Today we Honor Our AncestorsNo, today is not the anniversary of the murder of innocent children at Waco, TX or the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and murder of more children in Oklahoma City. Today is the day in 1775 that was fired the shot heard 'round the world. Today is the day we made our move to become a nation (although we hardly knew it at the time).
Yes, 233 years ago today, brave men answered the call and responded to the church bells and drums. They marched in their militia units to the vicinity of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts and along the road from there to Boston and gave their erstwhile ruler's armed forces a bloody nose.
I am thankful and proud to say that many of my ancestors and their brothers stood to arms to resist the tyrant then and in the years since. This post in no way can do them the honor they deserve. Only my own years of service might in some small way redeem my debt to them. But I hope by this post you might know their service and call to mind your own ancestors and their sacrifices... and maybe say a prayer of thanks.
Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled; Here once the embattled farmers stood; And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps, And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone, That memory may their deeds redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
O Thou who made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, -- Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
I'm nearly catatonic as I'm near to having a cataclysmic catastrophe. You see my mother, of whom I've previously written, has seven (7) cats. Bert, Leonard, Marco Polo, Fünft, Sheila, McCavity, and Bea are all pretty good as cats go but cats are a hard sell, even if you're giving them away. 3 years ago, when Mom was still "here" she asked me to promise that her cats wouldn't be put down if something happened to her. Something will be happening to her and these seven cats show no signs of using up their nine lives.
Now, I can't take them into MY home. You see my one daughter is allergic, very allergic, and couldn't visit us at all if we took the cats in. Frankly, I don't WANT seven cats. I'd like to give them to loving homes but, so far, no loving homes want them. Heck, this was THE loving home that was their one shelter.
Bert was a kitten when Mom got him. He was a descendant of at least two generations of "barn" cats but had been abandoned by his mother (or she had died somewhere). The farmer found him and talked Mom into taking him in and Mom talked Dad into letting him in the house. Bert is about 13. He's still spry but is the oldest of the seven.
Leonard was in the Harrisonburg shelter. He'd apparently been living wild for his first two years but was very much a human loving cat. So much so the shelter took him to events. Still he'd been unadopted and then Gussie, Mom's #2 (also rescued but now among the dearly departed) took a "leave of absence" out the back door. Before she returned Mom had Leonard home to "replace" her. Of course he stayed after her return. Leonard is one of the two most "affectionate" cats of the seven.
Marco Polo (Marco for short) showed up one day looking for a handout. Although he was nominally the neighbor's cat (she had 60-120 at the time) he followed the handouts into the house where he's stayed since. Marco is the other most "affectionate" cat.
Fünft came next. She's so named because at the time she was the fifth cat of the group. Like Gussie who was still living at the time, she was dropped off in the middle of the night by an unthinking coward. At least she didn't have to put up with the cold rain into which Gussie had been thrown. Unlike Gussie her right eye had been injured in the "drop" and she soon lost sight in that eye and also is losing sight in her left eye. That doesn't stop her and she is easily the most inquisitive of the cats and most likely to be able to open doors, to cabinets or closets, and go where she ought not.
Sheila is Marco's sister. We didn't know it at the time but when she also came looking for handouts she also followed them right into the house where she now seems perfectly satisfied.
McCavity is a Maine Coon Cat. He was also a rescue from the Harrisonburg animal shelter, indirectly. Mom got him from his rescuer when he didn't fit in in her home. It takes a bit for him to warm up to you but he's willing to take his turn and now comes to greet me when I arrive for my daily visit. He's also the most confident or least nervous cat and will often just keep on napping despite my cleaning, stepping over and about him, etc.
Bea was the last cat to make her home here. Another of our cat hoarding neighbors mass of cats, she apparently escaped, half-starving when that lady was finally bundled away to safety in a place where she could be watched and her children caught up her cats for... Anyway Bea (as we call her) came up to Mom's with another similarly colored female, also starving. Mom managed to catch them on successive days and we don't know whether Bea was first or second caught. Mom immediately took both to the vet but only Bea survived. Nearly nothing but skin and bones and wary of everyone and everything she's now pretty fat and healthy. She'll even roll over on her back for a belly rub!
All, other than Bert, are about 7-9 years old (as best we can tell). All were spayed/neutered as they were brought into the "family". To my knowledge, none have chronic or life-threatening diseases. It isn't quite time for new homes but it won't be long.
D-Day, June 6th 1944
We should remember these young (and many not so young) men who struggled ashore, who died, who strove to fulfill their duty 64 years ago today.
Among those men was one Gano Haynes "Sonny" Jewell. Sonny was my dad's first cousin and they were close. Sonny had been pre-med at Cornell but he felt he wasn't doing his part. He thought he needed to do more and he enlisted in the army. Wonder of wonders, he was made an aideman probably recognizing his pre-med training and perhaps with a bit of work towards that end by Sonny himself. Nobody in our family is known for being a shrinking violet. He came to be assigned to work in the aide-station of the 2d Battalion, 116th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division. The 116th was one of the assault regiments and attached to the 1st Division for the landings. Sonny made the landing. He likely was very busy from June 6th through August 6th when he was wounded near Vire, France by German artillery fire. On August 7th, 1944 PFC Gano Haynes "Sonny" Jewell was killed by a fragment from a German artillery shell. He was 21 years old, an only son and a beloved cousin/nephew. Dad once told me how when his mother and aunt (Sonny's mom) went to get the body, he followed them as they drove a car and he drove a borrowed truck. He remembered how he watched the sidewall of old right rear tire on the car suddenly balloon out and burst and how they had to get the tire replaced before they could continue and get Sonny's body. A small thing to us but Dad's eyes would mist up a bit.
On VE Day (I think this was May 8th, 1945) the government released farm labor from enlistment restrictions and Dad enlisted in the Army. In fact, when he heard the news on the radio he telephoned home and told his mother that he didn't know when he was coming back but that he was going to Oneonta to enlist. Dad allowed that this was at least in part because of Sonny.
In 1985 I was sitting in my office in the home armory of the 116th Infantry and met Winston Morris. Winston had gone into service at age 35 and was 80 years old when we met. Prior to the war he'd been photographer and got command permission to carry and use his camera in theater. As NCOIC of the Regimental aide-station he got to move around quite a bit and take photos of a number of the Regiment's activities. He had a quite collection of photographs from those years and included in them was a photo of Sonny Jewell the day before he died. He was sitting at the edge of his foxhole in the aide station. Winston remembered him fondly. Unfortunately, I didn't get a copy of the photograph.
Sonny Jewell was one of millions, like Winston Morris, who did their duty and I hope that today, you'll take a moment and remember the Sonny Jewell or Winston Morris in your family and somehow thank him or her.
Help Me ID a WWII Army Unit
Some photos, unclassified, were mailed to my grandparents. The return address is:
MAJ P. C. Bosse Hdqs WPBC, APO 244 c/o P. Va. San Francisco
The postmark is June 28, 1945 by the US Army Postal Service.
I think MAJ Paul C. Bosse is the mustached gent in the photos. I'd like to find out more about the unit, MAJ Bosse, and his connection to my grandparents. An internet search for "Paul C. Bosse" or "P. C. Bosse" turned up nothing. This link seems to indicate that the WPBC was a Personnel Center & Casual Depot. There are more photos, however, which made me think it might be something else (not withstanding the one officer's Adjutant General branch insignia). These photos show the troops, mixed race(!), in the field with white and black NCOs. However, just as in the beach photo, the officers wearing "helmets" are actually only wearing the "Liner, Helmet"! That's not what would have happened in combat operations. Any information on this subject you send me would be welcome but please avoid the BS.
What I have found on Paul C. Bosse: Born in New York state 4 Dec 1907, residence was New York City, he was married and had children on 17 Jun 1942 when he enlisted. His dad was worth $840,000 in 1930! He died 13 Dec 1973 in Warrensburg, New York. His wife was Anne Gillette Bosse and they had 3 daughters (Anne, Susan and Constance). So I believe I've found the connection. Paul Bosse knew my grandmother from Lake George where he met his wife Anne Gillette at or near Sabbath Day Point. I'd like to know more...
U P D A T E
I've been given the following info: - WPBC APO 244 for 1945 is for Western Pacific Base Command, Saipan. - Maj Bosse was Asst Chief of Staff of G2 for WPBC. Here is an article he wrote assessing Japanese civilians: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2745220
I don't usually talk about personal stuff especially not about problems. I did talk a bit about my mother and her (our) struggle with Alzheimer's last May. I guess we're due an update.
Mom is still able to live with her cats. She can do so safely but we've also taken steps to eliminate opportunities for her to make errors with things like the stove/oven. I see her every day for several hours. While we could have moved her in with us or vice-versa, we haven't because of her cats of which she has seven (7). I promised her, when she had been diagnosed and knew what would happen, that I would keep her with her cats so that her cats would be safe for just as long as possible. Cats, as cat people know, are almost impossible to place in adoptive homes. All Mom's cats are already rescues, some have gotten the reprieve twice over and we think the youngest is about 7 years old while the oldest is close to 11.
She still takes Aricept and has for about 2 years. I believe that this has slowed the progression of the disease such that she is still able to be as independent (with care) as she is. Looking back, I think she's been living with the effects of the disease for about 4 years. Based on what I've read, she's doing pretty well.
We are a bit stressed by her care. It is a ½-hour drive, one way, to her house and we make that commute every day in addition to work, etc. and then spend time with her. We have her over for dinner 2-3 times a week. This is one thing she remembers (vaguely) and expects everytime we come in the house. Because of this stress we've brought in some "hired help" for two days a week. Mom loves to see the new faces(everyone is, at the same time, both a new and a familiar face) and talk. Mom doesn't get many visitors. That's another problem but a little background first.
Many sufferers from this disease start by losing inhibitions and/or forgetting the finer points of social behavior. Some cuss like a "sailor" and Mom is one. At least I know the limits of her vocabulary and it is fairly limited. Still, this offends some people. The afflicted also get pretty frustrated, you would too if you suddenly couldn't remember things you should remember and start misplacing things, showing up for appointments at the wrong time, place, and/or date. It is embarassing. Combine this with lowered inhibitions and sometimes there's an outburst which is considered very inappropriate by bystanders. Mom did this and nobody understood. Some took it personally, some were intimidated and some merely felt uncomfortable but all took to avoiding her.
It put off her "friends". They quit "coming by" for a visit and/or calling (they couldn't have a good conversation anyway). So now she was isolated. I should say, though, that there are about 6 people who have gone out of the way to try to include her in their visit plans. Also, there are a couple of fine young men (well, younger than me!) nearby who keep an eye on the place and do things like ensure there is access to the house when it snows. That is a wonderful thing.
I might also mention that the friends didn't call and tell us until AFTER we'd begun to address the problem. Because Mom would forget (or wouldn't tell if she did remember) they thought we were doing nothing.
It is quite a disease. Everything that she does or fails to do can be traced to her deteriorating memory. At first she forgot names, vocabularly, then numbers and how to do math, what was usable. Because she can't remember she can't reason in the same way as she did.
Mom can't problem solve because she can't remember all the variables that affect a problem. E.g. the light won't come on and she can't fix it. Was it the wall switch turned off, the bulb burned out, the lamp unplugged, she can't say. As far as she's concerned it might be the shade... She pulls out the clothes she thinks she might need and hangs them around the room so that she can SEE what she has because she can't remember what she has or where she put it. She puts stuff in front of the basement door because she's convinced that the cats can unlock it and get out. The intent is to put an obstacle in front of the door so it can't be opened. One day it was her clothing, a blouse & a pair of pants. She's decided she doesn't like what was once her favorite pair of shoes because they have "heavy" lugged soles. She swears they aren't hers. She can't remember her other son (who's deceased) and didn't recognize her daughter when she visited.
My sister told me, when she visited at Thanksgiving, that she was afraid she'd end up like this. Mom's mother had it. Apparently, Grandma's mother and grandmother had some form of dementia. I'm kinda worried about it myself. It does seem to be genetic. We're hoping that researchers will find a cure but, as good as they are, we aren't deluding ourselves.
This has impacted our lives. We are fortunate that I'm retired and have the time to give to Mom. The timing of this, bad as it is, couldn't be better for Mom. If I was working full-time I'd have had to take other steps, such as having "hired help" or moving her to a facility much sooner. Again, I think we're lucky and we're not the only ones to be going through this.
Not by a longshot are we the only people experiencing this debilitating disease.
Happy New Year 2008
Well Happy New Year. We're back to the "old grind" and I now have time to post here. Several things happened worth comments, let's see if I can remember them all (I doubt it).
#1 - Fred Thompson only wants to be POTUS to serve his country. Seems to me that is exactly the kind of person we want. I don't want somebody who's life dream is to be POTUS. That eliminates all those other guys (and gal). They all have either been working towards this for years or suddenly found themselves in position where others thought they could use them in office. No thanks. I'm even more firmly for Fred.
#2 - Was watching a show called "Fearless Planet" and was struck by an inconsistency of logic one used to see only with religious fanatics. You see, after hours of reviewing the planet's history of heating and cooling independent of the existence of humans, the show suddenly veered into blaming the end of the last ice age on humans and Alaska's retreating glaciers on humans as if we could reverse things. This at the same time as showing snow on the side of an active volcano and a woman skiing down said mountain in the middle of the Bering Sea.
Now, there's even doubt that there is in fact a global temp rise but these folks think we can change it. We weren't even here the last time it got hotter (or colder)...
#3 - The writer's strike is working against them. My family is watching less and less TV. We should be completely weaned from it, even nightly news, by the end of January.
#4 - I no longer care about New Year's Day except as a notation of the passage of time. I doubt that I will ever stay up to midnight again (unless I'm on duty or staying up with a sick relative).
#5 - My mother has Alzheimer's. It is a terrible disease that takes one's life away before taking one's physical ability to enjoy life. Already (and we're probably 2-3 years into the onset of this disease based on hindsight's view of the clues), my mother doesn't know her own daughter, deceased son, late husband, parents, grandparents, and sometimes doesn't recognize the outside of her own home. She can't recall the past with any degree of certainty. Not moments ago, not years ago, not at all. Former conventions of life are beyond her understanding but she is still instinctively respectful towards people. Some days she isn't sure who I am and I see her EVERY day and for several hours. I am reminded of the poem, "To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman
THE time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market-place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away From fields where glory does not stay, And early though the laurel grows It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut Cannot see the record cut, And silence sounds no worse than cheers 5 After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout Of lads that wore their honours out, Runners whom renown outran And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade, The fleet foot on the sill of shade, And hold to the low lintel up The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, And find unwithered on its curls The garland briefer than a girl's.
Mom did a lot of things and did them well. She was a good and loyal friend and still is despite not really recognizing friends when she sees them. Her friends are many and they are still in contact after 56 years. She believed in hard work and doing to the best of your ability everything you tried. She still does, but now she's not so sure why. She has been a good and faithful daughter, mother, wife, student, teacher, researcher, cave guide, shop owner, cancer patient, archaeologist, and care giver. Her life has made this world a better place for many. She has run a good race, has devoted fans and deserves better. We've a ways to go, I'm hoping that I'm good enough that I'll remember all this and not the difficulties and frustrations of working with her as she is now.
And so the new year comes and nothing seems quite as important as family. I have only one resolution, to do the best I can.
Looking for Old Friends
Many of us have had friends come and go in our lives. Some have been there on and off throughout and we just pick up with them where we left off. I've been thinking of some of the people and friends from my past and wondering just how the heck I'm going to find them. Perhaps if I list them here and they search their names they'll eventually find me. If you're listed and see this, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd at least like to hear about how you are.
Ronald R. Rowland Verne H. Hagemeier Lawrence R. Elson Janet Lohr Morgan
Going through some old family photos I discovered that Dad was assigned to Company M, 16th Infantry, Furth, Germany (West Germany) in 1951. I also discovered he had quite a number of girl friends...
I now know that we lived at 22 Hill Street, Richwood, WV... 216 First Street, Elkins, WV...
Long Gone but...I've been to Houston and Pensacola, good times.
Got to see my son. He should lay off the fast food but it sure was good to see him.
Attended June 24th service at Lakewood Church in Houston. Met Joel and Victoria Osteen. Interesting. Many genuinely enthusiastic worshipers, good organization with some hard working folks, great programs.
For us, the American ideal is personified in the concept of self-reliance, work ethic, honesty/forthrightness, decency, personal property rights, family, religion, an ability to defend oneself from criminals and crooked politicians, and personal responsibility.