myself to learn to live with the migraines.
At the age of 60, on October 27, 2006, I awoke with a pain that was more intense, and I knew it wasn’t my regular migraine, because the pain was almost unbearable. The area of the pain was directly above my left eyebrow, and it remained there for over four years – every day, with the exception of four days in January of 2007. I still don’t know what allowed me to have those four days of being without pain. During all four years of that specific pain, I tried so many things to relieve the pain, but nothing seemed to help. I had a very bad sinus infection that would have required surgery if medication and prayers hadn’t changed that status (but the pain remained the same even after the sinus problem ended). I was given several antibiotics, prednisone burst, and even a steroid nasal spray; so, I don’t know if the medication or the prayers or both were the solution for resolving the sinus infection. The following CT scan indicated the change and surgery was totally ruled out at that time. The amazing thing is that I felt little or no pain from the sinus problems, because the head pain masked any other pain.
I had MRI’s, CT scans, and X-rays that revealed no hope for finding a solution. In addition to many, many medication attempts, using a TENS unit, even Botox injections, nothing brought me relief. The pain was always extreme and really intensified if I coughed or stood up after bending down to pick up something. About the only real relief was when I was asleep. It felt like an infection or poison in my forehead that had a life of its own – pulsating or breathing constantly. I often thought about going to the emergency room, but I kept hoping for a miracle instead. I prayed and prayed lots and realized that so many others (even people I didn’t know) were continuing to pray for me.
Finally, it dawned on me why I was having this pain, and I realized that if I could learn how to either get well or learn better ways to survive, that I would possibly be able to help someone else. Even if only one other person could avoid this agony, every single day of this pain would have been well worth it.
I used a dental-fitted plate for possible TMJ problems over the years (to no avail). When I first had the extreme head pain and out of desperation, I had a tooth pulled (hoping that would solve the problem) and then total dental work – deep scaling, etc., but none of that relieved any of the pain. I had seen many neurologists and ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialists and surgeons but to no avail. I even had my hearing tested – excellent hearing – so that wasn’t a cause.
I went to an allergy clinic to be tested for all kinds of allergies – all of those came back negative or not a possible cause for any type of head pain. Home remedies upon home remedies gave me some hope (and still do give me hope), but they didn’t resolve the pain, either.
Even though, I had been to two chiropractors for the migraines a number of years ago (and they were unable to remove the migraines at that time), I decided that since this was a different kind of pain, it was worth checking into, again. A good friend told me about her chiropractor who had helped her so much for the past two years that I decided to make an appointment to consult with him. I had never met a doctor who had been able to give me hope in the way that he did. Even on one of my lowest days, he mentioned the word prayer, and he expressed compassion for my pain and told me that he wasn’t giving up hope on resolving my pain. I had been told to put ice packs on the back of my head – 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off while in early treatment. This helped some but didn’t eliminate the pain.
A neurologist wanted me to endure the side effects from Topamax (25 MG 2 times a day – morning and night), and after 13 days of total anguish, it was too much to endure. My thinking was distorted with tingling in my fingers and toes and being unable to complete sentences properly and feeling like I was losing my mind – some of the symptoms. Also, at the end, I could hardly speak clearly and cried and paced the floor from not knowing what I could do. Recovery from that seemed too long, but I was grateful to have it out of my system, and I really struggled to get back to my original state. The head pain didn’t decrease during any of that time.
Next, I was prescribed 250 MG of Depakote for one tablet at bedtime and eventually to increase, but I took that process very slowly and with medical direction. The Depakote didn’t help and after 12 days, I started to experience what I had experienced before with the medication turning against me.
For a number of weeks, I had acupuncture treatments in my ears, but that didn’t seem to bring any relief. A nerve block was previously scheduled for the end of November of 2008, but that required a referral to a different doctor and then he referred me to another one; then, even more waiting for a referral to yet another doctor.
In January of 2009, I was prescribed a 700 MG Lidocaine patch to put over the pain area for 12 hours on and 12 hours off each day, but it didn’t relieve any of my pain.
From the end of January and through February of 2009, I endured three series of nerve block injections in the area of my pain; these were 2 weeks apart. The first encounter provided a few hours of relief that evening (the ONLY relief that I had in over two years), but the pain returned. The second and third encounters didn’t provide any relief.
In early March of 2009, the pain would awaken me and made it extremely difficult to endure it. At the end of March and in early April (after much red tape for getting medical approval), I was given two series of diagnostic Facet Joint Blocks, but neither of these relieved the pain. This was a more extensive procedure and the injections were in the back left area of my head – around the top section of my spine (as I understood it) – instead of directly where the pain was located. Since so much had been done to no avail, I was told that even in an emergency room situation, it probably wouldn’t benefit me at all by going there.
In mid April of 2009, I was medically given information about spinal cord stimulation – a pace maker type of device – to manage pain. That seemed to give me a little hope until I realized the risks and the very low possibility of it helping me. Some of the procedures would require getting psychiatric approval and then going through a two-part operation in which thin electrode leads are placed under the skin at the back of the neck.
Then, after the experimental stage, I would need to return for another procedure in which a neurostimulator would be inserted into the lower part of the back (under the skin) and some other gadget would be used for controlling it. I decided against having to experiment with that procedure.
On March 10, 2010, (as a continuation) the head pain still persisted every day, and I continued to limit my activities to the minimum.
On November 6, 2010, I had a very scary incident from the presence of blood when I coughed (no idea how or why). I prayed and then I called a very close friend who is also a minister and asked him to pray for me. No more bleeding occurred after that. Two days later, on November 8th, I had my very first day of no head pain in several years and that lasted for 18 days. On November 26th, I had a very bad 2-day migraine. From that time through May of 2011, the migraines were arriving only several times a month. It was great to have temporary freedom from the pain.
In June and July of 2011, the head pain was becoming quite frequent but not daily until the middle of July. From July 15, 2011, until almost half way through 2013, I did not have a pain-free day. The block of pain increased in the area from above my left eyebrow to include some of the area around my left eye.
This is the full detail of my journey through major head pain in hopes that it may benefit at least one other person.
I may or may not have had NDPH (new daily persistent headache), but like the people who suffer with it, I know the exact day that the specific pain started and that there was some connection to a sinus infection either before or around that time. It has been one of the biggest mysteries of my life.
My encouragement is to never completely give up hope, and if it seems to be hopeless, at least pull on the hope from others who love you. If needed, please pull on my hope for you.
Pray lots – sometimes it helps to pray for someone else and to focus on wanting the best for that person. Meanwhile, let others know that you want prayers, and amazingly, I’ve found that they ask others to pray for us. Many of those who have prayed for me, I’ve never met, and I may never have that opportunity. That also gave me additional incentive to want to get well to show them that their prayers were being answered. I’ve learned that when the answer to prayer is no or not now, that is one way for others to continue to pray – who might not be praying, otherwise. Others may be growing spiritually, and because of our being in pain, they learn how to pray more intensely. Also, as they see that we aren’t giving up hope, they don’t either.
Yes, I’ve been learning very slowly, but there are lots of gifts that come from experiences that not everyone gets to encounter – except by observing a possibly very long process. One thing I really dread is letting loved ones see me when I am in extreme pain, but there is another very special bond that occurs even from that.
Next, I’m going to list some things that may or may not relieve head pain, but what a relief it would be if any one of these proves to be helpful to one of you (who are reading this) or to someone else.
Here’s one from many years ago that my maternal grandpa used, and my mom told me about it: Soak your feet in a basin or tub of hot water; make the water as hot as you can endure, but don’t burn yourself. This may draw the pain away from your head.
My friend Dixie said she was reading some home remedies about headaches and wrote the following:
“Have you tried cold compresses to relieve your pain?
“The pamphlet says to make a ‘slushy’ ice pack: Mix one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water in a zip-lock freezer bag, put it in the freezer. The alcohol will not freeze resulting a ‘slush.’ It helps when you need to relieve any pain – wrap it in a cloth and apply to the pain area. You can also do the same thing with popcorn kernels in a zip-lock freezer bag. You freeze them and then you can carry the bag in an ice chest to keep it cold, when going on trips. This bag is good for any painful area.”
From my friend Kathy, her cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
From my friend Betty: “Try putting pressure on your temples, both at once, that works for me, put even pressure on for the same amount of time, a few minutes.”
Betty also suggested this: “This is great! I just found a new remedy for my arthritis pain. I put rice in a white sock & microwave it for 30 seconds and lie on it. Try it; it helps me! Maybe it will help you.”
Here’s another note from Betty: “Vicks Vapor Rub – Try it for your headaches, it’s worth a try.”
From my friends Chris and Mary (from New York), their headache relief is: “Soak your feet in a container of cold water with a few ice cubes and place an ice pack on the back of your neck at the same time.”
Note: Coughing can really intensify head pain; so, I have used Vicks Vapor Rub or Mentholatum to stop the coughing by applying it to the bottom of my feet and covering them with socks – especially before going to sleep. My research has found that this helps lots of people who need relief from coughing.
One time the migraine pain was so severe, and I had a commitment, on the other side of town, to conduct a meeting for someone else. As I was leaving another building to get ready for the next event, I prayed and asked God to please remove the migraine, and the thought that came next wasn’t what I had expected. It was if God had said, “I won’t remove the migraine, but look up. See the sunset that I’ve painted for you.” I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I could ever hope to see, and my gratitude became so much greater than the pain I was enduring. I made it through the event, but I didn’t do it only by myself.
Songs that have impressed me: I have a huge musical collection and one of the songs that means a lot to me is the late Maude Aimee Humbard singing “Who Am I?” This song was also sung by the late Elvis Presley. The late Norma Zimmer singing “Bless This House” is another favorite of mine.
A remarkable former story teller and singer was Red Sovine who made a recording called “Giddy Up Go.” It’s about a family, and the treasured late Minnie Pearl recorded a response, which is actually a follow-up to the original song, with “Giddy Up Go Answer.” It so perfectly completes the story.
Red Sovine also recorded “Teddy Bear” and a later one titled “Little Joe.”
“Little Joe” is a follow-up that includes an update about “Teddy Bear.” Another great song by Red Sovine is “Billy’s Christmas Wish.”
“Crippled Boy’s Prayer” and “A Child’s Request” are two songs that express so much emotion that I truly treasure. Also, “A Little Boy’s Prayer” is a very special song – one of my very favorite songs of all time. If you get a chance to find them, I think you will really appreciate them.
[*Cristy Lane might be remembered for singing “One Day at a Time” but, surprisingly, she also sang “Footprints in the Sand.” If you’ve never heard it, it’s one I would recommend to everyone. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a recorded song I heard in 1968 when I was in Okinawa, and I don’t recall of a song ever having that kind of special impact on me. In the Touched by an Angel TV series, one of the Christmas episodes featured this same song being sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was just as outstanding as before. I wish we could all get together to listen to it. *]
All of the above songs are worth finding, because they will really grab your heart – like they did mine.
It’s TV Time: A few of my favorite TV programs from the past that I thought were really good include: The Addams Family, The Waltons, Touched by an Angel, I’ll Fly Away, Everwood, Brothers and Sisters, and my very favorite soap opera of all time, Another World.
Amazing Race, Big Brother, and Survivor are three reality TV shows that I have watched every episode from the beginning. America’s Got Talent is another favorite of mine. Days Of Our Lives is a soap opera that I have watched off and on throughout it’s very long history of being on TV. The past few years, I have been a full-time observer and fan of Days Of Our Lives on a regular basis.
I liked the high-drama series of programs from the past which include Family (1976-1980), Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest. In and before my teenage years, I really enjoyed watching: Captain Kangaroo, The Three Stooges, Concentration, Say When, Truth or Consequences, Hazel, Grindl (starring Imogene Coca), American Band Stand, Thriller, Dr. Kildare, Laramie, Bonanza, The Cisco Kid, The Ed Sullivan Show and an Alfred Hitchcock weekly program.
As a teenager, when I was watching [_Thriller, _]with the late Boris Karloff as the wonderful host, every episode would have diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines go through the picture just before the first commercial and just after it. My dad would teasingly talk to the TV at that time and say, “Get those toothpicks off the screen.” That is such a happy memory to share with you. We both had so much fun watching that series, together.
Somerset, Texas, One Life to Live, The Gong Show, Laugh-In, The Lawrence Welk Show and The Carol Burnett Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, All in the Family, Good Times, The Golden Girls, Mama’s Family, and The Twilight Zone are some more of my favorite TV programs from the past. I still enjoy watching reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show.
My neighbor Carol has made my life so much better by preparing meals for me throughout the week for a number of years. She is a gourmet cook, and everything is cooked to perfection. My dad would refer to her by saying this: “Carol is one in a million and probably one in a life time.” I couldn’t agree more with what dad said. She’s been the best person I could ever hope to have for a neighbor. She is an angel on this side of heaven, and I’m truly grateful to God for her.
For a number of years, I prayed for hundreds of people by name. I still have the (growing) list, but I have been praying differently at the suggestion of a minister and another very close friend. Many years ago, one of my neighbors told me that she asked the Good Lord to bless everyone in the universe, and, when she did that, it covered everyone without naming them.
At the end of my day, I make it a point to pray: “God, please bless and surprise everyone everywhere.” I still mention some by name, but I want to cover everyone else, too.
I start each day with a prayer: “God, please keep me clean and sober today.” Whether I do anything else before I’m fully awake, I always make that my highest priority. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, I pray: “God, thank you for keeping me clean and sober today and during this past day.” This has been my greatest inspiration since 1987 for starting and ending my days.
Something that brings joy beyond measure is being able to see little ones smile after receiving a surprise. A few days before Christmas, whenever I see a young child with a parent, I ask the parent if it would be all right for me to give the kid a dollar. After receiving approval, I either hand the money to the kid or to the parent for the kid. I tell them something about my seeing Santa Claus and that he asked me to do this.
Whenever I think I am getting bored, I simply remind myself that only boring people stay bored, and since I don’t want to be boring, it’s really amazing how fast the boredom vanishes. An attitude adjustment can really do wonders at times.
Something that I thought would be outdated is the expression of hunt and peck. My dad told me about a man he knew who did that whenever that man was sitting at a typewriter. Instead, typewriters seem to be what have become outdated. Please don’t be overly shocked, but I have never texted a message from a cell phone to another person. Recently, I watched a person using his thumbs on his cell phone, and it sure reminded me of the hunt and peck being done with a typewriter – a message being typed by using only the index fingers.
This is my quote from February 13, 2016: “A gift shared is the highest compliment and complement for a gift received.” Whenever I’ve given a gift to someone and later experienced knowing that the benefit(s) of that gift was shared with someone else, it has multiplied my joy.
In March of 2016, I decided to get rid of the expense of paying for cable-television service; so, I bought an indoor antenna and a digital converter box with recording capabilities. Since I only watch the major network channels, my viewing habits didn’t have to change. The quality is great, and there are no more monthly payments for being able to enjoy watching TV. Having free TV is like the way it was during decades from the past.
I wanted to be able to record TV programs without having to continue using a VCR, and this digital converter box with recording capabilities has worked great for me. Previously, I had used a VCR for recording purposes; however, my using this newer item with an external hard drive has given me even better results that include high-definition quality.
The age of 70 will be on August 15th of this year, 2016, if nothing stops me from living; so, today (March 24, 2016), I decided to make that date a goal for making my story available to others. I’m feeling like it’s highly possible, and most of what I want to share about myself is contained inside this document.
This entry that will already be history, after tonight, is one that is very close to my heart. Tonight is Wednesday, May 25, 2016, and the TV series of Nashville was scheduled to air its series finale. This series ran for four years, but for the past two years, I have missed sharing what happened in each of those episodes with my dad. Before the debut of Nashville, dad told me that he had seen it advertised and wondered if it might be a show that we both might enjoy watching.
I doubt very much if the title of the TV program would have caught much of my attention, but I wanted to respect my dad’s suggestion for watching it. We both ended up really enjoying each and every episode. Dad had watched many TV programs that I had previously suggested, and it was so much fun talking about all of those episodes in our weekly long-distance phone visits.
Quite often, when a TV series ends, I want more, more, more. Tonight’s episode is one that sure made me feel a loss of more than the series ending. I felt the loss of a bond that it carried with it, these past four years, of mentally still hearing and sensing what dad would be saying about the story and the characters. (Update: In June of 2016, it appears that Nashville has been picked up by another network and this fall will air its 5th season.)
Being sure that our loved ones know that we love them is one of the greatest gifts to treasure. Dad knew that I loved him, and I still sense his love from his always wanting the best for our family. Mom was the same way.
A number of years ago, a man told me that he had never heard his dad say to him that he loved him. He added that he knew his dad loved him but had never heard those words spoken. I suggested to my friend to ask his dad to tell him that he loved him. A couple of weeks passed before I saw my friend, again. When I saw him, he had the biggest smile, and he told me that he asked his dad what I had suggested. His dad said to him: “I love you.” A few months later his dad passed away. I was so grateful to be an instrument that could be used for suggesting what my friend really wanted to hear from his dad before it was too late.
One of my favorite personally made-up words is iggy. To ignore a situation that is none of my business is one form of my using that word. Often, I use iggy (for ignore) when I say, “If it’s not important, just iggy it.”
[_What doing? _]This 2-word question was something my brother Warren and I enjoyed using to tease each other as kids, and it captured quite a reputation after others heard it being used. To tell how that phrase originated is a little story best left for another time.
When I was in my early-to-mid twenties, I had a unique way of answering the phone when I was at home. I would say, “Oh, hell o.” It received quite a response from some of my very favorite loved ones. Most of them are in heaven, now. In case, it doesn’t show properly, the greeting is spaced with pauses (for dramatic purposes) for saying, Oh, hello.
When the mailman would deliver mail to our office at one of my positions at the phone company, many of my co-workers would laugh and smile when I would yell out, “Mmmaaaiiilll” to let them know that the mail had arrived (having the word [_mail _]drawn way out, as long as I could, and placing quite a harsh emphasis on it).
Something I’ve learned from celebrating lots of different occasions may really surprise you. Regardless of your age and which holiday or annual event is occurring, there is going to be one more number added to your age. This will be the number of times that you have had that holiday in your life. Count every year that Halloween appeared in your life from birth through today, and the total should equal your age plus one. In this case, you’ve lived through one more Halloween than your age.
Here are some more examples: A person who just became 83 has experienced 84 consecutive days of his or her birthday date. Someone who is 29 and at a Christmas party on Christmas Day has been alive for 30 Christmases. If today’s date was February 14th and a person who is 17 received a Valentine from someone ever since birth, today he or she would be celebrating 18 consecutive Valentine’s Days. Unless something is later revealed to indicate that I’m mistaken, the only day of the year that this pattern fails is February 29th, because that is the only day that doesn’t arrive annually.
Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2016: It would be so nice to visit the cemetery in Haxtun, Colorado, today, but distance and time don’t allow me to do that. I remember when my brother Warren and I were kids; we would go with mom and dad to decorate our maternal grandpa’s grave. Over the years, when I would return to my home in Colorado for a visit, most of those times, I’d stop first at the cemetery to pay my respects to our maternal grandma and grandpa. Then, I would drive the rest of the way to our family home to visit my mom and dad. Now, I visit in memory and treasure all of our family on this side of heaven and our loved ones who are now in heaven.
On Thursday, July 7, 2016, I went to the VA Hospital Eye Center regarding multiple floaters in my left eye. A floater in the eye is something I’ve lived with for many years and isn’t uncommon to have one. But during the past two days, something really strange happened, the floater was much larger and other multiple floaters appeared. It has had me quite concerned, because I’m not really enjoying watching a meteor shower that won’t go away. Two doctors checked me and informed me that there is a little blood in the bottom area of my left eye due to some matter detaching from the eyeball area. Old age symptoms can come as quite a surprise; so, prepare for these days if they are not already here. Unless I have major changes in the eye, I am to return for further checking in 2 weeks.
July 11, 2016, was such a special day, because I was able to e-mail 21 of my friends. All of these wonderful people celebrate this same day of the year as their special day. Even though the year(s) we got sober varies, all of us have the exact same day of the year that started our special journeys.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, I returned to the VA Hospital Eye Clinic. The doctor told me that my eye still contains the blood from 2 weeks ago, but nothing has changed; so, I will get to return in a month to make sure it’s still all right.
Here’s a little twist that might seem strange, but I want to share this in case it can help someone who may need to know about it for future reference. I had a dream before I awoke that really grabbed my attention. In it, a voice said: “When you see the doctor, ask him about the way you enunciate words, because if you don’t, it could be fatal.” I didn’t see a person in this dream, but the voice was very dynamic. How in the world do you ask a doctor about something like this? It’s OK to sigh, because it’s a rather unusual situation.
I asked the doctor if my manner of speaking could have anything to do with my vision, and I explained why I was asking such a challenging question. He was so professional and compassionate as he listened to what I was asking. Then, he asked if I had experienced any slurred speech recently. I told him that I hadn’t. He suggested that I watch closely for that and to pay attention to any weakness in either side of my face or body. He said that if any of those symptoms appear, to immediately go to the emergency room, because that could be the warning of a stroke.
Being that I’m in fairly good health, this message may be intended for someone else. One of my closest friends suggested that I watch for slurred speech in other people. He said that if it happens, I will know what to tell them.
Coming home from the hospital, I mistakenly got on the wrong bus. Due to major repairs at an intersection, I ended up having to walk quite a ways to get back to the correct bus stop for the next 2 buses to return home. As I was walking, I felt like I was being carried and embraced. I very strongly sensed that this very comforting but unfamiliar embrace was coming from my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I told one of my closest friends that this part of my story is going into my book, and now it is. I hope it will bring the same comfort to you or someone you know whenever it is experienced.
I think sharing the latest happenings before I complete the writing of my autobiography is appropriate, and I hope the details will be informative.
Heaven Is For Real is a 2014 movie constructed from a story about a young boy named Colton Burpo and his family. Colton tells about his visit to heaven. This movie really touched my heart. If you haven’t seen it, please consider looking for it.
From 2015, Ninety Minutes In Heaven is another movie that I have enjoyed watching. It reveals a man’s experience of going to heaven and what transpires after that. Also, this movie is based on a true story. At the end of the movie, the real Pastor Don Piper speaks to the audience. This is another movie that I would recommend watching.
These two movies have demonstrated a preview of what I visualize to be heaven. The joy of being reunited with loved ones and to be with my Lord and Savior is something beyond words.
Outside of the movies, If feeling the presence of angels occurs, please don’t be alarmed. At certain times, I really treasure calling them. Whenever a loved one is in need of serious consideration, I have called upon angels to comfort them. A song (“Calling All Angels”) refers to calling them, and sometimes I play a recording of it and pray. Occasionally, being alone, I will sing while doing this. Please know that I never want to sound preachy, but I am so very grateful to be able to share some of my spiritual experiences with you.
I want to share, with great appreciation, about a few of my very special friends. The friends who I haven’t mentioned doesn’t mean anything was wrong. I keep some things very confidential, and I always want to respect the confidence that others have given me. Thank you to my many friends who have confided in me and who help me to continue to become a better person.
If Jan and Dennis knew how much they have helped me by having me be part of their family, they would smile. Actually, they both do lots of smiling. Whenever I’ve visited at their home or they have taken me to an event, it’s always felt very comforting. I’ve told them that when I’m with them, it feels like visiting heaven. Jan and Dennis have shared their entire family with me.
Gib and I have continuously referred to each other as a brother for a couple of decades. His lovely wife Trisha went to heaven on June 21, 2013. They were a very best of the best loving couple. I could phone them day or night and always knew that I was loved.
Gib has always made sure that I’m still and always will be someone who is important. Trisha and Gib helped me be able to help others in ways that most people might be too busy to be bothered.
When I told my friend Jeff that I was writing my autobiography, he said that he was really happy for me. He has given me so much encouragement, and I have really needed that. Jeff and I have been friends for several decades and have attended different gatherings throughout the years. We can talk about things that would cause most people to laugh and laugh and laugh some more.
I felt so honored when one of my friends used to call me her golden knight. Of course, I called her my diamond princess. We met on the internet years ago, and I still treasure memories from our fun times.
Someone very special lets me call her Lovely Song Bird. She teases me and tells me that there is also a vulture that can appear, but I’ve never seen that personality at all. Everybody who knows her loves her.
Another dear friend has always helped me when I’m composing my newsletters by helping me correct a problem with the structure or the formatting. Throughout the years, Lilliana has given me the gift of praying for her three grandkids (even before they were born), and she keeps me up-to-date on them and their precious parents.
When going through a very challenging time, a friend is someone who helps more than words can express. I remember being extremely afraid of having to endure surgery for a hernia, and someone drove me to the hospital and stayed with me until I was wheeled into the surgery area. He returned before I was discharged, and he drove me home. There is no possible way of expressing the total gratitude that experience brings. All I can express is by my saying: “Thank you; thank you; thank you.”
(My surgery was completed at the VA Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, on July 17, 2012.)
Jacob has been a friend who has helped me when I was too weak to even ask for someone to help me. Many times, we have prayed together, and we both have experienced God’s handiwork in ways that can only be described as totally spiritual.
Another friend is someone who calls me his brother and has helped me to become a better person. Skip knows every secret that I’ve ever held and yet has never made me feel less than a brother to him. He has gone to funerals with me and allowed me to cry and cry and cry. No greater gift of a friend can be found than this man.
Danny walked with me, as another chosen brother and very best friend, when I was at my weakest and unable to take care of myself. He helped me when I was at my worst and made sure that I knew how to deal with reality.
My other very best friend is Allen. If anyone deserves a medal of honor, it would be Allen. Whenever I was sick, scared, or broken to the core, Allen would drop everything and rescue me. I have no doubt that if I needed him, now, that he would still do the same. We live in different areas now, but I will never forget how much he rescued me from crisis after crisis.
I’ve never been a parent to any children, but as an adult, I’ve enjoyed labeling quite a number of guys with the nickname of[_ my kid_]. The reason I have done this is because they have been very instrumental in helping me to become a better person, and I think of them as members of my family.
One of these kids, Don, has touched my heart in so many ways. He can often tell when I’m having a weak moment or am in distress, and his compassion is like that of a deeply concerned family member.
I’ve also been blessed with being called brother by countless friends who have known me. One friend, Lamont who is in heaven, used to call me his cousin, and we called another friend (also in heaven now) our Uncle Frank.
Benita is a gal who always makes sure that I am all right; no words can describe her love and her very comforting, special hugs.
Elaine makes sure that I’m loved and expresses that on almost a daily basis from the internet. Few people can find the time to share such a gift of frequent contact, but this gal sure has added smiles and joy to my life.
Ethel and Bill have walked with me through some dark moments with loss of loved ones throughout the years, health issues, and most important of all spiritual insights. It’s awesome having a minister and his wife be such close friends through the internet.
My friend Phil has prayed for many of my friends throughout the years and always takes us with him in spirit when he’s traveling to other Countries. He’s the kind of friend that one rarely has the blessing of knowing.
Woody was one of the first people I met when I was stationed in Okinawa. Our friendship has continued ever since 1966.
Whenever I have needed prayer, Kathy has always been there for my family and for me. Our families have been comforted whenever there has been a need.
Very special little twin girls from the past remain treasures in my heart. They are the daughters of my mom’s maid of honor (long before they were born). I love them dearly.
My only remaining first cousin will probably never fully know how much I treasure her. Sandy has always had my highest respect and greatest appreciation.
Roger would not allow me to think less of myself when I felt unworthy and at my lowest. We met each other’s moms while Roger was still living in Tucson. Dianne is so perfect for Roger and I still remember their beautiful wedding from many years ago.
Another Roger was instrumental in my writing a story about my childhood pet turtle. From that turtle story, I was able to begin my first website and more articles followed.
A friend in another part of the United States always makes me smile when she gives me updates on the hummingbirds in her area. Thanks Carole!!
Betsy keeps me informed of all of the latest joys and festive-type videos and stories. I can never thank her enough for all that she shares with me.
Morgan has been instrumental in making sure that I safely make it to a bus stop whenever he knows that I am heading for a bus.
My longest-known and still living friend is Bob. We became friends at around the age of two and have never lost contact with each other. We grew up as very close friends and always had a very high respect for each other. Bob and I briefly shared an apartment in Denver, Colorado, before he entered the US Navy.
Our moms and their moms (our grandmas) were the best of friends to each other and to all of us (throughout all three generations of treasured friendships). I met Sandy (in Denver in 1965 or 1966) through Bob at around the time that they became engaged, and I have always treasured knowing her. Sandy and Bob are a great example of being a very happily married couple for a very long time.
I wish you could meet my chosen friend and chosen sister Ann. Whenever I’ve had a need for prayer, she has already started praying. Her ministry has touched many people, and I can’t thank Ann enough for all that she does.
Rev. Ken has been very instrumental in helping me when he least knew that he was doing that. Dad was very much loved by those in the Church that remains with Rev. Ken as the minister.
Rev. Roy and his lovely wife Kathy have always had a very special place in my heart. I still remember how extremely comforting they were during my mom’s funeral and the time before that.
Kid Robert has never forgotten any of my birthdays and is usually the very first one to call or send me a note to get my birthday started. If you’ve ever had loved ones forget your birthday, you will know how very special this is to me.
Lisa and Alex have been like family to me, and I am so very grateful to Lisa for agreeing to inform others of my passing when it occurs.
During a phone visit, I told my friend Jersey John that I was in the process of writing my autobiography. John asked me what I was sharing about him. How could I possibly not tell all who read this something about him. He and his lovely wife Sara have been treasures in my life for many, many years. They both always give hugs and compassion beyond measure. Surprise, John. (Smile.)
I don’t mean to omit others who have really touched my heart and changed my life, because your love and compassion have helped me, too. I have been greatly blessed to have so many wonderful neighbors, friends in recovery, former classmates, and internet friends (including each and every one of my Family Of Friends). Thank you to each and every one of you who have helped me to become the person I am, today.
Both July 25, 2016, and that same day of the year in 1966 have been Mondays. Fifty years between the day that I entered the United States Air Force and the day that I am entering this is something I never considered a reality until today.
Half a century later doesn’t really seem that long, because I remember taking the oath of enlistment as if I had recently recited these words:
“I, Charles DeVerne Edwards (my birth name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Of course, if this change of life hadn’t occurred 50 years ago, there’s no way of knowing where the other twists and turns may have taken me. I’m not taking it for granted that I would have become who I am, today.
Flash mob videos have been something I really enjoy watching. I often wonder what it would be like to be there in person to see one of them being performed live and up close. Something that really grabs my heart is watching how their audiences react to the performances. So many expressions of shock and joy occur from all ages of those who are getting to encounter the unexpected experience.
A dream I’ve had for many years has been to create a platform that focuses on the emotions of ordinary people who are off stage. It would be quite interesting to interview them and learn about their hidden talents after previously watching their expressions and witnessing their compassion.
When something really spiritual in nature occurs, it brings so much joy. A singer or group of singers who touch the hearts of the spectators is one example of emotional drama that goes way beyond magic. Watching videos or live events with this revelation is something I wish for everyone.
Why was I so suicidal in my past? I think it was because of my feeling broken and thinking that I wasn’t good enough. Countless friends and many loved ones probably never knew much about this, because I hid it as much as I could, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. Those who loved me and knew about my situation were quite deeply hurt, and I will never forget how horrible that felt.
The gift is that I have grown into the person who I always wanted to become. I can and truly do love others and without wanting anything in return. My deepest desire is that something I have shared or accomplished in this life will be used to give hope and a desire to sense Jesus walking beside us and to feel his presence.
Now, that I’m in the process of completing my autobiography, I am truly blessed and very grateful to those of you who have encouraged me while I’ve been accomplishing this project. While planning ahead for the final draft of my autobiography, I realize there is a lot to consider. I am not writing my story as a means for additional income, but as a history of things that have occurred in a 70-year span. I want the information to be easy to read and informative. With no previous experience in publishing a book, I am doing my research by learning from what others have shared on the internet. I sure do hope that the final product will reflect my dream coming true.
Teaching an old dog new tricks is something this experience has become. I had no idea that sentence structure had changed from using two spaces to only one space at the end of a sentence. A curly quotation mark for quotes being used to replace the old-fashioned plain quotation mark has been another learning experience. There are probably more changes that I have yet to learn. Woof! (I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist this comment.)
I have shared some shocking details of my life, but there are a few areas where I have omitted what has yet to be revealed. It’s been a process of reliving my past and wanting so much to wave goodbye to parts of it; however, having survived through those days has helped me to become willing to keep moving forward.
I want to ask a question, because this is a part of my life that I’m known for frequently asking. Has anybody told you: “I love you,” today? If not, I want you to know that there are lots of people who love you, and I’m one of them. Hearing those words has helped me get through some very challenging moments. I hope they help you, too.
Having shared some of the darkest areas of my life, I want to emphasize that I am very grateful that they are in the past. I have successfully lived the past 30+ years of removing suicidal actions from my life, with God’s help, and I plan to keep sharing the zest for life with you and those I have yet to meet. Thank you for being here, in spirit, with me. I wish I could personally thank you for reading my story, and maybe one day, I can. In the mean time, please know that I greatly appreciate you.
This next article is from 2005, but I think it might make a good closing to my story:
“ ‘Falling – But Not From Grace’ – written by Chase
“Please join me in an adventure that really happened to me in mid September of 2005. I am going to share with you about my taking a big fall, but what is revealed is more than I could have ever planned.
“After I had written a letter to Micheal, one of my closest friends, he wrote back to me (with his permission to share his letter). What he wrote inspired me to share – this encounter – with you and others. This story is going to start backwards, come forward, and then return to the point of the missing first part of Micheal’s letter.
“This is the very last part of Micheal’s letter to me:
‘…You are a very good writer. Perhaps you should write a book of your trials, tribulations, and life as it is versus how it will continue to become. That would be something you could share for all time with those who feel, see, or consider taking the path you are now on.
‘In fact, if you feel comfortable in doing so, you should put the letter you sent me into the newsletter. To share the glories of a miracle is worth more than all the computer links to favorite sites you could cram into the newsletter. This is a truth you have found, and now you can share also. If it feels uncomfortable, then make it comfortable. Face it and go for it!!!
‘The happenings of LIFE when shared, do in fact reach some who would read it, hear it, or see it. It will give them the knowledge that such a problem can be faced when alone, and the WISDOM to know of the pitfalls in thought that might circumvent the return to the safety of the public area, like where your car was parked.
‘The emotion you shared with me makes me feel all keyed and ready for action. This is a good thing. Am also very glad you stated that you were OK. My thoughts still gravitated to the place where I wish I had been there to catch you in your fall. Yet, had I been there, no miracle would be as evident as it is now evident. God loves you, and so do I.
“And now my letter to Micheal that preceded the above:
“Micheal, my dear, dear Friend Micheal:
“Thank you so very much for your letter that contained so much knowledge and compassion and heart. I really treasure what you shared with me!!! You are God sent for me for these past 24 hours and more. I have a follow up, but I hope I can condense it.
“Today, after the noon meeting, I visited with two of my closest friends, and all three of us are dealing with totally separate issues. The thing all three of us have in common is that we are all aiming for the uncomfortable to become comfortable and the unfamiliar to become familiar – reaching a new level of comfort.
“After that, I went for my hike and only crossed paths with a very few peeps (people). After being there for three hours or longer, it was starting to get dark, and I had gone farther than my normal and familiar area.
“Please don’t worry or be alarmed, because I’m OK.
“Then, I fell (fortunately not a long fall). I slipped on a very slippery rock, and I relaxed when I fell full force. It was a full body fall, and I was surprised my major area of my body didn’t get hurt.
“One or two of my toes on my left foot seemed out of place and cramped up; I was afraid I had broken a toe or my foot. I started to panic, because I was hiking in an area where the rocks are huge and the cliffs are quite steep. My left foot started to go back to almost normal after working with it, but shortly after that my other foot slipped and had the exact same thing happen to it.
“I was praying lots and afraid it might get too dark to see. As things started being a tad more familiar, the moon light came and it was very, very helpful for seeing, and I was able to finally get back to my car.
“Earlier when a straggler (person) was around, it was more like an angel being there but somewhat distant. Also, sometime before my fall, there were two together who had gone separate ways, but I really knew or thought I knew that nobody else was in that area. I didn’t interact with the two that went separate ways – except to say to one that I didn’t think anyone was up there – this was before it got dark and before my fall.
“Since I had to go through lots of areas of water, I felt it necessary to be barefooted. What is so amazing is my feet are weak now, but all of my toes seem to be in their normal positions – like nothing happened.
“All of this is really challenging to share, because part of me was fighting old negative thoughts, but I told myself that I still followed a suggestion about working on new behavior – to accept and love my outer self.
“You can imagine how scared I was that my toe(s) on both feet were either broken or out of their sockets; this in my opinion was a Miracle. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to be home now.
“Also, I want to share this with you: As it was starting to get dark and I kept reaching dead-end areas of my climb on those huge rocks and steep cliffs, I thought to myself ‘I hadn’t planned today being the day for me to die.’ Another thought was, ‘I want to continue to be able to pray for Dawn’s little girl and Janie’s little boy’ (both of them are facing surgeries next week).
“This next ‘thought’ really surprised me – just like someone talking directly to me – that being whether I’m here (living) or if I were to cross over, I could still pray for them. That was so comforting – just in case the unexpected and unwanted were to have happened before I got to safety.
“In writing this letter, I knew you’d understand my situation much better than a person who has no idea of what I’m talking about.
“I pray that you are having a really good evening and that the day ahead is even better.
“Chase (Please excuse me for being so lengthy.)
“As an ending to this true story and to complete both letters, here is the beginning of Micheal’s same letter. I am placing it at the end, because my part of the story has now been revealed. Here’s Micheal, again:
‘The negative approach to panic was good to have thwarted. The positive outlook and lack of panic was the miracle. The angels guarding you were working well for you too. If both feet have ceased hurting and gone back to semi-normal, then there is nothing to worry about in that part of the fall.
‘As you are aware, the closer we get to perfection [of self or in planning] the more we are tempted by fate to let the good fall by the wayside and return to the familiar old self. I am most pleased that you recognized this and kept the positive force at work while you were challenged by the accident.
‘And it is a karate move, to fall full force while remaining virtually limp so the body can absorb the impact with greater success. How long have you been doing karate? [This includes watching the daily reruns of Walker Texas Ranger!]
‘The detail in which you wrote of the accident allowed me to relive the horror, panic, and pain of the fall itself.’ ”
The End (or is it?)
Note: I’ve included my closing words after this family tree information.
From what I have researched and assembled, throughout the years, my family tree is included below this paragraph. In the past, my dad helped me with some of these details. This data is provided for my family and anyone else who may want to know more about the Edwards family’s history.
The dates of the passing away of my family’s two generations before my generation are listed chronologically as follows:
December 07, 1949, Grandpa Warren David Charles Wood
September 12, 1951, Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr.
July 27, 1959, Grandma Katrina (Katie) Engel/Edwards
October 2, 1966, Grandma Ella Priscilla Sears/Wood/Bjorklun
January 26, 1998, Mom Ethelyn Wood/Edwards
March 7, 2014, Dad Charles (Chuck) Foster Edwards, Jr.
Edwards Family Tree
Note: The longest chain of history that I have obtained for our family is from the maternal Bagley/Wood/Edwards side of our family.
Beginning with our maternal great-great-great grandparents and descending to our generation of the Bagley/Wood/Edwards side of our family, these have been my brother Warren’s and my (Chase’s) family members:
Great-great-great grandparents Thomas Bagley and his wife Elizabeth [unknown maiden name] were the parents of David Bagley. (Clarissa Jane [Gardner] Bagley and David Bagley are my brother Warren’s and my great-great grandparents on the Bagley/Wood side of the family.) Clarissa Jane [Gardner] Bagley and David Bagley were the parents of Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood who married James Lamb Wood. (Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood and James Lamb Wood are our great grandparents.) Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood and James Lamb Wood were the parents of Warren David Charles Wood who married Ella Priscilla [Sears] Wood. (Ella Priscilla [Sears] Wood/Bjorklun and Warren David Charles Wood are Warren’s and my grandma and grandpa). Ella Priscilla [Sears] Wood/Bjorklun and Warren David Charles Wood were the parents of Ella Ethelyn [Wood] Edwards. Ella Ethelyn [Wood] Edwards who married Charles Foster Edwards, Jr., were mother and father to my brother and me – Warren Calvin Edwards and Chase (Charles DeVerne) Edwards.
Note: Information regarding maternal Grandma Ella [Sears] Wood/Bjorklun’s mother and father is missing from this family tree. They were my brother Warren’s and my maternal great grandparents on the Sears/Wood side of the family. I wish that I could have found more information about them.
Mrs. Mary Ann Margaret [Young] Sears (born in August of 1838 in Pennsylvania) was maternal Grandma Ella [Sears] Wood/Bjorklun’s grandmother (also known as – nee: “Ann” Young) and for some of grandma’s earlier years was grandma’s guardian. Mary Ann Margaret [Young] Sears went to heaven on August 8th, 1914, at Hammonton, New Jersey, at the home of Ella Horton (a very dear friend of Mary Ann Margaret [Young] Sears).
Dr. Edward Julius Sears (born in April of 1836 in Massachusetts) was maternal Grandma Ella [Sears] Wood/Bjorklun’s grandfather (Mary Ann’s husband), and they lived at 16 Reed Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Dr. Edward Julius Sears went to heaven on January 19, 1907, at his home. (Mary Ann Margaret [Young] Sears and Edward Julius Sears are my brother Warren’s and my maternal great-great grandparents on the Sears/Wood side of the family.)
Paternal Great Grandpa Foster Edwards (born in New York) was the Father of Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr. Great Grandma Julia (Griffin may have been her maiden name, but dad wasn’t sure, and she may have been born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, but dad wasn’t sure) was the mother of Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr. (Julia and Foster Edwards are my brother Warren’s and my paternal great grandparents on the Unknown Last Name for Julia/Edwards side of the family.) Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr., had an older brother named Harry Edwards. Also, Martin is possibly the name of grandpa’s younger brother. Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr., also had two half brothers – Frank and Wallace Pearl (middle name), and Wallace was nicknamed Ying (both half brothers were younger than grandpa).
Paternal Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr. (October 27, 1886 – September 12, 1951) was born on a Wednesday in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr., went to heaven on a Wednesday, at his home, in Lincoln, Nebraska, and he is buried in Soldiers Circle at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Paternal Great Grandma Amelia [Hoober] Engel was the mother of Grandma Katrina (Katie) [Engel] Edwards. Great Grandpa Fred Engel (in Russia – not grandma’s brother who had a similar name) was the father of Grandma Katrina (Katie) [Engel] Edwards. Paternal Great Grandpa Fred Engel’s Birthday may have been December 27th but dad couldn’t recall what year (POSSIBLY 1871). Grandma had an uncle with the last name of Hoober in Sutton, Nebraska. (Amelia [Hoober] Engel and Fred Engel are my brother Warren’s and my paternal great grandparents on the Engel/Edwards side of the family.)
Mom Ella Ethelyn Wood (later Edwards) was born on Thursday, June 3, 1920 (Note: Grandma’s Bible was incorrectly showing Friday), at 2:20 p.m., at Haxtun Sanitarium (which is what the Haxtun Hospital was previously called) in Haxtun, Colorado. Mom
went to heaven on Monday, January 26, 1998, at the Haxtun Hospital, and she is buried at the Haxtun Cemetery. (Before going to heaven, mom’s weight got down to 74 pounds [from leukemia] while she was in the hospital.) Mom was baptized by Rev. Snavely or Rev. Austin into the Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado, (between 1932 and 1934) and had been a member ever since. She was a member of over 25 different organizations and helped with many church projects. Mom wrote news items for three different newspapers, and she was very instrumental (working with the Colorado Governor at that time) in getting the voting age lowered to 18 from 21, because she had personally obtained a very large number of voters who signed petitions.
Dad Charles Foster Edwards, Jr., was born on Monday, September 19, 1921, at 10 p.m., at the home of his parents in one side of a duplex (later on they lived in the other side of the same duplex) in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dad weighed only 3 1/2 pounds. He was kept alive in a shoe box and kept in the oven – dad was known as one of the shoe box babies. Dad went to heaven on Friday, March 7, 2014, while he was at the Haxtun Hospital, and he is buried at the Haxtun Cemetery. Dad was baptized by Rev. Snavely or Rev. Austin in 1934 into the Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado, and had been a member ever since. Dad served as a deacon of that Church for three years and had also been a greeter for many years. He was a United States Army Air Corps World War II Veteran. Dad joined the American Legion in Haxtun, Colorado, in 1951 and prior to that was a member in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1946. Dad was also a member of AARP since 1980 and Woodmen of the World since 1940. Dad lived with prostate cancer for over 30 years. He had his right kidney successfully removed on June 8, 1995, at the VA Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Dad was able to enjoy his last few years being the patriarch of five living generations and was a great-great grandpa.
Mom and dad were married on Tuesday, June 26, 1945, by Rev. Otto Larson at our family’s home in Haxtun – which had been the home of mom’s parents and was mom’s childhood home – and this house was given to mom by her paternal grandmother (Mary [Bagley] Wood).
I (Charles DeVerne Edwards – Chase) was born on Thursday, August 15, 1946, at 12:12 a.m., at Lincoln General Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. Being born at that time of the day means that I get to celebrate almost all of the 24 hours of my birthdays. I have been a night owl ever since that early morning arrival.
My brother Warren Calvin Edwards was born on the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 5, 1950, at 9:10 a.m. (or 8:50 a.m.), at the Phillips County Hospital in Holyoke, Colorado. Warren’s birthing doctor was Dr. Dille.
Information About Both Maternal Grandma Ella Sears Wood/Bjorklun And Grandpa Warren David Charles Wood:
Maternal Grandma Ella Priscilla Sears (later married last names: Wood and Bjorklun) was born on Thursday, June 22, 1882, in Pennsylvania. Grandma married Grandpa Warren David Charles Wood on Friday, April 16, 1909, at 16 Reed Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey (at the home of the bride), and they were married for 40 years. Grandma and Grandpa Wood were baptized by Rev. Snavely in 1927 at the Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado. Grandma went to heaven on Sunday, October 2, 1966, and is buried at the Haxtun Cemetery. Grandma hand painted greeting cards when she lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Grandma wrote the local news about our Church (the Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado) for The Gospel Messenger (a national church magazine) during the 1930s and into the 1950s. Grandma was raised by her grandparents if I recall correctly from what mom told me. Not much information could be found about her parents. Grandma and Grandpa Wood traveled long distances by horse and buggy. They traveled from Colorado to New Jersey and returned to Colorado. They probably repeated this trip a number of other times. Mom told me that they transferred horses from one place to the other.
More Information About Maternal Grandma Ella Sears Wood/Bjorklun:
From a leaf out of grandma’s older Bible (no longer around), it appears that when grandma was 11 years old (June 22, 1893), she was given a Bible from her mom and dad, and grandma’s address at that time was either 107 or 407 Presbyterian Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
On November 30, 1925, maternal Grandma Ella Wood (later Bjorklun) noted that she had started to read the Bible through, and later (in 1965) grandma wrote: “Read my Bible through 7 times” and “am on 8th time now Jan. 1966.” These notes were found in one of her Bibles. My grandma always enjoyed reading the Bible.
More Information About Maternal Grandpa Warren Wood:
Maternal Grandpa Warren David Charles Wood was born on Monday, June 14, 1880, in Alexis, Warren County, Illinois. Grandpa Warren Wood went to heaven on Wednesday, December 7, 1949, at 3:20 a.m., at his home in Haxtun, Colorado (Dr. Coles was present at the time of his death). Grandpa Warren Wood is buried at the Haxtun Cemetery. Grandpa Warren Wood was named for his two grandfathers and his uncle Warren Bagley (Warren David Charles). Grandpa Warren Wood had one sister: Ethelyn (Ethie) Addie [Wood] Butterfield (April 22, 1878, in Alexis, Illinois – April 17, 1947, in Haxtun, Colorado) and three brothers: (1) James Burt Wood (Burt) (July 12, 1885, in Alexis, Warren County, Illinois – June 8, 1948, in Yakima, Washington); (2) Henry Orion (Ort) Wood (February 25, 1887, in Alexis, Warren County, Illinois – January 3, 1954, in Sterling, Colorado); and (3) Joseph (Joe) Gardner Wood (June 3, 1892, in Phillips County, Colorado – February 28, 1976, in Denver, Colorado). Grandpa Wood was a veterinarian. On September 13, 1910, Grandpa Wood had secured a patent for the first non-refillable bottle (this may have been used for prescriptions).
More Information About Paternal Grandma Katrina Engel/Edwards:
Paternal Grandma Katrina (Katie) [Engel] (later Edwards) was born on Saturday, May 11, 1895. Grandma Edwards went to heaven on Monday, July 27, 1959, and is buried at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Note: Grandma’s tombstone is incorrect; it is not 1894; it is 1895 – and it is not November 5th; it is May 11th – and it is not 11-5; it is 5-11.)
Grandma arrived at Ellis Island in the USA in 1912, from Russia, and then lived in York, Nebraska. Grandma Edwards was 4 ft. 11 in. per my cousin Sandy’s checking at Ellis Island (per information from dad). Grandma and grandpa, Katrina and Charles Foster Edwards, Sr., were married on January 29 or 30, 1921, in Hastings, Nebraska. Grandpa Charles Foster Edwards, Sr., adopted grandma’s daughter (who was grandma’s daughter before their marriage) Pauline (later her last name became Boyd when she was married).
Other Relatives of Paternal Grandma Katrina Engel/Edwards:
Aunt Pauline (grandma’s first daughter) was born on June 8, 1913, in York, Nebraska. Aunt Pauline married Carlton Boyd on Sept 12, 1933, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Their three kids were Carlton (Sonny), born on July 4, 1935; Judy born in possibly October of 1942 (but dad told me that he was just guessing at that date); and Patty (not sure of spelling), born in July of 1950. Patty was born six weeks before my brother Warren was born (according to information from my dad).
Aunt Lila [Edwards] Burback (April 28, 1927 – February 16, 2013) was grandma and grandpa’s second daughter. Aunt Lila was married to Alex Burback on April 29, 1943. They had one daughter, Sandy [Burback] Everett. Sandy was born on June 13, 1944.
Grandma Katie Edwards had two baby boys who passed away at birth. They were my dad’s only brothers; they were:
Frank Robert Edwards, born and died Sept. 9, 1923, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Earl Albert Edwards born and died Dec. 28? (dad told me that he wasn’t sure about the 28th), 1925, in Broken Bow, Nebraska.
Grandma Edwards had 2 brothers, Fred Engel and Henry (Hank) Engel.
Grandma’s brother Fred Engel (April 11, 1901 – April 4, 1997) and his wife Christine lived in Hastings, Nebraska (Christine went to heaven on November 6, 1981). (Note: Great Uncle Fred spelled his last name differently; he also added an s at the end [Engles instead of Engel] – the original spelling had been Engel).
Great Uncle Henry Engel was Grandma Katie’s other brother. Uncle Henry (Hank) and his wife Viola lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. They may have had a daughter, Lou (not sure of spelling), and they had a son, Robert.
Grandma Katie Edwards also had four sisters. They were: (1) Elizabeth “Betty” R. (also known as Lizzie) [Engel] Cole (September 24, 1915 – December 10, 2009) was born in York, Nebraska; (2) Mollie [Engel] Krumm (January, 6, 1911 – May 11, 2005) and her husband was George Krumm (they had a daughter Barbara and two sons, Jack and Ronnie); (3) Marie [Engel] Lake and her husband was George Hubbard (Betty Vandercook is their daughter); and (4) Natola (or possibly named Natilice – also known as Tollie) [Engel] Harmony and her husband was nicknamed[_ Ace_] (their daughter was named Rosie).
Paternal Great Aunt Mollie’s son was Jack Krumm (July 22, 1931 – October 23, 2008). He was born to George and Mollie [Engel] Krumm at Lincoln, Nebraska, and died at the age of 77 in Lincoln, Nebraska – Jack’s daughter is Pamela.
Paternal Grandma Katie Edwards was a cousin to Emma (married to Martin) Bauer. The Bauers lived in Bridgeport, Nebraska. (Our family always enjoyed our visits with the Bauers.)
Additional Information About The Bagley/Wood Side Of Our Family:
Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood was maternal Grandpa Warren Wood’s mother (June 10, 1856 – March 26, 1943). James Lamb Wood was Grandpa Wood’s father (August 5, 1847, in Clarion County, Pennsylvania – February 18, 1917, in Pueblo, Colorado). They were married on January 12, 1875, at Hanover (in Forestville), Chautauqua County, New York. Both of them are buried at the Haxtun Cemetery in Haxtun, Colorado. (Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood and James Lamb Wood are my brother Warren’s and my great grandparents on the Bagley/Wood side of the family.) (Note: I have a picture of both of them – found on the internet.)
Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood’s parents were David and Clarissa Jane [Gardner] Bagley. (David and Clarissa Jane [Gardner] Bagley are my brother Warren’s and my great-great grandparents on the Bagley/Wood side of the family.) It gets even deeper, from my research, David Bagley had brothers (John, and George). The parents of David Bagley were Thomas and Elizabeth [unknown maiden name] Bagley. Thomas Bagley was born about 1786 (possibly in New Hampshire) and died on April 3, 1873, in Forestville, NY. Elizabeth was born on May 2, 1796, and died on March 29, 1820, in Forestville, NY. My brother Warren’s and my maternal great-great-great grandparents on the Bagley/Wood side of the family are Thomas Bagley and his first wife Elizabeth.
Maternal Great Uncle Burt Wood (James Burt Wood) was a real estate agent and was robbed and beaten to death (sadly, yes, murdered). He had his clothes robbed from him, and he was left that way in Washington (Deep River, Washington, may have been his last place of residence, but I’m not sure – he was living in Washington prior to his death). Great Uncle Burt is buried at the Haxtun Cemetery in Haxtun, Colorado. (Note: I have a copy of his registration card when he was 33 [age] – found on the internet.) (Additional note: Some places on the internet have his first name spelled incorrectly, but the correct spelling is definitely Burt and not[_ Bert_].)
Warren Bagley was maternal Grandpa Warren Wood’s Uncle; Warren Bagley was the brother of Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood (Grandpa Warren Wood’s Mother). My great-great uncle Warren Bagley is also buried at the Haxtun Cemetery in Haxtun, Colorado.
Maternal Great Uncle Joe Wood (after his first wife had passed away) had a second wife; she was Violet [Greenburg] Wood (1911 – 1959). Great Aunt Violet [Greenburg] Wood was buried in the same section as Great Uncle Joe’s immediate family, but Great Uncle Joe was buried close to his former wife (Mary Anna [Vollmer] Wood) in another section of the Haxtun Cemetery. This was something that both of them (Violet and Joe) decided and wanted. (Note: Great Aunt Violet was one of my very favorite people of all time – she always expressed so much love and grace. Great Uncle Joe found a jewel when he found her. – This comment is from me, Chase.)
Research revealed that maternal Great Uncle Joe Wood’s son Gardner William Wood (October 19, 1916 – February 19, 2012) passed away in Drasco, Arkansas, on a Sunday at the age 95, in a local nursing home. He was born in Haxtun, Colorado, to Joseph Gardner Wood and Mary Anna [Vollmer] Wood. Gardner was a member of the Navy and is a World War II Veteran. He was also a member of Arbanna Baptist Church, Sons of the American Revolution, Pulaski Chapter ARSSAR, American Legion Post 1021, and the Masonic Lodge of Concord. Gardner is preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 45 years, Clara Ruff Wood; and sister, Loucille Wood Hilton. Survivors include a son, James Wood and wife Shirley; three grandchildren, Joseph G. Wood, David J. Wood and wife Reba, Jeremy O. Wood and wife Robin; and 5 great grandchildren: Mandy Wood, Emilee Wood, Marcus Wood, Cole Wood, and Heath Wood.
Information From Wyuka Cemetery In Lincoln, Nebraska, About Some Of Dad’s Family:
Edwards, Charles F. Sec-24SC Sp-357 October 27, 1886 September 12, 1951 (dad’s dad)
Edwards, Frank R. Sec-4A Sp-316 E (no date of birth listed but died at birth) September 9, 1923– date of death (dad’s brother)
Edwards, Katrina Sec-32 Lot-71 Sp-10 November 5, 1894 (Note: Error – should be 1895 and not 1894 – and May 11 and not November 5 – it is 5-11 and not 11-5) July 27, 1959 (dad’s mom)
Boyd, Carlton E. Sec-24SC Sp-872 (no date of birth listed, but dad said he was born on July 4, 1935) January 15, 1982 (this entry is for Uncle Carlton’s son Sonny – dad’s nephew.)
Boyd, Carlton, Sr. Sec-32 Lot-71 Sp-8 (no date of birth listed, but dad said he was born in July of 1908) January 18, 1978 (dad’s brother-in-law)
Boyd, Pauline E. Sec-32 Lot-71 Sp-9 (no date of birth listed, but dad said she was born on June 8, 1913) May 27, 1957 (dad’s older sister)
Not Blood Related—Step Relatives Of The Edwards Family Information:
Maternal Grandma Ella Priscilla Sears Wood married August Emil Bjorklun, Sr. (this was her second marriage – in her later adult years) Their wedding was held at high noon with a single-ring ceremony, on May 10, 1954, in Yuma, Colorado, at Emma and William (Will) Felderman’s home. (Emma and Will were also their witnesses.) They were married for almost 12 years. Step Grandpa August Bjorklun, Sr., was born on March 2, 1875, and went to heaven on January 17, 1966.(Prior to his death, he had spent a period of time in the Haxtun Hospital [known as the new hospital at that time].)
Maternal Great-Great-Great Grandfather Thomas Bagley had a 2nd wife – her name was possibly Chole [but very unsure about her first name] who was born on May 2, 1800, and died on Nov 7, 1870. Their children were: Ellen born in 1823; Mary born in 1833 [Mary married Willis True]; Sarah born in 1835; Burr born in 1838 and died on January 3, 1908, in Dunkirk, Chautauqua Co., NY; and Betsey born in 1842.
Six Generations Of My Family Have Lived In Haxtun, Colorado, Since 1887:
I’m in the fourth of six generations who have lived in Haxtun, Colorado. In 1887, Mary Ellen [Bagley] Wood and James Lamb Wood (my great grandparents) moved to Haxtun, Colorado, after living for 12 years in Alexis, Warren County, Illinois. They are the first generation of our family who have lived in Haxtun. Six of the last seven generations of our family have ones who have lived in Haxtun, Colorado, ever since 1887. My brother Warren is a great grandpa, and his two great-granddaughters are in the only generation of our family, since 1987, to have not yet resided in Haxtun.
The Church Of The Brethren In Haxtun, Colorado, Is Where Three Consecutive Generations Of Our Family Were Baptized:
In 1927, my maternal grandma and grandpa (Ella and Warren) Wood were both baptized at the Haxtun Church of the Brethren in Haxtun, Colorado. My mom and dad (Ethelyn and Chuck) Edwards were both baptized in the same Church – mom in 1932-1934 and dad in 1934. Also, my brother Warren and I (Chase) were both baptized in the same Church when we were each around the age of 11 or 12 (around 1962 for Warren and in 1958 for me – I’m four years older than Warren). When I was a child and a teenager, our family attended this Church every Sunday (unless we were out of town). My parents continued to attend services there for the rest of their lives.
This Concludes My Research Regarding Our Family Tree.
Thank you for reading my book. I greatly appreciate that you took the journey through 70 years of my life. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer.
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About the author: Chase Edwards has been living in Tucson, Arizona, since 1968. He is a Veteran from the Vietnam era and served four years in the United States Air Force. Chase plans to continue encouraging others to follow their dreams and to truly feel their feelings. Additional writing may appear from Chase after the age of 70.
Chase takes you to places that are no longer in existence, but he shares many of the details. He reveals what it was like before having a telephone or a television set in the home. His travels take you from Colorado and Arizona to the far east coast and even to Okinawa. Chase has the insight to tell what life was like as a child and as an adult. Some areas may be extremely challenging to endure and some mystifying, but the story continues. Throughout his story, don't miss out on learning solutions to various problems. This may be a story that will bring a few tears and some laughter; however, his aim is for this to be a spiritual journey. Throughout the pages of this story, see how God has advanced someone from an infant to the age of 70. Chase briefly shares his Christian beliefs and demonstrates how he prays. He grew up in Colorado, but he has lived in Tucson, Arizona, since 1968. Chase served four years in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1970. His background is in customer service and helping others. This is his first published book, and it covers 70 years of his life. Coming from an extremely suicidal backgroud, including many of the details, Chase expresses what it is like to be really grateful to be alive. He has been free from a suicidal condition for over 30 years. He desires to share his encouragement, his feelings, and his love with his readers. Jim Ru, an outstanding artist, created and designed the book cover. The day this book was published was the day Chase turned 70; it was August 15, 2016. Enjoy reading all of the twists and turns that unfold in The Chase Story -- My First 70 Years.