Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Golden Wedding Anniversary

On December 17, 1999 we observed our 50th wedding anniversary at the Winterset club house. Fred and Marilyn directed the celebration inviting friends from the area. It was not a gift occasion but I gave Ellen a gold necklace with the names and dates inscribed. In 2001 I celebrated my 80th birthday. I went to the Senior Center in Lake Wales and made some friends playing Bridge every Thursday. These friendships have continued until today. Fred bought an RV to live in to save motel bills and carry his equipment. He towed my car back and forth from Winter Haven to Blowing Rock. We rode in comfort and safety for two years. We enjoyed the cool temperatures in the mountains and the Florida sunshine in the winter. We did our regular walks together. In 2003 both of us had health problems. I had to have an angioplasti examination for my heart. I escaped the bypass operation because my heart was already beginning its own blood vessels. I was put on medication to control colesterol blockage of blood vessels, to control my blood pressure, and to regulate my heart rhythm. I was put on six month checkups and urged to continue my exercise program. In Ellen's six month check up a growth was found on her uterus. Surgery was required to remove the growth which was not malignant. The operation caused you to lose considerable weight. You were down to 60 pounds. When you recovered you had to use a Walker to keep from falling. The irritable bowel problem got worse. We had to get a portable toilet seat to keep nearby to prevent accidents. Regaining weight was a real problem. Your stomach was small which curbed your appetite. Food seemed to go through without nutition to your body. We tried nutritional supplements which were liquid in form but the problem continued. I had to stay nearby because you were so weak. We invested in an exercise machine which worked for both arms and legs. You were faithful in using it because you could no longer walk. On Thursdays we arranged things so that I could get away and play Bridge with my friends. I had to leave you for short periods of time for my daily exercise and to buy groceries. Besides all your physical problems your depression returned requiring electroshock. It was this that brought your death. After the shock treatment your body did not return to normal. Your organs were not functioning properly. You were put on oxygen to help your lungs. I could tell that you were passing away one organ at a time. You reached the point where you could no longer talk. I brought in pictures of our wedding and the children when they were little. You seemed to look at them with some feeling. In December 2004 very close to our anniversary you passed away. Because of our life styles we both had decided on cremation. I began a garden in Ellen's memory at Eagle Lake Elementary school parking lot since she spent most of her adult life as a Third Grade teacher.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


During this period of time Ellen inherited ten percent of the Hood Estate which amounted to about $4000 annually. Looking forward to retirement I began investments for the future. $200 monthly was taken from my salary and invested in TIAA and CREF. I also began some annuities. Ellen retired from teaching and did some assistant teaching work which reduced her load. She really enjoyed working with an Afro-American 4th Grade teacher. Both of us began having annual health check ups. She had to have a historectomy and I had to have a Postate operation to remove a beginning cancer. I retired in June of 1986 when I became 65. In the winter of that same year I was out in the cold to get some logs from the fire and experienced a heart attack. With a quick entry to the emergency room at the hospital a nitroglyecerine tablet under my tongue removed the clot. My recovery was rapid but I was advised to stay away from cold temperatures. For the rest of the year I stayed indoors on cold days. As a retirement hobby Ellen took up painting and ceramics. I began a woodworking project making napkin holders and a special trash bag holder for grocery bags. These are still in use today. When winter came, we decided to rent an apartment in Winterset in Winter Haven Florida. The Florida winter was both sunny and warm. I bought myself a bicycle to ride around the enclosed area. There were lakes on each side of the houses so there were also scenic walks. Ellen's depression returned as her medication lost its force. She had to have electroshock treatment in Lakeland which was again very effective. We enjoyed our winter in Florida and returned to Laurinburg in February. March was very cold and snowy which required that I stay indoors. The following winter we stayed an extra month but March was still cold. I persuaded Ellen to sell our home in Laurinburg and buy a place in Florida. The plan was to become a citizen of Florida and stay there seven months before going to Blowing Rock in June. We found a home for sale in a gated community called Overlook Estates. It had four citrus trees in the back yard and two banana trees. It was a three bedroom house. We sold the home in Laurinburg and asked Luther to load our furniture on a rented moving truck and bring it to us in Florida. When this was accomplished we were all set. We received a good offer for the cottage in Blowing Rock. It was sold and we bought a Condo in Evergreen Springs and moved our furniture in from the cottage. These two moves fixed us up for a beautiful and healthful life. The major problem was Ellen's depression which returned every six months. She had electroshock in Chapel Hill and in Lakeland.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The New Day

Fred graduated from Wake Forest and joined a Rock Band. His graduation present was a new van to transport his musical instruments. The group played a lot for the ASU students and he wanted a place to live. We found a cottage in Blowing Rock with a pond behind it. He was excited about his new home and wrote some children's songs called "Down By The Lake". He depicted the wildlife - Bull Frog, Bumble Bee, Butterfly, Humming Bird, and Snake in songs. I persuaded him to mkae the Butterfly a "she". After two years I inherited the cottage and the payments. The group moved to Atlanta where they had good opportunities to perform.Ellen and I went to his graduation and enjoyed using the cottage. I had both a spring and fall vacation from teaching and ,of course, the summers. I got into mountain hiking with some friends. Tom Leach in the English department liked to hike. He was my frequent companion. I also took a number of students. Ellen's depression was temporarily removed and I went back to work teaching. The three of us in the psychology department got along beautifully. We moved into the new Education Building with plenty of space. We occupied the top floor. I exercised daily in the swimming pool in the Physical Education building. During this time I met Tom Leach in the English department who hiked with me. My Psychology of Stress course was very popular. There were many discussions and many questions. Part of the course was the practicing of the stress reduction principles - regular exercise, diet with plenty of vitamin C and vitamin B complex. In my other courses I had to change my method of teaching. I had used educational movies to put some change in my lectures. The movies were old and the students raised objections to watching them even though the psycholgy principles were still there. I had to go back to more lectures with questions and discussions. Most of my tests were multiple choice but the grades were curved.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Dark Valley

The call from Washington College was a major stressful experience in my life. I took a plane to get her. I will never forget that scene when we met. The black girl from South Carolina was her roommate and had discovered how mentally ill she was. There was hugging and weeping as we said goodbye. When we arrived back at Tempe, a decision had to be made to return home for Mary Ann to get her treatment. Mother had to be returned to Lawrence and Mary and, and we had to drive back to Laurinburg. I arranged to complete two of my courses through a new member of our department a retired Psychologist by the name of George Mason. He was called Mase for short. A group of Pembroke professors formed a bowling team. I stayed over to bowl with them every Thursday. Mase was one of them, so we were good friends. On returning to Laurinburg we had to find a place to stay. We had rented our home for the year. We found a place to rent at the Presbyterian camp out in the country. Mary Ann was sent to the Mental Health Center in Lumberton and put on medication to control her illness. During all of this turmoil Ellen broke down with a depression and made an effort to take her life. Being short of funds it was necessary to enter her in the State Hospital for treatment. I drove back and forth to visit her. Around this time our home was vacated. Mary Ann was under control with her medication and moved in to live with me. She got a job at Covington Street School where Mom taught. To me she seemed close to normal as she went back and forth to school on her bicycle. One day while I was visiting Mom in the hospital I received a call that Mary Ann had been killed by a truck while riding her bicycle. I brought Mom home for the funeral. She was taking an Antidepressant which was controlling her to some extent. The loss of Mary Ann and the meeting of friends at the funeral affected her in a serious way. She tried to take her life by running out in front of a truck on the highway. It was ineffective and she was taken to the police station. This time through our local physician, Dr. McArn she was entered into the Mental Hospital section of the Medical School in Chapel Hill. She was put on electroshock which was very effective. I was very concerned about my status at Pembroke because I could not continue my work on the Doctorate. As this was necessary to get Tenure I felt thatI would lose my job. The only bright experience of the whole year came in Dr English Jones's office. For all of my efforts and my sorrow, I was granted Tenure.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Psychology of Stress

During the Christmas holidays I returned to Laurinburg and we planned for you to visit me in the spring. It was an enjoyable get together as we toured the desert scenery and the resevoirs.

When I returned to Pembroke, the department head gave me a new course - The Psychology of Stress. I began to put into practice what I had learned about stress control. I started a regular exercise program and also got Ellen to join me in a daily walk. Since he had taken away my Child Development course this was a boost to my morale. At the beginning of the second semester Joe Sumner resigned to go to a teaching position in Savannah. He was divorcing his wife and beginning all over. A new department head was hired - Kitty Rileigh. We got along well and my Child Development and Parenting courses were returned. We got along real well for two years but in order to get Tenure I needed to go back to Arizona State and finish my work on the Doctorate. Both Mary Ann and Fred were in College so you could go with me. Larwence, my brother, wanted me to take Mother with me. Mary Ann had a depression and could not go back to Washington College in Chestertown Maryland until later. All if the arrangements were made to have Mother fly to Phoenix and meet us in Tempe. Mary Ann tried to get a job but I was not aware of the seriousness of her condition when I asked her to go back to College. She flew to Baltimore and took a bus to Chestertown. It was not even a month when the Dean at Washington College to tell me about Mary Ann's condition. She had a mental illness called schizophrenia inherited from my Dad.