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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/jwilliamson
Rated: 18+ · Book · Opinion · #1241026
Thoughts on things from the news, TV, radio, and daily life that hit home with me.
         This blog will chronicle my thoughts, feelings and ideas about various items in the news, on TV or radio, or real experiences that cross my path from day to day, touching me deeply in some way. Some will be funny, some sad, some serious. Please note: since this is my second active blog, the system won't allow comments to be sent to me in the usual way. Please send me your comments as an email and I will include them here.
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June 13, 2017 at 10:03pm
June 13, 2017 at 10:03pm
         Tomorrow, Flag Day, -June 14th would have been my late sister-in-law Marcia Hart's 61st birthday.
         She passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 2014 at the age of 58.
         I wanted to make an entry in honor of her birthday for the way she stood by my late wife Linda day in and day out from the time she was old enough to understand the true meaning of loneliness.
         Cork, as she was very affectionately known within family circles, was basically Linda's only friend through the early - up to age 16 - years of Linda's life. She was Linda's best friend and confidant, and the most trusted person in Linda's life until Linda and I met after a pit orchestra rehearsal for the school musical, at 11:00 PM on Tuesday, March 8, 1966. And even after Linda and I married in 1968, Cork remained, and would always be a very important part of Linda's life, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
         Linda had been an epileptic since the age of eight, and back then, when little was known about the condition, those epileptics who had the Grand Mal seizures, the most severe kind, were often avoided by many people. We all fear the unknown; we all fear things we don't understand. But for kids who were epileptics, back then, that often meant a lonely life outside of family. And Linda's situation was no different. This was another example of a situation where kids can often be more cruel to other kids than anyone else (their favorite nickname for Linda was 'Roach'). And Cork stood by Linda through it all (along with the rest of her family, of course, but you know what I mean), even though she was seven years younger.
         The night Linda told me she was an epileptic, she fully expected me to walk out of her life like so many other friends and classmates had over the years. After about an hour or so of nervous, yet extremely important sharing, when I was finally able to convince Linda that I wasn't going anywhere, that I loved her far too much to let even the epilepsy make one bit of difference in how I felt about her, she melted in my arms. That was also in 1966.
         Right from the start, Cork was there, lovingly teasing Linda and I if we said anything to each other that Cork took as being even remotely romantic. After any such statements on our part, if she was within earshot, Cork always said, in a smiling voice, "Aw, mush, mush, mush!" To which Linda and I always responded, lovingly, "Aw, hush, hush, hush!'
         On the afternoon of my senior prom on May 20, 1966, I asked Linda to marry me. The next day, Cork overheard Linda telling their parents about my proposal, and how I'd caught her completely by surprise. Shortly thereafter, when Linda went to tell Cork the news, she found Cork on the verge of tears:
         "What's the matter, Cork? Why the long face?"
         "When you get married, we won't be able to talk like we have all these years. And I like doing that."
         Linda immediately knew Cork had heard the discussion Linda had had with their parents, and opened her arms. Cork jumped at the chance for that hug. "Oh, yes, we will, Cork!" Linda said sternly, intentionally sounding like a drill sergeant to leave no doubt in Cork's mind about what she was saying. "There's no reason I can't come over here a half dozen times a week and bug you, you know! I still need you, Cork, and don't you forget it!", Linda finished firmly.
         "Thanks, Squeek! I love you!" Cork said as she worked at drying her eyes.
         I love you, too, Cork."
         In the summer of 1968, Linda and I, both 19, decided to elope. When that night came, things caught up with Cork, age 12 now, once again. Linda and I had both been talking to her for a while, trying to show her that she would continue to be an important part of our lives, no matter what. It wasn't working as well as we'd hoped. Linda took me aside and said, "Let me talk to her alone, honey. I need to show her the bond we have will still be there." I nodded understanding and went downstairs to wait, with their parents.
         About 30 minutes later, Linda came down the stairs, stepped up to me, embraced me, looked up at me and said warmly, "We're going to be over here a lot even after the wedding. OK, honey?"
         I ran my fingers through her hair, kissed her tenderly and said, "I know very well by now how much you mean to her, and what she means to you, sweetheart, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
         "Thanks, sweetheart. I knew you felt that way; I guess I just needed to hear you say it. I love you."

         And we did just that. At least a couple times a week, and often Cork would spend weekends with us. We made very sure that Cork saw us stand by our promise of her importance in our lives, and we never regretted it.

         Cork, sweetie, thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing by Linda through all those years when she didn't have any true friends, for all those wonderful times as a youngster when you teased us about being in love, and for always being such a wonderful and important part of BOTH our lives. And thank you, too, for standing by Linda even now, until my time comes and I can once again share my love with the family that so willingly supported me emotionally when I left my family behind so my parents couldn't keep Linda and I apart anymore. To paraphrase what you wrote to me on the back of one of your school pictures, "To Cork - a great girl I'm lucky enough to have as a sister-in-law" I love you.
August 30, 2015 at 4:03pm
August 30, 2015 at 4:03pm
         It's happened again.

         I put a separate entry in my port when Linda's father, and my second father, George, passed away.

         And I put an entry in this blog when I found out his wife, Linda's mother Virginia had joined him.

         Now, I have the heartwrenching task of adding another entry here, and this one is the hardest yet, other than dealing with Linda's own death.

         Linda's closest friend and confidante, and the person whose enthusiastic, fun-loving teasing whenever she saw Linda and I acting even the least bit romantic throughout those early years only served to bring her even closer to both of us, and to make her the one person in our lives that we never wanted to live without, has finally gone home.

         I found out early this afternoon that Linda's younger sister, Marcia, affectionately referred to within the family circle as Cork, had passed away last year, 2014, on Thanksgiving Day. I was too shocked by the news to think clearly enough to ask the reason that she passed, but I'm going to try to find out.

         All through Linda's school years, until her Junior year in high school when we met, Cork was basically her only real friend. Back then, in the mid-1960s, not much was known about epilepsy. As a result, Linda's seizures had made her a virtual outcast by the other students. So, Cork became, most willingly, Linda's friend and confidante as well as Little Sister. And that extra bond only brought them closer to each other as time passed.

         I need to make one thing clear before I continue. My parents and I never did agree where Linda's being a part of my life was concerned. So, since I had to move out and into a place of my own at 18 (legal age then was 21) for Linda and I to be able to be together, her parents basically became mine too. And I always felt far closer to her parents than to my own. Hence, the pieces here in my port about each of them. That said, I continue:

         Typical teenagers, Linda and I reached the point where we couldn't stand saying goodbye every night and going our separate ways. After about a year, Linda and I decided to elope. We had settled on Friday, August 16, 1968, at the age of 19, to start our new life together. But we had one urgent, and, to us both, mandatory thing we had to take care of before we could embark on that new life. We had a lot of reassuring to do for Cork. We had, of course told Cork a few days earlier, but still, when that night came, it wasn't any easier for her. It had taken the 12-year-old barely any time at all to realize Linda wouldn't be there to talk to every night, for them to keep sharing stories and memories, dealing with homework, and enjoying all the rest of the activities they'd shared together, often just the two of them, but at times with the rest of the family, for so very many wonderful, fulfilling years. Still crying a river of tears at the realization, Cork gave me a bear hug. I kissed her forehead and said softly, yet with a determination I hoped would help boost her spirits and remind her that we weren't exactly leaving forever, "You're not getting rid of us that easily, girl!" She cracked a smile and I nudged her just a tad toward Linda, who stood not even a full foot away. Quietly, I went downstairs to wait. When Linda came down the stairs about a half hour later, she came up, put her arms around my neck, and said tenderly, "We're going to be over here pretty often after the wedding tonight. OK, honey?" I gave her a tender kiss, and I said, "Sweetheart, with the way you know I feel about this family of yours, especially Cork, I wouldn't want it any other way. They're my family now, too, you know." As we headed to the family room to say goodbye to her parents, Linda stopped, turned to me, and said, "Thanks, Jim. I knew you felt that way, but with what this was doing to Cork for a while there I just had to hear you say it."

         We visited them at least every other week throughout our all-too-few years together, and it seemed like Linda and Cork were also always on the phone. And I loved seeing that those two didn't let the distance of even a mere quarter mile between our homes keep them apart.

         There was only one other time in the years of her life when I was around that I ever saw Cork cry as hard, or as long, and with such deep sobs, as she did that night Linda and I eloped: Saturday morning, March 8, 1980, when the finality of Linda's death finally hit her (the funeral had been the day before).

         And now, the family member that both Linda and I had felt the closest to, is with her, and their parents, once again. Only one member of that family remains: the oldest of the three sisters, Susie. Susie, you, and the rest of that wonderfully close knit, caring, loving family that so willingly helped this teenager so I could continue to be with Linda, will always be in my prayers. Always.
June 28, 2015 at 8:54pm
June 28, 2015 at 8:54pm
         A couple weeks ago, I got a call saying that my eye exam, scheduled for later that week, had to be cancelled, and that they wouild call me back as soon as it couild be rescheduled. When I told the lady that my opthalmologist and I were high school classmates, and that we are both on the reunion committee for our class, she offered a little more detail. Howard had had a stroke, but he was recovering.

         After finishing that call, I quickly called another member of our reunion committee, Karla, to break the news to her. She told me that she had found out from another friend of ours just a short time earlier, and that's when she hit me with the "big one". Howard was recovering, yes, but so far the only thing he can see are shadows. His eyes were his livelihood. I pray each day that his sight will return, though I wouldn't blame him if he decides to retire, considering we have to be within a year of each other agewise since we were in the same class, and I'm 67 right now. But if he wants to use his job as something to shoot for in terms of recovery, I'm certainly not going to discourage him; having a goal can definitely speed recovery. It's a good thing we've decided to contact the class members and do the registration for our 50-year reunion next year online. Most of it will take care of itself. We just need to decide which other committee member is going to complete the negotiations for our chosen venue.

         The biggest thing I hope for now, second only to his recovery, is that he recovers well enough to attend the reunion next fall himself. Get will soon, Howard! We're pulling for you!
February 15, 2015 at 1:07am
February 15, 2015 at 1:07am
         In an entry in my portfolio created in June, 2009 titled "I Miss You, Dad", I stated that I'd received a card from Susie, my late wife Linda's older sister, tenderly telling me that their father, George Hart, had passed away peacefully earlier that month.
         This past summer (2014), on a comfortably warm weekend afternoon, a woman who'd been one of their neighbors when they lived here through those earlier years, just one street in front of where I'm living now, stopped by as I was getting in my car, and, after making sure she had found the right person based on her memories from that time, warmly told me that Linda's mother, Virginia, had just passed away.
         I still think of them often, especially since I'm still working on the book I've written about those years of my life, when Linda was my wife, and her parents were, for all intents and purposes my parents as well. I was always much closer to her parents than to my own. Linda, George and Ginny were the ones that taught a young 17-year-old boy what real love was about, how caring for and about others can be so very rewarding, and so much more about the things that are truly important in life. I've carried those life lessons with me, and hopefully I've put some of them to good use in how I've treated others I've encountered in my life since that time.
         Only two members of that original family are still alive, to my knowledge, Linda's older sister Susie, and her younger sister Marcia. Most of the time in my day to day life I don't feel my age, or have many conscious thoughts about the passage of time. But once in a while something will happen that reminds me that time waits for none of us, that we have to make the most of each day, and tell those we love how we feel about them while we can. Because we never know what will happen 2 minutes from now, much less after that. I've always been thankful for the fact that I had told each of them, Linda, George, Ginny and Marcia as well, how much I loved them the last time I spoke to them (Susie was married and living elsewhere since before Linda and I met; we only touched base at a number of holiday gatherings over those years). Because now I have the peace of mind that they all knew how I felt when the end came for each of them (and hopefully left Marcia with warm thoughts). Making the time to tell those we care about that we DO care is more important than we think. That very thought was the reason for another item in my portfolio, titled "Your Last Chance". That was written at the time in my life when I first realized how truly important that simple act of telling them is, and the wonderful peace of mind that having done that can bring.
         And I can just imagine the wonderful conversations Linda and her parents are sharing right now. They all deserve the wonderful happiness that the family's strong faith in God has now brought to them. And I thank Him for welcoming them all Home so they can be together once again.
October 27, 2013 at 10:59pm
October 27, 2013 at 10:59pm
         We lost iconic comedian George Burns a number of years ago. From time to time some of his best lines or routines from his career will cross my mind when I least expect them. But there were two of them that burned into my memory the first time I heard them, and I think they are definitely worth sharing, especially with the younger generation.

         In a rare hour long interview I saw many years ago )I believe it was 1980), held in front of a live audience, in a theater I think, he said two things that showed a personal side of him that many people never saw; and both of them showed the wonderful character traits that had become part of him as he grew up.

         One audience member asked him about his early career on the vaudeville stages across America. He told about the grueling travel, the one-night stands, the exhausting hours of often doing more than one show a night, all in an effort to build a successful career. Then he paused a moment, obviously in remembrance, held his head up high, and said, "Then I got my big break. And I was married to her for 37 years." Of course he was speaking of his late wife and comedic partner, Gracie Allen. The audience greeted his openness and unselfish comment, giving Gracie full credit for his success in the business, with a huge round of applause.

         A few minutes later, in a comment that could apply to both his vaudeville years and his early TV years, both with Gracie, he said, "I had the easiest job in show business. We'd walk out on stage, I'd ask Gracie "How's your brother?" and Gracie would talk for 27 minutes."

         He never waivered from giving Gracie complete credit for his successful career in show business. That's about as unselfish as it gets. He never once let his success go to his head. He never forgot where he came from, and he never forgot the one person, more than any other, that helped him get there.

         If anyone ever deserved to live to be 100, it was George Burns. And he reached that milestone, too. Hopefully many of us can learn from his example of giving true credit where it's due instead of trying to get all the credit for our acheivements for ourselves when in reality others have likely done things across the years that helped us, no matter how small or large their contribution.

         Rest in peace, George. Your character, and your unselfish approach to life, are sorely lacking in today's world. You are truly missed.,
April 13, 2013 at 12:51am
April 13, 2013 at 12:51am
         The truly great comedians. Sadly, there aren't that many left, now.
         They had a genuine love and devotion for their craft that was more than just a couple practice sessions and showing up for the performance. To them, comedy was a full time job. When they weren't performing they were constantly creating, trying out and revising new material, often working much more than eight hours a day and certainly more than five days a week.
         That kind of love and devotion, doing what they loved and getting paid for it, and that determined work ethic, applied to every practice, every rehearsal, every performance for years and years, allowed them to develop very sharp senses where their comedy was concerned. Some had absolutely the best sense of timing ever seen on a comedy stage or in a TV show or movie. Others had mannerisms that quickly, and often permanently, became their trademarks. And still others had a flawless ability to improvise. Throw them a prop. No matter what it was, they would instantly come up with a one-liner involving that prop that would have you laughing so hard your sides hurt. And then there is the even more rare comedian who is blessed with more than one of these skills.
         Jonathan Winters was THE master at the art of improvisation when it came to comedy. Many younger {than him) comedians today credit Jonathan Winters for inspiring them, giving them the determination to not only improve, but to perfect their ability to improvise.
         We lost Jonathan Winters late Thursday night. And trust me - the 'we' in that last sentence is global in its reach. Millions of us grew up watching him on television. Whether he did stand up routines on the TV variety shows or late night, recurring characters on TV series (such as his role on Mork and Mindy , or a prominent role in a blockbuster movie like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, he was always at the top of his game.
         Now he's up there sharing ideas, and, I'm sure, trading one-liners and more, with all those wonderful and equally expert old-school comedians that shared his 24/7 devotion to the craft:
         Fred Allen
         Jack Benny
         George Burns and Gracie Allen
         Walter Mathau
         Bob Hope
         The Marx Brothers
         Laurel and Hardy
         The Three Stooges

         And all of them had us rolling on the floor, or laughing till our sides hurt with a brand of humor that never once contained a single expletive or four-letter word. The truly great comedians didn't need to resort to trash talk to make us laugh. The quality of their material, and their impeccable ability to deliver it with the best in timing, mannerisms, facial expressions and voice inflections was more than enough to have us laughing throughout our lives. We could sure use them, and their brand of humor in our lives, and our world today.

Rest in Peace, Jonathan. And tell Maude Frickert we said 'hi' and remember her as well.
September 22, 2012 at 11:49pm
September 22, 2012 at 11:49pm
Mr. Richard Wesp:
Teacher Extraordinaire

         Mr. Richard Wesp taught Vocal Music at Anderson High School, my Alma Mater, for 57 years, beginning in 1955. He was also the Music Director for the entire Forest Hills School District, and as you can tell by the above numbers, he had only recently retired. He passed away about a week ago, the second of three victims in our county of the West Nile Virus. He was 80 years old.
         He was an outstanding example of the fact that, at least at the time I was there, in the 1960’s, the students came first. Teachers’ strike? We’d never heard of that term. Never had one.
         Mr. Wesp, as did virtually all the teachers that were there when I was a student, set an example by his actions as well as his words. Respect. Self discipline. Determination. He was an example to all students of each of those traits, and more, in his efforts to prepare us for life. I never had him as a teacher, but I didn’t have to. My best friend in high school, Dennis Atkinson, whom I mentioned in an earlier entry in this journal, did have Mr. Wesp as his teacher. Dennis was in the high school chorus, directed by Mr. Wesp, for four years. And in any conversation Dennis and I had about school, any comment Dennis made about Mr. Wesp was done with obvious respect and admiration for the man. And I knew Dennis well enough, both during and after those four years, to know that if he said something, he meant it. It was from the heart.
         Mr. Wesp may be gone, but his influence on the faculty he worked with, and especially the well over 400,000 students he taught in his career will live on. At the school, yes. But most notably in the hearts, and minds, of those students he had a personal hand in preparing for dealing with life. And they will be far better off for having known him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Wesp. You most certainly deserve it. You will be sorely missed.

December 11, 2011 at 6:13pm
December 11, 2011 at 6:13pm
         That's a decision each of us has to make for ourselves at those times, and I seem to be at odds with my dad on this, though he seems to be slowly accepting, though maybe not agreeing with me on my viewpoint.
         Dad is 91, and fell about a year ago, breaking his left hip. He had been living independently in a local retirement community. The surgery was routine, and therapy has given him back full mobility with the leg. But, he can't balance well enough now to walk without the help of a walker. He hasn't gotten his balance back, and that means he's in a wheelchair most of his waking time. It took him a while to accept that, but he finally has, though a bit grudgingly.
         A while back when I was still trying to get him to use the walker, he only looked at it as a sign that he was beginning to lose his freedom. That's where we differ on the subject.
         For about 2 weeks early last year, after I had somehow irritated my right sacroiliac joint, I had to use a cane to get around, to keep the weight off my right leg as I walked. If I put too much weight on it that joint would tell me that in no uncertain terms. As a result, my steps were very short, but I was still able to go to work and get my job done. And that's what was important to me. I had to leave my desk a few minutes before others did in order to walk to a meeting I had in another part of our building complex, because it took me longer to get there with those short steps I had to take. But, I did it on my own. And that beat the heck out of taking time off because I couldn't walk very well. I looked at the cane as a way to KEEP my independence, not as something that was a sign of LOSING it. I have not needed the cane since that inflammation healed, and I'm thankful for that. But I would use it again in a heartbeat before I would give in to any similar problems.
         Recently, I've had to make use of another type of help, this time a form of modern technology. I got a pair of hearing aids this past Friday. Again, they are something that will help me KEEP my independence and allow me to stay in touch with things around me.
         Thankfully I only need them for the very top edge of the audible range of normal hearing. The range where, for example, many female voices are. And that's a very small part of our total audible range of sound. I also had problems such as which voice I would hear if I were sitting at a table with a group of people. I didn't always hear the person next to me. I would often hear the person 2 or 3 seats away from me because their voice was more PENETRATING than those seated near me. Or, it would sometimes sound as if a person a few feet away from me was mumbling. These are supposed to help me with those situations as well. Over the next three weeks, between now and my first "checkup", I'll be able to tell if they do. I happen to be on vacation this week, so I don't have the chance to check them out in my office environment yet, where most of the problems were first noticed. I'm going to pick a day or two this coming week and drop by the office for lunch, and see what sounds different around my coworkers and in the company cafeteria. That will help satisfy my curiosity about how much they help till I go back to work the following week. And I'm keeping a journal of things I notice, and questions I have for the audiologist, to take with me for answers during that checkup. That way she will be able to refine the tuning of the hearing aids, and the multiple programs she set up in them for my situations, so they help as much as possible. The important thing is that I noticed an overall improvement from the time I put them in that first day in her office last Friday. I'm hearing many sounds that I didn't even realize I hadn't been hearing for a while. Making the decision to let modern technology help me continue to maintain the life I'm familiar with was a no brainer, and should be for anyone.
         . Yes, I have a slight problem getting the one into my left ear because of my very slight case of cerebral palsy on my left side. It only shows when I need detailed manual dexterity in my left hand. I don't have that. I end up using both hands to get that one in place.
         But still, all things considered, I'd rather be fighting that for a few extra minutes each morning than to have to deal with the alternative of not being able to easily understand some people around me, or fully appreciate all the wonderful sounds around me that I didn't realize I hadn't been hearing until I got them back.
         Think about it when your time comes to need a little outside help. None of us, myself included, should ever let pride or denial get in the way of being able to continue the lifestyle we've always enjoyed. I never have. And we should do all we can to see that those we care about don't short change themselves when it comes to these decisions either. . .
October 18, 2008 at 6:29pm
October 18, 2008 at 6:29pm
         This upcoming election, and all the media exposure it's getting, brought a thought to mind within the last couple days, and I hope a lot of other people noticed what I noticed, and do what they can to safeguard our freedoms.
         The freedoms we enjoy also leave us at risk. Not from outside, like the way Russia invaded the republic of Georgia, but from the inside. And that’s what make it doubly dangerous.
         Choose the term you want to use: registration fraud, ACORN, voter fraud. All of this raises a red flag two ways.
         First, these things themselves can jeopardize our future by creating situations where invalid signatures have a chance of slipping through the system, which indirectly could unfairly influence the resulting outcome.
         But worse than that is that this situation - the registration and voter fraud combined with the plans of some of the candidates - especially those they don’t reveal during the campaign process. THAT is what could ultimately lead to the loss of our freedoms.
         Keep in mind that what I'm about to describe could begin occurring with ANY election; it's not restricted to just this one.
         It can start with one candidate, for any office. The office of President is just the most publicly visible one. When even one person whose political views involve the downfall of our current governmental system gets into office, they and their sympathizers then have an edge, making it a little easier to get other candidates into office, as long as that first one keeps making a glowingly wonderful impression on the citizens of this country.
         Are you thinking that no one person could have the personality, manner, education and other qualities that could allow them to unite practically the entire country behind them? Thankfully, the example I have of that was a POSITIVE ONE for our country:

John F. Kennedy

         But it could be just as easy for someone whose political views are against our country to unite us if they had many of those same qualities. And that would provide a chance for our enemies to have a foot in the door that could mean eventual loss of our freedoms as the influence of their philosophy, and that of their supporters, found its way into our legislative system. One by one, laws could be passed that slowly erode our freedoms. And we will have elected the people that did it into the offices they will hold, or elected them to offices that gave them the power to appoint others of their philosophy into influential positions.

         Think your vote won’t change anything? THINK AGAIN! As long as you listen very carefully to what all the candidates are saying, and make a carefully considered choice, your vote can go a long way to keep those who would defeat our way of life and take away our freedoms from having the chance to do that.

         Listen carefully to what the candidates say, and don’t say, and use your vote to protect our freedoms.
September 7, 2008 at 12:57am
September 7, 2008 at 12:57am
         It's time to get Joe Nuxhall into the Broadcaster's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I deeply appreciate your support last year. We need to get him onto that final list again, hopefully in the top three this time. Read the following short note, then use the link at the bottom of this post to cast your vote.
         If you would like to see a short bio of Joe's baseball career, as player and broadcaster, when you get to the ballot page, click on his name, in the center column of candidates, and another window will open giving you a summary bio of his career. Then you can close that new window, check the box next to his name, and submit your ballot.
         Remember that you can vote once a day, all through the month of September. Please vote as often as you can. Every vote will help get the job done.

         Thank you again for your support! There is no doubt in my mind that Joe's family will certainly appreciate our efforts. I will update this later on, as I did last year.


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