Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Memories & Milestones’ Category

Bev’s Being Battered . . .

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Finally getting back to work on this venue after being blocked out by some cyberspace quirk. Had to use Beverly’s email address in settling for whoknowswhat reason so anyone responding to messages will have to do it on this site or address it to cecilscag@gmail.com.

Much has happened since we were cut off from posting last December.

The most devastating has been the medical blows landing on Beverly.

It all began early this year when a neurologist diagnosed three possible problems for her rapid loss of motor facilities: a neurological disease, cancer and/or ALS. Specialists were recommended and visited.

The first diagnosis was cancer in her left breast and two malignant tumors in her spine. Bone-building IV every four weeks was initiated immediately and radiation and chemotherapy were both prescribed. Bev started a five-days-a-week radiation treatment for three weeks and the thousands-of-dollars’-a-month’s worth of chemotherapy medication was arranged without cost through the efforts of a patient advocate/support worker at the cancer clinic.

Both prescriptions were disastrous.

The radiation launched a serious coughing problem that racked her for hours and hours and still attacks out of nowhere. After her ninth of 15 scheduled sessions, she told the doctor she wasn’t taking anymore, and why. She also told the oncologist she was dropping the chemo medication because it made her sicker.

By this time, she also was diagnosed with ALS so both doctors (radiologist and oncologist) agreed with her so her life will be more comfortable. She’s still getting the IV every four weeks and has blood drawn monthly to monitor the progress of Lou Gehrig’s disease. All we can do is try slowing it down and help her maintain some level of comfort.

She was told she probably has had ALS for the past half-dozen years, leading family members to speculate on whether or not she needed the spinal surgery that was performed in San Diego to stop the deteriorating use of her right arm and hand. A possible trigger was son Ross’ death.

She now uses a walker and no longer drives. Through contacts made at the first of her quarterly clinics with the ALS doctor, she has received a transport wheelchair, toilet support bars and large-handled eating utensils from the ALS Association. A doctor’s prescriptions also got her a respiratory machine to assist her breathing and we’ve yet to make an appointment to get fitted for toe braces prescribed to keep her toes lifted so she doesn’t trip and fall, which would be crippling.

We’re also talking with home-care workers and hospice/palliative care organizations to identify pathways to take as the unknown continues to happen. The ALS Ass’n is scheduled to deliver a power chair this week so she can get around more easily.

Despite being unable to perform such everyday actions as driving five minutes to visit the grandkids and opening bottles of water, she still erupts into her solar smile when someone calls or her favorite horse wins.

Her birthday was June 6 and she had a good day opening a pile of cards, phone-chatting with new and long-time friends, swapping plans with daughter Heather who came to visit and then elevatoring downstairs for dinner that ended with balloons, a cake and sing-along greeting.

 

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 15, 2018 at 7:59 am

We Haven’t Made it Yet . . .

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. . . even though we moved in at the end of last month. Reality of the change still has to sink in.

After several decades in our Pacific Beach home that was air-conditioned by Pacific breezes, we relocated at the end of last month to an Independent-Living apartment complex in Gilbert, abutting the Phoenix suburbs of Mesa and Tempe in Aridzona.

The quarters are spacious and comfortable, the location is handy to everything we need – banks, eateries, shopping malls, post office and medical-care offices and clinics – all our meals are provided when we decide not to prepare anything in our own kitchen, the folks are friendly, and we’re just 15 minutes from our daughter and the grandkids.

The move requires leaving our son in San Diego and adjusting to community living as well as the dry desert climate that, we’ve been told by everyone, is H E L L for four months every year.

Besides the voluminous amount of phone calls and document changes, we’re also snowed under with too much stuff. Getting rid of that has become a major priority. No. 1 is changing auto registration and driver’s license. No. 2 is lining up doctor appoints. Stuff-elimination is No. 3.

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

Prescient Arizona Editor Predicted Pearl Harbor . . .

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Editor’s note: This editorial was written by William R. Mathews, who bought the Arizona Daily Star in 1924 and was editor of the newspaper for more than 40 years. He was married to Betty Boyers and died in 1969.

This editorial, predicting that Japan would attack the U.S., possibly at Pearl Harbor, was published in the Star on Nov. 28, 1941, just days before Pearl Harbor was bombed, on Dec. 7, 1941.

THE MEANING OF MR. KURUSU’S MISSION

Failure of Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the special Japanese emissary, Saburo Kurusu, to find a basis for a peaceful settlement of the differences between the two countries emphasizes once more the apparent irreconcilability of the respective diplomatic policies, and the definite prospect that only with the sword can the differences be settled.

Mr. Hull demands that Japan evacuate French Indo-China and China proper; the Japanese demand that America stay out of that part of Asia, asserting that what goes on in that area is of no more concern to America than South America is to Japan. The Japanese refuse to withdraw. It is probable that any Japanese government that would withdraw from China would be overthrown by the Japanese people. Mr. Hull refuses to modify the American policy. There the matter stands as the economic blockade of Japan pinches tighter and tighter.

Whether American policy is correct or not is now beside the point. The important feature of this affair is that the two policies are manifestly irreconcilable and that unless one or the other gives in war is as certain as the sunrise in the morning. How soon the war breaks out is entirely up to Japan. It is possible that cooler heads in Tokyo will prevent for a while the hot-headed ones from doing anything that might precipitate hostilities. On the other hand as the pinch of the economic blockade grows tighter and tighter the chances are that the feeling this situation generates will precipitate some kind of an incident in Japan and then the war will be on. War may come within a week; it may still be six months off, but hardly more than that.

When war comes with Japan, it will come without warning. The Japanese habitually strike first and then declare war. They did this in the case of Russia when after the failure of the Japanese minister in old St. Petersburg to reach an agreement, the Japanese fleet, without warning, sailed into Port Arthur and sank a part of the Russian fleet. Between that incident and the present situation there is a strong resemblance. America will know that there is war with Japan some fine morning when the people of the country wake up and find that the Japanese have, without warning, seized Guam, surrounded our puny Asiatic fleet or sent submarines into Pearl Harbor and sunk a couple of our battleships. Very definitely Japan will choose her own time.

As matters stand today Japan will probably mark time and go just as far as she can without getting into an additional war. Consequently, since she already has her forces in French Indo-China, she probably can venture to cut the Burma road by a land attack without provoking war with America. With this road cut she will cut the last life line that the Chungking government has and thus weaken China’s ability to resist. Then by waiting for the end of the Russian campaign and the coming attack on Britain she may hope to strike when both America and Britain are desperately engaged in the Atlantic, and our fleet divided between two oceans. And then there will be a real world war on that will require every ounce of American strength to win.

The failure of the Kurusu mission to Washington thus means that war between Japan and America is inevitable. The American people are now in the position where they will soon have to put up or shut up. Since they approve of a policy that calls for war, they must expect to go to war or change that policy.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 8, 2016 at 7:52 am

My Brief Military Career

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GI_cartoonThe U.S. draft did not affect me because, fortunately for both the military and me, I was born, raised and worked in Canada until I acquired a  Social Security card and joined the Detroit News in my early 30s before moving to California a half-dozen years later.

But I did have a fleeting turn with the military in my 20s. A handful of us reporters at a southern Ontario daily — K-W Record — responded to a call to donate two years of our time to serve as reservists. After Press Club conversations with local military poohbahs, we drew straws to see which company we would approach. I wound up with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. They told me I was a second lieutenant, the company’s PIO  and signed me up for an intro training weekend.

I got the Friday off and drove to Camp Borden about an hour north of Toronto. A light rain began as we assembled in the mess hall where we were assigned to small squads according to numbers handed us as we entered the building. Each unit comprised three or four regular enlisted men and three or four reservists. My sergeant (enlisted) had a map marked into squares. It was announced that each squad would search the square marked with its number on the map. And, we were told, “There’s a case of beer out there and it’s marked on the map.” The first thing I looked for after the sergeant unfolded our map was the X marking the beer. Then I hunted for the grid with our number. We were nowhere near.

So I asked the sergeant to give me one of his regulars and, while he and the rest of the men searched our grid, we would get the beer.

That’s when I learned I was not compatible with the military. He gave me a flat stare and, pressing his forefinger on the square with our number on it, said, “Sir, we can’t do that, we’re assigned to this area.” I agreed and pointed out that he and the rest of the unit would complete our task while the two of us – I wasn’t going to carry a case of beer all by myself and I needed a regular who was familiar with the camp’s terrain – would get the beer and meet them back at our bunks. He was unable to translate that thought and repeated to this civilian reservist, “Sir, our orders are to search this area.” For once in my life, I was thinking clearly. I scanned the group and recognized that his regular-enlisted 2-IC liked the logic of my approach, so I said, “Corporal, come with me.”

We got the beer (and let the sergeant share) but that obliterated any thought of further military service. The next morning, I claimed a family emergency and drove out of camp.

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 9, 2016 at 8:26 am

How People Remember You . . .

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rabbit. . . can be fun, I’ve found, after bumping into about a dozen 70- and 80-year-olds over the past decade who recall our high-school days at Scollard Hall, the all-boys Catholic boarding school in North Bay, Ontario: — 1947 to 1952. We had a Grade 13 in Ontario in those days to give kids an opportunity to earn a few college credits before having to leave town to attend one of the handsful of universities in the bigger Canadian cities.  I was a day hop, not a boarder, and learning by osmosis more than class subjects because there were students from far away as Venezuela, Italy, England, the U.S., and most Canadian provinces.

But back to how I was remembered.

At a group gathering during a reunion, they said i must have been the model for The Fonz in TVs “Happy Days” except “He couldn’t dance like you.”

On another occasion, the old-timer leaned on his cane and said, “Yeah, you’re the guy with the three pens.” I’d forgotten about that. I used to use three pens so I could write three lines worth of detentions – penalties or punishment given for some infraction or other – such as “I will not be late for first class after lunch” 500 times. Those three pens cut down the writing time a lot. Then he added, “And you sure could jive.”

A retired salesman who had to give up a promising professional hockey career because of a shoulder that kept  separating just flat out blared, “You were the best jiver in the ‘Bay.” Another old colleague, recalling my dance-floor days, rolled his eyes and said, “Man, you made us live!”

This patter and pattern have tumbled through my mind as I recall those dazzling days when I could jitterbug/jive/swing/whatever historians call it today. It was a shuffle and shucking done to a boogie-woogie beat and, while I can’t claim to have been the best in the ‘Bay, there was no one better.

It all  began in Jack McGinty’s living room. His home is now a rooming house abutting a McIntyre Street motel. His sister, Leona, taught me when I was 14 or 15 how to cut a rug on their living-room rug. Jack and I were close friends, along with Frank Klein (who became a well-known cop and civic leader in Sault Ste. Marie), Tom Lyons (who acquired his own firm in Peterborough and became a competitor at international curling bonspiels), Dennis Murphy (who rose to monsignor-ity in the Church) and Bernie Bucholtz (who went on to play several years of professional football in western and eastern Canada). As it turned out, we were pallbearers at Jack’s funeral after he was killed in a freak traffic accident. I was 17.

I always got a picture of him in my mind when I went into swing that gave me access to every gal in town. When the beat got down, all I had to do was point to one and she skipped out and we had a boogie ball. This is said not as a boast, although it is with pride, because we both were having fun.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted out of life – to be able to have fun. And I’ve had to deal with hundreds – probably thousands – of people who have done their utmost to deter me. So I toss the big-bands CDs into the tuner and turn up the volume  just right then bob and bounce to the beat while I picture Jack and the living room where his sister taught me to boogie a long time ago in an era far away.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm

We Were Crawling Through a White-Out . . .

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imagesD40MGR1V. . . between Detroit and Chicago on our way to our new home in San Diego when we heard about the massive Sylmar earthquake 45 years ago.

We’d been on the road a couple of hours so it was about 9 a.m. Tuesday when the first tidbits about the temblor interrupted the car-radio reports on the weather and traffic conditions. Our search for the next highway rest-stop became more intense because we wanted to wait out the snowstorm and discuss whether we really wanted to continue.

After all, we had stumbled into several hurdles since we tried to rip out our Canadian roots and transplant ourselves on the Left Coast. The earthquake might have meant to be our final warning.

This was after we had torn out the transmission of the family flivver four days earlier. We had planned to haul a trailer with our goods across country but our two-door hardtop decided against it just as we were approaching the Ambassador Bridge linking Canada and United States at the southern edge of Windsor and Detroit. Fortunately, it happened on the Canadian side and the garage we used over the years back in Windsor, Ontario, knew us, recognized our problem when we made a quick panic phone call, hauled everything to his locale and worked over the weekend to get us road-worthy again.

He even towed the loaded U-Haul trailer to our neighbor’s, who also came to our rescue and let us – three adults (my brother drove his VW bug down with us) and three kids — camp with them for the weekend. In between partying and panic attacks, we unpacked our belongings, returned the trailer, acquired several boxes and repacked our stuff, and arranged for a moving company to pick it up and deliver it to the address we would give them as soon as we settled. (It got here a bit more than a month after we arrived.)

The hiatus did give me the opportunity to drop back into The Detroit News to pick up my farewell check instead of having them mail it to me.

We finally pulled into a roadside diner stop a few miles short of Chicago. We couldn’t see it from the road but the kids saw a parking lot packed with vehicles, so we pulled in. Over some cups of coffee and assorted eats, we crowded around the TV set with the horde of other travelers to catch the latest on the California quake. And we wondered if our move to the West Coast was meant to be.

But the kids – in their tweens — were upbeat and undeterred about taking up a new life in the environs of Hollywood and Disneyland and surfers so we waited until the snowstorm subsided, topped off the gas tank and were back on the road before noon.

We got shafted that night by a motel owner in Lee’s Summit just outside St. Louis. He recognized us as refugees fleeing the frigid north for southern comfort and fleeced us for our rooms. It taught us to just walk away from the desk when given a price. That brought an immediate discount and, after a bit more haggling, the cost would to fit our budget. After all, this was February and most of these digs were empty.

The problems and perils we’d tumbled over moved quickly into the backs of or minds as we slipped into the adventure of sliding along route 66. The Golden State was still here when we arrived so I bought a short-sleeved shirt to wear when I walked into my new job at the San Diego Union on President’s Day.

– 30 –

 

 

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Whadda Week ! ! !

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It began innocuously enough with my Meals on Wheels images[8]circuit Monday a.m. I emptied Rosie in the afternoon to make room for stuff that would be taken out of the house during the termite tenting Wdnesday through Friday. We had to seal, using double bags given us by termite-exterminating company, “anything and everything you put in your mouth.” That included food, toothpicks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, straws, and any bottles or cans that had been opened. Unopened sodas or condiments or booze could be left alone, except wine with corks because those seals might not be enough to keep out the termite-throttling gas.
Moved all the outside plants into the center of the patio and disassembled the concrete-block wall at rear of the property between the neighbor’s fence and the garage. All this so the tents over the house and the garage will have a tight seal. On Tuesday, I put medicines and groceries into boxes and crammed them into Rosie – my little red 1997 Nissan 200SX parked at the rear of the house. And I called SDG&E to have someone come and restore gas service and reignite the water heater pilot light on Saturday. A.S.A.P. Termite people told us to request one for Friday p.m. but none were available. When Bev came home from her Tuesday at Oasis, she double-bagged the food in the fridge and freezer and then we toddled off to bed.
The exterminator truck pulled up shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday and we had to enlist last-minute help from Keri to house Bev’s indoor plants so they wouldn’t become collateral casualties of the tenting. We were told we could probably get back into the house about 10 a.m. Friday. They took Bev’s cell-phone number and said they’d call us about 15 minutes before they were through. We told them to put the house and garage keys into the mail slot before they left. Then we drove down to Chula Vista, where we were scheduled to check into Fredericka Manor after 3 p.m. We had toured this seniors’ independent living complex a couple of weeks earlier as part of the deal for allowing us to stay free of charge for these two days so we could experience the community. We were to have dinner both nights with residents and lunch Thursday with our marketing rep, Anita Peterson, to become acquainted with and have questions answered by folks who lived there.
Since we were way early, we drove around the South Bay a bit and then dropped into the shopping center on H Street directly across the street from the old Union-Tribune office. I worked there for more than a half-dozen years back in the ‘70s before moving to Mission Valley to become a business writer with the Union. We did some shopping (I got a couple of pairs of jogging pants for hang-around wear), had lunch at Panera and headed to Fredericka Manor a bit early but we were ready to sit down and take it EZ.
That’s when things took a dramatic turn.
Because a couple of residents suffered some sort of gastric attacks, all the dining facilities were closed down for a couple of days. The marketing director appeared a few minutes after our arrival and notified us of that development. She very apologetically said we had to be booked into a downtown Chula Vista bed-and-breakfast, had reservations that evening at Italianissmo Trattoria and would have lunch the next day at a Greek restaurant with Ms. Peterson. She joined us and also was full of apologies for having blind-sided us and assured us they would take care of everything and we should just turn in our meal tabs to be reimbursed.
Bev and I drove to El Primero Hotel, the B&B at the corner of Third Avenue and G Street. We were booked into 111 on the first floor at the head of the stairs just over the front desk. It was an all-white room, clean and quiet, and Bev crashed almost immediately. We called Italianisso and moved our reservation (we really didn’t need one) to 7 p.m. from 5:30. It was a short walk and the food was worth a much-longer walk.
Sleep was troubled all night but we did feel rested in the a.m. Had fruit for breakfast and chatted with innkeeper Mr. Roque. He’s writing a book on the history of his 84-year-old hotel. We also met and talked with his wife and one of his daughters before we drove to Bed Bath and Beyond in a shopping center on H Street immediately east of I-805. Bev ordered her collapsible hose from there and made a clutch of other purchases. We took a quick re-con drive to pinpoint Zorba the Greek Restaurant’s location and headed back to El Primero for a short respite. Mike called and invited to his home for Thanksgiving (next Thurday). Lunch with Ms. Peterson was enjoyable and the food was fine but the place was noisynoisynoisy. We took the rest of the afternoon off and did some reading and dozing. Lou called and we spent about an hour talking to him and Jean. Walked uptown about 6:30 p.m. and Bev thought she’d been to the Fuddruckers bordering the city park years ago so we tried it again since Thursday night football was being shown on one of the TV screens. It was OK but the place was NOISYNOISYNOISY!!! So we ducked across the street to a bakery to pick up dessert that we munched on the street. We bought a couple of lotto tickets at the 7/11 across the street from our B&B before heading “home” and did some reading before dozing off.
We were up and moving about around 7 a.m. Got coffee for the room, showered and moved some luggage down to the car. Chatted with Mr. Roque about his book. Then Bev and I took the rest of our stuff to the car and had breakfast before heading out. Said farewell to Mr. and Mrs. and drove by the house as the guys were pulling down the tents. They said we could get in in about 30 minutes so, as planned, we headed to Trader Joe’s to pick up some victuals. We returned just as the truck was pulling away and they told us everything went well, the place was ours and the keys were in the mail box. We were back into the house at 11:10 a.m. Friday.
Bev attacked the fridge and freezer and I unpacked the cars (There were some groceries and medications in Bev’s car as well.) That took an hour but Bev worked all day getting the fridge/freezer/pantry/medicine cabinet back in order. It took me another hour to get my office and bathroom drawers re-organized. After I cleaned out my email, I took a nap. Bev made pasta and shrimp for dinner and I passed the rest of the night TVing and chair-napping before tottering off to bed about 11 p.m.
Our cleaning lady arrived about 8:30 a.m. today (Saturday) and, right after explaining logistics involved with the arrival of the SDG&E representative who is going to turn our gas meter and pilot light back on, he rang the doorbell and put everything into order.
Off we went to Walmart and Sam’s Club to re-stock our necessities and let the water heat up. It takes about 30 minutes. Weather’s been cooperating all week. Days have been warm and nights cool but not cold. WE returned home shortly before noon and I reinstalled fences at the northeast corner of the property between the garage and neighbor’s fend and on the south side of the house between our house and the neighbor’s fence. Then I wrote this memo, showered and sauntered off to Saturday p.m. Mass at Our Lady of Refuge. – and said a few thank-yous for getting us through this week.

–30–

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm