On this day in 1992, my father, Earl Temples of Bloomington, Indiana died of a massive heart attack while cutting grass at the residence of his father-in-law, Maurice Evans. Dad had been feeling ill for a number of days, but failed to alert anyone to his condition. One of his grandsons, Brian Chandler who was around 12 or 13 years old at that time, witnessed the event and alerted Maurice, who called 911. He died soon thereafter.
When I was last in Bloomington a few weeks ago, I felt the urge to visit my father's grave site in the Rose Hill Cemetary on the west side of town. My sister, Joyce, had placed a nice floral arrangement on the tombstone.
I miss you, Dad. I hope that I've made you proud.
I haven't posted much about my brother-in-law, Mark Doub who is bravely battling colon cancer. My sister has established a web presence for him on CaringBridge. She posts regular updates on his condition. Here's a recent entry:
Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:24 PM, MST
Dear Prayer Warriors:
I also have been working on our transition to Show Low but ran into some issues with Hospice in Show Low as they don’t do pain pumps or power ports so our oncologist will have to decide if Mark should go off the pain pump and use something called Methodone. Sure hope we can get this worked out so we can go home.
I discovered that I didn't have any photos from my Phoenix visit earlier this month that included me and my immediate family: my sisters, Jo (left) and Joyce (center). Fortunately, my niece took this shot of us and posted it to Mark's Caringbridge web page. So, a little screen capture magic and--whola! Here's the photo (albeit very low resolution).
The email was titled, "Forgot to tell you..." My sister, Jo sent me an update on her husband's health, then she sent a follow up email with that subject line. In it she said, "Audrey Quillen (sic) passed away." You see, everyone in our family called them "Quillen" without the "s" for some reason.
The Quillens were my family's next-door neighbors on South Fess Avenue in Bloomington, Indiana since before I was born. I have vague memories of Audrey's husband. I think his name was Bud. He must have died when I was quite young. Audrey had a daughter named Linda who was roughly the same age as Jo.
Audrey was my mother's age. She stayed in her home until just a few years ago until medical problems (I believe she fell down and broke her hip) forced her to move into an assisted living home in town. I have vague recollections in my mind's eye of her face and features. They're a snapshot from when I was much younger, say, high school/college age. After starting college I didn't have very many opportunities to see her.
As a younger child, I found her to be scarey. She had what could be be described as craggily features. I recall that she had some large pollups on her face and nose. I thought she resembled the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz. Time had not been kind to Audrey; she was a heavy smoker. Perhaps that's what did in her husband, too.
In general, I don't think my parents approved of Audrey or her family. The Quillens smoked, and I seem to recall that everyone in her household used profanity--something my straight-laced parents really didn't appreciate. When I was an older child, my father grew to dislike her intensely. He was fond of telling the story about how one day, Audrey came in the back door (actually, the side door facing the Quillens' house) unannounced. Dad was in his underwear. He chewed her out good, saying she had no right to come in without knocking. I think she probably cussed him out. After that incident, a cold war ensued. It existed until my father died much later, in 1992.
I recall that as a child, I was uncomfortable in their house, probably because of the cigarette odor that clinged to everything. But mostly, I thought that she was creepy. So were all her nick-nacks.
The two households' driveways abutted one another. As a youngster I really enjoyed exploring their driveway back to their old garage, where I would turn over large stones and look for creepy, crawly things like multi-legged centipedes and millipedes and put them in canning jars. I would hang out in their musky, old wooden garage daydreaming and pretending about things. Even back then, their garage was dilapidated and full of holes; it appeared ready to fall in on itself at any moment.
Later, when I was older I would cut their grass to earn money. One day I was cutting along the wire fence when a piece of rusty wire came flying up from under the mower. It hit me in the ear. I was momentarily stunned. I also received my first pierced ear. Luckily for me, it wasn't a few inches to the left, or I might have been blinded. (This was back in the days before anyone thought to wear safety goggles.)
What else? Oh, there were other squabbles over the years, like--the danger posed by the large tree in their front yard hanging over our property; the time that my father decided to blacktop our driveway but neglected to ask if they wanted their driveway treated; and, some issue with their bird bath that I no longer recall.
I suppose I should feel and recall much, much more about this woman next to whom I and my family existed for nearly half my life. And, pehraps I should reflect on some positive memory or attribute of Audrey now that she's gone. But I'm afraid that's the extent of it.
R.I.P., Audrey Quillens, a.k.a. Wicked Witch.
January 21, 2009: Today's Boston Globe carries these historic headlines: "The Time Has Come." Not often does the Globe run a headline and photo on page one encompassing the entire real estate above the fold.
(Ariel says she's going to include this newspaper as "packing material" to her customers in Ireland who were following the Obama candidacy very closely.)
Members of the 6th grade class at St. Columbkill School in Brighton came to Boston College at the conclusion of the Spring, 2008 school year to thank me and members of the BC Share Aloud program. (See also "Nice Thank You From St. Columbkill 6th Graders!.) I was presented with a gift: a notebook of bound essays from four of the students: Rogina, Meghan, Sara, Ruth. I've included Sara's essay, below.
Shown here: an old photo (courtesy my sister, Joyce) showing my grandfather and grandmother on my mother's side. Joyce believes that this photo was taken in 1980, shortly before my grandfather died. According to the notes on the back of the photo:
"Glenn and Lucille Young with great-grandchildren Brian Chandler--being held; Gene Holmes' (my cousin) daughters; Jodie Doub (my niece); Jeff Doub (my nephew) holding D.J. Chandler (my other nephew)."
More interesting (to me) is seeing my father in the doorway behind me. Sporting thick, black hair, he certainly looks young. In fact, he would have been 44 years old--nearly ten years younger than I am today!
Each generation experiences certain earth-shaking events in history that leave their indelible mark in our hearts and minds. For our parents it was Pearl Harbor. For folks my age, there was President Kennedy's assasination, and Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon. For today's generation it was, of course, 9/11. And now, we can add a new one to the list. It's been over a month now, but the events of November 4-5, 2008 are still fresh in my mind, and no doubt will be remembered by many around the world as a seminal event in our nation's history: the election of the first African-American President of the United States.
Shown here: a few random photos taken off network television, depicting (left) the joyous celebration in Grant Park; the Rev. Jessie Jackson moved to tears; President-elect Barack Obama addressing the crowd, and the nation.