Dizzy Time

Another wonderful Wednesday evening.  We will be returning our books to the library in Ozark tonight at their convenient library drop box, after our Wednesday evening Bible teaching.  And after all the years that have passed (well over fifty) I began recalling library thoughts of some of my youngest years.

I spent hours at the Hayden Heights Public Library on the East Side of St. Paul while in grade school. I read many classics (they were classics to me) like, “The GashouseGang:   How Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey,  Pepper Martin, and

Image result for gashouse gang's uniform in world series season

Their Colorful, Come-from-Behind Ball Club Won the World Series—and America’s Heart—During the Great Depression.”  Yeah, that was a real classic to a ten year old boy who loved playing ball!

In those days, (late fifties and early sixties) we played the game on the street in front of the house.  We could do that because there were few cars parked there.  Not everybody owned a car, most did, but they usually parked them behind the homes in the alleyway, in or near their garage.

The only thing we had to worry about was the occasional ball going over the fence and into, “Old man Crabby’s” yard.  If he were feeling good he’d toss the ball back – right away – into the game, but there were a couple o’ times, we never saw them again. Or, if one of us smacked a grounder and a fielder couldn’t get to the ball before it rolled into the sewer, but we’d always get those back.  One of us younger kids always had to lift the heavy steel plate covering the top and jump in to retrieve the ball.  Those sewers were dry and surprisingly clean. When one of us retrieved the ball and hoisted ourselves back to the top a lot of cheering and teasing would ensue. It was a sewer, but a storm sewer to catch excess water runoff during bad weather.

Those were simpler times…duck and cover drills in hallways and under desks at school….sure, that would save us!  At times we were marched out onto the playground where we stood grouped together. At lunch we had to time how long it took us to reach our homes and safety. We kids were of the notion that whenever the warning sirens went off that they were air raids. Drills or not, I watched the sky.

Anyway Dizzy, I’ll bet if I tried I could be just like you and strike everybody out!  Well it wasn’t in the Card’s  – get the pun?  I joined a little league team called the Kansas City Athletics – remember that team?  It was after their move from Philadelphia but before their move to Oakland.  We had their colors (green with gold outlines) on a kelly-green t-shirt and emblem on the ball cap.

Other books read about him made Dizzy my idol.  He and his teammates pulled many shenanigans which made them fun to read about and I bet even more fun to watch. I felt like turning into a him when I pitched for the 1st Electric Little League team in Perryville, Arkansas.  Little league teams here in the south have a following with many people coming out to watch the games.

Dizzy also grew up in Arkansas, partly in Yell County (a neat name for a county) my daughter says, “Yeah that’s my county; I like that.”.  We had a professional-looking uniform – socks, pants, jersey, cap and I had a real pitcher’s mitt (at least that’s what I’d been told. In actuality, it was a right-handed first baseman’s glove.  I was proud of it and oiled the sweet spot with spit.  I rubbed it over and over into the leather glove!  I pitched a couple summer months for them.

I was told I looked good during my wind-up and that was great because there was a girl I wanted to impress…Regina, my southern belle.

That book led me to other sports minded reading and I was into the boxing world for a while. My interest in pugilism came about because of, Gillette’s Friday Night Fights.

.I remember watching those matches on our little, but beautiful, Philco cabinet T V.  Gillette would be advertising their foamy shave cream as the glamour girls paraded the numbers of each successive round.

Those televised fights kept Dad around a while longer on Friday nights so that encouraged me to read of the champions through the years…John L Sullivan,  (Gentleman) Jim Corbett, Jack Johnson (the Galveston Giant) 6’1″ I believe, Gene Tunney (The Fighting Marine), Jack Dempsey (Kid Blackie & The Manassa Mauler), Joe Louis ( The Brown Bomber) and undefeated – Rocky Marciano (The Brockton Blockbuster – The Rock from Brockton)! That is only a short list of some who stood out in my mind.

My brother and I could never get through an episode without fighting each other.  Then, when it was nearly over, Dad would join in and playfully thump us over and over before heading out the door to his card game.  Mom worried that my brother Fred and I would hurt each other but Dad told her, “They’re not old enough to hurt each other,” and away he’d go.

Nonetheless, Dad sat us doImage result for rocky-marciano picwn to impart words of wisdom – “You guys better not ever get into a fight with someone. But if you do – you better not lose or you’ll get it worse when you get home.   And don’t worry I‘ll find out!”

This kid was now in the seventh grade. My older brother, Fred was in ninth and Dad and I were driving down the alley behind our home searching for my brother who had run away, I mentioned to Dad, “I’m thinking of joining the Golden Gloves.”

I think he was in a heavy-hearted mood because he quietly said, “Ahh Steve, you don’t wanna do that.  You’re a good-looking kid.  You’ll wind up getting a broken nose and cauliflower ears.  You’ve seen Tommie’s flattened nose and ears haven’t ya’? He used to box while in the Navy.  Naa, you don’t wanna do that… We didn’t find Fred Jr. that night but soon thereafter he was home again.

Wednesday evenings while sitting in the pew thoughts and remembrances begin zipping through my head.  Not important or even interesting thoughts, but maybe good enough…for Facebook, maybe?

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Steve Richie's Blog

There is an elderly man whose name is, Peter, and he lives down the street from me. Society pays him no mind. His home is nice enough and even better than many. He is quiet and keeps to himself.

His three car garage is overflowing with empty cans retrieved from the streets. The cans would be pouring out the windows if those windows opened. Instead the garage doors are pulled to the sides and the mountains of cans spill onto the gravel and grass. He has got a couple of older cars that probably haven’t seen a road in ten years…his laying hen uses them for a roost.

The pastor and his helpers – me George – and the other more integral one…the driver and the muscle of our trio, Richard, all possess the same beliefs of helping. We are non-judgemental. All we need to know is whether a…

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Pocono Mountains & Dent Magic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocono_Mountains I had the cruise engaged, (I don’t normally do that, nor do I think you’re supposed to during rainfall) but the pitter and the patter of rain splashing on the car, the Stephanie sleeping and music playing low, a mostly instrumental background, just a hint of sound and the overwhelming sleepy green of the thousands of trees…I nodded off.

Thwack! My foot instinctively tapped the brake. My eyes immediately opened wide.  A rubber mile marker had slapped the hood of my, then, new car.

I turned the wheel away from the cliff. I pulled onto the shoulder, and got out of the car and cursed inwardly.  Not angry about the dent – but angry about my stupidity.  I took in some fresh air and woke Steph to see if she’d like to get out and stretch some? She sleepily and calmly nodded off again.  I drove to the nearest rest stop.  The park-like area was conducive to sleeping and I tried to snooze, but was unable…the sun had come out.

I woke Stephanie and gave her the zip-lock bag with her  toothbrush and paste.  We  strolled up to the rest-room area.  I told Steph to wash or at least splash some water on her face and brush her teeth.

The damage to the car had been done. I got an estimate when we returned to Minnesota from New York. I decided I could live with the dent because I couldn’t see it unless I was outside and the sun or clouds were just right to highlight the defect.

Six years later – a different, smaller city and the dent still there.  “They do superb work” said my good and fastidious friend, Don, about a Nixa business called: Dent Magic, http://www.dentmagictools.com/

Somebody put a “Ding” in his new truck with their door. He wanted it fixed right and so he took it to Dent Magic. They had it for a couple hours and Voila – where did that dent go? No patch and no paint. Fred (owner) or one of his employees massaged it away.

I was impressed. I took my car there for an estimate on that larger thwacked dent in my hood. A reminder of our trip to New York on the Pennsylvania turnpike.

But Fred of Dent Magic said he may be able to take most of the dent out and for only $100. They did what they could in the three hours they had it. But, that large and more flat dent could not be fixed with their modern technology.

“Absolutely no charge. Heck, we couldn’t fix it so I’m not going to bill you for it. We were able to straighten the edge some, though.”

I am glad I took it in to them and recommend their services to anybody who has almost any type of dent. Heck, take your car or truck to them and let them decide whether or not they can fix the dip, dimple, or crater.

Their courtesy and professionalism are worth doing business with them.

 

Don’t say, “I can’t”

How often do we say, “I can’t?”

In Christ, “We can” because He strengthens us, but we need to depend on Him and pray for His strength.

Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I had an, “I can do anything,” attitude in my younger days until I reached age 34 and was in that great car accident! I escaped death physically, but my confidence was laid to rest. My confidence was no more, but neither was my hubris.

Most physical capabilities were taken but in their place came new ways to compensate. I was the type of guy who emphasized physical adeptness, agility, and quickness as being male. According to my one-time friend, I was considered the coolest and toughest kid in school. God put an easy fix to that problem and after being humiliated a few times, I came to the realization that I could no longer fight. My punch had all the ferocious sting of a mighty fly. I stopped fighting.

I could make a, “Bullseye” anytime on a dartboard and even made money doing so. I played the game 301 on the dartboard and doubling out was the only way to win…no problem I was always the first one out and thus the winner. I had cool control around a “Crap Table” or at a card game.

God, caught my attention in such a way that I had to listen – and poof – my finesse and dexterity were gone.  I was unable to beat the bookie…the answer, quit gambling.

My wife being named my guardian, and taking all financial gains made over those 16 years, took our children, moved and did not tell me where. I hated myself and was convinced I could not make it any longer, but I persevered.

He blessed me with a new family but after 2 years new wife couldn’t understand my spending most hours with our daughter who’d been diagnosed with autism.

Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition. This means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. I admit there were nights spent reading her stories, day times potty-training and reading and teaching her how to speak, and how to use PECS (In our world, P is for PECS). PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System and was a huge part of our lives.

Because most autistic kids need order in their lives the PECS were used to show her what would happen next. For example; Putting her to bed at night was next to impossible; she would scream, cry, stiffen like a board and have a total meltdown. With the use of PECS and Velcro we were able to show her the procedure for going to bed…pictures showing that you go to the bathroom – wash face and hands – brush teeth – say goodnight and finally the PECS showed a kid sleeping.

It was like a miracle! The first night…she was shown the sequence of events of going to bed and that was it. There was no crying. I would take her to the bathroom and after she went, I washed her up and brushed her teeth. She then kissed Mom & Dad goodnight and happily and immediately went to sleep.

Getting her involved with other kids at childhood learning center and helping her with the different therapies that had helped me with my disability involved a lot of time. Anytime we rode in the car I repeated things over & over to her until she had them memorized, her phone number and address.

I had her riding a school bus at 3 years old…not because the school was so far away (it was just across the street) but to help her integrate with others. At her school they would work with different textures, PECS, and so on.

God gave me another family and okay, so it’s not perfect. Neither am I perfect. God’s Word and I raised Stephanie. God filled me with love for this child and gave me another chance and managed to keep me busy in doing so. https://www.pinterest.com/steverichie01/autism/…

I told myself many times since the wonderful wreck that gave me a new and exciting lease on life, “I can’t do anything any more.”  That attitude kept me down. Though I am unable to do things  quickly or as precisely as before, God, has shown me how to compensate and do once again.  Yes, there truly is a God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy  Spirit.

Donald Dill Very well put Steve. Thanks for sharing this. Makes me stop and be more appreciative of all Gods blessings in my life. Also good insight into some of the things you have successfully worked through and succeeded.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Don. You are a good friend who befriended me even though my condition is mostly deplorable, thanks buddy.
Stevie Ricci – Richie replied · 1 Reply
Elizabeth DillElizabeth Dill Steve you are a wonderful person and have done an outstanding job raising Stephanie. Joshua 1:9 is the verse I always go to when I feel like I can’t! Our love Don and Liz.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs

 

Thank you Liz…Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” That verse is a beautiful reassurance and I thank you for your tremedous comment!
Elizabeth Dill replied · 2 Replies
Renee BilyeuRenee Bilyeu I’m impressed by you Stevie. Your attitude is something in which I had. Thanks for sharing this. It touched my heart.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 20 hrs

 

Thank you, Renee, but you know as well as anyone that we all have troubles. I’m actually grateful for that car wreck because it did save me. Have a nice evening.
Stevie Ricci – Richie replied · 1 Reply
Donna Evans Smith
Donna Evans Smith Stevie you may not jump as high as you did before accident but your courage and drive to raise Stephaine and show her she do anything she puts her mind to do your are a blessing to lots of people glad to call you a friend
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 18 hrs

 

hank you for your kind words, Donna. You are absolutely correct in saying, “You may not be able to jump as high as you did before…” Truth is I can’t even jump, well okay, maybe an inch or two. But you know, it is much easier to deal with losses of self, with God in my life. I’m happy to be friends with you because I can respect you, and I do.
Stevie Ricci – Richie replied · 1 Reply
Pat Gresafe
Pat Gresafe God Bless you Steve you turned out very well and you are doing a great job raising Steph

 

Thanks Pat, I take that as a compliment because you undoubtedly remember me prior to the car accident. We have no idea what the future holds but with God on our side we are stronger.
Stevie Ricci – Richie replied · 1 Reply

Rudolf’s Revenge

After years of teasing and name calling, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had finally had enough. He wrote the following letter to the other Reindeer who wouldn’t allow him to play in their reindeer games. For years he had put-up with insults, and sarcastic remarks. All was not beautiful. And then, it got bad, so he magically put pen to paper:

Dear Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (I know some pronounce your name – Donner), and Blixem (and I realize your name is sometimes spelled Blixen and Blitzen),

I know many things and one is that I seem to have disrupted your happy friendships. However, I’ve only been around since early-on in the 20th-century. If it hadn’t been for my bright nose…why – Christmas would have been missed all those Christmases ago.

Not even you Dunder with your tremendously loud snorts like thunder, nor you Blixem with your lightning fast – light up the sky speed – could get Santa Clause through that ice fog of the day. It was, Rudolf, to the rescue.

And you others, don’t think I forgot about you! Dasher – you are quick. So what? I mean does that really matter when you don’t know where you’re going?

Dancer – What would there be to celebrate and dance about if not for my beautiful, red beaming nose to light the way?

Prancer – Don’t you know the other reindeer think you’re so vain? You always prance about as if you were better than us and almost too good for even yourself!

Vixen – Ahh Vixen. The tricky one. There is something magical about you, but even your sleight of hoof could not rescue that long-ago Christmas. Though you could have entertained us.

Comet – Even your good looks could not have rescued that day so many snowflakes ago. And neither, could your manners and ease with the children.

Cupid – Your affectionate ways couldn’t rescue us that day or others since. You have the ability to bring people together, but so what, if their hands are empty…no Christmas presents. What kind of holiday would that be?

Rudolf – I’m the ninth reindeer, but as I am writing to all of the other reindeer I don’t wish for any of you slower ones to think something is amiss. I haven’t forgotten anybody. And as everybody is familiar with my traits I don’t need to tell all of you what they are, but just so there are no mistakes made, I will jot them down:
humble
a little shy
a leader when need be
loves reindeer games
very playful around friends I know well
love helping others
love seeing new places
steady worker, help the elves get all their Christmas tasks done

And to make our sleigh team number equal, number ten, the newest addition is:

Olive – the tenth reindeer to join Santa’s herd. She had an unpredictable beginning because well, do you remember that line from my song?

“All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names…”

Well many people heard, “Olive, the other reindeer…” It’s true. Olive is the other reindeer. But alas, Olive is nice and a good helper.

She did laugh at me with my big red nose, but it was only because she thought I was an amazing asset to Santa’s team, and she really wanted to be a part of it. So, she started out by teasing but after a short while she stopped. She feared sending the wrong message to one she liked a great deal…me. Besides, everyone knows that when you tease your friends it’s because you really like them, right?

She shyly apologized to me and we’ve been best friends ever since. She loves to play hide and seek, too, but I am still the champion because there is no hiding from me, in the dark.

I am quitting the sleigh team to pursue other delivery options with DHL. They pay something and the hours are shorter. I want to save up for an igloo of our own.

Actually the job has, “Payday every day and no work on payday. Sounds like a terrific job but will let you know if there are any pitfalls. We will rejoin Santa’s team if something goes awry.

Sincerely,

Rudolf

Turbulent Times

Monday, April 06, 2009 the day the following email was written and sent.  We had been divorced for three years at that point in time. As I recall my house arrest and probation were almost complete.  Paz, the ex thought she was getting back at me for something I never did, but would pay heavily for.

I’m Steve, and I continue to be dogged by her fantastically made-up story. The totally fabricated and untrue story was read by her attorney aloud in the courtroom, to the judge. Paz was not there.  I never saw the words even though I had asked Washington County 10th Judicial Circuit if I could see or get a copy of the letter.  I was not allowed to see it much less obtain a copy.

I had gone to the police station to ask for the police reports; they were never shown to me.  Again, I was not allowed.  Innocent until proven guilty…humph! It was a time in American history when immigrants were treated as supreme beings and white men (myself included) were to blame for everything under the sun. But I will refrain from telling the truth of that matter because nobody, including my family, believed me.

In defense of my family, we had grown up with a violent, paranoid schizophrenic brother and I knew they were just tired of the pall that seemingly hung over all of us; I love them all dearly.

Divorce, whether a child is involved or not can be messy and we had a child. Our divorce was smooth but a year later turned bitter.  Now, more than a decade later and we still cannot be civil to each other for more than a few minutes.

We also were disadvantaged in another way, our cultures were opposites.  Paz was from the Philippines one of the poorest countries in the world.  Me, I’m from, Minnesota and America is, of course, one of the richest countries in the same world.  Our climates are diametrically opposed.  The Philippines once a hot and humid jungle atmosphere is now, hot, humid and dense with smog. They have two seasons either hot and dry or, the other season, hot and wet. It is always hot and humid.

Many who walk outside, use handkerchiefs over their face and especially covering their noses.  I’ve been in traffic jams there and once while riding in a tricycle (motorcycle with sidecar) we were stopped behind a large bus and, “Splat” a large, black, sticky blob of smog from the buses tailpipe splattered my eyeglasses.  I did have the obligatory hanky over my face, though, just not high enough.  I’ve seen days where the green of the earth goes into their sky turning it from blue to a sickening green, and the start of a new day had begun.

Minnesota contrary to the Philippines has four seasons with winters at times reaching minus seventy degrees Fahrenheit, that is cold, and we’ve been likened to Siberia.  One of Minnesota’s cities earned and held onto the nickname, “Icebox of the Nation.”  The winter weather seems to begin in October and last through April and into May.  We’ve  had summers when the temp doesn’t get out of the seventies except for a couple of days.  Each season is met with anticipation.  See what I mean about being opposites?

In addition, there is the age thing.  I am twenty-three years her senior.  And I am not just a regular guy.  I am permanently disabled with a brain injury.

While living at a small duplex in Bataan Province, I once yelled at her son for digging through the trash.

I said to Paz, “Your son doesn’t need to scavenge for food any longer; he has food here.”

Instead of being thankful, Paz turned on me and angrily shouted, “He is not looking for food! All kids do that!”

I told her that I hadn’t seen that before, then, I began questioning myself.  Was I wrong again? Mr. Confident (me) could no longer trust himself because of that damn severe traumatic, brain injury that Paz never let me forget.  She would say in public, “Why you walk like that?” Paz knew the answer.

My slurred at times, and slowed speech had her treat me in a condescending way.   However, my speech had nothing to do with my intelligence.  Dysarthria – Difficulty in articulating words and slurring of speech due to emotional stress or to (paralysis, my situation), incoordination, or spasticity of the muscles used in speaking. And, Dysphasia – Impairment of speech and verbal comprehension, (especially when associated with brain injury.) are what caused me problems brought on by the TBI.

I could no longer bear living with her and I must say that, neither could Paz stand me.  So at the end of May 2006 our toddler-aged daughter and I began moving.

I had told Paz of my plans ahead of time and she said, “That’s fine because I’ll be at Cecil’s (her sister) in New York.  Sorry I won’t be able to help you move.” I hadn’t planned on her helping because it wouldn’t benefit her in the least.

We divorced in September of that same year.  I asked her if we could use the same attorney because of my lowly financial situation and she acquiesced. She did many evil things to me (hence to our daughter) in the years following.  For the time and thousands of dollars she has cost me since the divorce it would have been less expensive to have her get her own attorney.  I was given “Primary Custody” of our child who was three years old at the time.  Please listen carefully as I explain the happening.

We talked and decided it would be best to split up.  Stephanie would stay with me because Paz worked which would’ve meant daycare for our daughter every day.  That would have been ridiculous and expensive for Paz.

Because of my disability I am not able to locate a job with a sustainable wage.  Instead, I suggested having Steph stay with me as I, her dad,  could care for her more lovingly and would work with her in some of the ways I’d been helped.  You see, when Stephanie was only two, she was diagnosed with autism.

One of the triggers on why I divorced Paz was because she said this to me one morning, “Why you spend so much time with Stephanie?”

I will tell you the reader just what I told Paz as I walked from the bathroom where I had been potty-training Steph past the archway to the kitchen where Paz sat at the table and condescendingly glared at me.

“Stephanie has autism which means she is going to have more difficulty in life than most.  I will help her where I can,” I said.

And then Paz angrily countered with, “Why you not yell at her for coloring on the carpet with color crayons? You yelled at Joey when he colored on the floor back in the Philippines!”

“I’ll tell you why if you’ll listen and give me time to talk… The reason is because I had told Joey not to color on the floor or the doors, or the walls remember?  I had never mentioned it to Stephanie so I am not going to yell at her for something she had no idea was wrong.”

It really was better for Stephanie that her mom and I split. We never should have married in the first place, but my TBI had wiped out my confidence, and so I listened to a person whom I respected greatly (my dad), but who had never met her.

“You won’t have to worry about how Steph is being cared for because you know that I am very capable; I mean I’m doing it now. You will be able to see her anytime you want.  I won’t ask for child support as long as you help provide for groceries, her clothing and her schooling once that begins.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Moving day.  2 Guys and a Truck were hired to help us move.  The transfer of large furniture went well but after Steph and I had completed most of the move with my car we returned to the apartment.  I took one more look around when I came across this letter from Paz written on the back of one of Steph’s paper’s from the autism society…

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry that I yelled at you.

I’m sorry that I didn’t answer when you ask.

I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings all the time.

I’m sorry for not being a perfect wife.

I’m sorry we don’t get along.

I’m sorry for everything.

I want you and Stephie to get settled down before I’ll leave.

I’m going back home because that’s where I belong.

I’m sorry that we met and I caused you a lot of trouble.

I want Stephie and you to be peaceful and happy.

Just let Stephie forget about me and let her believe I died in an accident.

You and I tried many times. We tried hard, but couldn’t make our marriage work.

We survived many last chances, but we couldn’t make it.

Out of all the last chances we took…we still ended up with nothing.

I was happy to know your family. They were nice to me, especially Dad.  Wish him good luck.

I thank you for bringing me in this country, for showing me everything I haven’t seen before.

I thank you for feeding me and Joey for two years that we lived with you in the Philippines.

I thank you for saving me from disgrace when you marry me after, Stephie, was born.

I thank you for everything…..Paz.

So that was it…my younger brother, Dave, and his son, Adam, moved the furniture that Paz and I said we’d split, to her duplex in Stillwater.

Stephanie began kindergarten without need of special education of any kind and achieved each new grade with ease.  She did that despite the government’s interference. Stephani also had a hearing deficit.  I could not afford the hearing aids without government assistance and to get that help, Stephanie was required to be in “Special Education.”

I was told over and over that special ed didn’t have the stigma tied to it when I grew up because I had repeatedly asked.  Stephanie has never had a learning disability.  I had to move from Minnesota to Missouri to get her hearing aids without any sort of special class…except for her “Honors English.”

Yes, Stephanie is mostly a straight “A” student with a few of her past and present teachers saying, “She would get a higher grade but our grading system does not allow it.”

I thought back to her fourth grade teacher and how N. T. scornfully replied to a question I asked, “Even when Stephanie is given time at school to do her homework, she is reading.”

To which I replied, “Isn’t that a good thing and shouldn’t homework to be done at home?  That is what the name says.” I was unaccustomed to the new way of learning.

History had all been changed from when I went to school for when I tried helping her with that subject, I was always met with, “That’s not what the teacher says.” And I was old enough that I could give first hand accounts on some of it.

How dare I dispute the teacher’s words.  So I tried to make her teacher feel good by sending an e-mail and asking the rules for the apostrophe because surely she would know the answer to that one, but lo and behold, she didn’t know the correct answer at least not the one I’d been given at, “The Loft, A Place for Writing…”

So, what is one to do when the person educating your child is less knowledgeable than you?  Just bare it I guess.

I asked Steph on more than one occasion, “How would you like it if I were to teach you at home?”

But that idea was met with a resounding no!

Regarding her speech, and even though mine wasn’t the clearest, I worked with her and was able to get good pronunciation of her name and address. I repeatedly asked her for that information to brand into her young mind. My poor speech is caused by something physical that, I’ve been told, cannot be corrected.  Spelling tests each morning before school along with pronunciation of written words is what we did while eating breakfast.

Because in first grade, she was given books to read by the teacher in which there were many words misspelled.  Though, she had been reading regularly since age four I didn’t want the wrong spellings to mix her up.  I made her read the book to me and asked what each incorrectly spelled word meant.  Stephanie knew the answer to each question posed to her, so I allowed her to read the entire series.  The spelling was done wrong to accentuate certain ideas.  I thought it terrible to be teaching young kids with misspelled words.  Some teachers are so lazy…some.

I taught her to sound each word out and to break those words into syllables.  And also with math – up until the fifth grade because that was when “common core” was introduced to the students and it caused me such anxiety.

For example: 8+8 – I explained to her how I arrived at 16; I broke it down for her, 2+2 = 4.  4+4 = 8. And then 8+8 = 16.   She understood all of that, but still claimed I was doing it wrong.   “We have to show our work Dad.”

“Isn’t that what I just did,” I asked her?

Then Stephanie showed me an example on a paper the teacher did in school.

1+2=3 – 2+2=4 – 3+2=5 – 4+4=8 – 5+5=10 – 6+6=12 – 7+7=14 – 8+8=16…

Well that is the right answer but you do not need to add all those numbers, I told her.

“We have to Dad, or it will be wrong.”

I understood that, so got out a sheet of paper and wrote 8+8 = 16.  That was it…I could help her no more because Common Core in my estimation, is ridiculous.

Stephanie’s love of learning began at age one and a half when I read to her every night.  When I wasn’t home she was paging through the phone book and then the Bible.  Upside down, forward or backward, it didn’t matter to her as she sat seriously looking and turning each separate page and when she had gone through the entire book, she turned it over and began anew.

In the earliest of years when I left for work, (Dad paid me for keeping the doors open to the public at his carpet store, and cleaning while there)  Stephanie would cling to me and hug tightly as I held the little pouf ball in my arms.  I felt guilty because Dad paid me. I knew that I wasn’t worth it or maybe I was.  I had such an unworthy outlook about myself.  I loathed me because I had a desire to do many things and yet could do nothing.

He always made claims to the contrary saying, “Steve, I have to pay somebody so I’d rather it be you” and always smiling and joking trying to lift my spirits; it should have been me trying to lift his…More to feel guilty about. Besides, I am an excellent cleaner, maybe a little too detailed at times so I shouldn’t have felt guilty.  Dad made good money at his carpet store just as he did with any venture he tackled.

His decorating business was highly successful and I was a big part of that.  When we were on the road redecorating Holiday Inns and Howard Johnson Hotels I was hanging two hundred yards of vinyl a day.  My younger brother, Dave, would get the rooms prepared ahead of me.  Those chores of removing all furniture, pulling up carpet and spraying ceilings in all rooms, a fresh white.  He and his partner (another employee) patched walls and then we all sanded and finally Dave and Jeff sprayed each wall with sealer that turned sticky and helped bond the pasted vinyl onto the surface. . .

Here’s that email written and posted Monday, April 6, 2009.

Paz,

The following excerpt from the paper is exactly why I will not allow, Stephanie, to go with you when I have no address or phone number of where she will be.  Why you refused to supply that information is beyond me, well, why you did what you did is beyond me.

Since you have not seen Stephanie in months nor contributed to her well being, except only occasionally, I think it best that you grant me full custody.  I will end the pursuit of child-support immediately when you do.

Do not lie about trying to see her… You sent instant messages (I/M’s) to me saying that the government was sending you back to the Philippines. A few weeks later wanted You wanted to take her and even sent your sister here to kidnap her…something you had mentioned doing in the texts that I was saving.  You wiped out all texts that day.  Had I let her go with Cecilia I would never have seen her again.   Cecille then called but Dad and the ILS worker were there and she sensed the other people because she said, “I think there is somebody there,” she hung up.

I do not have any money…thanks for that.  You have made raising Stephanie terribly difficult.  The things you had done to me, in most people’s book’s, would deserve at least a life sentence, more like death.  You lied about my care of you and Joey in the Philippines… You wanted me to tell your own daughter that you died in an accident as you were conniving with your sister about moving to New York so as not to have to face charges for what you did to me.

Steve

St. Paul police seek mom, two children missing after visitation

Rafael Espinoza, left, is 6 years old. His sister, Mayla Marisol Espinoza, is nine.

St. Paul police are looking for a woman they believe took her two children after a weekend visitation and has not returned.

Cindy Kaye Adler, 35, took Mayla Marisol Espinosa, 9, and Rafael Espinosa, 6, during a visitation that began last Friday, police said. Police were alerted on Monday, when Adler did not return with the children.

Investigators discovered that Adler had moved from her address and left no forwarding information. They believe she has relatives in the Winona area and in Cochrane, Wis. Ramsey County has issued two felony warrants for her.

Adler is described as white, 5-foot-5, 170 pounds, with red hair and brown eyes.

Mayla Espinosa is 4-foot-5, 52 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a pink and white jacket and pink and black snowpants.

Rafael Espinosa is 4-foot-2, 40 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black and blue jacket and red long-sleeved shirt.

By the way…you have been blocked.‏

 

Real Food & A Terror Filled Night

“Goodnight, Steve,” Terri my pretty blonde nurse said. She wasn’t only my nurse but she spent time with me and knew some of the people I knew. Terri was the sunshine of my life at that time. She always peeked her head into our quad bed recovery room before turning out all lights in the nurses station. The wall facing that station was smooth-face green block up a third of the way, then the other two thirds up to the ceiling, were glass so that the nurses could keep visual tabs on us.

When I was mostly weaned from the IV tubes and was whispering my likes and dislikes to her she discovered my penchant for Italian food.

One late afternoon, Terri told me, “I have a special treat for you at suppertime, but you have to promise not to tell anybody. I could lose my job over it. I know it’s been months since you’ve had real food” (I should have taken the hint.)

“Can you give me a hint?” I struggled getting the words out but she did hear me.

The response everybody gives and Terri’s was no different was, “Huh,” and she leaned into me and listened intently. I loved the attention she gave me. She honestly made me feel good about my crippled self.

“Could I get a hint,” I asked softly not wanting another besides her, to hear.

Terri whispered into my ear, “I’m not supposed to be doing this and the only person who knows other than us is,” and she nodded toward, Elizabeth. “I bought you a Caesar’s Salad from Cossetta’s. http://cossettas.com/eatery-pizzeria/

You’re on a soft-food diet and the reason for that is because you have no gag reflex. Your lungs could fill with liquid. They fear that you may get pneumonia, but I have been keeping up with your charts and all and I think the salad would be ok. Elizabeth knows your vitals and she will be in here with me watching the monitors, while I feed you. Should be fine, what d’ya think?”

“That sounds terrific, Terri and thanks.” It had been about three and a half months since tasting anything other than hospital food or not even tasting it just being nourished from the drip, drip, drip of that tube going from the pouch to my stomach. Really this was the first experience with real food in a long time. Luckily, I hadn’t forgotten how to chew,

No one could see the special privilege I was getting because the curtain around the bed was pulled shut. I was fed the taste sensation after everybody had been given their – drip-drip or re-chewed-looking suppers.

The salad didn’t harm in the least and Dave Cossetta had even prepared the cheeses (Provolone, Fontinella, Mozzarella) especially for me, cut up small and drizzled with their house blend Italian Dressing. It came with authentic, baked on the spot, Italian Bread, which of course I was not able to have.

Each smaller than bite-size forkful was brought to my mouth with care by Terri. Elizabeth stood near the stand at the side of my bed with watchful eye. They had me chew each bite, like, a hundred times. It was a supraglottic swallow, Terri said. I couldn’t even finish the salad even though the taste was marvelous.Terri was so nervous and I hadn’t done this (chewed) for months and this new way of eating made sure I ate slow.

I thanked her much and she kissed me on the cheek.

Continued….. I’m back…

Everybody Had Gone Home

The nurse’s station was still and absolutely quiet. Their lights were shut off except for, low wattage lighting that seemed to create a halo. The nurses had gone home – now was the time to be vigilant.

Two guys in hospital garb slid into the nurse’s area, sat and poked around for awhile, being ever quiet. Of course the doors to our room were closed at this time of the night. They got up and walked towards me. Could they see that I was awake? They opened the doors to our room and slithered in.

My suspicious mind and feelings told me that this had happened many times before. This time I was awake. They would not get me, I decided. I kept my eyes open wide to get a good look at the perpetrators; I will report them to the nurse in the morning. Ha-ha they don’t know they are being watched.

Bear with me while I try to explain the weariness and fear that I felt that night… not being able to sleep was a good thing. Why are they here now? I surmised the time to be about three A.M.

Those two scoundrels tip-toed in. I couldn’t see what they were doing…I heard though. I could hear the curtain surrounding the bed opposite me open and then close quickly.
The next bed’s curtain opened and the the guys mumbled about. I heard them slip inside the curtain. You ask how I know? My hearing seemed stronger in the stillness and because I could not see, I listened more intently.

The slider hooks could be heard as they moved along the bar holding the curtain. They moved closer to my bed. I heard the curtain around my neighbor’s bed being slid open. I heard a grunt and then one with a high-pitched voice spoke a little louder than he intended, I’m sure.

“Lift,” the voice squealed and I heard a rustling of the sheets.

Then a heavy sounding weight of sorts had been put down…”One to go a lower voice said.

These guys were in here for one reason only; they are really sick, twisted, demented and unscrupulous. Taking advantage of us who were so vulnerable and unable to protect ourselves.

I was thinking of how to defend myself as they mysteriously moved to and pulled my curtain open. Anybody who would take advantage of other humans who were unable to defend themselves…Hey wait a minute! Isn’t the fear of being raped and being unable to stop it the fear of all women since Eve? I am now woman-like in strength – probably even less – more child-like. I would not be the least bit surprised if a woman could take me.

How will I get the nurses to believe me in the morning, how will I ever get anyone to believe me?

I began screaming and kicking wildly (could only kick with one weakened leg the right leg would not move. I tried throwing haymakers with my weakened left. Again my right arm would not move either. They lifted me and gently set me down. They must’ve laughed and scoffed at my weakness and ineptitude.

Then I heard one of them say, “It’s okay, the sheet is dry.”

An old adage says: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

'North Memorial - I was airlifted to this hospital from a smaller hospital close to the accident site and my home, in Wisconsin. The two months pent here saw me in a coma.'
'Region's hospital bought out Ramsey Hospital, but I stayed ion the top floor of that rounded tower  That was only my second hospital in four months...soon to be transferred to the first of three nursing homes and would finish out the year at a Brain injury Rehabilitation Center in Milwaukee, WI. July of 1988 - July of 2015 were the worst years of my life.'
'Cossetta's Restaurant where Terri got the salad for me.  Before that, Mama Vitali, came to visit me.  Many Italian and non Italian friends. Most of whom I would never see again.'
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Elizabeth Dill
Elizabeth Dill Can’t imagine what it was for you after your wreck finding it hard to eat and talk. Sounds like you had some wonderful nurses. Waiting for the story to continue.