The Soldier’s Road to Recovery

and, yes, at one time son was an “official” soldier, at least in the sense of joining the National Guard and going off for basic training and AIT, but this war he’d been in has made him more of a soldier than that training ever did.

After the service of the last post he managed to continue in school while dil strove to get back into routine with her other little girl

One of the things that had to be done that I started on first, though I cannot remember now why I was where I was to stop at that particular health dept. to get her death certificate, of all times to have gotten my very first pack of this new type of checks that don’t come in boxes any more, only though to learn that I could not get it; they would have to do it themselves, which they did, or more to the point, they stopped by the funeral home and they did it for them, in order for them to take it to the WIA office to document that it indeed did happen, to get an exemption/waiver for them to pay for him to go to school part-time that summer, when normally you have to go full-time, but with everything that had happened his schedule had gotten such that he didn’t need that many more classes.

Also, by the time summer came and with all the classes that he had and, again, with everything that had happened, it was time to re-enter, move on, and pick up the pieces. They needed to begin again to support themselves. So….son got a full-time job in what he thought was his field, only it turned out to be at an auto recycling yard – not just a fancy name for just any old junk yard – but one of those that takes engines out of cars before they crush them, not exactly what he’d gone to school for the past 2 yrs. and not exactly what would help him move on past what had happened, not with the type people that typically work at those type places; no, they weren’t pleased with his education and set out to make it hard on him, actually throwing the fluids from the vehicles at him, almost blinding him; no, he wasn’t going to continue to work at that job – sorry –

so then he goes to the other end of the spectrum – to, yes, an automotive repair shop, but one that does practically everything, including, yes, taking engines out of cars in order to either repair, rebuild, or replace them, which, yes, he’d taken in school but had had no experience with in real life. He was supposed to be under supervision but wasn’t; he was expected to be totally responsible for these jobs, even those he was not certified. And, then, he goes home for lunch one day, checks the mail, finds the letter from the hospital containing the autopsy report, opens it to find that what had taken his daughter was totally unrelated to what was wrong with her and not something that had ever even been mentioned to them, something the hospital unit that was supposed to have been taking care of her said they hadn’t even known, so…when he goes back to work, he leaves a car in gear allowing it roll across the parking lot; thankfully,at least this time there was nothing in the way – unlike years before with his little brother – but that wasn’t good enough for this employer – or maybe he was just trying to be nice when he told him to go home and come back when he could do better, so maybe it was still too soon or maybe those two jobs just weren’t what needed to be at that time –

3rd time – charm – chain automotive shop this time doing only brakes and such – just perfect, seemed to be the best there, until one mistake – or was it even one – false accusation by someone who didn’t like there being more wrong with his vehicle than what he wanted there to be so….but cameras not on, so no evidence but side with customer, and…

by this time, winter coming – this old house they’d moved into was not suitable for it; they would not winterize it and they’d only moved there because they thought they were going to be bringing their little girl home and thought they needed the room, but in many ways glad – bad neighborhood, somewhat wonder what it’s like over there tonight – night of the Ferguson nonindictment – dil had had enough, she was ready to get out of town and…

amazingly and thankfully, some people we know that owner finance houses had one come available right down the road but…

also thankfully they will also rent, since, once again, yes, but, again, yes, another chain shop in another town but one can get too handily without going through the other one, so they can still move…

lease almost up on the other place but they will let them out of it early

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From One Generation to Another

Took a wreath to dh’s dad’s grave today – after calling his sister-in-law, who she and her husband, his brother, have basically taken over keeping the flowers and flag on it; they seem to be the only ones who care. Nobody else in the family hardly ever goes, but then, really, what is the point of looking at a headstone engraved with his name? it’s not like he’s there – but there is the element of showing respect – but then what is it about seeing the marker at the same place of the little girl? she’s not there either but we don’t want to forget her either. I would have loved, in a way, to have read a poem or something at her service but it just seems like that’s something that just isn’t done. I think I’ve come to decide there’s something different in a funeral service and a eulogy; an eulogy is what’s done to remember the one who’s passed while a funeral service serves to remind those left behind how fragile life can be. I knew there was something missing to her service, however, and it was the pallbearing part – you know, the bearing of the pall, a word we don’t use much anymore, don’t really think about what the word “pallbearer” literally means. It was a rainy day, so that was dispensed with; the funeral home just did it themselves, which I know, really, they really do anyway; not even sure “pallbearers” are really needed, just a remnant of bygone days, a ceremonial gesture of closure for those asked to serve in that regard, but something needed for that purpose for those that was denied, in this case, I’m thinking specifically for dad, unlike

in this first case, which, maybe that was enough, maybe it would have been too much, to have had to have done it again, so maybe the rain was a blessing, as is maybe the fact that the first is laid to rest between, now, my parents, her great-grandparents, since she’s there and her parents have moved away down here and especially since dad probably couldn’t bring himself to go see – see what, her? no, she’s not there – and actually, though, there’s not even a stone marker there – something that should be corrected – actually, with the laying of my parents, is the metal marker even still there? I didn’t see it when we took dad there, something I’ve intended to check on….but anyway, dad was a pallbearer of his first; oh, how wrenching to have to carry your little one, especially your first little one, in a box to be placed in a hole in the ground;

we were so thankful for all who came to her service, especially people from the church I grew up in who just “happened” – snowflakes again – to see it in the paper and see mom and dad’s name as great-grandparents and came, especially, as would be assumed, I supposed, people who were special to me growing up there – my junior high Sunday School superintendent; granted, as much, again, for mom, who worked in that dept. as secretary, for years, as for me, maybe not even for me, maybe only for her, but still he was special to me, as is that time in your life, but also I think because of his own life – he was considerably older before he found a wife and was able to start a family, I think because of some physical issues he had (something was wrong with his face that I never knew what) – and, though I can’t think of a specific role she had in my life, I like to think it’s more because of her life – the “daughter” but not really – of our pastor and his wife – she was really one of theirs niece – just realized never knew which one – that they never adopted; she never had their name – ironic, considering, but her last name was Riddle – somehow just always got the idea that although they raised her, they never – nor did she, though I could be wrong – really considered her part of their family; not sure if that had anything to do with her never getting married and/or having a family either. In this case, unlike with mom and dad, where we had a meal at that church in their building, welcoming many of my family on both sides each time, and with her mom, where the meal was served at her grandmother’s church this time it was more handled by dil’s family, who had the meal at a community center close to where her grandparents lived. Then, just like with the hospitalization, things were still chaotic with son’s work related to him having missed work for being at the hospital leading to financial issues that had to be dealt with, which led to the incidents that just escalated, leaving no time for dealing with the actual loss, no wonder things went the way they did, leading to getting away from there and coming back down here, along with some other things.

while this other one is here and they live now just down the road, dad still doesn’t go anymore than dh goes to see, again, what, his dad; again, no, just a stone marker with their names engraved. Again, so thankful for all, from my new church home and family, who came to her service. And again, one very special “snowflake” – while I was in Boston with her I met a very special lady who had adopted a baby who’d been born through a surrogate pregnancy that the biological parents then were refusing, actually insisting that the surrogate abort, after finding out she had a heart defect – well, actually way more than just that, unlike ours – so, blows my mind, she takes her two biological children, quits her job – now this is after she’s posted on social media, not sure where, the situation, and this lady I met at the hospital, offered to adopt this child – goes to this other state, where she will, as the birth mom, have the legal rights, to this family, who then pay for the rest of her prenatal care and then, indeed, adopt this child, having already adopted at least one more, who’s blind and does have a heart defect already, as well as possibly some more; anyway this particular child is in the hospital while we’re there – and as an aside, this child, while ours, who supposedly doesn’t have as much wrong with her, is gone, hers, in spite of multiple hospitalization, is thriving – and her mother in law is there taking care of her other children, bringing them to the hospital to see their sister and taking them to special events the hospital would have, like, in particular, the free Boston Pops concert, but turned out she actually lived down here where we do, so when we lost our little girl, told this lady who then told her and she made a 3 hr. trip up here for the service and then also stayed for the meal our church graciously served at our church building, thanks especially to a very special lady from our church who took her under her wing and made her feel very welcome – again, another “snowflake” – thank you so much for all the wonderful people. Also to the so many, this time, who so generously, also opened their pockets to help them financially – or maybe us – to make this one so much different than before, which helped them weather the next few months and him be able to finish that semester of school without having to worry anymore than the usual situation about their finances, which helped make things better then when that semester was over, as far as being able to then go back to full-time work, in his field he’d been going to school for. A snowfall. They did still live in town at that point, although that was the beginning of them moving out here, not necessarily close to her, but close to us, but more, in many ways, just to be out in the country again, where they both were raised and him ending up having jobs, since they’d only moved where they were because they thought they had to when they thought they were going to be bringing her home; they needed to get out of there. So the timing of this post is uncanny because it was around this time last year when it really began to be time, not even sure why so long; well, yes, I am; it actually had been time for a while, but they/we’d signed a lease when they moved there that they wanted to be responsible about, not like when they’d lost their other one and came down but then broke that one when things got to be too much – (plus her mother was still alive but dying at that point) and had realized the repercussions but also that mostly applied to staying in town anyway – out here those type things don’t really matter so much, especially – another snowflake – a house, not a trailer or apartment – which they were living in a house by then anyway, but this one was much nicer, had been remodeled, unlike the one they were in, that no one was willing to do – owned by a couple we know, even go to church with his dad, that owner finance them, so they could even buy without all the credit stuff – truly a real blessing of a “snowflake”; they could really begin to settle in….

after the loss of 2 children, but still having 1 left to help them through, which she has done a lot to help mom and dad both to keep their senses about them with that –

she does miss the last one and will talk about her; she got to know her and spend time with her but she never knew her other grandmother but so makes you wonder about some things sometimes; she was playing just the other day and all of a sudden just stopped and said to her mother that her mother had died and was in heaven playing/taking care of her sisters, hm….

Just as an aside, one special “snowflake” I want to point out who came to my dad’s visitation was his nurse at the local VA clinic, who probably drew his blood every week for years – loved her so for the care she took of him. Everybody who had much to do with Daddy loved him.

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And then one more

3 yrs. later, a scheduled C-section with another one taken to NICU because of the diabetes, with yet another routine visit by the pediatric cardiologist, only this time suddenly nothing stayed routine; this little was diagnosed with a heart condition and arrangements began to be made for transfer to the university hospital to the regional NICU, where she was placed on a ventilator and nasal gastric feeding tube and kept until transferred again to their pediatric CICU to be placed under the watch of their cardiologists while they decided what to do and ultimately listed her for a heart transplant, then performed surgery while waiting, but then was not able to have one when became available because of fevers that just wouldn’t go away until we finally were able/agreed/requested transfer to Boston, where she had a radical, experimental open heart surgery after cath and feeding tube changed to nasal bypass stomach, direct to intestine tube to ease the strain on her heart then transferred back home, which is where things began to go south when they insisted on replacing the nasal tube with a direct stomach one, causing the added strain to her heart, which ultimately led to a horrible, nasty infection leading to cardiac arrest as well as heart attack – and, yes, those are two different things – on the other side of her heart from the side she had surgery on so now she has both sides of her heart in bad shape – but they did not have the means to take care of the infection bedside and now she’s too ill for surgery and they say too ill for transport back to Boston, once we finally convince them she needs to go because of the local situation all the while watching her get sicker and sicker until just can hardly stand it any longer until they have “the conversation” – yes, they want to take her off – mom’s had all she can take and is at peace with it but, once again, poor dad – are we going to go through it again? maybe just as well he didn’t have to be involved in the decision; might have been just as well to not be involved at all but then would it?…

anyway, here we find ourselves again, and once again, another shiny snowflake –

a wonderful chaplain – we learned they have powers we know not of; when they say things are to be a certain way, everybody has to make it happen – this time instead of having to be stuck in a horrible hospital room we commandeer the beautiful chapel – what a sight, to see her being brought in by her entourage – no way could we have put all the family and friends who’d come into that hospital room anyway; guess we would have been taking turns coming and going from the waiting room among all the other people – so much nicer and more private this way, especially for son – no way would he have been able to handle it the other way, or at least no more, and maybe less this 2nd time around, than he was before. Only this time to see her and to have seen her for so long, 1 day shy of 8 mos. this time, but to be so sick; you knew or at least felt you were doing the right thing, to allow her to be put out of her misery, to no longer suffer but they told us she wouldn’t be awake but then she was, that she wouldn’t open her eyes but then she did, to almost hope it wouldn’t have to be the way it did but it was almost like she just wanted to say thank you before she said good-bye – oh, poor, poor son, one more time and then they were both gone – no, not the same way but he’d had all he could handle while mom, dh at least for then, and I went back up with her and her wonderful nurse – another snowflake? for mom? they’d gotten so close – for the final preparations, so thankful for all who came.

and one more thing – we learned then, that by keeping her there and allowing her to pass at the hospital the chaplaincy department has a voucher program to help cover her final expenses – such a blessing

So surreal to stop and eat on the way home; how could we? amazing how things are, then, yes, dropped them off; they needed their time alone, while we then came home and then the flurry of the next few days – so many snowflakes then

as we met with the funeral home and presented them with the voucher, we learned they allowed it cover the viewing and service – their services, including the memorial cards, as well as an arrangement they have with one of the local florists for the main flower arrangements, plus – since, thanks to the wonderful friends who helped with the casket, at least a flat marker for her grave – thank you so much

it also allowed us to, this time (as opposed to the last, which is still not taken care of)

a wonderful friend from where I used to live who makes infant caskets – shame, isn’t it, that there’s a need for so many – whose daughter actually made the trip – 6 hrs. – to deliver it, donating it on top of that – though we did pay for her trip

another friend who helped picked out the material for lining for the casket – he doesn’t do that – as well as helping pay for it – not all of it, but some

with yet another friend making it for us – thank you so much!

another one made a slide show for us posting online, while doing another one for the service and burning a CD of and getting the music together to be played

while yet another precious person got the children together to make a recording of them singing “Amazing Grace” – so special

another dear friend got the pix off the CD, getting them printed so they could be actually looked at at the viewing

then one more dear person, where I got a flower arrangement for the inside of the casket and thank you ornaments/gifts for those precious people who helped so much, donated a bell jar with flower arrangement for the table along with an angel for her grave

Again, thank you so much for everybody and everything

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Snowflake in January – People God puts in your path when it’s over

I talked about how mom and dad were married around 5 yrs. before she got pregnant then only to lose it and find out why and how, because of the botched appendectomy she’d had years before, maybe around 10 but what I’m really wondering and wondering why I never really wondered before, is how she and dad felt on losing that child after all those years of waiting; guess just shows how selfish I’ve been all these years that really I was just glad they had and it was me they had and just me because she never acted like she wanted another one and dad always acted like I was all he ever needed and I never went through anything like that so never had occasion to think differently until….

one of the worst things I think you can go through, maybe even more so than going through it yourself, is seeing your child lose their child – when dil’s blood sugar spiked to 800 while pregnant, going to the ER and next thing you know, being lifeflighted to what, by car, would be the big specialty hospital 4 hrs. away, for what, hopefully, would be emergency C-section but then, possibly, because records weren’t sent or at least didn’t get there, wasn’t done, blood sugar gotten under control, but then no baby feeling movement; tried telling, being ignored, until finally next day insisting on ultrasound – maybe 2 – and confirmed – and all this time being in a strange city all alone – long story but son had not just jumped and gone along but at this news attempting but family wanting to go by now so trying to get all that together, while I’m stuck behind a stuck concrete truck in my driveway because of the ran but even for all that still managed to get out and on the way ahead of them, getting to her, actually what turned out to be a whole day ahead before they could actually get gone, but so appreciating having that time with her to help draw us closer, and so glad for being there when the Ash Wednesday person came by wanting to put ashes on her, a ceremony never being exposed to and not wanting to now, so, no. Then finding out they don’t do what we assumed and maybe if had been earlier but not at this late stage, no longer considered just what mom had but then also not doing anything to induce either, so….3 long days of waiting for finally doctor to come in and do something before we had another disaster on our hands, then the reality of it all hitting because to some extent up until then just somewhat unreal and could just pretend everything was normal, then the running of us out but not before seeing your son just crushed by the weight of it all; wish they’d given him something to get through it but no, on top of all that, he has to take family home, and deal with something at work, while leaving wife to still recuperate while coming back to be with her after going through what they really didn’t want to but being somewhat insisting on and then me being requiring to leave as well providing transport so she being left alone again but think she was given something so hopefully didn’t know until he got back and had to tell them – not them – but them that they wouldn’t be there for a few days when she got discharged and then not being able to be there when they did, although her family would, because having to leave to take my mother back 5 hrs. full circle to where I came from to a doctor had gotten her into the month before, before we knew all this would happen, or maybe not, but to see the results of a bunch of tests had had run to get the verdict on a pretty major surgery so made the trip leaving someone else in charge –

before I headed out to begin with to be with dil, not sure who did it, her or me, but we contacted a “quality” friend and told her the situation; now not sure what anybody would think about this but she mentioned an organization that would come in and take quality photographs, retouching, to have a professional portrait, except when we got there, the photographer had broken her leg and couldn’t come and we/she/they couldn’t find anyone else who could either under the circumstances, which weren’t the usual, so….now the hospital did come in themselves with a little disposal but those weren’t the kind really that you actually wanted, unless, except maybe for some documentation, which, again, under the circumstances, but are glad to have in case ever need; however….

on that long drive home the more I thought about it I really wanted to be able to do that for her; she’d wanted it so bad and couldn’t even have that, so realized on my way to my destination I had to practically go right by the local hospital which I thought should also possibly know – and did – so I stopped by and sure enough there was a local photographer who had done that type thing, so…

however, this funeral home – which was not the one my family typically used but was the one hers did so was not familiar with them and how they would react or what they would be willing to do but.. – had never heard of or done such a thing but, thankfully, they were open to the idea and willing to contact the photographer, who, it turned out, was not one full-time so had a job so could not do it during the week until the evening, but, again, so thankfully, they had no other customers that evening and we weren’t doing an evening visitation so they were willing (as with so many other things in regard to this situation, so thankful) to open up one of their visitation rooms for a studio but the photographer needed an assistant (not sure, think, maybe for family reasons couldn’t uses his wife) so I had to come up with one – and again, just so amazed –

while at the hospital got a call from – now, to me, this gets even more amazing –

while having been up there on a previous trip to take my parents to their doctors, in particular because mom was getting the verdict on her eye and real good thing I was there because it was not good, ran over to the library for a writing class, at least one trying to get started but no one showed up that night – now, later it had grown to a good size but this was just the beginning – to find out the person starting it was actually doing it because he was from out of the area, had come down – for a girl, yes – and couldn’t find work, not surprising in that area, at least in his field of technical writing, etc., hence the impetus for starting the writing group; anyway, coming from the city that had just been named the top in that field, invited him down for – a job fair – which – another amazing timing of this whole thing -
anyway, as part of that coordination and planning, he called while I was at the hospital and learned of that whole situation and – here we go again – and just read a big Newsweek article about this whole photography thing so….when needed an assistant and I couldn’t be there, who could I call…and yes, said girlfriend not only was willing but wanted the opportunity and especially(?) since he wasn’t going to be there that evening – because – where was he going to be – down here, while what? – we would be on our way back up there – so just to throw in a few more snowflakes –

at the time we had a little bargain store here, which had just started selling funeral arrangements, which “just happened” to have an infant cross arrangement for far less than what it would have cost anywhere else, so much so we probably just wouldn’t have been able to get her one, but we were and were so glad….

which leads to the other – long story but our youngest really didn’t want to go for the service for the little one and understandably so but we really didn’t want to leave him here by himself, so…just amazing that this man I’d met turned out to be such a good friend that (and, yes, I know, but I’m just thankful) as he came down for the job fair we let him stay, now, not just, not even, with us, but in our home and with our son while we went up there (and yes, even as I type this as the full import of what could have happened hit me but that’s another story – I’m just believing there was a hand in all of this); I just feel so blessed….

also grateful that oldest son came, in spite of all that had happened between he and brother, and that he’d had some good things happen in his life that allowed that – although glad to hear now that some of even that has been resolved and everybody involved has seemed to be able to move on now – but also that he was able to get his vehicle issue resolved from where he locked his keys up in his car – in the procession – to be able to get it unlocked without there being a problem – thanks to a friend noticing the situation – thankful he has such friends

but while we were being so blessed son still having a hard time because in the midst of it all he’s missing work so what with that and the extra expense then on top of that, instead of getting the tax return he was expecting to pay the rent because of that, he gets a letter saying he’s not getting one because it’s going to repay for some govt issued equipment that got left – because there was no room in the inn, as it were, in the house he’d been sharing with said older brother, leading to some of the issues between them, which is why it was such a good thing that he still felt he wanted to come be there for him, in that sense – not that he really was but still he came, but it was more for him than for the brother, especially now – in a car that had been title pawned somewhat because of the whole situation with brother and his own situation, loooong story – who knows what happened to it, but anyway so….

now what? one thing just leading to another, when you feel as if your world’s just caving in as to having lost your child; can you imagine?

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It’s Funny What You Remember

I’ve heard mom talk about the layoffs they’d have at the car plant when things would get tight and she’d talk about having nothing but thickened gravy and biscuits to eat. My dad would talk about my granma playing guitar; I wonder what happened to it; found it so interesting that I only know of one person in my family who plays, my dad’s oldest sister’s youngest son, who, for whatever reason, doesn’t even remember our granma playing, though I don’t either, but then I’m 20 yrs. younger than him, so had she already quit by they time he came along or was old enough to know her; know he mostly remembers her living in town after they’d sold their farm during the war she had all her boys in; could that have something to do with it? and Vernor’s Ginger Ale, bottled up there but apparently at some point was sold in the next town down home because I can remember going with my other grandmother to the grocery and getting it, where they kept it stocked; because of me? or is that where I actually learned to love it and why, not from up there, or is that where she, on her trips up there, but by the time I was expecting my son they must have quit because that was my main craving – and you know, a pregnant woman must not be denied her craving – and she couldn’t get me any but dad’s same baby sister was going up there and she paid her to get me some to send – or did she bring; she did come down – to me. And remember the cookie jar funds where our grandparents and parents kept their mad – or rather, emergency, money. And where even a penny saved is a penny earned. And something to tide you over, hold you, yes, so you don’t get too hungry. There’s more to life; this isn’t ‘it'; what took my daddy home. And fried chicken bones getting stuck in your throat – to be gotten out by the, somehow, big hands of the doc; so glad he made it, though I wonder how.

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Trip back up north

One of the things we did do, however, while we had the store, somehow, though I’m not sure how, was to take a trip back up to Detroit to see family and friends, although I wonder if they really grasped how much things would have changed, even in spite of hearing and seeing on the news and in the paper about the riots going on during that time; surely not or would we have gone? but then my dad was always somewhat of an optimistic person as well as a family person, so if he decided it was he probably just wouldn’t have worried too much about it; anyway, Detroit here we went.

But when we got there it was somewhat of a different story. My aunt and one uncle and their friend all lived pretty much close to downtown, where it was all happening, especially at night, though I can hardly believe we were going out then, but there we were, going right down what seemed to be the heart of it, with what appeared to be gangs all around – “don’t look out the back windshield”, which, I know, whoever does, but when you’re a 10 yr. old kid from a small town who’s never been to the big city before and everything’s new and exciting, well…and people would just step out in front of your car and seemingly dare you to run over them…hm, and when you got to their friend’s house you were told to duck and run straight to their door; don’t look left or right, wow….

it quickly became more – or less – than exciting – and you realized how glad you were that your dad wanted to get out and not raise you there, even though I don’t think he even envisioned all of that going on. Now, having said that, in all fairness, my other uncle lived in the suburbs where he and his family seemed insulated from it all and not having any problems and possibly had we actually stayed, or maybe had dad actually planned on staying we, in all likelihood, would have wound up there as well; however, with him not having planned on it, not sure how possible that would have been so just probably a real good thing we left when we did besides the fact that all my cousins, of both my uncles and my aunt, weren’t all older than me.

Both my uncle – my aunt’s husband – and my parents friend – were mugged.

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Then the other shoe dropped

We stayed in that house long enough, which wasn’t long with dad, about maybe 5 yrs. for dad, who would make double and triple payments, to pay it off when they wanted to transfer him to the next town the other way toward his family and away from mom’s but he didn’t want to start making that drive after waiting so long to get back home, so about that time the little grocery store right down the road came up for sale so he decided to remortgage that house and buy it and go into the grocery store business, which we did; loved that time; had it for about 3 yrs., then the lease came up for renewal and besides that the owner didn’t want to renew; he wanted dad to buy the building this time and it was old and decrepit and really needed a lot of work, which is why he wanted to sell it in the first place, but we’d just gotten the house repaid off and doing that would mean remortgaging it again, something he just didn’t want to do, certainly not to put money into that aging building with the hope of being able to get it back out again, which didn’t seem too certain, at that time, which may have been another reason the owner was wanting to sell; he was seeing what was happening as well, with a new shopping plaza having been built just up the road on the other side of our house with a chain grocery store in it.

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