Tag Archives: health

A Moving Idea

Sometimes an idea will simmer in your mind for a long time before you get the details worked out. Or even begin to take it seriously. Then some sort of trigger gets pulled and you feel compelled to act. Even obsessed with bringing this idea to fruition.

When I was a child my father’s employer transferred his job to another city. Another state. He loved his job, so he was going. And so were we. He was moving from the sprawl of Northern New Jersey to a manufacturing town in Pennsylvania. Not far from the Amish Country. He wanted to live in a rural area.

He and my mother looked at houses to make their new home. One of them was a farmhouse on a large hunk of acreage. In the middle of nowhere as farmhouses with vast expanses of land tend to be. He liked it. My mom, not so much. She was afraid that she would be isolated from the rest of humanity. And that her two young children would be stranded far from friends. Eventually they built a house in an upcoming new subdivision. Close to town, and shopping. The best schools in the state. A one-quarter acre lot.

This particular area was still considered to be in the country, and there were vast cornfields behind the house. And across the street, in the still undeveloped portion of the neighborhood, there were open fields. Up the road was the farmhouse and red barn to which all of this land had once belonged. So my father got a little of what he wanted, and my mother got everything she wanted.

That’s where I grew up. From age five until I graduated from high school. The day after I graduated, my parents moved out. They had bought my father’s dream home. An old stone farmhouse on ten acres of land. With a barn. They lived there for the next thirty-eight years and although I had grown up in suburbia, I have ever since considered this second home, Shadowlawn Farm, to be my real home. Like my father, I too loved the country life.

Fast forward to twenty years ago. My life takes many turns similar to my fathers. My wife and I had started a family and were living in an urban subdivision. The schools were failing and we wanted more for our children. We started to look in the neighboring county. Which happened to have the best schools in the state.

We looked at existing subdivision homes. We looked in the country. Every Sunday we would drive out to the country and ride around looking. One neighborhood had particular appeal to my wife. Best one in the county. We had always heard that you should buy the worst house in the best neighborhood you could afford. That was her plan. I was still holding out for the farm.

Finally it was my father-in-law who caused me to take action. He shamed me into it. What he said to me one day was that my kids needed to move. They needed to be near other kids. And I should get off my wallet and do right by my family. Of course I was going to take care of my family, but I didn’t have to do it at the expense of my life. But I did.

Time was passing and a new school year was approaching. If we bought a new house, or piece of property in the next county we could enroll the girls in the best schools available. There was a vacant lot for sale in that best neighborhood. So I bought it. And my wife and I got together with a builder and proceeded to construct a new house. It was exciting, but a story for another time and blog post.

Fast forward once again. This time to 2016. For the past twenty years I have been poring over real estate books looking at houses. Moving has never been a consideration. The kids were still in school. Then college. My wife was content. I was antsy. Then my back failed. Two surgeries later and I was having real difficulty with the stairs in our three story house. And walking. Moving suddenly became a consideration. But where?

To be continued…

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


My cousin died this morning. He’d been very sick. Esophageal cancer. At the end he was in hospice care. Death never calls without leaving grief in its wake, but this was not unexpected. The man was a few years older than me. Maybe seven or eight. I never did know how old he was. He had a big laugh that I always enjoyed. A voice tempered by many years of cigarette smoking. I hadn’t seen him in thirty years. It was thanksgiving of 1984. I was a student at the Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. Over the holiday I made the short drive to New Bedford, Massachusetts to visit him and his wife. He’d always smoked. And enjoyed a beer on occasion. And loved a good hamburger with fries. A McDonald’s man. Even after his first heart attack. The ironic thing is that his mother has always smoked too. Yes, she’s still alive. She is ninety-seven years old. She’s the oldest of my grandfather’s four children. They are all still alive. And all over eighty years of age. Good genes. My uncle, my cousin’s father, didn’t have such good genes. He died in his late fifties I believe. He was always sick with something. No one ever told me what. I never knew him to go to work a single day but I know he worked at some point. After the war. He stayed home. Smoked and drank. And went to an early grave. Could be genes. Could be lifestyle. Could be circumstances beyond his control. He was always nice to me as I recall. So here is my cousin, his mother with strong genes, and his father with less hardy genes. I guess he got his father’s genes. They looked similar. But maybe if he’d taken better care of himself his mother’s genes might have dominated more, Both of my parents have good genes. Both still alive and kickin well into their eighties. I have my fingers crossed. You never know what rogue gene might pop up. Or how lifestyle choices might outweigh genetics. But I’m trying harder to take care of myself. May my cousin rest in peace. That’s part of my story. What’s yours? Www.personalhistorywriter.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sick Sucks

Sick sucks.  Yes, I’ll say it again.  Being sick really sucks.  I have some long-term health issues that I have learned to pretty much deal with, but for the last two weeks I’ve had some new ailment that is kicking my tail. 

After two weeks of two different anti-biotics, steroids, cough syrup, two types of inhaler and various forms of decongestants, I am still battling a cough and some respiratory issues.  I even spent seven days at home, lying on the couch.  Doing my best to sleep and rest.  Turns out I was pretty good at that, but it didn’t help a whole lot.  But when I went back to work, my boss at least thought my color was better.  The blue tint was gone, and so was the uber paleness.  They fluctuated.  I felt awful, and do feel a little better, but …  Well, I’m glad to be getting better, even if it is a slow process.

When I was young I had pneumonia twice, and every winter I would get bronchitis.  I’m sure that’s what this is.  The doctor kept listening to my lungs and said they were clear.  He did say something about staving off another bout with pneumonia.  I had a flu shot in October, and he ruled that out by sticking something up my nose.  That was a bit uncomfortable.

The worst part, other than feeling lousy, was not being able to do anything.  You’d think a couple of days off from work might be nice, but man, all I could do was lay on the couch.  Couldn’t go out to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.  Missed the Christmas parade.  And the choir cantata.  Great way to spend the holiday season.

It occurs tome, on a reasonably frequent basis, that if this were the olden days I wouldn’t have made it very long.  You pick the time period; I just wouldn’t have made it.  Need glasses to see the wooly mammoth and sabre toothed tiger attacking you.  Broken down body would have kept me from being a Roman soldier, or a feudal serf.  The respiratory issues would have put me down as late as the mid twentieth century.  I’m glad I live in an age of modern medicine.

I don’t like being sick.  You might have guessed.  And I try really hard to fight whatever I might be suffering from.  Part of it’s because I just don’t want to give in to the darn thing.  And part of it’s because I know that there are other people who are a lot worse off than me.  And I see myself as fortunate. 

To those of you who are suffering from serious illness I offer my prayers for your healing.  And a suggestion that works for me:  Keep fighting!  Sick sucks.  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  www.personalhistorywriter.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized