Saturday, January 2, 2010

Caring, and Kindness of Cedar Vale People

I have put off writing this. The story of the kindness and caring of Cedar Vale people. I did not know how to start it, and I have such a difficult time typing with tears. 36 yrs later, and still it gets to me.

I have quirk. that I have found, irritates people around me. For no apparent reason, I will have an ‘urge’ to accomplish some task. It just comes over me. This feeling of something that needs to be done now, and nothing can stop me from getting it done. It started when I was young and is with me today. It always turns out that there was a reason to get that task done, then and there.

It was summer, 1972. The only future plan we had was to head to Pittsburg in August for my 10 year High School Reunion. It would be so much fun, and my parents were looking forward to having John stay with them.

On this particular day, I had nothing pressing to do. I was at the store, hanging out. Then suddenly out of no where, this ‘drive’ to get home and get the laundry done and clean and straighten the house. There was nothing pressing going on in our life that this had to be done, only my ‘feeling’ that it had to be done. I went home. I felt so silly doing all this work as if I was on a time table, I was rushing around, cleaning between loads of laundry washing and drying .. Just as I walked into the dinning room from the laundry room, the phone was ringing - I did not want to answer it, had a feeling that it was not good. I stood there frozen. Finally, I reached for the phone, I heard my Mother say in a soft voice, “Sissy Girl”. Oops, now I knew it was not good. The soft voice, the Sissy Girl, gave it away. The next words, “your Daddy’s gong to be okay”. Ok, I knew that line, it was the cover-up my Mother would use. The next line. “You and Jock need to get here as soon as possible.”

I hurried back to the store. People were standing around talking. I can not speak when I am upset, words will not come out of me. I stood there needing to tell Jock, but I couldn’t.

Doris Boone noticed me standing there. She asked me what was wrong. I burst our crying (that is what I do when I am upset, my usual pattern).

We had to get to the hospital, now. Dad was in intensive care, was all we knew at the time. But what about the store? As anyone who owns their own business knows, there are no personal days with pay. Everything around me was like I was there, yet I was not participating. I heard that Mr Goss would cut the meat, I heard the Hankins saying how they would help. Of course Doris and Perry would be there. Jock’s Aunt Stella and Nellie were there. I was hearing these people who just seem to appear at the store saying how each could help to keep the store open. Somebody was going to look after the dogs and cat.

We had clean clothes waiting for us at the house. In no time we were packed and headed for Pittsburg. While we had been at the store with everyone, my mother was on her way to the hospital after calling me, but she had a stop to make on the way; to see a couple she had known for years and went to the same church we did. Mother knocked on their door, when they answered, she told them, “I need for you to pray with me”. She told me later, that right there in their living room, the 3 of them were on their knees praying.

What we learned later, was that Daddy died in the Emergency room. Dad never told us kids, only Mother and his Doctor, that he saw what was going on in the Emergency room. He was even able to tell his Doctor what he heard the Doctor and nurses saying. He heard; “you have to go back”. Dad and his doctor were good friends, they had known each other for years and this was Daddy’s 5th heart attack. The first was in ‘57. That was a bad day in Nov for 3 little kids. My precious Auntie Florence had been staying with us while Mother was in Research Hospital for a week or so awaiting the arrival of a baby. She sat us down on Nov 7, to gently tell us, we had a baby brother, our Mother may not make it home, and Daddy had a heart attack and was at the Hospital. Mother had been preparing us, or trying, for the possibility she may not live through the pregnancy. However, the fear that went through this 13 year old child at that moment hit like a bolt of lightning. How were we going to get our baby brother back to Pittsburg, how are we going to stay together, no body was going to separate us, I pledged to myself.

Now it was 15 years later, and that fear hit me again. That baby brother was now in school. I wanted him to have his Dad longer.

Jock and I slept in the intensive care waiting room. We were allowed to see Dad for just minutes at a time. The first words Dad said, while he was still drugged, “where is my son, Jock. I want my son, Jock.” Daddy loved Jock, as much has he did his own sons. Then Daddy asked, demanded, to see John. That was a terrible decision to make. Daddy was literally fighting the staff. He wanted his grandson. John adored his Grandpa, but for an 8 year old to see his Grandpa like this would be so hard on him. It was the first time they had ever let a child go into the intensive care area. It did calm Daddy. It did leave a terrible memory for my son.

I do not remember how many days all this took place. After we were sure Daddy would be okay, we headed back to Cedar Vale.

The store stayed opened all this time with the help of Cedar Vale friends. I wish I could recall who did what, but that is no longer in my memory bank. They made what was a nightmare situation to us, better. It was such a beautiful experience. I have told people about this story in Denver, in Arkansas, in Kansas, in Florida, and in Georgia. People in 5 states know of the kindness of the people of Cedar Vale, Kansas.

My Mother’s prayers were answered. My heart was filled with joy, I had chosen the best place in the world to live. I was surrounded by wonderful people.


Iris (Tew) Walkinshaw said...

The pictures are backwards. The one before Dad left was to be first. Oh well, eventually I will learn how to operated this!

Anonymous said...

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