Sunday, September 30, 2018

"Some Kind of Wonderful"

Arriving late Sunday afternoon September 16th in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Pat took me on the last day of the Hamilton Crawl. 

Pat and I both like live music.  We were in luck. John Ellison, the composer of the song "Some Kind of Wonderful" was performing right in the center of Hamilton. 

The only live music event I ever attended in my life was Brasil 66 performing at the Philadelphia Academy of Music in 1966.  I had one of the cheap nosebleed seats way at the top of the Academy of Music auditorium.  I got to see the tops of the heads of Sergio Mendez and his group. Sound was great but visual, not so much.

This time was different.  Here I was going to see the man who wrote the song "Some Kind of Wonderful", John Ellison.  Prior to today I didn't know who wrote the song. 

Before performing his hit song, Mr. Ellison explained how he came to write the song.  That I didn't tape, too long.  Let's just say he was besotted with a lady he happened to meet by chance and wrote a song for her.

I was very impressed with Mr. Ellison, who happens to be the same age as me.  Don't I wish I had his energy and talent.  

So without further ado, here is my video of Mr. Ellison's performance of his song "Some Kind of Wonderful".  And I will say, my one week stay in Hamilton with my host Mr. Patrick Flynn was "Some Kind of Wonderful".

Now here is Grand Funk Railroad which made this song a hit. What do you think? I prefer John's version? What version do you like?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Tractor Troubles

Bill on his riding mower ready to go into the garage for repair

Today I am so tempted to write about the Supreme Court imbroglio but I will spare you that screed.  Instead I will write about a mundane subject, our riding mower tractor is on the blink.

Yes, you heard that right, our tractor is kerplunk. 

Yesterday we had our tractor picked up to go into the shop for repair. 

Bill and I live on an acre of land here in the great state of Delaware in Sussex County.

All my life I wanted to live on my own land. In Pennsylvania we had 7.6875 acres of land, mostly wooded. Here in Delaware we live on a nice patch of typical suburban green grass that needs a lot of mowing.  Bill likes to mow grass.  Our grass and our neighbor's grass, don't go volunteering him to mow anyone else's grass.

Four years ago I depleted our savings account and bought Bill one of those John Deere zero degree lawn mowers.  Bill now possessed the fastest mower in our neighborhood. 

When I left for my annual vacation to Canada a few weeks ago, I was thinking that perhaps it was time to get our John Deere mower an overhaul maintenance. My thought were very prescient because two days after I arrived in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Bill sent me an e-mail that his mower wasn't working.  HELP!  Bill was in a near panic.  Where to get the mower fixed?  

Just when I was thinking everything was going smooth, another "crises."  Boy, wouldn't I like go a couple of weeks with no "crises" or doctors' appointments.  It's not to be.

When I got home our neighbor Bob M. had a number of a man who fixes riding mowers.  I called him.  He told me he was very "backed up" with repairs.  Of course he's backed up, we're in the midst of the mowing season.  But thank goodness he came yesterday and picked up our mower.  

Now as the grass is growing (it only stops growing in the winter), we await our tractor. 

Just another day at Casa Tipton-Kelly. And the Kavanaugh confirmation has been delayed a week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Happy 90th Birthday Bill!

William "Bill" Daniel Kelly - 90 years old today!

Today is my husband Bill Kelly's 90th birthday!

Congratulations Bill!  

I was a young man of twenty-two years old when I met thirty-five year old Bill Kelly at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia in 1964.  

Little did I know then that today, fifty-four years later I would still be with that man.  

I liked him then but never in a million years thought I would still be with him fifty-four years later.  We were different in so many ways. But here we are today.  Older and wiser and still in love.

Happy birthday Bill!  Now let's go for a hundred!

Bill "Buddy" Kelly - circa 1932

Monday, September 24, 2018

Home From Canada

Pat with my carry on luggage at the Buffalo airport yesterday

Early yesterday morning I left sunny Canada for the hour ride to the Buffalo airport.  Yes, my week long stay in Canada had come to an end.

Pat drove me to Buffalo for my flight to Philadelphia. 

The traffic was light.  That was good. 

We had no problem crossing the border. That was good too.

I went through the TSA pre check line again at the Buffalo airport. I am so glad I took the time last summer to go to Dover and complete my TSA security pre check information.

My flight out of Buffalo left on time, unlike my flight out of Philadelhia which was almost an hour late because of mechanical difficulties.

Small plane again.  This time I had a big guy in the seat next to me on the plane. He overflowed into my space.  I think he felt bad about it. Oh we'll, it was only a hour flight.

I arrived in Philadelphia under cloudy and misty rain.  My ride to pick me up was stuck in traffic on Route One.  I didn't mind waiting.  Ironically the last time he picked me up he was stuck in traffic. It all evens out though because he's picked me up in the past where my flights have been delayed. I didn't mind waiting.

I arrived home yesterday at about 3 o'clock. Bill was very glad to see me. I was exhausted. Flying is a chore.  

It was so nice to sleep in my own bed last night. 

I love my quarterly trips with Pat but I do like coming home. Then I get to look forward to another trip.  Our next get together will be in Philadelphia a week after Thanksgiving.  I won't have to take a flight on that trip.

Now to get back into my daily routine. Another successful trip which I will share via photos and videos in future blog postings.

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Last Day In Canada

Me and Pat at a new restaurant discovery, Sagarmatha Curry Palace in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Today is my last day in Canada. 

This is always the bad part of my holidays with Pat, they end too quickly.

Tomorrow I will arise early for my two hour ride to Buffalo, New York for my 10:36 am flight to Philadelphia. 

As you can see from the paucity of my blog postings since I've been in Canada, I've been very busy. We have been very busy. 

Always something to do on our holidays together. 

We don't plan anything special, just let the days flow but they're always full.

I think yesterday (the days run together) we took the bus to Toronto and explored the massive underground shopping area.  I've never seen anything like that in my life. Sure does beat Philly's homeless sleeping, urine stink Concourse.  Philly has come a long way since I've worked there in the 80's but they have a long way to go. 

The weather has been perfect during my whole stay.  Yesterday was a near tornado but even that was fun. No one got hurt.

As we are wont to do, we discovered a few new vegan restaurants.  One we especially like is an Indian/Nepalese restaurant called Sagarmatha, which is understand is Nepalese for Mt. Everest.  Vegan food was very tasty, inexpensive and we had a cozy corner table. Sevice was a little slow but I'll give them a pass on that.

Well, I hear Pat rousing in the bedroom.  Soon we will be off on another day of adventure. 

Rest assured I will catch up on all the doings here this past week, photos and videos included.  And by the way, a good blogger friend of mine who also visited Canada this week posted that we wouldn't "bore" his readers with photos and videos of his trip.  Wow, that's not me folks. Be prepared to be bored. I don't consider a trip worthwhile unless I take a ton of photos and videos. And if anyone is bored, which I am sure there are a few who have short attention spans or have other interests, they don't have to stop by here for a visit. I for one like to create permanent memories. Can you imagine life without photos or videos to relieve old memories?  I can't but then that's old boring me.

Poster from Steel City bar and restaurant, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - how did I ever miss this movie?

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Arrived in Canada!

Day three of my week long stay in Canada visiting my friend Pat.

Pat picked me up at the Buffalo airport Sunday. My flight was delayed for almost an hour out of Philadelphia because of "mechanical problems."  Not a good sign.  But once we were in the air, there was no problem. A beautiful day for a flight.

I arrived in Hamilton with Pat to catch the tail end of the annual Crawl.  Pat said the streets weren't as jammed as they were earlier in the week but it was still pretty crowded.  A special treat was witnessing a live performance of "Some Kind of Wonderful" by the man who wrote that song, John Ellison.  I videotaped that performance and will post it in a future post. I hope I don't have copyright issues with You Tube.

I'm typing this blog post from my Macbook which isn't quite as flexible as when I type my blog from my iMac at home. I won't be able to post as many photos and videos from this source. Rest assured I will catch up when I get home.  You know me and my photos and videos.

Yesterday Pat took me on a tour of Hamilton. So many changes in this former steel town of five hundred thousand so so souls that is undergoing a renovation to a millennial destination. Pat moved here from overcrowded Toronto as many others have done. He loves Hamilton!

I brought along the first season of "Game of Thrones", which Pat can't get on his Canadian version of Netflix. We watched the first show last night. We're not binge watching yet but I think once I get Pat hooked, we probably will. I know I am enjoying watching the show again, now I understand a lot more that passed by me when I first watched this show.

Pat is at yoga now.  I'm catching up on my e-mail, blog posting and the latest news on the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court. You didn't think I would miss the news did you?  

The weather has been almost a perfect low 70's an sun since I've arrived in Canada. 

Life is good folks.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ready For Takeoff

Me ready to board the plane

This time tomorrow I'll be in line to board my flight from Philadelphia International airport to Buffalo, New York.  My Canadian Travel Buddy will be waiting for me in Buffalo to complete the final leg of my trip to his luxury condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  This is fifth annual trip to Canada to visit Pat.  

Packing for my trips are always a challenge for me. I'm one of those people who packs for "all occasions" and I always end up not wearing most of the shirts I've packed. Every trip, looking at my packed to the gills carry-on luggage I vow to pack less. Usually I take way too many shirts and pullovers.

This is what I'm packing this trip:

  • 5 sets of underwear (T-shirts, underwear)
  • 5 sets of socks
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 light windbreaker/rain jacket
  • 3 pullovers/colored T-shirts
  • 3 plastic see-thru plastic packets of toiletries  including prescriptions pills 
  • chargers for my iPhone, Macbook and Bose speaker

This is what I'm packing in my overhead bin carryon luggage.

In my personal shoulder briefcase:

DVD's (first season Game of Thrones)
TD Bank checkbook

There, I think I've covered everything. I'll take a last check before my neighbor picks me up tomorrow morning at 7:30 am for the two hour trip to Philly International for my hour flight to Buffalo.  

Oh, I forgot!  Plane tickets!  I'll download those later today from my computer.  I print the tickets and I also have the tickets on my iPhone. This is the first time I'm using my TSA pre-check app that I got last year.  Let's see if that works.  Sure would be nice to breeze through TSA security.  

I'll try to keep you all updated during mystery stay in Canada.  Won't have as many photos to post though, I can only do that from my iMac here.  

No matter how many trips I take, I always get nervous.  I got that from my Mother.  Not nervous because of being afraid of flying, I've never had that fear.  My nervousness comes from all the connections I have to make to finally arrive at my destination. Once I arrive in Canada, I actually feel at home.  How about that?  I feel the same way when we visit California and Philadelhia. I'm finally living the life I always looked forward to all those years I used to schlepp to work at my banking job in Philly.  Like another blogger friend of mine I often thought "Can't wait until I retire so I can do what I want to do."  I'm very lucky folks because I am retired now (my part-time job at the hotel funds these trips) and am doing what I want to do.  And how lucky I am to do it with such a great guy like Pat? 

Pat and me in Canada

Friday, September 14, 2018

Memories - The Night I Was Humbled in Philadelphia

Me (left) and Bobby Scott - Pennsuaken New Jersey 1965

These days, in my declining years, when I know I have less years to live than I have lived, I often think of scenes from my past. 

Last year I took the plunge and had all my VHS videos put in a digitized format. Several of these VHS videos were originally 8 mm films. The photos in this blog are from those old 8 mm films. That is the reason for the poor quality of the photos. But even with the poor quality you can still see and feel the youthful enthusiasm of me and others in this old photos that I have captured from those digitized VHS videos.

This images were taken of me forty-seven years ago, a few months after I moved in with Bill where he rented a two bedroom apartment at Penn Manor Apartments in Pennsauken, New Jersey. 

I shouldn't need to identify myself but I will, I am (of course) the tall guy on the left (I was 6'4" at that time). The other guy in this photo was my former co-worker Bobby Scott.  

We both worked at Lipsett Steel Products in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. I was living and working in Coatesville, Pennsylvania when I met Bill in a Philadelphia gay bar called the Westbury. 

Coatesville was fifty-four miles away from Pennsuaken, New Jersey. An hour and a half drive each way.  Bill used to pick me up every Friday and take me back to his apartment. On Sunday he would make the round trip to take me back to my Coatesville apartment. 

We did this routine almost every weekend for about six months until we decided that I would move in with Bill.  But first I had to get a job nearer to where Bill lived.

My friend Ron Hampton worked at Girard Bank in Philadelphia. He secured a job interview for me at Girard. I got the job. More about that turning point in my life in a future blog post.

Long story short, I moved in with Bill.  

A few months after I moved in with Bill, my former co-worker Bobby Scott drove from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania to visit me and Bill.  This is us clowning around on that hot August day.  

Bobby was married with a young son. He knew I was gay (I had come out to everybody).  I think he was interested in a relationship but I wasn't interested in him that way. I liked him as a friend but not in a sexual way.  He asked me to take him to one of the gay bars I used to frequent in Philadelphia.  I took him to the 247 Bar in center city Philly.  This was Bobby's first ever visit to a gay bar.  He was bedazzled to say the least.  Then what happened next completely floored me. 

A guy named "Jim", who I had lusted after many a times that I had seen him in the 247 Bar and other bars, came over to us.  Jim was my type to the hilt but I could never get anywhere with him.  Every line I tried with him, nothing. But here he was, walking over to where Bobby and I were standing and posing.  He started to talk to Bobby!  He was interested in Bobby!  Talk about having my ego deflated, I left them.  A couple of weeks later I called Bobby and asked him what happened.  Yep, he went home with Jim.  Wow, Jim picked him up.  That humbled me folks.  I'll never forget it.  

I lost contact with Bobby after that.  I've always wondered what happened to him.  Did he continue in his marriage? Or did he live a double life?  Or did he go back to being straight?  Just another one of life's mysteries that I will probably never know the answer. But I will never forget that humbling experience.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things

A fun post this morning folks! 

I haven't done one of these "lists" posts for a while. This is my own list.  

I've had this blog since 2005.  Where does the time go?  I've covered a lot of subjects. I try to keep things positive on this blog. But I have to admit that negative impulses keep creeping in my head demanding to be posted.  Especially now when the very fundamentals of our democracy are being threatened by the Orange Menace in the White House. But I'm not going to go THERE in this post.  Instead I'm going to post about some of my favorite things.  Yes, just like the "Sound of Music" song says.  

Here is my list in no particular order:

  1. Reading a good book
  2. Early morning walk through my development
  3. Blogging
  4. Taking videos and photos and organizing them
  5. Creating movies from my photos and videos
  6. Gardening, landscaping, flower and herb plantings
  7. Hummus
  8. Judge Judy
  9. Quarterly trips with Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy
  10. MSNBC
  11. Afternoon naps
  12. Key lime pie
  13. Apple computer products
  14. Schadenfreude (waiting for Trump to be frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs)
  15. Cats
  16. Pomeranian dogs
  17. Family genealogy 
  18. Philadelphia
  19. Canada
  20. West Hollywood California
  21. Palm Springs California
  22. Corn chips, jalapeno and lime flavored
  23. Pico de gallo
  24. Restaurant dining with good friends and without whiny kids
  25. Class reunions
  26. Watching Netflix DVD movies in my bedroom
  27. Bill Kelly
  28. Pension payments
  29. Good and respectful customer service
  30. Seeing corrupt politicians jailed
  31. Rainy days
  32. Sunny days
  33. Cloudy days
  34. Part-time hotel front-desk job
  35. Longtime blogger friends
  36. "Morning Joe"
  37. Rachel Maddow
  38. "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell"
  39. Chris Hayes
  40. Chris Matthews
  41. Nicolle Wallace
  42. Chuck Todd
  43. Lemon sponge pie
  44. Twice backed stuffed potatoes
  45. Almond milk
  46. Daily journal entries
  47. Money in the bank for emergencies
  48. Good health
  49. Comfortable and mortgage free home
  50. Music 

Just a partial list folks. I have many favorite things. I have a list of things I don't like too. I'm debating whether or not to post that list. I try to keep my blog positive but sometimes I give in to that devil on the left side of my shoulder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hurricane Florence - "Storm of a Lifetime"

Another hurricane season is here!

Living on the East Coast as I do, I dread hurricane season.  

I live in southern Delaware, on the East coast, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

A few years ago we just missed Hurricane Sandy by fifty miles.  Sandy took an unexpected turn just as she was bearing down on Sussex County, where I live.  Phew! Missed that one. 

It is known here that we are due for the Big One.  Thank God that hasn't happened yet.  We are very vulnerable though, all flat coastal land here.  

I feel guilty when I admit I was somewhat relieved when I saw that Hurricane Florence was veering away from traveling up the East Coast and slamming the Delaware coast. 

Hurricane Florence is predicted to hit the Carolina coast Saturday morning. I hope (I don't pray) that the damage is minimal and there is no loss of life for those in Florence's path.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stressful Morning

One of the biggest problems I've encountered in my old age is handling stressful situations. I don't know if it is because this is the digital age, but times just seem more stressful now.

A prime example: I spent several hours this morning on the phone with Comcast again trying to straighten out a billing problem. Over a year ago I turned in my Comcast modem rental because I got tired of the ever increasing monthly cost. When I started the modem used to rent for seven dollars a month. Gradually the monthly rental went up from eight, to nine to ten then eleven. That's when I decided to buy my own modem.  I turned in my Comcast modem and my bill was reduced accordingly. Then in March I returned home to find an envelope from Comcast with URGENT! printed in red on the envelope. They needed my modem serial number.  I called and got someone with a heavy foreign accent who recorded my model and serial number after I had to crawl around on the floor the try to read black on black serial number on my dusty modem/router.  Then he tried to convince me to rent a Comcast modem.  I told him I didn't want to rent a Comcast modem, I had bought my own modem/router.  He put the hard sell on me.  I couldn't convince him that I did not want to rent a Comcast modem.  I finally had to hang up on him because he wouldn't take "NO!" for an answer.  His supervisor called me back.  He did the hard sell again to rent a Comcast modem. Had to hang up on him too. 

I thought that was the end of it. Oh how wrong I was. A couple of months later I noticed on my paperless bill (which I did not give them permission to stop my paper billing), I was being billed $11.00 a month for a modem rental!

I called Comcast and went through all the menu items and identifying myself.  I explained my situation.  The Comcast customer service person on the other end of the line understood my situation but said they were having a problem stopping the billing. She said she would "turn it over to her supervisor."  I thought the problem was solved, foolish me.  

This morning, while I was talking to my friend Lar and lamenting at how the past few weeks have been relatively stress free, I mentioned my problem with Comcast billing.  I told him how Comcast was billing me for a modem that wasn't theirs.  I thought I would check my bill.  What I discovered got me hot.  They were still billing me!

I called them this morning, went through the menu choices and identifying myself.  I finally get a live person.  He wants my modem's serial number.  I tell him "I've already given that to you several times. Don't you record this information?"  He found the information.  He listened to me and understood my billing problem.  He tried to correct it but after about twenty minutes of trying, he couldn't.  He put me on hold.  I waited another fifteen minutes.  Nothing.  I call back.  I go through the menu items again, identify myself and then get a live person.  I explain my situation all over again to "Sharon."  She understands my billing problem. She tries to correct it.  She can't.  She said she will have to "write a ticket to her supervisor".  I tell her I've been told this before.  What makes this time different?  She gives me a ticket number.

I marked my calendar for this time next month. What are the odds this problem will be corrected? I have to tell you folks, I don't have a lot of faith. Comcast is the only game in town down here in Sussex County, Delaware.  

If this isn't corrected by next month I call the fraud unit of the Delaware State government.  This is ridiculous. 

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Turning Points In My Life - Near Death at Seventeen

Elvis got to keep his underwear on, I didn't

Yes, you read that title right, I almost died at 17 years old due to medical malpractice.

After I signed up to join the Army, I had to report to 401 North Broad Street in Philadelphia for my physical. What a humiliating experience that was, one that I will never forget as long as I live.

There we were, about a dozen of us young men toeing the yellow line on the umpteenth floor of the old warehouse building that was the Army induction physical inspection center in Philadelphia.

We all obediently stood there in a straight line, naked head to toe. Totally exposed. Full frontal. Humiliated.

Much like my Army physical, although we had to stand full frontal toes touching a broad yellow line, I was pulled aside and told to lay on a gurney like the one man in this picture.  The other difference in this picture and mine was that there were a lot of civilians, both male and female, milling about. We had ZERO privacy. I guess this was the Army's way of dehumanizing you so you would obey any orders. 

 While all manner of people walked around, behind and in front of us, a group of white jacketed "inspectors" with clip boards eyed our bodies. One of the white jacketed men walked down the line, and one by one cupped our testicles and asked us to cough. The "cough test" to see if our balls dropped. Previously we had already did the "duck walk."  That's the "test" where we have to turn around, bend over and grab out ankles whilst the gentlemen in the white doctor jackets and clipboard have a look-see of our anuses. God know what they were looking for. The cough test was the last step of our humiliation. 

The officious looking white jacketed man with glasses and a clipboard went down our line of full frontal men. I forget where I was in line, maybe seventh. He cupped by testicles and asked me to cough. I did. He paused and asked me to cough again. I did. He wrote something down on his clipboard, looked up and asked me to cough one more time.  Iim thinking, "what's going on?". He looked concerned and asked me to step out of line. He instructed me to lie down on a paper covered gurney nearby. 

I climbed up on the gurney and lay there, on my back, waiting for what I didn't know. As I lay there, totally exposed, people continued to walk about including many young women, secretarial types. I was totally confused. Why was I pulled out of line and lying on the gurney, off to the side of all the activity?

Finally, after about a long twenty minutes one of the "doctors" came over and handed me a paper.  He didn't tell me why I was pulled out of line.  He just told me to take the paper he handed me to my recruiter.

To this day I remember how scared I was going back home on the train to Downingtown, thirty-seven miles west of Philadelphia. I thought for sure I was going to die. I had some kind of fatal illness. One thing I knew, I didn't pass the physical.  To some not passing an Army induction physical would be a cause for celebration. To me, my whole world was falling apart. I wanted to join the Army. Not only to fulfill an obligation I felt as a citizen of this great country of the United States but the Army was going to be my path into supporting myself after I left home. I was finally going to be free. I would learn a skill in the Army and after I got out I would be set. Now all those plans were thrown out the window. I had reached another major turning point in my life.

After I got home and my Mother and my recruiter read the papers I has given, I found out I had failed my physical because they discovered I had a hernia. Apparently I was born with a hernia. It was an inactive hernia but they failed me on the physical because they were afraid the strain of Army calisthenics would activate my hernia and they didn't want to deal with that expense. I was damaged goods and the Army didn't want me.

What to do now? I still couldn't get a job because my name was mud in Downingtown because I quite bookkeeping high school.  Mr. King, my bookkeeping teacher and Mr. Kline, my high school guidance counselor, had effectively blacklisted me from ever getting a clerical job in Downingtown. My Army recruiter told me I could join the Army if I got an operation to repair my hernia. Thus, that what my Mother and I decided to do.

Our family doctor, Dr. Samuel Spector of Coatesville (I will forever remember his name and face) scheduled me for surgery sometime in early July. I forget the exact date but I do remember it was right in the middle of summer. 

The anesthetic I was put under by was ether. I remember the mask being put on my face and the swirling spiral taking me out. When I awoke some hours later, my Mother at my bedside, I had this tremendous pain in my left side. I felt like I had been cut open with a sword. Actually, I was cut open, with a staple, right through the abdomen muscles. God it hurt. My Mother held my hand to comfort me. She told me that the doctor told her the pain would eventually go away in a few days. Actually, it was more like a few weeks. I don't remember how long I was in the hospital, maybe a week, until I was sent home, sore as hell.

I was given instructions not to step up or excessive walking. Basically, I was to take it easy to let my body heal from the trauma it just went through by having my left abdomen cut open to repair the hernia that was strangling my small intestines. 

During this period of inactivity, I start to put on weight. I had always weighed about 160 pounds, my fighting weight. I weigh 162 now, differently distributed of course.  I quickly put on twenty pounds just laying around eating big bags of potato chips and Whitman chocolates.  I could polish off a box of Whitman chocolates in three days.

As I continued to lay about and recover from my major surgery, I started to have excruciating headaches. I’m not the type to have headaches.  I thought my headaches were the result of my inactivity and stress. But then when my headaches became so severe, sometimes I couldn’t even stand up.  My head felt like an anvil was swinging back and forth in my skull.  

I complained to my Mother about my headaches, She thought I should see my doctor, Dr. Samuel Spector of Coatesville, Pennsylvania (whose name I will never forget, he should have been sued for malpractice). 

My Mother drove me to Dr. Spector’s office in Coatesville. He wasn’t happy to see me.  He looked at me with disgust and said “He’s just imagining things! There’s nothing the matter with him!”  Being the na├»ve seventeen-year old I was at that time, always submitting to authority believing they knew and I didn’t, I thought I WAS imagining things.

My Mother and I returned to our home.  I continued to suffer through those anvil head banging headaches. Then one night I awoke to and found I was lying in a sticky, sweet-smelling odor. I turned on my bed-light. I looked to my left side and found I was lying in a bed of red and white pus.  My incision was open!  I was terrified!  I thought my guts were going to spill out. 

I called to my Mother whose bedroom was next to mine in our small ranch house. She came in the bedroom and quickly assessed the situation.  She immediately called the police for an ambulance. While she was waiting for the ambulance, she tried to clean up the mess that I was lying in.  The sticky, smelly mess. I’ll never forgot that smell. 

1950's style ambulance - not like the Brink's truck type ambulance today

The ambulance arrived with the EMT people. They maneuvered the gurney between the narrow hallway of our small house to my bedroom. They carefully lifted me from my bed to the gurney. I only had my t-shirt on.  They covered me with a thing white sheet and wheeled me out of our house to the waiting ambulance.  I’ll always remember that ride in the ambulance. Ambulances back then (1959) were long sedan type cars with a lot of glass. During the early morning hours, just as dawn was breaking, the ambulance I was in, only wearing my t-shirt and my lower, naked body covered in a sheet, I was driving through downtown Downingtown for all to see. I was embarrassed.  

Chester County Hospital West Chester PA (my ambulance entered from the back and in the basement)

The ride to the Chester Country Hospital in West Chester took about fifteen minutes. Upon arriving at the hospital, the ambulance went around the rear of the hospital and entered a garage beneath the hospital. The sign above the entrance read in bold letters “CONTAGION UNIT!”  Beneath that alarming warning was listed the diseases “BUBONIC PLAGUE, CHOLERA”and other diseases, listed alphabetically. I thought “If I don’t die of whatever I had I’ll catch one of these diseases and die of that.” 

The EMT people wheeled me out of the back of the ambulance and into the ward. The beds in the ward were separated by partitions. They had one waiting for me. I was placed on my waiting bed. A nurse came and cleaned out my wound and placed dressing on my now open incision. 

Later on in the day doctors came by and examined my open wound. They didn’t tell me anything, which didn’t surprise me. I was just a dumb seventeen-year old. This was back in the Fifties and that was the usual protocol, don’t tell the patient anything, especially a teenager.

I didn’t get much sleep my first night in the contagion ward. The thirteen-year old boy on the other side of the partition moaned all night.  The next morning, when the nurse came by to change my dressing, I complained to her about not getting sleep because of the young boy moaning the whole night.  She said “That won’t happen again, he died early this morning.”  Wow, did I ever feel guilty.  I never complained anymore, especially with the man on the other side of me moaned about his gangrene infection. He was in so much pain he tore off his toenail and threw it away.  It landed on the windowsill behind me.  This is the environment I spent the next several weeks. Patients on the other side of the partitions came and went but I stayed there. 

My Mother used to visit me but she couldn’t into the building.  She had to kneel outside on the roadway that adjoined the window above where I lay in my bed. She talked to me through the chicken wired window. I think my friend Larry also visited me but no one else visited me. 

The doctors discovered that I had a “staph” infection. Staphylococcus Aureus.  Symptoms and signs of a localized staph infection include a collect of pus, such as an abscess the area is typically tender or painful and may be reddened and swollen.  That’s what I had, I contacted this super bug infection from my hernia operation. A hernia operation that I probably should never have had. Then once I contacted an infection, our family doctor, Dr. Samuel Spector, misdiagnosed it.  Medical malpractice all the way around. Probably should have sued the hospital and doctor all the way around but this was back in the Fifties when we trusted doctors and hospitals, that they knew what was best. 

Several years later, Dr. Spector apologized to my Mother for misdiagnosing my condition.  Note that he didn’t apologize to me.  My Mother told me that he said I probably would have died from septic poisoning if my incision hadn’t busted open that night. The doctors thought my incision burst open because of all the aspirin I took to help alleviate my head busting headaches. I take aspirin to this day, a baby aspirin because I am convinced aspirin saved my life on that humid July summer night back in 1959.

That summer in 1959, I was in and out of the hospital for the next four months trying to get rid of the super bug staph infection.  I had three operations to clean out my incision. The first operation they scrapped out my staph infection and sewed me back up.  My infection came back.  I had another operation and it came back again. I had a third operation to clean out the staph infection.  That one finally took.

At one point I tried to escape from the hospital. I had been in the hospital so long, I thought I would never get out. I eventually was moved to a private room on the main floors.  I was finally out of the contagion unit. Still, I was a prisoner in the hospital. Thank goodness we had insurance because my private room was costing twenty dollars a day!  Yes, I thought twenty dollars was outrageously expensive.  But this was in the Fifties when nurses wore white uniforms and hospitals discovered the massive money-making benefits of unbundling bills, twenty dollars was a lot of money to pay for a room. 

Remember candy stripers?

Candy Stripers

Two candy stripers who I had befriended offered to help me. They were going to smuggle in some clothes (from one of their brothers) for me to wear out of the hospital. All I had was a bathrobe (which I still have!) and pajamas. I was going to change clothes and slip out of the hospital and catch a Short Line bus back to Downingtown. When the day came to escape, I couldn’t because I didn’t have any shoes! The weather outside was cold (late October) and I figured the bus driver wouldn’t let me on the bus in my hospital slippers.  Can you believe this?  Looking back on my “plan” now I see how ridiculous it was. My escape plan was thwarted. 

I eventually got out of the hospital normally. My  staph infection cleared up.

I recuperated a few more months at home then I took my Army physical again.  This time I passed my physical and I joined that Army on January 27th, 1960. I survived a botched hospital surgery and a being misdiagnosed by my family doctor. 

I was now encountered my new journey to turning points in my life. I was (and am) a survivor. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

More Hamilton Ontario Canada Dancing Guy

Whenever I want to feel good, I just look at one of these videos that my Canadian pal Pat sends to me of the Hamilton Dancing Guy.  This is the latest.  Man, what talent this guy has. Here he dances to country music. Always makes me smile and feel good all over when I see this guy just enjoy life with total abandon. 



Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Washington Post reporter and Watergate legend Bob Woodard's book about Trump comes out September 11th.  I ordered it yesterday from my Amazon prime account. 

In the book he confirms what we all know (and yes, even hard core base Trump supporters), that Trump is idiot and has the understanding of a 
"fifth or sixth grader", which to me insults fifth and sixth graders. 

I don't like to post these political rants to my blog and believe it or not I do restrain myself, but I have to admit I worry every day about the state of our country. Trump is not competent to be president of the United States. Trump isn't competent to hold any political office.  Trump is a con man and everyone knows it.  Even his supporters know that fact but they don't care. Forget them.  They'll never change because they're on the Trump Train.

What really concerns me is that our system of government has totally broken down.  The Republican controlled Congress has given Trump a pass on his criminality.  They have put their own selfish interests (holding on to power, tax cuts, and packing the courts with Republican judges) over the welfare and safety of the country.

Another concern I have and something that really saddens me is the discovery that so many of my friends and neighbors who I like and respect, are blind to Trump's incompetence and criminality and yes, his traitorous activity in sucking up to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday I was talking to an old friend that I went to college with.  I haven't talked to him for years.  He called me to check on the status of our mutual prostate cancer situation.  He also told me that he and his wife were considering moving to Delaware from Pennsylvania (to get away from the high Pennsylvania taxes of course) and would like my advice which I am glad to give.  During our course of conversation I mentioned I was listening to the Trump nominated Kavanaugh hearings on TV.  During the conversation I found out that Rich (his name) supported Trump.  My immediate feeling was one of sadness and disappointment because I always considered Rich intelligent and reasonable. I have to admit I am baffled how anyone could support Trump.  Hillary is gone so it can't be Hillary Hate.  I know Rich and he's not one of those people who got freaked out because a black man was in the White House for eight years. So I just don't understand. 

Last night I was so tired that I didn't even stay up late enough watch Rachel and Lawrence on MSNBC.  I woke up in a sweat about 1:30 am. I managed to get back to sleep and got up at my regular time at quarter to seven this morning. I'm still exhausted.  I wonder is my exhaustion is caused by the current peril our country is in because of Trump and crazy town?

I feel that eventually this horrible situation our country is in because of Trump will right itself. They may have to take Trump out of the White House in handcuffs because you know Trump won't go willingly.  I have no fear of the Trump supporters rioting.  That element has always been in this country. 

I don't know how long this will take. The first step in the removal of Trump from office will began after the fall mid term elections. I'll be in Philadelphia that week with my very good friend and Canadian Travel Buddy Pat. Hope this year will be vastly different form 2016 when I arrived in Philadelphia prepared to celebrate my birthday the day after the election of Trump to the presidency of the United States. Of course I didn't celebrate. That year was perhaps the worst birthday I've ever had. And this nightmare has continued for the past two years.

This year I hope is different. I cannot imagine any other scenario.  I hope and pray (and I don't pray) that I live long enough to see Trump and (yes) even his kids (including Ivanka) in prison.  Now that would be a birthday present and proof that NO ONE is above the law. 

Trump has been breaking the law for his whole adult life.  That folks is about to come to an end. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Thoughts At Summer's End 2018

Hamilton Dancing Guy dancing the summer away

Today marks the unofficial end of another summer season. 

Hallelujah, I made it through another summer. 

As regular readers of this blog know, I live near the summer resort towns of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach Delaware. 

Every year, after Memorial Day until Labor Day, we are inundated with traffic from the north and west and south, seeking the cool ocean breezes of both the Lewes beaches and Rehoboth Beach. We have visitors from Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and an occasional New Yorker finds there way down here.  Here at the hotel we received guest from across the country and the world. Don't ask me why, we just do.  I would like to think they're coming to see me and my sparkling personality but then I would probably be deluding myself. 

Each year our roads become more clogged with our summer visitors, especially the major artery right outside the development where I live six miles up the road, Coastal Highway or Route One.

Like many of my neighbors we don't go down to Rehoboth Beach during the summer, we give that experience over to the touristas. 

I'm "working" at the hotel now, as I have been the past two nights.  This year I worked the Labor Day weekend for my co-worker, who took a much needed holiday from guest services.  We do love our job in the hospitality industry (my 20th year this year) but we DO need a break. There are just so many times you can answer the question "Where is the ice machine?" (around the corner, the louvered door between the two bathroom doors) and "Do you have a pool?" (no, thank God).  

The past three years I used the Labor Day weekend to visit my Canadian Travel Buddy (Pat) and annoy him for a week.  This year I was co-opted of my normal plans so I had to delay my visit until week after next. Which is just fine because last year when I visited Pat in Hamilton, Ontario, it was so hot I had to rent a hotel room.  Hopefully this year pre autumn breezes will be wafting in the air around my grizzled presence.  But then with global warming, I may have sweat it out again.  Hopefully Pat's air conditioning will be fixed this time so I don't have to contribute to the corporate profits of the Sheraton Hotel. Nice hotel but I would rather spend my valuable American dollars at the many fine Canadian restaurants that Pat and I discover on our daily seeking new adventures excursions. Pat and I never have a definite plan of what to do when we get together but we always have a fabulous time whatever we d and wherever we go.  Wait a minute? Isn't that the lyrics of a song? Sometimes it seems as if my whole life are lyrics to a song. 

I only have one doctor's appointment coming up before I take flight from Philadelphia International Airport o the 26th of this month. And that is with my dermatologist to remove this annoying and painful horn skin ailment from my left knee.  Also I have few other discolorations on my skin I should have her take a look at.  Could be age spots but then could be something else. At my age I have to constantly monitor this aging body to make sure I can extend my stay here on this earthly plane long enough to see Trump frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs.  You know he ain't going to go willingly.  Oh please God, let me live long enough to see that justice prevail.

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...