Downsizing; a challenge!
Today, Sunday, is a bit early to pen this Thanksgiving column, it has to go to press early so that all involved can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.
I want to express my thankfulness for yesterday and to still be alive for that celebration. My wife and I attended a baby shower for the mother-to-be of a blood-related great-great-grandson. That is five generations, keeping in mind that all of the generational parents were legally married. Quite an achievement these days!
Thursday will be the day that all should be thankful for even being alive. Personally, it’s easy to be thankful for many people in my life. Starting with Dr. Eva who whisked me away from our apartment in Paris into hiding, at great danger to herself, when I was just barely six years old. My father had been arrested earlier that day by the Gestapo with the statement to my mother that they would return later for the boy in the picture, that was me. Three months later to the day, he was shipped to Auschwitz and exterminated in a gas chamber.
Next was the Mechain family who hid me on their farm in a small village of Siecq in western France for over two years. They managed to have me blend in with the local school children, wearing grey smock, and wooden sole shoes.
Then to my mother who died in 1999 at 97; She had the foresight to liquidate all family possessions after the war to buy two steamship tickets to New York. She and I were American Citizens; still we had to wait a year after the end of World War II before we were granted a passport.
Dr. and Mrs. Moore from Portland, Oregon adopted me and took me in for four years through my second year of high school giving me a very sound basic education including three years of Latin and one year of Greek. From there after a three month stay with my mother and her new husband I was given a room in a beautiful home in Connecticut with a job after school in “Uncle” Abe’s factory.
I stayed there until graduation from high school and a heads up that my draft number was going to come up. My eighteenth birthday was on the twentieth and I joined the Air Force on the twenty-second. Due to a vision problem, I was unable to go to flight school but was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base until August 23, 1955 for almost a year’s worth of electronics schools. While there, walking on the beach I met a beautiful young girl that I would marry after eighteen months in Okinawa and a couple of months in Eglin AFB in Florida.
She and I were transferred to a base in France for two years then to England for another two years. Four years on Shaw AFB and three children later we moved to Louisiana. I had applied for and was given a job by the Boeing Space Division to work in the Saturn/Apollo program including Apollo 11.
I won’t go through my entire Curriculum Vitae but I am thankful for spending twenty-three years in Magnolia, MS with my wife of 65 years. Thanks to Dr. Lampton for allowing me to vent weekly for twenty-four years in my Armchair Ponderings as a Contributing Editor of the Magnolia Gazette. I can truthfully say that I am thankful for the eleven of those years that I spent as the Administrator of a great small-town hospital, Beacham Memorial Hospital with a fabulous staff, led by Dr. Harry Frye who was solely responsible for delivering the majority of Magnolia’s residents prior to his passing in January of 2021.
There is so much more to be thankful for: three children and their families of eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren with a fourth one almost due to make an appearance. Four grandsons served in the Navy and US Marines, and several grandchildren graduated colleges; they are all gainfully employed and none have gone to jail. They are all a topic of great pride to their matriarch Patsy my wife, and to me.