A Platonic Relationship – A Penn State Story Part II

February 20, 2018 § 1 Comment

To recap, through both procrastination, and stalking, I secured temporary living quarters for the Fall Term 1982, with a young woman, Susan, in a space where the only privacy that could be achieved was in the bathroom.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Can I Live With You? A Penn State Story – Part I

February 18, 2018 § 2 Comments

It was Summer 1982. In fact it was August, and my second year of Graduate school would begin in a matter of weeks. When I departed State College in May, I was a graduate student in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. They had been kind enough to grant me the privilege of not leaving Penn State when I had finished my undergraduate degree the previous December. “Well, we have money to support you as a grad student and you can teach Engineering Mechanics to a new class of undergraduates while you take time to meet with professors and see what you want to do.” In case you didn’t read that correctly, let me re-phrase it. I went in there and cried like a baby that I didn’t want to leave college yet, and they said “No Problemo”, and not only did they say that, but they also said, “And we will pay your tuition, and give a monthly stipend so you can continue to be a college bum!”. What a deal!

« Read the rest of this entry »

Most Favored

February 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

After reading Seth’s post that included an old favorite ride, it got me to thinking about favorites in my own life. When you are a kid, you are advised to not pick favorites. Don’t pick your mother over your father, this grandparent over any other, etc. Feelings may get hurt. That gets carried on in life to when you have more than one kid. You don’t want to appear to be favoring one over the other. When you have more than 1 brother-in-law, is it fair to have a favorite? As a youth adviser, trying to build leadership skills in the next generation, playing favorites is counter productive.

« Read the rest of this entry »

My Sister’s Cats

July 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

After the weekend I had with animals, we were commiserating with our neighbor, eating ice cream in waffle comes, when the story of my sister’s cats came up, and I told it again to lighten our heavy hearts.

My sister left her cats with me once. I don’t think she will ever make that mistake again.

My sister, Leslie, was working in the Atlantic City casino industry when she and her husband of the time, Kenny decided to work a couple of seasons in the Bahamas. Ex-Pat living, collecting the same wage, but not responsible for the same level of taxation. An opportunity to live in a different country for a few years, and to save some money for a future back in the states.

Leslie had two cats: a female Calico named Speckles, and a B&W male named Katahdin, like the mountain in Maine. 

They were both indoor/outdoor cats, though Katahdin liked spending more time outdoors than Speckles did, and Katahdin was also a couple of years younger. Both were very personable, and Speckles enjoyed our company, day AND night. A slightly annoying habit of hers was she would walk around your head at night, and occasionally drool a bit of cat spittle on your face. My tolerance level being higher than Susan’s, this cat learned to only drool on me.

These were the old days, before cell phones, before e-mail, when good old letter writing was the norm for communications. I didn’t even have a phone number for Leslie at the time, but needless to say, I am not, nor was I ever much of a letter writer. My cousin Debbie and I wrote each other when we were younger, but I never had a writing relationship with anyone else, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t hear from Leslie, nor she from me for most of the time she was out of the country.

Turns out, there was a reason the cat drooled a lot. Turns out, that the poor thing had developed a tumor in her jaw, and as it grew it pushed the floor of her mouth up and she just could not hold onto her drool. By the time we noticed it, it was too late for her. Cat’s, like most animals, are pretty good at masking their suffering, so that most of the time she simply looked cute and cuddly. At the Vet, the operation just sounded like there would be no quality of life for her, so we had her put to sleep, and I buried her in our backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this.

Some time passed, and then Katahdin disappeared. A couple of days went by and we hadn’t seen him, and I decided to go out and look for him. I didn’t have to look far. He had been involved in a car accident (I believe), and still alive, he was holed up under the porch trying to recover, but getting weaker. We took him to the vet, and they were able to help him, but that was the beginning of the end for him, and eventually we had to have him put down as well, and he too is buried in the backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this either.

It got to be near the end of Leslie’s time abroad, and Susan, my wife, told me that I had to write Leslie and tell her about her cats. I knew this would be a tough assignment. I can write some funny humorous stuff, but writing serious stuff, I knew would be a chore.

How to tell her? Should I describe the issues they had, and then finish by telling her they were gone? Should I start out that they are gone, and then give the circumstances? Should I apologize for not telling her sooner?

Needless to say I started a few notes, and each one ended up in the trash after a few sentences. At some point I settled on the following:

Dear Leslie,

Your cats are dead.

Love Eric

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Family category at Big Bird's Adventures.