The falling leaves-1976

I have been negligent in posting.  This time I am going to try both reprising the past, and commenting on my present life.

Fall had indeed fallen and was upon us.  School had started, and both the girls were moving ahead a grade.  Marge and I were proud of them, they are growing up to be very fine ladies, a year at a time. Ingrid is now in High School and went to that building, another life transition. Louise had to change schools also since the district pupil load had to be re-balanced.  We didn’t care for this but it did seem to be working OK, although for Louise this meant leaving friends and acclimatizing to a new environment.

August saw a lot of camping, maybe too much for me.  One event was a trip to the Adirondacks, which of course, is where I grew up. That was pleasant, but a long trip from eastern PA.  While we were there we decided to visit my Mom in Plattsburg.  Dad died in the spring of acute Leukemia.  I miss him more now that he has gone, as my therapist helped me gain perspective on his life and my relationship with him as a father.   I was born in the depression, a bad time for America and the world really.  That segued into WWII with rationing and hardship at home, as well as cousins being in the Service.  Dad was quiet and reserved which I took to be emotionally remote.  He had a secure steady job and was a good provider.  Perhaps if I spent the majority of my working life in a maximum security prison, I would be a different person, and not in a positive way.  Marge was able to stay with him, I am sure I mentioned this earlier and told me she grew to appreciate Dad more in the way he accepted his coming death with a quiet dignity.

Dad was a Chevrolet man, no Ford or Plymouth for us.  His last Chevvy was a 1971 Impala, which by today’s standards is a land barge. Mom could drive but didn’t want to so we had to do something about the car.  We decided that Marge and I could both drive home and take the Chevrolet home.  Of course, my sister Karen had a legitimate interest in the car as well, and we sorted that out later.  This meant that we now had four cars and the trailer in our garage and driveway.  It was excessive of course, but the girls were getting to be of driving age soon and would probably want a car of their own.  That was our justification, and it did make sense, we had room for all, one of my cars was a company one, the others we owned outright and the operating cost was acceptable.  The American way I think.  More is better.

I was working on the Mustang myself and made the repairs that I could.  We arranged with a body shop to repair the rust damage and repaint the car.  Slowly it is being restored and will be a beautiful car when that work is finished.


1967 Blue Mustang

Marge will look great at the wheel, I am sure of that.  Marge also wanted to sign up for a basic course in auto repair and was hesitant about going alone.  We both signed up, teamwork you know, as my knowledge of cars was spotty, I could do some things, but not others.  This made sense with so many vehicles to keep up.  Marge also signed up for a conversational Spanish course at the YWCA.  She was very smart and good with words.  I don’t think she actually wanted to speak Spanish, just learn how the language was structured, and what the differences were to English.  All sorts of knowledge that we didn’t get in college.

I did pass my radio operators exam and received a license from the Government.   The next thing was obtaining equipment.  If I bought anything, I would have to drive to Philadelphia since the Allentown area had no outlets for amateur radios.  I could always build what I want, that might well be fun in itself.  I passed a correspondence course in radio and TV repair and servicing in 1974.  I took the course as (1) I still had some veterans schooling dollars coming to me and (2) I was always interested in electricity and radios, even as a boy. Electronics has come a long way in 40 years; the days of amateur hobbyists has passed into history.

We went to a Christian retreat in the Poconos.  This was something Marge wanted to do and the site had room for some trailers. we were in this life together as partners and we made the trip, though I began to have flu symptoms.  Marge drove me home and drove back to the conference herself. She hitched up the trailer herself and came home on Sunday when the retreat ended.  she even backed the trailer up from the front road into our space for it.  Backing up can be difficult and not intuitive.  I was proud of her; she could do anything she set her mind to.

My bout with the flu/cold was over and then the rest of our family came down with the illness, whatever it was.  Then PP&L sent me to an industry conference dealing with labor relations. The conference was OK but rather remote from my day-to-day responsibilities. Coming home, I stopped at a store that specializes in sheepskins and bought Marge a beautiful sheepskin rug for her side of our bed.  I don’t know whatever happened to it as it is long gone now.

Not far from our home in PA there was a private small fishing lake stocked with trout. trout_imageEarlier, I promised Louise to take her fishing on our vacation but for some reason did not. To make up for this we went to this trout pond and after about half an hour, she did catch a fish. this was fun, I really enjoyed doing things with my daughters.  We went home and I gutted and cleaned the fish.  I think Louise watched, but am not certain of that.  Marge started to cook the fish but I finished cooking.  Marge never liked fish at all in any way, shape or manner. That was fine with me, this was really a father/daughter outing with Louise and we shared the fish for lunch.  That was a very satisfying day, I still remember it.

Now for the time machine, odds and ends from my present (2017) life:

I have had hearing problems as long as I can remember.  I  got a VA card about 20 years ago but never used it. Last year I began actually using the VA health benefits that I qualify for from my Air Force service. Neither Medicare of my supplement covers hearing aids.The VA does and   I am very pleased with the audiology department at the VA hospital here.  I had the most complete exam I have ever had from a resident who is finishing up his requirements for his doctor’s degree. Very nice guy and as I said, very thorough. My hearing problem is with consonants and understanding the high-frequency components. I have had this problem for decades, maybe all my life as I remember seeing a doctor when I was a kid due to earache. My first exam was about 45 years ago and the ear nose throat MD said the nerves were dead and there was nothing he could do. So, I have lived with it and the loss is getting slowly worse. The aids work great, do not amplify ambient sound like the ones I got maybe 13 years ago. I asked the D Aud in training about phone calls as I often use the ear buds for that to free up my hands. He said that there is a Bluetooth dongle that I could get so I can hear the phone conversation in my aids. We will talk about that in May.

 I found out that I don’t own the aids, they are on a very long loan, and I can also get free batteries from the VA. this is much more than I expected and I think the cost if I had to buy it from a civilian audiologist would be at least $5000 and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  Good move I think for me.

Phantom Frantzen cat had to have radioactive iodine treatment for a growth in her thyroid. This was an expensive vet bill, $1400, and of course, no insurance for that. The cats are my family, perhaps Phantom is my favorite so I want her to live as long as possible.

I am taking two film classes this term and will be a presenter at our OLLI Film Festival in May. I have sent a proposal for a 10-week course in the summer in the early films of K. Hepburn, and a later 5-week course in the Western genre. I have learned that there is not much actual teaching required since for the most part, the OLLI members like to watch movies and maybe have a short discussion period. So, it comes down to me doing some background research for about a 10-minute talk, answer questions and then just roll the movie. This gets me out of the house and I actually enjoy doing this.

I hope to take a trip taking the girls to Canada to visit Karen and Joe, the nieces, husbands/boyfriend and their kids. Louise is coming up in May and we are going to the AAA to work out at least a preliminary plan as each of our homes are in different locations, customs considerations, etc. I know I am deteriorating a bit and while I am still in fairly good shape do wish to visit my extended family in Canada, probably early September.

I had a very pleasant trip to Sacramento to see Ingrid over her birthday week.

McCarran airport Las Vegas

Double nickel now.  How did that happen? She had tickets for us to a local Chris Botti concert. It was pleasant and different for me as I know little about jazz.  We went to a nature preserve park near Carmichael, CA not too far from her home.  It was a beautiful day and not crowded at all, we both enjoyed the trip. We also went to an art exhibition in Sacramento college.  Snacks as well as pics.Very nice.


Nature park


Sacramento college


Ingrid on park bench


Sacramento college

Marge and I had some problems communicating, but we shared many activities that I cherish still. Yes, we both could have done better, but really No Regrets for all the years together.  My word count is almost 2000 so time to say goodbye for now.


About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in 1970-1980, Binghamton, Coopersburg PA, Summer vacations and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The falling leaves-1976

  1. Allan T says:

    Interesting, I myself was not a person that went fishing. Not sure about Janice, although she did go with her family and caught some trout, that a guy in Washington State, Mexican style. Janice also has hearing problems, her tubes are underdeveloped.
    Take care, Allan/Janice

    • R. F. says:

      I fished as a boy but not as an adult, other interests, but it was fun with Louise. Has a Janice seen an audiologist or ENT doc.might be able to offer some help technology has come a long way. Good to hear from you again

  2. Louise says:

    I have a vague memory of the fishing trip. It was exciting to catch the fish but I had no interest in learning to clean it.

    • R. F. says:

      The fish pond, as I recall, was about a mile on the road leading to Coopersburg. It was fun and I can appreciate not wanting to clean it. you did eat it with me for lunch, which is more than Marge could have done.

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